Premier Palaszczuk is ‘absolutely furious’

And she has every right to be.

Queensland coronavirus cases jump by three, Premier declares Greater Sydney a hotspot and Parklands Christian college is closed:

    Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has declared Greater Sydney a coronavirus hotspot after Queensland recorded three new coronavirus cases overnight.

    Two of the cases — both 19-year-old women — tested positive after a recent trip to Victoria and did not go into quarantine.

    One of the women works as a cleaner at Parklands Christian College, south of Brisbane, forcing its closure today.

    Ms Palaszczuk said there would be a “thorough police investigation” into how the women avoided quarantine after visiting hotspots.

    “I’m absolutely furious that this has happened,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

    “These two people have gone to Victoria, have come back and have given misleading information to authorities.”

So:

    A criminal investigation is underway into how two 19-year-old women returned from Victoria and did not go into quarantine.

Let’s recap for a moment.

First we heard of a part-time cleaner, a 19 year-old woman, working at Parklands Christian College in Logan, south of Brisbane who had tested positive to COVID-19 after returning from Victoria via Sydney on 21 July.

Then we heard that she was accompanied by another 19 year-old young woman, and it appears they may have falsified their documentation to avoid quarantine.

Now it appears that they both have the virus, and are currently being treated in the Princess Alexandra Hospital. At least one of them mixed freely with the public while symptomatic. Depending on what a police investigation finds, they could spend six months in jail.

This list of where they have been was derived from Deputy Premier Steven Miles’ Facebook:

    Between 21 July and 28 July 2020 a confirmed COVID case visited the following locations:

      • Parklands Christian College, Park Ridge

      • Madtongsan IV Restaurant, Sunnybank

      • Heeretea Bubble Tea, Sunnybank

      • Primary Medical Dental Practice, Browns Plains

      • Thai Peak Restaurant, Springfield

      • Cowch Desert Bar, Southbank

      • P’Nut Street Noodles, Southbank

      • African Grocery Shop (Station Road), Woodridge

      • Primary Medical and Dental Practice, Browns Plains

      • Chatime Grand Plaza, Browns Plains

      • YMCA Chatswood Hills Outside School Hours Care, Logan

    If you’ve been to any of these places and are feeling unwell you need to go and get tested and isolate until you get your results. We’ve set up a bunch of new pop up clinics in and around Logan.

You can check out the list at Third coronavirus case in Queensland confirmed with list of locations in Logan and Brisbane released.

I think that was just Olivia Muranga (see below), but already we have restaurants, a shopping mall, plus they say a church, in six suburbs and Southbank. Not forgetting two plane flights. The main point of that article was the news of a third coronavirus case, a 22 year-old woman who was a contact of the other two, who worked at YMCA Chatswood Hills Outside School Hours Care, which is associated with Chatswood Hills State School.

So there is now a mountain of contact tracing and testing to be done.

    Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said the state’s public health unit was doing “precisely what needs to be done”.

    “There will be extensive testing and contact tracing is straight out of the playbook, of course, that NSW is using, that we endorse nationally,” he said.

As long as we are copying NSW, that’s OK then, because apparently people north of the Tweed can’t work out stuff themselves.

    as a precaution aged care facilities in the Metro South region would be locked down.

    Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the lockdown would include being closed to visitors, enhanced screening of staff, and that staff would not be allowed to work across multiple facilities.

Anywhere these COVID carriers have been is being shut down for at least 48 hours for deep cleaning and contact tracing.

At the same time Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has declared Greater Sydney a coronavirus hotspot.

Looking at the politics of what has happened, just this once we did not have a microphone poked in front of the nose of LNP leader Deb Frecklington. For some time now on the virus, whatever Palaszczuk says Frecklington will say the opposite. So she has been calling for open borders.

On this one, most north of the Tweed are likely to back the Premier, except for those who never do.

Just in, the Courier Mail with Fury as latest COVID-19 cases put Gold Coast at risk (not pay-walled). The CM has identified the pair on the front page:

Apparently Muranga went to work on Wednesday and Thursday (that would be 22-23 July), called in sick on Friday, then visited the doctor on Saturday, when she was told to immediately get tested. That happened on Monday, with a positive result on Tuesday. She was very active in the community on the weekend and at least through until Tuesday.

The second was Diana Lasu, who tested positive on the Wednesday. The third case was a contact of one of them, the CM said sister.

Seems there was a third travelling companion, awaiting COVID-19 test results.

All this raises the issue as to whether we should go for suppression or elimination.

Doctor James Trauer, Head of the Epidemiological Modelling Unit, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University told Linda Mottram that you do have to choose, and the difference is not so much in what you do as in the timing. Victoria fell between the two, because they did not hold the count at zero for long enough.

I’m doing a post on this, the full story is a bit more complex than that. Queensland has had no community infection for the best part of two months. This case shows how the defences can be breached. However, the alternative may be to attempt to live like NSW, except to consistently distance 1.5 metres and wear masks like Victoria.

It is not an easy choice.

The short story is that every political entity responsible for health has to choose a strategy that fits their circumstances and health facilities. The Gold Coast is a special case. A city with a population of over 600,000 with around 10 million visitors each year, it is a people magnet, especially for Victorians. At the same time, according to information published in the CM a couple of months ago, fully 48% of the city’s visits came from inside Queensland pre-COVID.

Turning the Gold Coast into a COVID hotspot would be a nightmare.

On the border, from memory, some 10,000 people live in NSW in Tweed Heads, south of the border and north of the river. At the outset Palaszczuk says she asked Gladys Berejiklian about moving the checkpoint south to the river. Berejiklian says she was never asked.

Palaszczuk has now written to her, but I think is not expecting a positive response. I wonder whether Qld police would have any jurisdiction operating on NSW soil.

In any case, the road was not designed to host a checkpoint.

So we muddle on.

129 thoughts on “Premier Palaszczuk is ‘absolutely furious’”

  1. Brian: The problem with state borders is that their location is not logical and many of them run through functioning communities.
    They are not logical in the sense that they are not equidistant from capital cities (And we probably need more states in the north.) For example, the logical NSW/Qld border is close to Coff’s Harbour. Under normal circumstances, a lot of people in Northern NSW cross the existing border for work, medical treatment, capital city services, big concerts, art galleries etc. To a lesser extent some people north of the border will also work south of the border.
    All this makes closing this border a brute force strategy which is very harsh on some innocent people.
    Isolating Qld would cause a lot less damage if the isolation boundary was somewhere between Evans head and Iluka in NSW. Very few people would need to cross this boundary on a daily basis.
    Much the same can be said about the Vic/NSW boundary. There has got to be less disruptive isolation boundaries than the Murray River.

  2. John, do you think State or Federal electorate boundaries would be more appropriate quarantine zones ?
    Maybe Shire boundaries.

    There are so many overlapping boundaries of responsibilities in Australia I think it’s a good time to discuss clear delineation of responsibilities, then the processes may start to work.

    ( obviously a discussion for the open thread, not the Palacechook re-election thread )

  3. Jumpy: “John, do you think State or Federal electorate boundaries would be more appropriate quarantine zones ?
    Maybe Shire boundaries.”
    It would be a bit flukey if electorate boundaries of any sort are appropriate quarantine boundaries. The appropriate boundaries are ones that:
    1. Separate high risk from low risk areas.
    2. Are located where few people need to cross the boundary for work, supplies etc. That is why I think the Murray river is a lousy quarantine boundary because of cross border towns like Albury Wodongashare jobs, services etc.
    In the general scheme of thinks I think it would normally be better if state boundaries were equidistant from capital cities. Basis is minimizing distance that has to be traveled to get to capital city services. With existing capital locations the NT, Vic and SA would be larger, WA and NSW would be smaller. A bit hard to say with Qld because it gains part of NSW while losing space to the NT. You can play all sorts of games if you add in extra capitals.

  4. John, I don’t know what to say. Our problem is that we are dealing with a problem in real time now, so we are stuck with the way things are. This coronavirus is a very sneaky, slippery, swift enemy. I think you have to exercise control within the patch you are responsible for, and co-operate as much as possible.

    Lockdowns and border controls seem to be part of the playbook, whether the aim is suppression or elimination, unless like some Asian countries you have a more compliant population. I think Victoria are saying they need 90% compliance to make their present strategy work. Qld was said to have had 93% the first time.

    It seems Ms Lasu was not willing to comply by refusing to reveal where she had been, possibly out of fear of being shamed.

    Contemporary advice seems to be that you should not name and shame. However, logic says that people would remember if they had been near the infected persons by facial recognition.

    Dr Jeanette Young told Patricia Karvelas that the authorities had only become aware of the problem on Tuesday. She thinks they have rounded up the contacts, but time will tell if they’ve contained it. There were reports of people waiting three hours in a queue for testing.

    I think Victoria now has over 3,000 cases under investigation, so I think we could say that the contact tracing system had been overwhelmed.

  5. Jumpy, this is not an election thread.

    Frecklington eventually said all communication should be clear, implying that the authorities were not clear. Sounded clear to me.

    Deputy Tim Mander’s complaint was that we were relying on an honour system, and that police should be given time to investigate.

