Showing posts with label pandemic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pandemic. Show all posts

Monday, 25 May 2020

No two ways about it - 'Scotty From Marketing' Morrison has political egg on his face


In mid-April 2020 Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne decided that the middle of a global pandemic and, with a domestic economy in freefall, was a good time to antagonise our biggest trading partner.

Their weapon of choice was China's initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility that the SARS-CoV-2 virus had escaped from a research facility in or near Wuhan.

It didn't go unnoticed that this foray into conspiracy theories marched side by side with media statements and outlandish ant-China comments being tweeted by a hypocritical* US President Donald J. Trump, whom Morrision professes to admire and with whom he consults during this pandemic.

Morrison's actions in particular raise the suspicion that he wanted to be seen as a 'world leader' that month because emerging domestic economic news was not encouraging and he saw the need for a political diversion.

Why else would he eschew normal diplomatic channels? Channels which would have allowed him to privately discuss his concerns directly with the Chinese Government.

Well, he certainly got that diversion.

It came in the form of an effective loss of Australia's barley export market in China due to the imposition of 80.5 per cent anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties and limitations on beef exports impacting 35 per cent of the beef trade with China.

But hey! The World Health Assembly issued a resolution eventually signed by 136 co-sponsors out of a total 194 WHO member countries.

Unike the Morrison-Dutton-Payne rhetoric, this measured document carefully refrains from targeting China and focusses on World Health Organisation (WHO) responses to the pandemic and the effectiveness of International Health Regulations

Resolution co-sponsors included both Australia and China. However, after all Trump's yelling and finger pointing, the resolution did not include the United States as a co-sponsor.

This left Scott Morrison with egg on his face. 

Particularly as three days ahead of the 73rd World Health Assembly Conference and four days before the announcement of that high barley tariff, the Australian public learned that China had increased its imports of barley from the United States and sourced additional beef from Russia

It doesn't matter how much Trump blusters about China's initial response to COVID-19 now - it's all for show, always was. The grain deal is done and the U.S. is moving in on our major market.

It would appear that out of the three principal buffoons leading Western democracies - Donald John Trump, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and Scott John Morrison - it is Morrison who is the most foolish when it comes to international relations and the most easily tricked by other buffoons.

Note

* On or about 11 January 2020 China announced the first confirmed death from the novel coronna virus. By 24 January Donald Trump on behalf of the American people was publicly congratulating the Chinese Government on its public health response:




Sunday, 24 May 2020

Northern Rivers homelessness and COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020


Echo NetDaily, 20 May 2020:

A quick look at the Byron Council website will tell you that the average rent in the Shire is $590 or 49 per cent of the average household income of $1,218. 
The comparisons on the page show Sydney’s Woollahra $800 rent being 44 per cent of a $1,814 income and Brighton in Melbourne with rents averaging 42 per cent of the income at $650. Even Brisbane’s Eaton Hills gets a look in with a $510 rent being 39 per cent of a $1,312 income. 

This is cold comfort if you happen to be a single parent whose only income is a Centrelink benefit. You’d definitely not be earning $12k a week, yet you’d be more than likely looking at $500 to $600 a week in rent – unless of course, you ended up homeless because you just couldn’t find something you could afford. 

Our volunteer services such as the Liberation Larder and the Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre are currently groaning under the weight of extra homelessness since the start of the pandemic. People who didn’t expect to be here and out of work, are – and the growing number of our own homeless is now making the issue and epidemic in the Byron Shire. 

We know what the volunteers are doing but what is the government doing?..... 

Tamara Smith MP says that the Greens have been working closely with the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) through the pandemic with regard to support for rough sleepers and people on the homelessness spectrum in Byron and Ballina Shire’s.... 

Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot says there are more homeless Australians than ever before. ‘On the North Coast we have a massive housing affordability and homelessness crisis, and people receiving Centrelink benefits are the hardest hit. ....

 ‘I have been inundated with requests for assistance and by many locals who have raised their concerns about the impact that this situation will have on our most vulnerable. The impact of Coronavirus threatens to make it even worse’. 

Ms Elliot says that as unemployment increases there’s a real risk that people don’t just lose their job, but also their home.’Housing is now on the frontline of Australian healthcare.’ 

‘Labor welcomed the National Cabinet’s decision to freeze evictions for the next six months for tenants in financial distress due to the impact of Coronavirus. We have consistently said that no one should lose their home, whether they own it or rent it, because of the virus. This will help.’  

