Tuesday 31 August 2021

NEWSPOLL 28 August 2021: like a screw worm fly* burrowing into the side of humanity, Scott John Morrison survives and thrives

"Coalition falls as Morrison rises" reads one News Corp headline on 30 August 2021, signalling the latest Newspoll has been published.

At least one NewsCorp journalist assigns the blame for a further fall in support for the federal Liberal-Nationals Coalition to "discontent in the two lockdown states that happen to be the largest by population and electoral weight".

The poll results are reportedly the lowest federal primary vote intention for the Coalition since March 2019 and the highest for Labor since 2018, according to AAP General News Wire.

Newspoll voting intentions of 1,528 respondents polled between 25 and 28 August 2021:


Coalition  36 (down 3 points)

Labor 40 (up 1 point)

Greens 10 (down 1 point)

One Nation 3 (no point change) 

Minor Parties 11 (up 3 points)


Coalition  46 (down 1 point)

Labor 54 (up 1 point)


Scott Morrison (Coalition) 

Approve 49 (up 2 points) Disapprove 47 (down 2 points)

Anthony Albanese (Labor)

Approve 40 (up 2 points) Disapprove 47 (up 1 point)


Scott Morrison (Coalition) 

Preferred 50 (up 1 point)

Anthony Albanese (Labor)

Preferred 34 (down 2 points)


* The  Screw worm fly lays its eggs in the flesh of living humans and animals and its maggots grow to maturity feeding on this flesh.

MJR Hall, Natural History Museum, London

Monday 30 August 2021

That day in August 2021 when Australia 'jumped the shark'*

On Saturday 28 August 2021, as the SARS-CoV-2 Delta Variant gradually spreads across the continent and, infections along with deaths continue to grow daily by epidemic-level numbers in Australia's most populous east coast state, this appeared in mainstream and social media....

The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 August 2021

Now that message may be close to the boastfully Pentecostal heart of Australian Prime Minister & Liberal Party MP for Cook Scott John Morrison, as well as in line with the political message he has been pushing since the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. 

In fact Morrison has become quite insistent in the last week or so - in print and television interviews as well as on his feet in the House of Representatives - and like the ACL he glosses over the very real difficulties predicted by transitioning to very low public health restrictions based solely on a national vaccination percentage.

However, those difficulties stubbornly remain.......

On Saturday 28 August 2021 NSW Health recorded 1,218 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm that night, another 8 people had died from COVID-19 infections, the number of COVID-19 cases admitted to NSW hospitals had risen to 813 with 126 people in intensive care and 54 of these required ventilation.

At Day 76 the state's public hospital system is feeling the strain after a prolonged infection surge and despite a COVID-19 'community care' system at least 8 people with COVID-19 have died in their homes.

Added to this locally acquired Delta Variant infections is still escaping into the regions and out of its state borders - the latest being two truck drivers who travelled from NSW through three other states before their infectious status was recognised.

The U.S. influenced hard-right Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) aka The Centre for Human Dignity  message is simplistic and dangerous during this Delta Variant Outbreak. Because it is targeted  at est. 52.1% of the population who state an affiliation to a Christian religion, in the hope that they will put pressure on state premiers and MPs to do the bidding of the ACL:

Take action today

Using the form below, please write an urgent email to your Premier or Chief Minister and your State MPs – it will only take a couple of minutes. Some wording has been provided for you, but feel free to adjust it as you see fit. Be concise and respectful.

As always

The salutation at the start and your name at the end will both be appended automatically. Please don't add these to the letter below, eg please do not address the email “Dear MP's name”.

When you complete your name and address in the box below, your letter will be directed to your Premier or Chief Minister and your State MPs.

Right now around 10,000 people have already used ACL's 'action' webpage as requested. According to ACL's website in February 2020 it claimed a membership of 170,000 individuals who are "seeking to bring a Christian influence to politics".  By 2021 it was claiming 175,000, however the only verifiable membership figure is the 5-member board whose names are currently concealed "Due to security concerns".

The misleading ACL message about the advisability of living with ongoing epidemic levels of COVID-19 because it restores our "freedoms" is not one supported by science or the majority of Australian medical/epidemiology experts. 

Indeed, Doherty Institute modelling suggests that even at best case scenario,  if the ACL gets its way then within 3-6mths of ‘opening up the economy’ at a 70% national vaccination rate, an est. 1,983 deaths are likely to occur including the deaths of 685 vaccinated people.

Encouraging people to ignore determining risk of infection, chronic illness or death for themselves and members of their family, on the basis of an alleged 'shared' Christian faith with the ACL, is a step too far.

