Another three things

A bluffers’ guide to Saturday’s elections in Queensland, plus further items of marginal interest.

No Newspoll this week it seems. News you can use:

• Queensland’s elections on the weekend are covered in extensive and ongoing detail here. To cut a long story short: the state by-elections of Bundamba and Currumbin resulted in victories for the incumbent parties, namely Labor and the Liberal National Party respectively; Adrian Schrinner of the LNP was re-elected as lord mayor of Brisbane; and the LNP have almost certainly retained a healthy majority on Brisbane City Council. In Bundamba, the LNP ran third behind One Nation (and probably shouldn’t have bothered to run), whose presence in the field also took a bite out of the Labor primary vote. Labor did manage to improve their primary vote at the LNP’s expense in Currumbin, where One Nation is a lot weaker, but the latter’s presence means they will get a lower share of the combined preferences and thus fail to bite into the LNP’s existing 3.3% margin. There has been no notional two-party count, but scrutineers’ figures cited by Antony Green suggest Labor received an uncommonly weak 71% share of Greens preferences.

• Roy Morgan’s promise that it would provide further detail on its half-way intriguing findings on trust in political and business leaders (see here and here) has borne disappointing fruit. Rather than provide the trust and distrust scores as most of us would have hoped, a follow-up release offers only blurry impressions as to the specific attributes that caused the various leaders to be trusted or distrusted, in which “honest/genuine” and “integrity/sincerity” were uselessly listed as distinct response options.

• The Tasmanian government has delayed the date for the periodical Legislative Council elections, which this year encompass the seats of Huon and Rosevears, but only from May 2 to May 30. The Tasmanian Electoral Commission says this will give it more time to “ensure electors have access to the voting process and to maintain the integrity of the 2020 Legislative Council elections during the COVID-19 pandemic”, which presumably means a greater emphasis on postal, pre-poll and maybe telephone voting.

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.

1,029 comments on “Another three things”

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  1. lizzie

    A lot of comments criticising the money going to the private employment firms before the employers. Will it ever reach the employees?

    About as likely as a worker not suffering wage theft. The same crooks will try the same tricks. Given the crap conditions for so much business there might even be a few more tempted to try a bit of ‘wage theft’ .

  2. RI: “I can see how there would be frequent human exchange between Qom and the Muslim population of China. That makes a lot of sense. Wuhan is not a Muslim centre.”

    I remember reading somewhere that there had been a lot of Chinese building workers in Qom in recent years, undertaking restoration work on some of the holy buildings (the Iranians being not as fussy as the Saudis about keeping unbelievers away from sacred sites). I guess some of these workers were from Wuhan.

  3. Lizzie
    Those complaints show people don’t understand what a wage subsidy is because it makes sense for it to go through the employer. It is suppose to help with the cost of employment.

  4. Mexicanbeemer

    I’m reading that the ’employer’ is the job contractor. Most people would imagine that the money would have gone straight to the business. Perhaps it’s a muddle that needs straightening out.

    Far worse off are the casuals who won’t qualify at all, of course.

  5. poroti: “Las Vegas bans homeless people from sleeping on the street
    Those activities become a misdemeanor beginning 1 January, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.”

    Yes, and I see that the usual suspects are out protesting against this move.

    The law, as I understand it, makes it a crime for a person who is sleeping rough (“homeless” if you like, although the term is a bit of a misnomer) to refuse to move to a bed in a hostel, if one is available.

    Anyone who has ever worked with these people knows that many of them actually prefer to sleep outdoors than in a hostel when the weather is warm (eg, nobody on the streets is going to stop them from drinking, taking drugs or, horror of horrors, force them to have a shower).

    Being something of an anarchist at heart, I am normally inclined to support the right of these people to sleep on the streets if they wish. But now that the rest of us are now being subjected to extremely draconian restrictions on our freedom of movement, I think what Las Vegas is doing is fair enough. People urinating and defecating on the streets spreads germs and it needs to be stopped if there is somewhere off the streets they can be safely housed.

    However, the idea of fining these people is a bit silly: how are they meant to pay their fines? And six months’ gaol is a very harsh punishment. But I expect the courts will be pretty lenient.

