Pestilential as anything

Democracy battles on in the face of adversity in Queensland and (at least for now) Tasmania, as a poll finds most Australians believe the media is exaggerating the crisis (at least for now).

The campaigns for Queensland’s local government elections and Currumbin and Bundamaba state by-elections next Saturday are proceeding in the most trying of circumstances. My guides to the by-elections can be found on the sidebar; I’ll find something to say about the Brisbane City Council elections, which I have thus far neglected entirely, later this week. Updates:

• The Electoral Commission of Queensland relates that 560,000 postal vote applications have been received for the statewide local government elections, which compares with 260,680 postal votes cast at the previous elections in 2016. However, not all applications will result in completed votes being returned – the conversion rate in Queensland at last year’s federal election was 86.0%. There have also been more than 500,000 pre-poll votes, exceeding the 435,828 cast in 2016 with a week left to go. To those understandably reluctant to turn out on so-called polling day next Saturday, the commission has been expanding opening hours at pre-poll booths. All of which will make the results that come in on Saturday night particularly hard to follow.

• A ban has been imposed on the dissemination of how-to-vote cards and canvassing for votes at polling booths. Booth supervisors may allow the material to be displayed at the booths “in a manner deemed appropriate”.

Elsewhere:

• An international poll by Ipsos on attitudes to coronavirus finds 34% of Australians strongly agree, and 35% somewhat agree, with closing borders until the virus “is proved to be contained”, which is about average among the twelve nations surveyed. The survey has been conducted over four waves going back to early February, in which time the number of respondents identifying a very high or high threat to them personally has risen from around 10% to 23%. However, Australians recorded among the highest response in favour of the proposition that the media was exaggerating about the virus, which actually increased over the past fortnight from the high forties to 58%. A notable outlier in respect of all questions is Italy, where only 29% now say the media is exaggerating the threat, slumping from around 80%.

• Tasmanian Attorney-General Elise Archer announced this week that May 2 elections for the Legislative Council seats of Huon and Rosevears are “safe to proceed”, with “significant measures being put in place to maintain public safety”.

• A Roy Morgan SMS poll of 974 respondents asked whether respondents trusted or distrusted a list of current and former politicians that included Jacinda Ardern, but was apparently otherwise entirely Australian. All we are given at this stage is a top ten list of the best net performers, which is headed by Jacinda Ardern and otherwise notable for not including a single male conservative. However, this is all pretty useless without hard numbers, which will apparently be forthcoming “in coming days”.

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.

2,185 comments on “Pestilential as anything”

  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers – William did it again!

