Tuesday, 13 October 2020

For the second time since its 9 July 2020 first issue "The Northern Rivers Times" gets publicly admonished


Echo NetDaily, 9 October 2020:

Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith has called for an apology from the the Northern Rivers Times over their front page story about the nomination of general manager Shelly Oldman for the NSW Government Minister’s Awards for Women.

The Northern Rivers Times must immediately apologise to the General Manager of Lismore City Council Shelley Oldham, the Lismore community, and their own readers for the very personal hatchet job they did on its front page this week,’ he said in a press release this afternoon (Friday, 9 October, 2020).

The article is headed ‘YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING!’ and finishes stating that, ‘The anger when the announcement was made was apparent on Social Media and the people in the street of Lismore and surrounds.’ [sic] The Northern Rivers Times further claimed that, ‘more than 3,000 readers made comments’ on Facebook or contacted their office.

The attack on our General Manager is totally without substance. It is cheap lousy “journalism” and our community deserves better,’ says Mayor Smith.

The Casino-based paper appears to have a personal vendetta against Ms Oldham and Lismore City Council. It is the second time they have personally attacked our General Manager. Last time they were forced to print a retraction for its factually incorrect story.

The current article, which was mostly a lazy cut and paste from social media, claims that “more than 3000 readers made comments (on Facebook)” or contacted its office following Ms Oldham’s nomination for a NSW Government Ministers Award for Women.

This not only reflects badly on Council but on all the great women nominated for these awards and the Minister’s office who promoted it.

In fact, just over 50 people made a comment across a number of Facebook pages.

Many of us in the community were very keen to support this new paper and were prepared to accept early missteps, but it has gone from bad to worse and has now lost our trust.

Newspapers and the media have great power in our society, but with it comes great responsibility.

The Northern Rivers Times has failed the responsibility test and must apologise.

Lismore City Council will no longer support the paper or assist its “journalists” as the paper has shown it is has no journalistic integrity and does not even attempt to provide fair, accurate and balanced reporting.’

The first newspaper article which caused comment was one published in July 2020 concerning an alleged sexual assault that was described on social media as 'a nasty, victim blaming story' and a 'suspect' article.

Monday, 12 October 2020

Morrison Government ignores the "Pink Recession" in Budget 2020-21


"Women drive on roads. They will benefit from our infrastructure spend" [in Budget 2020-21]. [Senator Michaelia Cash, Channel 10 clip in The Project program, 8 October 2020]

The Guardian, 8 October 2020:

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, is angry with women. Not all of us, just those making a fuss about the woeful lack of attention to women’s workforce participation, economic security and safety in the budget his treasurer handed down on Tuesday night.

After early childhood education advocate and journalist Georgie Dent published an article in Women’s Agenda pointing out that the biggest-spending budget in history had allocated roughly a third of 1% of its funds for women’s economic security (citing a figure I tweeted from the Per Capita account during the budget presentation on Tuesday night), she received a call from the PM’s office to complain that “no one credible” was making such a complaint, and that “nothing in the budget is gendered”.

To quote one famous working woman: big mistake. Big. Huge.

Within a couple of hours, the hashtag #CredibleWomen was born, and soon trending in Australia. Twenty-four hours later, more than 1,000 very angry, and highly credible, women and men had joined the fray, including prominent journalists and commentators, business leaders, former federal politicians, economists and sociologists, and even the family members of former prime ministers, both Labor and Liberal. So much for no one credible.

As for the claim that nothing in the budget was gendered – that’s the point. Proudly declaring that no gender analysis was done on the budget reveals a disturbing ignorance of the inherent bias in our economic system, and a fundamental confusion between the concepts of equality and equity. A budget that treats everyone equally, ignoring the fact that women start from a place of significant disadvantage on almost every meaningful economic measure, simply entrenches gender inequality and, in light of the disproportionate impact of the current recession on women, actually risks sending us backwards.

The fact is, the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent economic collapse have hit women particularly hard. While previous recessions were typified by declining aggregate demand for manufactured goods and services, the current downturn is marked by a partial or total shutdown of many service industries, which are dominated by female workers.

Social distancing restrictions have resulted in an unparalleled collapse in demand, which has had an immediate impact on sectors of the market unused to bearing the brunt of economic shocks, with widespread jobs losses in retail, entertainment and hospitality. Universities, too, are shedding jobs at an alarming rate, and many of the jobs in research, teaching and administration that have been lost will not return even if and when international students do.

As a result, unemployment for women in this Covid-induced economic collapse is double that of the 1990s recession. While women suffered roughly 25% of all job losses in the early 1990s, they account for more than 50% of the newly unemployed today.

A budget that treats everyone equally ... simply entrenches gender inequality”

Yet the Morrison government seems to have failed to come to grips with the different nature of this recession compared to previous downturns, or to have grasped the significant changes in our labour market over the three decades since Australia last faced the task of rebuilding a shattered economy. The budget released on Tuesday night was a fine plan for recovery from the recession of the early 1990s, but not so much for the one we face today…..

The full article can be read here.


According to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Labor Force original data, in December 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic had entered the country, the female workforce participation rate was 61.6 per cent and total number of unemployed females was 295,100 individuals.

A Parliamentary Budget Report found that 56 per cent of those unemployed females were women aged 45 years and older.

By end of August 2020 the female workforce participation rate was 59.7 per cent - a 3 per cent participation fall. While the unemployment figure had grown to 418,600 females of working force age – a 29 per cent increase in unemployment.

In December 2019 the male workforce participation rate was 71.4 per cent and the total number of unemployed males was 371,600 individuals.

Of these unemployed males 45 per cent were men aged 45 years and older.

By end of August 2020 male workforce participation rate was 69.4 per cent a 3 per cent  participation fall. While the unemployment figure has risen to 503,000 males of working force age - a 26 per cent increase in unemployment. 

Comparing total females and males who considered themselves underemployed between December 2019 and August 2020:

  • Underemployed females totalled 690,200 workers in December 2019 and 753,200 workers in August 2020 - an est. 9 per cent increase in underemployment over the 9 month period; and
  • Underemployed males totalled 503,000 workers in December 2019 and 723,300 workers in August 2020 - an est. 31 per cent increase in underemployment.

Females in employment worked a combined total of 736,643,500 hours in December 2019 and a total of 702,547,200 hours in August 2020 - an est. 5 per cent fall in hours worked. 

Males in employment worked a combined total of 1,044,184,200 hours in December 2019 and a total of 980,844,400 hours in August 2020 - an est. 6 per cent fall.

When breaking that down further by looking at the percentage of females who had between 35-44 hours paid work a week it was 32.1% of all employed females, with another 19.8 per cent working less than 20 hours. While for males receiving 34-44 hours of paid work a week it was 42.1 per cent of all employed males, with another 11.1 per cent working under 20 hours a week.

Overall since the impact of the COVID-19 begun to be felt both males and females experienced swings and roundabouts when it came to employment. 

However, compared with men, over the last decade a higher proportion of unemployed women are now either older women, have a reduced capacity to work, are carers or sole parents. 

While the bottom line is that despite the JobKeeper subsidised wage program, at the end of the last 9 months there are still more females out of work than there are males in the same predicament and more employed females than males with less than a full week's work.

When it came to ABS records for industry sectors with the highest job losses year-to-year it was clear highest losses occurred in sectors with traditionally high female employment levels:

JUNE 2019 to JUNE 2020

Accommodation - jobs down 25.5 per cent

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services - jobs down 15.6 per cent

Clubs, pubs, taverns and bars - jobs down 15.6 per cent

Tourism - jobs down 15.1 per cent

Travel agency and information centre services - 17.9 per cent

Retail Trade - jobs down 9.0 per cent.

Tourism jobs peaked at 748,200 in December 2019 and in June 2020 were at the lowest level (611,700) since June 2014. More females work in tourism than males so there were more jobs lost by females with a reduction of 88,100 (-21.5%) jobs compared to a fall of 48,300 (-14.3%) for males.

The Australian Treasury is reportedly predicting that unemployment will remain high for several years, but that it will peak at 8% in the December quarter of 2020. However, indications are that unemployment will not fall below 5 per cent until sometime after 2024.  

It is statistics such as these which have led to political commentators dubbing the current economic recession In Australia, the "pink recession" or "shecession".

Terms with which Scott Morrison appears to take great exception. Women it seems are never to speak up on economic matters unless it is to agree with his world view.

According to Taylor Fry Consulting Actuaries' research, by 29 August 2020 in the Clarence Valley the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was rated "Medium" for most of the valley but at the upper end of "High" was Maclean-Iluka-Yamba which are heavily dependent on tourism.

As it is for Byron Bay where the impact was also rated at the upper limit of "High", while the remainder of the Northern Rivers region was at the lower limit of "High" with the exception of Kyogle and Casino which were rated "Medium".

In 2019 the NSW Northern Rivers region had a resident population of est. 304,325 people with a high number of older residents. In fact at the last Census around 133,332 were aged between 50 and 100 years of age.

In 2020 the Northern New South Wales Local Health District data indicated that females made up 49.22 per cent of the regional population - with est. 30 per cent of that regional population being females of workforce age.

That's an awful lot of Northern Rivers women Scott Morrison & his Cabinet have chosen to brush aside in the worst recession in 30 years.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Feral chickens running wild at Lookout Hill, Maclean

Let's not make a habit of this in the Clarence Valley.....

The Daily Telegraph, 1 October 2020:

A wild population of feral chickens that have been dumped on Lookout Hill are causing havoc in Maclean, with Clarence Valley Council urging residents not to dump unwanted pets in bushland.

The population of fowls on Lookout Hill are hampering the efforts of the Maclean Landcare Group who have worked tirelessly to rehabilitate the area by scratching out the native vegetation and exposing the fragile soil to the elements.

Council’s manager of environment, development and strategic planning, Adam Cameron, said there had been a recent spate of poultry dumping in the Clarence Valley.

Anyone who has unwanted poultry also has a responsibility to deal with them. If you are unsure what your options are, the RSPCA will be able to help you,” he said.

Mr Cameron emphasised that letting birds go into the wild was not the ethical choice.

Not only do they become a potential problem for other members of the community and the environment, but domesticated birds will also face a cruel end when left to fend for themselves,” he said…..

Yes, Scott Morrison really said that!


IMAGE: Scott Morrison, The Guardian, May 2020

[Women who speak out about deficiencies in Budget 2020-21 are among] "
the voices of division that will undermine the future economic prosperity of all Australians." [Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, press conference, Australian Parliament House, 8 October 2020]

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Predicting Trump's 'October Surprise' in 2020 U.S. presidential election campaign


Video in which Donald Trump admits he was advised to isolate in the White House and it was his idea to be admitted to hospital. That he intends to recommence election campaigning soon. 

Video possibly shot in the kitchen of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre six-room presidential suite.

NOTE: In political jargon, an "October surprise" refers to a game-changing event that can irreparably damage one presidential candidate's chances and boost the other's in the final month before polling day.

Memes 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: