Is this the worst year the world has experienced since the Spanish Flu epidemic? Or since the combined years of WW1? Or since the combined years of WW2? Korea? Vietnam? Eritrea? Sudan? Zimbabwe? The 1990s Balkan wars? ISIS? And I could go on and on reciting devastating appalling “local” conflicts for hours.
Is this the worst year since HIV-AIDS manifested itself? Or SARS? Or Ebola?
Singly each of those wars/epidemics, has been appalling.
However (taking a deep breath), 2020 is, possibly in the modern era, the worst single year since all those catastrophes.
Not to mention mere asides like political corruption …
Can we reflect on what’s happened? Can we learn lessons? Can we move forward? Can we still have hope?
YES WE CAN!
We are grandparents, parents, children, spouses, siblings. We care for our friends. We have non-human animals for whom we care deeply. We care for our fauna, our flora, our environment, for everything that allows to exist on this extremely thin skin of the ecosphere.
We care for truth, for honesty, for trust, and for mutual respect – not just for our cultures, or our own species – but for everything that lives on and enables life on Earth.
Yesterday afternoon I listened to the first global broadcast of Max Richter’s decade-in-the-making composition Voices – essentially a musical representation of the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights. I found it incredibly moving.
If you don’t have time for/want to listen to it, may I recommend its precursor: Mercy.
Because I think that’s what we all need now.
Unto us a child is born.
Please let that be a child of, and with, hope.
381 thoughts on “2020: Voices”
After the experience in Victoria, I’ve held the theory that once Covid outbreaks occur in poor suburbs, any hope of containment is over.
The first wave in Melbourne wasn’t so bad because the outbreaks were occurring in rich suburbs. But the second wave occurred in poor suburbs in the North, West, and Southeast, and it took a harsh city-wide lockdown for several months to bring it under control.
I have a feeling that Sydney is about to learn this lesson very harshly, and I hope that it doesn’t come to it. Yet, we’ve just had Christmas, and are about to have New Year celebrations. Lots of large family gatherings have occurred and will occur this week, and it’ll be all downhill from there.
If that case happens, hopefully the fact that the media in NSW acts as compliant stenographers for the Coalition government will make it as easy as possible for the virus to be controlled, rather than go through the bullshit we went through in Victoria with constant defiance and rebellion against virus control measures from political opponents of the Labor government.
I think you are right.
Unfortunately, I suspect the NSW-based media will just do what they did last time: bat it through to the keeper.
NSW seems to be spreading the virus to Victoria- the 3 Victorian cases today are said to be related to one of the Sydney outbreaks.
All Gladys can do is give meaningless, confused “advice” based on political ideology, not on medical advice.
Mrs Wilma Slurrie nails it!
Gold Standard Gladbag could be in for a lot of grief. Sadly not as much as those who will suffer due to her incompetence should the outbreak take off .
… former vice-president of the Australian Medical Association Stephen Parnis said he was shocked that NSW had not worked harder to suppress its current outbreak.
“Three new cases in Melbourne, which aren’t in one place. Reportedly linked to the Sydney outbreak. It beggars belief after all we have learned and endured that NSW is still not going harder in suppressing the current outbreak,” he said
Good morning Dawn Patrollers
John Hewson says that both the Morrison government and the Reserve Bank must do much more to address growing inequalities made worse by bushfires and the coronavirus. He warns that ignoring this shift will be at our own peril, using the experience of the US to make his point.
And Josh Bornstein writes that the federal government and its big business supporters will soon be forced to acknowledge that the economy needs healthy wage growth to recover. He puts forward a reasoned argument.
Euan Black explains five ways this recession is like no other.
Katherine Murphy outlines six reasons to look on the bright side about Australian politics after a grim 2020.
Celebrity Dannii Minogue’s successful bid to quarantine at a private home after arriving from California sparked backlash to the Queensland Premier’s office from returning Australians who had to pay for hotel quarantine, documents reveal. Understandable, I suppose.
Biosecurity researcher Raina McIntyre is concerned by the logic that was applied to letting the Sydney test match proceed.
And sports writer Greg Baum says however slight the public health risk in proceeding with the third Test at the SCG, it flies in the face of the way sport generally has managed its COVID-19 response.
Cait Kelly writes that epidemiologists warned of national spread via NSW and now it’s happening.
On Covid, the SMH editorial says the key factor is not political ideology but the pragmatic question of which countries had a co-ordinated public health response.
The Age details the Covid cases that have leaked from NSW into Victoria and how the government there is managing it.
On Twitter, former diplomat Bruce Haigh sums it up nicely with “Hello NSW and Australia. You are watching a catastrophe unfold in NSW due to the Premiers compliance with pressure from Morrison, RW idealogues including the IPA, and greedy big business. The people of NSW are guinea pigs to this potent mix. Criminal.”
The editorial in The Age declares that fair global distribution of vaccines is vital.
The Australian dollar is at its highest level since June 2018, clearing US76c on the back of surging global economic activity and a weaker US dollar, but it comes against the express wishes of the Reserve Bank of Australia and might threaten a broader post-pandemic economic recovery for the labour-intensive services and industrial sectors.
Nick Bonyhady writes that Uber has settled a legal challenge that struck at the heart of its business model and could have resulted in its drivers and riders being classified as employees, after three Federal Court judges savaged the company’s arguments at trial. They stared down the barrel and didn’t like what they saw!
Harley Dennett tells us that army commanders under whom the Afghanistan war crimes allegedly occurred will not have to wait much longer to learn how the Defence Force chiefs intend to respond to their alleged command failures.
Aaron Patrick writes about what ha calls the defamation trial of the century where there are reputations to be lost on either side depending on the result of Victoria Cross winner Ben Roberts-Smith’s lawsuit against Nine’s newspapers over war crimes allegations.
The nation’s competition regulator has called on Canberra to directly subsidise insurance premiums in Australia’s tropical north to help offset spiralling costs for business and households.
Welfare groups are calling for a permanent increase in JobSeeker payments to bring people above the poverty line as the federal government moves to reduce COVID-19 benefits.
And some top economists want the dole permanently increased in 2021 and a closer review of the federal government’s wage subsidy scheme JobKeeper to determine the future of the $100 billion lifeline.
While most Australians were settling into holiday mode last week, Resources Minister Keith Pitt gifted another $130 million Christmas present to Woodside to help the oil and gas titan clean up its own mess. Callum Foote reports the latest instalment of the Northern Endeavour debacle – a sneaky slug to taxpayers and a slap for the East Timorese. The big question now is, will taxpayers have to pay for all oil and gas clean ups?
According to Latika Bourke, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said that the deterioration in China’s relationship with Australia is not something Beijing wanted to see and that he would like the relationship back on the right track “as early as possible”.
Katy Balls thinks that the biggest risk for Boris Johnson in 2021 is having no one else to blame.
Julius Krein suggests that Donald Trump’s influence will evaporate once he leaves office.
This federal court judge certainly gave Trump a serve!
Glen Le Lievre
From the US
Morning all, hope next year is better
Fintan OToole essay on Brexit
History will judge that the near 50-year relationship between the UK and Europe has been good for both. Best to forget the rancorous ending
Murphy trots out yet another piece of dross.
Let’s take her “Six reasons to look on the bright side about Australian politics after a grim 2020” apart.
1 – Experts. Yes, there were experts giving good advice on health, the economy and climate change but unfortunately the federal government took no notice of them, preferring to listen to their own tame, well-coached “advisers” who simply repeated government propaganda at us. Even now Gladys is ignoring the pleas of medical experts and has refused to do anything that might help control the increasing NSW outbreaks, instead we get Kerry Chant agreeing with her, apparently unaware Gladys is preparing to push her under a bus as soon as the situation gets really dire – should be any day now.
2. Albanese puts the country first – and disappoints Labor voters in caving in time after time to the wishes of a corrupt, inept government. What is so admirable about refusing to comment on the government’s deliberate inaction on preparing for last summer’s fires? What is admirable about still refusing to comment on the lack of preparation for this summer? What the hell is commendable about joining the government to support coal and gas? Albo refuses to say anything that might upset the CrimeMinister, instead he has his MPs and Senators wave nasty bill after flawed bill though both houses when they could demonstrate their disapproval by voting against them. When is Albo going to start acting like a Leader of the Opposition, not a doormat?
3. A brave policy battle? Attacking Google is brave? It will probably end in Google withdrawing part of its services (maybe all of them) from Australia. If this idea is so wonderful why has no-one ever attempted it before with any major company? Search engines have been around since the internet started, no-one has ever suggested they be forced to pay for information before. This is just policy dictated by Murdoch, keen to add a few more billions to his stash.
4. The ANAO – one thing she manages to get right, but fails to mention how quickly the media brushed aside these stories.
5. Robodebt. No-one (except Deanna Amato) has won because the government is pushing harder than ever on a revamped program that pits debt collectors against one another. The amount of work they will be given depends on the amount of money they collect from innocent people. This is a win? The old algorithm remains, fake debts will be pursued more viciously than before. People died as a result of this vile program, they killed themselves out of despair or had heart attacks because they did not know how they would repay a false debt. Those who took part in the class action were left with nothing, the $1.23 billion settlement agreed out of court sounded impressive, but the actual compensation for participants was only $112 million.The victims will receive less than $300 each.
6. “A glimmer of hope for climate action”. What? With the CrimeMinister still pushing for his “gas-led recovery”, his government pushing ahead with plans to frack the NT and the Pilliga and his wealtjhy donors demanding new coal-fired power stations? This is hopeful? Murphy sees hope in a few words muttered by the CrimeMinister. Doesn’t she know by now that everything he says is a lie and that he makes these announcements without any intention of carrying them out?
If this is what Murphy sees as hope for 2021 then it’s time she retired from journalism and took up fantasy writing.
Interesting thread on this topic – some of the comments are very good.
Another one who uses the same flawed reasing as the CrimeMinister, who has told various audiences he is both a scientist and an economist because his pointless, useless uni degree in “economic geography” was taken through the UNSW science school. He knows nothing about science or economics.
Hazzard has a BA (Science) and a Dip Ed plus a Master of Laws.
Okay, so I thought some people on twitter were being a bit over eager saying NSW have hidden cases of the ‘rona. Now I’m bloody angry. We have to go back to wearing masks. NSW politicians being all ‘nothing to worry about, nothing to see here’, the msm hardly mentioning the latest out break, but the minute there are three new cases in Victoria, headline news, and how dare Dan Andrews not front up to answer to the media. It just makes a person want to give up.
NSW government’s attitudes seem like an amplified version of the anti-mask wearing idiots – unable to comprehend that it’s not just about their own protection, although they clearly don’t even care about that.
It must be asking too much that, although some individuals don’t care about their own safety, they should recognise that we, and our politicians, have a much greater responsibility to protect others from this virus. Even ‘others’ who live in different states and countries.
The NSW government seems focused on telling fireworks fans to stay home and watch on TV, and telling cricket fans it’s okay for many to attend a match.
It also seems they’re not bothered too much about encouraging citizen awareness of the potential for this opportunistic virus to move beyond where it is today and into the rest of the country.
Imagine how we feel in NSW!
We are being lied to every day.
Gladys claims they cannot find the original spreader on the northern beaches. Would this be because they are protecting someone well-known or because there are so many cases in NSW it’s impossible to know where this particular outbreak came from? Either way it’s scandalous.
We hear every day about NSW having “gold standard” contact tracing. Well, bollocks to that. This government couldn’t find their own arses with a magnifying glass.
Now, thanks to Gladys and her lies and idiotic lack of common sense the virus is spreading across NSW, has reached Victoria, and will go further without strong border closures, and yet all the media will do is blame Dan. Gladys seems to be a protected species, not to be criticised in any way despite her role in spreading the virus across Australia with the release of the Ruby Princess passengers.
So many questions!
Why did Gladys refuse to make masks mandatory before Christmas instead of making weak comments like “It would be a good idea to wear a mask but no-one is going to force you.” She’s still doing that today.
Why won’t she just close the cricket to all spectators? People have TV sets, they can watch it there.
Why does she insist no-one can watch the Sydney Harbour fireworks (except those who live on the waterfront, of course, like billionaires and the CrimeMinister) but then tell everyone it’s perfectly OK to attend smaller council-run events? There’s the same outdoor venues, same virus, same risk of infection no matter where you watch.
Why is she lying?
Why is she dithering with decisions that effect not only the health of those who live in NSW but all Australians?
This virus is nasty, it’s not going away any time soon. We need our leaders to use common sense, to make decisions that will protect us, not act like weaklings and so expose us to more risks.
I really think Gladys is being told what to do and say by the CrimeMinister. He may have vanished from sight (yet again) but he is still pulling Gladys’s strings. Every time she opens her mouth she betrays his influence. He couldn’t get Dan and the other state and territory leaders to do what he wanted, they over-ruled him time and time again, but he certainly controls Gladys. She is desperate to remain Scotty’s little pet, the golden premier, so she will do whatever he wants. In doing that she is bringing disaster to NSW.
I wish NSW had Dan, really I do.
Gladeyes is probably the only female politician that the CrimeMinister tolerates, because she’s such a good little “yes” girl. Her “naughty” affair with Daryl almost certainly increases ScottyFromMarketing’s leverage over her.
One rule for the plebs, a totally different one for Tony Abbott.
Surely the NSW Police would NEVVAH do anything so despicable?
Oh NEVVAH! Especially not with Mick Fuller in charge and David Elliott as police minister.
Fuller has a well-deserved reputation as being very, very close to the NSW government (heads and arses might be involved) and Elliott is the minister who thinks kids should be strip-searched in public. Charming types – NOT!
Apparently the CrimeMinister, suffering from delusions he is in some way our substitute Queen, gave a New Year message today. I haven’t bothered listening, but I did see a photo in which he seems to be trying desperately to resemble Turnbull – he’s dug out the old dark- framed specs, the ones he bought when he first became PM and quickly abandoned(except for wearing at home) after a lot of internet mocking. He wore his newly whitened hair loner than usual. Result? Revolting.
He called Australians “overcomers” in his speech, something that Twitter is going to take a while to get over.
Turns out the word is loved by Evangelical Christianists and Pentecostals so he was actually preaching a sermon at us.
I’m overcome already.
This shit is not Christianity.
Watching a UK program on tv and they were discussing covid-19. They mentioned a group of 3 hospitals had just 1 covid case at the end of September. Now ? They now have 540 covid patients. Well done Boris.
Speaking of fish. In the same program Brexit came up and mention was made of how big an issue fishing was. A real sticking point and yet, as they mention, fishing makes up a Yuge 0.018% of UK’s GDP.!!!!!!!
Happy NYE, everyone, and best wishes for a good and safe 2021.
It will be Trump-less. so that is a good start! If only our own crime minister and UK’s boris could go the same way!
Happy NYE everyone, i hope 2021 is better
Happy New Year, everyone. Let’s make 2021 a goodie!
Subscribe to The Wonderful World of Dance website. Chrissy pressie for you.
Good to see David Tyler back
Good morning and a Happy New Year to all.
Kate Aubusson explains how Gladys Berejiklian is resisting pressure to force Sydney into lockdown, mandate masks and ban crowds at the SCG as the number of COVID-19 cases grows from zero to 170 in two weeks.
Some Australian cricketers will spend six months in the quasi isolation of bio-secure hubs and it can’t be healthy, says Greg Baum.
Jill Margo writes that experts are saying the periods between Christmas, New Year’s Eve and the Australia-India cricket Test are perfectly timed to accelerate the spread of the virus.
And Malcolm Farr declares that whatever kudos Gladys Berejiklian has won from handling the pandemic, it’s diminishing.
Michael Pascoe takes issue with Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, telling him that he is wrong, as there really IS an emergency.
Victoria is going to throw everything at this new outbreak.
And Clay Lucas tells us that epidemiologists are optimistic that Victoria’s public health teams are better placed to tackle the new coronavirus outbreak than during the state’s devastating second wave that began in June.
We should stay in the doughnut, not the hole:, writes economist Warwick Smith who proposes how to get out of the crisis with both our economy and environment intact.
Queensland’s opposition has called for the public release of medical advice used to assess hotel quarantine exemptions, as the state government cracks down on international travellers gaining approval to quarantine at home.
