Weekly salon 19/3

1. The loser as always is you!

To begin with something light, the Australien Government, courtesy of Juice Media, explains what is going on with the socalled Newscorp bargaining code whereby big media gets a slice of the action with big tech.

In effect, she says, they are ganging up on us, since they have a shared interest in destroying human civilisation.

The real answer is quite simple, she says, tax big tech companies and invest the funds in quality journalism.

Reportedly Nine Entertainment was going to get $30 million a year from Google, which chairman Peter Costello said would be invested in Australian content. Michael Pascoe reckons that’s more Married at fist sight.

Pascoe continued in Josh Frydenberg sure got Zucker punched in this tech-giant fist fight:

    If I was a cartoonist instead of a journalist, I’d be drawing a bashed and bruised Josh Frydenberg with black eye, stitches and Band-Aids, saying “You should see the other guy” while a gleaming and unscathed Mark Zuckerberg sits in the background, filing his nails, not having raised a sweat.

    And thus, with a picture worth a thousand words, my column for the day would be done.

And finishes with:

    Google and Facebook are very large, very nasty, highly manipulative, tax-avoiding monsters – but the media code extortion is simply wrong in principle and practice.

They got what they wanted.

Being a simple person, I can’t see how Google publishes news, or why Murdoch should be paid by Google when the links to News Corp papers they provide are in fact pay-walled.

There’s more:

2. First person to lose their job in the Porter matter is female

Annette Kimmitt, CEO of Minter Ellison, sent an all-staff email expressing concern about the company’s work for Attorney-General Christian Porter saying the firm’s working for Porter had “triggered hurt” for her and other female employees and may not be in accord with the firm’s values.

According to the AFR:

    Kimmitt told the firm’s 2000-odd employees that news MinterEllison was acting for Attorney-General Christian Porter had “triggered hurt for me”.

    “I know that for many of you it’s a tough day and I want to apologise for the pain you may be experiencing.”

    It was made all the worse, she said, by only learning about this via Twitter and news reports the previous night. It had not gone through the firm’s consultation or approvals process and assessed through “the lens of our Purpose and our Values”.

Less than a week later, Kimmitt was gone. She was simply told not to come back to the office, but to stay home until they worked out the severance settlement.

One of Kimmit’s problems is that she wasn’t a lawyer, she was an accountant, employed in 2018 on a five year contract to extend the firm’s services into general consulting. She perhaps did not understand that lawyers get to represent all sorts, like Crown when it was accused of money-laundering and having business with triads or any number of CEOs who have been accused of sexually harassing staff.

Her other problem was that the renegade lawyer who didn’t consult before taking on Porter’s defamation claim was Bret Walker, the most senior of 257 partners who own the firm, a 49-year veteran who had done two stints as chairman in his 20 years on its board.

His Wikipedia entry says he had been, inter alia, president of the New South Wales Bar Association, was one of the leading legal counsel representing tobacco companies in their fight against the Australian government’s plain packaging legislation, has successfully acted for Cardinal Pell in his High Court appeal, and in April 2020 had been appointed to a Special Commission of Inquiry to “… investigate all matters and agencies involved with the Ruby Princess’ departure and its return to Circular Quay on March 19”.

What’s more the firm had $93 million worth of work for the Australian Government.

When Kimmit was appointed some said she was “the dead CEO walking” and gave her 10 days, so she perhaps did well to last that long.

BTW I understand Walker also did a spot of work for Geoffrey Rush.

I’m thinking the ABC might settle out of court.

Just in, the ABC has secured the former solicitor general, Justin Gleeson SC, to lead the national broadcaster’s defence.

3. Cormann wins OECD post

Bevan Shields in the SMH tells The inside story of how Cormann got his magic number. Seems he had to win up to 10 European votes. It also seems the Morrison government was usefully active on his behalf. He even had a testimonial from Athony Albanese, plus support from unions and industry groups.

According to Jacob Greber in the AFR, the big issue was taxing the US technology giants rather than climate change.

The EU has plans to rip something like $US100 billion ($129 billion) a year off the big Tech companies. The US normally defends its corporations in their mission to plunder the world, so was probably uncomfortable with the other remaining candidate, EU insider Cecilia Malmström from Sweden who had been European Commissioner for trade.

It was a near thing, apparently, but there were plenty (apart from Malcolm Turnbull) to attest to Cormann’s integrity and negotiating ability.

Adrian Blundell-Wignall, a former director of the OECD, says in the AFR Cormann should tackle China, education, climate and big tech at OECD.

Apparently the OECD is the only international body to take an interest in the use of tax havens, such as the Cayman Islands, so it’s not just about big tech.

On education, its about school student performance, and access to tertiary education. On the latter:

    The evidence is overwhelming that the best predictor of high tertiary outcomes is the tertiary education of one’s parents and their relative wealth. We are not getting the most talented people in all countries due to this form of elitism.