    Peter FitzSimons launches into Alan Jones for putting lives at risk with his take on coronavirus.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/alan-jones-puts-lives-at-risk-with-his-take-on-coronavirus-20200320-p54c9u.html
    A light hearted diary of a journo working from home for a week.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/cleaning-drawers-doesn-t-do-it-for-me-my-corona-diary-after-a-week-of-wfhing-20200320-p54cbe.html
    Conservative governments are not used to asking the public to engage in collectivism or solidarity, and we are not used to hearing it from them – perhaps that’s why some of us seem reluctant to comply writes Jacqui Maley.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/suddenly-we-re-all-collectivists-including-the-pm-and-we-only-pass-this-test-if-we-act-together-20200320-p54cbl.html
    Michelle Grattan explains how the government’s new $66 billion package will take coronavirus economic life support to $189 billion.
    https://theconversation.com/governments-new-66-billion-package-will-take-coronavirus-economic-life-support-to-189-billion-134331
    Bioethicist Peter Singer openly discusses the triages that will occur in the probable event of demand exceeding supply of ICU beds.
    https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/ethical-decisions-about-who-lives-and-who-dies-may-not-be-hypothetical-20200320-p54c7p.html
    With the coronavirus, here’s what’s really going to matter for the Australian economy writes Greg Jericho.
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2020/mar/22/with-the-coronavirus-heres-whats-really-going-to-matter-for-the-australian-economy
    Lee Duffield writes about neoliberalism in a time of coronavirus.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/neoliberalism-in-a-time-of-coronavirus,13713
    Through all its promises, the Coalition Government has botched the job of delivering an NBN comparable with the rest of the world, writes Anthony Eales.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/scott-morrison-not-up-to-the-task-of-saving-australias-nbn,13715
    Quillette has published an article which says that while the disease itself is, of course, an apolitical phenomenon, Iran’s repressive, theocratic political system has played a role in the especially high toll that coronavirus is taking on the Iranian people.
    https://quillette.com/2020/03/21/how-irans-dictators-laid-the-foundation-for-the-countrys-coronavirus-crisis/
    The New Daily tells us that there are 36 cruise ships around the world with Australians on board – some with cases of COVID-19 – struggling to find a port that will let them disembark. Some of them have already turned into Petri dishes and are struggling to contain the viruses spread on board.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/coronavirus/2020/03/21/coronavirus-ms-costa-luminosa/
    Britain has agreed a deal with private healthcare providers to free up beds and medical services for the state-run health system as one emergency doctor warned the country could suffer a worse fate than Italy during the coronavirus crisis.
    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6690543/uk-seals-deal-with-private-hospitals/?cs=14232&utm_source=website&utm_medium=home&utm_campaign=latestnews
    Australia certainly isn’t short of policy headaches, but one promises to be of migraine proportions: our school funding regime has reached new heights of absurdity and needs urgent review explains The Independent Australia.
    https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/australias-school-funding-system-needs-an-overhaul,13714
    John Elder reports that the WHO has launched massive trial of four promising antiviral drugs.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/life/wellbeing/2020/03/21/coronavirus-treatment-drug-trials/
    An excellent contribution here from Jack Waterford who calls for increased testing and epidemiological investigation as well as better researched journalism.
    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6688732/covid-19-mapping-must-go-beyond-the-sick-to-the-well/?cs=14329
    Authorities around the world are cracking down on people in public places amid concerns that vital distancing measures to curb coronavirus are being ignored.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2020/03/22/coronavirus-isolation-arrests/
    The coronavirus story is unfathomably large. We must get the reporting right commits The Guardian’s Lenore Taylor.
    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/mar/22/the-coronavirus-story-is-unfathomably-large-we-must-get-the-reporting-right
    Graeme Blundell praises the ABC’s Sarah Ferguson for doing a remarkable job staying composed in her harrowing three-part series on the Catholic Church’s most notorious child sex offenders.
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/abc-revelation-sarah-ferguson-faces-monsters-in-our-midst/news-story/0ff5e2adef7d0373e28ed3d876ee5b11
    Bluff, bombast and blame is all that Donald Trump can offer in this crisis writes Nick Cohen. He is spot on!
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/21/bluff-bombast-blame-all-trump-can-offer-coronavirus-crisis

    Cartoon Corner

    Matt Golding




    Matt Davidson

    From the US




  2. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at William’s new thread title. The Mentals were, and presumably still are, from Sydney, and responsible for “If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too” and “Live It Up”.

  3. Hmm, caught us all, WB 🙂

    I’m going to repost a couple of links to articles which are a bit more frightening than what the MSM usually runs:

    This story has a SkyNews video embedded. It’s from Stuart Ramsay, their Chief Correspondent
    in Lombardy.
    It’s fairly confronting -be warned.
    https://kangaroocourtofaustralia.com/2020/03/21/the-coronavirus-what-is-really-happening-at-the-epicentre-in-italy-and-why-australians-need-to-act-now/

    And here is the (frightening) story from a doctor in a New Orleans hospital.
    https://www.rawstory.com/2020/03/medical-worker-describes-terrifying-lung-failure-from-covid-19-even-in-his-young-patients/

    They are important because they tell us what other countries are dealing with, and may well be our future

  4. From William’s post above:

    However, Australians recorded among the highest response in favour of the proposition that the media was exaggerating about the virus, which actually increased over the past fortnight from the high forties to 58%. A notable outlier in respect of all questions is Italy, where only 29% now say the media is exaggerating the threat, slumping from around 80%.

    Which is why so many are ignoring the social distancing stuff, and why we will hit 100,000 cases by Easter.
    At which point, when our ICUs are unable to cope, and doctors are triaging people into the ‘unable to be ventilated’ group, we will have an epiphany and be more like Italy.

  5. The coronavirus epidemic is revealing America’s fundamental weakness

    The United States of America is a weak country. All the flag-waving, patriotic speeches and obtuse declarations of superiority have long seemed overly conspicuous — and history has no sympathy for the delusional. It continually exposes the vulnerability, fragility and inanity of a nation that has the wealth, resources and human intelligence to cultivate a magnificent civilization, but repeatedly sacrifices the common interest and public good on the altar of avarice.

