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Australia did well when we followed the health advice, and then the politicians took over

Just over three weeks ago, on December 14, NSW health minister, Brad Hazzard, held a press conference to confirm that the next day pretty much all restrictions would be lifted regardless of the emergence of the Omicron strain and rising case numbers.

“At the moment, our government here … is very keen to get us all back to normality, to our previous life,” he said. “We’re not going to start backflipping on issues we promised the community we’ll do.”

That day, there were 804 new cases in NSW, 168 people being treated in hospital and 21 in ICU.

On December 15, QR codes and vaccine certificates were dropped. The unvaccinated were free to join the rest of us with masks only required on public transport and in airports, or for indoors front-of-house hospitality staff who aren’t fully vaccinated. Close contacts no longer had to isolate for 7 days. Density limits no longer applied with no limit to the number of people allowed in your home, at outdoor public gatherings and at hospitality venues. Borders reopened to vaccinated skilled migrants and foreign students.

Hazzard cited research from the Public Health Unit at the University of New South Wales which suggested a possible surge of up to 25,000 COVID cases a day by the end of January but suggested that was unlikely if we all continued to take personal responsibility.

On that same day, modelling from the Doherty Institute showing a possible scenario of 200,000 cases a day was leaked to the media, and summarily dismissed by the Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly.

Prof Kelly said the 200,000 figure “presents one of the worst case of all potential scenarios including assumptions that the Omicron variant is as severe as the Delta variant, an absence of hospital surge capacity, a highly limited booster program, no change to baseline public health and social measures and an absence of spontaneous behaviour change in the face of rising case numbers. None of these five assumptions represent the likely state of events, let alone all of them together, therefore presenting that scenario as the likely scenario that will occur is highly misleading.”

By December 24, with 5,715 new cases reported that day and 1500 healthcare workers furloughed either because of Covid-induced illness or as a result of isolation orders, Perrottet was forced to backflip on his “personal responsibility” approach to mask-wearing by reintroducing a mandate requiring them to be worn indoors while also reinstating social distancing measures in hospitality venues and a return to mandatory QR code check-ins at some retail venues.

But by then, the horse had bolted.

NSW has reported over 70,000 new cases in the last two days but the real number is undoubtedly significantly higher as the testing regime has been overwhelmed. Yesterday, there were 1609 people in hospital and 131 in ICU with these numbers growing significantly each day.

We keep being told that the hospitals have adequate surge capacity but the truth is, whilst they might have enough beds and ventilators, that means nothing if you don’t have sufficient staff. More than 3800 health staff were furloughed in NSW due to COVID-19 exposure on Wednesday

For some totally obscure reason, Scott Morrison has tasked the Secretary of PM&C, Phil Gaetjens, with coming up with the plan for how to get kids back to school and keep them there. I am fairly certain this man has zero experience of staffing a school so it will be interesting to see what he comes up with to cover the teachers who are going to inevitably get sick.

No wonder Morrison keeps telling us to look out the windscreen and focus on moving forward because the rear-view mirror is full of wreckage with a runaway train barrelling towards us.

Australia did well when we followed the advice of the health experts. Then the politicians took over and here we are.

BREAKING: The SMH is reporting that the NSW government is preparing to announce a major reversal of COVID-19 restrictions by shutting nightclubs, banning singing and dancing in pubs, discouraging “vertical consumption”, and pausing major events and some elective surgery in response to the state’s surging Omicron caseload. Major events would be risk-assessed by NSW Health and postponed where necessary. Restrictions will be branded as “safety measures” rather than a lockdown

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60 comments

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  1. Phil Pryor

    In NSW, we are forced to follow the hopeless mumblings of Pope Perrotet the First and Worst, and Mr. Hazardous Health-Threat, whose abiding faith in all things indoctrinated and absorbed is far superior to actual knowledge and experience. If one dreams, fantasies,hopes and prays, one can outflank school, study, civilisation, culture, science, decency, anything honest. And, we have a P M, Mr. Fumblin-Fistfloga, who just knows everything outside of actual knowledge, to issue stupidities by the truckload. His department chief, a Mr. P. Schemandream, is masterly with smoke, illusion, stuffitnow, paylater in death and misery. So where does it lead us, the citizen? Are we far up a lost creek, no paddle, map, hope? Is it all because stupid. egocentric, self focussed idiots insist on Stuffing everything up for us, by pretensions of superior qualities, Coming from utter shitskulls, that is ridiculous. Lazy, underperforming, useless, underachieving people need treatment, rejection, ignoring, denouncing, outing. Disgusting…

  2. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Kaye.