From my experience, I’d say that if Cormann can crack that one he’s a genius, and Nobel Prize-worthy.

On China it is in part about China’s insistence on doing things their way, and about Stae-owned corporations and their tendency to corruption.

Cormann on climate:

    “I say to all who have a strong passion in relation to this issue, work with me,” Cormann said of the climate issue after his win was announced in the early hours of Saturday.

    “If we want to maximise the outcomes, if we want to maximise the success of policies to reduce emissions globally, we need to bring people together. We need to find ways to create consensus that gets us to zero net emissions at a global level by 2050 at the latest.”

Amen to that.

4. Katter names his price

Independent MP Bob Katter has likened himself to a “grenade with the pin pulled” during a meeting with Scott Morrison in which he listed a series of demands in return for shoring up the government.

He told both PM Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg that his vote could not be taken for granted:

    He made three key demands of the Prime Minster and Mr Frydenberg.

    The first was about $3 million he says he has long been promised to enable Indigenous communities in his electorate to establish market gardens.

    “They get no fresh fruit or vegetables,” he said.

    His second, and largest, demand was for a $500 million government loan on top of $700 million already committed from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to help build the $1.5 billion Copper String electricity transmission line from Townsville to Mount Isa.

    Mr Katter said $500 million would be a government loan and not from the NAIF.

    He said Mr Morrison was “very, very engaged”.

    His third demand was for something to be done about the high cost of insurance policies in north Queensland. Home insurance costs are so high that many households no longer have cover.

    He wants a [government] reinsurance pool for north Queensland.

On the third, I heard him say that 25% of homes in his electorate are uninsured because it is outrageously expensive. His point is that every home that was built before a new standard was implemented post Cyclone Tracy in 1974 has already been knocked down by subsequent cyclones. Insurance companies are looking back rather than forward. Allianz has indicated that they will play ball with cheaper insurance if the government backs them with reinsurance.

Katter says he is not threatening the PM, but if he is a Christian and a patriot there are things that need to be done. If Morrison walks away, there is a downside.

64 thoughts on “Weekly salon 19/3”

  1. Here is an article on solar power


    … and from one of the prominent yacht vloggers who have just installed their water maker which uses 130 watts in an hour to make 50 liters of water. So 3 watt hours per liter of fresh water is totally realistic, even with a small system.

    Remember the discussion on saving Kiribati where I suggested floating solar power power systems for fresh water and power to build up the atol with coral sand from the lagoon? Totally proven.

  2. Full on climate change denialist seated on the OECD?

    For anyone who didn’t watch the recent Paul Beckwith on how to avoid catastrophe, which is probably everyone, the take away figures were that of the total biomass of all vertebrates on earth, 60 something % are live stock for human consumption, 30 something % are humans, and just 5% are the rest of the vertebrates in the wild from whales to mice. Soon there will be just the insects, us, and a few mangy cows. Fish mass has reduced to just 34% of what it used to be not long ago.

    Extinction? If that is what we want then Corman in the OECD is a good way too get there sooner.

  3. Bilb thanks for the links.

    Cormann claims he has never been a climate denier.

    I have worries about anyone who was best buddies with Peter Dutton, and claimed Bill Shorten was a socialist revisionist.

    Apart from that, senators not of his party spoke well of him, and he seemed to be a good negotiator. He definitely carried Joe Hockey as treasurer, and probably Scott Morrison too.

    The OECD I understand has been mainly involved in statistical monitoring, but now wants to get into doing stuff

  4. It’s a worthwhile piece, zoot, but for the full picture you need also Samantha Dick at new Daily. It has more detail on what Morrison said for starters.

    Nicolle Flint attacked Labor and GetUp, I believe Sara Hanson-Young also piled on.

    Albo says he didn’t know about it before the 2019 election and Penny Wong says she didn’t know the full extent. The man concerned has no connection with the ALP or GetUp.

    Morrison has tried to weaponise her treatment politically to get at Labor and used it for damage control.

    Towards the end Murphy says powerful people need to acknowledge and change. I’ve heard Katy Gallagher say Labor has tried, acknowledges that all is not well and will work to change.

    FWIW here is a media release on the need for workplace culture in parliament to change.

