The Festival Hall Organ

Today’s Guest Author is the wonderful Gorgeous Dunny. Thank you so much for honouring The Pub again, GD!

[Recently I was asked to relate some of my political experiences, having worked and lived through the times of our more charismatic leaders of the 1960s and 1970s, Don Dunstan, Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke. They transformed Australia’s outlook on things from a colonial outpost in the British Empire, to a broader view of the world and our role in it. In a current age where we’ve allowed parochialism, paranoia and selfishness to dominate the way we are governed, it may help to know that once we were led by vision and hope.]

This is the story of the purchase of Adelaide Festival Hall Organ and how a major philistine bunfight was avoided in doing so. The story involves two States and two major cultural buildings in their capital cities: the Sydney Opera House and the Adelaide Festival Centre. Firstly, it should be acknowledged that they are not strictly comparable. The Sydney Opera House is an architectural wonder of the world, a unique sails-like roof design looking out to the glorious Sydney Harbour and facing Circular Quay in the heart of Sydney. Its site at Bennelong Point had earlier been a tram barn.

The Festival Hall is modest by comparison, overlooking the Torrens Lake or River and the Adelaide Oval. It’s walking distance from Adelaide Railway Station and Parliament House. It was almost an accident of choice. Don Dunstan, who succeeded Frank Walsh as Labor Premier, and was determined on a Renaissance for Adelaide on lifestyle, had wanted a suitable ‘home’ for the Adelaide Festival of Arts (later to be known simply as the Adelaide Festival) rather than the various halls scattered around the city.

His first choice was Government House, the residence of the State’s Governor at North Terrace, on the Eastern side of King William Road, and backing on to the Military Parade Ground before joining the banks of the Torrens opposite Adelaide Oval. It was a superb location only walking distance from the Museum, Art Gallery, Library and University.

However, he lost the election in 1968 on gerrymandered boundaries, despite getting 54% of the vote. The incoming Liberal Government of Mr Steele Hall and able Attorney-General Robin Millhouse, was exceedingly embarrassed at winning government with a minority vote of around 46% and a minority of seats, relying on three independents to form a government. To their credit, they embarked on a series of reforms aiming to match the Dunstan zeal. It included such things as abortion law reform. Importantly, Hall realised that the voting system must be fairer if public confidence was to be maintained. At that time two thirds of the State’s population lived in metropolitan Adelaide. Yet the MP representation was exactly the opposite. Two thirds of the seats were in country SA, and only one third in the rapidly growing Adelaide metropolitan area. It had been going that way for years, but it only looked so blatantly disproportionate with post-WWII immigration.

The biggest obstacle for reforming the voting system were the Liberal & Country League’s (LCL) own conservative colleagues. The Upper House Legislative Council was even more gerrymandered than the House of Assembly. Members were elected via a strange alliance of property owners heavily tilted towards country zones and wealth. Voting was voluntary.

As another disincentive, the Legislative Council Electoral Roll was used for summoning people for jury service.  The office of Chief Secretary was also Government Leader in the Council and virtually Deputy Premier. It was held by Mr Ren De Garis.

He saw no advantage to the state in changing the LCL’s privileged position. He had no interest in changing the Upper House. In his own words, Upper House MPs, propertied people, represented the “permanent will of the people”. Nothing like these fly-by-nighters flitting in and out of jobs, living in rented accommodation or boarding.

The struggle for fairer voting representation was mostly between the progressive section of the LCL, and its more reactionary colleagues mostly in the Upper House. Dunstan stirred it along, referring to the outrage of the unfair election result through large public protests. But Labor was always likely to support a voting system that would almost guarantee their return to power. That was easy enough in the Lower House where they already had the most MPs.

Just a few progressive LCL MPs would get it through. The Upper House, where De Garis was in charge, was the real challenge. Labor had only a handful of MLCs. Hall and Millhouse had to win over nearly half of their LCL MPs to get the laws passed. To their great credit, they did that. It was that sort of time when members of the political parties could work together for the greater public good. Dunstan was thus assured of return to the position of Premier as soon as an election was held.

Knowing that reality, Hall and Millhouse worked hard to pass progressive social reforms in the hope of gaining voter support. It did not work out that way, despite some excellent legislation. They did make one change, however, which appealed to both sections of their Party. Government House would remain as it was. The new site for the Festival Centre would be in Elder Park near the Railway Station and Parliament House. The site had been until then a Migrant Hostel, albeit in shabby condition. A new Hostel was built at suburban Woodville.

The site, although covered by derelict old buildings and storehouses at that time, lost nothing in comparison to Government House. It still had a splendid outlook to the Torrens on one side, and the classical old buildings of Parliament and Adelaide Railway Station, plus easy access to transport or parking. Importantly it became a home for performing groups in theatre and music so that workshops and experimental exercises could be conducted. In the performing arts whether theatre, music or song, marionettes, dance… a critical component is the development of skills through training and experiment. Workshops and studios were available for such work. Craft support via make-up, costumes, set design and construction, technical through sound and lighting and through secretarial and publicity services. It could provide some sort of home or forum for almost anything creative.

Dunstan’s own lifestyle had given him an identity and affinity with the arts. When studying law, he supported himself through employment on radio and the stage as an actor. He retained his membership of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance throughout his political career. The ABC, as now a national broadcaster, was then very much a federation. It set up an elaborate studio at Collinswood which produced national TV programs, plus national radio via Classic-FM. Don was given his own program on lifestyle in suburban Adelaide. He argued the case strongly for a Mediterranean lifestyle.