    I don’t know how you managed to write this piece without tearing your hair out

    The Djokovic event is interesting. On the one hand, restrictions inside the country have become laughable, while testing has become almost impossible, what with lack of resources and queues round and round the block. On the other hand, Djokovic finds himself in quarantine, likely to be deported. (Don’t get me wrong, though. I haven’t got much sympathy with Djokovic’s position.)

    I watched Ash Barty’s match at the Adelaide tournament on Wednesday night. There was a big crowd. No social distancing. As far as I know, nobody had to produce a certificate to verify that they had tested negative, or that they’d been vaccinated. Some people were wearing masks, but a great many weren’t. So what’s the diff? The players have to be negative/vaxxed but the fans don’t?

  3. Keitha Granville

    Tasmania is just as crazy.

    We had ZERO.

    Then our leader decided we had to open and “we’re all going to get Covid at some point “. Thanks, nearly 2 years of staying safe and going about our lives all thrown out the window. We might have visitors back, but Tasmanians are staying home, not just the ones who now have the virus.
    We were told our state was ready to tackle any cases. NO, we’re not. People can’t get in to testing centres, RATs are scarce as hen’s teeth. WTF !!! If we were ready then those things would be running smoothly.

    The almighty dollar as usual has been put squarely before people. Of course the cricket will go ahead with 10,000 people each day. That’s if 10,000 Tasmanians decide to take the risk.

    It’s an unmitigated disaster.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Number in hospital in NSW increased by 129 overnight. 38,628 new cases, 1738 in hospital, 134 in ICU, 11 deaths

  5. Garth

    It seems that the Omicron infection is intent on proving the computer modelling cases being projected as correct.
    Thousands of victims a day being noted but little evidence to prove these numbers.
    Where are all the sick and dying; I have family members spread from Byron Bay to Sydney who report next to nil cases in their areas; One case in our own town was recently reported.
    The testing apparatus has now been noted as 50% inaccurate and the CDC in the US has ceased using the PCR test. From reports I have read it appears that masks, lockdowns, isolation and stress from the permanent barrage of Media CoVid promotions are causing much harm.
    https://www.brighteon.com/e211fee8-4c58-454c-ac1a-39839fa03eff
    The truth brings a responsibility with it.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Prof. Peter Doherty: Do the numbers and think beyond the ‘economic silos’ when it comes to spending tax dollars? Free rapid antigen tests makes economic sense for governments, our analysis show

    https://theconversation.com/free-rapid-antigen-tests-makes-economic-sense-for-governments-our-analysis-shows-174342?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton

    AMA Vice President: Gov must stop stuffing around/spinning/blaming & throw EVERYTHING behind health NOW- hospitals🏥, GPs🥼, pharmacy💊, aged care🧓. And next time remember advice that HEALTH IS AN INVESTMENT and that ensuring community remains healthy = good health + good economy

    General practice is at “breaking point”, doctors say, and they’re fed up with hearing about policy changes through press conferences. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is worried about a lack of support as Australia moves to rapid antigen tests. College president Dr Karen Price said positive results needed to be recorded, but that there was no system to manage that

    More struggles for GPs who don’t have enough vaccines for kids.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/07/we-have-no-doses-australian-gps-say-they-will-struggle-to-vaccinate-children-before-school-year-begins

    Australian government was warned about Covid testing overburden almost a year ago

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/07/australian-government-was-warned-about-covid-testing-overburden-almost-a-year-ago

    Staff shortages batter Australian economy as Covid surge leaves half of some companies’ employees unable to work
    Trucking and meat industry among hardest hit amid fears some supermarkets may be forced to shut, while calls for free rapid antigen tests at work intensify

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/06/staff-shortages-batter-australian-economy-as-covid-surge-leaves-half-of-some-companies-employees-unable-to-work

    Everywhere you look this is a monumental stuff up. They throw billions at profitable private businesses and wealthy private schools and arms manufacturers but they penny pinch on health whilst demanding we all just suck it up and get back to work.

  7. wam

    Loved nadal’s take on novax? I hope he get’s deported and nadal wins to be one ahead. What a damning read, Kaye, Not only testing is a mess but vaccinations are crazy. I expected booster to be like a flu vaccine, just walk in and a nurse gave you a jab. Now even a flu jab needs the doctor to rip off the gov before you see a nurse to get the jab. I have made an appointment with a chemist for, a hopefully lucky, 2/2/22. Anyone got any idea why scummo makes me wait for 3 weeks??
    ps
    got home wed got 4 rats at the airport did the first at 2230 and sent photo of me with the test, the second tomorrow, the third tues and the last, also photo details to be sent, thursday
    Good job gunner and labor.

  8. Chris L

    All the time spent in lockdowns around the country, the vaccines, the threats, fines for non complience… and now its a free for all… no testing available, no RAT’s available, hospital shortages … and NOW new restrictions by shutting nightclubs, banning singing and dancing in pubs, discouraging “vertical consumption”, and pausing major events and some elective surgery in response to the state’s surging Omicron caseload… called safety measures… well surprise, surprise. what was the point? You either follow through, to the end… or you face the concequences… Idiots at best! Is ANYTHING polititions do , in the public intrest.. or only their own? Do they think we are all idiots? The waters of the red sea , crashing behind every move!

  9. Kaye Lee

    Chris L,

    The real problem with politicians is not that they think we are dumb, it’s that they think they are smart.

  10. Jan

    Factor in lead time to get RAT kits on shelves, and there is no doubt that the let-it-rip plan was hatched well before it was announced. Is this can-do capitalism or just good ole insider trading?

  11. corvusboreus

    SMH headline this morning:
    “Restrictions set to return as virus soars”.

    In a less unsane alterno-reality such might have read:
    “Restrictions return (or remain) to prevent virus soaring”.

    Eejits.

  12. Jan

    “The real problem with politicians is not that they think we are dumb, it’s that they think they are smart”
    Love it

  13. Kyle Brunning

    You would have to wonder how long we can go on like this. I’m trying to figure why they thought it was a good idea to lift restrictions, especially with the total unknown of omicrom tearing the rest of the world apart. You would have to be either incompetent, or brave to the point of self destruction.

    The right wing mindset is at play here. It seems to me similar to the climate warming fiasco, where politicians see that not all climate scientists are in unison on their assessments, there are a few outliers that beg to disagree. So the politicians see there is a doubt, and hang there hat and our futures on that doubt, amplify and exploit the lack of consensus.

    They have rolled the dice on opening up. We see the same lack of consensus amongst epidemiologists and other related heath experts. It does not matter that there are only a few outliers, they are saying things and presenting doubts and alternatives contrary to the mainstream medical advice, and that is what our leaders want to hear.

    Restrictions kept the lid on the virus, it was ticking along and opening up prematurely, in anyones assessment, had to lead to a massive explosion of cases.

    The momentum to open up, no matter what, with no contingency to modify or backtrack once it was clear omicron was coming, was imense. I get that just about everyone is over the restrictions, but I think what has been done illustrates that we have the wrong people making executive descisions.

    Now we have lost control, the virus is well established in the population, just when schools are about to go back, just as work resumes – business as usual – except the virus could tear apart those plans. What will be the damage now? We hope that the virus will burnout shortly and even be a plus, giving immunity for current and future outbreaks, but that is an unknown, for sure.

    Meanwhile , our hospital system, the peole working there, are expected to just soldier on in impossible circumstances, even though they are burnt out, broken, emotionally, physically and mentally -they are the collateral damage of poor descisions. It’s a disgrace, the way they have been treated. The pollies want us to belive they could never have seen this coming. Rubbish.

    So was it – a roll of the dice? Just let it rip? Incompetence? Vested interests dictating?
    Probably the whole shootin’ match. Very dangerous if the approach is not modified to something more intelligent, before another variant comes along to upset our fragile little system.

  14. Chris Leyland

    I think part of the issue is that Australia puts their trust in Politicians… and while the Pollies views chance daily to suit their agenda, the voters continue to be loyal to 1 side or the other… very short memories… I’m waiting for “BUT.. We gave you a restriction free Christmas” throw away line , come the election campain trail… maybe some Australians ARE stupid? LOL

  15. corvusboreus

    A crash course in bio-precautionary terminology.

    I am now aux-fait with ‘vertical consumption’ (imbibement of ethanol whilst maintaining erect posture) and ‘designated dancers’ (self-explanatory), but am unsure as to whether ‘subtle dance’ includes ‘jazz hands’.

    Meanwhile in the land of consistent basic precautions against aerosol borne pathogens:
    *STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE.
    *Thoroughly wash/disinfect your hands after any contacts.
    *Avoid directly touching communal surfaces, and employ appropriate prophylactic measures (eg surgical gloves) where necessary.
    *STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE.
    *Avoid proximity or enclosure with other people.
    *Wear a properly fitted protective facemask when around others.
    *STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE.
    *If you believe or know that you have been in contact with someone who is sick, or start to feel sick yourself, quarantine yourself and get tested ASAP (if situationally possible).
    *Also, STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE.

  16. Baby Jewels

    It was galling to watch Scomo on tv self-praising that Australia had almost the lowest death rate for covid in the world. That was thanks to the States, Scomo, not you. It was the States which did the work, it was the States which defied your orders and kept restrictions, it was Qld and WA who kept their citizens safe, NOT YOU.

  17. wam

    Beauty, corvus,
    Don’t rub your eyes?
    ps
    Here is a point of agreement and you, at least, wont ask me why?
    Please, break the loop, before you dispose of your mask.

  18. corvusboreus

    wam,
    Breaking mask loop prevents inadvertent reuse by others, aka ‘cross-contamination’.
    Sensible

  19. Jan

    “designated dance” is that a category of So you think you can dance?

  20. Michael Taylor

    Kate, I don’t think any of us have ant hair left at the moment, which is probably a good thing as I’m in no rush to get to a hairdresser until I’ve had my booster. Currently there is a four month wait after your second vaccine, but after Jan 31 the wait will be reduced to three months, meaning I can get my booster in early February. I can’t wait!

    My family count of those with Covid is now seven. Three in Canberra (the youngest being one-year-old; three in NSW (the youngest being four-years-old); and my Indigenous brother (Russell) in Port Augusta (SA).

    For months I’ve seen Russell post on Facebook imploring people to get vaxxed or boosted. So who gets it? He does.

    He had a sore throat and a lot of coughing for a few days, which cleared up but as he works with some older people he thought it best to get tested as he didn’t want to expose them in case it was Covid. The test came back positive.

    I said I was proud of him for putting other people first.

  21. corvusboreus

    Jan,
    No, surprisingly enough, ‘designated dancing’ does not mean strictly sticking to macarena moves.
    It is a bit more akin to “Too Many Dicks on the Dancefloor”, by Flight of the Concordes.

  22. Kaye Lee

    Australia has now overtaken the US for new covid cases on a rolling average per capita basis.

    https://twitter.com/Simon_Cullen/status/1479225274579439617/photo/1

    Chris O’Keefe on 2GB: I’ve had a chat to a few ministers. …, they are furious, and I’m talking about senior, senior ministers. One in particular told me that their view was that this is terminal for (premier) Dominic Perrottet. They can kiss the next election [due in March 2023] goodbye because he refused to listen to his colleagues, to Dr Kerry Chant back before December 15, in keeping unvaccinated people out of society, and just keeping a modicum of some restrictions on masks, QR codes all that stuff.

  23. Ross

    Kaye, the Business Lobby got what they wanted, “open up and let it rip”.
    The fact that business relies on people and people, lots of people, get sick in a raging pandemic didn’t seem to register in the “let it rip” equation.
    These business geniuses seem totally perplexed that large numbers of their employees are getting sick and staying home.
    How is this possible, it’s affecting the bottom line they moan.
    What’s next? Call out the army to cover all the sickies?
    Someone should inform them soldiers are people before demanding Morrison call out the troops.

  24. GL

    I can almost picture Scummo and DoPe and the rest of Crony Co. Inc. all watching the new instructional IPA video entitled: Dance Steps to Use to Avoid Taking Responsibility.

    The Duck and Dodge Tango (used for avoiding the media).
    The I’m Sorry I Have Meeting Slide (see above).
    The Uh-Oh Reverse Turn (ditto).
    The Point and Blame Labor Twist.
    The 180 and Walk Away Pirouette.
    The Outside Turn Step (used to “duck” into an office when confronted with awkward questions).

    All the above and more for avoiding scrutiny and the media and public.

    Almost forgot the On the Knees Slide Step When Rupert Appears (also comes with instructions on how to have lips ready to kiss the royal ring).

  25. Kate Ahearne

    Garth,

    Brighteon? Really? I just had a look at your link. Yep, they’ve got it covered. ‘Experts’ of world renown and impeccable ‘credentials’! Meanwhile, Omicron is running amok.

    Michael,

    That’s a horrible family statistic. I hope everyone is recovering OK. One of the worries I have is that we still don’t have enough/any info about what might be the longer-term repercussions of Omicron.

    My family has had a bout of the virus here in Tassie. We have visitors from interstate, one of whom tested positive after he got here. 4 of the 6 of us came down with it, including a four-year-old who was pretty sick for 3 or 4 days, and my 76-year-old sister, who is recovering slowly. I’ve been able to keep isolated because I live alone in my little one-bedroom cottage on the property, so I’ve been the only one who could isolate properly.

    Keitha,

    I’m with you. We had such success here in Tassie with NO cases for months on end. Now we’re overrun.

  26. Kaye Lee

    I missed Garth’s contribution. What a load of rubbish Garth. If you are going to talk about truth then make some effort to find it.