‘As winter approaches and the Centrelink lines get longer, the charities that help the homeless and most vulnerable are suffering the perfect storm. The volunteer pool for a lot of charities is largely older Australians – most vulnerable to the Coronavirus. 

‘Most of these are smaller community-based charities that fill local needs. That loss places greater strain on other remaining services as the demand for help grows and grows. 

‘That’s why this extra support and assistance for providers of food and emergency relief and other homelessness services is so important. 

‘Both the State and Federal Governments must continue to provide support and assistance for those most vulnerable in our community.’ 

This would appear to be different just south of Byron. State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said she had been assured that the majority of people in their homeless community have been accommodated. ‘Many are in hotels and motels. It is wonderful for people to have a roof over their heads as being isolated in lockdown brings many challenges,’ said Ms Saffin. ‘I worry about accessing services that people need during these times such as GPs and health-related ones, that can be hard to access for people who are homeless at the best of times. 

‘The NSW Treasury has published a document titled Supporting NSW, and in the Communities and Families section, it specifies three key areas of funding under the heading, A Roof Over Heads.

‘I have written to NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward and asked him if he could provide a breakdown of this, at least for my Lismore Electorate.’.....

The 45th President of the United States of America Donald J. Trump actually tweeted this in the middle of a pandemic with no end in sight, which has seen over 96,582 Americans die in the last 3 1/2 months



Saturday, 23 May 2020

Quotes of the Week


"Most politicians lie whenever they are uncomfortable or caught in a tight spot. Few lie with the ease and casualness of Morrison." [Journalist Dennis Atkins writing in The New Daily, 16 May 2020]

"USA started out by electing a reality tv show host to run it and now we are all on Survivor." [G. Dixon, Twitter, 19 May 2020] 

Monday, 18 May 2020

Unemployment in Australia in March to May 2020


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Labor Force, Australia, April 2020, there were 832,500 unemployed persons at the end of April based on original data, which resulted in an unemployment rate of 6.3%.

That was a rise of 63,800 unemployed persons since the end of March 2020.

A number which could have been much higher if it were not that those registered to receive JobKeeper subsidised wage payments are considered employed - even those with no active job to go to.

On 14 May 2020 the Prime Minister announced a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.2% and the Treasurer stated that 594,000 people had lost their jobs since COVID-19 public health restrictions began to affect businesses.

However, both Morrison and Frydenberg fail to point out that those 594,000 newly unemployed are in addition to the est. 238,500 already unemployed persons‬

Even with JobKeeper payments now keeping unemployment figures down by an est. 3.3 to 5.5 million people Treasury expects that the unemployment rate will rise to around 10% by end of June 2020.

According to a Senate estimates hearing on 30 April 2020, an est. 400,000 more people are expected to lose their jobs by September, at which time the unemployment rate is predicted to be around 13%.

September is of course the month indicated by Morrison as the period in which he intends to start rolling back enhanced unemployment benefits - a month in which the Dept. of Social Services expects 1.7 million people to be receiving the Jobseeker payment.

According to the Morrison Government it expects to have returned 850,000 people to employment by the time all the public health restrictions have been lifted.

If in around four months time as many as 7.2 million Australians are expected to be either unemployed or in uncertain employment because their jobs depend on government subsidied wages, one wonders why the Morrison Government is boasting of so low a figure - less than 12% of that 7.2 million. 

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Thanks a lot Scott Morrison & all those Lib-Nat goons who piled on China once he opened his mouth. The NSW Northern Rivers really appreciates the loss of trade


In mid-April 2020 Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne decided that the middle of a global pandemic and, with a domestic economy in freefall, was a good time to antagonise our biggest trading partner.

It didn't take long for National Party backbenchers to join these three Liberal Party ministers and mainstream media reported the situation thus.......   