That excerpts of this warped message was even published by a supposedly secular national Nine Entertainment newsprint and online asset was really 'jumping the shark'.

* 'Jumping the shark'. Colloquial expression meaning to lose both integrity and the plot.

Sunday 29 August 2021

Emotion surrounding Australia's abrupt withdrawal from Afghanistan spilled over in the Australian Parliament on Thursday 26 August 2021



At 2.34 pm on Thursday 26 August 2021 Labor MP for Bruce Julian Hill (left) was directed, under standing order 94, to leave the House of Representatives Chamber for one hour for defying the Chair and he accordingly left the Chamber.

This was his offence……...

House of Representatives, Hansard, 26 August 2021, p.51:


Mrs WICKS (Robertson) (14:33): [by video link] My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Will the minister please update the House on the Morrison government's continuing assistance to help resettle Afghan nationals, and can the minister outline how the government also continues to ensure the security of our borders?

Mr Hill: You could have processed their visas years ago!

The SPEAKER: The member for Bruce will leave the chamber under 94(a).

Mr Hill: You're killing my constituents! There are thousands of Australians waiting for visas who are only there because you didn't process them!

The member for Bruce then left the chamber.

The SPEAKER: I will come back to that after question time. The minister has the call  [my yellow highlighting]

Later that day…...



The Speaker named the Member for Bruce (Mr Hill) for defying the Chair.

Mr Dutton (Leader of the House) moved—That the Member for Bruce be suspended from the service of the House.


The House divided (the Speaker, Mr A. D. H. Smith, in the Chair)—

The vote was resolved in the affirmative, 25 votes to 14 and on the last sitting day of the week Julian Hill was suspended for 24 hours.

World-first Australian Federal Court case over Santos’ ‘clean energy’ & net zero claims

On the same day that a judgement was handed down in Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action Incorporated v Environment Protection Authority [2021] NSWLEC 92 (26 August 2021) ordering The Environment Protection Authority, in accordance with s 9(1)(a) of the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991 (NSW), is to develop environmental quality objectives, guidelines and policies to ensure environment protection from climate change, news came of another legal challenge in which the Environmental Defenders Office is the the legal representative of the applicant.

Santos Ltd Cooper Basin facility
IMAGE: Environmental Defenders Office

Environmental Defenders Office, 26 August 2021:

The Environmental Defenders Office, acting on behalf of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), has filed a Federal Court case against gas giant Santos over its claims natural gas is “clean fuel” and that it has a credible pathway to net zero emissions by 2040.

ACCR will argue the claims – contained in the company’s 2020 Annual Report – constitute misleading or deceptive conduct under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Australian Consumer Law.

This is the first court case in the world to challenge the veracity of a company’s net zero emissions target, as well as the first in Australia raising the issue of climate greenwashing against the oil and gas industry.

It is also a landmark, world-first test case in relation to the viability of carbon capture and storage, and the environmental impacts of blue hydrogen, increasingly touted as a key element in gas companies’ pathways toward net zero emissions.

Santos’ claims – “Clean” gas & a “credible” net zero pathway

Santos Ltd is one of Australia’s largest gas companies, and the biggest domestic gas supplier in the country.

In Australia its major projects include oil and gas extraction off the coast of Western Australia, as well as in the vast Cooper and Eromanga Basins that span South Australia and Queensland.

Santos is also a major player in coal seam gas, developing vast areas of the Surat and Bowen Basins in Queensland and planning a major new CSG project around the northern NSW agricultural hub of Narrabri.

In 2019-20, Santos was responsible for approximately 7.74 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions from its direct operations, with the end-use of the natural gas it supplied emitting an additional 28.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

Despite this, Santos describes itself as a “clean energy” provider in its 2020 Annual Report, stating that natural gas is a “clean fuel”.

It has also sought to assure investors and the public that it has a clear and credible pathway to achieve net zero emissions by 2040.

This pathway is heavily reliant on both carbon capture and storage (CCS)processes and the production of “blue hydrogen”.

However, ACCR alleges that Santos failed to disclose that it has firm plans to increase its greenhouse gas emissions by developing new or existing oil and gas project including the Barossa, Dorado and Narrabri LNG projects. ACCR also alleges that Santos failed to disclose that its net zero plans depend upon a range of undisclosed qualifications and assumptions about CCS.

In addition, although blue hydrogen is increasingly touted as a key element in gas companies’ pathways toward net zero emissions, scientists and even key gas industry figures have raised questions over its environmental impacts in comparison to other energy sources.

ACCR says that these issues call into question whether Santos had reasonable grounds to assert it has a “clear and credible” plan to reach net zero emissions by 2040.

On behalf of ACCR, we will argue that in making the above claims Santos potentially engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct under both the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Australian Consumer Law.

We are asking the court to grant an injunction requiring Santos to correct the record publicly on these statements, and prohibit Santos from engaging in similar misleading or deceptive conduct in the future.

The Impact of Greenwashing – Investors & Environment

This case is about holding gas companies like Santos to account for the claims they make about their product and future in a low-carbon world.

Our client, ACCR, is a shareholder advocacy organisation focused on how listed companies, industry associations, and investors are managing climate, labour, human rights and governance issues.

They are also investors in Santos, taking this action to ensure the company and others like it fulfil their legal responsibility to be transparent and open with shareholders like ACCR.

Companies have an obligation to be upfront and honest with investors – this is particularly important to investors who are trying to assess which companies will survive and thrive in a rapidly changing global energy economy.

Misleading information can have a dramatic effect on the market, on investors, and ultimately on the environment.

It can leave investors vulnerable to major losses. It can skew the market unfairly in favour of companies failing to adequately respond to the climate change, and unfairly away from companies that are acting responsibly.

In doing so, misleading information about natural gas and the transition towards a lower carbon economy can obstruct an effective and timely response to the climate crisis.

A genuine transition to a low-carbon energy economy is crucial if Australia is serious about meeting its commitments under the Paris Agreement and ensuring the world avoids the worst impacts of climate change.

It’s essential that energy companies play their part and are upfront and honest about their role in this crisis and the challenges they face in adapting to a low-carbon economy.

This landmark case will help to ensure energy companies like Santos are held to account for the statements they make to investors and the public in the face of the global challenge of climate change. 

IMAGE: Santos 2021 Sustainability Report

Santos Ltd is one of Australia’s largest gas companies and is reportedly the biggest domestic gas supplier in the country. This court case is challenging the veracity of a company’s net zero emissions target, the viability of carbon capture and storage, and the environmental impacts of blue hydrogen.

Santos is also a major player in coal seam gas, developing vast areas of the Surat and Bowen Basins in Queensland and planning a major new CSG project around the northern NSW agricultural hub of Narrabri.

The Motley Fool blog stated on 26 August 2021 that; The Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) share price slumped today after news broke that the company is facing a lawsuit. At market close, Santos shares are down 2.27% to $6.02. It is worth noting that this means the company’s share price is now at a new low for the 2021 calendar year.

End of trading on Friday 27 August 2021 its share price fell again to $5.57.

Saturday 28 August 2021

Cartoons of the Week

Peter Broelman

David Rowe

Cathy Wilcox


Quotes of the Week

“The prime minister has attempted to turn the tables this week, insisting that all governments need to stick to the four-phase national plan signed off in July. While some of the state leaders have pointed out correctly that the Doherty Institute modelling informing the national plan is significantly more nuanced than Morrison’s routine public messaging suggests,...”

[Political Editor Katharine Murphy, The Guardian, 24 August 2021]

 The government is pursuing 11,000 people through Centrelink debt notices based on their having received JobKeeper in the work they were doing, affecting their eligibility for the pension—people like Jan Raabe, who I spoke about in the House in the last sitting period—yet it won't allow the Australian people to know how JobKeeper was spent. Labor will fight for transparency against this cowardly government that, rather than support a transparency amendment in the Senate, has taken the bill off the Notice Paper and is running for the hills.”

[Parliament of Australia, House of Representative, Hansard, 26 August 2021, Dr Andrew LEIGH , ALP MP for Fenner]

Friday 27 August 2021

NSW Nationals MLA for Clarence Chris Gulaptis intends to fight against community and Clarence Valley Council opposition to mining in the Clarence River catchment


Original Image: The Daily Telegraph

The employment history of NSW Nationals MLA for Clarence & Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry Chris Gulaptis (left) shows that from 2006-2007 he was involved with Land Partners Limited (formerly Aspect North & KFM Partnership) – a company which participated in the planning, design and construction phases of the Eastern Gas Pipeline in 1999-2000.

It also shows commencing around 2009 and presumably finishing when he won NSW Nationals pre-selection for the Clarence by-election in 2011, he was a senior operations manager for Brazier Motti Pty Ltd engineering and mining surveyors in Mackay, Queensland – a position he used to enthusiastically support the mining industry.

In 2007, 2012 and 2013 Gulaptis supported coal seam gas exploration on the NSW North Coast - including in the Clarence Valley.