    The Lab Alert notified users that the CDC would be withdrawing its request for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 PCR diagnostic test after December 2021. This isn’t because the performance of the CDC’s RT-PCR test for detecting COVID-19 showed any problems, but because tests that are capable of processing more samples within a given time and detecting more than one pathogen have since been developed. Such characteristics make these tests the preferred alternatives in the interests of time and resources.

    EUA withdrawal for CDC COVID-19 PCR test is due to the development of newer tests that help save time and resources, not because the test is faulty

  27. Kaye Lee

    Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid has let rip about … well, about New South Wales letting it rip.

    “Having decided weeks ago to let it rip, (NSW premier) Dominic Perrottet is now seeing the results of that decision,” he said.

    He said new restrictions (reportedly coming in later today) might “slightly slow the spread”:

    “But there’s no way they’re going to turn this curve around… it’s going to take some weeks to reach this peak, and therefore, we just have to brace ourselves….it’s almost a perfect storm of pressure. And it’s just not true to say our health system is so resilient it can cope with anything. There are limits”

  28. corvusboreus

    The ‘Joe Rogan Experience’ clip linked to by Garth has been pulled from yewchoob for violating guidelines on misinformation.

    Robert Malone, the virologist drawing the spurious comparison between pandemic health measures and the rise of nazism, actually had a solid career in pharmacological research spanning several decades, but has recently marginalised himself from mainstream medical science through unsubstantiated claims and sloppy research citation, often in promotion of medicines in which he holds financial interests.

    Malone has also recently been banned from twitter for serial bullshitting, and now does the rounds of media like FOX opinion shows, Infowars and Steve Bannons’ podcast.

    Sad.

  29. Kaye Lee

    Queensland is already saying they won’t send primary age kids (who won’t be fully vaccinated) back to school if we are still heading for (or in) a peak. Not sure Gaetjens will offer anything useful to this debate either. Wonder what he actually does to earn his $880,000 salary.

    From 1997 to 2007, Gaetjens served as Chief of Staff to then-Treasurer Peter Costello. From 2015 to 2018, Gaetjens served as Chief of Staff to Scott Morrison. From 1 August 2018 to 2 September 2019, he served as Secretary of the Department of the Treasury. Gaetjens’s nomination was criticised as an example of the politicisation of traditionally-nonpartisan government offices. He became Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on 2 September 2019.

  30. Phil Pryor

    Who is this Garth, a scribbling scar on the search site for truth? Easily proven as wrong, distorted to contrive a result, appearing concerned.., ignorant hypocrite, using discredited so-called evidence. Shit is not sugar…

  31. Carol Taylor

    I get the feeling that the elite consider workers as faceless drones. Those people, the ones who drive the trucks, who stack the shelves are just ‘there’ to service the economy and are easily replaced. The fact that the elite might actually rely on the drones to serve their needs doesn’t rate a thought. Hospitals overflowing, doctors and nurses falling ill that’s ok because it won’t effect them personally as they’ll always be at the front of the queue. RATs, Scotty and Jen get them for free, so what’s the problem?

    A more callous, aloof, sneering Prime Minister and dangerously inept government response I cannot imagine.

  32. Kaye Lee

    Joshy’s budget relied on the economy being open. Politicians got spooked by the “freedom” protests. Go be merry at Xmas – it’s our gift to you.

    As they spend hundreds of billions preparing for a war with China that will never happen, we are losing the war against global warming and the health repercussions of a planet that is too crowded.

    It has often been said that conservatives know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. What does GDP mean when you cannot breathe?

  33. Kyle Brunning

    This pretty much confirms that the rabble running NSW are not fit for purpose. The arse is falling out of everything, all bets are off and it’s out of control.

    So the geniuses have banned dancing and singing, in the hope I suppose that will have some major effect – because a major affect is needed.

    I don’t think it will make any difference – there’s nothing to dance or sing about anyway – unless we are talking about the political demise of the clowns running the show.

  34. Kaye Lee

    He really doesn’t have a clue. There is not one ounce of compassion in Scott Morrison, not a scintilla of concern. He has the hide to tell us how well he has done????

  35. Regional Elder

    The reflections of former Minister for Science in the Hawke Government Barry Jones, this week nailed it, in his description of the Morrison government as ‘the most corrupt in Australia ‘ since Federation ( he judges as worse than the NSW Askin government and also worse than Queensland’s Bjelke-Petersen government at state level as well . I could not agree more.
    Jones really provides perspective on the utter awfulness of Morrison and his cronies.

    Dear friends: a notable Australian thinker looks to a better 2022

  36. GL

    “Australia did well when we followed the health advice, and then the politicians took over.”

    Correct, but Saint Scummo knows far far betterer than all the pollies and us poor peasants put together because he was chosen by dog making itself known to him via a photo of an eagle to rule over us.

    I think I’ll go and watch Dogma or read a book. Have a good night all.

  37. corvusboreus

    GL,
    I think, i understand.

    Scomo reckons, fundamentally, that bible trumps science regarding matters like the validity of eaglepix as omens.

    Scomo fails at science.

    Scom also reckons, practiceably demonstrably, Hillsong trumps Jesus regarding matters like the likelihood of hacksilver-hoaders gatecrashing the gates of paradise.

    Scomo also fails at Christ-ian.

    GNTYT

  38. Andrew J. Smith

    Interesting on the ideological level how states were tasked with actual Covid crisis management with little if any support or leadership from national government, while being denigrated and dog whistled if Labor, by LNP govt. and media, in being compared with the ‘gold standard’ in NSW that had a more lax approach.

    Once the new NSW Premier came into power it was clear that both the national and NSW governments had a shared objective of letting radical right libertarian socio-economic ideology becoming central; this like the UK and US has had similar proponents claiming oldies have had a good life (without being consulted)…., but seems more like authoritarian eugenics in action aka ‘survival of the fittest’?

    If the latter was highlighted more, it would probably spook many above median age oldie voters into considering whether they should vote LNP?

    Interesting watching hospitality etc. previously complaining about restrictions, now in a similar predicament, with to staff falling ill due to there being no restrictions.

  39. Kaye Lee

    Frydenberg’s got COVID.

  40. corvusboreus

    Raptors and reality

    I had a bit of a special moment early last year.

    Whilst working solo in the elbow of a headland, i noticed a largish bird of prey sweeping around the seaward side toward me.

    It approached at a casually elegent glide, sweeping quite closely past my gaze, then did a few small control flaps to alight on the edge of a rockshelf a few armlengths away, about half my height above my eyeline.

    Midst the dopamine-indused jellification of my legs in sheer joy of moment, i registered before me a recently matured Osprey (Pandion haliaetus, with wings and tail not yet aged to ragging), which briefly glanced towards me before accepting my presence and dismissing me, then prodeeded to survey the scenery behind me.

    As i made an entranced inspection of the finer details of plumage and form, the young bird’s gaze returned to mine.

    I saw, within a keenly intelligent gaze, clear twinned reflections of my own form, framed by near-matched crescents of blues into white-yellow-brown-greens.

    Myself viewed in multiple from the eyes of an Osprey.

    In this moment, this agnostic being felt, at levels pumping visceral into cerebral, a certain faith in the miraclulous nature of existent creation, expunging all but most irredeemable aspects of ingracious arsehole within me.

    The young Osprey broke the moment by breaking gaze again to take another brief look around, then gave me a momentary glance and nod before squat/lift-jump/flapping away to continue travelliing southward.

    Perhaps a minute had elapsed.

    I view that experience as a manifest blessing requiring extraordinary expressions of gratitude (return tithings appreciated).

    I do not, however, take the sight of myselves reflected within the living eyes of a near-apex avian predator as a form of divine revelation that i should head the collective political process directing the destiny of tens of millions of people.

    It genuine disturbs me that the prime montebank calling himself ‘scomo’ claims to have seen visions of his own ascendent destiny in some photoprint of an unspecified eagle.

    It smells like a cynically ambitious attempt to manipulate superstitious tendancies in order to benefit personal political ambition, and also reeks of hubris.

  41. Al

    What gets me is the government’s utter inability to learn from its mistakes: the bushfires (not listening to several decades of advice); the vaccination “stroll-out” with “it’s not a race”. Well, sorry to have to bust your little self-congratulatory bubble, Mr Morrison, but yes it bloody is. Unchecked viruses like the Omicron strain can move through a population with frightening speed – indeed with exponential growth. As we have seen time and again over these last two years, there is only one approach which works: lock down hard and fast. It’s true we now have vaccination which certainly slows the growth down, but the thing is, the Omicron strain will mutate into something new, and mutate again, because that’s what viruses do. There is no way of telling if any current vaccines will protect again these new mutations. So what happens when Omicron loses its edge and we have the next variant “of concern”? Morrison is completely absolving himself of all responsibility and saying we just have to learn to “live with it”. I wonder what he thinks the job of government actually is? Photo-ops?

    I was out dining with a friend this evening – a nurse – and we were pulling our hair out in fury at the government. They’re just so so terribly bad and awful in every way it’s hard to know where to start with them.

  42. Kaye Lee

    One of my best friends is a nurse. We are both 64 years old. A couple of months ago she told me should was going to retire in January because dealing with COVID, wearing full PPE all day, and providing compassionate care to infected anti-vaxxers, was getting too much for her. Now she tells me she can’t possibly leave because there is literally no-one to fill her place.

    I wonder if politicians ever think on that….the people who actually cannot stop working. The nurses, the cleaners, the truck drivers, the teachers – the people who keep things running. If a politician retired, who would care? They have no particular expertise. Anyone could replace them. They don’t do anything except cause problems for the rest of us.

  43. Al

    Yes; it’s incredibly hard for nurses. My friend tells me about agency nurses who are brought in at short notice to fill the gaps, and some of them seem to be wildly incompetent. The same friend sent me a link to the government site where you report a positive RAT result. But this seems like an exercise in futility in that there are no RATs to be had. It’s hard to imagine how this could be worse handled. And on top of everything, there are now issues with supermarket supply chains. That Morrison, in his despicably smug manner, can claim any sort of success is mind-boggling, and causes a cognitive dissonance that I am completely unable to manage.

  44. corvusboreus

    Racing tips as parables.

    Aesops tells of a race twixt specimens of lepus and testudo where, in a surprisingly predictable twist, the mammal comes last.

    A popular interpretetation of the fable’s ‘moral’ is that adopting a plodding pace is a surefire winning strategy in contests of velocity over distance.

    My take is that, even where advantage seems to be both intrinsic and evident, smug complacency and lazy tendency shouldn’t be allowed to hinder enacting successful progression to desired end.

  45. Max Gross

    Sideshow Scott and Domicron Paraquat really don’t want us to know how widespread the disease is and have persistantly avoided taking meaningful and timely action. They contiinue to fudge the facts and pull the wool. For all their jibber jabber about “the Economy” Morrison and Perrottet still fail to grasp the obvious: sick people can’t work or go shopping or book holidays or do anything other than isolate. Australia has now overtaken the US for new covid cases on a rolling average per capita basis. And the Delta variant is still weaving its way through communities while the current Omicron surge hasn’t even peaked yet!

  46. corvusboreus

    When a friend recently told me that the NSW gov were still sponsoring and promoting the next Sydney LGTBQ mardi gras,
    Backing an aggregated congregation celebrating sexual liberation midst conditions of pandemic contagion,
    My instinctual response was that Perottet wanted to kill off some poofs.

    Projection or reflection?

  47. wam

    sorry corvus,
    I meant to stop animals and birds from sticking their necks through???
    The LNP doesn’t give a gives a damn about humans poor enough to re-use because they probably vote labor.
    ps
    wonder why white actors pass on but Poitiers dies?

  48. corvusboreus

    wam,
    Thought didn’t occur.
    To be honest, i reckon the stapled join twixt elastic & mask on disposeables is probably too flimsy to hold anything big enough to snag’n’jag,
    but it could definitely be an issue with the fancier cloth jobs.

    Not an entirely irrelevent concern.

    I once came across an angle-headed waterdragon in a shopping trolley on a creekline,
    with it’s head caught in the mesh like gill-netted fish.
    It took some serious ginger perseverance with a multitool to liberate the twain,
    but the lizard ended up surviving to die another day.

    Ps, Sidney Poitier?
    That’s a shitdamned phuqcrapulent start to 2022.
    The world has lost an excellent actor and a fine human being.

    Ave atque vale Sidney Poitier

  49. Al

    Relict Raven (“Corveus boreus” – I looked it up; nice one!) – I had a look at the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras site; it seems they’re trying to have it both ways. Being Covid-aware and requiring masks, vaccination status, social distancing etc; but at the same time wanting to preserve its party atmosphere. I have no doubt that DoPe has a dim view of “poofs” (as you say), and I wonder whether the Mardi Gras will go ahead as planned. Also Melbourne’s Midsumma.

    Going back a few steps to Garth and his link to the Brighteon site: this is a far right libertarian site which is a haven for conspiracy theorists and general nut-jobs. Robert Malone, on the link, has been vigorously peddling unscientific misinformation about Covid vaccines. (Which is curious, because he is, or at least was, a scientist who published in the area of RNA transfection. However, his claim of being the “inventor” of mRNA vaccines is false.) Another bright star on the Brighteon site is the doctor Vladimir Zelenko, who again has been pushing misinformation – mainly about hydroxychloroquine. In short, everything on this site should be treated with extreme caution, and double checked for validity. Or even more simply just ignored.

  50. Kaye Lee

    Federal vice-president of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Chris Moy, says: “When Hazzard went out and said we’re all going to catch it, I thought that was one of the most irresponsible statements ever.” He says it felt almost like an invitation, “because it did not have the caveat about what you should be trying to do.”

    “The idea is to slow this down as much as possible so we don’t all get sick at the same time.”

    Dr Alexandra Martiniuk, an epidemiologist at the George Institute for global health and the University of Sydney says that while Omicron is “unbelievably infectious”, that “doesn’t mean everyone has to get it, and it doesn’t mean everyone has to get it right now”.

    Morrison and Frydenberg’s snide comments about “getting out from under the doona” sound so typical of this rabble of a government. They seem totally incapable of understanding the consequences of their devotion to their ideology of small government and personal responsibility and let the private market work it all out.

    The question then should be, what the hell do we need THEM for?

  51. corvusboreus

    AI,
    To be honest, the mardi gras quip wasn’t concerning matters close enough to the locality of my village of Phuxgiven for me to be bothered consulting the oracles for clarity.
    I tend to shun crowds.

    As for Malone, yeah, his bio reads a lot like the tragic story of a research fellow of modest competence but inflated self-import succumbing to twin temptations of fortune and fame and morphing into an attention-seeking montebank touring the shillshow circuit.
    The shonky podiums Malone has chosen to bray his message from speaks volumes regarding his targets and intent.

    Ps, I wonder if Garth ever gets invited to dinner by celebrity-chef & auto-acredited virologist Pete Evans

  52. corvusboreus

    Pps, dunno if you intended it so, but the notion of DoPe trying to ‘have it both ways’ with G&L mardi-gras-goers contains serious ‘giggle-chuckle’ elements of double-entendre.

  53. Al

    Hi Raven (if I may) – no I was merely thinking aloud about the Mardi Gras, and Midsumma. And when I said “having it both ways” I meant to refer to the Mardi Gras organizers – but if there’s a sneaky double entendre for DoPe, I’m happy to claim it! (A man walks in a bar asking for a double entendre. So the bartender gives him one.) I was out shopping this morning: buying coffee beans at a local roasters, and then going to a local shopping centre for a few necessities (and an apple scroll). And everywhere people were talking about RATs, the lack of them, the difficulty of getting tested at all, and the sheer frustration of a government that has given up even pretending to care. And to make it even worse, they are doing it with a snide smugness that raises my anger to unhealthy levels. I know that violence is never an answer, but really, wouldn’t it be cathartic to hit these slimy ultra-privileged overgrown schoolboys over the head with a large blunt object?

  54. Kaye Lee

    I don’t want to hit them. I get no pleasure out of the idea of smacking anyone. But I got a great deal of pleasure out of seeing both John Howard and Tony Abbott turfed by their own electorates. I am hoping for similar euphoria post the 2022 election.

  55. corvusboreus

    Scomo once looked at a print of a photo and saw a personal nod from god.

    It is said that Aeschylus, renowned Greek playwrite of classical times,
    took final exit from life’s stage through the tragicomic twist,
    of a higj-circling eagle viewing his bald pate as a suitable rock,
    on which to frop a tortoise to crack open it’s shell.
    A fine mind leaked out onto cobbled stone,
    and the philosophers were left to ponder.

    Now,
    I’m not saying i’d wish for it to happen, … but,
    should an aquila drop a testudo on scomo’s sconce, I wouldn’t bother trying not to laugh.

  56. Al

    Do you remember the old joke from John Howard’s days? Something like this:

    You’re a press photographer, capturing the worst floods ever seen. And you’re with the PM’s department, when Howard slips and falls into the raging torrent. You could pull him to safety (you’re closest to him), or you could win a major award for what would be the greatest photo of your – or anyone’s – career; that of a PM being swept away in the floodwaters. So your hypothetical question is: what lens would you use?

    Anyway, I’m sorry for bringing violence into a hitherto well-mannered discussion, but fuck me sideways, these guys are the utter end. (I did talk about cognitive dissonance.) As Kaye has said, what do we need THEM for? And as I asked earlier, what do they think their job is?

    For some reason I’m put in mind of Bertrand Russell’s essay “The ham that good men do”, which you can read at https://russell-j.com/0393HGMD.HTM

  57. Kaye Lee

    Al,

    I don’t believe you were advocating for actual violence. I, perhaps pretentiously, pride myself on my language and use of vocabulary, but sometimes you just have to say FUCK OFF TURKEY when confronted with our totally inadequate political “representatives” and their incompetence and stupid lies

  58. corvusboreus

    AI,
    Cheers for link, always enjoy some BR.

    ‘sermon and prison can no more cure vice, than mend a broken tyre’.

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