"But given clear evidence that China is deeply unhappy with Australia’s aggressive calls for an inquiry, in a way that it sees as Australia teaming up with the Trump administration to point the blame at China, the foreign exchange markets are making up their own minds on the prospects of Australia being on the brink of a serious deterioration of ties with our largest trading partner." [The Australian, 13 May 2020] 

"Mr Morrison said Australia could not rule out that the virus escaped­ from a Wuhan lab, but “the most likely (origin) has been in a wildlife wet market”."  [The Australian, 6 May 2020]

"..it was immediately clear that the purpose of the Australian "initiative" was not to conduct a review of benefit to the whole world, but to engage in political warfare with the Chinese state, using failures of organisation and leadership as a stick with which to beat the state. This was underlined by the way in which the first Australian public mention of the need for such an inquiry, along with some words about "accountability and transparency'', came from Peter Dutton, otherwise in a witness protection program avoiding any transparency or accountability for Commonwealth failures to screen several thousand passengers and crew from cruise ships. Marise Payne took the idea further, if with every appearance of playing to a pre-prepared script several days later, before Morrison took extra steps to make the proposals unacceptable to the Chinese by advocating the equivalent of weapons inspectors battering down doors to catch those with secrets to hide."  

"Scott Morrison insists it would be "absolutely nonsense" to suggest the coronavirus started anywhere other than China. The prime minister is pushing ahead with calls for a global inquiry into the origins of the deadly disease despite diplomatic blowback from the Chinese government. "I don't think anybody is in any fantasy land about where it started - it started in China," he told 2GB radio on Friday. "What the world over needs to know - and there's a lot of support for this - is how did it start and what are the lessons to be learned."  [AAP Bulletin Wire, 1 May 2020]

"The Morrison Government is leading the international call for an independent review of the COVID-19 crisis to determine the origin of the virus and if more could have been done to slow its spread."
  [The Mercury, 20 April 2020]


Morrison, Dutton, Payne & Co got the column inches and media attention they craved, but it is rural and regional areas like the NSW Northern Rivers which are bearing the brunt of their total lack of a genuinely diplomatic approach to China on the issue.....

The Daily Examiner, 15 May 2020:

Casino’s Northern Cooperative Meat Company is one of the four Australian abattoirs that China imposed an import ban on this week. 


The black-listing of the three Queensland and one NSW red meat abattoirs is believed to be a “trade war tactic” from Beijing as trade tensions between Australia and Chine rise. There are fears the bans from China come after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an independent investigation into the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. 

Northern Cooperative Meat Company chief executive Simon Stahl revealed the ban on imports relates directly to labelling and product description non-compliances. 

Mr Stahl was uncertain of the short or long term financial impacts to the business, but revealed NCMC production imports ranged from 15 to 25 per cent. 

“It’s too early to tell you about the financial impacts, I couldn’t put a figure on it at this point in time, could be a week, could be a month,” he said. “I’m always optimistic we can satisfy the authorities..... 

Food Leaders Australia general manager Bruce McConnel said it was unknown yet whether the bans were because of a breach of protocol or an act of political retribution. 

“The technical reasons have not been made available,” Mr McConnel said. “We’re not sure whether there has been a breach of protocol or if it’s pure political retaliation. 

“We’re awaiting details on how to alleviate tensions. “It’s not catastrophic, but it is a real issue that needs to be sorted out.” 

Mr McConnel said the banning of the Northern Co-operative Meat Company at Casino was a major concern for smaller beef producers, who use that meatworks to sell to China.

“The government need to get sorted how real are the technical aspects of this and how much is political tension around the relationship with China,” he said....


Saturday, 16 May 2020

Quote of the Week


"According to a poll carried out by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, 70% of Australians admit to drinking more alcohol than they would have prior to the pandemic and 34% say they are drinking alcohol every day.” [Crikey, 15 May 2020]

Friday, 15 May 2020

COVID-19 infections surface again in NSW Northern Rivesr region after almost five weeks virus free


Northern NSW Local Health District, media release, 14 May 2020:

An additional two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the last 24 hours in residents of the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD). 

This brings the total cases to 57 as at 8pm Wednesday 13 May. The new cases include one resident who acquired the illness overseas and one resident whose case is still being investigated with regards to the source. 

51 cases in Northern NSW Local Health District are recovered. There are no cases being treated in hospital. 

NNSWLHD cases by likely source of infection: 

Source Total Overseas or interstate acquired 53 
Contact of a confirmed case or in a known cluster 2 
Contact not identified 1 
Under investigation 1 
Total 57 

More information and statistics for Local Government Areas can be found at https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/covid-19-lga.aspx 

Relaxed gathering restrictions to be handled with care 

As we move to easing some restrictions on public gatherings, dining and outdoor activities from tomorrow, I want to remind our community to take their personal responsibilities seriously. 

It’s good news that we’ll be able to move about more freely and catch up with our friends and family, but we still have an obligation to practice social distancing measures to prevent transmission of this virus. 