  5. The rich get richer on welfare for the rich.
    See: “How JobKeeper turned into profit maker” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-22/how-jobkeeper-turned-into-profit-maker-ian-verrender/100020236
    “It’s quite likely JobKeeper could end up being the biggest corporate welfare scheme Australia has ever run, with billions of taxpayer dollars transferred into the pockets of the wealthy, minus of course the mutual obligations associated with welfare.”
    And while the headlines of the past week have homed in on the usual suspects, like Solomon Lew and Gerry Harvey, it wasn’t just big corporates and those at the helm who lucked out.
    Tens of thousands of small- and medium-sized operations, professional partnerships and even charities received assistance. And then there are the hundreds of thousands of sole traders, which include an army of white-collar workers, tradies and contractors, many of whom couldn’t keep up with demand during the lockdowns.
    At its peak, between March and October last year, the scheme supported at least a million businesses.
    We will likely never know the details of the largesse. While the Australian Tax Office has the data, unlike other countries, Australia had no public register of recipients despite the scheme being among the most ambitious in the world.”
    Jumpy: As a matter of interest to what extent did you benefit from JobKeeper?

  6. I never cease to be amazed by our Yanqui cousins.
    Sidney Powell who argued black and blue that the ghost of Hugo Chavez was stealing the election from the previous guy using Dominion voting machines is now claiming Dominion’s case against her should be thrown out because “no reasonable person would conclude” her claims “were truly statements of fact”.
    It’s reminiscent of Fox’s successful defence of Tucker Carlson – “nobody takes him seriously, he’s just an entertainer”.

  7. Meanwhile back in undemocratic America republican controlled states are rushing through Jim Crow laws. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56546480
    For example, Georgia has passed laws that include:
    The Election Integrity Act of 2021 passed in both chambers of the state’s Republican-controlled legislature on Thursday.

    It makes Georgia the second state to pass laws that restrict ballot access in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

    The key elements of the legislation:

    Ensure new ID requirements for requesting mail-in ballots, replacing the current system which simply requires a signature
    Ban the practice of giving food or water to voters in line at polling stations
    Give the state legislature more power to take control of voting operations if problems are reported
    Limit the number of “drop boxes” in which people can place their absentee votes, meaning many will have to travel further
    Shorten the early-voting period for all runoff elections

  8. As this has become a battle, JohnD, the whole waiting in line thing can be resolved with a ticket and number call system that Dems can set up on the day.

  9. Unfortunately the changes in Georgia also ensure that the Republican controlled legislature can over rule the ballot if the right people don’t win. Might as well just appoint the winners and save the cost of the elections.
    Meanwhile here’s an entry for the annals of counter-intuition. Baltimore stopped arresting people for petty crimes and there was a decrease in all crimes.
    Correlation isn’t causation but the effect has been strong enough for the powers that be to make the change permanent.

  10. Zoot: “Baltimore stopped arresting people for petty crimes and there was a decrease in all crimes.” If you keep being hassled and arrested perhaps you start to think of yourself as a criminal who might as well do the wrong thing or associate with people who really are criminals .

  11. Yeah, being allowed to shit on the street will be a great thing for Baltimorians.

    Could it be that the drop in crime is due to the slashing of the police numbers to record crimes and the non enforcement when criminals obviously commit them ?

    With that place I’d look at all the stats like accidental homicide, natural causes and suicide. If a politician can ignore legislation on a whim they can also reclassify stuff give the DA.


    ( note to others, THINK and dig below the left wing cognitive bias click bait please )

  12. Jumpy: “Could it be that the drop in crime is due to the slashing of the police numbers to record crimes and the non enforcement when criminals obviously commit them ?”
    Yep. But there are a number of possibilities including:
    1. The real crime rate remained unchanged. The apparent improvement simply reflected less effort by the police.
    2. The real crime rate actually increased. Once again, the apparent improvement simply reflected less effort by the police.
    3. There was a real drop. The more selective effort by the police reduced kept more kids outside of the criminal system and this reduced the risk that they would do more criminal things. Smart cops have strategies that help reduce the risk of kids becoming something more serious.

  13. Could it be that the drop in crime is due to the slashing of the police numbers to record crimes and the non enforcement when criminals obviously commit them ?

    Nope. Read the article. Or better still get someone competent in English to explain it to you.
    BTW, your link is a classic red herring. Has nothing to do with the topic of my comment.

    PS: You really should write to Scott Morrison and thank him for (temporarily) saving your arse with Jobkeeper

  14. In zoot’s link the Baltimore police chief called what Mosby did as a “paradigm shift”:

      on Friday, Mosby made her temporary steps permanent. She announced that Baltimore City will continue to decline prosecution of all drug possession, prostitution, minor traffic and misdemeanor cases, and will partner with a local behavioral health service to aggressively reach out to drug users, sex workers, and people in psychiatric crisis to direct them into treatment rather than the back of a patrol car.

    Sounds eminently sensible and worth a try.

  15. Sounds eminently sensible and worth a try.

    I agree. Looking at the list it seems to be crimes which are essentially “victimless”, most of them dealing with offenses against a morality which is government imposed and I would have thought this approach would appeal to anyone (like me) with libertarian tendencies.
    As long as they continue to prosecute crimes on behalf of victims who have suffered damages which need to be redressed I think it is a win win situation.
    Time will tell.

