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. Labor stopped us doing what needed to be done is door that should remain closed.

    Stopping a piss poor package is one thing, but not sending a good package from the Senate to make the Govt vote against doing what is needed, is stupid, lazy, cowardly centrist garbage.

    FFS pass legislation for a UBI in the Senate, with other good measures, and then keep pointing out the Govt blocked it.

  2. Outside left @ #1898 Monday, March 23rd, 2020 – 7:24 pm

    Little Jackie paper loved that rascal Puff, and brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff, oh, Puff the magic dragon…

    Your next mission is to deconstruct “Nights in white Satin” by the Moody Blues.

    Honours students get to have a go at McArthur park!

  3. What will Morrison’s unemployment record be?

    Bankstown Sports has laid off 650 staff

    Jessica McSweeney
    Bankstown Sports, one of the biggest clubs in NSW and Australia, has laid off more than 600 staff as the forced closure of clubs and pubs due to the coronavirus outbreak takes its toll on the local economy.

    The club CEO Mark Condi confirmed they were forced to stand down 650 staff across six venues on Monday.

    “The staff are devastated with many being there for more than 40 years,” a gutted Mr Condi told The Express.

  4. Or where the bill can’t be originated in the Senate pass a vote imploring the Govt to adopt the attached bill in the House and then have the LoO move it in the house.

  5. The experts are saying you almost certainly cannot go too soon and you cannot go too big on the emergency economic stuff, and we are going absurdly slow and very very low.

  6. Suspend mutual obligation, it was always deliberately cruel bullshit, increase new start by $x. Do lots of things, but don’t do what the Govt is doing.

  7. Watching the Senate debate, may take a while but the bills will go through.

    Labor speakers pointing out the bastardry of the Liberals voting against the Rudd GFC bills. Greens trying to make themselves relevant, but not a party of government.

  8. Labor speakers pointing out the bastardry of the Liberals voting against the Rudd GFC bills. Greens trying to make themselves relevant, but not a party of government.

    18 months of this (and the obviously much worse it is going to become) could change a lot of things in politics. If the Greens really put their minds to it, they could be a party of Govt within 18 months.

  9. The more i look at the governments two packages the more they look like the government has tried to cover everyone but has finished up going slow and low. He might have been better to start off with a cheque sent to everyone then a more measured approach.

  10. Just saw Norman Swan on ABC being far more clear and authoritative then our useless CMO.

    Pointing out we just don’t know how infectious young people are and that having milder symptoms does not equate being uninfectious.

    We need to see more of him.

  11. Beemer

    The Prime Minister and the fools surrounding him simply don’t have the intellect, the imagination or as they say “the mental furniture” to do the job properly.

    There is a far simpler approach.

    If you have a business you can borrow (with some limits) on a HECS style income contingent loan. Basically you pay it back out of tax when your company income goes above a certain level in future. Whatever you need, up to some reasonable standard, you can get. Rather than having complex strings.

    For everyone else, raise Newstart (yes I know we now have the “Jobseeker” allowance.) Cancel all “mutual obligation”. Make it seamless to apply.

    And thirdly, hire a shitload of people. Give them jobs like disinfecting everything, bringing food to people, carrying signs saying “stay home”, going and talking to younger people who are still out in public and telling them its serious. Even providing someone to talk to for elderly/isolated people.

  12. What we need is MMT, a UJG and a UBI.

    You often conflate these three things even though I have pointed out many times that MMT economists strongly oppose a UBI.

    MMT economists advocate a Job Guarantee combined with a targeted Basic Income for people who cannot or should not be working.

  13. WWP

    The good side of all of this is it will change how a lot of people view many things. As someone else was saying earlier, a lot of people who saw themselves as “not one of those dole bludgers” are currently queueing up. This is going to change attitudes.

    We’re going to learn some bitter lessons about how conservative governments undermining institutions with endless “efficiency dividends” and politically motivated cuts has cost lives. Just as Trump is now finding out about making cuts to the CDC.

    We’re going to find out that socialism is actually a good thing. That spending good money on schools and nursing homes is worth doing.