As we’ve seen in recent days, the numbers of new cases can vary from day to day, we have certainly not overcome this pandemic. 

Please do your best to keep your 1.5 metre distance from others, keep up frequent hand washing and avoid touching your face or public surfaces where possible. I also encourage everyone to download the COVIDsafe app, to help with contact tracing as we become more mobile. 

It’s also imperative that anyone who is showing flu-like symptoms, however mild, comes forward for testing and stays home while they are unwell. 

Our testing clinics are open seven days a week, and we encourage people to be tested again if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms, even if they have had a negative test previously.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Saga of the Morrison Government's COVIDSafe App


The New Daily
First came the announcement that the Australian Dept. of Health was creating a virus contact tracing app to allow health officials to discover how many people had been in contact with future confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection.

This announcement was followed with an app name, COVIDSafe. Branding it would appear that was shamelessly filched from another app being trialled in the United States.

Soon after we were told that at least 40 per cent of the Australian population would have to voluntarily download the free app for tracing to be an effective public health tool.

Once the $1.5 million app was released on the evening of Sunday 26 April 2020 it was found to only be supported by a ministerial determination rather than legislation and, to be riddled with design & implementation flaws. Some of which were dangerous to the wellbeing of individuals whose vital health aids were supported by Bluetooth.

Draft legislation limited in scope and publication of the app source code surfaced days later.

By 1 May Prime Minister Morrison was reported as saying that easing COVID-19 public health restrictions and a return to normality will depend on uptake of the Covidsafe contact tracing app.

On 4 May the app's visuals were slightly changed and a few bugs were allegedly fixed in an automatic update. However, significant problems with use continued to be reported.

By 9 May it was obvious that the more than 10 million people needed to make digital contact tracing effective were not about to materialise.

Once the number of app downloads failed to reach 6 million the Morrison Government's rhetoric changed.

It went from saying '4 million downloads were required', to 'as many downloads as possible is the aim' and on to 'there is no target number set' for app downloads.

It also ceased linking download/registration numbers with the easing of public health restrictions and, by 8 May the National Cabinet had released its three-step plan to ease restrictions which the states and territories are beginning to implement subject to their own individual circumstances.

So it comes as no surprise to hear that the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 has been told that virus contact tracing is not dependent on the use of the app and, tracing methods currently in place will continue even after the app tracing system is fully operational.

It would appear that Morrison & Co were lying when they stated or implied that easing public health restrictions was dependent on widespread uptake of the app. 

Despite people installing and registering the COVIDsafe app from 27 April onwards, as of Wednesday 13 May the app tracing sytem was not yet fully operational because health departments in the states and territories are yet to avail themselves of the virus contact database.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

How the Clarence Valley handled the Spanish Influenza pandemic in 1919 - with discipline it only took around 14 weeks to eradicate that health menace


25- 26 March 2019


The Daily Examiner
, 9 May 2020, p.5:


After scouring old newspaper clippings, a Yamba researcher has some interesting insight into the similarities between two pandemics separated by more than a century. 

Using historical records accessed from the comfort of his home, John McNamara – research officer at the Port of Yamba Historical Society – has been busy piecing together the Clarence Valley response to the Spanish flu pandemic in 1919. 

“What stood out was mainly the similarities between what happened then and how it has been dealt with now,” he said. 

“Closing the borders and restricting travel, it is pretty similar to what they have done now.” Using the articles from The Daily Examiner and The Clarence River Advocate, Mr McNamara was able to get a picture of how it affected different parts of the region. 

“The first case was a prisoner that came up on the ships from Sydney – then when the first case was reported in Grafton and they stopped travel,” he said. 

At the beginning of the outbreak Grafton City Council requested the Health Minister place restrictions on people coming from Sydney to Grafton by rail or steamer. 

The council wanted to prevent anyone travelling at all unless they had a “clean health certificate”. 

By the end of the outbreak Grafton Base Hospital had been “absolutely handed over” for the treatment of influenza patients, with 500 cases treated there. 

The Lower Clarence fared better, with Mr McNamara unable to find a single confirmed case in Yamba, though there were isolated outbreaks elsewhere. 

The response in the Lower Clarence began with a public meeting on February 3, 1919, where a central committee was formed and “arrangements were immediately made to combat the scourge”. 