  16. More from an article on that leaked call

    The call is proof of what has long been assumed about Republicans in Congress. They represent big money and not the will of the people. Billionaire donors are controlling policymaking in Congress by pulling the strings of Senate Republicans.
    When Republicans complain about Democrats destroying the Senate by gutting the filibuster, what they really mean is that they and their rich donors will be losing their ability to block popular policies.
    `It turns out that conservatives and liberals agree that billionaires and their money should not control US elections and legislative policy.
    McConnell and the Kochs are freaking out because even if they can stop the For The People Act today, the momentum is growing, and it is only a matter of time before power is fully returned to the American people.

  17. Zoot: ” Looking at the list it seems to be crimes which are essentially “victimless”, ” Many of these “crimes” are about people who are outsiders. For example, alcohol takers making heroin taking a crime even though the research continues to find that alcohol taking does more damage to society than heroin.
    (Read long ago that the real risk of smoking pot was that you could end up with a criminal record and all the damage that a criminal record could do to a person.

  18. Agreed John.
    As an old pothead I also think smoking dope is the worst way of ingesting it – you get all the byproducts of burning vegetable matter. Much better to use a vapouriser (unfortunately I never had the pleasure) or extract the good chemicals and cook them up in munchables – a great high but you have to be patient while your body digests the goodies.
    Sadly my cannabis days are behind me. Probably the medications I’m on but it’s just not enjoyable any more. It certainly used to be the most fun you could have with your clothes on 🙂

  19. Here are the things “ not prosecuted “ now in Baltimore.

    CDS (drug) possession
    Attempted distribution CDS
    Paraphernalia possession
    Minor traffic offenses
    Open container
    Rogue and vagabond
    Urinating/defecating in public

    Why not eliminate from the prohibition books rather than non enforcement?

    I’d be happy if 1,2,3,4 and 7 were legislatively decriminalised rather than demand Police ignore parts of their oath to uphold the laws.
    But trespassing and shitting and pissing in the street should still be an offence.
    “ rogue and vagabond “ I’m not sure what exactly that entails precisely there.

  20. Why not eliminate from the prohibition books rather than non enforcement?

    Because it’s still an experiment in progress. Once it has been proven to work I’m sure the legislation will be amended.

    I’d be happy if 1,2,3,4 and 7 were legislatively decriminalised rather than demand Police ignore parts of their oath to uphold the laws.

    I believe their oath is to “uphold the law”, not “uphold every law on the books”. I’m sure if you look hard enough you’ll find a number of still current laws which haven’t been enforced for years because they are no longer applicable. (There’s quite a few in Western Australia.)

    But trespassing and shitting and pissing in the street should still be an offence.

    I believe they still will be, they just won’t be prosecuted. Your search engine must have broken before you found out how the police will be expected to deal with them.

  21. Sorry, I missed one

    “ rogue and vagabond “ I’m not sure what exactly that entails precisely there.

    It generally denotes someone with dark skin. I’d wager a small sum it goes back to the days of Reconstruction. It was one of the ways police forces returned freed slaves to servitude.

  22. My research reveals that a ‘rogue’ is a ‘dishonest or unprincipled man’. Similar:


    Vagabond is

      someone who wanders from place to place and has no home or job.

    Or anyone the coppers don’t much like, and more often coloured if not black.

    Cf hooliganism in Russia.

  23. Jumpy: I suspect that quite a bit of pissing and crapping in the streets is often a result of a lack of public toilets and affordable housing for poor people.
    I would be fairer if those responsible for the lack were punished rather than those who are desperate enough to pee in the streets.
    Some of the peeing might be just another undesirable byproducts of alcohol taking. However, we can’t do anything about that because this is the drug of choice for those that influence our laws.

  24. I heard the other day that alcohol was a part of our evolutionary heritage.

    Alcohol as such is a poison. However, humans adapted to tolerating a little by eating fruit that had fallen from trees.

    That was not only an extra food source, the chemical reactions in our bodies produced mainly prosocial emotions and behaviours, and was part of us coming down from the trees, walking upright etc.

  25. With the Queensland outbreak of COVID there is a lot of finger-pointing going on at present.

    There were two infections that led to the present situation.

    One was a doctor early this year, treating infected patients at the Princess Alexander Hospital.

    That was before any vaccinations had started.

    The second was a nurse who worked in the PA working in the same ward, but was not working with infected patients.

    It was the responsibility of the PA administration to vaccinate its own staff. Apparently the nurse had just come back from holidays and had not yet had the jab.

    The Commonwealth said that 4 million would be vaccinated by the end of March. Only 600,000 have been vaccinated.

