Mungo MacCallum on Covid-19

As so often with Morrison, there is no overall strategy – simply a series of reactive measures which, he hopes, will do the job unless a next one is needed. and then another one, and another one …

Scott Morrison insists that his message is clear – the government is fully on top of the coronavirus crisis, there is no reason for doubt or uncertainty.

Well, up to a point, prime minister. Viewed individually, ScoMo’s present barrage of edicts are indeed firm and unequivocal. If they are taken at face value, there is no room for confusion.

But the problem is that, taken together, they are not only confusing but often self-contradictory. As so often with Morrison, there is no overall strategy – simply a series of reactive measures which, he hopes, will do the job unless a next one is needed. and then another one, and another one …

The basic dilemma that has still not been resolved is whether we are to treat this as a disaster on a truly monumental scale, a crisis like the great pandemics of the past, rivaling world wars and the Great Depression in their long term destruction; or a temporary set back – a severe one, no doubt, but an aberration that can be managed with a shit load of taxpayer money a dash of discipline and patriotism until we bounce back and a resiient Australia resumes its triumphal progress under the steady and stable hands of the coalition.

In the first scenario, we have closed our borders, the Reserve Bank has taken unprecedented steps to save the remnants of a devastated economy and a quasi state of emergency is in place – there is even talk of the free-enterprise government considering nationalising sections of industry and rationing essential goods

But on the other side, gatherings have been limited but not shut down, schools, universities and even casinos remain open for business, and although I have been condemned to home isolation, I am able — indeed encouraged – to watch TV sport in which groups of athletes indulge in as much close personal contact as possible.

And there is confusion at all levels. In spite of Morrison’s worthy initiative in bringing the state and territory leaders into a national cabinet, he has mean-mindedly excluded the federal opposition .. Anthony Albanese has pointedly not been offered a guernsey. Although the idea is apparently to coordinate a nationwide approach Tasmania has effectively seceded from the mainland. Mixed messages galore.

And there is little point in telling everyone else to shut up and do what we are told, when those telling us admit that things are changing too fast for even them to catch up. The chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy, said last week that the schools would, must, stay open – for now, but if circumstances changed, so would the policy.

Fair enough, but hardly reassuring to those who are already conflicted about what to do with their children. The Catholics are in open warfare, and some others in the private sector are voting with their feet. The arguments are complex and there is sense on both sides.

Morrison is adhering to the official, current, advice – he says he is happy to send his own children to school and for what it’s worth I feel the same about my grandchildren. But I do not regard Morrison’s – or my own – preference as making the position, or the message, unequivocally clear.

It would be nice to think that the resumption of parliament will sort it all out. Perhaps such wishful thinking is about all we have left.

Republished with – I devoutly hope – the kind permission of John Menadue

934 thoughts on “Mungo MacCallum on Covid-19

  1. I’m finding all the whinging from parents who have to deal with their kids 24/7 hilarious.

    Now they know what teachers have to put up with every weekday.

    Can’t handle your two or three kids? Just try coping with a class of 30 eight year olds then.

    Maybe this forced isolation and home schooling might convince a few of today’s parents that teachers do not have the cushy job they always thought.

    Dear parents – when you master controlling your little darlings and work out how to make them pay attention to their pre-prepared by teachers lessons you might like to try staying up half the night preparing lessons yourself.

    Just be grateful you are being spared playground duty.

  2. paywalled, see if you can get in via the twitter link

  3. Last night, I watched the first episode of Midsomer Murders: The Killings at Badger’s Drift.

    It had:

    Two murders,
    One double murder,
    One suicide,
    One murder suicide,

    Not bad for 100 minutes.

  4. A NY suburb after the ‘luck’ of the unfortunate name is now also copping crap from its namesake. Learnt one interesting thing from the article. I always thought “chockablock’ was Antipodean or UK slang but there it is used in the US of A’s NYT.

    A group of adjoining neighborhoods — Corona, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights — have emerged as the epicenter of New York’s raging outbreak.

    …………………The chockablock density that defines this part of Queens may have also have been its undoing. Doctors and community leaders say poverty, notoriously overcrowded homes and government inaction left residents especially vulnerable to the virus.

  5. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    The fight to stop the coronavirus will leave future generations a huge financial bill, and the government faces a number of choices to deal with it says Shane Wright.
    Australia’s coronavirus safety net must be tight to go the distance says George Megalogenis.
    Nicholas Stuart opines that Labor may as well pack its bags and go home.
    The technology rivals Apple and Google have unveiled a rare partnership to add technology to their smartphone platforms that will alert users if they have come into contact with a person infected with COVID-19.
    Dana McCauley looks at Australia’s most dangerous job – intensive care nurses on the front line.$width_828/t_resize_width/q_86%2Cf_auto/fa5b69ec305581f2333a0474bd78746bd8766ce3Gyms, nightclubs and international travel should be among the last services to reopen in any rollback of Australia’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions, according to a public health expert advising the federal government.
    Against his instincts, Scott Morrison has set politics aside and led the states and territories in the successful mobilisation of the nation against the coronavirus. This crisis has given the PM the opportunity for redemption with a disenchanted people writes Peter Hartcher.
    Ross Gittins explains the behavioural side of the strategies that could be applied to the pandemic.
    Colin Kruger examines the private health insurance situation and the windfall that has been handed them by the stopping of elective surgery.
    Gladys Berejiklian has performed well in this crisis, with the one huge exception – the Ruby Princess says the SMH editorial.
    Karen Middleton writes that as a police probe begins into the Ruby Princess, details are emerging about other gaps in Australia’s quarantine response, including the use of isolation declaration cards.
    Paul Bongiorno looks at Morrison’s long road to recovery now that his “snap back” is off the table.
    Peter van Onselen writes that with this pandemic, ideological constraints are out the window, where they belong.
    Here two leading epidemiologists describe how a locked-down Australia might go about safely loosening the screws on the work, family and social lives of its citizens. It’s quite informative.
    Australia has not yet reached the Covid-19 peak, and experts say if we come out of isolation too early we risk a devastating second wave
    An ‘exit strategy’ means trading off public health, social cohesion and economic disaster. We need to decide with our hearts as well as our heads writes Lenore Taylor.
    Following on from a previous instalment John Lord wonders what will happen in the aftershock of the corona virus pandemic.
    Tim Soutphommasane laments that COVID-19 is playing host to another contagion: anti-Asian racism.
    Covid-19 should not be allowed to run free, but Australians are looking for a positive timetable says Malcolm Farr who thinks the nation’s patience will be tested on the other side.
    In an illuminating contribution Matthew Knott tells us where America’s coronavirus response went wrong.
    Paul Kelly has written a huge tome on the Pell decision and he puts the boot into the ABC.
    While the High Court this week quashed the cardinal’s conviction for child sexual abuse, there remain several fronts on which the legal battle may continue writes Rick Morton.
    A leading investment house has warned a third of Australian companies could cut dividends this year, with an extended shutdown likely to see that number rise.
    Until COVID-19, most retailers were scared to criticise their landlords for fear of retribution. But the tone-deaf messages by Westfield owner Scentre Group about trading through the pandemic will put the spotlight on shopping centre landlords like never before writes Adele Ferguson.
    International border closures could be part of Australia’s response to coronavirus after other restrictions are lifted, but decisions depend on a vaccine and worldwide conditions, deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly says.
    A good Saturday column from Peter FitzSimons here.
    With the changing face of our economy during the COVID-19 pandemic comes a new respect for the casual workforce, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark.,13781
    Paddy Manning writes that as policymakers puzzle over how to wake up Australia’s economy from ‘hibernation’, the Greens believe the solution lies in massive renewable energy investment and a Green New Deal.
    Gains of 10 per cent or more are common in bear markets – and the crisis at many of the world’s businesses is in its early stages writes Garry White.
    Mike Seccombe tells us that with the nation’s focus fixed on the fight against Covid-19, Energy Minister Angus Taylor has forged ahead with a new program that includes measures designed to prop up coal-fired electricity generators and weaken environmental protections.
    Kaye Lee has some questions about Hillsong, Alex Hawke, and the coronavirus.
    Australia’s federal government systems are vulnerable to cyber threats with progress lagging on key security areas. There’s also been a sharp rise in the number of cyber threats reported by commonwealth bodies, jumping to more than 50 per cent from a little over 10 per cent over a year.
    Scott Morrison’s coronavirus marketing is working – just look at the polls says Paula Matthewson.
    Killian Plastow explains why investors are rushing back into the markets despite the coronavirus crisis.
    Kevin Rudd warns that as this crisis continues, we ignore the foreign policy implications at our peril and to the peril of our region.
    The romance and luxury associated with cruise ships hides a darker history that is surfacing now with the Ruby Princess debacle, writes Dr Lee Duffield.,13780
    Young artists have been disadvantaged by continued cuts in arts funding, with the majority of money going to ‘high-brow’ institutions such as opera, ballet, orchestra which are frequented by older audiences Angad Roy reports on state, Federal and local state-of-play for an arts scene now suddenly devastated by the coronavirus.
    As people in Australia and around the world watch life as we have known it crumble and are told to keep apart from each other to stop the virus spreading, refugees and asylum seekers detained in centres around our country face a new threat. And they are not able to comply with the new directives.
    Wisconsin proves it: Republicans will sacrifice voters’ health to keep power writes David Daley.
    Chef Pete Evans earns the quinella of nominations for “Arsehole of the Week” and “Idiot of the Week”.
    Cartoon Corner

