Three things

The major parties in Victoria get fiddling to nobble the Greens in local government; candidates confirmed for Queensland’s Bundamba by-election; and Barrie Cassidy’s moustache strikes back.

Three things:

• The Victorian parliament has passed contentious legislation to change the process by which boundaries are drawn for local government elections, the effect of which will be an end to proportional representation in many councils and a return to single-member wards. This was passed through the upper house with the support of both major parties, and fairly obviously targets the Greens, whose local government footprint expanded considerably in 2016. The legislation is covered in greater detail by Ben Raue at The Tally Room. Relatedly, The Age reports Labor plans to endorse candidates across metropolitan councils at the elections in October, after doing so in only three councils in 2016. The Liberals in Victoria have never endorsed candidates.

• The closure of nominations for Queensland’s March 28 by-election for Bundamba on Tuesday revealed a field of four candidates representing the Labor, the LNP, the Greens in One Nation, just as there will be in Currumbin on the same day. You can read all about it in my election guides for the two seats, which are linked to on the sidebar.

• For those who have forgotten what a Labor election win looks like, Malcolm Farnsworth has posted four hours of ABC election night coverage from 1983 in two parts, here and here. The broadcast predates results at polling booth level and indicative two-party preference counts, which would have to wait until the 1990s, and without which it was difficult for analysts to read the breeze from partial counts in any but the most homogenous seats.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,957 comments on “Three things”

Comments Page 39 of 40
1 38 39 40
  1. All the information on Australian diagnosed cases can be seen at There is no need for an app. There is not the volume of core data, and probably may cause even more panic.

    As can be seen nearly all cases can be traced to source, and a handful of cases confirmed as community transmission. None appear to involve picking it up from strangers in Chinese restaurants, shops etc.

    There does not seem exponential growth in Australia at this stage. This may change, particularly in winter.

  2. Dio…all valid points. Nonetheless, the way to minimise the effects of epidemic is to identify those who have it. Testing is the key. The route chosen here seems to be to test as sparingly as possible. This will probably fail. Community spread will likely take off with all the attendant social, medical and economic consequences.

    If testing for current and past infection were freely available then the incidence could be driven down to very low levels.

  3. Lovey says:
    Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 11:00 pm
    All the information on Australian diagnosed cases can be seen at

    The point is that diagnosis requires testing. In the absence of community-facing testing the information will be incomplete.

    I know 6-7 people in Perth and at least 1 in Sydney who’ve probably had the virus or who may still have it. Those who have had it are no longer infectious and cannot be tested effectively. Those who may now have it do not qualify for swabbing. They will be undetected – unrepresented in the ‘information’.

    Most of these people – the exception being a child of just a few months – have been sufficiently infectious to have contributed to community spread. The primary vector for transmission involved a person arriving sick from another country. They all should have been tested. None were tested because the public health systems were not ready/ did not identify/or would not test them for arbitrary reasons.

    The social spread of this virus is preventable if and only if there is information about the location of the virus – about the cases who are infected. The only way to get that information is to test people. Waiting until cases of very ill people present for hospitalisation/diagnosis is not going to be enough.

  4. Exponential growth: each infected person infects two more, transmission time one week. Cumulative growth of numbers of cases in Australia in coming weeks / months:

    March 10: say 100 cases; March 24: 400; April 7: 1600; May 5: 26,000; June 2: 410,000; June 30: 6.6 million.

    People are recovering during this time, so most of 6.6 million who have been infected by mid-year will have recovered. Still, hopefully this is an overestimate.

  5. So who, without symptoms or with very few symptoms, is going to get themselves tested and told to stay home from work (especially if casual) or miss the concert they paid hundreds of dollars to attend, when denial and hope for the best is easier and less costly?

    Any response that does not take into account human behaviour is going to fail.

    I know of a lady who is a biological scientist who had a lump on her breast for years and did not get it tested. She is now being treated for breast cancer, with chemo after a full mastectomy. She just allowed herself to deny it even though she knew better.

    And I cannot get that ‘Soldier on!” song from that advertisement out of my head, that earworm stuck very, very well.

    I doubt, “Stay at home, stay at home, or die dying dead!” to the same tune will over-ride it.

  6. Even if we came up with an Aids-bowling-ball campaign for COVID-19, I doubt there is anyone in government with the courage to run it, or to reach out to the Opposition for a non-partisan united response to this medical crisis. And if the Government did, would the other parties’ trust them?

  7. And how am I to know if I have symptoms? I have Fibromyalgia, so everything hurts all the time anyway and I am always tired, laboured breathing could be an infrequent asthma attack, sniffles could be hayfever, sneezes could be allergy, feeling awful is a way of life, that I must ‘soldier on’ in any case is each day for me.
    I would hardly know if I was sick or was just having a normal day.