    Last year the Labor said that the govt was depending on too few sources of vaccine. Brendan Murphy was still saying the other day things are fine, there is no urgency.

    Today David Littleproud launched a full throttle attack on Qld, saying they need to get their finger out.

    Premier Palaszczuk has said there are no vaccinations sitting on shelves, the process is accountable and the information available. The same is not true for the Feds, where the supply is erratic.

    The Feds are doing the usual, taking credit for whatever goes well, and blaming the states for what doesn’t.

    Today’s news is hopeful. Three new local cases, all close contacts of existing cases.

  26. Brian: The Qld covid got as far as Byron Bay with the following restrictions placed on us:
    “Until the end of Easter, social-distancing restrictions for the Byron Bay, Ballina, Tweed and Lismore local government areas (LGA).
    From 5.00pm today:
    Masks will be mandatory while shopping and using public transport
    Masks will be mandatory for hospitality workers
    The four square metre will apply in hospitality venues
    Patrons must be seated
    Visitors in homes will be capped at 30
    The State Government is also recommending people in those council areas do not travel elsewhere, however this will not be policed.”

  27. Brian: “Masks are mandatory for the entire state of Queensland for the very first time – here’s what you need to know” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-30/queensland-masks-mandatory-covid-outbreak/100037770
    Queenslanders across the state are now required to wear masks, some for the very first time.
    It comes as Greater Brisbane was plunged into a three-day lockdown, with another eight locally-acquired cases announced today.
    With masks now mandatory everyone must carry one with them at all times when they leave home unless they have a lawful reason not to.
    The exceptions include children aged under 12 and for people who have certain medical conditions or in workplaces where it is not safe to wear one.
    The requirements INCLUDE: “Masks must be worn in indoor spaces such as shopping centres, supermarkets, retail outlets and indoor markets.
    They must also be worn in indoor workplaces if it is safe to wear a mask and you can’t physically distance.
    Queenslanders also have to wear masks indoors at hospitals, aged-care facilities, churches and places of worship and libraries.
    They must be worn at indoor restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues but patrons do not have to wear one if they are seated, eating or drinking.
    Masks must be worn on public transport, in taxis and rideshares, including waiting areas and queues for transport, and at airports and travelling on planes.”
    I have argued for a long time that the most effective way of dealing with the crisis is to run a number of strategies in parallel. Particularly low damage strategies like the use of masks, vaccination, temperature takings, hand cleaning stations and contact tracing
    If necessary, brute force approaches such as border closings and lockdowns can be used if low damage strategies are not expected to be sufficient.

  28. Brian: Hardly surprising, the Craig Kelly of the north George Christensen says COVID mask mandate is ‘insanity’, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-31/george-christensen-covid-comments-prompt-call-for-pm-to-act/100041428
    “Key points:
    The North Queensland MP labels mandatory masks as “insanity” in a Facebook post
    Labor says his comments put lives at risk as they go against official health advice
    Mr Christensen has previously shared misinformation around the use of hydroxychloroquine.”
    Jumpy: What is it about the far right that prompts them to put people’s lives at risk by opposing things that make sense? Is it a deep rooted rejection of everything experts say?

  29. John, there are millions of folk closer to this China virus outbreak caused by this state governments “ * quarantine “ failure, you included I believe.

    Geography matters.

    (* etymologically, forty days isolation but original definitions be damned nowadays by the left )

    Little question John, you throw around “ far right “ like confetti, what would it take for you to call someone equally “ far left “ ?
    You know, like George’s equal and opposite in Australian politics.

  30. Personally, I’d planned 8 months ago to do one last trip with my elderly Dad to Winton next week.
    Looks like having Palacechook in charge of international “ quarantine “ has fucked that up.

    Well done experts in charge, but hey, every government bureaucrat is an expert, competent or otherwise.

  31. You know, like George’s equal and opposite in Australian politics.

    It’s rather naive to assume any such person must exist.
    But I digress. Who do you suggest? I imagine it would have to be a member of the Greens, and I can’t name any of them who are as far to the left as George is to the right.
    You, of course, will disagree.

  32. Wasn’t asking you racist troll, not interested in answering a racist trolls questions, just so ya know.

    Less politely, fuck off.

  33. Less politely, fuck off.

    I realise this will probably go way over your head, but I’ll try anyway.
    Whether you were asking me or not is beside the point. I didn’t answer your question.
    Since this is a public forum I commented, as is my prerogative, on your question which seems to be based on your usual binary thinking (ie for every X there has to be an equal and opposite Y; a situation that is quite rare in the real world).
    Your calm, measured, well articulated response seems to indicate you have nothing to add.
    You could have just ignored my comment

  34. Anyway, while I’m waiting for John’s response I’ll throw out an open question to anyone but the racist troll.

    When will Biden be shuffled off for Harris by the DNC ?