  6. meher baba
    Re Italy. Early on there was an article mentioning the number of ‘illegal workers’ in places like Milan made tracking down people very hard and that the workers would keep under the radar. These exploited workers would be very averse to contacting the authorities when ill . Could many of those in the fashion ‘sweatshops’ have been from Wuhan ? First article i found was from 2 years ago and was about a neighboring region.

    The Chinese Workers Who Assemble Designer Bags in Tuscany

    Many companies are using inexpensive immigrant labor to
    manufacture handbags that bear the coveted “Made in Italy” label.

  7. I did enjoy Shane Wright’s comparison of hibernation in bears and Australia.

    But companies and economies are not bears. Particularly the Australian economy.

    Before going into hibernation, bears go on a feeding frenzy. They lay down a large amount of fat that enables their bodies to survive the two or three months in which they lay dormant.

    Australian businesses were not on a frenzy before the pandemic.

    The other difference between bears and the Australian economy is that bears aren’t carrying some of the biggest debts in the developed world for their dens.

    Australians, on the other hand, went into this situation with huge mortgages as a share of their income and a property market that was again showing signs of stupidity.

    Our banking sector is built upon this desire for bricks and mortar and home improvement programs. This pandemic is shaping as a shock to any part of the economy connected to property.

    Bears know by instinct what to do after their hibernation. How Australia comes out of its enforced sleep is much more of a guess.

  8. Thanks BK.

    The Australian describes the government’s wage subsidy scheme as a “depression buster”.
    Paul Kelly says this is the most momentous and unprecedented fiscal decision in our history.

    It shouldn’t surprise me because I expect nothing less than Dear Leader sycophancy from them when it comes to Liberals, but the effrontery of the Oz after the fuss and carry on they made of Labor’s stimulus package during the GFC is simply disgusting.

  9. Businesses are rushing to sign up to the federal government’s $130 billion plan to subsidise wages during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Treasurer said around 60,000 businesses had already signed up for the scheme announced on Monday, on the tax office website.

  10. Thanks BK for the Dawn Patrol.

    I really like the Rowe cartoon.

    I’m not sure what’s in the cups – but pieces of jigsaw have fallen from somewhere. Note the “Jobseekers” Bolt, Murray, A. Jones – if only.

    Regarding the Woolies $80 “Basics Box” – they are to be delivered by Australia Post.

    Is it too early in the day to be mildly depressed, sad, saddened, unhappy, gloomy, glum or melancholic ❓

    Kettle on — ☕☕

  11. Fees

    It is fair to say that if team Labor were in charge, there would be little support for anything they did under same circumstances.
    It is easier all round that the coalition are tasked with handling this crisis.
    And also good from my perspective that we have state Labor govts in some states to push things along.

  12. poroti: “meher baba
    Re Italy. Early on there was an article mentioning the number of ‘illegal workers’ in places like Milan made tracking down people very hard and that the workers would keep under the radar. These exploited workers would be very averse to contacting the authorities when ill . Could many of those in the fashion ‘sweatshops’ have been from Wuhan ? ”

    Again, I read somewhere (there is so much information, it’s difficult to keep track of where i read what), that the production rates of textile and clothing factories in northern Italy have gone up dramatically in recent years and a large proportion of the workers are from China and, in particular, Wuhan: which I believe itself is traditionally an important textile centre. I think I read that there were direct flights between Milan and Wuhan, specifically for these temporary workers.

    I would think that most of the Chinese workers would have been legal rather than illegal (the illegals probably being more from Africa and the Middle East).

    Anyway, one can construct a theory that, carried by Chinese workers, the virus was circulating around the Lombardy area 2-3 weeks before the first case was officially identified. And, from this, conclude that the actual rate of infection in Italy is probably 5-10 times the official stats: which would explain why the death rate in Italy appears so high (ie, it wouldn’t, if all the actual cases had been identified).

    I wouldn’t go so far as supporting the conspiracy theories that the virus actually traveled from Milan to Wuhan rather than vice versa. Poor practices at meat markets in central and southern China were responsible for both SARS in 2003 and the chicken flu epidemic through China and Hong Kong in 2013, so there’s a definite pattern there.