    I am sure I am not alone.

  8. Steve777 says:
    Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 11:33 pm
    Exponential growth: each infected person infects two more, transmission time one week

    The transmission time in the sequence with which I’m familiar was:

    Day 0 = 1 person total
    Day 3 = 2 people total
    Day 4-5 = 5 people total
    Day 8 = 7 people total

    Of these 7, 6 will likely have been in a position to infect others. 6 are no longer infected. 1 probably remains infectious. None of them were ‘eligible’ for or identified as candidates for testing. At least three of them should have been tested automatically. One arrived sick/febrile from another country. One is a school teacher. One has exhibited all the symptoms for more than one week. The doubling interval was much shorter than 7 days.

  9. RI
    The CMO, who I am convinced is an imbecile, it saying not to get tested even if you have flu like symptoms. Every year, we get told to get tested for the influenza virus if you have flu like symptoms but this idiot now says he’d prefer not to know if a patient has C-19, influenza etc. His plan is to stick his head up his arse until it’s over.

  10. Puffy, it is precisely so that people such as you can be more readily protected that the rest of the ‘herd’ should be able to be tested easily. If we know where the virus is we can prevent it from reaching the most vulnerable.

  11. Diogenes says:
    Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 11:45 pm
    The CMO, who I am convinced is an imbecile, it saying not to get tested even if you have flu like symptoms. Every year, we get told to get tested for the influenza virus if you have flu like symptoms but this idiot now says he’d prefer not to know if a patient has C-19, influenza etc. His plan is to stick his head up his arse until it’s over.

    If he’s saying this he should be sacked. He is – as you say – an imbecile.

  12. This is what currently says..

    Current status
    In Australia
    As at 11:00 hrs on 10 March 2020, we have 100 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), including 3 deaths, in Australia.

    54 in New South Wales
    12 in Queensland
    6 in South Australia
    2 in Tasmania
    12 in Victoria
    4 in Western Australia
    10 associated with the Diamond Princess cruise ship
    Further details:

    15 of the initially reported cases in Australia all had a direct or indirect travel history to Wuhan, China
    10 cases, including 1 death, are associated with the Diamond Princess cruise ship repatriation flight from Japan
    18 cases are reported to have had a direct or indirect travel history to Iran
    27 cases are reported to have had a travel history to countries including Singapore, the United States of America, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Italy, Iceland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Cuba, Indonesia, Nepal and Taiwan
    27 cases, including 2 deaths, do not have a reported history of overseas travel
    8 of these cases are associated with an aged care facility in NSW. 2 residents of this facility have sadly died
    2 cases are either directly or indirectly associated with attendance at a workshop
    14 cases are close contacts of known cases, with further details pending
    3 cases are under investigation, with further details pending
    The likely place of exposure for a further 3 newly reported cases is under investigation
    Of the 100 Australian cases reported, 22 of these cases are reported to have recovered.

    To my reading, there are a small handful of people who didn’t travel, haven’t been in contact with anyone known to have travelled and who have contracted the virus from someone yet to be identified (and its possible will remain unidentified).

    The most positive spin I can put on this is that quite likely there are a few (perhaps less than a dozen) people in the community who have the virus, don’t have symptoms and are quite likely to some degree infectious and the extent to which they create new infections just depends on circumstances and luck. Also that some fraction of people who do become infected via community spread will develop symptoms severe enough to get noticed and see them tested/isolated. And thus more chains of contact will be picked up on and more people isolated.

    What this amounts to is chasing spot fires. If they are really good at it then they will slow the spread of the virus. Possibly for months. Hopefully long enough for there to be effective treatments.

    That’s the positive spin.

    There is also the real possibility that given a lot of people have mild symptoms are no symptoms but still to some extent (we don’t precisely how much) are still infectious and given that we are already spotting community transfer at least between people who have more than fleeting contact, what we’re actually seeing is the shadow of a series of infections. Perhaps as much as a few dozen unknown individuals who have the virus, don’t know it and causing some unspecified rate of new infections. Of course, come back in two or three weeks and with hindsight we’ll be able to better guess what the truth was today.

    My personal take on this is that, at present, I don’t feel threatened about being out in public, even in Sydney. If there’s a few dozen people with the virus in the wild, my chances of bumping into one are remote. The thing I’ll be keeping an eye on is the doubling time (even if the stats are shadowing the real world).

    What I really want are two things.

    One a mass advertising campaign to simply get people to wash their hands.
    The other a mobile testing service. We come to your door, swab you and later txt you. No questions asked. Just advice given. If you test positive then your contacts get automatic priority for testing.