    I’m thinking perhaps early august 2022 at the latest, more likely July.

  35. Not your blog. Not your rules.
    When I talked to George Soros and Bill Gates yesterday they were pretty sure Biden would have a “heart attack” near the end of 2022, just after the Republican Party retakes the House and Senate.
    Make of it what you will.

  36. Jumpy: “Little question John, you throw around “ far right “ like confetti, what would it take for you to call someone equally “ far left “ ?
    I would rate someone who wanted to stop ALL fossil carbon extraction RIGHT NOW!!! far Green/left.
    Would also say the same about someone who wants to end all capitalism RIGHT NOW as pretty extreme.
    The “pretty extreme” judgement is driven by the “ALL” and “right now” labels
    I am sure you could add to this list for far left/green and may be detached enough to identify people or policies that are far right equivalents.
    I think Green leaders like Adam Bandt don’t fit the extreme label.
    BTW I don’t think extreme is always bad in minor parties. Used to say the task of the Greens was to “redefine moderate” by taking more extreme stances.

  37. Maybe Extinction Rebellion qualifies as ‘extreme’.

    Jumpy, I am sick of you calling zoot a racist troll and telling him the f*** off. So I won’t say please. Do it again and you are out of here.

  38. John, I think the short sharp lockdown, which is only Brisbane and immediate surrounds, has utility, and may just give us back Easter. It will depend on what tomorrow brings.

    The doctor who was infected was infected before vaccines were available. This has been forgotten by some commentators and pollies.

    Vaccination of Princess Alexandra staff is the responsibility of the PA management. I can’t comment on why that hadn’t been done.

    First, I need to say that the “eight locally acquired cases” you advised of at 5:02PM, John, was yesterdays’ news. Today’s news is that there were three, and all were connected rather than random, so good news, in the circumstances.

    We effectively have two clusters, one from the doctor a while back, and one from a nurse who I believe had just come back from leave and was scheduled to be vaccinated next week, and wasn’t actually looking after COVID patients.

    Today the critical information was the yet another nurse was infected, and it turns out the genomic testing says both nurses were infected by the same patient, I think a returnee from Sri Lanka. The latest nurse had actually been vaccinated, but apparently it doesn’t work for the first few days.

    Also the vaccine doesn’t prevent you form picking up the disease, it just prevents you from getting really sick. This nurse got enough of it to infect her housemate.

    The doctor and the two nurses were all infected in the same ward, the infectious diseases ward of the PA. The CHO Dr Young says it looks like it was through airborne infection.

    I’m thinking the weak point is in the PPE. The PA says they all staff were using PPE to the standard required by the Commonwealth government. I understand that is only surgical masks, not P95, and no requirement for fit-testing.

    The sad fact is that Prof Brendan Murphy and his successor Prof Paul Kelly and the group that advises them have never taken airborne transmission seriously. I think the Qld authorities have been behind the pace on this point also.

    Before this latest outbreak I think things were pretty slack around this town. My wife went to a ballet performance, and generally speaking no-one was wearing masks. When I came home from the dentist on a crowded bus last week I was the only one with a mask.

    Right now everyone has been wearing masks, and in Brisbane at least I haven’t heard any grumbling.

    Of the states, my impression right now is that Victoria is the one that is most on top of the situation and people could learn from. And Jumpy, it’s hospital administration that is the problem, not the quarantine system as such.

  39. Jumpy, further to my comment above, the current situation is that if I recommended anyone to read any of the posts I’d feel obliged to warn them about the comments thread, and they would wonder why I allow language like that directed at other commenters.

    You are welcome to comment, but not in those terms.

  40. Jumpy, about doing a trip to Winton, I’m about 99.99% sure there is no problem.

    As I understand it persons from south of Brisbane can drive through Brisbane to reach places north of Brisbane as long as they don’t stop in Brisbane.

  41. JohnD there is another category that should help jumpy with reality. For someone who wants to shutdown oil extraction at the maximum possible rate they would altogether TOO RIGHT.

    Is that a little more nuanced?

  42. Brisbane lockdown is to end at midday today. There was one only community transmission yesterday, a woman who attended the famous hens’ party in Byron Bay, which turned out to be a super-spreader event. She had been tested negative on Monday, but apparently became symptomatic after that.

    The release from lockdown was brought forward half a day. Brisbane pretty much empties out over Easter, so from the traffic POV that was sensible.

    On Tuesday over 33,000 people were tested, which broke the previous record by some 13,000. Yesterday was again a new record with over 34,000 tested.

    People probably know there has been a slanging match between the states and the Feds about the slow roll-out of vaccinations, with NSW absolutely livid about the blame-shifting from Dan Tehan and David Littleproud. What the latter said was completely disgraceful, and nothing to do with his own portfolio. Qld, especially Steven Miles, returned fire.