    Andrew Dyson

    John Shakespeare

    Alan Moir

    Matt Golding

    Jim Pavlidis

    Matt Davidson

    Peter Broelman

    Jon Kudelka

    Johannes Leak

    From the US

  6. From the Dawn Patrol article re Alex Hawke. In the Pentecostal world it looks like it was Jesus who should have been turfed out of the temple by the money changers and the merchants .

    Far too many of this brand of loon with hands on government levers for my liking.,Scrott,Hawke,Robert etc.

    (Hawke) “The two greatest forces for good in human history are capitalism and Christianity, and when they’re blended it’s a very powerful duo.”

  7. Don’t know about anywhere else, but it is raining and the wind is blowing. There should be many people glad they didn’t go camping this easter.

  8. “Karen Middleton writes that as a police probe begins into the Ruby Princess, details are emerging about other gaps in Australia’s quarantine response, including the use of isolation declaration cards.”

    So the CrimeMinister’s 19th century brainfart to use “Isolation Declaration Cards” with all the rigmarole of passing bits of paper from department to department fell on its face as soon as it was introduced.

    Reading the process for getting these cards to the right offices is like reading a script for a comedy –

    They said ABF officers collected the completed cards and hand-delivered them to “the state and territory healthcare workers present at the international airports”.

    If none were present, the cards were then collected by secure courier and delivered to the health authority in that first-port jurisdiction.

    “How the completed card is then used by state and territories for follow-up is at the discretion of the relevant jurisdiction,” the spokesperson said

    Why not do it all on a computer, with details instantly sent to all relevant offices? Why not instantly alert all state departments of the names and addresses of travellers who would soon be arriving in their jurisdictions?

    Why faff around with bits of paper and couriers?

    Was this done just so the CrimeMinister would have a paper prop to wave around at a presser? A “look at me, I’m doing something” stunt?

    Those cards were not a mere “gap” in our quarantine system, they were a fracking wide-open door inviting the coronavirus to come on in and make lots of new friends.

  9. AFAIAC, anyone defending Pell, and putting the boot in to the ABC, needs to have a bloody good look at themselves in the mirror and also go do some charitable work for victims of child sexual abuse. I can accept that the Pell verdict was the verdict of the High Court. That in itself has raised questions of the current role of the High Court in overturning a verdict of a jury.

    But accepting the decision of the High Court and being aghast that Pell’s supporters are not just breathing a sigh of relief behind drawn blinds is perfectly compatible.

  10. “Paul Kelly has written a huge tome on the Pell decision and he puts the boot into the ABC.”

    Of course he has, the Murdoch rags are going after the ABC on the orders of Rupert Murdoch.

    I have absolutely no interest in reading anything Kelly produces, especially not his attacks on the ABC.

    Don’t forget the background to the Murdoch war against the ABC.

    Rupert is a papal knight, his official title is Knight Commander of St. Gregory the Great, awarded in 1998 by Pope John Paul II. That gives him the right to use the letters “KCSG” after his name. It is the highest honour the Pope can give a lay person.

    This knighthood is given to persons of “unblemished character” who have “promoted the interests of society, the Church and the Holy See”.

    Rupert is not a Catholic.

    He obtained his award because “he had apparently been recommended for the honor by Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles after giving money to a Church education fund. A year later he also donated $10 million to help build Los Angeles’ new Catholic cathedral.”

    Plenty of Catholics were furious when this reward for services rendered was made, many more demanded he be stripped of the award when the News of the World scandal erupted.

    The award ceremony was cheesy to say the least. Rupert didn’t even have to go to the Vatican and the award was not given by the Pope in person. He merely attended a group award ceremony with many others also up for awards, in a suburban Los Angeles church, conducted by his good friend Cardinal Roger Mahony. Rupert’s then wife Anna was also honoured by being made a dame.

    It has always been obvious Rupert bought his knighthood.

