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. Mobile phones – Pffft!

    I thought they were supposed to make life easier!

    First you need to understand how little use I have for a mobile. I am the only person who has access to my phone. I deliberately chose not to lock it for that reason. I never leave home these days except for medical stuff and visits to No 1 Son and his family. It’s not as if I’m 15 and wander around the shops with my phone welded to my hand – I rarely use it at all. Its main use is as an alarm clock.

    Because my family members, friends and everyone who knows me knows my old landline number but NOT my mobile number I decided to take the trouble to port it to the NBN when I changed. It works a treat.

    I just spent an unproductive half hour trying to set up my vaccine certificate and the Service NSW app in preparation for my booster appointment on Wednesday. The vax certificate isn’t essential but I thought having it handy would be a good idea. How dumb could I get!

    Service NSW was easy, although it did demand a PIN. FFS! Why? It is MY phone, no-one else uses it!!!!

    Then came the battle with mygov.

    After three tries I finally got it to accept my email and log-in – the same details I have been using online for years.

    I managed to answer the secret question, then the phone for some reason sent me back to base. I tried again – success! Or so I thought.

    Next came my vax certificate. I found it plus a handy-seeming button that said Place on Google Pay” or words to that effect. I hit it. Then I was sent to Google Pay (which I have never used and have no intention of ever using again) where I was commanded to set up a screen lock.

    I refused, turned the phone onto its usual “flight mode” setting and gave up.
    I will print a copy of the damn vax certificate – IF I can manage to get my shiny new printer to work.

    • You were almost there. Google Pay works only on cards you put there. The screen lock is for extra security. Unless you input another card manually, it will only have your vax cert in there. These phones have multiple layers of security depending on what app you use.

      Anything to do with money should require a code, fingerprint, screen lock pattern before a transaction can be made. I found recording my fingerprint makes it faster to get through the security.

      I don’t go anywhere without my phone because I manage my life through it. I used to have a Dayplanner, mapbook, phone book etc etc, camera, video camera now I carry a Samsung Note 9.

  2. SAY WHAT YOU WILL will about notoriously inactive Prime Minister Scott Morrison: when he does finally make a move, he has a magnificent instinct for turning a single problem into a majestically cascading series of catastrophes.

    After sacrificing much of the last two years, the Australian people have been rewarded with a Federal Government presiding over COVID-19 cases and deaths the likes of which we’ve never seen. And despite being told that this was necessary for the economy, that’s also collapsed as customers stay home and workers drop like flies in essential industries, almost as though there’s some sort of link between the state of the economy and healthy people being able to work and spend.

    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/how-scott-morrison-lost-three-core-voting-blocs-in-a-week,15946

  3. Am I mistaken? Is this a misprint – wasn’t this about ‘vax evasion’ and not tax? Where did I read it?

    “Serbia keenly awaiting the return of their beloved patriot St Novak but of course he lives in Monaco for tax reasons…..” @marquelawyers

  4. Guess the publication and for 1000 bonus points the journo.

    Government: Novak must go because Aussie public is stupid

    The Morrison government aimed to throw tennis champion Novak Djokovic out of the country, but ended up revealing exactly what it thinks about average Aussies

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    https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/novak-djokovic-affair-sadly-shows-what-pm-scott-morrison-thinks-of-aussies/news-story/48c79fd68a0bfbf712dcee0bd128e84f

  5. Human rights advocates have criticised the prime minister, Scott Morrison, after he wrongly claimed those held in detention in Australia for as long as eight years had not been recognised as refugees.

    Australia’s harsh border policies have been thrust into the spotlight since the detention of tennis star Novak Djokovic at the notorious Park hotel in Melbourne, where dozens of asylum seekers and refugees are detained indefinitely.

    Guardian Australia understands that there are 25 refugees and seven asylum seekers currently held in the Park hotel.

    Speaking to 2GB radio on Monday, Morrison was asked by presenter Ben Fordham how it was “acceptable” that refugees in the same hotel as Djokovic had been detained for almost nine years with taxpayers spending millions of dollars “to keep them in limbo.”

    In response, Morrison suggested the detainees were not refugees.

    “Well, the specific cases, Ben, I mean, it’s not clear that to my information that someone in that case is actually a refugee,” he said.

    “They may have sought asylum and been found not to be a refugee and have chosen not to return, and … that happens in this country, people aren’t found to be refugees and they won’t return.”