In politics he set out immediately to transform people’s lives, aiming to end racial discrimination and for a better way of living, dropping SA’s ‘wowser’ types of attitudes to alcohol and recreation. It helped that he was an elegant speaker, a voice sounding ‘posh’ yet ready to talk and listen to anybody. He even learned Italian so that he could communicate better with many of his Italian-origin migrants. He was a founding President of Meals On Wheels, dedicated to providing meals to aged people in their own home. Though his political work often took him working into the small hours for reforms and helping people, he had two other passions. One was for anything to do with the arts. The other was for friends with interests in food, wine and stimulating company.

One of his great achievements (with excellent advice from Melbourne Labor ‘Participants’ Philip Adams, Barry Jones and John Button) on setting up the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) as a body with some independence of bureaucratic and political interference. Though Australian movie production was almost extinct by the 1960s, apart from a few successes in Melbourne, he was determined to establish it as a viable film industry, providing world-quality standards and the opportunities for employment with it. In that, SAFC had some remarkable successes in the 1970s and 80s. It was soon imitated by other States and private syndicates. Australia was a world player: small, yet exciting here and abroad. Picnic at Hanging Rock and Storm Boy were two standouts of many.

Dunstan had learned along his way to compartmentalise his primary interests so that his political and governing work did not overlap his encouraging the autonomy of the creative arts, nor his own recreational activities among close friends. He ran a very well-disciplined ministry which had clear objectives and kept well within budgetary limits. However, his determination to let the creative arts flourish fully without interference led to one major problem at the Festival Centre. In the main performance hall a decision was made to purchase an elaborate organ for feature performance at opera and musical concerts.

It was no ordinary organ, as you might expect in a new Centre. It was of such size and weight that it could only be transported on and off the stage being powered by a hovercraft underneath it. If this wasn’t enough of a worry, the bill for this revolutionary instrument certainly would have set the alarm bells ringing among the Premier and his close staff. I can’t remember the exact figure, but was about $500K, something like $400K over what had been budgeted for it. In those days, that was a huge overspend, which neither his public service advisers nor his political ones could justify. Vivid memories of how the NSW Labor government was hammered for years about the overspend at the Opera House. It became a major political football, largely because the populist-style Cahill govt had been very shy in admitting the real cost of the Utzon masterpiece. Davis Hughes, the Minister in the incoming Askin Liberal-Country Party, had made much capital complaining about it and the delays when in Opposition. He did not stop when becoming Minister and it led to near-disaster when Utzon was sacked. There was no way Dunstan would let that happen. But it went against his rules to interfere.

I’m glad it is now 45 years on. I no longer feel obliged under Public Service rules to keep confidentiality. His solution to this dilemma was incredible. He contacted a professional fundraiser in Sydney. What they worked out was that Don Dunstan would give two special fundraising talks. Essentially, they’d be about what he had achieved during his time as Premier and how it had changed South Australia and its people.

The fundraiser contacted me. What he wanted was some secretarial assistance as he went about asking people to the first and second luncheons. It would be our phone number which subscribers would call to book seats. As our senior receptionist usually took the first phone call anyway, it was sensible to give her the task. She needed to log names, companies and phone numbers of those attending. Then she would give those details to the fundraiser for any of the follow-up and payments. It took quite a bit of her time, but she was thorough.

Don Dunstan was a celebrity in Sydney. He’d been known before he became SA Premier due to his popular television show. But the dazzling array of achievements during what became known as the Dunstan Decade was enviable to all interested in a fairer, more reasonable society. Adelaide, which functioned almost like Ancient Athens as a City-State, was suddenly a civilised place to be. He even coaxed Robert Helpmann back to direct one Festival. He in turn got his friend Rudolph Nureyev to perform. Don was famed for setting style in appearance (once wearing pink shorts into parliament) and his good looks and eloquent voice. Don Dunstan even performed at one Festival. At the Adelaide Zoo, supported by the SA Symphony Orchestra with live animals, he recited Ogden Nash’s poems to the Orchestra playing Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals. At the nearby Botanic Gardens, SA’s Chief Justice Dr Bray recited his own poems. It was that sort of place. 

From memory both lunches were oversubscribed. Payment for that organ was now by subscription not public money. The fundraiser was paid a commission on the amount raised. Our receptionist received a huge bunch of flowers for her trouble. The only public expense was the receptionist’s work and telephones, and air fares for Don to come to Sydney twice. But those would’ve been amply repaid by publicity to Don’s public speeches on both occasions. The people attending would not easily have forgotten. To me, it seemed a win-win situation. The Arts people would have their organ. The SA taxpayers would not be slugged an outrageous sum for a world-rated instrument that cost too much for such a rarely-used asset. Dunstan was able to avoid any accusations of waste. SA and its Premier got some publicity for a minimal cost. The donors got their money’s worth. Only Philistine politics missed out.

427 thoughts on “The Festival Hall Organ

  1. What a strange alien world you write of. Politicians striving to improve society………………and succeeding. Politicians putting the benefit of the people ahead of partisan squabbles.

    • It was a different world then, KK.
      It seems odd now to imagine Hall and Millhouse working together with Dunstan to get progressive legislation passed, and most notably electoral voting reform, but it happened. They had the strange paradox of the Liberal Movement working as a rival group within the Liberals. Hall eventually rejoined the Liberals as a Senator. Millhouse continued with the LM but eventually hooked up with Don Chipp in the Australian Democrats. The AD was much bigger in SA than in other states just because of the high number of Liberal movement people who went with him. Later Dunstan justifiably made Millhouse a Supreme Court Judge.