    As far as I know the police are not involved in air arrivals. If he thinks police on the border should conduct an investigation on everyone who shows, then he’s sillier than he looks.

  6. Jumpy, on boundaries, I quite liked the Victorian use of post codes for clarity. Pity it didn’t work.

  7. In the Netherlands the Post Code almost locates your exact address. For instance 3155 DL is the location of the industrial allotment where I work. Its pretty clever.

  8. Vic Govt used postcodes for our earlier Housing Towers problem. Currently using local govt boundaries: Melbourne Metro plus Mitchell Shire.

    Homeowners presumably know which Shire or City they pay rates to. Renters maybe not, but you can always ask around..

    As it happens compulsory mask wearing will be State wide very soon. In our regional town about 50% have now begun wearing them.

    Complaints about “poor messaging” don’t cut it with many, but then we old folk:
    Tend to listen
    Carefully
    Know we are at higher risk
    Were brought up with Clear English
    And mof us don’t have E as a SL.

    Yeah, white and bourgeois.

    The males, having enjoyed sufficient resilience to reach mature years, don’t relish the idea of becoming Dead White Males because some clowns……

    Grrrrrrrr!!

  9. Speaking of clowns, it seems the three Qld women flew to Melbourne on 17 July.

    On 19 July they threw a party with 20 people in an inner city apartment, got busted by the police and everyone got fined $1600 or whatever.

    On 21 July they flew back to Brisbane.

    Now they have been charged with supplying false and misleading documents and fraud, and will face court in September.

    On ABC talkback last night it seems there is a story going on that some community reps are claiming that the young women are being more harshly treated because of the colour of their skin.

    I suspect the only way they got to Melbourne and back would have been to masquerade as health workers of some kind, going to help out with the COVID emergency. It is said that they went to considerable lengths, including false identities to pull of this stunt.

    My baser instincts before I knew their identity was to put them in stocks in a public square and have people throw rotten eggs and tomatoes at them.

    My point here is that they have brought shame on themselves, and this will inevitably be felt by those in their family and social group. They will have to deal with that, but the problem is what is between their ears, not the colour of their skin.

  10. Agree entirely, Brian.
    Has it been determined what is actually between their ears?
    Modern scans should be up to the task.

    Sad to see “the race card” being played as soon as some youngsters are in a bit of strife.

    Sounds like it was carefully planned, in full knowledge of what restrictions had been announced. Not a spontaneous “foolish whim” by foolish young ladies.

  11. Exactly, Ambi. I think it goes beyond something like drunk driving. My wife thinks they should go to jail.

    My wife also looks at their faces and sees botox.

    Whether or not she is right, it seems clear that these young ladies are leading a life that is not entirely supported by their earned income. So when the mother of the first says her daughter is not a criminal, I wonder whether she understands that she herself may have contributed to this situation in her parenting. And how is fraud not a crime?

    Latest news is that we have one new case in Qld, a 27 year-old from Bellbird Park, a suburb of Ipswich. Together with his wife and her sister they dined the Madtongsan IV Restaurant in Sunnybank on the same night as Ms Muranga, at a separate table.

    The wife and sister are awaiting tests results, but one works at an aged care home.

  12. Brian: My wife is disgusted with the racist way the photos of these two girls are all over the place in the media, a fate not shared with other rule breakers.

  13. Sorry to hear she is disgusted.
    But is publication of names and photos racist in itself?

    Instances.

    Muck Gatto of Carlton frequently has his pic in the papers. Seemingly he is of Italian heritage. Racist?

    The Lady in Black who Flouted the Highway Stop in Victoria and chortled, posted her own video. She is Eugenia ……iou, probably of Greek ancestry. Racist?

    Many AFL players who commit “off-field indiscretions” (some criminal) have their photos published. Their names include , Italian, Irish, Greek, Dutch, Scottish, Somali, and indigenous…. Racist?

    I think not.

    Perhaps you have seen racist comments made about these young women. That’s another matter. IMO.

  14. The only inference I draw from the images of these girls is that they are young fashionable people wanting enjoy their youth and have fun, and this silly virus is getting in the way. Unfortunately there are consequences to ignoring reality every bit as serious as serious had those same young and fashionable girls were loaded with alcohol , drove and had an accident. This virus, though, has impacts beyond direct interaction and is affecting everyone, and even has the potential to collapse the economy. That is why Palaszczuk is furious.

  15. Ambi: “Sorry to hear she is disgusted.
    But is publication of names and photos racist in itself?”
    Brian said: “My wife also looks at their faces and sees botox.
    Whether or not she is right, it seems clear that these young ladies are “leading a life that is not entirely supported by their earned income.” So when the mother of the first says her daughter is not a criminal, I wonder whether she understands that she herself may have contributed to this situation in her parenting. And how is fraud not a crime?”
    I didn’t think publication of pictures is racist in itself.
    I didn’t think the pictures were racist but I am sure Brian isn’t the only one who looked at the pictures and wondered about their source of income. My wife’s professional background makes her more sensitive to racism than most. Keep in mind that the source of the infection has inspired the odd racist comments

  16. John, what the two young women was exceptional, so I don’t think it’s an argument that the photos of others haven’t been posted. I don’t think it was racist as such.

    But that is just my opinion. I expected that some would object to the photos being put on the front page.

    I get a bit mixed with the stories, but this InQueensland article Border cheats now being linked to crime syndicate – task force investigates boggles the mind:

      The ABC understands police are examining whether the trio acted on the instructions of crime syndicate handlers in a bid to evade quarantine, including by destroying phones.

      The crime syndicate is allegedly involved in the theft and transport of luxury items between capital cities.

      The ABC has been told police are investigating the women’s alleged involvement in stealing luxury handbags over two days in Sydney and another two days in Melbourne.

    Seems it was Ms Lasu’s mum who said her daughter was no criminal. She said her daughter was a pharmacy student at Griffiths University. Problem is, Griffiths don’t know her.
    Ms Lasu also told her family she was going to visit her sister at Blacktown in Sydney.

    Her mum, who has seven other kids, will be learning some new stuff about her daughter.

    InQueensland has also posted the photos. I think it is compiled by the journalism faculty at Griffiths, and is sponsored by Women in Digital and Judith Nielsen Institute, so I’m assuming they work within an ethical framework.

    Obviously I’m open to other views.

  17. 27 year old man testing positive has been in 11 different suburbs, visited shopping centres and restaurants etc, etc.

    I note that the CM did not put his photo in the paper.

    One positive as an aged care worker, I think it may have been the sister person.

    There are 105 residents and 150 workers, some of whom work at other centres.

    Health authorities have taken action. Sounded like they have replaced the staff with a reserve team they had in Brisbane North. If that doesn’t work, and we have two or three more aged care homes affected, I’d guess we are in deep trouble.

  18. A spokesperson from Aged Care Australia on ABC Radio a couple of days ago, claimed tgat from March this year, the homes tried to discourage their shift workers from working at more than one home.

    By swapping shifts around.

    Feasible if the organisation has several homes and several hundred part-time staff I suppose. Reduces risk.

  19. John, I’m thinking that what motivates the Courier Mail to put photos on the front page, apart from attacking the Palaszczuk government, is ‘news value’.

    Two attractive young women will draw more eyeballs than a boring 27 year-old male.

    If anything, I suspect we have sexism more than racism in play.

  20. Qld had a good day yesterday, with one further positive, returning from somewhere and in quarantine.

    Seems it is the wife of the 27 year-old man who was working in aged care. Jeanette Ford said the couple had been super co-operative.

    104 of the 105 residents of the aged care home have been tested (the remaining one has a special condition) and have returned negative. They will be tested again and the place is in lockdown and full virus alert mode.

  21. In Qld the summary is that we got two infected people back from Victoria, who infected three here. Yesterday 150 contacts had been traced and interviewed , but there were 10 still outstanding.

    We only need one of those to go wrong.

    Also we need to survive another week or so before we can say we are in the clear, given the incubation period.

    Test processing times blew out to 39 hours under pressure, which was regarded as not good.

    Meanwhile a diplomat flew into the Sunshine Coast airport from Kabul, then drove to Toowoomba and tested positive. Apparently such people are exempt from compulsory quarantine.

    Not good.

  22. I note that Morrison seemed to accept NSW closing the border with Victoria, he and Gladys B using much the same arguments as Palaszczuk used.

    Yet I’ve subsequently heard him say there was no medical reason to close borders. This implies that Qld CHO Dr Jeanette Young is not a medical person, or does not give medical advice.

  23. Brian

    Meanwhile a diplomat flew into the Sunshine Coast airport from Kabul,….

    Turns out he’s a contract security fellow at the embassy and not a diplomat.
    Still, our embassy could be a hot spot too, perhaps the entire country for all we know.

  24. Jumpy, you are right, he turned out to be a security contractor.

    Qld has now announced that future people of his ilk will need to quarantine.

    This morning we heard that three young men in Logan had returned on Sunday from Victoria by car and had false information. One has fallen sick and all three are now being tested for the virus.