The Berejiklian Government of which Gulaptis is a member is subsidisng mining exploration. Currently it has granted Perth-based Corazon Mining Limited a reimbursement of 50 per cent of per-metre drilling costs, up to a maximum of $200,000 with regard to its cobalt-copper-gold exploration lease near Mt. Gilmore (approximately 25km northwest of Grafton) in the Clarence River catchment area as part of the state's New Frontiers Cooperative Drilling program. 

So this comes as no surprise......

Clarence Valley Independent, 18 August 2021:


Political Inconsistency

The Clarence Catchment Alliance (CCA) has campaigned strongly for the past three years, educating the community on the potential threats posed by mining to our Clarence Valley environment, particularly water quality.

During that campaign, CCA volunteers diligently collected over 10,000 signatures on a petition calling for a ban on mining in the Clarence River catchment. That petition has been tabled in State Parliament and is scheduled for debate.

The Clarence Valley Council’s motion calling on the State Government to impose a moratorium on mining within the LGA, would have been partially prompted by that campaign, and the community support it generated.

The CCA took their concerns, via Zoom, to local State Member, Mr Gulaptis, on 23rd April, where he vigorously argued that mining should be allowed, with any risks effectively managed by the stringent conditions that would be imposed. He also indicated he would be speaking to the Parliamentary debate, arguing against a ban on mining in his electorate.

So, when reading the ‘Northern Star’ the following day, specifically its article on the Dunoon Dam debate, the CCA team could be excused for being more than a little perplexed. The reason being, that on the very same day that Mr Gulaptis belittled the CCA’s campaign, and dismissed its 10,000-signature petition as NIMBYism, he is quoted as stating:

“… it is vital our communities have a clean and reliable water source.”, and then finished with: “It is often said that local government is the government closest to the people. Clearly that is not the case of the five elected councillors (that voted against the Dunoon Dam proposal) in this instance, who are ignoring the will of more than 10,000 constituents”.

Mr Gulaptis had previously been strongly critical of Clarence Valley Council, when it took notice of the more than 10,000 people who signed the CCA’s petition, and called on the State Government to impose a moratorium on mining.

It seems that some politicians only feel a need to consider the will of their constituents if it happens to agree with their own philosophy.

- John Edwards

Thursday 26 August 2021

Queensland wisely remains wary of effectiveness of current NSW public health response to Delta Variant Outbreak - border will remain closed for at least another 10 weeks


In which the NSW Berejiklian Government is unhappy to discover that the Qld Palaszczuk Government is on a drive to vaccinate its population against both the highly infectious Delta Variant of SARS-CoV-2 and Berejiklian's failed public health response which allowed COVID-19 infections to run wild in New South Wales......

ABC News, 24 August 2021:

Essential workers need to have had at least one jab to enter Queensland.
(ABC News: Cathy Border)

Queensland has confirmed that the hard border with New South Wales is likely to remain in place until at least the end of October, confirming the worst fears of businesses in the state's south.

Key points:

      • Southern Gold Coast businesses are being warned they will have to take drastic measures to stay afloat over the next 10 weeks

      • The NSW Cross Border Commissioner says Queensland's vaccination target and its relationship to the border closure hasn't been discussed with him

      • The end of the lockdown in regional NSW will not mean Queensland's restrictions are lifted

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young hopes the restrictions will be in place for "no longer than 10 weeks", according to the health department……

NSW Cross-border Commissioner James McTavish said despite daily meetings with government officials, NSW had not been given any indication on when Queensland's border restrictions would end.

"We've not been advised of a 10-week timeframe for these border restrictions, or a 70 per cent vaccination requirement," he said.

"This is based on the timeframe in which we hope to have 70 per cent of Queenslanders fully vaccinated against COVID-19," a spokesperson said.

The Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce has written to its members warning them that stop-gap measures will not be enough to see them through.

"The only way that businesses are going to be able to salvage that is to make arrangements to go into quarantine … or to arrange for their staff to go into quarantine," president Hilary Jacobs said.

At the moment the border pass only allows a limited category of essential workers to cross into Queensland and they must have proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccination.

Mr McTavish said Queensland's response to the border situation was "heavy handed" and called for the bubble to be brought back.

"We've represented very strongly to the Queensland government that we'd like to see a reinstated arrangement for border communities — not just for Tweed, but also further afield as well," he said…...

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Clarence Valley Country Muster due to be held 25-31 October 2021 has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to COVID-19 pandemic

Clarence Valley Independent, 23 August 2021:

It is with a heavy heart we have to cancel this years Clarence Valley Country Muster due to Covid-19, the second year running, but for the safety and the health of all that attend it is the only choice we can make.

Next year (2022) we will be back stronger and bigger…this event we are not giving up on.

Wendy Gordon 

All 2021 deposits/site bookings have been transferred to 2022 event dates. Those wishing to cancel can contact the organisers here.

Clarence Valley Council seeks allies in it fight to keep the Clarence River and its tributaries healthy and able to sustainably supply water to est. 129,378* people

"The Clarence River has the largest catchment and is the longest river on the NSW east coast, and our big river or Briemba/Breembia, is our greatest national asset."  [Issuu, from Clarence Valley Council - Draft Local Strategic Planning Statement, April 2020]

The Daily Telegraph, 24 August 2021:

Coffs Harbour City Council is being asked to form a united front with its northern neighbours over concerns mining in the Clarence River catchment could put our water supply at risk.

Mayor Denise Knight has put forward a motion before this Thursday’s council meeting to support Clarence Valley Council in opposition to mining in the Clarence River catchment, despite sounding far from resolute on the matter.

A vast majority of the more than 125,000 people in both council areas rely on water from the Clarence River catchment for drinking via the Shannon Creek dam.

Ms Knight would not confirm where she stood on the issue and said she was putting the motion forward as had been requested by Clarence Valley Council Mayor Jim Simmons. “I am just doing them a solid,” she said.

It is important to listen to the debate and hear what councillors think and feel.” In his letter to Ms Knight, Mr Simmons outlined his council’s position, which is to seek a moratorium on mining and mining exploration.

Clarence Valley Council are also asking the state government to deem the catchment a “no-go zone” for minerals mining due its “unique natural and cultural values”.

(This is being done) on behalf of the community who are concerned that mining will not only have detrimental environmental effects but also puts at risk our drinking water for the Clarence and Coffs Harbour Council area,” Mr Simmons said.

With the price of precious metals running hot in recent years, exploration licenses have been sought across the region which was once known for its mining.

In September 2020, Christopher Wilson Investments lodged a series of applications with the state government for exploration across 391sq km of land which included parts of Coffs Harbour and Grafton council areas.

The licence in Coffs Harbour covers an area of 198sq km and cuts across the Orara River in between Coramba and Nana Glen.

The increase in licence applications, along with a series of more advanced projects, also prompted local conservation groups to step up efforts to prevent mining in the Clarence catchment.

Clarence Valley Independent, 30 July 2021:

At last week’s Coffs Harbour City Council (CHCC) meeting, the executive summary regarding the reaching of an agreement between Essential Energy, Clarence Valley Council and CHCC – on ownership of water supply infrastructure – concluded, “The final step is to gain the formal consent of Clarence Valley Council and the Essential Energy Board to conclude the transaction to transfer the assets to Clarence Valley Council ownership.”

In an effort to inform the Independent’s readers about the issue, given all of CVC’s discussions have been confidential, here’s a full transcript of CHCC’s executive summary of the matter….

Read the full article here.


* the figure of 129,378  people is based on the combined Clarence Valley & Coffs Harbour City 2020 LGA population projections published by Idcommunity demograpic resources.

Tuesday 24 August 2021

Truck driver's 30 minute pitstop on Bruxner Highway gives Ballina another COVID-19 contact tracing alert


On 20 August 2021 a truck driver pulled into the BP Travel Centre (left) on the Bruxner Highway at West Ballina for his only stop in the area. Sometime between 20 and 22 August 2021 he tested positive for COVID-19. The travel centre is now a listed contact tracing venue.

Northern NSW Local Health District, media release, 22 August 2021:

Northern NSW Local Health District has been notified that a confirmed case of COVID- 19 visited the BP Travel Centre at West Ballina on Friday, 20 August, 2021.

Anyone who attended the BP Travel Centre at 41 Bruxner Highway, West Ballina on Friday, 20 August from 8am to 8.30am is a casual contact and must immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.

As the current situation evolves, we strongly encourage people to present for testing at the first sign of a respiratory or cold-like illness, such as a runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever or headache.

Testing clinics …….in the Ballina area include:

  • Ballina 4Cyte Pathology Ballina Drive-through Clinic, 319 River Street, Ballina

  • Ballina Respiratory Clinic, 92 Tamar Street, Shop 12, Tamar Shopping Village, Ballina

  • Alstonville Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, 106 Main Street, Shop 2, Alstonville

  • Southern Cross University Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology Drive-through Clinic Military Road, Southern Cross University, East Lismore

  • Lismore Base Hospital, Uralba Street, Lismore

  • Lismore Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, 62 Wyrallah Road, Shop 12, Wyrallah Road Shopping Centre

Once you have been tested, go straight home and self-isolate until you receive a negative result.

There are more than 450 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week.

To find your nearest clinic visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect- yourself-and-others/clinics