    We are going to find out that we’ve spent tens of billions on an NBN which will have to be scrapped in order to build the fibre NBN that Rudd was giving us.

    And many other lessons.

  14. I’m not sure that I feel much sympathy for Qantas management at the moment (I do feel for the staff).

    They are receiving $750(?) million from the government.

    The Qantas website lays out the conditions if passengers need to cancel flights due to travel restrictions or flights not operating. Qantas is not offering cash refunds, only credit vouchers for future travel.

    So Qantas is holding cash paid by intending passengers who may or may not be in a position to travel some time in the future.

    Sure, Qantas has ongoing expenses while planes are grounded but it seems a large part of the financial burden at the moment is shared by intending passengers and Australian taxpayers.

    https://www.qantas.com/au/en/travel-info/travel-updates/coronavirus.html?int_cam=au%3Aen%3Ahomepage-promotion%3Acoronavirus-travel-update%3Aen%3Aflights

  15. CC
    That would all be doable but when it comes to Morrison he seems so hung up on following Trump that he doesn’t think for himself then add his IPA inspired policies like opening super is just brainless.

  16. Nicholas

    Wrong. MMT theory is by itself agnostic about things like UBI or UJG. Its just a framework. Many MMT theorists differ about the merits of these schemes.

    Also, right now would be a good time for the government to simply print money and hand that out as increased unemployment benefit. Yes, that’s a form of UBI. And as you plainly read just above, I think now is the time for the government to hire a shitload of people and get them to do useful things. That’s a trial of a UJG. It needs to do both Nicholas. Get off your high horse and accept the real world is complex.

  17. Nicholas
    I haven always been supportive of a job guarantee but in this situation the government could have done something similar to what Boris Johnson has done and while that might not be the same as a job guarantee but it kind of would act in a similar way as the person would be keep in employment despite not necessarily working the job and they can stay connected to the employer.

  18. Beemer

    It basically boils down to people like Morrison being stupid. They just don’t have the wit or wisdom to be in charge of a country. Mind you there are even stupider people than Morisson in Cabinet. And Trump makes them all look good. But yes, one of the biggest problems in this world right now is profoundly stupid people getting into positions of power.

  19. Did I hear it right that Scomo wants to cancel parliament till August? In other words no budget now means no parliament and no scrutiny? Shameless.

    He also cut parliament short last year and has had short sessions generally. he still gets $500K per year. Has any recent PM spent a lower proportion of his term in parliament?

    Also (and this is only hearsay so I do not know) I heard a suggestion that Scomo has taken his own kids out of school already. Anyone know if this is true?

  20. 500 Australians stranded in Peru and Chile.

    $5,000 per person for a seat on a charter flight.

    The Australian embassy has told them “You’re on your own, mofos.”

    500 x $5,000 = $2,500,000.

    MEMO TO SCOMO:
    YOU’RE ALREADY SPENDING $200 BILLION.
    HIRE TWO QANTAS JETS AND FUCKING GET THOSE AUSSIES HOME.

  21. WWP
    Too slow, too half-hearted.
    They have been behind the curve every effing time (except Xmas Island). You’d think just once by chance you would be ahead of the curve. It shows SloMo and Killer Murphy are way below average.

  22. OH made enquiries about a $100K special business loan which devolved into the Govt would guarantee half the loan, principal the other half, and the money would be leant by a bank.

  23. Dio
    After the fires i thought on the next issue Morrison would go overboard in his response as a way of compensating for his missteps but it just hasn’t happened.

  24. Boerwar will be delighted to note that Alan Koehler, who does the finance report for the evening news on ABC television, has been mainstreaming MMT in The Australian today. He did not get the details right but it was an important media moment for MMT. Alan Koehler will be interviewing Bill Mitchell on his podcast. Bill Mitchell writes about Alan Koehler’s article here:

    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=44547

  25. Health authorities in Spain are distributing almost 650,000 rapid testing kits as the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the country approaches 30,000.

    The first to receive the kits will be frontline hospital staff and those in the regions most affected by the spread of the virusBy Sunday evening, the health ministry had recorded 28,572 cases and 1,720 deaths.