“An isolation ward was then established at Maclean Showground and the first patient was admitted on May 20, and up to the end of that month eight patients were admitted.” He said when the quarantine centre closed in mid-August, they had treated 46 patients.“The Lower Clarence managed to escape the worst effects of the virus thanks to the swift quarantine response by the government and by the end of August 1919 was declared virus-free,” Mr McNamara said.

Monday, 11 May 2020

From an Australian prime minister who has never taken a paycut for the last thirteen years comes this callous move....



Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott John Morrison (pictured left) is on a reputed annual salary in excess of $549,229 - plus free, staffed accommodation & other perks. 

He who has been in a top percentile income category for at least the last 13 years, has decided it is time to renew his personal, prosperity doctrine-driven, war on the poor and vulnerable.

By 24 September 2020 approximately 1.75 million Australians between the ages of 15 to 64 years will be reduced to living on between $18 to $40 a day if single or $72 a day if a couple.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 May 2020:

Hundreds of thousands of unemployed Australians face a huge cut in their incomes just before Christmas as the Morrison government prepares to wind back income support despite warnings from the Reserve Bank the economy will not return to its pre-coronavirus size until 2022. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday stood by the government's plans to phase out the coronavirus supplement for JobSeeker recipients and the JobKeeper program from mid-September, saying they came at a significant cost that would have to be borne by future generations.

The Reserve Bank of Australia, releasing its first major economic forecasts since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, expects unemployment to reach 10 per cent in the June quarter and recede only slightly to 9 per cent by the end of the year. 

It forecast the jobless rate, which was at 5.2 per cent in March, to still be at 6.5 per cent by the middle of 2022, saying unemployment will not fall quickly....

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Is News Corp & "The Australian" in contempt of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Ruby Princess?


https://www.scribd.com/document/460425328/New-South-Wales-Special-Commission-of-Inquiry-into-the-Ruby-Princess-Remarks-Made-by-Richard-Beasley-SC-8-May-2020

Premier Gladys Berejiklian: there will be no further change to COVID-19 restrictions in NSW until end of the week


On 8 May 2020 Premier Gladys Berejiklian issued a short statement after Friday's National Cabinet meeting stating that all existing public health restrictions are still in place until Friday 15 May.

At which time:

Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted;
People can have five visitors at any one time;
Cafes and restaurants will also be able to have up to 10 people dining in;
Weddings will be allowed to have up to 10 guests;
Funerals can accommodate up to 20 mourners indoors and 30 outdoors; 
Places of worship can now be up to 10 people at religious gatherings;
However local and regional travel is still banned, so no holidays or day trips are allowed.

The day before the premier's statement, 7 May, there was a cumulative total of 3,047 COVID-19 cases in the state, with 47 deaths and 2,486 people reported as having recovered.

A total of 7 local government areas are targetted for increased testing and surveillance: 

Blacktown Local Government Area; 
Canada Bay Local Government Area; 
Cumberland Local Government Area; 
Inner West Local Government Area; 
Liverpool Local Government Area; 
Parramatta Local Government Area; and
Penrith Local Government Area.

On Friday Prime Minister 'Scotty from Marketing' Morrison released a document laying out how the states and territories would dismantle public health restrictions.

Although the decision as to stage timing it is up to premiers and chief ministers, it's a given that Morrison will continue his arm twisting in order that few to no restrictions remain after 30 June 2020 even if lifting restrictions see COVID-19 infections begin to rise again.

A three-step pathway to easing restrictions


Thursday, 7 May 2020

Australian Prime Minister 'Scotty From Marketing' Morrison fails to universally impress


The Washington Post, 6 May 2020:


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Parliament House in Canberra on April 29. (Lukas Coch/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Morrison’s sudden popularity and salvation from mediocrity is not of his own genius. And hardly deserved. And there are several reasons why…..

Despite bush fires being a common feature of the Australian summer, the Morrison government was unprepared. It had ignored expert advice — including from former fire chiefs and emergency responder leaders who warned for months that the coming bush fire season was not only likely to be catastrophic, but that they didn’t have the equipment, including water-bombing aircraft to fight it. The government also rejected scientific research that predicted the effects of climate change would make bush fires more ferocious than in the past and voted against an opposition attempt to declare a climate emergency.

And then the prime minister went on vacation.

