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In trying to catch up on my emails before going to bed – late as always – I started reading the lead article in The New York TimesOpinion Today – which, as it is probably pay-walled you might not be able to read here.

I had one of those light bulb moments!

The trigger was the following excerpt:-

“The emerging protocols for reopening are “effectively a death sentence” for the two bar-restaurants he co-owns in Brooklyn, writes Toby Cecchini . . . the change he says would be most important is one that, it seems to me, would benefit everyone: opening space on sidewalks and streets for restaurants to expand their seating and serve enough people — at a safe distance — to stay in business.”

Living in the tropics, as I have the good fortune to do, there are plenty of cafes and even restaurants which have outdoor eating areas. Colder climates would have fewer – but this need not be.

We have the technology!

We have allowed our decision makers to deny us many of the freedoms we need, and in the current social distancing situation, we are forcing restaurants and cafes out of business quite needlessly.

We have also become slaves to the motor car, so that, even when you do have a chance for al fresco dining, it is often spoiled by having our senses assailed by exhaust fumes.

Malls can be used to exclude vehicular traffic and allow outdoor activities, but in cold or otherwise inclement weather, they are not really feasible if they are fully open to the elements..

So – cover them over, but with plenty of solar panels above to ensure lighting below during the day! And preferably with the opportunity, when weather allows, to have unadulterated fresh air circulating rather than constant air conditioning.

We also need more parks in cities where, again, cafes could prosper if appropriately located.

The Coalition government is currently in cahoots with the gas lobby, and you are more trusting than am I, if you believe that this is just a bridging phase until renewable energy and battery storage make use of gas redundant.

We cannot work on the basis of a ‘return to normal’ because progress does not normally accommodate going backwards – except in one regard.

We can go back to relying less on technology to do nearly everything for us, while using it more effectively and efficiently when and where appropriate..

Don’t forget, there are many people for whom the government has made no sufficient provision to ride out the COVID-19 crisis and who will, therefore, have no job to go back to anyway!

One very large group that the government is totally neglecting are our artists, musicians, sculptors, actors, comedians and their back up cohort – all of whom can be used very effectively online or presented on large screen TV.

The ABC has a current theme song which is being produced in a variety of ways. A collage of ever-changing individual artists, in multiple locations, singing in harmony, in language (how refreshing!) or in English or backing an Auslan performance of “We are one, we are many – we are Australian!”.

If we are to minimise the damage being done by the sudden close-down of ‘normal’ business activities, and recover with fewest scars, we need to use the time imaginatively and innovatively.

Dealing with transport, including airplanes, is a whole other issue which needs to be faced as soon as possible, in conjunction with reducing use of fossil fuels as much and as soon as possible.

We have an unintended head-start in reducing emissions because of the coronavirus. Let’s build on that.

Many of those out of regular work could be used right now in assisting with ideas and construction. And where will the homeless go who are currently, and temporarily housed in otherwise vacant hotel rooms?

As to costs, well – after all – the government was prepared to commit $60 billion more than it finds it has done, so money is no problem!

I end as always – this is my 2020 New Year Resolution:

“I will do everything in my power to enable Australia to be restored to responsible government.”

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  1. Yes Minister

    Some well reasoned ideas but unfortunately they ignore the fact that the powers that be / the establishment / the big end of town play their own game and don’t give a rats about the communities they supposedly represent. Meanwhile the communities / the masses / the hoi-polloi largely maintain a myopic / welded-on allegiance to one or other of the political persuasions and consider their favourite mob of criminals capable of doing no wrong. In reality, the term ‘government’ could, and probably should, be replaced with ‘organized crime gang’. Another issue is that there is no significant difference between the various crime gangs, the left and right wings are still attached to the same bird. To add insult to injury, accountability is a myth. Separation of powers has never existed in Australia, and (by deliberate design and intent) there isn’t a single functional watchdog in the country. The latter must be considered and repaired before we begin to concern ourselves with ‘restoring responsible government’

  2. Kale Bullitt

    I turned on The Insiders this morning only to see a lavatory brush sitting in the studio as a guest. I decided to watch a panel show on Youtube. There is nothing – NOTHING – that Sheridan can add to ANY discussion that is any closer than arms length with the truth.

  3. Brice

    Rosemary, I had a light bulb moment earlier this year while reading Agenda 21. Most of your wish list is there – private ownership of “motor cars” is about to become a thing of the past; “more parks in cities” is part of the plan as is a planned devolution of suburbs (the intention is to move people into the CBD); the “no job to go back to” part of the plan is on track (expansion of AI and robotics means a good portion of labor are now redundant and this dovetails nicely with Universal Basic Income support); air travel is on its last legs, and “reducing use of fossil fuels” is in scope, the Agenda wants a 70% reduction in the use of these resources.