  26. Gold from Rowe!!

    And this made me cringe. What does it even mean?

    Stuart Robert MP@stuartrobertmp
    To recap, having a whole of govt architecture allows us to build an ontology of capabilities across govt.
    Coupled with a more agile funding model, it will allow us to move more quickly when trying new solutions and capabilities or scaling up platforms to address emerging needs.
    9:50 am · 29 Nov 2019·

  27. Rapid-diagnostic test to give results within 15 minutes

    A rapid-diagnostic test for COVID-19 has been approved for use in Australia and could be in use within a week or so, according to a past president of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

    The Therapeutic Goods Administration [TGA] has approved the new antibody test by company MD Solutions, which gives results within 15 minutes.

    There are some pros and cons.

    The test detects antibodies produced by the immune system, not the virus itself. This means patients who have been recently infected but have not yet mounted an immune response will not return a positive result.

    It is also less sensitive, meaning it will give a negative result to some patients who have the disease.

    But it also gives a positive result to people who have had the disease in the past, meaning it can show who might have some immunity and be at a lower risk of contracting the virus again.

    “This is one of the most important things in the crisis — getting testing right,” said Nicholas Talley, who edits the Medical Journal of Australia, and a former president of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

    The test had been approved by the FDA in the United States before being fast-tracked in Australia, Greg Dore from the Kirby Institute at St Vincent’s hospital said.

    He said ordinarily the approval of a new technology by Australia’s TGA after a decision by the FDA could take months, but the expedited process demonstrated authorities were responding to the crisis

  28. Confessions @ #1934 Monday, March 23rd, 2020 – 7:23 pm

    Gold from Rowe!!

    And this made me cringe. What does it even mean?

    Stuart Robert MP@stuartrobertmp
    To recap, having a whole of govt architecture allows us to build an ontology of capabilities across govt.
    Coupled with a more agile funding model, it will allow us to move more quickly when trying new solutions and capabilities or scaling up platforms to address emerging needs.
    9:50 am · 29 Nov 2019·

    Translation. “I’m an idiot. Are you?”

  29. WeWantPaul says:
    Monday, March 23, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    ‘If the Greens really put their minds to it, they could be a party of Govt within 18 months.’

    I assume that the Bush Rat’s attempt to ‘connect with farmers’ has been OBE.

    Further, by a cruel twist of irony, the Greens Inner Urbs are now experiencing what they intended all along to mete out to rural and regional economies – a social and economic smash up. Here were the plans. Each plan would have cost closed business, closed farms, job losses, shuttered towns, regions facing economic depression. By a twist of Greens’ fate, recovering rural industries coming out of drought and fires will be buffering the collapse of Inner Urbs economies. Perhaps Greens baristas could retrain as melon packers?

    1. Pulling GMO cotton and GMO canola.
    2. Reducing irrigation by at least 605,000 megalitres
    3. Piling on ecosystem service obligation regulations.
    4. Closing feedlots.
    5. Closing piggeries.
    6. Closing aquaculture.
    7. Closing down the uranium industry.
    8. Closing down the coal industry.
    9. Closing down the live export trade.
    10. Closing down defence industries.

    For some Greens, at least, those were the days!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QptZ8tYZAkE

  30. Also interesting from that link:

    Meanwhile, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said increased supplies of test kits were on the way, with more than 1.5 million on order.

    From whom? By when? etc…

  31. What I’m saying is that its not clear whose technology this MD Solutions test kit is.
    There was a Chinese company with much the same technology in the news a week or two back.
    Same tech? Or independently invented here.

    Also, can we scale production here to the point where we can do mass testing?

  32. LR
    I suspect that those 1.5 million tests are of the PCR type (central lab based) and probably have some lead time.

    It would be nice to have (say) 100 million of the 15 minute test strip type.

  33. evolved into the Govt would guarantee half the loan, principal the other half, and the money would be leant by a bank.

    To recap, having a whole of govt architecture allows us to build an ontology of capabilities across govt.
    Coupled with a more agile funding model, it will allow us to move more quickly when trying new solutions and capabilities or scaling up platforms to address emerging needs.

    Obfuscating nonsense, then?

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