    Today Miles pointed out that only a third of aged care residents in Qld had been vaccinated, and practically none of the staff, a direct Commonwealth responsibility.

    The rollout to GP’s is also being handled directly by the Feds, who use contractors, of course. It’s been at best rather ordinary.

    In the US and Britain they are using mass venues, like stadiums. NSW offered to do it that way through 100 hubs, but the Feds think they know best.

    I heard of one super clinic in the Hunter Valley which spent about $25,000 tooling up, and I think were prepared for 25 every 15 minutes. So far they have gotten nix, but a smaller clinic down the road has had supply.

  43. We sometimes forget the problems face coverings cause people who need to be able to lip read. “Masks make everyday tasks ‘highly stressful’ for people who are deaf, hard of hearing” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-01/masks-distort-auslan-prevent-deaf-from-lip-reading/100042232
    “Key points:
    Masks prevent people who are deaf or hard of hearing from lip reading or seeing facial expressions
    Deaf Services recognise the importance of masks, encouraged hearing community to learn Auslan
    Advocates say the needs of deaf community largely remain invisible.”
    The deaf would also have problems in cultures that insist some people keep their faces covered.

  44. Meanwhile, back in the good old USA:
    “361 Voter Suppression Bills Have Already Been Introduced This Year.” https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/04/361-voter-suppression-bills-have-already-been-introduced-this-year/?utm_source=mj-newsletters&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily-newsletter-04-01-2021
    The bills are Jim Crow Laws that are being put in Republican controlled states with the aim of making it harder for people in democrat supporting areas to vote.

  45. No new community transfers in Qld or NSW, and Qld has found the missing link in the first cluster.

    A nurse working with the doc tor who got infected, caught the bug, passed it to her housemate, who was in a friendship group with the landscaper, who caught it and actually got sick.

    The lockdown seems to have been successful. A pity Frydenberg has kicked all the props out, which should have been in place until the vaccination was complete.

    I’ve been working 12 days straight, have been bogged down by a particular post which seemed important at the time. Any way I have to head off to Nambour now for a garden wedding of one of my nephews in the misty mountains of Montville.

    The forecasts indicate that it will be a wet Easter all up the coast. Wet too, I believe, in Byron Bay for all those poor people who came to the folk festival that was cancelled.

    So happy Easter to all, I’ll be back tomorrow late, wet or dry.

  46. Wedding report

    My nephew’s wedding on Saturday, words are inadequate to describe the experience. Montville is a slice of heaven on earth, accessible to rich and poor alike, but not if you want to stay overnight. The wedding was the work of many hands from two gifted and competent families. Just beautiful.

    We stayed in Nambour, which is not a glam tourist town, had a half hour drive to get there. The weather was closing in and we ended up driving through a misty cloud with rain, but not too much. There were a few showers during the garden wedding, but with big umbrellas it all went just fine.

    The lunch in the Montville Village Hall in the centre of town. It turns out that the bride is a chef, who as head of the local high school tuckshop caters for large gatherings around the Emerald area in CQ to make money for the school. It was the best spread I’ve ever experienced anywhere.

    Anyway it was great to catch up with the CQ branch of the clan, and meet the new members of the tribe, or more accurately the new tribe. The bride is one of six siblings, but now spread over four states. Only the one from WA couldn’t come. Those from NSW and Victoria were there.

    Entertainment at the lunch was provided from a girl band from Emerald. Three very confident and talented young women. It was a bit loud for me, and not my normal music, but spot on for the context.

    We drove home on Saturday through a fair bit of rain, but the big rain forecast for SEQ today mostly isn’t happening. The strong cell has moved a bit of the coast and will probably head to NZ.

  47. I can’t believe I haven’t done a post since March 22.

    I started in a Climate clippings, got stuck on gas, where I’d had a half-finished post from earlier.

    It’s important, because we are supposed to be embarking on a gas-led recovery. Political commentators and the mob at RenewEconomy say Labor and the Coalition are on a unity ticket on gas, which isn’t true.

    Labor is proposing a renewables-led recovery, with gas to keep the lights on by filling in the fluctuations until we get the clean backup energy sources fully deployed.

    Meanwhile global methane emissions are going through the roof and there is no internationally accepted standard that measures the greenhouse effect of methane in terms of CO2 equivalence.

    Unfortunately I don’t think anyone understands the whole situation with gas, including me.

    However, I’ve temporarily set that aside to attempt to do a new Weekly salon, what with all the follies happening in politics, and the end of JobKeeper, where Morrison says we’ve made it to that other side of the gulf or whatever it was.

    We haven’t of course.

    Then I’ll try to deliver on my promise to bilb.

    Personally I worked 12 days going into Easter, which made me a bit tired, but not too bad. Unfortunately I’ve developed a gammy left shoulder, and made it worse on Friday and Saturday by using a weight to strengthen it. What I did was wreck it, and landed myself with 24/7 excruciating pain. Yesterday I couldn’t raise my arm to scratch my ear.

    It’s a bit better today and with a bit of luck I’ll see a physio tomorrow.

    After that I may be back at work, or may have plenty of time here at the keyboard.

  48. That sounds like it was a great wedding, Brian, I’m sorry I couldn’t make it, and the Bride sounds like one of those wonderfully selfless people who deliver 10 to 1 of the average to keep communities working.

    At our age lifting weights to build up strength is not such a good idea. I was getting concerned about my knee strength so embarked on deep knee bends. Bad plan. All I achieved was gaining a repetitive strain injury of the knees. I’m almost back to normal.

    I had a maths lecturer who liked to illustrate solving problems the hard way by scratching his left ear with his right hand with arm over the top of his head. In your case though it might be the solution. If you get a bit of a body sway going, with a flick you might get the arm up over to rest on the top of your head. The ear scratching will be easier then.

    That cell system skipped NZ, swung all the way around and slammed into our till midday beautifully sunny, but windy, Netherlands day. It came in with blizzard snow and hail. Now, though, we are back to sun again.

    Take it easy old friend. We are allowed to go a little slower, you know.

    Regards BilB

  49. bilb, thanks for your concern and your tips. I can’t actually put my hand on my head at present!

    I saw a physio today, a young lass who grew up in Cairns. Very competent and very straight -talking. I think she’s got me sorted.

    Seems the injury should be reparable, but it’s going to take time.

    Seems the basic thing when you are gardening is that you are forward reaching with your arms. It brings your shoulders forward and inhibits arm rotation, so I have to counter that.

  50. I’ve just heard on the radio this morning that the EU only ever held up 250,000 vaccination jabs. PM Scotty from Marketing states that 3.1 million they expected in January had not been delivered.

    They sent out the Head Nurse to explain. She wouldn’t give any figures on how many vaccinations they had received because that information would be ‘commercial in confidence’.

    Prof Richard Holden told Richard Aedy that they had more than a million in stock before any jabs went into an arm.

    He believes the whole approach to vaccination has been a disaster. They have been telling us that we aren’t in a race, and that we had plenty of time, because unlike elsewhere we were safe from COVID.

    Holden says we can’t go full bore in our economy internally until we are fully vaccinated. He says the slow rollout is costing tens of billions.

    Now Frydenberg has kicked out the props as though the job had been done. I heard last night that employment of single mothers was 10% below pre-COVID levels. Just one example of vulnerable people who don’t seem to matter to this government.

  51. Scotty has just been on the radio giving a complicated account of the figures which half an hour ago were commercial in confidence.

    Bottom line is that only 2% of total have received jabs, and GPs are mostly saying the rollout is a schmozzle.

  52. Then there are crypto-currencies: ” Bitcoin mining to consume more electricity than whole of Australia by 2024″ https://reneweconomy.com.au/bitcoin-mining-to-consume-more-electricity-than-whole-of-australia-by-2024/
    Hope Taylor doesn’t read this and insist that only gas fired power should be used for this process.
    The amount of electricity consumed by bitcoin mining operations will surge over the next three years, consuming more power than entire countries, including that of Australia, new research has predicted.
    In a new research paper published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Tsinghua University have projected that on current trends, bitcoin mining electricity consumption will more than double from its current levels, peaking in 2024.
    At that time, the researchers say, the total electricity consumption of Bitcoin miners will reach as high as 297 terawatt-hours annually if no measures are undertaken to curb energy use

  53. John, if anyone wants to start a movement to outlaw Bitcoin, I’ll be with them.

  54. John Oliver explains why those who claim the national debt is inevitably a burden on our children are mistaken. I had to use a VPN to watch the video, but it was worth the effort.

  55. Zoot: Letting the US (or Aus) drift further into a second world future because the current group of big taxpayers want to pay less tax even though this means things that should be done to give our children a good future aren’t done.

  56. Totally agree John.
    And as John Oliver points out, we have indisputable evidence over the last 40 years that giving tax cuts to wealthy people and corporations does nothing to boost the economy as a whole.
    Fun fact: funding Biden’s infrastructure bill by raising the taxes on these leeches is very popular among Republican voters.

  57. Zoot: “Fun fact: funding Biden’s infrastructure bill by raising the taxes on these leeches is very popular among Republican voters.”
    A lot of Trump’s most vocal supporters are clearly hard core poor working class/unemployed working class who might take a shine to the things that Biden is clearly trying to do.
    Ditto might be said for the Australian conservatives who so love tax cuts to the rich.

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