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An incompetent and careless government is a threat to us all

This government’s preparedness and response to emergency situations fails every test.

I highlighted this in my recent article; ‘We were once prepared for this‘ in which I wrote:

In the dying days of the Howard government they were very mindful of a couple of viruses, H5N1 (avian influenza), or bird flu as it was better known as, and H1N1, which was known as swine flu, that in a worse-case scenario could bring the world to its knees. That is, a global pandemic. Which includes us.

We had to be prepared for it…

Battle plans for such an event hit the drawing-board in 2007; an initiative of the Howard government – readying the country for the worst – and some time later the program was given life again by the Rudd government, with a significant increase in funding.

You may wish to read the whole article. It is not crucial that you do, but I encourage you as it provides a glimpse into the Coalition’s indifference to the threat of a pandemic.

Let’s now go back to 2007. I refer you to Australia’s Preparedness for a Human Influenza Pandemic. Due to copyright I cannot reproduce any of the report so I draw your attention to Section 2.43 on page 59 and the importance of thermal scanners being deployed at airports.

What is so good about thermal scanners? Here is a succinct explanation:

In efforts to contain the highly contagious virus causing COVID-19, thermal cameras, set up at checkpoints or hand-held by personnel at airports, borders, and entrances to businesses, schools, and other institutions, are being used to screen large numbers of people for elevated body temperatures quickly and reliably.

A high temperature does not necessarily indicate that the person is infected with the coronavirus, but it is the first step in identifying its presence. People with a high temperature are taken for further testing and, if they test positive, are isolated until treatment can begin.

Thermal scanning should be utilised as the first step in ‘catching’ and ultimately containing the disease, and this is practised in a growing number of countries.

I say “well done” to the authors of Australia’s Preparedness for a Human Influenza Pandemic report 2007/2008 for including the use of thermal scanning in airports as one of their key recommendations.

Now let’s jump to the present day and the same report prepared in August 2019: Australian Health Management Plan for Pandemic Influenza. Again, as with the previous report I cannot reproduce any of the content due to copyright reasons. But I draw your attention to page 136, and there – right up the top of the page – the use of thermal scanners is Not recommended, stating, bewilderingly, that their effectiveness is low and their use is an impediment to travellers.

Instead, as summarised on page 127 of the report, the traveller will be confronted with pamphlets and brochures etc.

What is going to be of the most critical importance in the identification of even one person who is carrying the coronavirus: thermal scanning or a pamphlet?

I also encourage you to read page 9 of the report: “Pandemic stages” and ask yourself how well the Morrison government rates in this current pandemic.

On February 28, Katie Burgess, writing in The Canberra Times reported that the:

But the Health Department says there are no current plans to subject travellers to temperature checks, on the advice of medical professionals.

… Australia’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy told media on January 21 temperature checks had proven ineffective in past pandemics.

Murphy, sadly, must have read the 2019 report which had reached the same conclusion: it didn’t work for pandemics in the past so it obviously won’t work with any pandemics in the present or the future.

Ever heard of tunnel vision, Mr Murphy?

It is true that thermal scanning won’t stop the spread of the coronavirus and it won’t always catch those that have it, but it will take enormous steps in detecting it, as countries like China have shown.

Australia, meanwhile, with its incompetent and careless government is dragging its feet.

I don’t know about you, but I get the feeling that our incompetent and careless government is a threat to us all.

Note: There is also a brief report from 2018: Emergency Response Plan for Communicable Disease Incidents of National Significance: National Arrangements which also ignores thermal scanning at airports. In fact, they don’t even rate a mention, but a ‘police presence’ at airports does.

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  1. David Stakes

    Reason why Singapore has a low rate everywhere you are scanned, even off a plane, thru immigration, if transiting scanned back on your next plane. You lose count. Our Gov useless and playing with peoples lives for an Herd immunity policy, which in this case will not work.

  2. Ali Tosis

    It IS incompetent – but it is entrenched, thanks to Murdoch, and Bob Brown’s ill-timed caravan. We have to stand and watch the plundering of our exchequer and the destruction of our way of life, possibly to the point of no return.

  3. Kerri

    For the life of me Michael I cannot believe how many people think Morrison is doing a good job???
    He is constantly closing that door after the horse was long gone.
    Anyone who has travelled to Japan is familiar with being thermal scanned on arrival. Most of the countries whose response to COVID19 has been effective are those who dealt with SARS.
    We have learned nothing from their example because we are so beholden to the economy.
    The CMO seems to be pandering to the government’s desire to see business continue.
    Will it take the infection of the entire cabinet to make these dolts perceive reality?
    This excellent article on pandemic modelling hits all of the nails.
    I’ll wager not only that the government is yet to set eyes on it but due to their inability to comprehend medical facts and their wilful blindness to anything pro-active would actively avoid such data and would fail to grasp it’s content anyway.

  4. Keitha Granville

    Our government has been a threat to us since it was first elected, nothing it has done since then has changed that.
    The only difference is that now we can die.

  5. Phil Pryor

    It does seem clear from the Trump, Johnson, Morrison types and their approaches, that only an adherence beyond sense will keep the suckers glued in adherence to brainless consumerism, the life blood flow of our capitalist, corporate, seeping, gouging, scraping, controlled economy and lifestyle. They cannot get away with offering cheap or free plane rides, boat cruises, fornication fests, big shitsound concerts.., it would all crash in closeness, sickness, a grinding halt. But, they have an obsession with activity of any useless type, orders must be shouted even if late or irrelevant, and life of using, spending, wasting must go on or the tax dodging, Caymans caches, cheating and lying will be threatened. As all that could mean the end of “civilisation” for controlling predators and pointlessly rich hoarders, we really are up shitcreek in a sieve. And, as politicians must monopolise the limelight, no experts will be gathered and relied upon, as the truth about political perverted stupidity might hit home among the suckers. Led by a lost dog of a P M, we are gone…

  6. New England Cocky

    Which financial donor to the coffers of the Liarbral Party was gifted the contract to supply $150,00 worth of thermometers likely without a tendering procurement process? Well … you have to look after your mates and spend as much public monies as possible to show that you are doing SOMETHING!

  7. Harry Lime

    It bears repeating,but the Lying Nasties have been flat out stacking advisory boards,clear felling anyone in the public service who might offer advice contrary to the Morrison approved line, installing blinkered fools into ministerial offices (Stuart Robodebt, anyone?), and generally giving democracy a good rogering.
    We can now sit back in our isolation and observe the chaos of these criminal fools.

    “Horror movies right there on my TV,shocking me right out of my brain”

  8. ajogrady

    Why is it that there are endless funds for war weapons and endless war games to perfect the art of killing to protect us from an unknown and invisible enemy and yet when the same argument is used of an unknown and invisible enemy being a virus driven pandemic we as a nation struggle to be effectively and efficiently protected by those who are charged with the most important task of a government. Protecting its people. This government thinks that success is the ability to go from one total failure to another total failure with no loss of enthusiasm or conscience.

  9. Matters Not


    an allegation has surfaced saying a NSW fed liberal had some high profile mates on board, applied pressure to expedite their removal from the plague ship

    Any links available? Source? Or perhaps the name, office or other post held by the alleger? And if true, why aren’t the ALP on to this?

  10. Josephus

    What on earth has Bob Brown’s anti fossil fuel caravan got to do with the current plague Ali Tosis? This was caused it seems by a mutating virus at a market where endangered wild animals were being sold for human consumption. It certainly was not caused by anti fossil fuel activists.

  11. Ali Tosis

    Matters not.

    It swung Qld voters behind the LNP. My comment had nothing to do with the virus. It was to do with the ‘miracle’ vote in Qld that gave Morrison a term in his own right. Greens can deny it however much you like – the minute I heard of the caravan was the minute I knew the ALP was rooted.

  12. Vikingduk

    MN, saw the allegation in a stray tweet, whilst I would have no hesitation believing it, I suspect it is fake.

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