Dan is done with political sniping

The word “slam” is used from time to time by the media reporting politics. Thus back on 7 September we had Scott Morrison in Coronavirus Australia: Gloves off as Scott Morrison slams Premier Daniel Andrews on road map.

However, if you read the article Morrison is not telling Andrews what to do. So as recently as last Thursday Morrison could credibly stand in Cairns next to Qld LNP leader Deb Frecklington saying that he accepts that state leaders make the decisions on COVID management. It’s just that he’s inclined to refer to ‘Federal standards’ that have not actually been agreed to by the constituent states of the federation.

All the while Victorian federal ministers have indeed slammed Andrews on quite a regular basis for some months. Continue reading Dan is done with political sniping

Weekly salon 17/10

1. How did Malcolm Fraser lose his trousers?

With all the terrible stuff going on in the world, I thought I’d try to investigate an important part of our history.

How did Malcolm Fraser lose his trousers in a seedy hotel in Memphis on 14 October 1986?

Wikipedia tells us:

    On 14 October 1986, Fraser, then the Chairman of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, was found in the foyer of the Admiral Benbow Inn, a seedy Memphis hotel, wearing only a pair of underpants and confused as to where his trousers were. The hotel was an establishment popular with prostitutes and drug dealers. Though it was rumoured at the time that the former Prime Minister had been with a prostitute, his wife stated that Fraser had no recollection of the events and that she believes it more likely that he was the victim of a practical joke by his fellow delegates.

The Daily Telegraph tells the story more vividly: Continue reading Weekly salon 17/10

Weekly salon 10/10

1. Stimulus budget wildly off target

Laura Tingle summed up the Frydenberg budget strategy in an article that in the AFR was titled Frydenberg stimulus shot veers wildly off target:


    The Government has punted everything on a private sector-led recovery out of recession; one that will happen both really, really quickly and dramatically enough to offset the huge disruption just about to start as businesses lose JobKeeper support for their workforce, run out of rent and bank payment holidays, and decide to close their doors.

Frydenberg spoke of:

    “providing a helping hand to those who need it”, yet so much of the Budget is actually directed at people, and sectors, who don’t need it.

    The most obviously perplexing political decision is that the Government has not only abandoned such a large swathe of its own small business base, but it has constrained the chances of it taking part in the promised recovery.

Continue reading Weekly salon 10/10

Two faces of America: the VP debate

Listening mostly on radio, I thought Mike Pence won the debate by a fair margin, if what he said was true. However, he sounded as though he was stretching the truth, again by a fair margin. His problem was that he had to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, or defend the indefensible. This can stretch his credibility, which to me it did.

However, what I think does not matter to the election outcome.

Do VP debates matter? The conventional wisdom is that on balance they mostly don’t by election day.

Except this debate did matter as an opportunity to stop the drift against Trump. Pence needed a knockout. He did not get it, so he failed. Continue reading Two faces of America: the VP debate

Weekly salon 8/10

1. Trump in travail

POTUS Donald Trump who has contracted COVID-19. This US Today report has a video of him telling us he is doing well. I saw the same on SBS news the other night, and he looked very ill indeed.

We must not make fun of a sick man, but Trump has a way of turning things into a joke himself. Seriously! His Sunday motorcade drive-by was described an an act of insanity: Continue reading Weekly salon 8/10

COVID-19: Hotspots and opening borders

Unfortunately the business of opening international travel has been marred by the politics of the definition of ‘hotspots’.

PM Scott Morrison has announced that an agreement has been reached at National Cabinet and with New Zealand that New Zealanders can enter New South Wales and the Northern Territory without quarantine from 16 October, provided they have not come from an area designated as a Covid hotspot by the Australian Government. This announcement was made via media release from the PM and five other Commonwealth ministers.

It should be noted the New Zealand is not reciprocating. Said NZ persons upon returning to NZ would have to quarantine.

It’s more than curious that Tasmania on the same day announced that it plans to open up the low risk states which:

    include South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, the ACT and possibly NSW.

    I want to be clear, that if at any time the situation changes in these states and the advice is that the risk is too high – then I won’t hesitate to change this decision.

    We will review the situation in New South Wales over the next week and border restrictions will remain in place for the foreseeable future with Victoria until we are satisfied that the risk has reduced to a lower level.

Continue reading COVID-19: Hotspots and opening borders

Vale Susan Ryan

This ABC story says:

    Ms Ryan served as a minister in Bob Hawke’s Labor government, holding titles including special minister of state, minister for education and minister assisting the prime minister for the status of women.

    She was the first woman to hold the portfolio relating to women’s affairs, and the first female minister from the Labor Party.

    Key laws enshrining opportunity and rights for women were legislated on her watch, including the Sex Discrimination Act.

    She would later be quoted as calling the Sex Discrimination Act “probably the most useful thing I’ve done in my life”.

Continue reading Vale Susan Ryan

COVID suppression vs elimination: beware of hot air!

When I started this post on 17 July I wrote:

    Much of the last week the debate has raged as to whether our aim in tackling COVID-19 should be suppression or elimination. The debate has involved short memories, the loose use of language, and a false binary. Also the notion that every country should use the same strategy.

    PM Scott Morrison will tell you that ‘aggressive suppression’ is the way to go, and that ‘elimination’ would break the economy. He also said that we need a few people getting sick and dying to keep our minds on the job.

    Scotty from Marketing did not say it quite that way, but that is what he meant.

Continue reading COVID suppression vs elimination: beware of hot air!

Weekly salon 21/9

1. What is going on with Brexit?

Bloomberg tells us that Boris Johnson is engulfed by chaos over his plan to renege on a treaty with the European Union by rewriting the Brexit deal with the EU, by breaking his promise and international law in selling the Irish down the river.

What he did was to promise the Democratic Unionist party there would be no border down the Irish Sea, then signed a withdrawal agreement that entails exactly that, and now proposes a bill that would break the very treaty he had signed. Continue reading Weekly salon 21/9

China on my mind

In recent times China has been much on our minds. In this post I’ve collected a number of diverse articles and radio segments bearing on China and our relationship with China which seemed to me interesting. I’m not attempting to deal comprehensively with mess our relationship with China has become.

Visit of Premier Li Keqiang

That’s from an article Li Keqiang’s visit a good sign for the China-Australia relationship on 27 March 2017.

Premier Li Keqiang, second only to President Xi Jinping, spent five days in Australia to consolidate the relationship between the two countries. Continue reading China on my mind

Weekly salon 14/9

1. Barilaro blows himself up

That was the AFR’s irrepressible cartoonist David Rowe opposite Laura Tingle’s weekly column Crisis spins from COVID-19 to koalas in the premier state also published at ABC Online as The Nationals’ dummy spit over koalas is another sign of their ongoing struggle for relevance.

Continue reading Weekly salon 14/9

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff