Showing posts with label Scott Morrison. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scott Morrison. Show all posts

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Tweet of the Week


Friday, 9 October 2020

Scott Morrison still denying responsibility for the elderly Australians in aged care who died of COVID-19


Snapshot of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a 7 October 2020 television
interview on the ABC program "7.30". Image: @OzLady0

This is a face Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison tries not to show to the general public - a narrowed, steely-eyed gaze with set lips - one of his 'if looks could kill' moments.

This is what brought forth that particular look......

ABC Television, 7.30 program, transcript, 7 October 2020:

LEIGH SALES: Prime Minister, I would like to spend quite a bit of time tonight talking about aged care. Three-quarters of the COVID-19 deaths have been in this country, in aged care facilities, that is 673 people.

Those facilities are the responsibility of the Federal Government. In the past, gastro and flu epidemics have ripped through aged care facilities. We knew from Newmarch House in April how horrific coronavirus in aged care could be.

How did the Federal Government fail so comprehensively to prevent this tragedy?

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, Leigh, first of all, on a couple of points. The Commonwealth Government put in $1.5 billion extra in support to deal with everything, from workforce support to PPE and training and equipment to assist the aged care sector as it dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now what we saw in particular ...

LEIGH SALES: And there are still 673 people dead ...

SCOTT MORRISON: Leigh, if you could just let me finish, if you could just let me finish.

LEIGH SALES: As long as you address the question, I'm very happy for you to finish.

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, I am talking about what we have been doing to address the COVID pandemic in aged care. 

LEIGH SALES: I'm asking why you have failed?......

The full interview video can be accessed at:

Monday, 7 September 2020

Last Friday Scott Morrison pushed state and territory leaders to urgently ease border restrictions. He had mixed success.

This was Australian Prime Minster & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison on his feet in the House of Representatives on Thursday, 3 September 2020:

“Australia was not meant to be closed. Australia was meant to be open. Australians want to see Australia become open, as the founding members of this place ensured it was from the outset, and Australia must become whole again. This is the way—that's what success looks like…...We need to ensure that we are clear with Australians that we will seek to make Australia whole again by Christmas this year” [Hansard, 3 September 2020, p.6]

The very next day he pushed state and territory leaders to urgently ease border restrictions. 

He had mixed success. West Australia refused to march to Morrison's drum, Tasmania said it would go its own way and the other states and territories agreed to consider coming to an agreement at some time in the coming months. None would consider opening their borders quickly. Nor have they yet agreed with Morrison's national definition of a COVID-19 "hot spot".

When it came to easing restrictions on cross-border travel for agricultural workers, Queensland, West Australia & Tasmania refused to participate in the model Morrison put forward, but agreed to observe how matters play out in the three other states to date which will have committed to participating in that scheme.

In response to the refusal to open borders quickly and refusal to agree to containment of affected populations within a state/territory based on area lockdowns instead of state/territory borders, Morrison informed the premiers and chief ministers that the National Cabinet would no longer be a consensus forum.

This is reportedly being interpreted by the states that he intends to change how the national cabinet operates. A case of 'I'm changing the rules so I don't get rolled' and giving himself permission to publicly attack those states or territories which disagree with him during national cabinet meetings.

Revising recent history, Morrison then told the world that there have been times during this pandemic he feared Australia would "break apart". Perhaps intending to raise fear levels in order to drive the national electorate towards agreement with whatever he has planned in the next few months.

Easing border restrictions is important to 'Scotty From Marketing' because he needs to brag about future increases in trade and consumption ahead of the October budget announcement in order to buttress his claim he has found a way out of the first recession in 29 years.

Because as it now stands the national figures below indicate October budget projections will likely be dismal.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, Jun 2020, Contribution to GDP growth, seasonally adjusted:

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has suffered its worst fall on record, household consumption, private capital formation exports are down, along with a terms of trade increase best described as slight.

While general government consumption is not looking that healthy either and appears an inadequate response in the current situation and, workers share of the national income is at a 61 year low.

The June Quarter 2020 GDP breakdown is:

Graph: ABC News, Stephen Letts

Interestingly, from March 2020 to June 2020 the states and territories showing the smallest falls in seasonally adjusted state final demand (combined consumption expenditure, public & private gross fixed capital formation) were those with the strongest border restrictions.

In other words, community confidence appears relatively higher in those populations behind strong borders.

For some reason Morrison appears to believe that if he bullies state premiers and territory chief ministers into opening borders before community transmission is contained, that any ensuing drawn-out increase in the national number of COVID-19 infections and deaths won't hold the Australian economy back.

He can't make it any clearer that he is willing to sacrifice lives in the mistaken belief that this will improve his own government's 2020 budget projections.

Even though government economic experts in Treasury and the Reserve Bank have on more than one occasion pointed out that stronger economic recovery is possible if faster progress in controlling the virus is achieved in the near term

It is only after faster progress is made in suppressing or eliminating the virus that a faster unwinding of activity restrictions and greater confidence will potentially lead to a faster recovery in consumption, investment and employment. 

A proposition that Morrison seems to find politically unpalatable - he prefers to  trample over the bodies of the coronavirus dead in his pursuit of another term as prime minister.


The verbal attack on Labor states begins on 5 & 6 September 2020 with the Initial Commonwealth response to Victorian Roadmap media release

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Quotes of the Week

"And, at the ragged and unmasked end of it, he was an old and burned-out magician who’d long ago hocked his cabinet and now was eating his own rabbits for food. By the time he hit the middle-school history textbook peroration of Thursday night’s extended violation of both pandemic safety protocols and federal law, El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago could barely stand up for falling down.” [Jounalist Charles P. Pierce, wring in Esquire about U.S. President Donald J. Trump, 28 August 2020]

“An economy in historic recession. An aged care minister censured. A national cabinet at an obstinate impasse over borders. A distracting branch-stacking scandal. A COVID death toll of aged-care residents to hit 500. It has not exactly been a banner week for the federal government.” [The New Daily Political Editor Josh Butler writing on 4 September 2020]

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's constant pushing to open state borders is not supported by people of voting age according to late August 2020 Newspoll

Young or old, male or female, regardless of political affiliation, it seems residents in the five states surveyed by Newspoll in late August 2020 are firmly on the side of state premiers keeping their borders closed at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Australian, August 2020:

Popular support for Scott Morrison has fallen for the first time since the height of the pandemic as he takes on the states over their refusal to budge on border closures that are holding back the national economic recovery. 

An exclusive Newspoll conducted for The Australians shows the federal political contest tightening between the two major parties, with Labor recovering ground to post its highest primary vote since April and levelling the political playing field with the Coalition. 

Primary vote If the federal election for the house of representatives was held today, which one of the following would you vote for? If uncommitted, to which one of these do you have a leaning? 

One Nation numbers have been broken out from 'Other' from October 25, 2016 Newspoll is conducted by YouGov 

The two major parties are now deadlocked 50:50 on a two-party-preferred basis, marking a four-point turnaround in Labor’s favour over the past three weeks. 

The slide in support for the Prime Minister and the Coalition comes on the back of universal and overwhelming support among voters for the premiers’ right to close borders and restrict entry if and when outbreaks occur. 

A special poll conducted for The Australian shows 80 per cent of Australians support border ­closures if the health situation demands it. The results reveal the difficulty for the federal government as it faces off with the states, with the exception of NSW, which it has been blaming for holding back the national economic recovery.....

Support For State Premiers Over Border Closures Amongst Survey Respondents

South Australia - 92 per cent 

West Australia - 91 per cent 
Queensland - 84 per cent 
New South Wales - 76 per cent 
Victoria - 74 per cent.

Support For Premiers Over Border Closures by Political Party

Labor - 88 per cent
Coalition - 73 per cent
Greens - 88 per cent.

Support For Premiers Over Border Closures by Gender

Men - 78 per cent

Women - 82 per cent

Support For Premiers Over Border Closures by Age Group

18-34 years - 86 per cent

35-49 years - 82 per cent
50-64 years - 79 per cent
65 years & over - 73 per cent

Sunday, 23 August 2020

How can you tell when Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is spinning voters a line? He opens his mouth and speaks. How do you know when his decision is flawed? He announces it with a flourish.

It's hard to understand why Scott Morrison chooses to lie so often when he must know how easily he is caught out.

It is easier to understand why he is so frequently attracted to dubious characters - he is the type of overly confident self-important man who is often identified by such individuals as an easy 'mark'.

On the morning of Wednesday 19 August 2020……

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, media release, 19 August 2020:

Australians will be among the first in the world to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, if it proves successful, through an agreement between the Australian Government and UK-based drug company AstraZeneca.

Under the deal, every single Australian will be able to receive the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for free, should trials prove successful, safe and effective…..

Scotty From Marketing played dress-ups to make his vaccine announcement
Mask & full lab coat
IMAGE: ABC News, 20 August 2020

, 19 August 2020:

Australians are a step closer to accessing a coronavirus vaccine for free, after the Federal Government secured a major international deal to produce a vaccine frontrunner locally, should trials succeed.

Amid rising pressure to lock in supply of a coronavirus vaccine, the Government has signed an agreement with UK-based drug company AstraZeneca to secure the potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University, if its trials prove successful.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said if the vaccine succeeded, the Government would manufacture it immediately and make it free for all Australians.

"The Oxford vaccine is one of the most advanced and promising in the world, and under this deal we have secured early access for every Australian," he said……

In the evening of Wednesday 19 August 2020….

The Daily Telegraph, 19 August 2020: 

"Drug company AstraZeneca says Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s claim he has reached a deal to secure 25 million doses of the Oxford University vaccine is not true."

Then there is the pharmaceutical company Morrison named....

Corporate Research Project, 4 February 2017:

London-based pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is the result of the 1999 merger of Britain’s Zeneca, a spinoff of the old Imperial Chemical Industries specializing in cancer medications, and Sweden’s Astra AB, which was best known for the ulcer and heartburn medication Prilosec. Since that deal, the combined company has been embroiled in numerous controversies over illegal marketing, product safety, anticompetitive behavior and tax avoidance. 

Advertising and Marketing Controversies 

In 2003 federal officials announced that AstraZeneca had pleaded guilty to criminal and civil charges relating to the illegal marketing of the prostate cancer drug Zoladex. The company agreed to pay $355 million, consisting of $64 million in criminal fines, a $266 million settlement of civil False Claims Act charges, and a $25 million settlement of fraud charges relating to state Medicaid programs. AstraZeneca, which agreed to enter into a corporate integrity agreement with the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, had been accused of giving illegal financial inducements such as grants and honoraria to physicians.

In 2004 a coalition of consumer groups filed suit against AstraZeneca in a California state court, arguing that advertising for the company’s acid reflux drug Nexium misled consumers into thinking that it was superior to AstraZeneca’s Prilosec. The company had introduced Nexium to replace Prilosec as the latter drug was losing its patent protection. The case, along with a related one filed in Massachusetts, is pending

Also in 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that AstraZeneca’s full-page newspaper advertisements defending the safety of its Crestor cholesterol medication were “false and misleading.” The warning letter sent by the agency to AstraZeneca took issue not only with what the company said about the drug but also the way it represented the FDA’s position on Crestor. 

In 2010 the U.S. Justice Department announced that AstraZeneca would pay $520 million to resolve allegations that it illegally marketed its anti-psychotic drug Seroquel for uses not approved as safe and effective by the FDA. Under the terms of the settlement, $302 million of the total was to go to the federal government and $218 million to state Medicaid programs. Among other things, the company was accused of having paid doctors to give speeches and publish articles (ghostwritten by the company) promoting those unapproved uses. AstraZeneca agreed to sign a corporate integrity agreement regarding its future behavior. In 2011 AstraZeneca settled a related Seroquel case brought by state governments by agreeing to pay another $69 million. 

Product Safety 

In 2002 AstraZeneca said it would put a more conspicuous warning label on its lung cancer drug Iressa after several patients in Japan suffered pneumonia and some died. 

In 2003 researchers at the University of Illinois-Chicago released the results of research concluding that AstraZeneca’s Seroquel and two other schizophrenia drugs made by other companies created an elevated risk for diabetes. Subsequently, more than 25,000 lawsuits were filed against the company. In 2010 the company said it would pay a total of $198 million to settle those cases. That same year, the UK’s Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority found that AstraZeneca had failed to adequately describe the risks of Seroquel in an advertisement for the drug in a medical journal. 

In 2004 the watchdog group Public Citizen urged the federal government to ban AstraZeneca’s new cholesterol drug Crestor because of evidence linking it to the life-threatening muscle condition rhabdomyolysis. Noting that the company had not submitted timely reports to the FDA on some two dozen serious adverse reactions to Crestor, Public Citizen also called for a criminal investigation of the company. A 2005 study performed at Tufts University found that Crestor users had more serious side effects than those taking other cholesterol drugs. 

Also in 2004, an FDA review of AstraZeneca’s new blood thinner Exanta questioned the safety and effectiveness of the drug.

Pricing and Anticompetitive Behavior

......In 2003 the European Commission accused AstraZeneca of misusing patent rules to shield its ulcer drug Losec (Prilosec in the United States) from generic competitors. The company was charged with having misstated the year the drug was introduced in order to make it eligible for an extension of its exclusivity rights. In 2005 the commission fined AstraZeneca 60 million euros, a penalty which was upheld by the European Court of Justice in 2012.

In 2007 a federal judge ruled in a national class action case that AstraZeneca and two other companies had to pay damages in connection with overcharging Medicare and private insurance companies. The judge singled out AstraZeneca for acting “unfairly and deceptively” in its pricing of prostate cancer drug Zoladex. AstraZeneca was later hit with a $12.9 million judgment. In 2010 AstraZeneca agreed to pay $103 million to settle a national lawsuit accusing the company of overcharging for Zoladex and Pulmicort Respules asthma medication.

In 2009 AstraZeneca was one of four drug companies that entered into a settlement agreement under which they agreed to pay a total of $124 million to settle charges that they violated the federal False Claims Act by failing to provide required rebates to state Medicaid programs. AstraZeneca’s share of the total settlement amount was $2.6 million.....

Read the full history of this company's behaviour here.

Friday, 21 August 2020

Scott Morrison: Political Parasite - the short 'film' 


At least one former Fairfax & News Corp (Sky News) journalist journalist currently freelancing does not like this video - which in itself is a recommendation to view.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Now it is obvious that Scott Morrison intends to gather as much power as possible into his own hands, local government begins to fight back

Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison has chosen a global pandemic as a suitable time to both extinguish the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and increase the level of secrecy and lack of procedural transparency surrounding decisions and actions of the federal government he leads.

COAG represented all three tiers of Australian governments - federal, state and local - and its role since 1992 was to manage matters of national significance or matters that need co-ordinated action by all Australian governments. 

The President of the Australian Local Government Association had been a member of COAG since it was first convened. It was included because all parties recognised that Australia has three levels of government and that the tier with most impact on people’s daily lives in terms of the provision of local services and infrastructure 
is Local Government as well as it being the most accessible form of government for citizens.

In early March 2020 Morrison created the ultra-secret National Cabinet comprising of himself as prime minister, all state premiers and territory chief ministers and, he appears to be the sole spokesperson for this body.

On 29 May 2020 Morrison announced that COAG was indeed dead. That the National Council was now going to be the centre of a new National Federation Reform Council (NFRC) and that the existing Council on Federal Financial Relations (CFFR), consisting of federal and state treasurers, will report to the National Cabinet. 

According to Morrison all these bodies now fall under the confidentiality privileges of the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet which will also act as meeting coordinator. As will all the previous 8 COAG sub-councils and 32 ministerial forums, in whatever form they take after a planned review.

No minutes of meetings will be available nor will all issues discussed be made public.

According to the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet the NFRC has been agreed to by Premiers, Chief Ministers and the Prime Minister.

Local government was not consulted and now has no representative on the peak national body, as neither the National Council or the new National Federation Reform Council include a local government member.

Local government is not amused.

Clarence Valley Council. Ordinary Monthly Meeting, 
Minutes, p. 3, 28 July 2020:

Unless local government has an official seat at the table - in both the National Council and the National Federation Reform Council then neither of these bodies can be, either in name or practice, genuine national councils of Australian governments.

It is not hard to see why Scott Morrison & Co do not want local government included as a member of these two national councils. 

It can be seen in the titles of the six new National Cabinet Reform Committees created on 12 June 2020 as part of the NRFC-National Council: 
  • Rural and Regional Australia 
  • Skills 
  • Energy 
  • Infrastructure and Transport 
  • Population and Migration 
  • Health
Federal and state governments are not enamoured with the planning & decision-making powers which still remain with local government - only finding local councils useful as a vehicle to cost shift their own financial obligations onto ratepayers.

Mining companies, heavy industry and property developers in particular would like to see local government sidelined at policy level and, it appears that Scott Morrison is willing to oblige groups which include the Coalition's largest and most consistent political donors.

Monday, 10 August 2020

Realising he had been too clever by half, #ScottyFromMarketing withdraws from WA court case

In which Australian Prime Minister and MP for Cook Scott Morrison tries to pretend he was never involved in the decision to support Clive Palmer's attempts to force Western Australia to open its state borders during a surging global pandemic which has already seen over 20,000 Australians infected and nationally 266 people dead.

WAtoday, 7 August 2020:

Western Australia's Solicitor-General claims the Commonwealth’s eleventh-hour withdrawal from Clive Palmer's legal challenge to WA’s hard border has created "an egg that must now be unscrambled". 

During submissions in the Federal Court on Friday, Solicitor-General Joshua Thomson SC made an application for the July trial to be vacated and a new trial granted without the Commonwealth’s evidence. 

"It’s a most unusual situation where you have an intervention by somebody, in this case the Commonwealth, which in effect sends them to the field of battle, it goes in and has that battle and then seeks to withdraw from the field of battle," he said. 

"What you are left with is a mixed up trail of evidence." Mr Thomson himself is currently adhering to WA’s hard border policy, making his application via video-link from his home while in self-isolation. 

At one point during his submissions he received a phone call from police checking up on his quarantine and referred to the situation as like being in prison. 

Mr Palmer’s lawyer Peter Dunning argued the WA government "didn’t own" the witness evidence given by the Commonwealth in trial, and that it would be improper for the entire proceedings to fall over because one party had lost interest due to "political" pressures. 

"It is one thing for the Prime Minister to agree with another leader for political reasons to abandon something, that arm of government is perfectly entitled to be engaged by those considerations, but it is quite inappropriate for a Federal Court to do so," he said. 

"It doesn’t mean the proceedings collapse if there are still main parties interested in the outcome. 

"What brings proceedings to an end is if there ceases to be a genuine contest." 

Mr Dunning said the witnesses in the trial were the "court’s witnesses" and could be recalled or subpoenaed in a retrial by Mr Palmer if required. 

The Commonwealth intervened in Mr Palmer’s legal bid to have WA’s hard border torn down and in effect became a "co-plaintiff", with both parties claiming the state’s all-or-nothing approach to reopening was unconstitutional. 

During a four-day trial heard in the Federal Court in late July, the Commonwealth produced evidence from two public health experts, Professor Peter Collignon and Professor Tony Blakely, cross-examined other expert witnesses and submitted reports. 

WA enlisted its Chief Health Officer Andrew Robertson and Associate Professor Kamalini Lokuge as its witnesses, while Mr Palmer relied on the evidence of Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanayake. 

Mr Thomson said that due to the nature of the combined expert witness evidence being heard throughout the trial, the entire proceedings ought to be disregarded as they disadvantaged the state. 

Commonwealth Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue QC said since the Commonwealth withdrew its interest the day after the trial, it was not appropriate it make any further submissions on whether or not the evidence it adduced be considered in the High Court other than to say it no longer relied on it. 

It follows comments made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Radio 6PR on Thursday that his government wished the legal action had never been brought in the first place. 

"I'm pleased we're out of it," he said. 

"We've got no issue with [the proceedings] being redone or restarted ... we don't have any objection to that." 

During the hearing, Judge Darryl Rangiah blasted Mr Donaghue after the Federal Court became aware of its withdrawal from the case through the media, with an application to the court not made for a further three days. 

"Was it more important to notify the media before this court?" he asked, arguing Friday’s case management hearing should have been listed for Monday given the urgent nature of the application. 

Premier Mark McGowan, in response to the hearing on Friday, said he would have preferred the Commonwealth had actively supported WA's application for a retrial. 

"The Commonwealth has withdrawn from the case but unfortunately did not support Western Australia's application to have the case struck out," he said. 

"With or without the support of the Commonwealth government, WA will keep fighting for what is our right and that is to protect the citizens of this state. We will continue our battle, in fact, our war with Clive Palmer." 

Following the four-day trial between Mr Palmer and the State of Western Australia in July, the Federal Court adjourned to determine the facts of the case. 

The matter is then due to go to the High Court for determination of whether or not they were constitutional, which is touted to occur from September.....
[my yellow highlighting]


The Australian, 3 August 2020, p.4:

Mining magnate Clive Palmer has “thanked” Scott Morrison for contributing to his court bid to dismantle Western Australia’s hard COVID-19 border and says the federal government has played its part in his case, despite the Prime Minister pulling his support. 

Mr Morrison wrote to West Australian Premier Mark McGowan at the weekend to end federal co-operation with a High Court bid to remove the hard ­border, saying he wanted to work with the Labor leader to reach a ­compromise. 

Federal officials have already testified on Mr Palmer’s case in front of the Federal Court last week, presenting facts to show there were alternatives to the border closure. 

Mr Palmer on Sunday said the federal contribution to the case would still help determine whether he won his fight to overturn the closure. 

“The important issue in this case is revealing the truth that the experts from the commonwealth and WA governments had to say in court,” Mr Palmer said. 

“In the coming weeks, the Federal Court will make their determination on the facts and all Australians will be better for that decision.” 

Mr Morrison’s move to withdraw backing for Mr Palmer’s bid came days after he said he had ­serious constitutional concerns about Mr McGowan’s internal border closure, which is hailed by the Premier as the key to WA’s success in eliminating COVID-19. 

Both WA and federal bureaucrats testified in front of the Federal Court to lay out the facts around the state’s border closure and the constitutional issues, ­before legal arguments started. 

University of Sydney law professor Anne Twomey said on ­Sunday Mr Morrison’s move was political and would not stop federal evidence playing a role in the ultimate decision on Mr Palmer’s bid. 

“The commonwealth has already contributed on the critical issue over whether these laws are reasonably necessary to protect public health … it’s already played its major role,” she said.

Townsville Bulletin, 3 August 2020:

The border closure to all states, regardless of their level of infection, is hugely popular in WA. 

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk criticised Mr Palmer for his legal challenge to state border closures, saying it could put at risk “all the hard work we have done”. 

“Honestly, these legal challenges are ridiculous during this time,” she said. 

“Everybody should respect that states have a job to do to protect their families and not go through the courts and do these legal challenges, putting everything at risk because that’s what will happen. It will put all the hard work that we have done at risk.”