  13. Jeebus, you would think Amazon would have heard of the Corona virus. Just got a promo email from them and………………………..

    Are you looking for something in our Travel Accessories department? If so, you might be interested in these items.

  14. A 1,000 bed Navy hospital docks in Manhattan to provide acute care relief so hospitals can be freed up from regular patients to care for coronavirus patients.

  15. The coronavirus pandemic could seriously disrupt global food supply chains and send prices soaring, especially for those economies with vulnerable supply structures, if major producing countries increase export restrictions, international agencies and food experts have warned.
    China is expected to be shielded from severe supply shortages as the country has been relying on its own output of rice and wheat to feed its 1.4 billion people, but its reliance on imports for certain crops, such as soybeans, could send food price soaring and add further misery to domestic consumers.

    The United Nations Food and Agriculture (FAO) said last week that it had “already seen signs that pressures due to lockdowns are beginning to impact supply chains, such as the slowdown in the shipping industry. Disruptions, particularly in the area of logistics, could materialise in the coming months.”
    The UN Committee on World Food Security sounded an even stronger warning that “disruptions at borders and in supply chains may cause an echo in the food system with potentially disastrous effects”.
    In recent weeks, export restrictions have been slapped on staple foods such as rice and wheat as the outbreak spreads around the globe.

    “Coupled with the current locust swarm crisis [in Africa and the Middle East] that is affecting food production, it may worsen the global food market, leading to panic buying, export restrictions and disruptions in the supply chain, sending food prices soaring,” Cheng Guoqiang, a professor at the School of Economics and Management of Tongji University in Shanghai, told the state-owned Economic Daily.
    “Therefore, if the outbreak cannot be effectively controlled, it may cause a serious world food crisis and directly threaten food security for China and emerging nations.”
    If the outbreak cannot be effectively controlled, it may cause a serious world food crisis and directly threaten food security for China and emerging nations.

    Vietnam, the third world’s largest exporter of rice, said on Friday that it planned to stockpile the grain and suspend new export contracts until the end of the month. Thailand banned shipments of chicken eggs for a week after a domestic supply shortage caused a spike in demand and prices to double.
    In Hong Kong, where Thailand and Vietnam account for 80 per cent of rice imports, long queues reappeared outside shops at the weekend as residents scrambled to stock up on essentials.
    By Monday, rice had sold out at many large supermarkets and purchasing limits of up to two bags of rice and two boxes of eggs had been imposed at various stores.
    Analysts expect further export restrictions, but say food shortages will be more prominent in countries that import staples from just one or two sources.

  16. Business applies for JobKeeper allowance, if successful given $750 a week for each person employed on March 1. Employer passes money to stood down employee.
    How tight is business eligibility?
    Who checks $750 paid to worker? There’s lot of wage theft going on
    What about new hires? people who have been with the company less than 12 months
    What if the marginal business decided now is the time close?
    What if the business takes the $750 per worker, even if worker paid less, not handing money on to former employee closes doors because retail not selling food, and never reopens.
    I can see a whole lot of phoenixing going on

    It’s estimated that more than 6 million workers will get payments
    There are 1.1 million people working without residency who aren’t eligible
    [economist hat] If workforce churn is 20% then another 1 million people are ineligible new hires
    workforce = 13 million
    1+ million on Newstart

    That’s about 66% workforce locked out, predominantly hospitality, service, non-food retail


    Great idea, but poorly executed with many opportunities for rorting.
    Must be transparency about which businesses are getting grant, govt must name or notify taxpayers who are being paid $1500 per fortnight so they can yell if the employer holds their payment

  17. Mike Carlton
    I’m told that Greg Combet was the architect of the Jobkeeper Plan, with Sally McManus. They sold it to Christian Porter and Treasury. Morrison took a lot of convincing, but eventually got on board. This is leadership and national unity of a high order from all concerned.

    Except for Morrison?

  18. Joe O’Brien
    NSW Health planning to set up pop-up testing site in Bondi .. because it is considered a COVID-19 cluster or hotspot.