  2. Gorgeous Dunny,

    what a wonderful story and so well told too. Don Dunstan sure knew how to get noticed didn’t he.

    I’ve lived all my life north of the Tropic of Capricorn and mostly in North Qld and far north Qld and even up there a long way from Adelaide, we were always kept well informed about the latest activities of this extraordinary Australian. Even the “pink short, shorts” LOL!!!!!!!!!!

    • Thanks, Scorps. Glad his fame stretched up to central Qld, where he must have seemed an oasis from the fodder of Joh’s Qld then.

      On the pink shorts and other fashion statements he made then ,including longer hair and safari suits, he drew a lot of attention. Jon Hepworth of Nation Review, who suspected he was just a trendy (he wasn’t) gave him the derisive nickname of Gorgeous Dunny which more or less stuck in leftist circles, not that Don lost any sleep over it. It’s where I came up with the pen-name of Gorgeous Dunny, and decided to keep it as a tribute to my favourite political leader.

  3. GD

    Fantastic story, wonderfully well written. Thank you!

    It’s hard to believe that while South Australians were enjoying Dunstan’s leadership NSW was tolerating the rotten-to-the-core Robert Askin. I was so jealous of SA for having the intelligence to elect such an outstanding leader.

    • Thanks for that, Leone.
      I always value your incisive comments here, as I do most of my friends at The Pub. I have been too long away but age and my chemo treatment eroded my staying power. As I recovered I found a lot of consolation in the more abbreviated field of Twitter and I’ve stayed with that, though I miss thoughtful essays.

      Yes I can imagine you would have envied in contrast to Askin. In SA (though I was in Sydney and Don was my boss when we were merged into the Premier’s Department) we were lucky to get him as Leader. Though he was a standout as an MP. Frank Walsh was Leader when Labor finally managed to topple Tom Playford from office. He was as dull as dishwater and in those two years as Premier, Labor was copping a backlash after 30 years stability under Tom. it was only by the heavies leaning on Walsh to retire in 67 that Don got the job with the aim of restoring Labor support. He tackled with great energy, but it was not quite enough with the crooked boundaries. All the same it’s a bit tough to lose when you’ve got 54% of the vote. So we were lucky that circumstances suited him by the time he won as incoming Premier.

      Oddly enough I believe there is enough diverse talent in Federal Labor to make an impact, as long as they don’t get too obsessed either with factional groupings or focus groups. Albo I think can do the job, but AI see him as an interim PM until some from the next generation are ready to take over.

    • I remember chemo really messing with my brain long ago in 1990. I desperately wanted to read, but all I could cope with were Mills and Boon romances (I normally loathe those and never read them before or since) and my daughter’s Baby-Sitters Club books – I rad the whole series.

      I was so glad when my concentration improved and I could read real grown-up books again.

      I’ve been told by others who have been through it that “chemo brain” is definitely real.

    • Along with Phar Lap, Joh was another ‘gift’ NZ sent to Australia. If only the bustard’s family had stayed in Dannevirke.

  4. For a wee country town Dannevirke has punched above its weight politically . Apart from !$#$!! Joh another ‘son’ of the town was Bryan Gould who held a number of Shadow Cabinet positions in Labour in the UK.

    • Don’t know enough Kiwi geography but apart from Joh, we’ve done pretty well out of the Trans-Tasman trade. Radio legend Jack Davey hailed from there. So did John Clarke. I believe our first Labor PM was Chris Watson, another ex-Kiwi, as of course were the owners of Kiwi ShoePolish in Melbourne.
      But if Keith Murdoch was from there (and an All Black too) I take it all back.

  5. What ‘luck’ for Bullshit Man’s fellow happy clapping loons. (paywalled)
    .

    Singing banned indoors,

    BUT fear not………….
    .
    .
    Singing and dancing is not permitted at indoor music venues across NSW, but it’s perfectly fine for music fans to stand, sing and sway together before a live band at Hillsong Church.
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/music/singing-and-dancing-banned-at-nsw-festivals-but-at-church-no-worries/news-story/e194506cd75a9279ec9407dcbbea55a8

  6. Excellent thread starter, GD. Don Dunstan was an amazing Premier and even though he was way before my time, I admire almost everything he achieved.

    When I was adding the results of SA elections from his time in Wikipedia, I noticed that for most of his time in power, the SA Upper House was 14-16 seats to the LCL and 4-6 to Labor and this only changed in 1975, in which the Liberal Movement held the balance of power in the upper house, and Independent MP Ted Connelly held the balance of power in the lower house, as well as the LM.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1975_South_Australian_state_election

    With the upper house so steeply stacked against Labor for so long, it’s incredible how Dunstan was able to navigate through all that and transform SA.

  7. Another good 7.5 by Laura. Not letting go of Scovid’s balls. Grunt refused to come on so she got Mark Butler. Not exactly a cushy ride: “Why did it take you so long to say RATs should be free?” Waffle answer. Laura tried twice. Without interrupting.

  8. 😆 A vax nut site with a maths ‘problem’ as they ‘prove’ vaccines are useless.

    In the Pfizer study, only 8 out of 18,198, or 0.043% of participants who received the vaccine, contracted COVID, while 162 out of 18,325, 0.884% in the control group who received injections of saline became infected………………. Actual Risk Reduction was a mere 0.84%.

  9. Great dunny reading for me, GD! Well done! However to KK, I’d say, I wouldn’t think any of that world to be ‘alien’ nor ‘strange’ – Just a bit topsy-turvy! Remember this is ‘Downunderland’ which can become a wonderland of reform, as GD demonstrates here, particularly when politicians of the left come into power and start to put things right! I remember as a fairly new chum in Oz adoring Don Dunstan.

    Currently I’m having a lovely day at my desk, not in the ‘dunny’ where I used to read the papers as a child in England! I’m keeping cool out of the mid-day sun, and being linked back into the stories of all those exciting years when I first came to Australia. Is there a picture anywhere of Don Dunstan wearing those pink pants in Parliament?

  10. Why you should always swim between the flags –

    A four-year-old boy has been rescued from the surf at Town Beach, Port Macquarie
    https://www.portnews.com.au/story/7576930/young-boy-transported-to-hospital-after-being-pulled-from-the-surf-at-town-beach/Fracking tourists!

    Everyone local knows how dangerous that end of Town Beach is – it is left for board riders usually, except when there are tourists around. They never seem to understand the “swim between the flags” thing at all.

    This child was extremely lucky that someone was there to save him, otherwise the headlines would have been very different. To deliberately put a child’s life at risk in this way is beyond my understanding.

    Every year there are drownings at local beaches, always tourists who were swimming outside flags or on unpatrolled beaches.

    Why are people so freaking stupid?

  11. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Oh dear! Janet Albrechtsen writes that Scott Morrison’s obsession with pub politics has exposed him as a populist drunk, more focused on low-rent politics than sensible policy.
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/scott-morrison-has-humiliated-us-as-well-as-novak-djokovic/news-story/25437775a5f277698fcbfad7002a41fc
    As the election draws closer, Scott Morrison is caught in a Covid dilemma of his own making, says Richard Denniss. He concludes with, “Scott Morrison has asked Australians to take responsibility for their own actions from here on in. It’s likely that many of them wish he would do the same.”
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/12/as-the-election-draws-closer-scott-morrison-is-caught-in-a-covid-dilemma-of-his-own-making
    If Novak Djokovic wants to win a record 21st Grand Slam, he could always get vaccinated like 92 per cent of Australians, says the AFR’s editorial.
    https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/djokovic-can-t-fly-over-our-vaccine-barriers-20220110-p59n6o
    Rob Harris writes that Anthony Albanese is on a socially distanced charm offensive through northern Queensland as he tries to avoid the same fate as Bill Shorten.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/the-prawn-supremacy-albanese-s-charm-offensive-in-queensland-20220111-p59nh5.html
    Healthy humans drive the economy and we’re now witnessing one of the worst public policy failures in Australia’s history, explains Jim Stafford.
    https://theconversation.com/healthy-humans-drive-the-economy-were-now-witnessing-one-of-the-worst-public-policy-failures-in-australias-history-174606
    Mike Foley tells us that a shortage of supply chain workers is seeing chicken, red meat, fresh fruit and vegetables stocks faltering, with milk also at risk. And it largely comes down to a critical shortage of RATs.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/no-rats-means-meat-fruit-and-vegetables-will-be-in-short-supply-20220111-p59nef.html
    Jill Margo reveals that for more than a year, the peak body that oversees the quality of diagnostic testing for Australia advocated strongly against the widespread use of rapid antigen tests for COVID-19.
    https://www.afr.com/policy/health-and-education/rapid-antigen-tests-were-talked-down-until-pcr-system-was-overwhelmed-20220111-p59ncm
    SA has recorded a massive decrease in new Covid cases – down more than 1100 to 2921 cases, and one death. Meanwhile, close contacts can get two free rapid tests from tomorrow.
    https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/coronavirus/sa-covid-updates-for-january-10-2022/news-story/9fe8d5d2af269046022ac40a62991f54
    Stephen Hamilton explains what positive roles economists can play in managing Covid and its effects.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/critics-keep-telling-me-to-stay-in-my-lane-but-here-s-why-economists-should-weigh-in-on-covid-20220110-p59n8e.html
    Human rights adviser Brian Burdekin argues that there is an urgent need to separate the symptomatic from the vulnerable in COVID testing queues.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/there-s-an-urgent-need-to-separate-the-symptomatic-from-the-vulnerable-in-covid-testing-queues-20220109-p59mxf.html
    While many countries have been proactive in combating the pandemic with free testing kits, the Liberal Government is determined to serve its own interests first, writes Dr Jennifer Wilson.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/rapid-antigen-test-scandal-reveals-morrisons-cruelty,15924
    Victoria’s triple-zero service is again in crisis with at least 70% of calls not answered on time during some shifts and recent deaths or serious injuries of up to a dozen people suspected to be linked to delays answering calls.
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/triple-zero-missing-70-per-cent-of-time-targets-on-some-shifts-as-emergency-failings-worsen-20220105-p59lzf.html
    Thirty-five of the country’s top academics, doctors and community leaders and have written an open letter to Australian governments, calling on them to reaffirm their commitment to open schools.
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/for-the-sake-of-the-forgotten-voices-of-the-pandemic-reopen-australia-s-schools-20220111-p59ng2.html
    Michael Pascoe has another look at the community grants scheme and its selection of recipients.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/opinion/2022/01/12/michael-pascoe-2021-community-grants-corruption/
    Crispin Hull, who opines that COVID is exposing Australia’s political fault lines, begins his contribution with, “The Governor-General, General David Hurley, has tested positive for COVID-19. We wish him a speedy recovery, of course, but the unfortunate situation does give rise to the question of whether Australia needs a Governor-General at all, and more broadly how our constitutional arrangements have stood up in the face of a pandemic.” He concludes with, “To the extent that Australia so far has done reasonably well on vaccination and death rates, it is despite the actions of the federal government (in cahoots with NSW since October), not because of them.”
    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7575877/covid-is-exposing-australias-political-fault-lines/?cs=14258
    Clay Lucas reports that The surge workforce employed by the Morrison government to deliver COVID-19 booster vaccines in aged care centres across Australia slowed its work dramatically over the Christmas break, just as the Omicron variant of the virus was gathering speed inside homes.
    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/aged-care-booster-shots-slowed-as-omicron-took-off-over-christmas-20220111-p59ne3.html
    By its very nature, Djokovic’s is an exceptional case, says the SMH editorial.
    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/by-its-very-nature-djokovic-s-is-a-special-case-20220111-p59ni2.html
    With Australia now returning to its pre-COVID rate of population growth, more people than ever before are asking about how much Australia’s population should grow. This can be a difficult conversation to have because the far Right has a history of using the population issue as an excuse to pursue its own xenophobic agenda, writes Mark Allen.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/how-to-discuss-population-growth-without-the-racism,15923
    Anti-vaxxers are touting another new Covid ‘cure’ – drinking urine. But they are not the only obstacles to ending the pandemic, writes Arwa Mahdawi.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/11/anti-vaxxers-covid-drinking-urine-misinformation
    According to The Washington Post, in social media exile, Trump is struggling to get his online mojo back.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/in-social-media-exile-trump-is-struggling-to-get-his-online-mojo-back-20220111-p59nad.html

    Cartoon Corner

    Peter Broelman


    Cathy Wilcox

    Glen Le Lievre

    Matt Golding





    Mark David

    Andrew Dyson

    Leak

    From the US









  12. Aussie , Aussie , Aussie Oi ! Oi ! Oi !

    The Dutch are having a wave of covid despite a bit of a shut down. Record numbers of infections . Things are getting so bad that…..

    “The amount of infections is taking on British proportions,” epidemiologist Marino van Zelst ..

    How bad is it ?

    The lockdown was due to end this weekend. However with cases reaching 35,000 a day on Friday

    How good are the Feral Stick Insect and Bullshit Man ! (The UK had 142,000 yesterday)
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/covid-19-omicron-outbreak-country-that-locked-down-now-has-its-highest-case-numbers-ever/I3N3RVIUNHPGW2JMMWUJFPEC6A/

    • “Australia is [still] taking wickets in the virus”. Now a world leader thanks to Scovid and Domicron!

      Is this the sort of record we want though?

  13. And in other news – Domicron defends his loopy decision to send kids back to school when Covid is peaking.

    Despite Queensland already moving to delay the start of the school year, Mr Perrottet hoped leaders would agree to “nationally consistent” principles.

    Pointedly describing the Australian Medical Association as a “doctors’ union”, Mr Perrottet said he disagreed with their approach to school.

    “I disagree with the doctors’ union in relation to schools,” he said. “I agree with the World Health Organisation that schools should be the last close and the first to open.”

    https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/dominic-perrottet-reveals-his-plan-to-get-nsw-out-of-omicron-outbreak/news-story/df4d8e7f84caee8df47d9ac1c9a15e6c

    Here is WHO’s Regional Director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, yesterday, giving that advice.
    https://www.euro.who.int/en/media-centre/sections/statements/2022/statement-update-on-covid-19-omicron-wave-threatening-to-overcome-health-workforce

    How fortunate for Domicron having a European bigwig come out and spout a quote he could use as proof he is sentencing NSW kids to a lifetime of serious after-effects of The Plague.

    That line was being bandied around at least last July, before the world knew about Omicron.
    https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/statement-reopening-schools-cannot-wait

    These kids will be lucky if they get their first dose of vaccine before schools return, they need two doses and a booster to have any hope of fending off infection.

    • Fascinating, and I am one of the places where “it lives on in pockets of the world today”.

      I go to bed around 11 pm, read for a while, usually halfan hour to an hour, depending on when I start falling asleep, then go to sleep. Without fail I will wake up at 3.30 am or on a good night at 4.00. If I can be bothered I’ll get up and make myself a cup of peppermint tea, most nights I will resume my reading for half an hour or so. Then I’ll go back to sleep until my alarm wakes me at 7.

      I’m too lazy to get up and do things, although my daughter-in-law assures me her parents endure the same sleep pattern and they get up and watch Netflix.

  14. A couple of telling points made by this guy. Ones you won’t see mentioned by the presstitutes. No their job is to report whining cafe/restaurant owners. Hr’s a professor from Newcastle involved in health so he would have a few clues.
    .
    .
    Australian father who waited 10 days to be at bedside of gravely ill son praises MIQ

    Newcastle Professor Kypros Kypri, with his wife and daughter, rushed across the ditch just before New Year, upon learning his son had been diagnosed with a life-threatening autoimmune condition and was in ICU.

    Although he describes it as “agony” for the family to wait without any certainty their son would survive, Kypri defends New Zealand’s continued use of MIQ – even when they were not granted an exemption to leave early.

    As a public health scientist who has been involved in Australia’s pandemic response, Kypri said MIQ was in place to protect people like his son.

    “And the perverse irony of all this is that if he had been in New South Wales and in hospital, we wouldn’t be able to see him, because of Covid.
    Kypri said New Zealand and Australia were given similar advice on how to best protect their populations from Covid, and he supported the way New Zealand continued to manage its pandemic response.

    “In New South Wales, the authorities are ignoring or just not following that advice – it’s a disaster,” he said.

    “This is a really tough thing to say for people trying to come back, but unfortunately [MIQ] is better than the alternative.”

    “The difference between governing well and governing badly is what we’re seeing right now between the two countries.”
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-delta-outbreak-australian-father-who-waited-10-days-to-be-at-bedside-of-gravely-ill-son-praises-miq-system/6UG5HYCG4UEMYWK6IBCBSIAWGU/

  15. Ruh roh…

    Pfizer boss says two doses provide ‘limited protection’ against Omicron

    Pfizer’s chief executive has revealed that two doses of the current Covid-19 vaccine offer “very limited protection, if any” against Omicron, although two doses plus a booster offer “reasonable protection” against hospitalisation and death.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/covid-19-omicron-outbreak-pfizer-boss-says-two-doses-provide-limited-protection-against-omicron-new-vaccine-in-production/6GRQLK3TSL6XBIAXAZWR2GKNHU/

  16. Looks like boosters are not going to be much use against new strains.

    Repeated Covid boosters not viable strategy against new variants, WHO experts warn
    Experts urge development of new vaccines that protect against transmission of the virus in the first place

    World Health Organization experts have warned that repeating booster doses of the original Covid vaccines is not a viable strategy against emerging variants and called for new jabs that better protect against transmission.

    “A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable,” the WHO Technical Advisory Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-Co-VAC) said in a statement published on Tuesday

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/12/repeated-covid-boosters-not-viable-strategy-against-new-variants-who-experts-warn

  17. [ Pfizer boss says two doses provide ‘limited protection’ against Omicron

    Pfizer’s chief executive has revealed that two doses of the current Covid-19 vaccine offer “very limited protection, if any” against Omicron, ]

    So the let it rip” policy of opening up the Economy and borders on the eve of a Omicron wave smashing down on us poor beggars, swimming against the tide and no ability to get any available RAT tests, five hour waits in the sun for a PCR Test to now find out all the trouble people went to to get vaccinated was potentially a waste of time!!!!!!

    Looks like we will all catch it. The suntan cream is next to useless and we will probably end up Sunburnt!!!!!!!

    • And two doses of AZ are next to useless against Omicron.

      This government really does want all oldies to die, the sooner the better. First they insist we all have a useless vaccine, then they “forget” to order boosters and RATs.

      I hope they all come down with an exceptionally nasty attack of The Plague, get Long Covid and then follow it up with other lovely complications like diabetes and permanent memory loss.

  18. gorgeousdunny1
    I keep forgetting to post this .Your post was a pleasure to read. It really was. Thank your for the contribution. Be careful the ‘management’ may try and sign you up for a permanent gig 🙂
    As we say in NZ. Give that man a …..

    .
    .
    In New Zealand, the chocolate fish is a popular confectionery item, and in Kiwi culture a common reward for a job done well. Chocolate fish have a conventional fish-shape and a length of 5 to 8 centimetres. (Dunk it in your fluffy cappuccino. No one’s watching, and even if they are, they aren’t judging you for it.)

  19. The Feral Stick Insect and Bullshit Man get a good kicking.
    .
    Omicron, Australia & the incompetence of leadership | Auto Expert John Cadogan

  20. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    The SMH tells us that the true scale of the state’s Omicron wave emerged less than nine hours after the government mandated the reporting of positive rapid tests.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/massive-surge-spike-in-covid-cases-as-nsw-records-rapid-tests-20220112-p59nq2.html
    “I am a specialist doctor, triple vaxxed, healthy, in my early 30s – but my “personal responsibility” hasn’t protected me from COVID”, warns endocrinologist Annabelle Warren. This is well worth reading – and does not fill one with confidence.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/personal-responsibility-is-no-match-for-omicron-20220109-p59mux.html
    Mike Foley and David Crowe write that employers are urging the federal government to lift restrictions on working hours for temporary migrants to fill gaping holes in food supply businesses, which are reporting 20 to 50 per cent shortfalls in their workforce due to COVID-19 infections.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/push-for-migrants-unemployed-to-fill-covid-gaps-in-critical-industries-20220112-p59nr4.html
    Farmers across the state have pleaded with the federal government to increase the supply of rapid antigen tests (RATs) to the agriculture sector as the country’s food supply chain continues to buckle under the pressure of increasing COVID cases.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/it-s-a-disaster-farmers-plead-for-more-rats-as-supply-chain-crunch-worsens-20220112-p59nnr.html
    Further relaxation of isolation rules should only be in strategic sectors of the economy and based on the best scientific evidence of infection control, warns the SMH editorial which accepts that some further measures might be needed to keep the economy turning over but allowing bar staff to turn up for work sick with COVID-19 is not one of them.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/relaxing-safety-rules-to-fix-staff-shortages-risks-a-vicious-cycle-20220112-p59nr3.html
    Matthew Elmas reports that government minister Anne Ruston has been slammed for suggesting unemployed workers should take up tools to ease crushing workforce shortages brought on by surging Omicron infections.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/finance/finance-news/2022/01/12/ruston-omicron-unemployed/
    If relaxing health restrictions, even as Omicron was spreading, was designed to boost the economy, this is an own goal for the history books, writes Jim Stanford.
    https://johnmenadue.com/wrong-way-go-back-covid-response-is-now-one-of-our-worst-policy-failures/
    Australia’s economic figures are a nonsense – and voters should not believe the Coalition’s spin, writes Greg Jericho. He says things are truly nuts – partly because of the pandemic and partly because we are having to deal with data that is out of date
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/12/australias-economic-figures-are-a-nonsense-and-voters-should-not-believe-the-coalitions-spin
    This scathing editorial in The Canberra Times concludes with, “Australia has gone from best in show to an international laughing stock on many levels after being so smug for so long. Citizens have every right to feel disappointed and let down by governments which need to do a lot more than just say “stay calm and carry on”.”
    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7577382/was-the-omicron-crisis-avoidable/?cs=14258
    Many businesses are warning they are in uncharted territory, with the economic effects of Omicron as bad – or even worse – than previous COVID outbreaks as patrons shun public places. Er, isn’t this people taking “personal responsibility”?
    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/business-pleads-for-government-support-amid-shadow-lockdown-20220111-p59nbw.html
    With contact tracing now essentially abandoned, Michael Koziol reports that some are asking why we should keep getting tested at all. He tells us why we should keep getting tested for COVID for now – but not fining people
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/why-we-should-keep-getting-tested-for-covid-for-now-but-not-fining-people-20220112-p59npg.html
    Veteran banker Joseph Healy has slammed a lack of federal government leadership as he warned the omicron wave was the worst of the pandemic for small business.
    https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/omicron-s-worst-may-be-yet-to-come-says-joseph-healy-20220112-p59nmh
    Home care providers say critical care services, including nursing and medication needs, are being left to family members as they juggle limited staff numbers due to explosive growth in Covid case numbers. Labor says the federal government’s management of the aged care sector has been “diabolical”, with Covid outbreaks in at least 495 aged care homes nationally and a shortage of rapid antigen tests.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/13/genuinely-diabolical-in-home-aged-care-struggling-to-meet-critical-needs-under-omicron-surge
    This doctor anonymously chronicles how emergency departments in NSW have become the overwhelmed front line at this stage of the epidemic.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/emergency-departments-are-the-overwhelmed-frontline-of-the-pandemic-20220111-p59nid.html
    GP appointments would be triaged by nurses through a telephone call centre under a proposal aimed at safeguarding appointments for vulnerable Australians. This follows a meeting between the AMA and Greg Hunt yesterday, reports Dana Daniel.
    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/doctors-plead-for-help-to-triage-patients-as-gps-overrun-with-calls-20220112-p59np0.html
    Timna Jacks reports that a jump in demand from shoppers has left medical clinics without the highly protective N95 masks, despite the state government advising medical professionals to use them.
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/gps-left-without-medical-grade-masks-as-consumers-strip-shelves-20220112-p59nqp.html
    The next few days in SA “will be messy”, the Premier says, as the state moves to a mandatory rapid Covid test reporting system – and testing rules change. And he has joined NSW in slapping a $1000 fine for failing to report a positive RAT.
    https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/coronavirus/sa-faces-messy-few-days-premier-says-as-people-who-fail-to-report-positive-rapid-tests-face-1000-fines/news-story/e62e764209b7ceeccc03eb26f90c62b0
    You’re not alone in being stressed about the public health disaster, writes 3AW’s Julian Virgona. He clearly expresses what many of us are feeling. A good read.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/you-re-not-alone-in-being-stressed-about-the-public-health-disaster-20220110-p59n3i.html
    Anna Parry reports that peak groups representing doctors and police have urged the NSW government to abandon its plan to repeal an automatic presumption under workers’ compensation rules that essential workers were infected with COVID-19 on the job.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/ama-and-police-oppose-repealing-workers-compensation-cover-for-covid-20220112-p59nou.html
    The cancellation of Novak Djokovic’s visa, and his subsequent transfer to immigration detention at Park Hotel, has shed light on the vagaries of Australia’s visa cancellation regime. It has rightly drawn public attention to the consequences of unfair, knee-jerk decision-making and the harshness of our mandatory detention policies, explain these specialists from Clothier Anderson Immigration Lawyers.
    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/djokovic-s-admission-of-error-may-affect-visa-outcome-20220112-p59nrv.html
    Australian immigration officials have widened their investigation into Novak Djokovic’s visa application to include his COVID breaches in Serbia and an incorrect entry form.
    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/immigration-officials-investigating-djokovic-s-errors-and-covid-breaches-20220112-p59nrb.html
    Immigration layer Maria Jockal explains how Djokovic’s case highlights Australia’s complex and restrictive visa and entry requirements and the basis upon which he has now been permitted entry after his visa was first cancelled.
    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/line-ball-djokovic-in-limbo-as-case-reveals-visa-complexity-20220112-p59nsd.html
    Novak Djokovic could face a fine or even prison in Serbia after his admission that he broke isolation while he had Covid last month, lawyers have said, as the Serbian prime minister warned his behaviour appeared to be “a clear breach” of the rules, say these reporters from Belgrade.
    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/jan/12/novak-djokovic-faces-fine-or-prison-for-breaking-isolation-while-covid-positive
    Michaelia Cash’s department has defended religious schools’ right to sack teachers for their views on sexuality and appeared to confirm safeguards for gay students will be delayed until after the religious discrimination bill. It has become a complete clusterf**k!
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/13/attorney-general-defends-religious-schools-right-to-sack-teachers-for-views-on-sexuality
    “We need a new model for electing our head of state, and this is it – one to put before the 5 million voting Australians who couldn’t vote in the 1999 republican referendum”, says Peter FitzSimons, representing the Australian Republican Movement.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/new-republican-model-could-be-the-project-that-brings-us-back-together-20220112-p59nqu.html
    The Australian’s editorial declares that this Republic model will not deliver.
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/editorials/republic-model-will-not-deliver/news-story/6a7054000b1606bd25b52a0f76fc41bc
    The Liberal Party’s West Australian arm will consider the conduct of sitting MP Nick Goiran at a meeting of its appeals and disciplinary committee next week. The Australian last year revealed a leaked 700-page cache of WhatsApp messages exchanged between Mr Collier, Mr Goiran, former federal finance minister Mathias Cormann and a group of Liberals calling themselves The Clan, in which the group openly discussed plans to appoint people under their influence into positions of power within the party.
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/wa-libs-to-consider-future-of-mp-nick-goiran/news-story/7677475a0de7427a7cb925be647942fa
    Latika Bourke writes that the first signs of a Tory rebellion appear to be emerging, with Boris Johnson under increasing fire after admitting he attended a Downing Street party during the lockdown. He has described the BYO party as a “work event”.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/boris-johnson-thought-downing-street-party-he-attended-was-a-work-event-20220112-p59nu5.html
    In a 46-page ruling, a US judge has rejected a bid by Britain’s Prince Andrew to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit accusing the Duke of York of sexually abusing her when she was 17.
    https://www.theage.com.au/world/europe/prince-andrew-to-faces-sex-abuse-lawsuit-tied-to-epstein-20220113-p59nu9.html
    Now Prince Andrew is facing trial, the palace must find a way to ‘de-royal’ him, opines David McClure.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/12/prince-andrew-facing-trial-palace-royal-family
    The Victorian government has seized control of two supported care homes in Melbourne’s outer north-west after an investigation revealed coercion and abuse of residents, uninhabitable living conditions, forgery of signatures and access to NDIS services being hindered. There are a few potential nominations foe “Arseholes of the Week” in this story!
    https://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/state-seizes-control-of-supported-care-homes-over-abuse-uninhabitable-conditions-20220112-p59nlx.html