Shane Wright tells us that the Reserve Bank has been supporting the Sydney Institute and the Centre for Independent Studies for more than a decade, but nothing to left or independent organisations.
Tony Davis explains why the EV revolution is lagging in ‘backwater’ Australia.
Euan Black reports that the Australian Taxation Office is reviewing the eligibility of more than 1900 early superannuation withdrawals.
Old media caps off annus horribilis 2020 with its traditional horrible week. Michael West looks at the fall of Fairfax, PR masquerading as journalism, who guards the Guardian, Seven News’ calls for war with China and how Scott Morrison’s media team has the game sown up.
The SMH editorial declares that Australia must reopen lines of communication with China.
Health lecturer Dr Amy Peden has some ideas on how to get people to wear masks. She uses condoms as an example.
Troy Bramston writes that John Howard, John Anderson and Peter Costello have urged the Morrison government to aim for future budget surpluses, concerned about the massive burden on generations to come.
Supratim Adhikari writes that delivering on the promised upgrades will be crucial for NBN Co in 2021, as a tug of war over pricing with the telcos remains unaddressed.
The John Curtin Research Centre’s Nick Dyrenfurth writes about Identity politics, Australia and George Christensen’s shameful ‘northern strategy’. He concludes this interesting contribution with, “Christensen is arguably unfit to sit in Federal Parliament. At the very least, the Prime Minister should rebuke his divisive, dangerous rhetoric.”
The AFR tells us that the end of temporary insolvency protections has been welcomed by economists who say they helped prop up zombie operations.
Mark Diamond, national secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, wonders what the point is of inland rail if there’s no freight on the trains. He says transport departmental officials have been working on a secret plan to deregulate coastal shipping, and this plan will undermine inland rail and leave the entire intermodal rail freight sector at risk.
Labor has accused the Morrison government of failing to act on a two-year-old blueprint for deepening ties with India, after Australia’s new trade minister vowed to push for a free trade agreement between the two countries.
Doug Dingwall has examined some of the cabinet papers from the year 2000 and found some interesting insights about the operation of the Howard government.
The Vatican and the Australian Catholic Church have both denied knowledge of transfers worth $US1.8 billion which AUSTRAC said was sent to the country over seven years.
The US has missed its 2020 vaccination target by miles and Anthony Fauci has called for more resources to be deployed.
And it’s going even more slowly in France where it is alleged that the antivaxxers are being pampered to.
John Lord writes what he hopes are his last words on Trump.
The first nomination in 2021 for “Arsehole of the Week” goes to this woman from Sydney’s red hotspot.
From the US
“Michael Pascoe takes issue with Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, telling him that he is wrong, as there really IS an emergency.”
Looks like Brendan Murphy has been replaced by another tame government lapdog. Paul Kelly is doing nothing but reinforce government propaganda.
Is it possible the government has no plans for emergency immunisation because the CrimeMinister and a fair part of his ministry are Pentecostals and believe The Plague is a sure sign of Christ’s imminent return?
Have leaders of Scrott’s flavor of holy rolling been doing the same here ?
The CrimeMinister announces when his holiday will begin – after taking a few weeks off.
“At the end of next week, from the following weekend I will be taking a week’s leave. The acting prime minister, will be the deputy prime minister Michael McCormack and he will continue in that role over the course of the week.”
He has been noticeably absent in NSW since the northern beaches outbreak began, has not offered any support whatsoever to Gladys and her team. I suppose he has been shut up in Kirribilli House with the Love Machine and his daughters, tucking into taxpayer-supplied food and grog for the last couple of weeks.
It was David Speers, who tweeted lies about Melbourne testing sites all being closed and then, after a thorough caning on Twitter had to retract.
friendlykickarses (you’ll understand if you watch the vid)
Brian Tyler Cohen –
Whatever the words it’s a dirge.
Good morning Dawn Patrollers
Australia’s peak medical group says the NSW government has put the rest of the country at risk by its decision not to go “hard and early” in its response to the outbreak on Sydney’s northern beaches, which is suspected to have seeded cases in Victoria.
Katina Curtis tells us that Anthony Albanese will formally dump the policy branded a retiree tax as he moves to put Labor Party members and politicians on an election-ready footing going into the new year.