As the biggest natural disaster in Australia’s living memory unfolded, Morrison went to Hawaii. And when it became public, the prime minister’s office tried to cover it up. When he finally returned home, two days earlier than planned, it was not because New South Wales had declared a state of emergency or that two volunteer firefighters had died, but because of the negative publicity. Morrison had taken an image hit…..

Now there is the covid-19 pandemic. While volunteers were still extinguishing fires on Jan. 25, Australia recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus. As the number of cases began to climb, health experts were apoplectic at the Morrison government’s refusal to initiate a federal lockdown or cancel sporting matches. Instead, Morrison spruiked his own plans to see his beloved Cronulla Sharks play in the opening weekend of the National Rugby League.

Even when the federal government finally did impose the first stage of restrictions on March 22, it didn’t deserve all the credit. The state’s premiers, in particular Victoria’s popular leader Daniel Andrews, threatened to go it alone if Morrison refused to act.

The initial stages of the emerging pandemic — like with the bush fires — are further proof that the Morrison government’s instincts are always political and not service-oriented or moral. A true leader should not need to be poked into action by health professionals, regional leaders or even a terrified public….”

Read the full article here.

NSW Northern Rivers online cattle sales power on during COVID-19 pandemic


The Northern Star, 5 May 2020, p.2:

Livestock sales at Casino and Tamworth delivered a total of more than $175,000 worth of stock to online bidders last Friday. 

This result was thanks to an increasing number of bids being made online via StockLive during the auctions at the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange (NRLX) and the Tamworth Regional Livestock Exchange (TRLX). 

Blake O’Reilly, from Ray White Livestock Gurya, who purchased on behalf of clients at Casino, has been purchasing via StockLive since before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He said there had been a growth in the number of clients watching online. 

“The number of vendors and buyers who are now watching and bidding online at StockLive-partnered auctions has grown significantly since COVID,” he said. 

“Having the online platform working in with the physical auctions strengthens the marketplace and gives a true price for the stock, taking the risk of purchasing. 

“The platform is especially useful for the increased number of sales using ring selling, which gives the purchaser full vision of the livestock being sold.” 

Brad Willis, NRLX Manager, said despite a planned Telstra outage in Casino and Lismore, the auction went ahead successfully, with 360 viewers, 23 registered bidders, 141 bids taken online, and 13 lots sold to numerous buyers. 

StockLive Manager, Libby Hufton, said the number of inquiries from saleyards across all regions continued to grow with more than 15 saleyards using StockLive’s platform. 

“We continue to see the number of buyers and viewers grow each sale we have at these yards. It is a credit to the facility operators, agents and vendors,” she said.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Translating Australia's hard right prime minister in 2020


Scott Morrison makes sure his press conferences are transcribed for posterity at the Prime Minister Of Australia’s Media Centre in a manner which meets with his approval.

There is often some hours lag before a version of any particular press conference is posted online. Though sometimes, as occurred on 5 May, Morrison is not happy with how a press conference panned out and subsitutes a media statement instead.

Probably hoping that nobody will remember to report this:

The Prime Minister concedes #COVID19 infection rates will rise in Australia as restrictions ease to get the economy moving. “Of course, you will see numbers increase,” he says. “That is to be expected.” ⁦[National Affair Editor Hugh Rimington, @10NewsFirst, 5 May 2010]

Due to the time lag at Morrison's media centre, mainstream media usually fills the gap on their own online platforms.

These are the opening paragraphs of a news report on the press conference of Tuesday 5 May 2020.

SBS News, 5 May 2020:

Addressing the media on Tuesday after a historic national cabinet meeting that featured a brief appearance by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Mr Morrison reiterated that one million Australians had lost their job in a single month as a result of the pandemic.

"We now need to get one million Australians back to work, that is the curve we need to address," Mr Morrison said.

"As long as these restrictions are in place, they are costing our economy some $4 billion each week ... it certainly puts enormous pressure, as it should, on the timetable as we seek to move Australia back to that safe economy."…..

For some of the growing number of people who are irritated or angered by the Liar From The Shire’s carriage, demeanor, opinions, obfuscations, downright untruths or chronic refusal to answer journalist’s questions, this barebones news reporting sometimes suffices.

For others, real time social media descriptions of Morrison’s press conferences are preferred.

Here is one example…...