    LNP leader Deb Frecklington after 64 times calling for the border to be open is now saying that everyone coming in should have to prove that they haven’t been near a virus hotspot.

    Not sure how they would do that.

  25. From 1.00AM on Saturday Qld will close the border to NSW and ACT. In essence, our mob are expecting NSW to get worse, and we are getting ahead of the game.

    Queenslanders returning will have to quarantine at their expense.

    At the same time, we have one new case in Ipswich, and as yet we don’t know where the woman got it from.

    A man in Cairns drove from Sydney to Canberra and then flew to Cairns so that he could return to work. He has been caught and pinged.

    Meanwhile we are still waiting for the test results of the three miscreants in Logan would drove from Melbourne a made false claims. 80,000 tests have been done in the last week, high for us, but the processing time is now too long.

  26. Jumpy: “Election logic John, she’s gotta make the south easters feel safe at any cost.”
    Who would have thought it Jumpy? Is the problem just those who live in the SE?

  27. Given almost all of Australia’s covid deaths are in the SE of the Nation and the vast majority of Queensland votes are in the SE of the state, yeah.

  28. Jumpy: “Given almost all of Australia’s covid deaths are in the SE of the Nation and the vast majority of Queensland votes are in the SE of the state, yeah.” Yep. Someone like me, who used to travel south to Cairns for holidays, has some inkling of how the NQ mind works. Among other things that need to be understood by people who live where you claim to live is that SE Qld starts somewhere between Cairns and Townsville.

  29. So, Mr J: the Premier who is facing an election soon, wants the bulk of the electors to “feel safe”.

    Well, this might be an instance of political preference matching the public good.

    Those electors may feel safer, and actually be safer for the rest of this year . Good value, eh?

  30. Premier of a state wants the citizens to feel safe. What a surprise?

    Jumpy, I don’t know what you term ‘southeast’ but Labor doesn’t win too many seats in Toowoomba, the Sunny Coast of the Gold Coast. It does need to win seats further north if it is to retain government.

  31. Oh no, it’s not that old argument that the Govt is only concerned for the welfare of “its own” voters in “its own seats”, is it.?

    In a democracy, no Party owns a seat.
    In Australia, a good proportion of voters are not “rusted on”.
    For example, several Victorian seats regarded as ‘safe Liberal’ fell to Chairman Dan at our last State festival of voting; and a few others came close.

    • Oh no, it’s not that old argument that the Govt is only concerned for the welfare of “its own” voters in “its own seats”, is it?

    My reading is that isn’t happening on either side of politics in Qld at present. The LNP has come up with a congestion busting plan for Brisbane highlighted with a promise to widen or replicating the Centenary Bridge at Jindalee. The worry there is that they promised to pay for it out of revenue.

  32. How do I work out what the SE of Queensland or the SE of Australia for Brian and John.

    I get a map of the place and overlay a compass on it. The bit I call SE is the portion that is between the East and the South, I guess it’s because I was raised by a commercial Reef Fisherman and spent 2 years on the GBR personally.

    How do you do it ?

  33. Brian

    It does need to win seats further north if it is to retain government.

    I’m well aware, Mackay has been ALP for over 100 years.
    They also hold the 2 Cairns seats and all areas northward, 3 Townsville seats and Rocky, heaven only knows why.

  34. Jumpy, when you are here it’s pretty well defined.

    First, there is the sea to the east and the NSW border to the south.

    Then if you head west you come to the Great Dividing Range, with Toowoomba sitting on top. Go to Toowomba, or over to the Range further south to Warwick, geographically and culturally you are definitely not in SEQ.

    Go north for an hour you’ll find yourself in Nambour. About 40 mins further on there is a turnoff to Cooroy and thence to Tewantin and Noosa. In front of you the road signs will tell you Gympie next stop. You are about to leave SEQ.

    Within SEQ there is a concept of Greater Brisbane. That’s where Liberal voters have often voted for Labor rather than be governed by farmers and provincials.

    When daylight saving was looked at the recommendation was to carve out a greater SEQ bounded by the Granite belt, including Toowoomba and to the north Bundaberg, which is about where Central Qld really starts. So that would include Maryborough and Hervey Bay (or the Fraser Coast).

    Hope that helps.

  35. … Mackay has been ALP for over 100 years.
    They also hold the 2 Cairns seats and all areas northward, 3 Townsville seats and Rocky, heaven only knows why.

    Could it be that most voters don’t agree with you?

  36. Jumpy: The midpoint between the tip of Cape York and the NSW border at Tweed heads is just South of Townsville. Mackay is on the East coast of Qld.
    Face it mate, you are well and truly part of SE Qld.

  37. I get a map of the place and overlay a compass on it.

    You’ve left out the most important bit – where you place the centre of the compass.
    Do we take it from your 8:14 comment that you place it about 100km NNE of Longreach?

  38. Zoot, I place it at: 22° 29′ 13″ South, 144° 25′ 54″ East like the scientist do.

    Now go fetch Mackay’s geographical centre.

    Then give yourself an uppercut.

  39. Jumpy the SE Qlander: The geographical center of Qld is different from the midpoint between the tip of Cape York and the NSW border. It could be argued that the midpoint should take account of the Torres Strait Islands that are part of Qld. This would add Townsville to SE Qland. You are definitely a SE Qlander mate and denial is not healthy. To someone like me who has been a true blue Nth Australian the idea that Mackay is is part of Nth Aus is absurd.
    It is worth noting that Brisbane

  40. Jumpy: At one stage we had some real Nth Qlanders from the Atherton Tablelands come North to work at the mine where I worked.
    Two things i remember:
    1. I understood for the first time why Joh could stay in power.
    2. I was amazed how important it was to live as far North as possible if you thought of yourself as a Nth Queenslander. (Living in the Territory was enough for a Territorian.
    It would cause you a lot less stress if you accepted that you are a SE Qlander and started voting Green.

  41. Jumpy @ 8:34 pm:
    A simple ‘yes’ would have sufficed.
    I’ll leave disagreeing with you to others who are more qualified.

    • Brian, you and all your positions are not the centre of any Universe.

      Hope that helps.

    It doesn’t Jumpy. It’s mildly insulting, tells me nothing I don’t already know and is irrelevant to the discussion.

    SEQ is a well established concept. To simplify it, think of Noosa, the Range this side of Toowoomba and the NSW border.

  42. John, I’m familiar with the notion of FNQ. The furthest I’ve been is Thursday Island. The plane landed in Horn Island, because TI is too small, and then we went by ferry to TI. Then there was a taxi that ferried passengers to the single TI hotel. If you happened to be the only white, you got collected last.

    After I went there I found that I should have had special permission within the Ed Dept to go at all.

    Another story is June 1970 I attended a seminar in Townsville. At a BarBQ the bloke from Cardwell had a few in and started complaining about the southern dickheads. He said the southern suburban sprawl started at Townsville.

  43. John,

    I agree wholeheartedly that the Vic Govt should have mandated the wearing of face masks many, many weeks ago. My guess is that the reproduction rate would have been lowered significantly by that (relatively simple) move.

    Some Vics think Premier Dan has dragged his feet, taking too long to try these things.

    But we could be mistaken of course.

    Now some cynics say Dan will be left in place to cop all the political flak, including the Hotel “Quarantine” report, then will depart with Minister Mikakos early next year.

    Anecdote: in the State of Home Made is Best (for masks), sewing machines disappeared from retailers 2 weeks ago. Rolls of elastic – of any type – soon thereafter.

    I won’t say “elastic is the new toilet paper” lest ignorami take it literally.

    * * * * * * * *

    Jumpy: before doling out upper cuts to people, please elasticise your fist. Attachment to your appropriate shoulder would be efficacious.

  44. Brian: “He said the southern suburban sprawl started at Townsville.” Yep, typical sort of Nth Queenslander like Jumpy who have this touching idea that Nth Qld starts south of where they live. Given how far Nth we lived there weren’t many true blue dinki di Nth Queenslanders and besides we were Territorians who would never have voted for Kiwi Joh.

  45. Fine John, you win your little competition.
    Obviously your quaint little anecdotal evidence Trumps my geographically sourced definitions and use of standard Global Positioning Systems.

    Well done.
    Your mates are proud.

  46. To get back to the real world, I think Victoria has given Australia a fright, and I think the two young women and other miscreants bringing the virus north of the Tweed have given Qld a fright.

    NSW is successfully suppressing low levels of the virus, which was the Feds view of how we should all exist. ScoMo, Hunt, Prof Murphy and company said it repeatedly. Now because nursing homes in Victoria have produced a Commonwealth administered horror show, they are saying that community transmission is the problem, not their lousy administration, and zero community transfer is the aim.

    I don’t think the response system in Victoria is up to it. Not sure whether Qld is up to it either, but there is no taste here for living with the virus.

    People in the provinces in Qld should understand that they are not safe from the virus. There are currently 500 active cases in provincial Victoria. We would have plenty here too if it got a hold in SEQ (see above for definition), because there is a lot of movement within the state. The AFR today said that Brisbane-Cairns was currently the busiest air route in the country.

    Of course, if SEQ did in fact turn into a virus hotspot all that internal travel would stop.

