Monday, 23 May, 2022

Australia has a new Prime Minister; France has a mustard shortage; Bats are pretending to be bees; and TikTok is going into gaming.



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Australia has a new Prime Minister, in the shape of Anthony Albanese, after Australian voters overwhelmingly turned their backs on Scott Morrison and his Coalition government at this weekend’s federal election. 

Truth be told, neither of the two main political parties – Liberal or Labor – did especially well in the weekend’s contest. Yes, Anthony Albanese will be the next Prime Minister and the Labor Party will form the next Australian government.  

But in something of a first for Australia, voters turned away from both of them in droves – throwing their support instead behind independent candidates and The Greens.

And while some commentators worried so many different politicians in Parliament with so many different ideas and opinions would make things a bit crazy for the next three years, others said it was democracy in action: a case of the Australia people’s votes being counted in the purest, most literal sense of the term.

A word you’re going to hear a lot in the next couple of weeks – and months – is cross-bench. It refers to all of the people who will now be heading to Canberra’s Parliament House who don’t belong to either the Labor or Liberal or National parties. It’s called the cross-bench because they don’t sit on the benches on the Labor side of the Parliamentary chamber, and they don’t sit on the Liberal side.

Like kids who like to do their own thing in the playground at lunch time and sit on benches all their own in the middle ..

Hold on tight everyone – everything down Canberra way is about to get a whole lot more interesting. 



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops, and today we’ve landed in France … la belle France … where the nation has its knickers in a knot over a mustard shortage. Sacre bleu! C’est pas possible! 

Ah but it is possible … thanks to a drought in Canada said to be caused by climate change, the farmers there who produce mustard seeds used to make the yellow condiment have been unable to supply French mustard makers – and so the mustard shelves in French supermarket are looking empty. 

The war in Ukraine has made the situation worse – with Ukraine being one of the countries in the world that grows lots of mustard plants. 

Interesting isn’t it … how mustard comes from a seed. And how the way the world is so interconnected that a shortage of something in one country can have an impact on another country far, far away. 

I was lucky enough to live in France for ten years – and i know how much they love their mustard. I also know that no self-respecting French person would ever say ‘sacre bleu’ – so there’s that too.




You know the saying “clever as a fox”, right? Well, I think the world should consider changing that to “clever as a mouse-eared bat”… because scientists have discovered that these cunning little mammals buzz like wasps to scare away predators!

Some researchers think this is the first case of a mammal mimicking – which means pretending to be – an insect. The European bats are commonly hunted by two kinds of owls, and like many birds, the owls avoid stinging insects. So those clever little bats have evolved to make a buzzing sound, which startles the owls and makes them fly away. There are other animals that have similar tricks—there’s a type of African toad that can hiss like a snake when threatened, and a bird that imitates a rattlesnake—but this is the first time it’s been seen in a mammal. Clever like a bat. 

A-ha … there’s the Classroom Companion Clarion .. to indicate to all those Squiz Kids for Schools subscribers out there that today’s curriculum-aligned, differentiated literacy worksheets are tied to this item in the podcast … not a SK4S subscriber? Jump into a free trial – link in the episodes or at 




Just when you thought Tik Tok couldn’t possibly suck you in any more – or you couldn’t spend more hours in your day brainlessly scrolling through funny dog videos – comes news that the stupidly popular social media site is thinking about offering games. 

According to reports, TikTok users in Vietnam have had access to in-app games for a while now, as the company behind the social media platform uses tech-savvy Vietnamese users as a test base.

Did you know 70% of  Vietnam’s population are under the age of 35 – which makes the country a really interesting place to tech companies wanting to test out new products. 

No word yet on when games will be available to Aussie users – which is just as well. Because I still haven’t yet worked out how to use TikTok – much less access games in there. 


This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

1. Who is the new Prime Minister of Australia?

  1. Which political party does our new Prime Minister belong to?
  2. Which social media platform is considering introducing games?




It’s May 23 … today is World Turtle Day … a day to recognise how cool turtles and tortoises are and raise awareness of the importance of protecting their habitats .. so be sure to shell-ebrate turtles today (DAD JOKE ALARM) … ooops, there goes the dad joke alarm…

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … Abbie from Old Beach, Rhys from Grange, Zac from Thornleigh West and Indi from Eatons Hill.

Belated birthday wishes go to …Oliver from Malvern East, Charlotte from Hawthorne, Ajay from Melbourne, Sophie from Stanmore, Indigo from Thornleigh and Oliver who’s listening all the way over there in Johor Bahru in Malaysia. 

And classroom shoutouts go to…Class 5/6 Kingfishers and Ms Wong at Condong Public School – who were recently affected by the flooding in northern NSW and have had to move to another location. A shout out to class 6ER and Mrs Rigney at Hamilton South Public School and to Ms Heaton and Ms. Evelyn’s class at Branksomehall Asia in Jeju, South Korea – with a happy birthday to Jun and Seyul.  And a final special shoutout to 5/6V at Abbottsford Public… Amanda loved visiting you on Thursday and is extremely impressed by your acting talent.  


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Anthony Albanese
  2. Australian Labor Party
  3. TikTok