Ingrid M @iMusing, 5 May 2020, Thread commencing at approx. 2:29pm:

prime minister is up. He is focusing on the topic of “getting Australia back to work” today. Heavy breathing. Opening spiel is as usual self-congratulations.

a million out of work, says Morrison. He tips a nod to the Treasurer. Lies that “children are unable to go back to school”. He means many children are not *in classrooms*. The $4 billion a week cost of restrictions figure is going to do a lot heavy lifting here.

getting a million Australians back to work, more than a million Australians have had their claims for jobseeker processed. So given eligibility requirements and the number of pre-roni unemployed people, there are well over one million unemployed now.

Morrison has a slide show. Babbles out a list of sectors and jobs figures. Arts and recreation services, hospitality and food services, the agricultural sector, restaurants and cafes are closed. Note the absence of humans from this rhetoric.

oops, spoke too soon. The grower and the chef got a mention. Morrison says the job losses will be greater in Victoria because the restrictions are stronger so now we can begin to see where that $4 billion a week is. How unpolitical of him.

confidence. I love it when some economist explains the confidence variable to politicians. They never get it, as a predictive nor explanatory factor. Astrology for white dudes.

Christian Porter is up, as IT minister today. Workplace “safety” legislation is his brief, an area the Liberal Party is renowned for deliberately dismantling - see the double dissolution election Turnbull called using the ABCC bill.

babbles a bit about a dynamic and fluid environment whatever. The safe work Australia website is being re-built? Expanded. It will provide a “granular level of detail”. Porter has swallowed a buzzword list today.

I guess the queries function and info on the safework Australia website will be as efficient as jobkeeper application processes ie it will work for applicants whose application is consistent with Liberal Party ideology and political objectives and a clusterfuck for everyone else.

next up is covid committee chair and mining industry CEO Nev Power. Maybe no construction giant grifters whose greed kills workers were available to speak on workplace safety today.

unions are the main repository of workplace safety expertise btw but we have a business guy and couple of politicians from the party of business here instead.

the Morrison goldfish gulp and malapropic garbling is worse than usual today. Why is he so tense?

questions. Who is Greg? He starts with the fucking nonsense the Trump administration is spewing to try and cover for its monumental public health failures.

Morrison obliges by repeating the semiotic anti-Chinese racism terms a number of times.

schools. Morrison says “not opening schools fully is costing jobs and it does cost the economy”. So he has stopped lying about using schools for his political-economic objectives, at least.

Power adds lots of words and not much meaning on businesses adapting as restrictions are eased. Recall the vast majority of businesses - outside hospo - were not closed by official roni restrictions but by going to the wall (or into “hibernation”).

K Murphy asks about the trans Tasman travel bubble and contextualises with federalism - state and territory border closures. Morrison is very defensive. He is essentially telling premiers and chief ministers to open the borders. He *forgets* the trans-Tasman part of the question.

after being reminded, Morrison pretends to answer the trans-Tasman travel bubble question. But other than fetishising the alleged firstness (it isn’t) of the NZ PM being at National Cabinet, there is nothing specific to announce. “We are working co-operatively together” he says.

they have a stronger biosecurity regime and so do we? says Morrison. What does that mean?

Coorey. He is told this is about a covid safe economy (there’s the slogan for the near), Morrison tells him. The $4 billion a week gets another outing. Grattan. Gets a stream of self-congratulatory gibberish. We have tripled our ICU capacity. Okay.

Probyn: you have talked about pubs and restaurants.
Morrison: no I didn’t.
Probyn: well Neville was. When can the two Andrews, I mean the two Dans, legally have a drink together?
Morrison: they can now, just not in a pub. Andrew.




Nev and I, says Morrison quickly. Subtext: don’t wedge me, mate. Andrew.

PvO. His friend was stood down today.
PM indulges some bullshit federalism rhetoric. National cabinet has more to discuss about easing restrictions. Flattening the curve has come at a price.

Looks like no agreement on anything at all was reached in national cabinet today.

asked again about schools, Morrison says it wasn’t on the agenda today. He is happy to “encourage non-state schools by bringing forward funding”. The Premier of Victoria can make decisions about state schools, that’s his bailiwick.
Yes, Morrison said bailiwick.

asked whether he was against Barilaro contesting Eden-Monaro because Barilaro would have been a destabilising force if he won (the Sunday Savva thesis) Morrison says no and no.

okay I’ve had enough. Tl;dr: national cabinet was an unproductive and discordant session today, Morrison is therefore delivering a set piece with his biz CEO mate, which is essentially gaslighting workers and babbling bullshit.