June 28, 2020

For three months, we have given up our liberties and our livelihoods to comply with the directives of our leaders - all for the common good.

We have known from the beginning that most COVID-19 infections arrived from overseas; sixty-two percent, more if you include those who contracted it from overseas arrivals. Quarantining new arrivals has been an essential part of the protection regime.

Now we find that the quarantine process has had lax hygiene and management procedures for security and service workers, many of whom have become infected and passed it on to their family and friends. Victoria...

June 18, 2020

A spokeswoman for the Vice Chancellors of our major Universities said that they had advised the Minister, Dan Tehan, that unless they got extra funding soon, they would have to retrench academic staff and hence curtail valuable research work.

However, the Vice Chancellors have decided not to fly to Canberra in their private jets seeking government bailouts. Making some arcane reference to automotive CEOs from Detroit, their PR departments advised them it would not be a good look. (Yes, our Universities do have PR and marketing departments. They are businesses you know.) 

Explaining the PR advice...

June 10, 2020

In a well-written advocacy in The Saturday Paper supporting the Black Lives Matter protests on Saturday 6th June 2020, Amy McQuire wrote that “Since 1991, 432 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have lost their lives in custody.” 

The clear impression given by McQuire and most other journalists was that the state was responsible for these deaths.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up 27 per cent of the national prison population, while only making up 3 per cent of Australia`s population. …  Nearly three decades after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody...

Our politicians and their advisors get no kudos for taking risks. They err on the side of caution. The risk of deaths from COVID-19 is immediate and visible. What is not seen[1] is the emotional, health and prosperity costs borne by those who have lost their jobs and their businesses, or are suffering from their lack of interaction  with family, friends and workmates.

It is time to return to work and play and socialising.

For the past few weeks, I have been observing the excellent infographic on COVID-19 from the Australian Government Department of Health.

As of 25 May, Australia had re...

One of the delights of the English language is that its extensive vocabulary facilitates nuance.

The recent overuse of the word “unprecedented” is to be deplored.

Today I illustrate with a little help from Peter Mark Roget.

Hasn't the last six months been amazing?

Whilst you could not say that the bushfires which devastated Australia were without warning, the extent of the damage was unforeseen.

It was surprising that the Prime Minister chose to holiday in Hawaii at that time. Just as it was unusual not to appoint his deputy while he was away. How unaccountable was that?

Then came the shocking news...

April 25, 2020

Our schools should never have been closed.   

The expert advice was consistent about this.   

Officials of the teacher unions should hang their heads in shame.   

They could have worked cooperatively to create a safe work environment. Instead they chose to use their political clout to close the schools, throwing an extra burden on teachers and parents, and diminishing the educational outcomes of the students.

They acted against the best interests of their members, the students and the community. They compromised professional health advisors.

What has been missing in this debate...

April 20, 2020

Last Saturday, I experienced what it would be like living under authoritarian rule.

My friend and neighbour, Winston Smith (not his real name), and I have a walk in the park twice a week. We are both in our late seventies.

We circumnavigate the Fitzroy and Treasury Gardens, a walk of a little over 3 kilometres, and then chat over a coffee. Formerly, we used to frequent a coffee shop in Wellington Parade. Now, because of the coronavirus crisis, we buy a take-away café latte from Kere Kere near Captain Cook`s cottage and sit on a park bench, one and a half metres apart, in an idyllic spot near a p...

April 2, 2020

If the government pays citizens who are not working, and refunds businesses who employ people who have nothing to do, this is not transferring wealth. For no wealth has been created. So where is the money coming from? It is not coming from taxes. Our taxes have already been spent. In fact, our governments always spend more than they tax; that is what deficit budgets are. Just when we thought the government would balance the budget and produce a surplus, they are spending without limit. Money they don`t have. So where is it coming from?

Wealth derives from productive work. We specialize in what...

March 29, 2020

For the time being there are lots of things we cannot spend our money on. What will we do with the money we save?   

In response to the threat of mass contagion from the coronavirus, the government has closed many businesses.

They have exhorted us to keep our distance from each other. Where we do congregate, we are being asked to keep a metre and a half apart. For hygiene reasons, payment by credit card is preferred to cash. Visits to the elderly have been curtailed. Workers are being encouraged to work from home where possible.

Air travel is banned. Hotels, bars and restaurants are shut. C...

February 10, 2020

When the Auditor General released a scathing report on the allocation of $100million in sports grants, we all understood that funds had been allocated to advantage political interests.

The problem is not new, and its extent is staggering. Over $6.8billion is provided annually by the government in the form of grants. So many grants. So many opportunities for corruption. A cynic might think that grants are devised primarily to create a mechanism for local members to ingratiate themselves with their electorate.

What fools we are!  Our politicians are using our money to buy our votes. 


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