Tuesday, 25 June - Gonna give all my secrets away

Talking Townsville with Woolworths Group

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, 25 June. In your Squiz Today…

  • Albanese’s surprise climate appointment

  • Another terror attack in Russia

  • And Elon Musk’s new baby…

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Squiz the Weather

Squiz Sayings

“We were flying.”

Said NSW Premier Chris Minns as he reached speeds of up to 100km/h as one of the first people to test ride Sydney metro’s new rail line under Sydney Harbour. With the 9-station section due to open in August, commuters are hoping the project’s on the right track…

Kean for their new jobs

The Squiz

PM Anthony Albanese has named sitting NSW Liberal MP Matt Kean as the head of the Climate Change Authority - the agency responsible for giving independent climate change policy advice to the government. It’s a notable appointment because Kean has been one of the Liberal Party’s most vocal climate campaigners - making him a divisive figure within the party long before he paired up with Labor at a federal level. Yesterday, Albanese sang Kean’s praises, saying he “understands the opportunity that the transition to clean energy represents for our nation”.

But not everyone’s a fan…

Nope - he’s not getting many pats on the back from Coalition members… Yesterday, former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce called it a “treacherous” move - particularly because Kean, who announced his intention to resign from state politics last week, isn’t set to formally exit for months. The crossover is notable because although Kean - a former NSW treasurer/energy and environment minister who was once considered a frontrunner for the state’s Liberal leadership - has been in favour of exploring nuclear power in the past, he’s firmly in the anti-nuclear/pro-renewables camp now. So his appointment - less than a week after the Coalition’s nuclear power plans were announced - is considered a political move from Albanese. But for his part, Kean says he’ll advise the government of the day, “whoever that should be”. “This is not about ideology, this is about outcomes,” he said.

Anything else?

While we’re on the topic of fresh appointments… Our incoming Governor-General Sam Mostyn - who will be sworn into the role on Monday - is set to receive a $214,000 pay bump from her predecessor David Hurley. The Albanese Government has introduced a bill to set Mostyn’s salary at $709,019 a year - which it reckons will make up for the fact she doesn't get a military pension like Hurley, a former army officer, does. To put her salary into context, Hurley was on $495,000 annually during his 5-year term. It’s also higher than Albanese’s salary - which will rise to $607,471 next financial year. And speaking of Hurley, he’s been honoured with an official portrait as he gets ready to sign off from his time as King Charles’ Australian representative. It’s not sparking as much controversy as the King’s recent portrait, but Albanese said the painting is an ode to “a remarkable life of public service”.

Meet Shane Kerr

We’re taking you to Townsville today - specifically to Woolworths Group’s Primary Connect distribution centre, which recently underwent a $12 million expansion to deliver a more resilient network in Far North Queensland following the 2019 floods. Shane Kerr is the supply chain manager there - he oversees an 82 person strong team at the small site with a big heart. Here’s a link to learn more about why.

Squiz the Rest

Russia’s war at home

At least 20 people - including police officers, a priest and a security guard have been killed in Russia's North Caucasus republic of Dagestan after suspected terrorists attacked 2 churches and 2 synagogues on Sunday. Reports say 6 attackers are dead, and police are continuing to hunt for others. No one has claimed responsibility for this latest “terrorist attack”, which is reminiscent of the Islamic State shooting at Moscow’s Crocus city hall 3 months ago. Dagestan Governor Sergei Melikov declared 3 days of mourning following the “day of tragedy”. Meanwhile, Russia has blamed the US and said there will be “consequences” for a Ukrainian missile strike on Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea, which officials say killed 4 people and injured 150 more who were hit by debris on a beach. Russia says the struck-down missile was supplied by the US.

Farmers in a flap

Poultry farmers remain on high alert as the ongoing bird flu outbreak has infected a second farm in the NSW Hawkesbury region. The affected chicken meat facility is within a biosecurity zone of an egg farm just 1.5km away which was the state’s first confirmed case last week. The detected strain is H7N8 - different to the H7N3 and H7N9 strains that have been causing havoc in Victoria where a major outbreak has been underway since May. At least 87,000 birds will be euthanised in NSW, joining one million others in Victoria as authorities try to stem transmission of the disease. NSW Minister for Agriculture Tara Moriarty says quick identification of the latest case proves biosecurity measures are working. She’s also “not concerned” about further spread and says chicken meat is “safe for people to consume, so long as it's cooked in the usual way”.

