Category Archives: Social Science and Society

Should Biden’s election cause Australia to pivot on climate change?


Our Prime Minister Scott Morrison refuses to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and Joe Biden’s election as US president will not change Australian climate policy.

Joe Biden calls climate change the ‘number one issue facing humanity’:

    “Climate change is the existential threat to humanity,” the former vice president said. “Unchecked, it is going to actually bake this planet. This is not hyperbole. It’s real. And we have a moral obligation.”

Continue reading Should Biden’s election cause Australia to pivot on climate change?

Trouble in the ‘Canberra bubble’

Louise Milligan’s Four Corners piece Inside the Canberra Bubble (transcript here) may have had its limitations as a program, but raises important issues as to whether the ‘Canberra Bubble’ is an appropriate and safe working environment, and the ethical appropriateness of the modus operandi of the Morrison Government generally.

Former ALP politician Kate Ellis who has written a book about women, sexism and misogyny in the Australian political landscape was interviewed on ABC RN’s Drive program by Patricia Karvelas – see or hear podcast “Clear power imbalance”: former MP on staffer relationships. Ellis is also quoted in Jennifer Duke’s SMH article ‘It affects all Australians’: Former MP Kate Ellis calls for reform to improve gender equality in Parliament. Continue reading Trouble in the ‘Canberra bubble’

Sundry virus update

1. Six types of covid-19?

The New Scientist reports on a study in the UK where researchers grouped Covid_19 symptoms into six clusters:

1 Flu-like symptoms, no fever
Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat and aches and pains, but no fever. Around 1.5 per cent of this group will go on to require breathing support in hospital.

2 Flu-like symptoms with fever
Similar to group 1, plus a loss of appetite and fever.

3 Gastrointestinal
Diarrhoea alongside loss of smell and appetite, headache, sore throat and chest pain. Typically, no cough. Continue reading Sundry virus update

Dan is done with political sniping

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

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

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

Weekly salon 10/10

1. Stimulus budget wildly off target

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


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

Frydenberg spoke of:

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

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

Continue reading Weekly salon 10/10

COVID-19: Hotspots and opening borders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading COVID-19: Hotspots and opening borders

Vale Susan Ryan

This ABC story says:

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

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

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

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

Continue reading Vale Susan Ryan

COVID suppression vs elimination: beware of hot air!

When I started this post on 17 July I wrote:

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

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

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

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

China on my mind

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

Visit of Premier Li Keqiang

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

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

Weekly salon 14/9

1. Barilaro blows himself up

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

Continue reading Weekly salon 14/9

Weekly salon 6/9

1. Getting there

Happy Fathers Day as appropriate.

I have been reflecting a little on my intermittent output on this blog. Generally speaking in my life at present my priorities are:

      1. health and family
      2. work
      3. blogging
      4. the ALP and LEAN

    Then there are other matters to be fitted in, like time for friends, jobs around the house, decluttering (having lived in the same house for nearly 40 years) etc etc. Continue reading Weekly salon 6/9

    Could Queensland outbreak have been avoided?

    The big news overnight has been the discovery six new coronavirus cases linked to the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre at Wacol, which for people elsewhere, is between Brisbane and Ipswich to the west. It’s near where the three young women lived who lied and gamed the system returning from Melbourne making Premier Palaszczuk ‘absolutely furious’

    Here’s what we know so far about Queensland’s coronavirus outbreak in the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre posted this afternoon by the ABC.

    Initially we had 77-year-old prison supervisor who worked five shifts last week while infected, but asymptomatic until just a headache in the last two days. Now suddenly we have four more prison workers, and two associates infected. Continue reading Could Queensland outbreak have been avoided?