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. We fly to North America next week and there is a good possibility that passengers from those cruise ships will be aboard.

    With airline services being shut down there will be a scramble for scarce seats on remaining flights.

    I have a vision of asking the people in our row what they did down under and they reply that they had a cruise on the Ruby Princess but it was cut short.

    I have no faith that the airline will ask people at check-in whether they were on those ships. They are only required to turn back people with respiratory symptoms. Many are probably not aware that so far 48 of their fellow cruisers on the Ruby Princess alone have been diagnosed with Covid-19, a figure that will probably rise in coming days.

    I am still quite gob-smacked that thousands of passengers got off those boats with no checks of any kind. It could explain the big jump in reported cases in NSW in the last 24 hours which increased by 50 per cent from the day before.

    Apparently they were given no instructions to go into quarantine for 14 days.

    Now the federal government, who are responsible for deciding who, and the circumstances in which people come to Australia, are blaming NSW. Where were the black shirts who spend billions of dollars each year to protect our borders. NSW does not patrol our borders.

    The only saving grace in this utter debacle is that it will spell the end of the fragrant Peter Dutton and with any luck Scott Morrison.

  2. About the cruise ship infections, are they all carrying infections? How did so many get infected? Are they an accidental sample of the global population?

  3. Even though they are not required to at this stage, the beauty salon I go to has made the decision to close because staff can’t maintain the social distance required to reduce risk of exposure to coronavirus, and provide a service. I think that’s a sensible decision.

  4. “The cruise ship will be allowed to make a refuelling stop tomorrow morning, but passengers and crew will have to stay on board.

    MSC Cruises has advised that all passengers and crew are “well” and don’t suffer from any “respiratory diseases”, the WA Government said.”

    Which is different from what was reported earlier, where it was claimed there were 250 cases of “respiratory illness”.

  5. confessions
    Not sure what the context is, but it reads something like:

    A single platform for all government departments supports the ongoing development and delivery of services/tools/etc.

    Telling us how nice mygov is?

  6. “While Canadian and US passengers left via chartered plane Australians and passengers from several other nations were then forced to sail on to Italy”

    That money going to Qantas….couldn’t or be used to cover a charter flight or 10.

  7. DisplayName @ #1961 Monday, March 23rd, 2020 – 5:47 pm

    confessions
    Not sure what the context is, but it reads something like:

    A single platform for all government departments supports the ongoing development and delivery of services.

    Talking about mygov?

    It’s an old tweet, but I honestly don’t know what he’s referring to.

  8. Late Riser @8:37. About the cruise ship infections, are they all carrying infections? How did so many get infected? Are they an accidental sample of the global population?

    Once a passenger or crew member is infected, the infection spreads in a sealed environment. It suggests that at least one person in 3000 passengers and crew must have been infected at the start of the voyage or picked it up in a port of call. Cruise passengers would be a sample of the general population, skewed towards more well-off demographics. Probably also skewed towards extraverts (more gregarious).

    This, together with the number of politicians and other high profile individuals who have tested positive, suggests that the virus was far more common in the wider community a couple of weeks ago (~ 1 in 2000?) rather than official statistics were then indicating (1 in tens of thousands).

  9. The Guardian

    In news that will delight hundreds of thousands of students across the country, the finance minister, Mathias Cormann, has told the Senate the government will extend the $550 per fortnight Coronavirus supplement to full-time students.

    Cormann said that the social services minister, Anne Ruston, will expand the supplement people who receive Youth Allowance (Student), Austudy and Abstudy

  10. Cud Chewer

    I can’t name a single MMT economist who supports a UBI, and I’ve read pretty much all of the major literature by MMT economists. All of the prominent MMT economists argue strongly against a UBI. It is true that advising against a UBI is not core to the MMT framework – but MMT economists have written extensively on this question, and Boerwar should be made aware that conflating MMT with a UBI is a rookie error.

    A Job Guarantee is a core component of the MMT framework because it is a buffer stock of employed people that achieves price stability and full employment at the same time. At the moment we rely on a buffer stock of unemployed people to keep inflation low. This is cruel and grossly inefficient. It is far better to have a buffer stock of employed people. This insight is a core contribution of MMT economists.

  11. Pegasus says:
    Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8:40 pm
    School closures

    There has been confusion the past 48 hours over school closures. Victoria and the ACT are the only state and territory at present proceeding with school closures.

    In New South Wales, the premier Gladys Berejiklian said schools would remain open but encouraged parents to keep their children home if possible.

    Schools remain open elsewhere.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/23/coronavirus-australia-latest-at-a-glance

    The ACT Education Minister stressed this afternoon that public schools will still be staffed until the holidays starting on Good Friday with pupil free days starting tomorrow as schools/teachers develop materials for on-line learning. All schools will however accept students whose parents are unable to work from home. All secondary and College (yrs 11-12) students will have tablets/ipads and assistance if homes lack Internet access.

    I’ll ask my daughter, a teacher, how things are going.

  12. WeWantPaul @ #1885 Monday, March 23rd, 2020 – 7:12 pm

    Labor’s Kristina Keneally has commended the objective of these and said Labor also raised these with the government – but there is no point passing them in the Senate if they will be rejected by the government in the lower house. So they are doomed.

    There is no fight Labor won’t run from.

    She has more brains in her little finger than you have in your entire body. What about, ‘the government in the Lower House will reject it’, don’t you get!?!

  13. Steve777,
    I think it was probably a crew member on the Ruby Princess that was the main vector for infection as I remember reading that the crew were directly transferred from the Diamond Princess, which was the first one we read about containing cases of COVID-19, to the Ruby Princess. Which was just dumb, dumb, dumb and bloody irresponsible!