And Andrew Hurst says that Albanese will sharpen his political attack on Scott Morrison in anticipation of a potential election later this year and has ruled out a second shot at reforming franking credits.
Peter van Onselen reflects on leadership during 2020, saying that when the Covid going got tough, the states stepped up.
Daniel Hurst reveals that a former senior Howard government media adviser has been awarded a $190,000 public relations contract with Australia’s bushfire recovery agency without a full tender process. Well, how about that!
Conventional economists are far too obsessed by prices and not much else and that’s a blind spot that leads to bad predictions, writes Ross Gittins.
Professor Tony Blakely tells us how to keep COVID-19 outbreaks in check amid a frenzied border dance.
Elizabeth Farrelly reckons Sydney’s investor-grade towers are crushing their tenants and killing the city’s soul.
Nick Miller and his family are Melbournians stuck in Sydney with no realistic way home.
It’s getting harder for young people to establish themselves as independent adults. Irresponsible lending practices will threaten that even more, warns Royce Kurmelovs in The Guardian.
Last year was dismal in many respects but it was a landmark for renewables in Australia, declares Simon Holmes à Court.
Peter FitzSimons has been looking at Greg Norman’s Twitter feed and also expresses disbelief at the decision to hold the third test in Sydney.
Greg Chappell writes about the state of the game of cricket and reflects on Don Bradman once telling him, “when sport becomes a business, it loses something”. The Don knew what he was talking about.
Euan Black writes that Propertyology forecasts house prices to rise by more than 10 per cent in Brisbane and by more than 15 per cent in Perth, Canberra, Adelaide and Hobart, while rising between 5 and 10 per cent in Sydney and Darwin and falling by less than 5 per cent in Melbourne.
Teela Reid says that Scott Morrison’s one-word gesture won’t unify Australia, but a bigger conversation might.
Although Ken Wyatt thinks otherwise.
And Katina Curtis reports that the federal government will release the initial options for an Indigenous “Voice” to Parliament on the back of changing one word of the national anthem to reflect the millennia-long connection of First Nations people to the Australian land.
Jennifer Duke writes that the nation’s biggest business groups have lashed state and territory governments for shutting down interstate travel, saying the reaction to the latest coronavirus outbreak has been disproportionate and will leave entire industries failing without more federal support. It sounds like a broken record.
Cassandra Goldie explains how the jobseeker cuts are devastating for millions of Australians.
Chis Wallace writes that Australian Cabinet papers from 2000, released yesterday, reflect a relatively quiescent Australia where Islamic militancy and offshore detention were barely glimpses on the horizon, and climate science denialism was not a factor in cabinet considerations at all.
Patrick Hatch and Colin Kruger are of the opinion that, even if Crown gets to hold on to its casino licence, there are questions about the viability of Crown Sydney and its grand plans at Barangaroo.
Alistair Campbell, after Brexit, really lets fly saying, “With the worst possible PM at the worst possible time, Britain’s got no chance of a happy new year”. Quite an entertaining contribution!
A day after the UK posted a record 55,892 new infections and another 964 coronavirus-related deaths, concerns are mounting about the impact on the overstretched National Health Service. Field hospitals that were constructed in the early days of the pandemic but were subsequently mothballed are now being reactivated.
With a heavy heart, Johnson will always remind us who the real victim is. Marina Hyde says it will be Johnson himself.
The New York Times details how Trump’s COVID-19 response went from bad to worse. Disgustingly so!
Dan Dixon argues that the lesson to take from Trump’s presidency is that the office he has occupied should not exist.
An old one from Ron Tandberg
From the US
“Nick Miller and his family are Melbournians stuck in Sydney with no realistic way home.”
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m getting really, really sick of journalists whining about their problems getting back to Victoria.
It seems I’m not the only one –
Lucy Battersby works for The Age, so of course she is going to use her own stupidity to have a bash at Dan Andrews. She CHOSE to head to NSW, CHOSE to stay despite warnings and is now trying to tell us it was all Dan’s fault, not hers.
One would imagine that people who work in news rooms would be aware of the NEWS, what is happening and what is being hidden.
Lucy Battersby demonstrates her lack of analytic ability and like many other journalists squealing about the border closure she should find another occupation
Likewise Pat Karvelas demonstrated her inability to understand what was being said in news conferences and plan. Karvelas is not a journalist just a smartly put together auto cue reader
Barrie Cassidy started in the “Dan Andrews stole my holiday” twitter storm but shut up pretty quickly but the younger journalists just doubled down
My sister said that if you wait for Covid to go away, life will pass you by. So you should grab each moment and bitch and moan when you have to race to the border
Blacktown, Hills Campus, Hillsong Church, 1/9 Solent Cct, Norwest, Tuesday 29 December 8-8.45pm
Hillsong has been asking for trouble. They had a Christmas lights display running through all of December. It was billed as a drive-through event, but no-one seemed to take any notice, with hundreds of people wandering through, not wearing masks and not bothering with social distancing. No-one from Hillsong did anything to turn away the walkers.
Good morning Dawn Patrollers
Caitlin Fitzsimmons reports that some experts are saying face masks are an important defence against the virus and the government should be handing them out in the same way free condoms are handed out to prevent the spread of HIV.
Mandatory mask policy is timely, but compliance in Sydney may prove a problem warns epidemiologist, Abrar Chughtai.
Experts have praised the work of Victoria’s contact tracers, but frustration is growing as testing sites fail to cope with demand.
And the editorial in The Age says “The Victorian government’s abrupt decision to shut the state’s border with NSW has been nothing short of a debacle. It was precipitous, poorly managed and, frankly, dangerous as thousands of cars, caravans and boat-trailers crammed highways to beat an unreasonably tight deadline.”
Nick Bonyhady reports that two of Australia’s leading authorities on labour law say businesses have the power to compel their staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19 under workplace laws that enable them to make “lawful and reasonable” directions to employees. The law though, has not been tested in court for that purpose.
In a sobering contribution, health academics, Holly Seale and Kazi Mizanur Rahman, put forward some reasons to be cautious about a return to normal once the vaccine rollout begins.
A study of 45 countries shows those who have contained the virus also tend to have less severe economic impacts than those that haven’t. Saving the economy does not mean sacrificing lives, writes Michael Smithson. Containing Covid versus saving the economy is a false dichotomy.
Crispin Hill says that Australia’s billionaires getting richer shows capitalism versus labour is a long-term problem and he points out that something will have to give.
Michael Pascoe transports himself one year ahead in time to chronicle 2021.
Clay Lucas tells us that one of Australia’s top aged care experts has criticised the recent inquiry into scores of deaths at two Victorian nursing homes, saying it lacked independence, had been prevented from investigating the actions of the federal government and had been hampered by an inability to compel witnesses.
Fergus Hunter writes that experts believe the juries’ indecision in recent high-profile cases could have a chilling effect on already low prosecution levels for sexual assault offences.
Examining the year 2000 cabinet papers, Rob Harris tells us about the kerosine bath scandal in aged care then.
Shane Wright tells us about all the research opportunities the pandemic is providing, both economic and behavioural.
Janine Perrett has a lot of questions about 2020 and 2021.
More than 80 miles from land, hundreds of the world’s most powerful wind turbines have begun reaching into the air as construction progresses on the biggest windfarm ever built. Almost 200 turbines, each almost as tall as the Eiffel tower, will soon rise above the submerged Doggerland to populate an expanse of sea as large as North Yorkshire itself.
According to Mike Foley, innovative ideas like turning food waste into biodegradable cling wrap and using artificial intelligence to sort plastics for recycling are the focus of the Morrison government’s latest round of federal research funding to help boost local manufacturing.
All John Naughton wants for 2021 is to see Mark Zuckerberg up in court.
A months-long surge of coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County is reaching its grim if inevitable zenith as deaths reach once-unthinkable levels, medical infrastructure is buckling under a flood of patients and officials fear the mortality numbers will only worsen in the coming weeks.
People started breaking Covid rules when they saw those with privilege ignore them, writes Daisy Fancourt from the UK.
Satirist Mark Humphries is so glad we can all now forget about US politics.
Donald Trump has urged followers to dump Rupert Murdoch’s ‘unwatchable’ Fox News. How the worm turns!
The co-owner of Epping Gardens nursing home, which is the subject of several investigations and a major class action over the deaths of 38 residents from COVID-19, has gone to Greece and is unable to say when he will return. Definitely a candidate for “Arsehole of the Week”!
Glen Le Lievre
From the US
A new year but same old stoopid.
Worked the late A&E SHO shift on NYE and came out to this. Hundreds of maskless, drunk people in huge groups shouting “Covid is a hoax”, literally outside the building where hundreds are sick and dying. Why do people still not realise the seriousness of this pandemic?
8:00 AM · Jan 1, 2021 from St Thomas’ Hospital·Twitter for Android
So what genius in Home Affairs decided to allow Peter Arvanitis and his dreadful wife to leave the country, allegedly to travel to Greece, when the pair are facing a court action over the deaths in the nursing homes Arvanitis co-owns? Was it Dutton? Will they be back? Has money been quietly transferred to off-shore accounts?
And/or has a substantial “donation” been made?
I bet it has, but we will never know. Such “donations” (aka bribes) are never mentioned on official donor lists.
So much for Gladys’s nonsense about “children under 12 have been proven not to be carriers or transmitters of the disease”.
We knew she was lying, now there is more proof.
Symptomless cases in schools could be key driver in spread of Covid-19
Up to 70% of schoolchildren infected with coronavirus may not know they have it until after a positive test result
It is probably more like 50% for those in secondary school while for boys and girls in primary school, around 70% may not be displaying symptoms even though they have picked up the virus,” says Professor Michael Hibberd of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
That is a large proportion of symptom-free disease-carriers within a population. What is not yet known is just how much infection is being passed on by this cohort of young symptom-free carriers. It is a critically important issue, and one that will play a key role in determining the effect of Covid-19 on the people of Britain in the next few weeks, say researchers
That Speers tweet
Speers destroyed whatever credibility he had with that tweet.
The ABC is clearly on board the “Get rid of Dan” bandwagon. Yesterday they ran this piece of crap about an incredibly stupid and self-centred young woman who, despite all warnings about border closures, travelled from Melbourne to Wagga Wagga last Wednesday o spend New Years Eve with a friend. She raved on about how much she had missed her family in regional Victoria, but did not spend time with them.
NSW-Victoria border closure leaves people racing to find a way back home before enforced quarantine
All the genuine stories about families racing back to Melbourne for good reasons were overlooked in favour of this utter garbage.
I think 60,000 Victorians who returned from holidaying in NSW Green zones on Dec 30, 31 were told to get tested, prior to that Victorians who returned from Sydney on 19, 20, 21 December were told to get tested which caused long delays at testing stations
Melbourne holidays from 18 Dec to Jan 14th and the health teams had been sent on their well deserved summer holidays
Victoria had detected zero cases of community transmission for 62 days up until 30 December. Normal people were still planning their New Years Eve celebration, will it be low key or do we want to relive our 20s slogging down the closed to traffic Alexandria Avenue at 2am footsore surrounded by 250,000 revellers looking for a party
Bottom line is that there was 22,000+ tests conducted in Vic and 18,000 tests conducted in NSW which is pretty shabby since they have been dealing with Northern Beaches outbreak since mid December
The BWS Berala outbreak looks very scary and the criket looks like a superspreader event
I was gobsmacked by how far one coupled moved around Lakes Entrance, Eden and Bermagui. Almost like if we act like Covid has gone away everything will be all right. Pretty shocking really when Victorians were asked to limit the social intercourse to under 30 people per day
Why has Gladys allowed the cricket to have spectators? Was she pushed into that decision by Tony Shepherd and the other old white men of the SCG Trust?
Another thing about the cricket – the media and every politician in NSW keeps blathering on about 24,000 people, half the normal 48,000 capacity of the SCG. That’s just for one day. The 3rd test goes for five days with the last day being the main fundraiser for the McGrath Foundation. Not everyone wants to or can afford to attend every day of a test .Do the maths. Work out the potential audience. It could well be a huge super-spreader event. No wonder Gladys has taken the week off.
That’s not all. There are two BBL series at the SCG and the Showground Stadium scheduled for January 13- 26. It has not yet been decided if spectators will be allowed.
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