  13. Dio

    The CMO, who I am convinced is an imbecile, it saying not to get tested even if you have flu like symptoms. Every year, we get told to get tested for the influenza virus if you have flu like symptoms but this idiot now says he’d prefer not to know if a patient has C-19, influenza etc. His plan is to stick his head up his arse until it’s over.

    Thanks! I thought that was what was going on, but am not knowledgeable enough to be sure.

  14. Also if you want self-isolation to be effective you need to provide resources for people who are self isolating – including money, a help line, food delivery, and people that can help with all kinds of individual problems that may arise (like having a relative you’re caring for provided with a new carer).

    Not fucking tax breaks.

  15. Dio,

    “The CMO, who I am convinced is an imbecile”


    “No evidence of community transmission” can just mean we aren’t looking, so there is no evidence of it.

    An anecdote: Last year, my son was diagnosed with whooping cough (he’s immunised), but it took three trips to the GP to get him swabbed. I also had a slight cough, so when the diagnosis came through, was told to isolate myself for a week. This resulted in us cancelling an interstate trip. In the interim, I had been catching peak hour trains through Sydney’s inner west. (As it turns out, it was only para-pertussis, but no one thought to inform us of that after the initial misdiagnosis.)

    Professionally, I also do a line of research in sampling theory, particularly for budget-constrained estimation problems.

    IMHO, the current triage and testing process is madness – penny wise and pound foolish.

  16. RI

    “Our focus at the moment is testing people who are returned travellers who have acute respiratory symptoms, cough sore throat and the like, and contacts of confirmed cases,” Murphy said.

    “At the moment we are not recommending that general members of the community with acute respiratory symptoms – colds, flu, and the like – be tested.””

    He doesn’t seem to realise that if more people are diagnosed, they can be isolated and infect less people. This would slow the spread of the pandemic. The slower it spreads, the less likely our health system is to fall over. And people who are diagnosed can be considered for antiviral treatment if they are at risk (elderly, lung disease etc).

    Remember Bush saying “You’re doing a heck of a job, Brownie!”
    People in high places will be asking questions. In fact they already are.

  17. Dio

    I think fever >38°C wouldn’t be consistent with fibromyalgia. I believe most patients with C-19 have a fever.

    This is my way of working out whether I have hay fever, a sniffle, or something that means I need a test for COVID-19.

    I think fever >38°C is pretty high for an adult?

    A few years ago (2015 I think), I took my mother to the domestic terminal in Sydney so she could catch a flight. I took her through security, even though I was not travelling.

    I was pulled out of the line and given extra checks because they had detected that I had a fever. When I explained I was not travelling they lost interest. But, by the end of the day, I had developed one of the worst flus / viral infections I had ever had in my life.

    And, of course,. I still went to work, sleeping on the floor of my office in-between lectures.

    Very bad choice, but back then, it was just “‘flu”, and who else could step in to do my teaching at short notice?

    Which is why I am really appalled at the way the Victorian Health Minister vilified the GP who kept working after he returned from the US with what appeared to be a mild cold.

  18. CC….

    Well summarised.

    The underlying case numbers are probably in the several hundreds by now. Community transmission is inevitable in the absence of effective public and personal hygiene measures and easily accessible mass testing.

    The very annoying thing is that – relatively speaking – numbers are still low. It is at this point that the spread of the virus can be most-easily arrested and the future economic and medical costs contained. But there is no great sense of institutional purpose towards that. There’s a makeshift response so far.

  19. Dio….it is precisely because we have to distinguish colds and influenza from COVID-19 that people should be tested. If there were no other respiratory illnesses…well it’d be easy to recognise the current virus. We could dispense with public swabbing/testing altogether. The bloke is an idiot.

  20. Puffytmd @ #1895 Tuesday, March 10th, 2020 – 9:08 pm

    Call me cynical or a crazy old woman, but it is my firm belief that once Trump is no longer President he will be epsteined. I think he is fighting for his life.

    That is also a serious possibility, and Trump may well have had that made clear to him. Such a loose canon, especially stripped of the protection of the office, doesn’t seem in the interests of any of his current fellow travellers. The Russians, Mafia, and Repubs, probably all have good reasons to permanently shut his blabbering moronic egomaniacal mouth once he has served his purpose. Their paths and his will diverge at some point.

    That is if his diet, exercise phobia, drug abuse, and age don’t all catch up with him before then. Also a distinct possibility.

  21. Corona CDC (US Centre for Disease Control) Testing issues (from 6 March, not sure if previously posted)

    The US has done 2,000 coronavirus tests. South Korea has done more than 140,000.