  19. James Colley
    Under tough penalties you can be fined or jailed for walking the streets but if you say “I just got off a cruise” then you’re allowed to waltz about licking stuff

  20. Holdenhillbilly

    Re food shortages. Just before the Corona virus became so ‘popular” the Chinese and several other countries had their pig populations severely reduced by a virus. Note the date. The world gets to deal with two ‘plagues’.

    JANUARY 16, 2020 / 8:07 PM / 2 MONTHS AGO
    Disease that killed millions of China’s pigs poses global threat

  21. President Trump’s extension Sunday of federal social distancing guidelines surely will reduce the coronavirus’s spread. It might, however, also begin to encourage mainstream Republicans to distance themselves in the future from libertarian-tinged economics.

    Rand Paul was hit with coronavirus, so maybe in the words of Lady Gaga….

  22. Michael J. Biercuk
    A bit frustrating that in the midst of a pandemic where Premier
    is urging us to stay home (rightfully!) #NSW #RMS is still forcing people to take vehicles in for inspections in order to continue driving (for food). Need deferrals or inspection-free registration renewal!

  23. Chewy will be happy
    NSW Med Officer said something like transmission numbers down because testing is down, and need to target community testing….

  24. Lizzie
    That Carlton tweet confirms that Morrison is not up to leadership. I sensed there was a bit of tension at the press conference between ScoMo and Josh and that tweet might explain why.

  25. The latest on construction and trades.

    Companies are partnering tradies to work as team and employ distancing rules and wearing PPE equipment.
    Also on bigger sites. The time of arrival and departure is staggered. To enable workers to practise social distancing. Same applies for smoko and lunch breaks.

  26. This mirrors reports from Australia where wealthy suburbs have coronavirus clusters. Typically it’s poorer people who bear the brunt of the disease.

    In Mexico, some of the first clusters involved people returning from ski trips in Vail, Colo., which has grown into what the Jalisco state governor described as “our main front” in combating the disease. In the Dominican Republic, a posh wedding in the resort town of Cap Cana — at which guests poked fun at the disease with fake nursing outfits — became a contamination cluster.

    In Brazil, with more than 3,900 confirmed cases, the most in Latin America by far, the virus came from Europe and is now tracking more broadly into society. One wealthy woman who contracted the coronavirus in Italy is believed to have infected her 63-year-old domestic employee, Cleonice Gonçalves. Gonçalves died at a small hospital in her hometown of Miguel Pereira, a remote mountain village a two-hour drive from the tony community where she worked. Her family blames the boss, who they say withheld information of her illness.–with-sometimes-deadly-results/2020/03/29/c987d2f6-6f7a-11ea-a156-0048b62cdb51_story.html

  27. Lizzie

    If it relates to roadworithiness, my view is that pandemic or no pandemic. Vehicles need to be deemed safe before registration.

  28. Morning all. The wage subsidy is belated but correct policy. Like others here I hope it is implemented competently to prevent rorting.

    Speaking fo which, our PM has been quite dismissive of repatriating Australians overseas, seeming to lump them all in the same irresponsible bucket. Yet this appears not to be the case. Many in South America had their return flights cancelled (including by Qantas) with no other options left except unaffordable charter flights. Other countries are repatriating. Why aren’t we?

    Also, where is the ticket money going for all the cancelled flights that were already paid for? A Qantas flight to South America is close to $2K at the best of times. Multiply that by hundreds of people and a few million has just been trousered by the not-flying Kangaroo. If they haven’t declared bankruptcy the money should be handed back or a replacement flight arranged. Some interesting details in this article.

  29. Vic:

    As I said, if worksites can operate safely and protect employees then I see no reason for them not to continue their business. There are workarounds as you’ve highlighted.

  30. I had a good chuckle when Morrison announced the job keeper policy yesterday.
    Who would have ever thought he would be leading a govt announcing such a policy.

    Of course, we will be paying for it for years to come.
    Will it be a higher GST?

  31. Fess

    The construction industry employs one million people. And of course it has a flow on effect in the supply chain.

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