    Researching all the deceptive agendas, in particular the potential de-humanizing impact on children, I want to bill the media for all the time spent making sense of the rubbish they air. They could intelligently question govt policies but they don’t.

    On the topic of effects on children, wow, how can we just destroy the CDC? From this article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/coronavirus/article/CDC-coronavirus-guidelines-schools-reopening-Texas-15288632.php
    The “CDC recommends staff and students wear cloth face coverings” even though covid-19 is spread by droplet and not air-borne, restricting oxygen is just plain bad health advice; “closing off playgrounds and cafeterias” a way to de-socialize children?

    This is divide and conquer big time. Where once we were all exhorted to fear men wearing turbans or women with headscarves, we are now encouraging, from primary school, the fear of every other person on the planet. Are the designers of these rules retards or just plain evil? Where are the psychologists and early educators standing up for children?

    It’s a mystery, each human body from Jan 2020, somehow lost the ability to run an auto-immune system and now we all need to be controlled and treated like little children. Mystery that is, until you read Agenda 21.

  4. Kerri

    Incidentally? The New York Times is currently offering subscriptions for Australians at $1 per week! They charge you $4 a month for their excellent journalism of which there is always more that I want to read than I can read.

  5. Matters Not


    covid-19 is spread by droplet and not air-borne

    So droplets are not air-borne? Really? Guess there might be a really good argument for treating some like very, very young children. Or perhaps pointing to a definition of an aerosol might be of assistance?

    An aerosol (abbreviation of “aero-solution”) is a suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in air or another gas. Aerosols can be natural or anthropogenic. Examples of natural aerosols are fog, mist, dust, forest exudates and geyser steam …

  6. guest


    You say: “It’s a mystery, each human body from Jan 2020, somehow lost the ability to run an auto-immune system and now we all need to be controlled and treated like little children.”

    “Auto-immune system.” You mean like “herd immunity”? How well does that work?

    And in all those pandemics and epidemics throughout history millions of people died because they “lost ability to run an auto-immune system”?

    Are you serious?

    So my “light bulb moment” came when I looked up Agenda 21 and I realised that there are people out there who oppose global thinking and local action. That is, people like you, Brice. Not just heavily ideological right wing institutions.

    Wiki tells us that Agenda 21 arose from Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992. It is a “nonbinding action plan of the UN with regard to sustainable development.” The 21 refers to the year 2021, the target year, which has been changed to 2030 as being more achievable.

    Australia is second only to the US in the number of subscribers to the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives – 88 here, 528 in the US.

    But we see that: “Extremist right groups, including the John Birch Society, assert that Agenda 21 is part of a scheme using environmental protection as a cover to impose a world-wide dictatorship.”

    Presumably this where you get the idea of us all being treated like children. And of course we see the UN is supposed to be imposing world-wide dictatorship with the hoax of Climate Change!

    And we can read about the shortcomings of the National Cabinet, especially in right-wing news outlets, accusing it of having a nanny-state agenda which must be abandoned as soon as possible so we can ‘snap back” to our old economy with a mixed up energy policy which still sees a big part played by coal.

    Otherwise, instead of having a global view, the right-wing cry is for sovereignty and independence, Brexit, US first, Australia first… international agreements to be ignored.
    And a ‘competition’ to see who had the least deaths in the pandemic.

    Brice, you write of “deceptive agendas”. You need to look no further than the present Coalition government, with its supporting Murdoch and IPA propaganda arms and lack of direction and real policy portfolio.

    If an approach had been left to that right-wing consortium, more people would have died, with no sympathy, because they had “lost the ability to run an auto-immune system”.

  7. DrakeN

    Auto-immune refers to a cohort of serious illnesses; including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis and many others.
    You should stand up when speaking otherwise your voice is muffled.

  8. RosemaryJ36

    Just for some clarity – healthy human beings have an autoimmune system which kicks in when they become infected and fights the infection. Some people suffer from conditions like lupus which renders their autoimmune system ineffective so they are likely to be adversely affected by any infection as they cannot fight it effectively.
    Herd immunity is, I believe, a community situation whereby enough members of the community have developed resistance to or immunity to a disease like, say, measles, that if one person gets infected it does not start an epidemic.
    I have not checked my facts so feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

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