    Our military extends itself into every inch of the planet, starting wars that it cannot win, while more than half our nation’s discretionary budget in any given year is wasted on the Pentagon

    President Trump had already failed to replace the global pandemic response team at the National Security Council after their mass resignation. He had also closed 39 of the 49 CDC offices overseas, and ended the program called Predict, which had the principal task of studying animal-borne diseases to determine which ones might go viral among humans.

    Americans who believe in scientific evidence and adhere to a conception of the common good will have to find a way coexist with those who think the answer to every problem is more ammunition, tax cuts for the rich, and shouting about “freedom.” But public education and the mass media must begin taking decisive measures to guard against widespread stupidity in future generations. A country cannot thrive when nearly half of its adults are in open revolt against reality.

    https://www.salon.com/2020/03/21/home-of-the-brave-coronavirus-epidemic-reveals-americas-fundamental-weakness/

  6. Where will we be on April 12?

    There’s no doubt we are on the inclinator up, but by how much is the question.

    I think Australian’s haven’t had the “oh shit” moment yet, but its coming – maybe a TV or Sports celebrity being hospitalised with the COVID will do the trick? With vision of them being on a ventilator and maybe a cheesy thumbs up?

    I think the Government has been escalating measures but there has to be social acceptance of social distancing and the like. How many people cannot do without a morning coffee or two? Are the cafes really going to shut for instance.

  7. C@tmomma @ #9 Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 – 4:48 am

    Danama Papers @ #6 Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 – 7:44 am

    Ultra right wing shithead Katie Hopkins, who goes place even the likes of Miranda Devine fear to tread is proposing euthanasia vans for seniors.
    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jul/28/katie-hopkins-euthanasia-vans-old-people-sun
    No-one should be surprised that she works for The Sun, a Murdoch publication, and that The Sun actually published it?

    Her mum and dad first.

    *sarcalert*

    She’s no spring chicken herself, so perhaps she might like to volunteer.

  8. Last night I watched the Q&A on covid-19, and Colbeck typified the Coalition ministers, stubbornly sticking to the script, not engaging with any points made by questioners or other panellists. There was not a flicker of individual intelligence.

    We are ruled by sheep.

    I would like to know if there is a politician who has caught a serious case of the virus, not the Dutton/Hanks version of “I had a little sniffle but I’m fine now”. And isn’t life unfair that the Potato, having polluted the air around him, is “resting happily at home with his dog”.

    Or are we being fed a line of bull?

  9. Paul Krugman offers blunt advice on the coronavirus economic fallout: ‘Don’t trust Trump’

    Liberal economist and veteran New York Times economist Paul Krugman offers three economic tips for coping with the deadly pandemic: (1) “focus on hardship” rather than GDP, (2) “stop worrying about incentives to work,” and (3) “don’t trust Trump.”

    With #3, Krugman is especially biting in his commentary — arguing that because Trump was painfully slow to acknowledge the severity of coronavirus, he simply cannot be trusted.

    “The U.S. response to the threat has been catastrophically slow and inadequate,” Krugman asserts. “And the buck stops with Trump, who minimized the threat and discouraged action until just a few days ago.” But this is where the history of the Trump pandemic — all those wasted weeks when we did nothing because Donald Trump didn’t want to hear anything that might hurt him politically — becomes relevant. It shows that even when American lives are at risk, this administration’s policy is all about Trump, about what he thinks will make him look good. Never mind the national interest.”

    https://www.rawstory.com/2020/03/paul-krugman-offers-blunt-advice-on-the-coronavirus-economic-fallout-dont-trust-trump/

  10. Lars

    I think Australian’s haven’t had the “oh shit” moment yet, but its coming – maybe a TV or Sports celebrity being hospitalised with the COVID will do the trick? With vision of them being on a ventilator and maybe a cheesy thumbs up?

    More likely it will require 4 weeks of reports about how they desperately fought to get air, followed by demise, to wake up these idiots who are placing us all at risk of death.

  11. Lars
    The states have been slowly rolling out the policy response while the health system ramps up its preparations to the point now that if lock downs are announced most people wouldn’t be caught unaware that they might happen.