  47. Zero community transfer for every is impossible for any government to achieve.
    Covid 19 is a thing in the world everywhere for ever Brian, eradicating it is not a possible goal.

    Treatment methods and keeping the curve at a sustainable economy/lives ratio ( both highly related) trade off is the goal.

    A devastated economy kills people too.
    Somewhere on the convergence of both deadly curves is an acceptable, unavoidable number of fatalities.

    That number is what ?
    At the moment covid is not in the top 50, simply falling over is many times more lethal and suicides are going up by more than covid.

    Anyone that thinks these lockdowns aren’t lethal to some degree is crazy stupid.

  48. And in case anyone dismisses suicide, the same age bracket that is most vulnerable to covid is the highest suicide age bracket, 85+ males.

  49. “The Economy” is basically a bookkeeping exercise and we could redefine/reconstruct it.
    At the moment it is designed to funnel value from the least well off to the wealthiest. If instead we defined/constructed “The Economy” so it provided everybody with the necessities of a good life it would kill no-one.
    Unfortunately the greed of the uber wealthy will fight against any changes to the system which has so enriched them.

  50. Zoot, you do realise that the natural state of human existence is poverty, early death, brutal hard work and pain right ?

    To be as lucky as you are to live in the age when capitalism exists is a blessing and unlikely happenstance.

    Economics is the study of the use of scarce resources which have alternative uses. The economy is the results of implementing findings of those studies, correctly or incorrectly.

    Not everything is a Marxist postmodernists social construct, especially math.

    Now go burn an Australian flag and pepper spray yourself.

  51. The Commonwealth administered ‘nursing homes’ and retirement villages are supposed to
    * keep people fit, healthy, warm and fed
    * keep old people out of hospital

    There is also an elaborate Commonwealth funded subsidy scheme designed to assist those old folk who prefer to stay on at home rather than live in a nursing home.

    I can’t be sure of this, but I suspect, Brian, that the spread in Victoria was chiefly sourced in
    1. abbattoirs
    2. hotel “quarantine” set up in a hurry, it seems; and inadequately staffed

    1. seems to have been observed in many countries.
    2. will be investigated and they tell us that “genomic analysis” will indicate whether or not the HOTEL(S) GUARDS were the culprit(s).

    For 2., I’d say Victorian Govt haste and incompetence would be a fair hypothesis.

    Once again: to all other States and worried residents, SORRY!

  52. Ambi, I heard somewhere that almost all of the aged care covid cases in Victoria were in privately run facilities. Very few were in the public system.
    (In WA I don’t think we have any public aged care facilities)

  53. Ambi, if you can breach the paywall Rick Morton’s What led to Victoria’s extraordinary shutdown.

    Full treatment of what I think from the information available would be long post-worth, but I think it starts with Victoria’s low expenditure on public health. I came home the other day to the middle of an item on ABC The Drum where they looked at comparative expenditure on public health in Qld, NSW and Victoria.

    Qld first, and Victoria a bad last. They said the Brett Sutton begged Andrews last year for more funding, warning that bad sh*t could happen.

    Andrews took the odds and is now suffering the consequence, because there was not a basic team in place that an emergency response could be built on.

    The quarantine thing was bad, but too much emphasis is being put on that linkage.

    The next step was the residential towers. Mark tells me that the community leadership had been begging the govt repeatedly through March and April to develop a COVID defence for the towers.

    When you have a lot of glass balls in the air, one can easily fall to ground and break. Pity if it’s human lives.

    The towers fed into the casual workforce problem, which Australia is world champion at, and Melbourne is a hub city for the whole country. Bob Katter has complained that primary produce grown near Cairns ends up in Townsville shops via Melbourne.

    So lots of depots.

    Then there was the casual staff working at nursing home and other medical facilities. Problems like a lack of PPE and videos to teach staff speaking a different language how to use them.

    Some of Melbourne’s major medical facilities were threatened by staff infection.

    Rick Morton emphasises the authoritarian MO of the disaster legislation. Andrews has been forced into this because community liaison takes too long.

    In the end they had 750 cases with no known origin. What they did in phase 3 was to save an estimated 37,000 infections, but the RO number was still hovering about 1. Masks were not going to do the trick, and they didn’t have John D to advise them.

    Andrews has been working day and night, and stands there answering questions until the journos are done. I like the guy but I think he’s done himself in. Politically he should see this one through, then resign in favour of someone new.

    • Ambi, I heard somewhere that almost all of the aged care covid cases in Victoria were in privately run facilities. Very few were in the public system.

    Correct, zoot. I think most of the state ones are in provincial areas, where the numbers are too small for the capitalists to make money.

    Also there are no mandates of staff ratios, and they say, no accountability on how government grants are spent.

    I believe there is an interim report of the current royal commission, meant to allow the govt to get on with it, but they haven’t.

  54. Yes, most of the care homes in Vic are privately operated.

    Some for profit. So that would be “private for profit”.

    Others run by Churches or charities as far as I can see. Some may even be co-ops; not sure. I don’t know of any that are owned by the State of Victoria.

    In our small regional town one of the earliest care homes was established in the late 1950s – the architecture of the older units shows this clearly. It was built as a community facility and us not-for-profit. It’s conveniently built right next door to a medium sized regional hospital, and about 1 km from shops, cimemas, cafes, and railway station. The sturdier residents can walk into town.

    In the last 15 years or so it has grown into quite a small village as many dozens of new (well designed, spacious ) houses and apartments have been built. These are for pensioners or self-funded retirees, capable of “independent living” on site. The latter pay a substantial means-tested deposit and never own their house outright.

    The central hostel for frail folk and other residents needing nursing care is still there.

  55. The newest care home in our town has been here only about 3 years and is certainly privately owned for profit . As are the burgeoning housing estates springing up on (what was once) good farming land.

    The Shire earns more rate dollars from residential land than from farm land.

  56. From the start I said aged care facilities and national quarantine are should be the main focal points.
    Both are Federal responsibilities.

    The Fed could have used the ADF to manage the Ports of entry ( also ScoMos domain) and for domestic aged care facilities could have controlled the inevitable spread to an easily State managed health system and interstate traded economy.

    All this overlap and blurry delineation of responsibilities, leave alone funding, has to be sorted out or the next calamity will be worse. And this was an easy one considering those most in the firing line, imagine the next one mainly targets 20-30 yo women.

  57. Jumpy, the central concept is ‘control’, not ‘eradication’.

    I understand homo sapiens has only ever eradicated one contagious disease, ie smallpox.

    We control diarrhea, because we have medicines that ameliorate.

    Controlling COVID sans a vaccine may involve elimination within the country and border barriers.

    John D told us about sniffer dogs. Now we are told they have 100% accuracy and can pick up the scent from sweat even when asymptomic.

    It take 6-8 weeks for a dog that is already trained to detect other scents, or 3-6 months for a dog that has never been trained.

    United Arab Emirates (UAE), Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Belgium are working on it, as are SA, Victoria and NSW.

      Once operational, detector dogs in Australia could be hugely valuable in many scenarios, such as screening people at airports and state borders, or monitoring staff working in aged care facilities and hospitals daily (so they don’t need repeat testing).

    Jumpy, you have something of a point about looking at the whole scene of health effects and deaths.

    There are around 440 pd in Australia, but we only hear about a few. On mental health, it has been too much under the radar.

    I think as a rule of thumb, humans survive severe trauma about 75% of the time (according to Bruce Shapiro and others), and some become stronger. However, among the 25% there is real suffering and tragedy.

  58. Jumpy, I don’t know the constitutional situation, but I think aged care, like universities and child care, has been taken over by the Feds only because they have the tax powers and the money.

    The Feds don’t have a good record of running anything. State management would, I think, be more appropriate, and couldn’t be worse.

  59. Brian, I worry that the tolerance for trauma is diminishing generationally.
    Over coddled and over protected is a worse malady than covid.
    This last working age generation are so soft, entitled and vulnerable it’s scary.

  60. Maybe we again need a Governor General ( like Kerr ) that is an expert in constitutional law to clarify responsibilities, boundaries, limitations and process.

    No doubt the next Federal election will be drenched in health, education and policing campaigns with no jurisdictional responsibilities.

  61. An unelected GG, making profound devisions like that? Next you’ll be saying the High Court justices should make all the laws and the unelected Chief of the Defence Forces should decide our foreign policy.

    Have you not a shred of democratic feeling left in you, Sir?

    Or decency.

  62. Maybe we again need a Governor General ( like Kerr ) that is an expert in constitutional law to clarify responsibilities, boundaries, limitations and process.

    Given Kerr was a drunk and a habitual skirt chaser, no, I don’t think we need another GG like him.

  63. Actually, it’s more the roles of Federal and State Parliaments, the regular meetings of PM and Premiers, States’ Attorney Generals, and the High Court, to clarify responsibilities, boundaries, limitations and process.

    Mr J has indicated an important area for discussion, but I disagree with his solution .

    Let’s hope the various Parliaments and Govt Departments rid themselves of most of the drunks and skirt-chasers.

  64. Mr A, I was never suggesting the GGs( State or Federal ) formulate legislation.

    I was merely suggesting the do their job properly.
    When a Government presents them with legislation for Royal assent the run the Constitutional jurisdiction test over it.
    If the Bill infringes on another jurisdiction they send it back for amendment till such times a it complies.

    That is the GGs responsibility, not just be a glorified rubber stamper and ribbon cutter.

  65. Jumpy: “I was merely suggesting the do their job properly.
    When a Government presents them with legislation for Royal assent the run the Constitutional jurisdiction test over it.
    If the Bill infringes on another jurisdiction they send it back for amendment till such times a it complies.”
    To even go close to making that work the GG would have to be a leading constitutional lawyer, good enough to replace the high court. Not sure that this is what I want in a GG.

  66. I’m not sure people are across this but the latest manifestation of border controls in NSW/Vic and NSW/Qld involve a bubble either side where you can get a permit and pass over freely.

    In the case of Qld, Ballina lies outside the bubble (sorry John). However, there is a Brisbane builder who is constructing a building in Ballina. He does the two hour drive to and from work each day.

    Q Health has indicated it will grant special permissions to cover situations like this.

    Basically, the virus is testing our system of government and revealing some of the fault lines.

  67. The convention has always been the Governor General, like the Monarch, follows the advice of the Prime Minister. (The UK, which doesn’t have a written Constitution, relies heavily on convention.)
    Whitlam’s downfall was expecting the Tories to play by the rules.

  68. The convention has always been that the GG consider the government’s advice strongly, very different from follow.
    Kerr was appointed by Whitlam and followed the letter of Constitutional law. Then vindicated resoundingly by the subsequent election. The “ Tories “ played exactly by the rules, otherwise it would have been proven so in the many years since, it hasn’t.
    Even the huge gotcha FOI release of the Palace Papers was a nothing pie, all pastry and no filling.

    The Constitution is the highest law of the land, the fact it’s not even touched on within public education is almost a crime in itself.

    Here zoot, have your virgin read of it please, you may stop saying completely stupid stuff,

    https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate/Powers_practice_n_procedures/Constitution.aspx

  69. Actually Kerr was appointed by Her Majesty QE11 after taking Whitlams advice, he wasn’t appointed by Whitlam.

    My error, sorry.

  70. Sorry again, QE11, while obviously referring to Queen Elizabeth the Second, looks ugly and subject to pedant crap so please swap to QE2 that’s not a sea going vessel.

  71. The Constitution is the highest law of the land, the fact it’s not even touched on within public education is almost a crime in itself.

    London to a brick you’ve never read it.
    Or if you have read it you didn’t understand it.
    Hence the tosh you repeatedly post here.

  72. Jumpy, I’m not going to get into a constitutional argument, but you have said twice now that the election vindicated what Kerr did.

    The election was about who people thought best to govern them for the next term of parliament.

  73. The convention has always been that the GG consider the government’s advice strongly, very different from follow.

    You’re saying that the GG has the power to over rule the will of the people as expressed by Parliament. If that were the case we no longer live in a democracy, it has reverted to a monarchy.

    The Constitution is the highest law of the land,

    You’re thinking of the US Constitution. Our Constitution is simply the rules by which our Federation operates.

  74. The GG can exercise a right to look over plans and proposals at meetings of the Executive Council, which usually consists of the GG, the PM and several Ministers. Not the full Cabinet, let alone the full Ministry.

    This is covered well in the book by Andrew Clark and Clem Lloyd, “ Kerr’s King Hit which was published in 1976.

    The Executive Council is required to ratify certain senior appontments. It is if course secret. The GG signs an Executive Council minute, which formalises a decision. He/she may refuse to do so. The GG may ask to be briefed on a topic.

    The meeting which I mentioned earlier was the Executive Council meeting late 1974 at The Lodge, which authorised Rex Connor to seek a huge overseas loan “for temporary purposes”. Present were PM Gough, Ministers Murphy, Connor and Cairns (who wandered in, apparently not having been invited).

    Strangeness alert: the Treasurer had not been asked to discuss the raising of the largest loan in Australian history. Well may we say God save this Government,…..

    Note that GG Kerr wasn’t present. He was in Sydney. The minute was taken to him for signing the next day. Who knows, might he have queried the legality of the loan raising? He claimed much later that he would have attended the EC meeting (cancelling the Sydney trip) but hadn’t been told about it.

    When the “Loans Affair” became a matter of public controversy (April? May 1975?) some critics said
    i) the loan raising was unconstitutional because the Loans Council had been bypassed,
    ii) by the manoeuvre of calling the loans ‘ for temporary purposes ‘, and
    iii) the GG should have refused to sign the minute authorising the search for loans

    Perhaps GG Kerr started to mistrust PM Whitlam after that Executive Council decision – and its repercussions??

    Yes, the GG takes advice from the PM but can also advise the PM and Ministers .

    John, I agree that the High Court is where constitutional issues are decided, or at a Referendum.

  75. Yes, the GG takes advice from the PM but can also advise the PM and Ministers .

    I’m trying to avoid rehashing 1975, in my opinion there is little to be gained from the exercise.
    But I repeat if the Governor General can overrule the elected Prime Minister we live in a Monarchy, not a Democracy.

  76. Zoot, enough with the ad homs hypocrite.
    Australia is a democratic Federation under a Constitutional Monarchy, obviously to anyone with a brain.

    You mate bandana man and his ilk have asked the citizens for it to be otherwise and got rejected resoundingly and repeatedly.

    Face it, you’re always wrong and prove it repeatedly.

    Time to do a Costanza and go the opposite of your instincts to improve yourself.

  77. Brian,

    The election was about who people thought best to govern them for the next term of parliament.

    Exactly.
    Whitlam was allowed to have another bite at the cherry.
    The voters had a taste and spat him out in a landslide.
    Dust off hands, move on, too bad so sad socialists.

  78. Zoot, enough with the ad homs hypocrite.
    Australia is a democratic Federation under a Constitutional Monarchy, obviously to anyone with a brain.

    You’re on the piss again aren’t you.

  79. Another ad hom zoot.
    Do you own a mirror?

    Truth is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second can shoot ScoMo in the head legally but would have to deal with the revolt after that.

  80. Truth is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second can shoot ScoMo in the head

    I guess she can, but she can’t do it legally. You seem to think our constitution has that clause Trump keeps claiming gives him absolute power (in his fetid imagination).
    In truth her majesty has “the the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn”. Her position is largely ceremonial.
    Now go and sober up. The quality of your discourse deteriorates dramatically when you’re on the slops.

    Addendum: I’m fascinated that authoritarian rulers have such an appeal to self proclaimed libertarians.

  81. Yes, zoot.

    In truth her majesty has “the the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn”.

    And when there is a real stand-off, an immoveable Govt meeting an implacable Opposition in the Parlt (the ultimate arena of debate and political contest); when HoR and Senate are engaged in mortal combat; when opposing views of constitutionality are at loggerheads; when no specific action has been carried out that can be challenged in the High Court (the ultimate decider of constitutional questions)*, then what??

    {*I’m assuming the HC can’t be approached to remove an impasse; it can only rule on a law or regulation …. is that correct?}
    The term “wicked problem” applies, IMO.

    An elected President could conceivably be faced with a problem as intractable as this. Call it a Republic, the political “stalemated confrontation” might still occur. High stakes, high risk; possibly massive political egos in play…….

    Calling a general election, seems to me (not only in hindsight on 1975) the clearest and most democratic way out of the impasse. No democracy is pure.

    Regardless (in 1975) of how the Parlt got there: election results in 1974, appointments ‘against convention’ of rogue Senators, policies of the Govt, whiffs of scandals, competence of the Opposition and Govt, etc

  82. To improve our polity, we can look to extreme events (1975, war time) as well as more routine times (State/Federal relations, taxing powers, division of responsibilities, voting systems, funding of Parties and campaigns).

    Apologies for beating the 1975 drum.
    75 provides a relatively small set of data for improving the polity, and certainly has been noted by all major Parties and the Parlt.

  83. Somehow the discussion that might have taken place on the Whitlam thread has moved here.

    I’ve taken the view that discussions happen wherever they happen, but I might put a link on the Whitlam thread, when I get time.

    All that is to say, I’m changing topic back to the original to let you know that Dr Young has declared that Qld has escaped the bullet since we’ve been free of local infections now for three weeks.

    It means, for example, the oldies in nursing homes no longer need to be in lockdown, and the rest of us can breathe a little easier.

    Jumpy said upthread that it was impossible to eliminate the virus.

    NZ had now been virus free for three months. I believe they are being encouraged to keep masks at the ready in case that changes, but they appear to have crowds at sporting events they way they used to.