    Cartoon Corner

    Cathy Wilcox

    Andrew Dyson

    Alan Moir

    Peter Broelman

    Matt Golding




    Glen Le Lievre
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FI2aRgMacAA218h?format=jpg&name=900×900
    Leak

    From the US







  21. When Scott Morrison was given the red carpet treatment during his visit to an RAAF air base last year, it was met with disbelief — including from former Defence staff and prime ministers who said they had never been given the same treatment.

    Now emails between Defence Department staff reveal that a freedom of information request seeking more information about the visit was considered so sensitive that staff at Defence chose to consult the prime minister’s office even though it wasn’t required.

    This correspondence reveals that a staff member from the PMO attempted to block the release of all but one document prepared for release by claiming they were “out of scope”, a classification rejected by Defence.

    https://www.crikey.com.au/2022/01/13/defence-gave-pms-office-a-courtesy-consult-on-foi-request/

  22. The Guardian live blog translated.

    Morrison is asked about the record number of deaths

    He says it’s simple maths shit happens.

    Kelly says on the same question

    “it’s very important to know we can’t protect everyone shit happens.

  23. What a fascinating memory, Georgeous Dunny.

    I loved reading it, as I was not in Adelaide during the Dunstan Years. Please do not neglect to post more of your experiences. These are the stories that must not be lost, eye witness accounts of our fascinating political and social times.

    Dunstan was the fresh air South Australia needed. Yes, fancy three separate parties putting the state and its voters first to reform voting rights.

    Can you imagine it today? And the USA they just would not believe you, that it ever happened that way!

    If the Lib/Nat party still had a democratic rump we possibly could do the same, but they have been sent to the knackery years ago. We have our own ALP rightwing who can be an anchor but at least they are not the majority.

    I liked reminiscing with you about our days (in different states) with the Commonwealth Employment Service. That was an example of a cost-effective gov’t service closed down and outsourced for much lower results with a much higher cost to the taxpayer.

    Please write more, as a permanent record, to a grateful PUB audience.

  24. To me, the fact that this woeful government has been dilly-dallying about its final decision about Novax is because it seems to be so finely split between two of its target constituencies.

    On the one side there’s the xenophobes that have latched on to the Coalition since the 2001 Tampa election, and on the other side there’s the new Anti-Vaxxer crowd that they’ve been trying to subtly give nods and winks to in these past couple of years so they can repeat the 2019 “miracle” and get over the line on their preferences.

    It seems in this situation they remain unable to satisfy both, leaving them with a very difficult decision to make indeed. Something that Alex Hawke seems woefully unqualified to satisfy.

  25. Kirsdarke
    Every minute of no Novax decision is another minute the media lizards are able to fill the public’s attention with NOVAX rather than No Rats , No Boosters, No Groceries No Leadership

  26. I think the situation is filtering through so that most people can see through the obvious ‘look over there’ attempt. Most of my non-political friends are taking note of and are very angry about shop shortages, I try to prod them into knowing who’s responsible while trying not to be a prick about it, going for lines like “If only we could have prepared for this, like we could have with the bushfires and the vaccines, why are we still going through this with the Rapid tests?”. At the very least they have very negative reactions to ScoMo when he turns up.

  27. Hot hot hot in The WA Cave. May get hotter
    Onslow 50.7C
    Mardie 50.3
    Roebourne 50.5C

  28. Story in The Guardian has this headline –
    “Novak Djokovic: Australia still considering cancelling player’s visa and whether he had ‘acceptable proof’”

    Not “Australia ” – just Alex Hawke, waiting on orders from Scovid.

    NoVax lied about his history, to me that means he gets sent back home ASAP. It should not take days of dithering to make a decision. I suppose Scovid is trying to work out how to please/appease the greatest number of voters, as Kirsdarke so pertinently says.

    Send the idiot home. Who cares if he gets fined or lands in jail? Who cares if he is banned from tennis for three years?

    Just do it!

    He lied and then tried to blame it on his staff. What an arse! End of story.

Comments are closed.