A major Myer merger

Department store giant Myer is in talks to acquire Premier Investments's Apparel Brands - including household names Just Jeans, Jay Jays and Portman’s - which generated $845 million in revenue last financial year to “create one of the leading retail and apparel companies across Australia and New Zealand”. It’s not a done deal yet, but Premier’s board - chaired by Aussie billionaire Solomon Lew - is “assessing the potential benefits” for shareholders. If it goes ahead, it'll give Lew a seat on the board of Myer - something he doesn't have even though he currently owns a 31% stake. It's not the only change on the table for Premier - it's also considering offloading shopping centre favourites Smiggle and Peter Alexander in a separate deal. Myer's Executive Chair Olivia Wirth - who recently joined from Qantas - says a “strategic review” of the business prompted the move, with the potential merger offering “significant potential synergies and prospects for growth”.

Sk8ing into our hearts

With the countdown - 31 days - to the Paris Olympics firmly on, our skateboarders are hot favourites for success after both Keegan Palmer and Arisa Trew claimed gold in the park events in the Olympic Qualifier Series in Budapest. Palmer won Australia's first-ever skateboarding gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, and the 21yo is hopeful he can recreate the magic in France next month. "I'm just speechless at this point" he said. Trew shared a similar sentiment, saying "I'm just amazed right now", and she's not the only one as the 14yo has been taking the sporting world by storm since she became the first female to land a 720 manoeuvre - aka 2 full mid-air rotations - in competition last year. And there's more to come - we have 9 skaters heading to Paris… And while we’ve got our sports hat on, the hopes of our men’s cricket team are hanging by a thread after losing to India in the T20 World Cup in Saint Lucia overnight. For the Aussies to stay in it, Bangladesh must beat Afghanistan tonight…

Gold medal prospect Arisa Trew has taken the Squiz Kids Q&A hotseat - listen on apple here or find it in your fave podcast app…

Raising eyebrows

A couple of incidents of wrong place, wrong time have raised some eyebrows of late... Coalition leader Peter Dutton's son, Tom, has been photographed holding a clear bag of white powder on social media. It’s not suggested the contents were drugs, but it’s not a good look for Dutton, who’s been a vocal opponent of both party drugs and social media… And over in the UK, Princess Anne is recovering in hospital after being treated for a minor head injury and concussion. Royal sources say she was walking horses at the time, and her injuries are thought to be from either a horse's head or legs. The 73yo, often described as the most hard-working royal, will be forced to put her feet up while she recovers… Meanwhile, in a surprise reveal that he insists wasn’t a “secret”, tech billionaire Elon Musk has fathered a 12th child earlier this year, and who doesn't like a round dozen?…

Apropos of Nothing

It’s not often that 151 models, 188 athletes and a few pop stars come together for a high fashion event, but Vogue has made it happen with an outdoor catwalk in Paris to mark 100 years of French fashion - along with the upcoming Paris Olympics. Très chic…

A 2,000yo bronze bust of Roman emperor Caligula has been found in a private art collection more than 200 years after it went missing. Making the search difficult was the bust’s tiny size, standing at only 13cm tall. Talk about a needle in a haystack…

Irish-Chinese is the latest food trend making waves in Sydney, with reports saying the record influx of Irish migrants in recent years has led to an uptick in the cuisine. If you don’t know what it is, think Chinese - with chips and curry sauce. We’ll give anything a go once…

Squiz the Day

8.00am (AEST) - AFR Entrepreneur Summit 2024 - Sydney

8.45am (AEST) - National Summit on Neurological Conditions - Canberra

6.30pm (AEST) - Screening of WikiLeaks film The Trust Fall: Julian Assange, a deep dive into the WikiLeaks story, at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia - Canberra

ACT State Budget to be handed down

ABS Data Release - Education Statistics for ATSIP, 2021; National Health Survey: State and Territory findings, 2022

Celine Dion's documentary, I am, premieres on Prime Video

Croatia’s and Slovenia’s National Day

Birthdays for Ricky Gervais (1961) and Busy Philipps (1979) 

Anniversary of:

  • Venetian Elena Cornaro Piscopia becoming the first woman to receive a university doctoral degree or PhD (1678)

  • the start of the Korean War (1950)

  • the divorces of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (1974), and Cher and Sonny Bono (1975)

  • the first use of the rainbow flag as a symbol of gay pride at a march in San Francisco (1978)

  • the release of Blade Runner (1982) and Prince's Purple Rain (1984)

  • the marriage of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban (2006)

  • the birthdays of George Orwell (1903), Anthony Bourdain (1956) and George Michael (1963)

  • the deaths of Farrah Fawcett (2009) and Michael Jackson (2009)