  84. Brian: From the new border bubble rules: “If you are a NSW resident who lives in the border zone, you must stay in the border zone, whether for work, appointments or fun.
    If you travel outside the zone into other parts of NSW you will be blocked from entering Queensland for 14 days.”
    A pox on the Qld premier and her crazy rules that suggest either complete ignorance of NE NSW or a nasty streak when it comes to people from norther NSW.
    It takes 54 min to drive from Ballina to Banora Pt on the Qld border (76 min from Evans Hd) so it is not unreasonable to suggest that some commuters into Qld will live as far south as Ballina on the Richmond river or Evans head for that matter.
    The area North of the Richmond river is fairly populated and has lots of families, like my extended family, with members on both sides of the NSW bubble border that will be split if someone within the bubble wants to keep working in Qld. (OR visit their mother who lives in Mullumbimby. ) (Ditto people like my cousin who frequently needs Qld medical treatment.)
    The bubble should be big enough to cover people within reasonable commuting distance of the Qld border.(Evans Head?) and it would help if there was a bubble buffer zone that people in the bubble could visit without having to wait 14 days to be allowed back into Qld.)

  85. Brian: More on more ways your premier is stuffing up the lives of people on the North of NSW. “Residents left out of Queensland, New South Wales border bubble zone say their lives have been disrupted by ‘confusing’ restrictions”
    “There are concerns some children are not able to get to school and building contracts are in limbo, under Queensland’s current New South Wales border restrictions.
    Katie Fuller lives in Mungindi, a town that has the Queensland-NSW border running through it.
    Ms Fuller lives two blocks from the border, on the New South Wales side, and her children travel 40 kilometres to school in Thallon in south-west Queensland.
    She has been deemed an essential worker, as the only delivery person in the region, but her children can’t get to school under current arrangements.” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-10/coronavirus-queensland-residents-left-out-of-border-zone-bubble/12536162
    She would also have problems with her permit if she had to take her children to a school that was south of the bubble. The rules are locking people who work in Qld into a narrow bubble at the border. Someone who knows Northern NSW should be consulted.
    IMPORTANT: NORTHERN NSW IS NOT A HOTSPOT it is 431 km from the Qld border to Pt Macquarie. As far as I know the NSW hotspot starts well to the South of there.

  86. John, I don’t want to get into a shit-fight over who is handling border controls best.

    Where I sit, I hear Jeanette Young listening to people who have special issues. I think she is well aware of where the virus is and isn’t. I’m guessing that you don’t hear her talk on local radio as much as I do.

    That is not to say she gets it right all the time.

    If you think Gladys B is doing better, have a listen to this segment in RN Drive – Canberrans stranded in Victoria frustrated at being barred from driving through NSW.

    All I can say is that her overall strategy of suppression appears to be working, but the circumstances and response capacities are different in Qld, NSW and Victoria. I don’t have a feel for how well Gladys B is responding to individual circumstances, but the answer on information available seems to be, not at all.

    Dan Andrews has said openly that he’s not going to respond to individual circumstances, because if he does for one, then everyone will be running through his door, and he’ll be doing nothing else.

    The Jim’s Mowing bloke had a go. Thing is you can mow lawns without going near anyone, and the franchisees suddenly have no income.

    Tony Blakely on 7.30 tonight pointed out that we don’t have an enunciated goal between suppression and elimination, and it’s a problem. He was just about to elaborate when Leigh Sales terminated the interview.

    My take is that the virus has, for the present, cancelled globalisation, and is testing the governance of every nation state. I think our governance design looks to be not fit for purpose, our pollies not up to it, and we are being found out in many of our policy areas, like industrial relations, aged care, child care etc.

    Our state borders are clearly in the wrong place. If we are going to have more of these pandemics, it would be worth a rethink, but right now nations are not co-operating successfully, nor are our states.

  87. Brian: I think border bubble do make sense in places like Tweed where you have people whose job hospitals or schools are on opposite sides of the border. However the borders do need to be in sensible places both in terms of medical issues, commute issues etc.
    If we are going to say that people who live in the bubbles lose their permits if they go out of the bubble this simply becomes another border where many people who live in the bubble do some of their work, kids go to school etc on different sides of the bubble boundary. In this case it may make sense to have a buffer area where can go without affecting their state border crossing permit.
    May be there is some medical reason for putting the bubble boundaries where they are. However, Gladys has complained on two occasions about not being notified before Qld closed the border. In this last case the Mayor of Byron shire complained that he wasn’t consulted even though the borer bubble boundary went through the middle of his shire.
    You are well aware that I think the boundaries should be further south and why I think what I think.

  88. John, I hadn’t heard what the Byron mayor said, which may be about how news is reported, or I just didn’t hear.

    It’s clear, I think, that Gladys and Annastacia don’t get on. I have the impression the Gladys B doesn’t take Annastacia seriously, but that is just an impression. So really, I don’t know what is going on there.

    I do know that on the southern side NSW’s first attempt at border control meant that hospital workers living in NSW couldn’t get to work in Victoria. That happened in at least two cities. She did adjust on that occasion.

  89. Can I say that when leaders like the premiers don’t get on, I’d be astonished if the health professionals were not talking to their interstate counterparts, and they don’t tell their political masters everything.

    However, this would leave local pollies like mayors out of the loop.

  90. John, in reflecting on the border bubble issue, I favour bubbles in principle, but don’t have enough knowledge to know where the lines should be drawn. So I respect your perspective on this one.

    Overnight I heard about a case where a NSW family was prevented from sending their kids to school in Thallon, south of St George population 247. The family lives 40 km away in Mungindi, just over the border and population 747.

    It would not be obvious to a planner why the kids are driving 40 km away into another state for schooling. However, listening to the mum, one of the kids has special needs which she feels are being better met in the school in Thallon.

    Further west I heard the bubble extended to Broken Hill.

    So personally I have no idea where the lines are best drawn, but there will always be problems at the margin.

    My impression is that many of the decision makers have been working long hours for around six months now, and it’s starting to show. We’ve discussed the issue of the folly of working long hours, but the virus is relentless and making decisions at speed is an issue.

    Also we have no idea who is doing the leg work. There was an article in the CM today saying that the quarantine issue in Victoria had been handled by people pressed into service from Agriculture, Roads and the National Gallery.

    I recall that in 2015 when all those refugees turned up in Germany, public servants working in parks and gardens were suddenly helping to find accommodation.

    NZs success so far has been in large part in recognising early that their health system would not cope and would be quickly overwhelmed. So high priority was given to border control.

    That worked for Vietnam in the first instance, but now the virus has penetrated and they have a problem. In Qld when Rockhampton and Blackwater happened we sent a couple of plane loads of people up from Brisbane.

    If at the same time we had had several other provincial outbreaks we would have been in trouble. I suspect Qld authorities are well aware of the limitations in their response capacity, and as I said earlier, the potential for the Gold Coast to become a super spreader.

    So I can see reasons why they may err on the side of caution, but that doesn’t mean they have got it right.

  91. I’ve just heard two pieces of news about borders.

    First, Gladys B has refused a plan for 100 ACT people stranded at the border to travel to ACT with a police escort, and then isolate there.

    She says they have to go back to Melbourne, which they would really rather not do, fly to Sydney, then isolate there, presumably in hotels at their expense.

    Second, the Byron Mayor reckons that northern rivers people undergoing chemotherapy are being impeded from going automatically to GC hospital to continue their treatment. If they miss a session they have to start again.

    I think we can call a FAIL on both counts.

  92. Brian: I often talked about “people working long hours fixing up the problems they caused by working long hours.” Ditto the effects of team tiredness on problem solving capacity.
    One of the roles of top managers is to overview what is being done and the condition of team members when things are going hard. My take of people like Andrews is that they are exhausted and probably not looking after themselves and the people they are depending on.
    I still think it is outrageous for the Qld premier to be locking NSW people work in Qld up in the bubble. More so when the same sort of restrictions don’t apply for those living in the Qld border bubble.

  93. John, I appreciate all that, and agree. The problem is that sitting in Brisbane with your focus on Qld, the border problems of some people in northern NSW seems like a detail.

    I remember back about 40 years ago there was a fair bit of talk about doing away with the states, and there was a proposal to split up the country into 35 regions, to bring government closer to the people, and to eliminate a layer. Regions were to be based on a community of interest

    At the time I spent a week in NZ to have a look at what they were doing there. Remarkably different in that it wasn’t snarled up in C’wealth-State relations.

    At the same time also Qld Ed was trying to devolve more to the regions, and went from 7 regions to 9, so that the regions wouldn’t become remote from the schools. While I was there 9 became 13.

    After I left I believe they went back the other way to save money.

    In the present situation, the feds should be overseeing the whole system.

  94. Brian: “In the present situation, the feds should be overseeing the whole system.” Not a good idea when you have a scomo as prime minister. The strength of the federal cabinet is that they had to cooperate.
    Would be good to have a national emergency organization(s) that can study what other countries are doing and spring into action when needed.

  95. John, unfortunately you are right. Scotty should be setting up “national emergency organization(s) that can study what other countries are doing and spring into action when needed”.

    He set up the Covid Commission, now recommending a future with gas. We get
    Covid Commission advised Morrison to underwrite gas pipelines, but ignored green jobs
    .

    Problem is that National cabinet is now run like a cabinet of the national government, and reports submitted there can be withheld from the people on grounds of ‘cabinet confidentiality’.

    Angus Taylor recently ran a meeting, and the citizens were not even allowed to know what the agenda was.

