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”.


• 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. A good tweet this:

    The prime minister has urged Australians to be like the Anzacs. Which I assume means he expects us to suffer horrendous casualties due to incompetent leadership.

  2. Posted this earlier today, but from mobile so I’ll expand on it..

    In Sydney, the demand for planning journeys in the Central Business District began falling on March 10. As the threat from the pandemic grows, it has more than halved. The volumes continue to fall almost every day, as more people avoid work and social gatherings by staying at home.

    Another way to visualise this decline in demand is from our real-time occupancy data, measured by weight sensors in trains and from Opal reader taps on buses.

    On Sydney’s busy T1 Western Line heading into Central Station each morning, you’d usually be hard pressed to find a seat. Trains on this line run at a load capacity over 145%. But over the last week the crowds have evaporated. Demand has more than halved.

    This was the best news I’ve had all day. It says that despite the failure of the government, there has been enough behavioural change that it will show up in the covid19 figures over the next week or so.

  3. Re Mavis @ 9:19. The “Rapture” is a 19th century American invention, based upon idiosyncratic interpretations of certain biblical passages, that was never part of theology in the various branches of Christianity before then.

  4. Steve777

    The “Rapture” is a 19th century American invention, based upon idiosyncratic interpretations of certain biblical passages, that was never part of theology in the various branches of Christianity before then.

    Yankee Pentecostalism was invented in California in the mid 19th century.

    It’s hardly Christian.

  5. Watching Media Watch and saw that BBishop was on Sky After Dark spruiking that coronavirus was a a biological WMD released by the Chinese.

  6. Watching Media Watch and saw that BBishop was on Sky After Dark spruiking that coronavirus was a a biological WMD released by the Chinese.
    Decrepit old witch!

  7. The first Q&A question about a peripheral issue: some wealthy doctors who were working the tax deduction lurk by attending a ‘medical convention’ aboard a cruise ship that just happened to do an Antarctic leg.

    Grasshoppers abound. The main issues with the Virus are back in Australia.

  8. Rakali:

    [‘With that CV, he would make a better LNP prime minister than Scottie.’]

    Birds of a feather. That said, I’m really pissed that the electorate was so easily persuaded by “tongues”.

    In New Zealand, I’m sure they’re smarter?

  9. In all the panic buying, shoppers have over-looked frozen whitebait. It’s available nearby in 1.0 kilo packs; not expensive; delicious; easy. I know the fisherman. He runs out of Bunbury and drops a purse-seine. The catches are not large, but the fish is iced and then frozen straight away. I’m going to live on it until the pandemic passes. With kale and eggplant or zucchini, possibly the most under-rated vegetable of all.

    And fish soup. I have a supply of fish stock, made from the frames of fresh snapper and dhu-fish. It is perfection. Some meat is left in the jus, which has a wonderful soft texture and a purity. I will have chowders and bisques. I will not suffer. Soup with herbs and chilli, fish pieces and some shrimps or squid. Occasionally I will have crab – swimmer crab for sweetness – with spinach for the bitterness and the colour. I will have this with Shiraz from the Barossa, which, unaccountably, is almost free at the nearby bottle-oh.

    I think I can live on less than $11.50/day, including some muesli and yoghurt for breakfast and a boiled egg for lunch… like a prince or like a peasant.

    I have asked a colleague for some mullet roe, in order to make some taramasalata. I will eat it when the pandemic has gone and wash it down with the best Margaret River red I can find. I love tarama. I miss it. My-old might send me 5 kg. I hope so. He has little use for it, he says. I can’t believe it. I learned to make this in the mid 20th century with my grandfather, who fished for mullet with his cousins. He swore by the fish. Nothing was ever better. Like a peasant. I will not suffer.

  10. The second question is about the criminally slack airport controls for inbound passengers.

    Good question. Answers not so good.

  11. Poroti

    I’ve been learning Gealic on line and was hoping to go to Scotland for a course at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye this year.

    Sadly, it wont happen. 🙂

  12. Just saw an ad for the Gold Coast as a tourist destination on 7two. However, I am not allowed to go past Tweed Heads for a while.

  13. Chewer, Nicholas

    MMT and Jobs Gaurantee are both principally about real resources, rather than about prices nor (somewhat perversely) about money. UBI on the other hand is about money and prices, (it would typically be tied to CPI etc.), and thus has a fundamentally different nature to MMT and JG.

    The so called Jobs Gaurantee is in fact actually a labour capability guarantee made to industry. It attempt to “guarantee” that competent labour is available to industry to be employed in conjunction with capital. The emphasis is on capability – maintaining competent labour in good order (via training etc) as a well maintained buffer stock (as a opposed to a degrading buffer stock). The government maintains this buffer via spending, in order to make the gaurantee regarding capability. However, it makes no gaurantess that the price of labour will be the general market clearing price (and usually it will not) – industry has access to the capable labour it needs but must pay a price reflecting the capability.

    Typically, non-financial corporations will prefer capable labour (and thus have an interest in a JG), whilst financial corporations will prefer cheap labour (and thus prefer a UBI, preferably of zero dollars but in any event the lowest one can get away with).

    To fulfil the capability guarantee made to industry, JG must maintain the labour in good order: people must at all times be maintaining.and developing their capability through either emoployment or education (or both). That means that as a side effect of the capability guarantee, all who wish to work are guaranteed to have either private sector employment, public sector employment or training/education, in effect a “jobs” guarantee.

  14. ‘BK says:
    Monday, March 23, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    If heaps of landlords toss out their tenants who are they going to get to replace them?’

    If landlords own the properties, not really an issue. If they don’t own the properties and they can’t replace their tenants and they don’t have sufficient cashflow to cover their costs and meet their debt repayments the the tenants will have nowhere to live and the landlords will be queuing up outside Centrelink Offices with the rest of them. Many, many, many business people (including landlords) are going to enjoy the joys of Centrelinks.

  15. coronavirus was a a biological WMD released by the Chinese

    This conspiracy theory was brought up by two women during a prolonged conversation at our local shopping centre yesterday (with social distancing). They believed it.

    The other viral problem in the COVID-19 pandemic: online misinformation

    All of these claims are inaccurate or unfounded but have quickly spread across the modern information landscape. They’ve been shared on social media, in some cases by well-known media personalities and politicians, and forwarded in WhatsApp messages to countless Australians.

    As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, so does viral misinformation. …

    The public is facing information overload, making it hard to distinguish between what is fact and what isn’t. Social media users will often hit post or retweet a lot of what they see and agree with, without fact checking it.

    Fake news is not new. But in the midst of a pandemic, it is particularly dangerous.

    A 2019 study by Caroline Fisher, the deputy director of the University of Canberra’s News & Media Research Centre, which surveyed 2010 Australians, found only 36 per cent checked information they found online against other sources.

    “The problem is we have a really bad record of checking things,” Ms Fisher explains. “Last year, we asked people about whether or not they engaged in fact-checking behaviours … most people share stories [even if they think they’re dubious]. They don’t go and check with other sources of information. Very few people — only 30 per cent of people — check one story against other sources.”
    Monash University’s Dr Carlo Kopp, who has been researching fake news since the 1990s, says the pandemic has created ideal conditions for the spread of misinformation, a problem amplified by more people working from home or being isolated.
    Ms Fisher says the spread is being caused by the “reflexive” nature of social media.

    “The reason why it is being spread so quickly is because it is an emotional response, people are not thinking,” she says. “Everyone is scared, so there’s that panic. The virality of social media amplifies and facilitates that.”
    “Epidemiologists use the case study of ‘Typhoid Mary’ to explain infection spreading by an asymptomatic patient,” he says. “A similar problem is seen in social and mass media, when an individual becomes convinced a falsehood is true, as they will usually cling to that false belief despite contrary evidence, and continue to spread it.”

  16. “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·”

    Ye gods, that crap would make the master of written and incomprehensible $camology bullshit, L Ron Hubbard, set his plastic raincoat on fire from rubbing with ecstasy. Example follows –

    ““Let’s get the idea that right this moment you’re engaged in killing a woman. Now let’s remember this as an incident that occurred 20 years ago. Now let’s get the idea that you’re right this moment engaged in killing a man. Now let’s remember this as though it happened 35 years ago. All right….Now let’s get the idea of being a space ranger, a space man being shot to death right at this minute. Now let’s get this on recall now, as something that happened a hundred thousand years ago. This very incident. All right. Now let’s get the idea, right this moment you’re engaged upon being a sultan. Being a sultan. And now recall this as having happened 200 years ago. Now let’s get the idea of being a general, a general who is engaged in slaughtering a million troops. Killing them all to the last troop. Now let’s get this as having occurred a hundred and fifty thousand years ago. Now let’s get the idea of you being engaged this moment, successfully engaged upon blowing up the entire physical universe. Now get this as having happened yesterday. Now let’s get the idea of your own universe at this moment being blown to pieces. Now throw your memory into action as though it happened last night. And now as though it happened 50 years ago. And now as though it happened a billion years ago. And now as though it happened a trillion years ago. And now as though it happened 76 trillion years ago. Now, let’s get the idea right now of being engaged upon the construction of an entirely new universe. Now let’s get this as though you were engaged upon it, actually, at six o’clock this morning. OK.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 22, 1954”

  17. Anyway, according to the existing science, it appears that if you take Metformin you could be better placed with C-19. So what you have to do is develop type 2 diabetes. It could be a double whammy though.

  18. Stuart Robert could probably hear the laughter all around the country:

    AS of 4.30pm, the MyGov website was still saying it was “unavailable”. However, the MyGov app on mobile phones was working.

    Government Services Minister Stuart Robert initially said the website’s technical issues were complicated by a denial of service attack (similar to that that brought down the national census in 2016).

    In Question Time later on Monday, he backtracked on that claim, saying the huge number of people logging on to the site at the same time mirrored such an attack, triggering internal alarms.

  19. Rakali

    Here is a challenge for your Gaelic. There is a town in NZ where some of my ancestors landed, only speaking Gaelic, to this day there is still some Gaelic spoken. Now the challenge, Gaelic with a Kiwi uksent and you understanding them 🙂
    0:02 / 2:38
    Gaelic in Waipu – dancing to mouth music

  20. Kelly and Shazza are less than impressive on Q&A, IMO.
    They appear to have acute difficulty actually understanding the point of the questions being asked.

  21. Cud Chewer

    He has been paid much much money by Rupert for decades to be an “idiot” of the required type to serve Rupe’s purpose. He ain’t going to change now.

  22. BK:

    [‘If heaps of landlords toss out their tenants who are they going to get to replace them?’]

    That’s especially germane to trailer parks, most of whom share amenities. I’m beginning to think that old RI’S right.

  23. Steve777:

    [‘We need a more contemporary reimagining of our holistic transitional capability.’]

    You don’t think you may be conflicting the issue?

  24. ‘PeeBee says:
    Monday, March 23, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    Super spreaders have been around forever. I used to see them racing around farms in my youth.’

    lol. Over the heads of many an Inner Urbs Bludger, I dare say.

  25. In defence of beach goers..

    If you’re a reasonable distance (preferably 5m+) from other people I don’t see this being particularly risky. Particularly because sunlight is a good disinfectant.

    Far more worried about the people who don’t keep their distance in supermarket queues.

Leave a Reply

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