    It is also curious that since Murdoch was knighted for his “unblemished character” that he abandoned his wife of 31 years and married one of his “dynamic, tall and gorgeous” female employees who is half his age. When Cardinal Mahony’s office was asked if the knighthood honor would be revoked, a spokesman replied, “As far as I know, once you’ve got it, you’ve got it for good.”

    It appears that as long as someone continues to “promote the interests of society, the Church and the Holy See” character blemishes can be conveniently overlooked. Especially if it includes donations in the $10 million range and distribution of the major Bible “perversion” based on Roman Catholic manuscripts$10-Million-for-New-LA-Cathedral

    Through his Australian media Rupert has targeted the loopy Christian right. It’s not a coincidence The Oz is referred to as “The Catholic Boy’s Daily”. Sky News has become Pell Defence Central since Rupert became sole owner.

    Rupert defended Pell, and continues to do so not because he believes Pell is innocent but because he has always seen financial gain in defending him. He sees getting rid of the ABC as a way to increase that gain. He’;s doing this for the money and silly old Paul Kelly is willing to be a stooge for his master’s gain.

    • How would anyone know exactly where this alleged baptism of Christ took place?

      This is the site of the alleged baptism. Not the sort of place you’d want to wade into, is iut.

      The various Christian faiths have been arguing over the exact location for years. some say the Jordanian site is the correct one, others say it is on the Israeli side of the river.

      The Jordan these days is a polluted trickle full of raw sewage and agricultural run-off and was in that state a year before the Murdoch offspring were dunked. The river was so filthy authorities were begging for an end to baptisms.

      Anyone choosing to be baptised in that muck is putting their health at risk.

  11. Lovely demolition of Hartcher’s piece on the CrimeMinister –

    • Hartcher needs a good kick up the arse. Scrott led the country my arse, The premiers dragged him along. Without them he’d have delayed at least a week longer.

  12. The Saturday Paper Editorial

    A Note on George Pell

    George Pell has not been found innocent. It is wrong to say so.

    The High Court accepted his appeal on the basis of reasonable doubt.

    National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732

  13. Rather unfortunate timing for this German couple’s return. Especially given they were looking forward to the “outdoors and the closely-knit community” . I was particularly interested in her enthusiasm for NZ education , what seems mundane/normal obviously not to an ‘outsider’ .
    Verena Friederike Hasel: NZ’s Covid-19 coronavirus response ‘extraordinary’

    Corona was just the name of a beer when my family and I decided that 2020 would be the year of our return to New Zealand. I am German, born and raised in Berlin.

    Two years ago my husband and I spent six months in New Zealand, living in a North Shore village. Our daughters went to school and kindergarten there. I am a writer. When I saw my daughters flourishing, I started visiting various schools.. ………………………………………

    When we arrived here, we set out to experience ordinary Kiwi life. Instead, we have become witnesses of something that strikes us as quite extraordinary.

    The daily press conference at 1pm has become a jour fixe for my family. We appreciate the rational, fact-based and no-nonsense approach. The leaders of other nations introduce single measures and then take them back, and there tends to be a lot to and fro. New Zealand, in contrast, has settled on an alert-system approach that is both effective and easy to understand – and allows for flexibility.

    • Spot on re the daily press conference. So refreshing to watch compared to the local dreck filled efforts they so often are.

  14. A new bill has been introduced in the Senate which if passed would punish Saudi Arabia over failure to cut oil production by removing all US troops from the kingdom within 30 days.

    FMD that was THE bee in the bonnet of Osama bin Laden. It was what set off the whole jihad/Al Qaeda crapola . Now here we have the US of A threatening to do just what Osama bin Laden wanted/demanded all those years ago 😆

  15. Strange. I thought social distancing was a political issue. After all, the police are using legislation to fine those who don’t conform

    Just back to the NRL, for a moment. We reported earlier that the Peter V’landys, the ARLC chair, said the sport had been given the go-ahead by government to resume matches next month.

    That doesn’t seem to accord with the messaging of the NSW government, which says the NRL must discuss its proposal with health authorities before kicking off again.

    Health minister Brad Hazzard on Saturday said the matter was an issue for NSW Health, and not for politicians.

    “It’s a ‘have a discussion with health authorities to see if it can be done safely’ (scenario),” Hazzard said.

    • Well, according to the mango mussolini, the greatest scientists in the world look up to him as being the greatest of them all …

  16. Global warming ? What global warming ? Went out earlier today in Perth, met with a blasting northerly which felt like it was straight from a furnace. Put the feeling down to being acclimatised to the recent Autumnal weather BUT……turns out we woz 39.2 ……in mid April ! a record by the way.

  17. Our federal MP’s have been accepting largess from Virgin Australia and Qantas for years, long drawing concerns from governance experts. Now scandal prone MP Angus Taylor has found a loophole around disclosing tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts – including from Virgin Australia, whose CEO is begging for a $1.4 billion taxpayer bailout. The loophole means all MP’s can potentially get away with failing to disclose the valuable “gifts” they receive, just as long as they aren’t caught out doing so in the current parliamentary term. Anthony Klan reports.

  18. There are numerous MPs who need severe spankings on their likkle (or praps not all that likkle) bottomz.

    Calling Ms Pinniger …

  19. poverty and welfare

  20. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Well Trump DOES like being number one at everything!
    The US government cut off funding for an Australian research lab just as it was about to test a vaccine that might have helped prevent COVID-19 writes Liam Mannix.
    Australia risks a shortage of rice and other staples during the coronavirus pandemic unless Southern Murray urgently receive water allocations says a water use expert.
    Nine did the game a favour by calling out years of mismanagement at the NRL. It might just prove to be a turning point says Phil Gould.
    The number of new cases in NSW has been fewer than 60 each day for five straight days with the Berejiklian government giving tentative signs it is contemplating how and when restrictions may be relaxed reports Lisa Visentin.
    Mike Foley tells us that the Morrison government is responding to “rapidly increasing demand” for charitable assistance with a $100 million funding injection starting this week.
    Expanded testing and doctors having discretion are key to unlocking COVID-19 restrictions early, according to one top biosecurity expert.
    The global crisis hammers home this truth: people matter more than religion writes Pastor Brad Chilcott. Quite a worthwhile read.
    The 77-year old is never going to be an electrifying nominee, but Joe Biden has a lot to feel good about seven months out from election day writes Matthew Knott.
    Coronavirus: what causes a ‘second wave’ of disease outbreak, and could we see this in Australia?
    Snapping back might have a sting in its tail writes Rosemary Jacob.
    The New Daily reports that today the Federal Government will announce that it will slash prices on a range of tertiary courses by more than 50 per cent in a bid to fill skill shortages once the pandemic is over.
    Jacqui Maley explains how this crisis has brought into sharp relief how much we rely on the low-paid labour of predominantly female workforces.
    Thalidomide, the notorious drug that caused thousands of babies to be born without arms or legs during the 1950s and early 1960s, is being investigated as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
    If this was the first time Australia’s cosseted superannuation sector found itself in a crisis-induced crunch, you could forgive the industry its current consternation. This is however starting to look like a replay of the Global Financial Crisis, little more than a decade ago. Worryingly, unless there is genuine reform, the next crisis will likely produce the same outcome.
    Janine Perrett tells us how the Don Harwin saga starkly exposed the ongoing tensions within the NSW Liberal Party and also between the state and federal governments.
    Australians will have to wait until the end of this year or beyond to restart overseas travel amid estimates the coronavirus crisis has wiped out tourism worth $9 billion a month writes David Crowe.
    Shootings and murders have remained fairly consistent during shelter-in-place, with Chicago registering more shootings in March than the previous year.
    Following accusations of anti-Semitism, an apology has been published by News Ltd to human rights advocate Melissa Parke, writes Peter Wicks.,13783
    “Arseholes of the Week” nomination goes to these predators.

    Cartoon Corner

    Peter Broelman

    Matt Golding

    Simon Letch

    Glen Le Lievre

    From the US

  21. Methinks someone’s credibility has been tarnished vaporised. Note who ranked no.1 and 2

  22. Another installment of Game of Mates, starring the CrimeMinister and his best mate Mick Fuller.

    The CrimeMinister has had his mate make sure the NRL is back playing ASAP. Is he looking for a photo-op?

    Read the thread.

  23. Fiona , youse made me do it. Re posting this video. Shark Cat hunting ducks.

  24. The London Philharmonic Orchestra let loose on the music for a computer game I fell in love with , OMG over a decade ago now. The background music . Jeremy Soule wrioe the music for it. Apparently he is “Basing his work on Debussy’s exploration of harmony, Wagner’s grand operas, and Mozart’s form and composition. “. Not that this uber non classical oaf could spot the difference between a Debussy and a Dvořák 🙂

    His Wagnerian(?) effort.Love it.
    Dragonborn Theme – Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Chor der Hochschule & LJO Bremen Deutschland

  25. rustednut

    Czech nudists told to wear face masks by police

    Triple 😆 you have made my day. What an age we live in 🙂

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