    I’ve been meaning to post about this, but can’t do everything, obviously.

    Craig Emerson in his AFR column this week has pointed out that all Treasury forecasting and government planning (including JobKeeper and JobSeeeker decisions) is based on a V-shaped recovery, which is in turn based on the availability of a vaccine in 2021.

    Emerson says there should be a group set up working on a plan B.

  96. There’s been a lot on COVID in the last 24 hrs or so, but NZ have got the pox again. Four out of six in a family, who visited a popular tourist place on the weekend.

  97. Brian: “Emerson says there should be a group set up working on a plan B.” and plan C etc. + an ongoing review to pick up what was done right and wrong and what should be in place the next time we get a surge in cases.
    Also “but NZ have got the pox again” and, if I have it right, reacted with a lockdown straight up.
    As part of this planning it is worth keeping in mind that COVID has saved the lives of a lot people who would otherwise have died from the flue.
    Plan B teams should be looking at a number of things:
    1. What should we continue doing for the sake of flue deaths?
    -masks, gloves and other protective gear?
    -identify risk areas and how people became infected?
    2. What can we do to venues, supermarkets etc. to reduce risk of covid and flue infection without damaging businesses?
    -Managing air flows
    -Virus killers in air circulation systems. (Ultra violet?)
    -One way aisles and pathways?
    -more separation of people. (Barriers spacing etc.)
    3. Speed up of testing?
    -sniffer dogs?
    4. Businesses that should be shut down for the long term?
    -Stadiums
    -Pubs and clubs?
    5. What do we need to do to prevent specific businesses being shut down every time there is a hiccup?

  98. Brian: Senior Lismore doctor says Queensland’s coronavirus border closure a ‘political stunt’ Among other things, the doctor at Lismore base hospital says
    “Chris Ingall, an executive on the Medical Staff Council at the Lismore Base Hospital, said the health service was “scrambling” to cope with the effects on patients and staff, who must quarantine for 14 days if they enter Queensland from outside the so-called border bubble in the Tweed Shire.
    “You’ve got over 100 doctors that work at Lismore Base Hospital that live in Queensland; they are no longer available to us because they don’t want to leave their families and not get back,” he said.
    “So we are scrambling for doctors, anaesthetists, emergency doctors, a lot of the frontline doctors who are no longer going to be able to support Lismore Base Hospital.
    Dr Ingall said it was having a significant impact on the risk posed to residents in the Northern Rivers.
    “This doesn’t need to happen at all from a medical perspective because there is no community transmission in the Northern Rivers,” he said.
    “It is clearly a political stunt; from a medical perspective, it holds no water whatsoever.””
    Then you have patient tales. For example, “Queensland has relaxed its border restrictions for people “entering to obtain specialist health care, or as a support person to a person obtaining specialist health care, that cannot be obtained at their place of residence”.
    But those entering from beyond the border bubble will have to go into government-provided quarantine for 14 days.
    The cost for an adult is $2,800; one adult and one child is $3,255.
    People classified as vulnerable or who can prove financial hardship can apply to have the fees waived.
    For new mother Elizabeth Medland, who lives in Lismore but gave birth to twins on the Gold Coast last month, quarantine is not an option.

    “Maybe if it was just me, but with newborn twins you just couldn’t do it … so no it’s not viable,” she said.

    “It’s a lot of expense when you’ve just given birth and you’re not working, so no, I can’t do that.”

    Ms Medland said the situation meant she could not make her twins’ first paediatrician appointment, nor could she get to her obstetrician after having a caesarean birth and postpartum haemorrhage.
    “I guess you just hope for the best that there’s nothing wrong with me or the twins; I’ve already had one emergency trip to hospital since the birth myself in Lismore,” she said.
    “I’m a first-time mum so I have a lot of questions and I don’t know if everything is perfect, I just have to hope.
    “Maybe I’ll have to find another specialist, but I think continuity of care is really important; changing doctors is when things are missed or fall through the cracks.”
    Ms Medland said she could not understand the thinking behind the Queensland strategy.
    “So I’m allowed to go to Queensland if I spend 14 days there, but I’m not allowed if I just go for an hour for an appointment and go straight back?” she said.
    “It’s almost like the details of the policy were made in an episode of Utopia.
    “It doesn’t make any sense.”
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-12/doctor-says-queensland-coronavirus-border-closure-a-stunt/12550234

  99. The only thing I disagree with is that the Qld border thing is a political stunt. It’s not, but if that is what is happening to people in Northern Rivers, then it should be fixed.

    Blocking people from accessing medical services is criminal, I would have thought.

    Finally, the Canberrans are going to be allowed to travel home in a convoy, between the hours of 9am and 3pm, with a couple of designated rest places.

  100. Here’s Craig Emerson’s piece. He also says:

      But where’s the money to come from to support the economy for a prolonged period?

      It’s only a matter of time before the Reserve Bank and the Commonwealth are forced to confront the necessity of a limited convergence of fiscal and monetary policy. To date, the RBA has been steadfast in rejecting the purchase directly from the Commonwealth of government bonds issued to part-finance the fiscal support needed to avert a catastrophic recession and a possible depression, as recommended by Percy Allan and me, and others.

    Apparently Hitler did it before the war, and had Germany humming in no time so that he could already showcase the place in the 1936 Olympic games.

  101. John, re your 12:40 pm list of things to do, the Feds are concentrating on covering their rear ends, deflecting blame to the states and mostly sitting on their hands.

    Ignoring the shit fight over aged care for the present, there was an excellent hour of listening in ABC RN’s Big Ideas – Riding the second wave of the coronavirus.

    They talked a lot about the overall strategy, and Prof Tony Blakely put his point about modelling outcomes and letting people know what your chances are along the way.

    He reckoned that Victoria probably had a 70% chance of complete suppression of community transfer, but if the daily count gets stuck at 3-400 pd for more than a few days, then the chances go down.

    I suspect Andrews and co. know this. He talked a fair bit about how you need to work things out in your own setting. There is no uniform reproduction rate of the virus in the wild, because it’s not in the wild, its in human societies where, for example, it gets around better in Barcelona, where people kiss everyone on both cheeks when the turn up for work every morning.

    Prof Sharon Lewin did the best piece on vaccines I’ve heard or seen. It’s her specialty. Seems you simply can’t tell how much use and how safe they are going to be unless you test them over time in phase 3 trials.

    The Russians appear not to have done phase 2 trials. We can’t take for granted that any vaccine will have long term effectiveness. Measles vaccine lasts a life-time, but flu injections barely last the season.

    Manufacture and dissemination is not straight forward.

    At the end she talked a lot about who you vaccinate first and how you get everyone, or near enough to everyone vaccinated. Apart from anti-vaccers there will be others who won’t do it.

    I think we oldies might have to hide away until about 2022 at least.

  102. Brian

    I heard a bloke who knows about vaccines and the need for rigorous testing….

    One of his main points was: “If you use a new relatively untested vaccine widely, and it has a ‘one direct fatality per thousand persons’ failure rate, then the vaccine will kill thousands of people.

    Cripes!!

  103. I reckon most of us would not accept a vaccine that has a one in a thousand chance of killing us.

    Ambi, someone who knows about these things said the quickest vaccine development so far has taken four years. This time the effort being put in could well shorten that, but then manufacturing billions and getting widespread use takes time.

  104. John, the news tonight had a one-liner to say that Palaszczuk was sympathetic, but the answer was “no”.

    No more detail than that.

    I think the answer would be different if the northern rivers people were voting in the Qld election.

  105. Zoot, what do you think the final number of deaths will be from covid and the life destroying government policies in Australia will be ?

    As it stands Sweden is about as close to the finishing line as Australia is to the start, and we are very near the start.

    Put yourself in the shoes of a 20 year old and contemplateLDL the future ahead without your useless self around.

    And yes, both my parents have said they’d forfeit their lives and future for me. As I would for my kids and grandchildren.

    Not you, oh no, but the Swedes would.

  106. Jumpy, if you check the numbers, Sweden has had 8,340 cases per million. or 1 in 119 of the population. We have had 891 per million, or 1 in 1121.

    It is problematic to compare deaths, but in Sweden deaths are 38 times more common than in Oz, compared to 10 times with cases.

    I’ll leave it to the epidemiologists to draw conclusions, while contending that COVID-19 is likely to be more front-of-mind to Swedes, and therefore easier to get them to take distancing sanitizing and mask-wearing precautions.

  107. Zoot, what do you think the final number of deaths will be from covid and the life destroying government policies in Australia will be ?

    I have no idea. What’s your guess?

    As it stands Sweden is about as close to the finishing line as Australia is to the start, and we are very near the start.

    On what do you base this assessment?
    Or in NQ vernacular: “Says who?”
    The rest of your comment is simple abuse and not worthy of response.

  108. On borders, InQueensland says Police swamped by human tide as thousands arrive in Qld every day:

      Officers checked 65 flights with more than 2600 passengers at Queensland airports on Thursday, with five people refused entry and 142 quarantined.

      On the roads, police stopped 4575 vehicles at the border, turning around 253 and ordering 54 people to isolate.

