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”

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  1. And the reason why I call Fraudband, because it’s a Fraud.

    Internet at our place has been in and out for few days and now it’s been out all day.

    No outages (according to Telstra/NBN).

  2. ‘Cud Chewer says:
    Monday, March 23, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    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.’

    Or in Centrelink queues.

  3. “Anyway, according to the existing science, it appears that if you take Metformin you could be better placed with C-19”

    Mavis what do you mean by “better placed” and do you have a link?

  4. There seem to be several Paul Kellys around. The singer – excellent. The Murdoch hack – an old RW fossil. The deputy CMO – seemingly politicised?

  5. Cud Chewer @ #2050 Monday, March 23rd, 2020 – 10:17 pm

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

    Shopping trolley are an ideal unit of measurement.

    Just make sure there is at least one shopping trolley distance between you and any other shopper.

    If necessary, swing your trolley – fast, and with arms fully extended – around in a circle to make sure.

  6. Player One:

    [‘Too many words, dear’]

    That we can. Though in my experience, it’s best to be succinct – due to our immense knowledge? I feel an aria coming on.

  7. Player One

    I say a broomstick is perfect. Brush end under the arm and the swing them up and around like a Darlek……………….without saying ‘Exterminate” 🙂

  8. C@t,

    I’ve decided to make one of those Book Swap thingies to put on the verge outside my house. I have so many books!

    That is exactly what I am planning to do. I guess I will put a warning saying:

    please take Amy pf the books you wish. however, keep them in isolation for 24 hours, as COVID-19 can live in paper and cardboard for up to 12 hours. and wash your hands after you take the books to storage.

    Actually, am I being too anal? Is it better to let the takers of the books assess the risk for themselves?

  9. I think from zero in November 2019 (seemingly), to ~353000 cases by today, is a pretty impressive advance into the human population for COVID-19

  10. E. G. Theodore says:
    Monday, March 23, 2020 at 10:25 pm
    South Australia has now tested 1% of the population!

    What, if anything, can we conclude…?

  11. I had been surprised by the number of Covid 19 cases in France, which I understood to have a pretty good medical system. Two smaller cities in the east near the German border were the epicentres of the outbreak there. Guess what they had recently:

    “ Many of the cases have their origin in a week-long church gathering organised by an evangelical church attended by some 2,000 people which has seen cases since travelling as far as South America.”

    From that week long gathering they infected most of the country. I could not help thinking of Scomo’s church gathering two weeks ago.

  12. I actually like some opera, but I love making fun of it because my dad was a big opera lover and he drove us all mad..

    (He also thought he could sing)

  13. South Australia has now tested 1% of the population!

    That’s got to be enough to get a good handle on the extent of infection, or at least a current upper bound, given that the sample would be targeted.

    Current number is 134 cases, about 1/13000.
    Maybe the real rate is about 2-3 times higher, say about 1/5000

    NSW is a week ahead, so the real rate for NSW is about 1/1250?

  14. It’s time – unpredictable

    Singapore test rate was 6,800 / million as at 20 March:
    – NSW was 5,000 / million as at 20 March
    – SA was 7,500 / million as at 20 March

  15. Steve

    The national rate as per diagnosed infections is 1 in 15,000
    But I think the real rate is closer to 1 in 3,000 or worse.



    I think some of the better stimulus packages paid half of the employees wages so the business could stay open.
    It’s a bit late for that for lots of businesses. They have shut up shop.

  17. EGT

    We’ve done far too few tests. As Norman Swan pointed out, there are a lot of asymptomatic carriers out there that don’t even qualify for testing. Including that Senator whatshisface.

  18. Well, tomorrow will be interesting.

    Grandson, who lives with me, daughter (grandson’s mother), OH and I will all be working from home.

    Grandson is 6. I collected him from school today, together with his “work at home” pack. School were not saying we had to keep kids at home, but looked very grateful when I said we could do this. a\Also grandson inadvertently heard Gladys B this morning saying “you should keep kids home if you can”. Bloody little bush lawyer heard it an has insisted “we can”.

    Friend and colleague in San Francisco with 5-yr-old twins had been working and schooling from home for 9 days. If she can do this, we can do this.

    3 adults, one six-year-old. 3 adults all need to work from home, but we can tag-team. Why am I so nervous?

    Also, I now have the chance to implement a curriculum for a 6-yr-old to die for.

    Explosions, methinks. Lots of chemistry. Shakespeare probably will not get much of a look in at this time. Alas poor Yorrick, I knew him Horatio.

  19. I thought that was a good Qanda. The Deputy CMO is a much better communicator than the CMO, although that isn’t saying much.

  20. Douglas and Milko

    Also, I now have the chance to implement a curriculum for a 6-yr-old to die for.

    Learn him the names of the derivatives of displacement, up to the sixth!

  21. Ok, so I am asking for collective help with educating a 6-yr-old from home.

    I did have him reading Bayesian Analysis for Babies back at Christmas, but he seems to have got a bit more unruly since then. He is almost 7. I guess this happens.

    So, I think he needs chemistry experiments, the more explosive the better.

    Does anyone have any good suggestions?

    I know the basics, like mix vinegar with sodium bicarb, preferably in a small sealed tube when can go “pop”, but in these days of the inter tubes, this will seem tame.

    Any suggestions will be gratefully received.

  22. EGT

    Learn him the names of the derivatives of displacement, up to the sixth!


    I will let you know how I go.

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