  14. C@tmomma says:
    Monday, March 23, 2020 at 9:04 pm
    WeWantPaul @ #1885 Monday, March 23rd, 2020 – 7:12 pm

    Labor’s Kristina Keneally has commended the objective of these and said Labor also raised these with the government – but there is no point passing them in the Senate if they will be rejected by the government in the lower house. So they are doomed.
    There is no fight Labor won’t run from.
    She has more brains in her little finger than you have in your entire body. What about, ‘the government in the Lower House will reject it’, don’t you get!?!
    _______________________________-
    So nasty!

  15. It is probably appropriate that neo-liberal Australia should be destroyed by a vacuous Pentecostal worshipper of a Yankee God with baseball hats as the sacred headdress.

    I love it

  16. WeWantPaul @ #1908 Monday, March 23rd, 2020 – 7:39 pm

    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.

    Give over! The Greens are irrelevant. Mere embroidery around the edges of power in this country.

  17. C@tmomma says:
    Monday, March 23, 2020 at 9:11 pm
    WeWantPaul @ #1908 Monday, March 23rd, 2020 – 7:39 pm

    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.
    Give over! The Greens are irrelevant. Mere embroidery around the edges of power in this country.
    __________________________________________________________
    How are you getting on with the new General Secretary? Are you impressed? You always seem to be until they inevitably disappoint?

  18. Nassau County in New York State, one of the richest counties in the USA has 1900 active covid19 cases. That is approx 1,400 cases per million – well in excess of Italy’s (978 per million).

    Nassau County is situated on western Long Island, bordering New York City’s borough of Queens to the west, and Suffolk County to the east. It is the most densely populated and second-most populous county in New York state outside of New York City, with which it maintains extensive rail and highway connectivity, and is considered one of the central counties within the New York metropolitan area. Nassau County contains two cities, three towns, 64 incorporated villages, and more than 60 unincorporated hamlets. Nassau County has a designated police department,[5] fire commission,[6] and elected executive and legislative bodies.[7]

    A 2012 Forbes article based on the American Community Survey reported Nassau County as the most expensive county and one of the highest income counties in the United States, and the most affluent in the state of New York, with four of the nation’s top ten towns by median income located in the county.[8] Nassau County high school students often feature prominently as winners of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and similar STEM-based academic awards.[9][9]

    Evidently Covid19 has no respect for class or income….

  19. Trump seems to have a good idea where businesses are given loans to cover payroll but the interesting part is the loan is then waived if no one is fired.

  20. “So nasty!”

    Says the fake identity who yesterday accused people here of wanting thousands of deaths because it would look back for Morrison.

  21. As detailed by others – principally Boewar – Stuart Robert is a real piece of work. He has a history of dishonesty that goes to personal enrichment. His latest act of dishonesty is his erroneous contention that the” MyGov” site crashed due to a cyber attack. He won’t, however, be disciplined by Morrison due to their shared nutter religion. I mean, who’d anticipate that the two highest officeholders in the land – that is, the GG and the Prime Minister – believe in the “Rapture”, other texts from the Old Testament? This is pre-enlightenment stuff. I think that when the history’s written about this period in Australian politics, it’ll be seen as the low point, to put it in the best of terms.

  22. Rossmore

    “ Evidently Covid19 has no respect for class or income….”
    ———-
    Maybe Nature just is throwing out the garbage?

  23. Politically, it’s important that voters get to evaluate the deeds the Government take in response to the pandemic.

    Labor did not allow the pandemic to develop on its watch. The LNP have that distinction. Labor have not absolutely screwed up the response at every turn. The LNP are responsible for that. Labor can advise. Labor can ask. Labor can suggest. But they are not going to become the whipping boy for LNP incompetence, cowardice, laziness and stupidity.

  24. Mavis

    “ Stuart Robert is a real piece of work. He has a history of dishonesty that goes to personal enrichment, dishonesty. ”
    ————
    With that CV, he would make a better LNP prime minister than Scottie.

  25. C@t

    Earlier today you made a comment re Gillard being PM now. Thought you might like this re Ardern ,,,

    https://twitter.com/blairpalese/status/1242009371669745664

    Face with medical mask Blair Palese
    @blairpalese
    Via Tress Reti – To those slagging off
    @jacindaardern
    – She is the 1st PM to have dealt w/ a terrorist attack, a volcanic eruption, #ClimateChange reforms & a pandemic all in 1 term of office – while holding a baby. So please sit down, shut up & let the woman get on w/ the job

  26. Mavis Davis

    The real reason Mr Robert won’t be disciplined by Mr Morrison is that Mr Robert brings the cash is large measure.

  27. Seems like Greens questions about who is included has seen that there is an amendment to allow further changes to those who qualify and students are now eligible. I’d guess pressure will kept up on this.
    Via Guardian

    “In response to questions from the Greens Rachel Siewert, the government said it had no plans to expand the payment to disability support pensioners, or other payment recipients.

    However, the social services minister, Anne Ruston, will have the power to expand eligibility to the Coronavirus supplement over the next six months under an amendment to the stimulus package legislation.”

  28. I hope the QLD Premier has made the right call in closing the QLD borders as a lot of people travel from Tweed each day to the Gold Coast to work. This is going to cause a lot of issues there.
    Looking at Europe tonight, I think the virus may have peaked there looking at the numbers coming through by the hour. Still waiting on an update on the shocking Italy situation which should come through in a few hours.
    The question now is how are areas like Africa, South America, India and Asia going to suffer, are there enough measures now in place.

  29. It must have sounded wonderful. All that Belgian waffle spoken through grittiest if gritted teeth 🙂

    Luke Henriques-Gomes

    @lukehgomes
    Breaking: Mathias Cormann has just told the Senate the government will extend the coronavirus supplement to students on Austudy, Abstudy and Youth Allowance (Student). #auspol #coronavirusaustralia

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