      “There’s an extraordinary amount of people still coming into Queensland,” Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll told reporters.

      “We’re getting people literally moving to the state.”

      Ms Carroll said there were also about 2900 in mandatory hotel quarantine.

      “The number is just incredible,” she said.

      “These are challenging times.”

    I heard Scotty say yesterday that Vic-NSW was the only border closing in which he was consulted and played a part.

    He said that he was aware of problems and was advocating to have them fixed with Gladys B and Annastacia P. However, he seems less focussed on Qld-NSW than on the rest.

    The most sensible comment came from LNP pollie Brian Littleproud.

    He said that decisions on borders should not be made on the advice of health officials alone, plus he said that the people affected should be consulted, through their representatives.

  109. Brian: “The most sensible comment came from LNP pollie Brian Littleproud.
    He said that decisions on borders should not be made on the advice of health officials alone, plus he said that the people affected should be consulted, through their representatives.”
    Our MP, Tamara Smith is understandably pissed of with how Qld has treated the people in the Ballina state electorate. She thinks Qld is putting Northern rivers lives at risk.

  110. John, all that I can suggest is that if she can’t get any sense out of the Qld government, then talk to ScoMo and Littleproud who should advocate on her behalf with a bit more heft.

    Perhaps talking to federal Labor would also not go amiss.

    I’d suggest Jim Chalmers and/or Anthony Chisholm.

  111. I think it was this thread that had the most discussion on border problems.

    National Cabinet has come and gone, with two decisions made.

    There have been a number of reports, but none cover the issue adequately.

    The most problematic have been the Qld/NSW border, with different problems west (mainly agriculture) and east of the Great Dividing Range (health, schooling and work).

    All those problems are evident in NSW/Victoria and Victoria/SA.

    In western Victoria, most of the service towns they use are in SA. One family has properties both sides, live in Victoria, but have seven family members and staff needing to cross constantly.

    Every time they go they need a virus test and a new application. Border staff first told them to use the backroads, adding 40-50km each way to the trip. Then they were told to go direct, still with application, but could go to the farm on condition they went nowhere else. The problem with this is that agricultural supplies came from the local SA towns.

    NSW/Victoria became completely absurd with farmers being told to truck sheep to Melbourne, fly them to Sydney, then truck them 500km to their NSW farm just outside the bubble. Ditto with tonnes of hay.

    In Western Qld there is a big problem with harvesting grain, which is commonly done by contractors who move across the border. I heard of one person who fixed harvesting machines. He lives in NSW, but was in the middle of fixing a machine in Qld, when the boom was lowered and he was denied access to finish the job. So he said.

    Health/medical has also been a problem, but on the positive side, Dan Andrews, Gladys B and Scotty himself were working together to solve individual problems. This is ridiculous, but at least ‘common sense’ was being applied.

    Scotty said he was forward leaning on borders, knew that states would do what they thought was best for them. He ended the speech I heard by saying he fully understood NSW’s need to protect Australians from Victoria. Fair dinkum, that was it, although I can’t guarantee the precise words.

    In Qld/NSW I get the impression Palaszczuk doesn’t talk to anyone other than Dr Ford. Who Dr Ford talks to is unknown to me, but she does watch the plane flight schedules from Sydney to Ballina, where, apparently, there is quite a bit of traffic.

    National cabinet made two decisions. First, they decided to develop a code covering farm movements,

    Secondly, they decided to define a hotspot.

    I don’t think this will solve the Tweed/Gold Coast, Northern Rivers problem.

    Tourist businesses in Northern Rivers will now pretty much depend on Sydney, now that Qld as well as Victoria have little prospect of opening up as markets. Qld would want NSW to prevent hotspot travel to the rest of the state. I don’t know whether that works. I suspect it doesn’t and perhaps couldn’t.

    Meanwhile this is the latest Qld Border restrictions Direction (No. 12).

    If you can understand that without a lawyer, you are ahead of me.

    I think the proviso that the medical provider needs to provide written evidence of the appointment applies also in NSW/Victoria.

    This is onerous, and doesn’t provide for emergencies. The Vic/SA provisions are also not written to cater for emergencies.

    Then there are the quarantine provisions for patients and carers.

    I don’t think these apply in NSW/Vic or Viv/SA, but I’m not sure.

    Attention should have been given in National Cabinet to developing common protocols in this area, but apparently farming is more important than health.

    As they stand, it seems to me that the Qld regulations lack compassion and empathy, and have negative health impacts.

    Whoever formulated these regulations, they needed a commonsense filter that drew on the experience of the people affected.

    In various conversations and talkback radio, it is apparent that the officials implementing the regulations sometimes interpret them differently, and sometimes apply commonsense directly to the need presented to them.

    All the above subject to correction.

  112. The gloves are coming off between the pollies. Morrison is saying that eliminating community transmission was never the plan. Then at the next minute he says there would have been no problem in Victorian aged care homes if Dan Andrews had not allowed community transmission.

    Frydenberg looks apoplectic in condemning Andrews in the “biggest public policy failure in history”. On paper Andrews had the right provisos in the contract for hotel quarantine services, just as on paper Richard Colbeck reckons he had a COVID plan for aged care homes. I think that claim is actually thinner, but the paper is pointless if you don’t supervise and police the compliance.

    Frydenberg is worried, because his COVID fiscal support splash was based on a post-September opening of the economy, and a snap-back that was never going to happen.

    In border wars, a serious event has cracked the issue wide open.

    A mother in Ballina pregnant with twins was going to give premature birth at the 24-week mark. Doctors told her that if she went to Brisbane she would have to isolate for two weeks before entering a hospital. Dr Jeanette Young says this was just wrong. An ambulance or medevac helicopter would go straight through, and emergencies would also respected as emergencies. One would have thought that a single phone call would have sorted the matter.

    However, doctors arranged for a medevac to Sydney, which involved a 16 hour delay, then there was another delay of six or seven hours before surgery. One twin died.

    I don’t have time for links this morning, but the incident was largely reported as Qld refusing entry, and referencing an earlier remark by premier Palaszczuk that Qld hospitals are for Queenslanders.

    It was a particularly stupid remark which will damage her politically in Qld. She has since stressed that medical access will respond to need, and has now set up a medical hotline specially for NSW people, to be staffed by officers who are trained in what the rules actually are, which is not before time.

    Meanwhile this Friday national cabinet will consider ‘hotspot’ definitions.

    In this regard there was an exceedingly interesting interview on ABC RN’s Life Matters with Prof Mary-Louise McLaws Green, amber, red — could a traffic light alert system help manage our response to the pandemic?

    McLaws designed this system for the WHO for the SARS outbreak, and has now redesigned it for COVID-19.

    Green was the colour designated within the designated area when there were 0-59 positive community transmission cases over a whole 14-day period, that is on average 4.2 per day.

    Amber was 60-99 cases (7 per day), red was 100 plus.

    At first she seemed to be talking about the whole country. Then when they got into examples, she was talking about states, pointing out that in recent times NSW was actually in the red, and it has taken 32 days to get back into the amber.

    She pointed put that on June 18 Victoria at 102 in terms of community cases entered the red. This escalated to 529 two weeks later, and 2600 two weeks after that.

    Her approach had a health measures regime for every colour, which was meant to be pre-emptive. The complete detail wasn’t spelled out in the interview.

    My point would be that Taiwan has never had more than single figures per day, not sure about the 14-day average.

    Denmark is said to be using this colour-coded approach.

    McLaws said that the aim is always elimination, but you have to be realistic and understand that if you achieve it you can’t expect to stay that way.

    I haven’t had time to see whether the McLaws approach is in a public document (presumably it is) and research the Danish approach.

    Given McLaws’ standing in the profession and with the WHO (historically and now) I would be unsurprised if her ideas show up in the national recommendations.

  113. Before this thread shuts down, as they do after two months, for the record I’d like to link to Dennis Atkins Palaszczuk sticking with plan to keep herself in by keeping everybody else out.

    The title does not fit what Atkins says in the text. Palaszczuk is working from, medical advice, which luckily is popular. She’s not just trying to win an election. The border issue has become a political negative for her.

    The article has information I’ve not seen elsewhere, like “a barbed-wire fence was erected between Coolangatta and Tweed Heads 101 years ago during the “Spanish Flu” epidemic”.

    He also says that the doctors at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney deemed the operation successful, the unborn child died after that because of complications.

    That doesn’t make the border issue less problematic, nor mean the death was always going to be the outcome, it just hasn’t been said anywhere else I’ve seen or heard.

    On the border problem he says:

      Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles is going to sharpen how his department handles these border cases – he’d be well advised to appoint a “Border Czar” to make sure problems are solved before they reach the truth-destroying cesspit of social media.

      It’s a significant failure that this kind of problem busting process wasn’t introduced earlier.

    It seems that Palaszczuk has now picked up the phone when Gladys B called. Whether anything changes, we’ll see.

    The western bubble has been extended to Moree, which seems to regard Brisbane as its service metropolis. I believe their exports go through Brisbane.

    Meanwhile I’ve noticed recently that when Morrison talks about the states, he just leaves Qld out.

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