ANZAC Day 2020

My father served in the RAAF during the second world war. He was – officially – ground staff: aircraft crew – servicing the planes etc.. But from the little he disclosed to me towards the end of his life, he not only did that incredibly important job, but sometimes was – illicitly – up in planes, navigating them, sometimes even flying them. This post is a tribute to him, and all of the brave women and men who risked and lost their lives.

In honour of your grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers, brothers, sons, daughters, children – this is for you (and thank you to Pearls and Irritations and – especially – Henry Reynolds – for these words:

This Anzac Day we should question the relentless militarisation of our history and the cult of the digger. These ideals make it easier for Australian governments to commit to wars overseas and more difficult for critics to engage in serious debate.

In 2008, a few months before he suffered the onslaught of a fatal disease the Anglo-American scholar Tony Judt contributed an essay to the New York Review of Books entitled What Have We Learned, If Anything? His concern was that after 1989 the lessons of the past had been cast aside. What then, he wondered is it that we have misplaced in our haste to put the past behind us? In the U.S. at least, we have forgotten the meaning of war.

There is a reason for this. In much of continental Europe, Asia and Africa the twentieth century was experienced as a cycle of wars. War in the last century signified invasion, occupation, displacement, deprivation, destruction, and mass murder.

The United States avoided almost all the horrors. It was not invaded. It did not lose vast numbers of citizens or huge swathes of territory and it was civilian casualties that ‘leave the most enduring mark on national memory.’ Most Americans have been fortunate to live in blissful ignorance of war’s true significance.  As a consequence, the United States was, he believed, the only advanced democracy where public figures glorify and exalt the military, a sentiment familiar in Europe before 1945 but quite unknown today. For many American commentators and policymakers, the message of the C20th is that war works.

How is this relevant to Australia and to Anzac Day? That depends on what feature of Anzac day we consider. The national lament for all the young lives lost in war, the familial grief, the continuing impact on the wounded and scarred should make us all join hands in collective gratitude and regret regardless of the nature of particular wars.

But there is much more to Anzac Day than a paean to lives lost in war. The centenary in 2015 entrenched ideas which have been with us for a long time and which have been endlessly fortified by association with heroic sacrifice. The rhetoric is familiar given its ubiquity. The Anzac landing, generations of children have been told, made Australia a nation. The shores of Gallipoli were where the nation was born.  The spirit displayed there has been an inspiration,  a touchstone, ever since. The message is so relentlessly repeated by national leaders that, to many people, it seems disloyal to subject it to sceptical examination.

But it is an extraordinary proposition! And where did it come from? The idea that nations are born in war was common among Europeans and Americans in the late 19th century and early 20th century. It slipped easily from the tongues of a generation which had little experience of the real thing. Australia’s coming of age was proclaimed during innumerable speeches made while sending the colonial detachments off to the Boer War and then welcoming them home again. But it was an idea that belonged to an era that was coming to an end. By the end of 1915, it was sinking into the blood-soaked mud of the Western Front. It lived on in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy but had become totally discredited by 1945.

However on earth did such a dangerous, atavistic idea survive and flourish in Australia? Is it an idea we would promote more widely? Proclaim that we came to national maturity by invading the Ottoman Empire at the behest of the British? That we needed to engage in a carnival of killing to be able to stand tall in the world? Apart from anything else, it is a profoundly irresponsible idea to preserve and propagate in the 21st century.

But of equal concern is the way in which the Anzac legend distorts our understanding of our own history. If the nation was truly born in April 1915 what came before is diminished. And it frequently appears that those who proclaim the idea know little about the history of colonial and early federation Australia. Otherwise, how could they cleave to such a proposition which falls apart under even elementary exegesis?

Whatever was it that the new federation lacked at the start of 1914 that was provided by the young men who stormed ashore at Gallipoli? Australia and New Zealand were the most democratic societies in the world and the most prosperous with wealth more evenly shared than was the case elsewhere. It was all the result of more than two generations of nation-building accomplished by thousands of men and women from all walks of life. How can a failed military campaign possibly compare with these diverse, demonstrable, achievements?

And what is even more pertinent is that Australasian political reform and social achievements of the period were known and admired in many parts of the world as the work of Marilyn Lake has established.  In the first decade of the 20th century, Australians saw themselves as ‘a confident, independent, global pioneer in creating an advanced democracy that drew the eyes of the world to the new Commonwealth.’  But when the war was over Australia was deeply divided and the spirit of social and political innovation has been crushed. In an earlier contribution to Pearls and Irritations  (23/4/14) Lake observed that ‘ during World War 1 Australia lost its way. Its enmeshment in the imperial European War fractured the nation’s soul.’

Not that we heard much in that vein during our carnival of commemoration between 2014 and 2018. What stood out was the fact that Australia spent so much and indeed far more than any other country. It all culminated in the extreme folly—the $100 million devoted to a museum in northern France commemorating the achievements of the Australian divisions.

Quite apart from the diversion of money from Australia’s cash strapped institutions it helps create the illusion that Australia was more important in the war than her small contribution of five  out of over 250 allied divisions in 1918 could possibly have achieved even if they did ’punch above their weight.’ But there was in Australia’s commemoration a decided note of triumphalism which might have been understandable in 1919 or 1920 but was odd to the point of aberration a hundred years later when we can see what a catastrophe the war was or as Niall Ferguson observed some years ago ‘the greatest error in modern history.’ Should our contribution to that terrible and avoidable disaster have been commemorated at all? Shame and remorse might have been more appropriate responses.

But there is purpose motivating the relentless militarisation of our history and the cult of the digger. They have contemporary relevance; they have real political power in the here and now. They make it easier for Australian governments to commit to wars overseas and more difficult for critics to engage in serious debate. The heroic image of the digger inhibits any assessment of the costs and benefits of war. Questions about the wisdom of engagements are seen as diminishing the sacrifice and suffering of participants. Without serious debate about our involvement in overseas conflicts, we appear to be shadowing our American allies, who as Judt observed, were convinced that war works.

719 thoughts on “ANZAC Day 2020

  1. “Tim Richards has discovered some unexpected pleasures he has found during the lockdown. He intends to keep some going”

    I’m getting really sick of wankers writing drivel about the way they have discovered so many allegedly “new” things to do during isolation.

    I have to ask what the hell these people did with their lives before the virus forced us all to stay at home.

    Tim, who seems not to have children, is amazed to find he can shop at small independent supermarkets and specialty markets. Who would ever have imagined such places even existed? Only those of us who have been shopping at these places for years, Tim. Some will even deliver.

    He’s stunned to discover he doesn’t need alcohol. I haven’t had alcohol since Christmas, haven’t felt I needed it. I don’t even have any booze in the house.

    Tim – whoever he is (am I supposed to care?) is amazed to find he doesn’t need to go out for coffee.

    Who would ever have thought you could make a decent cup yourself, in your own kitchen! Amazing! For those of us who are not members of the Cult of Coffee and have been quietly making our own at home for decades this revelation made me facepalm. Is he serious?

    Tim has discovered the delights of home cooking. What on earth did he and his wife do before? Eat out three times a day, plus coffee breaks? Doesn’t everyone cook at home? Doesn’t everyone try out new recipes? Obviously not.

    As for the vegetarian business – of course he and his wife are vegies, – well, sort of. I’m surprised Tim is not looking at going vegan, it’s what all the trendy people are doing right now..Don’t you love the self-righteous comment blaming the virus on “a meat-related source” FFS! For all we know the infected bat or whatever could have pooped on a pile of vegetables which were then consumed by human vegetarians..

    I’m really sick of this wankerism. Who would have thought you can exercise at home. read books, watch movies, cook your own meals, learn to crochet, play with the family pets and spend more time with your kids? Only normal people who live normal, non-trendy lives, rarely eat out and don’t “go out for coffee” five times a day, that’s who.

    I read these articles – every journalist and wanna-be writer seems to be churning them out now – about how surprised they are by discovering so much to do and I just keep wondering what they did before. They must have lived boring, useless lives.

    Maybe the virus will inspire some people to live simpler lives, but going by the speed with which people have rushed out for breakfast and to pubs I really don’t expect many will stick with it.

  2. As I said yesterday, we don’t socialise much, but having gone out last night, sitting outside (with Razz plonked right next to the portable gas heater), we really enjoyed seeing the almost dozen people we haven’t seen since just before Xmas. Lots of talk and laughter, a small amount of alcohol, and a b-b-q.

    Son has bought a new wood heater. It has cut his fuel down to a quarter of what the old one took. We are ringing tomorrow to get one the same. He has done all due diligence on it so we don’t have to. Looking forward to having a warm bedroom and bathroom.

  3. So much for “kids don’t get the virus”, the whole reason for reopening schools.

  4. leonetwo

    Twee wankery ‘middle class’ first world problem stories of the ‘horrors’ or ‘wonders’ of the lockdown have been a real mainstay of meeja reporting. Tells you a lot about the ‘demographic’ world our journos inhabit and what management think are what the ‘people’ need/want.

    Personally not too much has changed. Still had to work 5 days a week, a yuge plus given the difficulty of getting another job in my ‘demographic., (First World Problem Alert) should have been in Darwin for a holiday right now, still in touch by phone and email with old friends,still been able to drop around to local friends,The Pub still open 🙂 . No pubs,night clubs? No problem,over them years ago

    One great thing that has happened during the ‘lockdown’ is I finally set to getting rid of all the Wintergrass I had allowed to build up in the lawn. Not there yet but by golly I’m winning .Yaaay 🙂

    • Nothing much has changed for me either. My limited social life has stopped, but we are still in touch thanks to the internet.

      I haven’t been to a pub for 50 years, I hate clubs, I rarely go out for meals so pubs, clubs and cafes reopening is just “meh” to me. I order all my supermarket shopping online now, instead of some of it. Apart from that it’s all as normal.

  5. My son looked at a flat a few years back, bloody expensive, the thing had no trace of a kitchen. It was expected that you would eat out for every meal.

    • It’s common in the US to have apartments without kitchens, so what they do we copy.

      I can’t imagine eating out or eating takeaway for every meal, I’d hate it, even if I could afford it.

      I know my health would suffer too, because I have to be very picky about what I eat for health reasons. It’s just easiest to cook at home.

    • I lived for some time in a modern flat without kitchen. But we had a large communal kitchen and that’s where I cooked. It was okay for a year or so.

  6. Land prices and real estate prices have reached such bullshit levels that they have to leave out things like a kitchen so as to be able the place to not look like a rabbit hutch and give the illusion of there being more ‘living space’ . Feckers.It is why they are so keen on immigration. I have seen great increases in immigration to Australia under Howard, NZ under Key and WA when the resources boom hit. Each time property prices went va va voom. Coincidence ? I think not. Great for those who already had property but stress levels for everyone following go through the roof. Housing costs suck the life out of their wage and put them on the edge of homelessness. Makes for passive workers too. Can’t get too bolshie else you lose your job and these days that means you are not too far off being homeless.

  7. Strange, or maybe not. This is coming from US conservative RW peeps. The Quincy Institute a Koch bro project. Yet it sounds pretty ‘lefty mainstream’. A call for isolationism ?

    It Took COVID To Expose The Fraud Of ‘American Exceptionalism’

    Our leaders were so preoccupied with remaking the world they failed to see that our country was falling apart around them.

    Has the time come to bury the conceit of American exceptionalism? In an article for the American edition of The Spectator, Quincy Institute President Andrew Bacevich concludes just that:

    The coronavirus pandemic is a curse. It should also serve as an opportunity, Americans at long last realizing that they are not God’s agents. Out of suffering and loss, humility and self-awareness might emerge. We can only hope.
    The heart of the American exceptionalism in question is American hubris. It is based on the assumption that we are better than the rest of the world, and that this superiority both entitles and obligates us to take on an outsized role in the world.

    In our current foreign policy debates, the phrase “American exceptionalism” has served as a shorthand for justifying and celebrating U.S. dominance, and when necessary it has served as a blanket excuse for U.S. wrongdoing.

  8. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Shaun Carney says that our future beyond the pandemic hangs on how much courage resides inside those who lead our national government. Their task is to reimagine a different Australia, unencumbered by ideological rigidity and their natural policy timidity.
    And Andrew Charlton says that our fragile economy cannot cope with an early end to government support.
    Ross Gittins warns that with the lockdown slowly being unlocked a return to the ‘lifter vs leaners’ approach to politics could be fatal for the Morrison government. Well worth reading.
    Jim Chalmers is “petrified” the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic will result in some workers being lost to long-term unemployment.
    Michael Pascoe observes that If it holds that the last third of our three-year terms is concentrated on getting re-elected, Scott Morrison is halfway through his opportunity to use his secure leadership to make a difference, to chance his arm in pursuit of what needs to be done. He says that a year after winning the power to do so, there’s no sign of Scott Morrison wanting to, wanting to do anything much at all, unless you count chanting the IR/tax cuts/red tape mantra as something.
    The RMIT’s Helen Souness explains how the Coronavirus pandemic gives Australia a chance to fix our skills gaps in technology. She says employers need not think of training as a cost or an employment benefit. They should reframe that thinking of it as a strategic investment that can deliver a competitive edge.
    Andrew Leigh calls for Australians to not be left behind as we climb out of this crisis.
    It is going to be difficult for Australia to wean itself off the support provided by government in response to COVID-19. A good place to start is by tightening the turnover test for JobKeeper from July, writes Exante Data’s Grant Wilson.
    Simon Benson writes that popular support for the federal Coalition has climbed to its highest level since last September ahead of a looming by-election in Eden-Monaro, as Scott Morrison cemented record approval ratings for his leadership during the COVID-19 crisis.
    Andrew Probyn explains how coronavirus has remade Scott Morrison’s prime ministership, a year on from the election.
    The editorial in the AFR wishes for bipartisan support for a pro-growth agenda would conclusively consign the quiet Australians meaning of the 2019 election to history’s dustbin, and open a new COVID-19-written chapter in Australia’s economic reform story.
    Paul Karp writes that four-in-five self-employed Australians have reported their profits have taken a hit as a result of the Covid-19 contraction, with almost one third worried their businesses will not be viable in two months without improved conditions.
    A coalition of 62 countries has backed Australia’s call for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus, with the ultimate goal of countering another pandemic. In a carefully worded draft resolution which does not single out China, the countries call for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of “the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19”.
    Sally Whyte reveals that potentially hundreds of thousands of current and former Centrelink recipients will receive letters through MyGov this week alerting them that they could be eligible for the class action against the government over robodebt and giving the option to opt out of the case. I’m sure all will end well with Stuart Robert taking the lead.
    Luke Henriques-Gomes also covers this story.
    Calls to diversify Australian exports following a diplomatic blowup with China represent “peak stupidity,” according to one prominent economist.
    Two major European leaders have told their citizens not to wait to be saved by a coronavirus vaccine.
    According to the AFR Australia’s world-leading response to the COVID-19 crisis may dramatically lower the extent of debt required by the Morrison government to support the economy, providing a boost to global fixed income investors that have rushed to buy the nation’s bonds.
    Decarbonisation is our future. It must be factored into the coronavirus recovery say Pradeep Philip and Will Rayward-Smith.
    Angela Jackson wonders what the “new normal” will look like for women.
    The Andrews government will announce a $500m package to build 168 new units and upgrade 23,000 more to help bolster the coronavirus-ravaged economy.
    The Coalition won the 2013 federal election beating their chest about Labor’s “debt and deficit”. Thanks to COVID-19, we’re unlikely to see a surplus in our lifetime or our children’s. But, let’s not forget that the current debt blow-out occurred well before the coronavirus impacted the economy. Alan Austin checks how Australia shapes up against other OECD countries.
    The AFR tells us that China has sought to defuse tensions with Australia, insisting it is committed to the free-trade deal despite disagreement over the government’s proposed coronavirus inquiry.
    The Australian Federal Police will need a team of specialist investigators as they prepare for the first prosecutions on home soil of ­alleged atrocities committed by Australian troops at war writes Paul Maley.
    Steven Marshall has flatly rejected calls to reopen the state’s borders, saying more freedoms could be relaxed in the next wave of opening up if SA holds the line.
    Alexandra Smith reports that the state government was on Sunday frantically finalising its pandemic public transport plan as more Syneysiders return to work and students go back to school full-time.
    Peter Martin reports that economists have backed social distancing 34-9 in new Economic Society-Conversation survey.
    Families that have taken elderly relatives out of aged care during COVID-19 will no longer face penalties to hold their spot reports Dana McCauley.
    Jennifer Duke and Fergus Hunter tell us that overhauling the childcare sector to reduce the cost burden on families could help bring more women into the workplace and improve productivity, with leading economists encouraging the government to undertake a wide-ranging review to help boost the post-coronavirus recovery.
    Matt Wade writes that analysis shows those who received the Coronavirus Supplement and the government’s one-off $750 stimulus payment spent 39% more than normal last week – and those receiving neither spent 18% less than usual.
    Michael Brissenden writes that former chief scientists and senior public servants are no longer staying silent about what they believe has been a colossal failure by politicians of all stripes to comprehensively tackle climate change. This story will run on 4 Corners tonight.
    Distraction-related road deaths have spiked to record levels across South Australia, where inattention has contributed to more than half of the lives lost so far this year.
    McDonald’s has closed 12 restaurants in Victoria and staff at the affected outlets have been advised to be tested after an external delivery truck driver tested positive to COVID-19. This is an example of how quickly things could get away from us.
    Colin Kruger reports that NAB will temporarily hire more staff as it starts assessing the status of more than 80,000 mortgage holders who have put payments on hold due to COVID-19.
    Adele Ferguson reveals more serious troubles for AMP.
    Supermarkets claim to have our health at heart. But their marketing tactics push junk foods explains this group of nutritionists.
    Deloitte has whittled Virgin Australia’s suitors down to just four.
    Matthew Peel unpacks the recent history of Australian rugby, arguing that former CEO Raelene Castle did not deserve to be forced out of her position.,13903
    British negotiators fear Michel Barnier has been unable to get EU leaders to focus on Brexit trade and security talks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, as Downing Street prepares to publish a draft treaty this week in an effort to reboot the process.
    Larry Elliott explains how England found itself at the wrong end of the Covid-19 league table.
    Did a near-death experience change Boris Johnson wonders Catherine Bennett.
    Robert Reich says that America’s corporate elite must place the health of their workers before profit. Good luck with that!
    Donald Trump has hit back at Barack Obama’s criticism of his administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, accusing the former US president of being “grossly incompetent” during his time in office. (Unlike himself who we all know is a genius!).
    America isn’t sick just because of Covid-19.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe

    Jim Pavlidis

    Peter Broelman

    Michael Leunig

    Matt Golding

    John Shakespeare

    Johannes Leak

    From the US

  9. In news that will shock no one the ‘miracle’ drug is a dud. (open in Incognito window)

    The results are in. Trump’s miracle drug is useless.
    Not forgetting our own wee Ghunt.

    Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced he has struck a deal to get a “miracle drug” touted by President Trump”

    • Told youse!

      So what is the government planning on doing with the huge amount of hydroxychloroquine kindly dumped on the national medical stockpile by Clive Palmer? They say they will not release it for genuine, prescribed use by those who actually need it to manage auto-immune conditions, it’s main use in Australia. They won’t even consider sending it to countries who need it to treat malaria. It will probably sit in storage until it passes its use-by date and has to be thrown out.

      If this alleged donated drug stash actually exists, that is. There seems to be some doubt about that.

      Meanwhile around the world those who need this drug for genuine medical conditions are having trouble getting their normal supplies, thanks to loons like Trump, Palmer and Grunt creating needless shortages by giving false hope of a cure, causing panic buying and buying up existing stocks.

      Drug imported for Covid-19 trials won’t be given to Australians who need it for other conditions
      Clive Palmer bought millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine but those who rely on it for autoimmune conditions will not have access, government says

  10. The Washington Post has a look at NZ. Note the date. Scotty from Marketing would have had the same and probably more information at that time and he was still Scotty For Footy in mid March

    NZ had one advantage, the ‘business community’ looks to have had a different attitude to the one here.(from article)
    Ardern’s government closed the borders. Business leaders urged even more drastic steps.

    Asia & Pacific
    New Zealand edges back to normal after quashing coronavirus in 49 days

    On Feb. 13, a full two weeks before New Zealand’s first confirmed coronavirus case, Ardern and her finance minister, Grant Robertson, were hungry for statistics……………….“She wanted the data and the modeling, and she recognized the patterns. The government saw early on that this was much more serious than SARS,” Jones said,

  11. The government is still pushing ahead with trials of hydroxychloroquine, despite every major trial saying it has no effect on COVID-19.

    Even worse, they are using the defence forces as guinea pigs.

    Calls for Australian Defence Force chloroquine COVID-19 drug trial to be halted

    An East Timor veteran suffering long term health issues after taking part in a controversial drug trial is horrified that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is once again trialling on its personnel, this time for COVID-19.

    Opponents have called for the trial to be scrapped, with questions over whether they were volunteers
    Wayne Karakyriacos said he feels betrayed by Defence for pushing ahead with a new clinical trial when he and other veterans are still struggling mentally and physically from past trials.

    “Twenty years I’ve been suffering with an acquired brain injury,” he told 7.30.

    “Still to this day, I haven’t been contacted by Defence or anyone from the department to follow up to see how I was travelling.”

    The ADF has recently started a voluntary clinical trial to test an antimalarial drug called Chloroquine as a potential preventative measure against COVID-19.

    So far, 42 personnel have enrolled and started the 14-week trial.

    I love this quote –
    “If they want Defence to do a trial, then the Chief of Defence Force, the Chief of Army, the Brigade Commanders and all the generals, they can take the drug trial.

    “They can stand up and do it instead of pushing it down to where an 18-year-old, a 20-year-old will be ‘voluntold’ and feel pressured to take these antimalarials.”

  12. Note the mention of our own Daily Tele

  13. Also see

  14. Am I getting paranoid?
    I have been doing genealogy for a few years now but just noticed where you go when you do a lookup on Victorian Birth deaths and Marriages (BDM), it’s all stored in Amazon (AWS).
    The government has given everything about everyone in Victoria to Amazon for safe keeping, I wonder why I don’t feel safe.

    If you had a reasonable speed internet it would be gone in milliseconds and you wouldn’t notice. Having crappy NBN where it sits for a minute or two or three attempting to connect to Amazon the address is quite obvious.

  15. Watching 4corners, they were doing well until they used the misquote of what Julia Gillard said. You would think in reviewing for this show, they could have at least played the full quote, and point out how it was misused, but sadly not to be.

    • Based on the way the ABC has been lately I’d say that was done deliberately.

      The ABC has been the absolute pits lately. I don’t know if it’s Ita’s influence or the funding cuts putting the wind up the staff that are left, but everything is deliberately skewed to be pro-government. Once upon a time the ABC could be relied on to give the facts, but not any more. It’s now a weird cross between a government propaganda machine and the Murdoch media.