    On the schools closing there is a solution to the health professionals needing to look after their kids could be solved by turning the local school closest to the hospital into a free child care centre.

  12. Re Lizzie @7:54.
    We are ruled by sheep.

    I find pretty much every statement by or interview of a member of the Morrison Government completely uninformative. Regardless of the topic or the question, they rattle off the talking points of the day, attack their opponents and ignore questions actually asked. What’s worse, ”journalists” let them get away with it.

  13. Hugh Riminton
    @hughriminton
    ·
    8h
    Up she goes. A 22.35% increase in #Covid_19 #COVID19Aus cases in a single day across Australia. Shut down, folks.

  14. A question has been answered.:)

    Trump wants direct payments of $1,000 for adults, $500 for kids in coronavirus stimulus bill, Mnuchin says

  15. So, the obvious question is, if Australians think COVID-19 is being exaggerated by the media, why are they acting like a plague of locusts at the supermarkets?

  16. Younger people are more likely to react to hearing about New York and London being in lock down than anything a politician says.

  17. So, Trump can call it the ‘Chinese Virus’ all he wants, Paul Krugman has now given us the ‘Trump Pandemic’. Thank you, Paul. 🙂

  18. Steve777

    I agree with every word you wrote. Unfortunately whenever an Australian politician shows a flicker of individuality, the media jump on him. (Lizzie thinks of examples and comes up with Labor MPs like Keating. Hmmm.)

  19. Steve777

    What’s worse, ”journalists” let them get away with it.

    It’s a sweet deal for the journos. They just gussy up the gubbermint supplied sheet outlining the talking points and then wait for the pay check.

  20. Is this our future?

    Health officials in New York, California and other hard-hit parts of the country are restricting coronavirus testing to health care workers and people who are hospitalized, saying the battle to contain the virus is lost and the country is moving into a new phase of the pandemic response.

    As cases spike sharply in those places, they are hunkering down for an onslaught, and directing scarce resources where they are needed most to save people’s lives. Instead of encouraging broad testing of the public, they’re focused on conserving masks, ventilators, intensive care beds — and on getting still-limited tests to health care workers and the most vulnerable. The shift is further evidence that rising levels of infection and illness have begun to overwhelm the health care system.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/21/coronavirus-testing-strategyshift/

  21. C@T
    That is a good question with the only possible answer being they seem to be different demographics. From the footage of people fighting they don’t seem to be the people going to Bondi beach but that is a completely unfounded comment.

  22. Ian Farquhar
    @ianbfarquhar

    I thought it was a nonsense line, but my Chinese colleagues do confirm that the words for crisis and opportunity are the same in Mandarin. Contributing to a medical solution would be a huge win for the CCP, and there is some evidence suggesting they’re thinking that too.

  23. lizzie says:
    Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 8:14 am
    We are very likely to develop immunity to COVID-19, making re-infection unlikely and raising the chances of vaccines being highly effective, according to the Australian scientist who discovered an important way the immune system fights viruses.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-22/doubts-cast-over-contracting-covid-19-twice/12075878

    Whew! That’s a relief.
    So all we have to do is survive the first infection. After that – no problem! 🙂

  24. poroti
    Tweets like carry no cred because its the banks and the government keeping the doors open at the moment if one or both did nothing then those so called real jobs will totally disappear.

  25. Maude Lynne @ #32 Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 – 5:21 am

    lizzie says:
    Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 8:14 am
    We are very likely to develop immunity to COVID-19, making re-infection unlikely and raising the chances of vaccines being highly effective, according to the Australian scientist who discovered an important way the immune system fights viruses.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-22/doubts-cast-over-contracting-covid-19-twice/12075878

    Whew! That’s a relief.
    So all we have to do is survive the first infection. After that – no problem! 🙂

    I suggested something similar at work recently and was howled down 😆

  26. People might think the threat is exaggerated (though it’s not clear *what* they think is being exaggerated) but they can easily see that stuff is disappearing off the shelves and that if they don’t join in they might miss out on things they need.

  27. DisplayName says:
    Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 8:24 am
    People might think the threat is exaggerated (though it’s not clear *what* they think is being exaggerated) but they can easily see that stuff is disappearing off the shelves and that if they don’t join in they might miss out on things they need.

    ah…FOMO

  28. DisplayName
    The problem seems to be that many people believe it is an old person’s illness or one that effects people with preexisting medical condition and when young people do get it then its like a normal flu or cold.