    “I think that we could have probably controlled this, if we had effective testing,” Angela Rasmussen, a Columbia University virologist, says

    “There was clear lack of foresight,” Nathan Grubaugh, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health, says. “We were very slow to roll out testing capacity to individual places — wherever that came from, it was a very bad strategy.”

    “I’m very puzzled by what’s happened. The CDC did a really good job with H1N1 and Zika in exactly this thing: sending out huge quantities of test kits very rapidly to every state in the US and more than 100 countries around the world,” Tom Frieden, who led the CDC under President Barack Obama, told Vox. “The world came to rely on the CDC.”

    The figures we gathered suggest that the American response to the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, has been shockingly sluggish, especially compared with that of other developed countries. The CDC confirmed eight days ago that the virus was in community transmission in the United States—that it was infecting Americans who had neither traveled abroad nor were in contact with others who had. In South Korea, more than 66,650 people were tested within a week of its first case of community transmission, and it quickly became able to test 10,000 people a day. The United Kingdom, which has only 115 positive cases, has so far tested 18,083 people for the virus.

  22. Oh, this is a nice email to get:

    Dear Dandy,

    This afternoon UQ was advised by Queensland Health that an Australian student from UQ has been confirmed with COVID-19 after returning from Europe. The student was on the St Lucia campus last Thursday 5 and Friday 6 March and was unknowingly infectious at the time…

    We are already ramping up our capacity to deliver courses online. I see Harvard and many other universities around the world have already pushed the button to switch to virtual teaching. I don’t imagine the Aus universities are far behind on this.

  23. D&M
    Yes, a 38 fever in an adult would mean you were quite sick.

    The CMOs dirty little secret is that Australia is not well prepared (no country is). You can see how stretched the health systems are with very small numbers infected, less than 100. If we get to tens of thousands, which could easily happen, it’s not going to be good.

  24. Agreed
    The CMO is either a puppet for a do-nothing PM,
    Or he’s an A-Grade imbecile.

    Didn’t someone say he’s in line to become Secretary of the Health Department… (Does anyone know the truth of this?)

  25. How many nurses outside of ICUs know how to operate ventilators? We’ve had a couple of months to train them up, what are we doing on this front?

    How many routine medical admin tasks, like checking up on results, can be conducted by final-year med students, to free up fully-qualified doctors? Has anyone run the numbers on how much of a resource this would represent?

    My understanding is that an ICU bed costs >$5k per day. What’s the cost of a COVID-19 test?

    So many simple questions without answers.

  26. DM
    All the anaesthetic nurses in operating theatres could and some in the ED. There would be very little surgery done so they would be free.

    Lots of physicians from other specialties (respiratory, cardiology, general, renal, oncology) could look after infected patients. The surgeons would be twiddling their thumbs because elective surgery would be cancelled but you’d be really drawing the short straw to catch C-19 and have an orthopaedic surgeon look after you.

  27. Thanks Dio. Good points.

    you’d be really drawing the short straw to catch C-19 and have an orthopaedic surgeon look after you.

    Hmm, yes. Aren’t they just glorified carpenters?

  28. Joe Biden gets feisty with a gun-nut on the campaign trail 🙂

    Bo Erickson CBS
    WATCH: “You’re full of sh*t,” @JoeBiden
    tells a man who accused him of “actively trying to end our Second Amendment right.”
    “I support the Second Amendment,” Biden adds while visiting under-construction auto plant in Detroit. @CBSNews
    Biden Confronted On Guns During Auto Plant Visit
    2:38 PM · Mar 10, 2020·Twitter Media Studio

  29. rhwombat @ #1870 Tuesday, March 10th, 2020 – 9:48 pm

    citizen @ #1876 Tuesday, March 10th, 2020 – 7:46 pm

    SMH “live” headline:

    Isolation period of 14 days to be reviewed in light of new study

    Australia’s Chief Medical Officer will consider reducing Australia’s 14-day quarantine period in the future following new scientific evidence that coronavirus symptoms appear after five days in 95 per cent of infections.

    That’s dangerously incorrect. The AIM paper I referenced earlier today found that the MEDIAN time to from infection to symptom onset was 5.1 days, and 98 had developed symptoms by 14 days. At 5 days only half of those who are going to develop symptoms have done so. The quarantine period will remain at 14 days.


    The SMH has pulled the line “Researchers said 95% of patients who developed symptoms of COVID-19 did so within 5.1 days of exposure.” from from the online version of Cunningham’s article (though with the non-sequitur of researchers left hanging), but kept it in the print version. The rest is bullshit speculation that Brendan Murphy is considering shortening quarantine. Murphy and other medico’s trying to be as accurate as possible are castigated by the Yammerers, but the commentators can fuck up without acknowledgement.

Comments Page 39 of 40
1 38 39 40

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *