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. D & M,
    Do you have a community garden? Planting seeds in season and watching them grow can be a very educational experience for 7yo and then you get to eat the results! You can incorporate all sorts of science into the lessons.

    I’d also suggest taking a trip down to your nearest National Geographic store, if they are still open, and purchasing some of the little kits they sell for kids that age. The ‘Build Your Own Volcano’ one is especially fun. Or you may just be able to buy them from an online store.

    I also found the Lewis Carrol books entertaining for my boys that age. And you can probably think of more.

    Might be good to try and teach him how to knit with the cooler weather upon us.

  2. Danama Papers:

    [‘I think Mavis needs testing. ‘]

    She has been; all are all clear, dear.

    You perhaps need to expand your horizons.

  3. D&M,

    Introductory cooperative game theory, aka the kids book: “Who sank the boat.”

    Show him how to derive the Shapley value (1/4,1/4,1/4,1/4) as a measure of shared responsibility.

    I gave a preso to the AEMC using this example (for network augmentation cost allocations).

  4. On Roberts,

    I reckon his desire for an analytical architecture that captures the government’s holistic transitional capability – the so called ontology – has blinded him to the value of programmatic specificity!

  5. Oh and D&M,

    We had a massive rolling Zoom-based remote teaching clusterfuck today. No access to meetings, unable to start sessions, unexplainable errors…

    You have been warned!

  6. Douglas and Milko says:
    Monday, March 23, 2020 at 10:56 pm
    Ok, so I am asking for collective help with educating a 6-yr-old from home.

    Drawing, painting, learning music, sewing, knitting, making tapestry……can occupy kids for days and days…reading too…

  7. Socrates @ #2075 Monday, March 23rd, 2020 – 7:41 pm

    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.

    Religion seems to be a common element in some outbreaks.

    Malaysia’s situation stems largely stems from a large religious gathering; 15,000 Malay’s and 2-3,000 other nationalities.

    The 2 confirmed cases here in Makassar picked it up whilst on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

  8. Danama Papers

    The Altai Band and their Shiree nuur demonstrate something the late great Kurt Cobain said about songs. The lyrics do not matter it is the the emotions in the voice. I’m pretty sure it was in one of his interviews he did with Triple J.

  9. Kelly did much better than Murphy. It’s an absolute tragedy Chris Baggoley, who was our last CMO, got pancreatic cancer. Things would have been completely different for the country.

  10. Re unusual rhyming couplets, how about “Fourth day five day marathon, We’re moving like a parallelogram”

    This of course became the signature tune for Motörhead, however it was written while Lemmy was still in Hawkwind (now there’s an obscure, eclectic band if ever there was one). Without further ado, here’s Hawkwind (with a very young Lemmy) performing Motörhead:

  11. Dandy Murray @ #2109 Monday, March 23rd, 2020 – 11:08 pm

    Oh and D&M,

    We had a massive rolling Zoom-based remote teaching clusterfuck today. No access to meetings, unable to start sessions, unexplainable errors…

    You have been warned!

    It’s called Zoombombing. Well it seems like it to me:

    ‘Zoombombing’: When Video Conferences Go Wrong
    As its user base rapidly expands, the videoconference app Zoom is seeing a rise in trolling and graphic content.

    Or, it could have been simply due to our crap nbn. 🙂

  12. @Cud Chewer nice!
    MBR was also the main influence behind, and the lead singer of mid 2000’s industrial rock / cyberpunk band Dope Stars Inc.


    Zoom failed the other day, several times, be it work or uni.
    Skype for business seems to be okay most of the time. No more than 3 to 5 drop outs a day.
    Webex generally fine.
    Amazon Chime and Apple FaceTime seem to be fine most of the time.
    Presently we do calls/ video on mobile, and screen sharing over Wi-Fi/ Telstra cable internet (HFC typically up to 90/ 5 Mbps though during the late afternoon it was half that, with 4G LTE 6/1 Mbps backup, but Nbnco is doing stuff in the area, go figure … see Telstra service status or downdetector).

  14. Mexicanbeemer says:
    Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    I thought international travel was banned for the time being.

    There is no ban on outbound flights. You just have to be a citizen or permanent resident of the destination country in order to board the flight.

  15. Bushfire Bill says:
    Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    You’re nuts, Beguiledagain.


    My wife has been saying that for years. How did YOU arrive at that diagnosis?

    Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean that everyone isn’t out to get me. What’s your excuse?

    I’ve always spoken well of you.

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