  29. For those that doubt neo liberalism is dead.

    The world has already in a few days on the stock market lost more money than it would have taken to invest in Health Education and a Universal Basic Income.

    Who is going to pay for it?

    Everyone one way or another.

  30. Tucker Carlson stands apart from his Fox cronies at least when it comes to coronavirus reporting. By contrast Sean Hannity was until very recently still dismissing the virus as a hoax, a conspiracy theory to oust Trump from the WH.

    On Jan. 23, for instance, Carlson informed his audience, “A mysterious virus spreading in China has gotten hundreds of people sick. At the top of the hour, the death count has doubled to nearly 25 so far that we know of. Now, the virus is spreading to this country and fast. The strain of coronavirus is believed to have jumped from bats and snakes — which are commonly eaten in this part of China — to people.”

    He kept at it. On Jan. 27, Trump could have tuned in to hear Carlson ringing the alarm again: “Well, the coronavirus, which has incubated in China for some unknown period of time and now has escaped China, is getting worse by the day.”

    Carlson pounded the story over and over again:

    Jan. 31: “This is a Fox News Alert. The Trump administration has announced new travel restrictions meant to slow the spread of China’s deadly coronavirus. … Coronavirus, in other words is not a small thing. It’s a big deal. Thousands of lives are at stake, maybe more.”

    Feb. 4: Carlson says, “The coronavirus has actually received relatively little attention in the press relative to what a big deal it is right now in Asia and could be here. But my sense is a lot of people are growing concerned about it.”

    Feb. 5: Carlson says, “In the rest of the world, the coronavirus shows no signs of slowing down in China. More cases continue to pop up here in the United States as well.”

    Feb. 10: Carlson says, “The coronavirus claimed another — at least another 108 lives in China today — remember, those are the official numbers, not reliable. The disease’s death toll is now greater than 1,000 worldwide. It’s safe to say the disease is not under control, anything but, and as it spreads it’ll affect far more people than just those who are infected.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/21/trump-didnt-need-intelligence-briefings-appreciate-coronavirus-tucker-was-case/

  31. What most people are not waking up too is the class warfare and discrimination by Morrison and his cronies , employers and companies.
    It is bad that qantas put off employees , yes it is not the employees fault but why should they be automatically given jobs in Woolworths, telstra instead of competing with those being already unemployed.

    The discrimination by businesses and the libs/nats are getting worse even when they claim to be looking after the vulnerable

  32. Rick
    @colonelhogans
    ·
    21s
    All @ScottMorrisonMP does is TALK!! The first alleged stimulus hasnt even passed parliament yet cause he refused to recall it early! Now another blabber fest full of red tape locked up promises. He is playing politics. Dragging it out to June 30 so October budget doesn’t look bad

    If I had any influence, I’d want ‘stimulus’ to be directed to all health and welfare sections. It might have a trickle down effect on business, but its main advantage would be to all of us ordinary citizens.

  33. ” Who ever thought we’d see this?”

    There’s a lot of stuff we’re seeing now which fell into the category of “Who ever thought?”, even just a few weeks ago.

  34. Morning all. Thanks BK. I agree with Fitzsimmons too – Alan Jones rants are not merely irritating in current circumstances, but positively dangerous. The broadcasting regulator is once again revealed as an impotent sop.

    Like others, I also do not trust Scomo on his “assistance package”. Like the bushfire relief that still has not turned up, or turned out to be merely re-announcements or re-allocations of existing funding, how do we know what is actually extra, and when it will be received? Without that data, we have no idea whether it will be enough to save the economy.

    And, after numerous egregious examples from water entitlement to sport funding, can we have any confidence that the distribution of funds will be non-partisan? Other countries are giving financial assistance directly to workers. Even the UK is looking at buying out companies, not bailing them out. Scomo is going the low road.

  35. MB
    That’s probably it. They’re going off their common sense for existing viruses and failing to consider what happens when nobody has immunity, and the system faces more simulataneous cases than it can cope with. They’re considering their risk of death as an individual in relatively ideal circumstances, not the risk to the whole system of an explosion in transmissions.

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