    But Elaine Pearson, the Australia director of Human Rights Watch, told the Guardian that most of those held in the Park hotel had been granted refugee status.

    “It’s an outright lie to say that these people are not refugees, when most of them have had their refugee status formally recognised for years,” Pearson said.

    “They’ve been through that process and it is established that they simply can’t return to their country.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/17/pm-accused-of-outright-lie-after-claiming-detainees-in-melbourne-hotel-are-not-refugees

  6. Cool gifs . The pressure waves of the volcanic eruption in Tonga on the way out

    Then converging on the antipodal point over Africa

  7. BK seems to have abandoned us.

    Here are his links anyway-

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    David Crowe gives us the rundown n the latest Resolve poll which provided a devastating result for the Coalition.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/coalition-primary-vote-drops-below-labor-s-for-the-first-time-resolve-survey-20220117-p59orf.html
    Crowe says Morrison needed a summer of love. He got a summer of loathing instead.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/election-race-tightens-after-morrison-takes-a-summer-battering-20220117-p59orh.html
    Paul Bongiorno has returned from his break and gives us his opinion on Morrison’s summer that has changed the political calculus. It’s a good read.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2022/01/18/paul-bongiorno-morrison-discontent/
    The failings of the Coalition Government have finally dented its support among its core constituencies that are crucial to its re-election efforts, writes Andrew P Street.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/how-scott-morrison-lost-three-core-voting-blocs-in-a-week,15946
    Michael Koziol reports that Barnaby Joyce says there is nothing the federal government can do to silence anti-vaxxers in its ranks after deporting No. 1 Novak Djokovic for fear he would encourage people to shun the COVID-19 vaccine. Senior ministers on Monday faced accusations of hypocrisy for their hard line against Mr Djokovic while government MPs such as George Christensen and Senator Alex Antic continue to spread anti-vaccination messages.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/barnaby-joyce-we-ve-got-anti-vaxxer-mps-but-what-can-you-do-20220117-p59oxt.html
    Competition watchdog chairman Rod Sims has warned retailers selling rapid antigen tests for more than $20 that they must “urgently explain” the inflated price tag as part of the consumer watchdog’s crackdown on pharmacies and small business operators seeking to take advantage of the shortage of tests.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/accc-s-sims-demands-rat-price-gougers-urgently-explain-100-price-tag-20220117-p59oqs.html
    Understaffed hospitals and care facilities, burgeoning surgery backlogs, insufficient medical graduates, rising mental health problems – the list of challenges ahead is formidable, writes Jack Waterford who says that our post-pandemic healthcare system will need massive investment. There will be a second article on this subject tomorrow.
    https://johnmenadue.com/our-post-pandemic-healthcare-system-will-need-massive-investment/
    Recent coronavirus cases have been less likely to be hospitalised than people infected in mid-2021, early data shows as health authorities say booster doses have played a significant role in preventing severe disease. However, writes Mary Ward, there are concerns about the state’s high case load, with vulnerable people catching the virus before receiving a booster and hospitals stretched by the sheer number of infections.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/omicron-cases-less-likely-to-enter-hospital-but-numbers-cause-strain-20220117-p59osn.html
    Victoria’s chief health officer believes the Omicron wave may have peaked and be in the process of flattening and falling as the rate of transmission of the virus has declined for three days in a row. But Brett Sutton says a surge in hospital admissions is still growing, with the number of people in intensive care expected to increase for three more weeks.
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/victoria-records-22-429-cases-as-government-hands-out-3-million-rats-to-key-workers-20220117-p59ooe.html
    NSW residents have been warned to brace themselves for high numbers of COVID-19 deaths in the coming days as the state’s healthcare workers battle exhaustion in the face of rising hospitalisations. Health Minister Brad Hazzard hit out at people who have chosen not to get vaccinated, saying they needed “to give a damn about someone other than” themselves.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/nsw-records-29-504-covid-19-cases-and-17-deaths-20220117-p59op5.html
    The shortage of rapid antigen tests for consumers is being exacerbated by state and federal governments and large corporates placing mammoth orders for the kits, causing stock to be diverted from online retailers and pharmacies, reports Anne Davies.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/18/rapid-antigen-tests-australian-consumers-miss-out-as-government-and-big-business-snap-up-supplies
    Benjamin Priess tells us that unions have warned that employees will go on strike if their bosses do not provide enough protection from the fast-spreading Omicron variant as tensions mount over the response to Covid.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/unions-threaten-to-stop-work-unless-omicron-safety-measures-improve-20220117-p59ov2.html
    According to Dana Daniel, GPs are warning they may have to increase fees to keep practices viable without a boost to Medicare as they demand higher rebates for longer consultations to treat chronically ill patients.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/gps-warn-of-higher-fees-without-increased-medicare-rebates-for-long-consults-20220112-p59nqg.html
    Human rights advocates have criticised the prime minister, Scott Morrison, after he wrongly claimed those held in detention in Australia for as long as eight years had not been recognised as refugees.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/17/pm-accused-of-outright-lie-after-claiming-detainees-in-melbourne-hotel-are-not-refugees
    Cancelling Novak Djokovic’s visa was another example of a trend towards ministerial intervention, which is undermining public trust in institutions, explains Michael Lester.
    https://johnmenadue.com/djokovic-visa-decision-a-warning-light-on-ministerial-discretion/
    Australia’s treatment of Novak Djokovic, the tennis world number one, has been revelatory. Unintentionally, this has exposed the seedier, arbitrary and inconsistent nature of Australia’s border policies. The approval by the Australian Federal Court of the Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to re-cancel the prominent Serb’s visa left the country a heaving precedent that will be invoked, in future, with relish, predicts Binoy Kampmark.
    https://theaimn.com/dangerous-precedents-and-hypothetical-threats-the-deportation-of-novak-djokovic/
    Patrick Hatch and Josh Gordon report that Crown Resorts’ suitor Blackstone may have to grapple with onerous new regulations imposed on the casino giant’s flagship Melbourne property.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/crown-royal-commission-findings-could-cause-headaches-for-blackstone-20220117-p59ov0.html
    The trucking industry is pushing for a plan to make delivery vehicles electric, which it says will allow suburban noise curfews to be lifted and companies to save money, writes Mike Foley.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/make-trucks-electric-to-lift-suburban-curfews-and-ease-congestion-trucking-industry-20220114-p59oa0.html
    Elizabeth Knight expands upon how COVID fear and supply famine have joined to decimate the likes of Kmart’s Target’s earnings.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/covid-fear-and-supply-famine-join-to-decimate-kmart-target-s-earnings-20220117-p59ors.html
    Sky News sought to justify misleading Covid commentary then-host Alan Jones put to air, saying it was balanced by coverage of the daily Covid press conferences, according to a letter sent to the broadcasting regulator. What a laugh!
    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/jan/18/sky-news-claims-alan-joness-misleading-commentary-balanced-by-covering-daily-covid-press-conferences
    Jess Irvine says that political rhetoric is insufficient to help Aussies own their own homes.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/political-rhetoric-insufficient-to-help-aussies-own-their-own-home-20220117-p59opc.html
    Tom Switzer reckons Malcolm Turnbull had the right idea on China.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/turnbull-had-the-right-idea-on-china-20220115-p59ogw.html
    Pete Shmigel has written an open letter to Novak Djokovic telling him the Australians are really glad that he got the boot. He defines the word “boofhead” to make his point.
    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/dear-novak-here-s-why-australians-are-really-glad-you-got-the-boot-20220117-p59ou5.htm

  8. If the Nine-commissioned Resolve poll shows a dire result for the government then just imagine what the real figures are like!

    Scovid will be in a foul mood today – cats, dogs and journalists with tricky questions are advised to stay well away.

  9. Paul Bongiorno says –

    “The Prime Minister is now claiming no visa was ever issued, which begs the question how Djokovic had one that allowed him to board the plane in the first place”

    Not to mention having a stack of paperwork with him to prove that visa existed.

    Scovid really is suffering from a worsening mental illness. He thinks we will believe all his lies without question. He is obviously delusional with his belief some dark god or other wanted him to be PM, even sending a cheap painting/print of an eagle as a “sign”. There is also his willing acceptance of the definitely non-Christian rot preached by his Pentecostal cargo cult and his acceptance of the nonsense worm-tongued in his ear by Tim Stewart. (Not to mention his wife, who seems to have fallen victim to the idiocy repeated to her again and again by her BFF Lynelle Stewart, Tim’s wife.)

    Now he further proves how mentally unstable he is by telling yet another whopper of a lie and expecting us all to believe it simply because he is the PM.

  10. The Guardian’s article on RATs tells us this –

    Last week, the commonwealth announced $62m worth of orders for the tests under the “extreme urgency and unforeseen circumstances” provision of commonwealth purchasing rules. This appeared to coincide with several online retailers and pharmacies being told their supplies were delayed

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/18/rapid-antigen-tests-australian-consumers-miss-out-as-government-and-big-business-snap-up-supplies

    More lies. Obviously the government had done nothing – again – until late last week when the first reports of stolen RATs began.

    So much for Grunt’s lies about having “secured” millions of tests.

    Their only solution was to steal them to keep supplies trickling in while they belatedly placed orders and waited for them to arrive.

  11. Scovid’s “push through” (aka “let it rip”):

    Australia has recorded its deadliest ever day in the Covid-19 pandemic, with 74 deaths in the latest reporting period recorded so far.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2022/jan/18/australia-news-live-update-novak-djokovic-arrives-back-in-serbia-covid-tsunami-rapid-antigen-tests-scott-morrison-booster-cases-perrottet-andrews-australia-and-nz-flights-to-tonga-report-significant-damage#comments

  12. And the lies continue

    Prof Kelly is up now. He is talking about the pressure that’s currently on the health system, suggesting the federal government has been prepared for such pressure:

    We have been planning for workforce pressure in our healthcare sector for some time, right back to actually the beginning of the pandemic. This is the first time that the health system has come under pressure to the extent that we’re seeing in the last week or two.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2022/jan/18/australia-news-live-update-novak-djokovic-arrives-back-in-serbia-covid-tsunami-rapid-antigen-tests-scott-morrison-booster-cases-perrottet-andrews-australia-and-nz-flights-to-tonga-report-significant-damage#comments

  13. Seth Meyers –

    Stephen Colbert –

    Jimmy Kimmel –

    Rachel Maddow –

    Brian Tyler Cohen –

  14. I’m very sad to hear of the passing of Dean Jaensch. I used his works a lot as references for my wikipedia edits, particularly those for WA elections. His meticulous works are most appreciated.

  15. Raina MacIntyre

    https://www.croakey.org/amid-cascading-failures-where-is-the-leadership/

    Introduction by Croakey: Today a record 77 COVID deaths were reported nationally and this toll is expected to keep increasing; the Federal Government activated a 2020 agreement with private hospitals to help the COVID response; and the Victorian Government announced a Pandemic Code Brown across all public metropolitan and major regional hospitals, which is expected to last four to six weeks.

    It’s time politicians and health officials stop calling the Omicron variant “mild”, and invest in testing, tracing, good quality masks and safe indoor air, and a range of other strategies, according to Professor Raina MacIntyre, Head of the Biosecurity Research Program at the Kirby Institute at UNSW.

    She also calls for an explicit commitment from governments to protect people: “We do not have that commitment yet – we have talk of personal responsibility, but have been left without the tools to survive.”

  16. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    In breaking news, a man has been charged with murder over the disappearance of a nine-year-old girl in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales last week.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/19/man-charged-with-over-disappearance-of-nine-year-old-girl-in-blue-mountains
    Our leaders are talking small, but they still need to think big, writes Julie Szego in this quite good contribution.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/our-leaders-are-talking-small-but-they-still-need-to-think-big-20220118-p59p4q.html
    Stephen Hamilton argues a good case for an increase in the GST (and more accurately calling it a VAT) in order to achieve a more progressive system overall. He says those of the left need to open their eyes.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/why-lefties-need-to-learn-to-love-the-gst-20220118-p59p27.html
    Barnaby thinks being in government is for looking after your mates. So does his mate Gina, writes Kaye Lee.
    https://theaimn.com/barnaby-thinks-being-in-government-is-for-looking-after-your-mates-so-does-his-mate-gina/
    Noel Towell reports that leading economists are saying the state and federal governments will continue to resist calls for cash assistance to businesses and workers hit by the Omicron crisis.
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/no-cash-relief-in-sight-for-businesses-battered-by-omicron-20220117-p59ov3.html
    Josh Frydenberg has signalled that stay-at-home requirements could be further eased, helping get more staff back to work sooner.
    https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/isolation-rules-under-review-amid-workforce-pressure-20220118-p59p2d
    The SMH editorial reckons voters are not sold on Morrison’s management of the Omicron crisis.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/voters-not-sold-on-morrison-s-management-of-omicron-crisis-20220118-p59p8r.html
    “What if Omicron bedlam is not a cockup but intentional?”, asks a cynical Michael Pascoe.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/opinion/2022/01/19/michael-pascoe-omicron-intentional-scenario/
    David Crowe writes that a clear majority of Australians want authorities to subsidise rapid antigen tests or make them free for everyone, with 65 per cent of voters also saying the federal government is most responsible for ensuring coronavirus test supplies.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/australians-back-case-for-free-or-subsidised-tests-20220118-p59p8n.html
    More than 500,000 Australian workers will be $300 worse off if they are forced to self-isolate after the Morrison government slashed a crucial support payment, explains Matthew Elmas.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/finance/welfare/2022/01/18/casual-workers-isolation/
    Jennifer Duke reports that unions have hit back at talk of strikes over COVID-19 health concerns, saying they want to “keep people safe and businesses open”.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/strikes-unlikely-but-unions-join-call-for-free-rats-as-one-million-isolate-20220118-p59p35.html
    Scott Morrison has urged parents to ignore George Christensen, a member of his own government, after labelling the member for Dawson’s calls for them not to immunise their children as “dangerous”. Struck by a limp lettuce leaf!
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/pm-tells-australians-to-disregard-george-christensen-over-dangerous-vaccine-advice-20220118-p59pa6.html
    We need a statesman to recognise the opportunity to renew health services after the disruptions of the pandemic. This is the second of two articles from Jack Waterford.
    https://johnmenadue.com/a-sense-of-mission-required-for-the-eventual-post-covid-nation/
    According to Colin Kruger, Omicron is playing havoc with some of Australia’s largest freight logistics providers which have been forced to introduce levies to cover the rising cost of pandemic-related staff shortages.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/freight-groups-introduce-omicron-surcharge-to-cover-rising-staff-costs-20220118-p59p5v.html
    This seasoned hospital patient describes shocking conditions and stresses in the hospital system. Ugh!
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/victoria/my-nightmare-in-hospital-as-covid-stressed-the-system-20220118-p59p52.html
    Meanwhile, Victoria’s nurses’ union says hospitals need urgent military support after the government declared a code brown emergency to relieve a health system buckling under the Omicron wave.
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/nurses-want-adf-called-in-to-help-ease-code-brown-hospital-crisis-20220118-p59p7v.html
    Mary Ward tells us about the Street Side Medics team has grown to 250 GPs, nurses, doctors and allied health professionals, who visit Woolloomooloo, Brookvale, Manly and Parramatta each week to treat rough sleepers and people at risk of homelessness.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/after-his-icu-shift-street-medic-daniel-helps-the-city-s-homeless-20220118-p59p40.html
    The Therapeutic Goods Administration is investigating reports retailers are selling repackaged rapid antigen test kits for a premium, despite warnings of multimillion-dollar penalties for companies that breach labelling rules. The tests, often bought in bulk initially, are resold inside zip-lock bags at petrol stations, convenience stores and small supermarkets, and are sometimes missing crucial components for their correct use, such as vials or instruction sheets. Arseholes!
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/super-dodgy-tga-investigating-rapid-antigen-test-resale-rort-20220118-p59p10.html
    What we have learnt from decades of experience about analysing what to do when things go wrong in healthcare should be applied to public health too, urges Stephen Duckett who thinks something other than a royal commission should be convened.
    https://johnmenadue.com/how-to-learn-from-our-covid-history-no-not-with-a-royal-commission/
    National cabinet will consider overhauling vaccination mandate rules that would pave the way for thousands of South Australian teachers, police officers and taxi drivers to be forced to have a Covid-19 booster jab.
    https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/coronavirus/national-cabinet-to-consider-three-jab-vaccine-mandates/news-story/acaf160d6918e28c5d674da6d7851c8d
    Prime Minister Morrison wants to send kids back to schools despite evidence that it’s not safe to do so, writes Natalie Beak.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/pm-doubles-down-on-sending-kids-back-to-school,15948
    A drastic slide in home ownership, mirrored by an equally dramatic rise in mortgage debt and renting, is a direct result of failed government policy. Spiralling inequality in the “Land of the Fair Go can be addressed, ironically, by stronger lending standards. Economist and Senate candidate Steve Keen on the crisis in affordable housing.
    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/home-ownership-plunge-soaring-debt-the-new-liberals/
    Environmental groups have accused the federal government of paying a record price to retrieve water for the environment by funding irrigators to make savings through efficiencies. Anne Davies reports that the water minister, Keith Pitt, has announced the government will allocate $126m to Murrumbidgee Irrigation for works that it says will save just 7.4 gigalitres of water, and return 6.3 gigalitres to the environment.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/19/government-paying-eight-times-over-market-price-for-murray-darling-water-buyback-environment-groups-claim
    Plenty of parliamentarians, mainly in the government, have made more incendiary statements against Covid vaccination than the tennis star ever did, writes Mike Scrafton who asks, “Who might this arbitrary censorship power fall on next; environmentalists, climate activists, peace advocates, or social justice promoters?”
    https://johnmenadue.com/no-justice-for-djokovic-the-danger-of-different-rules-for-politicians/
    A small group of elites determines what ordinary people do not see or hear, writes John Menadue who points to Big Media’s diet of deceit and diversions.
    https://johnmenadue.com/__trashed-58/
    A desperate Commonwealth Games Federation faces embarrassment that no other city in its community of more than 50 nations is willing to bid for host-city status. Roy Masters says Melbourne is set to step into the breach for 2026.
    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/melbourne-set-to-step-into-breach-as-2026-commonwealth-games-host-city-20220118-p59p6r.html
    Stephen Loosley sings the praises of our new US ambassador, Carolinr Kennedy.
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/caroline-kennedy-brings-white-house-closer/news-story/6a84a303f82c48050107dfe61ee1eeb4
    Beijing’s one-child policy provided an economic boon for China over the past two decades but has created a demographic timebomb that gives the world’s most populous nation little more than a decade to achieve any ­expansionist ambitions, explains Bernard Salt.
    https://amp.theaustralian.com.au/nation/beijing-sitting-on-a-ticking-time-bomb/news-story/89400d2def08d856fa590cbda3716ba8
    “How will the great wrecker Boris Johnson break himself out of this bind?”, wonders Marina Hyde.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/18/great-wrecker-boris-johnson-hole-sunlit-uplands-failed
    “Arsehole of the Week” nomination goes to the rightwing Fox News host, Laura Ingraham, hho has stoked outrage by announcing that the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff had tested positive for Covid-19 – and applauding as she did so. Gen Mark Milley became a target of rightwing anger after extensive reporting showed how he worked to contain Donald Trump at the end of his time in power, keeping US armed forces out of domestic affairs.
    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/jan/18/fox-news-laura-ingraham-covid-mark-milley-outrage

    Cartoon Corner

    Peter Broelman

    Matt Golding





    Cathy Wilcox

    Glen Le Lievre

    Fiona Katauskas

    Andrew Dyson

    John Shakespeare

    Simon Letch

    Warren Brown

    Spooner

    From the US







  17. “Stephen Hamilton argues a good case for an increase in the GST (and more accurately calling it a VAT) in order to achieve a more progressive system overall. He says those of the left need to open their eyes”

    Absolutely not!!!”

    It’s all very well for a well-educated man on an excellent salary to preach this rubbish, but those of us at the bottom of the heap, those surviving on Centrelink payments KNOW that this tax hits hardest those who are least able to pay.

    The “compensation” grudgingly provided by Howard was insufficient in 2000 and not given to everyone on a Centrelink benefit initially.At the time it was touted as being “over-generous” – a lie – and has not kept up with increasing prices since then.

    It is an inequitable tax, just another way the right can attack the poorest, those they consider burdens on the economy.

    Stephen Hamilton uses insulting language to describe those who oppose this tax – “lefties”. In doing so he reveals himself as a true right-winger – arrogant, uncaring and snobbish.

    We know nothing would make this corrupt, useless government happier than to increase the GST – Nine reveals yet again its true right-wing leanings by running this article.

    A pox on Hamilton and his ilk.

  18. “Stephen Hamilton argues a good case for an increase in the GST (and more accurately calling it a VAT) in order to achieve a more progressive system overall. He says those of the left need to open their eyes”

    What a steaming pile of whale dreck. It has been known since ‘forever’ that the less well off have to spend a greater proportion of their money than the effing Hamiltons of the world on goods/service and so a greater % of their income goes in VAT?GSTtax. Scummy prick is shilling for the bustards who have done veeeery nicely thank you very much from unearned $$$$$$s due to asset inflation etc. Heaven forbid governments might look at such unearned income for a capital gains tax and the like. So yeah, lets increase the amount of tax the peasants pay on their stagnating wages and salary.

  19. There is no need to increase the GST. They just have to tax what is already out there, kept by the corporates and the filthy rich, and filthy is the appropriate word. Anyone with wealth who does not pay at least 25% of their income, the real income not the net income after tax nerds squeeze every last cent out of the taxing zone, is filth.

  20. Let me get this right.
    Our health system is on its last legs, due to years of defunding, mismanagement, high university fees (which means grads have to chase the top $, anywhere), casualisation, attacks on Medicare and the NDIS, underpaying care-workers, and a host of other monetary reasons.
    Our supply chain systems are forked, our workers are exhausted or have no work, because of Covid19 and businesses are closing down.

    Morrison’s response is to encourage other countries’ young people to backpack in Australa to work in our plague-ridden industries, alongside our sick workers and chance ending up in our failing health system. What family is going to be happy their young adult is contemplating that?

    And we have the outrageous gall to try to fill our health systems with trained workers and grads that we poach from other countries who need them at there? Bloody first-world privilege!

    We caused this, we elected according to whom offered the shortest of visions, how much money we would get or keep, or taxes avoided and privileges saved than having a functioning first world country who could help others in our region.

    We made this mess.

    Now we get to live, and die, in it.

    • It’s a shame that those of us who didn’t vote for this farce of a government, or for the NSW government which has done so much to spread The Plague across Australia and New Zealand, get to live with this virus and die from it too.

      If only there was some way to ensure only those who voted right-wing get to suffer, because they deserve to deal with the consequences of their thoughtless, braindead actions..

      Sorry if I sound nasty, but I am way beyond fed up with the meaningless gibberish spouted most days by Scovid and Domicron.

  21. Reference the GST issue. I agree that there needs to be action to stop the avoidance. The only mugs that pay GST are those on wages.

    Only two days ago local lady on a social media site asked for an electrician who would do a “cashy”. Out of the woodwork they came. It is so blatant and many of them look down their noses at wage earners, considering them to be bludgers.

    I am sick of it, people who avoid tax are considered to be clever by too many.

    • Like many on a low income I have to mea culpa on this, but only to help others in my circumstances. I always insist on GST applied work for anything, like, when my roof was repointed. A bit of gardening or cleaning by a pensioner is another matter. I reckon this goes on a lot and was predicted by us who saw the GST as a burden on the poor. I was earning good money back then and was more than happy to pay taxes, wanted the Medicare levy increased to 15% with Dental added, and wanted a Financial Transfer tax of 0.1% on anything over a few thousand dollars. Plus a proper Resource Extraction Tax to the Commonwealth as well as the existing State resource rent charges.

      We would be rolling in Federal money by now, they could’ve stoked the boilers of Parliament House with the stuff.

      But we are ruled by Greedy Rich Bastards, and their social climbing sycophants.

    • I would not have a ‘cashie’ do my electricity. It is either free as a helping hand by a qualified rellie or good friend I trust, or a GST receipt in case my house burns down from so dodgo’s work. The insurance implications are too severe. (I have insurance for home-help in my insurance policy)

      Sometimes a dollar saved will cost a lot more down the track. And is often the cashed up ones who seek out the cash-on-hand tradie, not the pensioners.

  22. In the need to distract myself from all the miserable news, I am hooked into a Korean drama (KDrama) called The Penthouse. It is like Dallas but classier and it really does highlight social problems, especially bully in schools.

    I am into the third season and hoping they make a fourth. It is pure escapism with a baddie who almost gets his come-uppence but always wriggles out of it, with style.

    The women, and Dads, fighting over their kids in a prestigious private music high school full of bullying, corruption, nepotism and great singers is just so slice of life. Wealth does not confer good human values, it is obvious. I reckon it is like the Liebral Party set, but with actual class. I try to marry up the characters with our own Mr and Ms Disgracefuls, but I can’t because our own are too crass, obnoxious and have no redeeming qualities, which most of these characters do. It is hilarious in a lot of ways. I only wish our lot were only as evil as these fictional chracters

    The Koreans really know how to make good product. No wonder KDrama has a good international following and has broken into the Western audience subset.

    • How could any sane parent take the advice of sports “celebrities” and actors over proper medical advice? Anti-vax parents should have their children removed from their “care” until such time as they see sense.

  23. Lying again –

    Scovid now says he did not say there were no refugees incarcerated in the Park Hotel.

    Scott Morrison says he never said there were no refugees in Melbourne’s Park hotel
    Prime minister refuses to apologise for radio interview in which he cast doubt on the status of refugees held in immigration detention
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/19/scott-morrison-says-he-never-said-there-were-no-refugees-in-melbournes-park-hotel

    Just two days ago, on 2GB, he said this –

    Speaking to 2GB radio on Monday, Morrison was asked by presenter Ben Fordham how it was “acceptable” that refugees in the same hotel as Djokovic had been detained for almost nine years with taxpayers spending millions of dollars “to keep them in limbo.”

    In response, Morrison suggested the detainees were not refugees.

    “Well, the specific cases, Ben, I mean, it’s not clear that to my information that someone in that case is actually a refugee,” he said.

    “They may have sought asylum and been found not to be a refugee and have chosen not to return, and … that happens

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/17/pm-accused-of-outright-lie-after-claiming-detainees-in-melbourne-hotel-are-not-refugees

    How long before his office deletes that statement from the transcript of that interview? As of right now it’s still there.
    https://www.pm.gov.au/media/interview-ben-fordham-2gb-22

    This is a former Minister for Immigration and Border Protection speaking – one who ramped up the cruelty while he held that office. Of course he knew! Those men came to the hotel while he was in charge of immigration!

    How stupid does he think we are? How dumb? We are not goldfish. We have memories and use them.

    Keep lying Scovid. Every time you tell another blatant lie another former Lib voter (or 20, or 200) jumps ship. Scovid is the best campaign asset Labor could have.

  24. The Feds are still stealing RATs.

    Scovid says his government has been buying them since August. Yeah, some might believe that. I do not.

    He said that in the same interview with Ben Fordham where he claimed refugees were not being kept in the Park Hotel.

    Fordham: We’ll catch up with some of those relatives of loved ones in Tonga after eight o’clock this morning. On rapid antigen tests, the Australian Medical Association says it warned your health bureaucrats in September that we need a massive supply of RAT tests and now we’ve got these mass shortages. So whether they’re free or sold over the counter, they’ve got to be on the shelves. Should we have been buying more of them six months ago?

    Prime Minister: Well, we were buying them in August, as the federal government, to meet the requirements that we had in aged care facilities, and that’s what’s being used right now. And remember, back in August and even September, I mean, we were dealing with Delta then and the challenge and what we’re focused on then and successfully was to get those vaccination rates up. Now Omicron has changed everything, Ben, changed absolutely everything. We’re now dealing with the virus that is far more transmissible, but 75 per cent less severe. And most people listening to this programme now, I’m sure, now know someone or indeed have had COVID. Now, that wasn’t true six months ago. It’s been a very different virus. It’s putting a lot of stress on our critical supplies, and we’ve made a number of changes to ensure we can try and alleviate that. Whether it’s on changing the close contact rules that we’ve done with driving even harder the boosters into those critical areas, we’ve been working with our poultry producers and distributors. Josh is down there today with Coles working through more issues with them. They’re telling us that the changes we’ve made are alleviating the situation. The rapid antigen tests are in short supply all around the world. This is not something that is unique to Australia going through it. It’s part of dealing with Omicron. Omicron has disrupted everything, so we’ve changed so much to ensure we can get through what is a difficult period. And I want to thank Australians for their patience and pushing through. This is how we get through. We push through.

    https://www.pm.gov.au/media/interview-ben-fordham-2gb-22

    • Commissioned for Nine, so of course it is biased.

      Those who commission polls media get the results they pay for, so for even this poll to get such results shows us how on the nose Scovid must be.

      I’d love to see some reliable numbers.

  25. If there is anyone in the lounge who are wondering about the booster shots here are some very ‘loud’ numbers.

    .
    .
    a peer-reviewed British study of those who’d received COVID-19 boosters in the UK revealed the “absolute effectiveness of a booster (against hospitalisation or death) ranged from around 97 to 99 per cent in all age groups”.

    For those whose first two inoculations were with the AstraZeneca vaccine, researchers said a Pfizer booster is 89.6 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic disease, whilst a Moderna booster is 95.3 per cent effective.
    https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/coronavirus/john-flint-how-to-boost-your-chances-against-the-omicron-strain-of-covid-19-c-5364481

  26. Christensen- getting out before he can be pushed out.

    He is no loss whatsoever. The only question should be why he was ever made a committee chairman in the first place.

  27. Ch9 News. Aussie ! Aussie ! Aussie ! Oi ! Oi ! Oi

    US slaps ‘do not travel’ warning on Australia

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