  16. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    With justification, Peter Hartcher describes Trump as the “mad sheriff” as he examines Australia’s strategic position.
    Katharine Murphy unpicks the latest Essential poll of 1,073 respondents that suggests the economic shock caused by the pandemic has shaken people’s faith in their short and medium term labour market prospects, with low optimism about wages growth and prospects for promotion once the crisis has passed.
    Australian shares are set to catch a global wave of enthusiasm about rising prospects for a vaccine against the COVID-19 virus. ASX futures were up 2pc.
    China’s President Xi Jinping has backed a comprehensive review of the global response to the coronavirus, but has stopped short of endorsing an independent probe advocated for by Australia and the European Union.
    The global economy will take much longer to recover fully from the shock caused by the new coronavirus than initially expected, the head of the International Monetary Fund said, and she stressed the danger of protectionism.
    The SMH editorial says that prolonged continuation of closed state borders looms as a huge economic challenge and should not be viewed just as basic interstate rivalry. The national cabinet should turn its attention to resolving the issues co-operatively, in the interests of the whole nation’s recovery from the debilitating pandemic.
    Frank Bongiorno writes that crises can make leaders but they can also break them – or, as happened over the summer with Morrison, nearly break them. He says that despite Morrison’s good start on the pandemic Morrison faces immense challenges of rebuilding the economy in the context of debt, deficit, global depression and the danger of new outbreaks of disease, may well be a more testing challenge to his leadership than anything so far.
    The editorial in the AFR says that a year on from its devastating federal election defeat, it is no clearer where modern Labor stands on the mainstream economic reform agenda.
    Michelle Grattan discusses a five point plan that Bill Kelty has proposed to help Australia climb out of the recession.
    South Australia is headed for huge State Budget deficits of more than $1 billion both this year and next, as spending explodes and tax returns plummet due to unprecedented coronavirus pandemic responses.
    Troy Bramston writes that Scott Morrison can’t make history while he’s still a mystery.
    The big stimulus spending has just begun. Here’s how to get it right, quickly suggests Richard Denniss.
    Bevan Shields writes that the European Union would be allowed to raise joint debt under an unprecedented coronavirus recovery plan considered a political and fiscal no-go zone only two weeks ago.
    New data suggests the economy is on the road to recovery. A survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found the number of Australians with a job has steadily increased over the month to early May.
    The unemployment rate gets the headlines but it’s underemployment we should look out for warns Greg Jericho.
    Fergus Hunter tell us that Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has condemned online misinformation linking 5G technology to the coronavirus and sounded the alarm about a growing vandalism risk to critical telecommunications infrastructure.
    Experts are calling for couriers and other workers at risk of becoming “super-spreaders” to be the focus of a new wave of coronavirus testing, after a dozen McDonald’s outlets were closed when a delivery driver tested positive to COVID-19. The article lists a number of occupations that pose similar risks.
    Hundreds of McDonald’s employees in Melbourne are on unpaid leave for 14-days because they may have come into contact with a delivery driver who tested positive to Covid-19.
    Ian Harper, the economist who chaired Australia’s minimum wage panel the last time it decided to freeze the pay of Australia’s poorest workers has warned any increase this year risks higher unemployment and lower spending.
    The editorial in The Canberra Times says that it’s a time for empathy, and evidence-based measures that actually help people gain new skills and meaningful employment, instead of just punishing them for falling on hard times.
    The Grattan Institute’s Marion Terrill understands Gladys Berejiklian’s nervousness about relaxing the lockdown. She says travelling on public transport is risky at present, and her plan is a sensible attempt to deal with those risks head-on.
    Mike Foley reports that the Morrison government is eyeing legislative changes to allow its clean energy agencies to fund carbon capture and storage from fossil fuel projects in a bid to unlock $2b of private investment to reduce greenhouse gases. Here we go again!
    According to the AFR businesses are manipulating their cash flow to artificially suppress monthly revenue and game the federal government’s $130 billion wage subsidies. Surprised?
    The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has appointed top Sydney barrister David McLure SC, a former legal officer attached to the special forces turned rising star of the Sydney bar, to lead efforts to prosecute decorated Afghan veteran Ben Roberts-Smith for alleged war crimes.
    Processing of both temporary and permanent visas appears to have all but ceased, even ahead of the pandemic, writes Abul Rizvi.,13906
    The government has tossed $130 billion at business, the corporate largesse is dripping all over the big end of town. Even highly profitable $8 billion property developers such as Mirvac are rolling in the free money, yet when it comes to Virgin Australia they are being all punctilious about “letting the market sort it out”. Michael West reports on the future of Virgin.
    Matt Johnson reports that Australia’s big banks have come under fire for charging ‘exorbitant’ interest rates on credit cards tied to Virgin Australia’s frequent flyer program.
    The AIMN piles into Andrew Laming over his comment in the media recently suggesting that parents send their children back to school, regardless of the recommendations of the various Education Departments around Australia.
    The head of an international group coordinating coronavirus vaccines has warned against “vaccine nationalism”, saying she fears for what happens once a vaccine is found.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz explains how The US is playing a dangerous game as it seeks new pressure points to demonstrate how tough it is on China.
    Jennifer Hewett writes about the death of hot-desking, a cost saving masquerading as a HR fad.
    Anna Patty reports that new allegations of misconduct have been levelled at St Andrew’s College after a landmark review had recommended cultural change. This outfit certainly has form!
    Jenna Price explains just what that form is.
    Rosalind Dixon proposes ways in which the government spend on childcare can be effectively repurposed to assist our economic recovery.
    David Crowe reveals that the Morrison government is yet to spend more than $600 million in cash promised one year ago for community projects, just as local councils call for urgent funding to boost the economy.
    There is no way bankers want to get embroiled in the battle between billionaire retailer Solomon Lew and the big shopping mall owners and retail landlords, but they’re keeping a close watch writes Karen Maley.
    The London Telegraph explains how Saudi Arabia has been forced to take a good look at itself.
    The Washington Post says Trump has proclaimed the latest phase of pandemic response the “transition to greatness”. But Trump appears poised to preside over the eventual transition more as a salesman and marketer than a decider.
    The Washington Post reports that US Attorney-General William Barr says he does not expect a Justice Department review of the FBI’s handling of 2016 election interference to lead to criminal investigation of former president Barack Obama or former vice-president Joe Biden.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe

    Cathy Wilcox

    Andrew Dyson

    Matt Golding

    Andrew Weldon

    Mark David

    Chris Downes

    John Spooner

    From the US

  17. China has imposed the 80% barley tariff on Australian imports, something it has been threatening to do for at least 18 months.

    China imposes 80pc tariff on Australian barley for next five years amid global push for coronavirus investigation

    Maybe if our very own Trump Mini-Me had not been so eager to make threats against China and to parrot Trump’s inane anti-China rhetoric this would never have happened. A sane PM and competent minsters would have found diplomatic ways to deal with this issue, but we have a control freak PM utterly in thrall to Trump and an assortment of incompetent loons as ministers headed by the hapless Birmo who apparently has spent days sitting by his phone waiting for a call from China that never came.It never occurred to him to make the call himself.

    Meanwhile most of our journalists are ignoring the deliberate destruction of Australia’s relationship with our biggest trading partner and are continuing to churn out “Isn’t the PM wonderful, look how well he is handling the coronavirus crisis” bullshit as fast as their fingers can type.

    I used to say Abbott was so adored by the media that he could shag a goat in the Great Hall of Parliament House and the press would react by praising his amazing (allegedly) physical fitness. What would the CrimeMinister have to do to surpass that level of grovelling? Sacrifice a virgin to his god on a specially built altar in the same venue? Nah – they’d just praise him for showing his deep devotion to his “faith”.

  18. What a liar!

    Trump claims to have been taking hydroxychloroquine despite FDA warnings – as it happened
    FDA has warned against using the drug without medical supervision

    The key word there is “claims”.

    This drug has been proved useless as a cure for COVID-19. There’s no point taking it as ” a prophylactic measure” as it can’t stop you getting the virus. It will not stop you getting any of the legitimate conditions it is used to treat either. It just helps reduce inflammation in certain medical conditions.

    I sort of hope Trump is taking it, because the side effects are very nasty and can prove fatal if the drug is not taken under medical supervision.

    I suspect he or his family has bought up huge stocks of this drug, expecting to make a fortune,but now it is known to be useless against the virus they are desperate to sell off their hoard.

    If he really is taking it then that brings up serious questions about his doctor and his health.

  19. leonetwo

    I sort of hope Trump is taking it, because the side effects are very nasty and can prove fatal if the drug is not taken under medical supervision.

    When he said he has been hearing great things about it and he has been taking it I immediately thought ” Cunning assassination plan” 🙂

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