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Coronavirus will prove Morrison’s nemesis

By Sunday, novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 causing COVID-19, a respiratory illness and worse has infected 157,197 and killed at least 5,839 in 146 countries in just three months; a 3.4 per cent mortality rate, WHO estimates.

No-one knows when the pandemic will peak. Yet just as incalculable is COVID-19’s capacity to disrupt the world economy. The virus, moreover, is advancing faster than any financial crisis; government officials who must deal with it, risk becoming infected by a deadly pathogen, which is pretty enough under the microscope to be mistaken for a spring blossom, Maureen Dowd discerns.

Jason Furman, Barack Obama’s chief economist warns that coronavirus could harm the economy more than the GFC. Worse, he frets that politicians can’t fashion an adequate response. Certainly, that’s abundantly true in Australia.

“If two months from now we go back to normal, I think we’d be OK. If this lasts six months or longer — and I think that’s the more likely scenario — all of that just compounds. Even if you discover a cure in December, you still have people out of jobs, broken balance sheets, bankrupt companies that won’t be particularly eager to hire.”

Its economic effects are bound to outlast COVID-19’s impact on our health. Unlike Australia, where some token stimulus measures are applied, even if three out of four dollars is spent on business, in the US, the world’s largest economy, rescue measures betray no sign that the administration even understands the nature of the task before it.

Morrison at least uses the coronavirus to hide the Coalition’s seven years of economic mismanagement. Of course, the PM was treasurer or PM for only five of these years and on that basis, given his Sports Rorts inquiry model, is completely innocent of any fiscal negligence or the fact that the Australian economy has not once grown above its trend rate.

Scotty’s recent shot at Coronavirus busting, something, he says, will soak up $17.6 billion is a ruse. It has to be seen, Richard Denniss argues, in the context of the PM’s failure to do a single thing to the fix the economy his own party has wrecked. Just as he did with the bushfires and just like his mentor Trump, he’s airily dispensed with expert advice. He’s never once seen fit to take advice from an economist. He’s not waving; he’s drowning in malignant narcissism.

Even the RBA can go down on its knees to plead he do something to stimulate the economy as it did in July 2019. But instead of listening, Scotty from marketing and Josh the wannabe stand-up comedian slapped each other’s backs in public about how they were back in black – next year; how the economy was about to take off.

Instead, it tanked. It’s been tanking for seven years. Just take the ABS record of increase in household incomes. 1995 to 2012, sees a healthy increase during the Howard and then Rudd/Gillard governments. It collapses in 2013; never to recover.

Morrison’s rosy picture of the economy is based on a farrago of lies. Labor’s shadow finance minister, Katy Gallagher, is quick with some key facts; net debt has more than doubled under the Coalition even before the outbreak, from $175 billion or just under 11 per cent of GDP in September 2013, to $430 billion or over 21 per cent of GDP seven years later.

Back in black was never going to happen. There is no budget surplus of $7.1 billion as predicted. Never would have been – coronavirus or not. Even the “back in black” slogan was ripped off from former Kiwi PM John Key’s 2014 ad which appeared on a Young Nationals’ Facebook page. Back in black is also an AC/DC song, a tribute to late singer Bon Scott.

In 1998, Sneaky Pete Costello used “back in black and back on track” in his budget speech. What he forgot to explain is how he squandered the proceeds of the mining boom on middle-class welfare and lowering taxes, as part of Howard’s cunning plan to put short-term vote-winning policies ahead of the long-term interest of the nation.

Sound familiar?

Apart from a $750 sop to pensioners and others on government payments, which may help a few pay the arrears on the electricity or gas bill, or pay the rego on the car, the stimulus package is pretty much a non-event. True, there is a great, big, huge, instant tax write-off. But all this does is tweak the depreciation schedule from $30K to $150K.

To stimulate the economy, you have to be a business rushing out to invest thousands in plant, just because you can write it off – at a time when you’re likely to struggle to earn enough just to stay in operation – especially in tourism, hospitality or education.

Paying half the wages of 120,000 young apprentices is good if the boss has the work to keep them on. Until we know the severity of the recession we are about to enter, it’s impossible to estimate how many apprentices will still be laid off.

As for the grant of $25K to small business, that is small beer to a Small to Medium Enterprise in tourism or hospitality whose work has dried up as a direct result of travel bans or a pandemic keeping people at home. Even to flourishing businesses, it is more of a reward or an insurance policy to the Liberal Party’s traditional base in case, as is not impossible, things really go belly up.

In brief, Morrison’s Clayton’s stimulus only makes Donald Trump’s look good. Trump announces a US$50 billion loan program for small business, subject to congressional approval. Nothing says borrow money more than discovering your income is collapsing.

Trump will get Treasury to defer $200 billion worth of tax payments. Businesses who struggle to turn a profit now will love having their tax-deferred. It sure beats watching demand dry right up.

Then Trump runs out of ideas. True, he hankers after cutting payroll tax which Crikey’s Bernard Keane sees as a good idea. Yet he’ll need Congress to support it.

Both Democrats and Republicans call for stimulus measures, but getting them to agree on any one package is fraught. True Democrats have cooked up a batch of measures but we’re yet to see if the GOP will back it and Trump will sign it.

A virulent disease, COVID-19’s rapid spread is sped up by the wilful stupidity; toxic, populism and malignant narcissism afflicting many current world leaders and the even greater number of frauds, from BoJo to ScoMo, who simply pretend to be leaders. Badly. Enter Nemesis, punisher of hubris, writes The NYT’s Bret Stephens.

Nemesis is a Greek goddess of divine retribution who avenges evil deeds and undeserved good fortune. She will level the jumped-up; often Trumped-up post-truth poseurs, hypocrites and con-men who clog up the top jobs.

Also known as Adrasteia, “the inescapable”, Nemesis, hates injustice and rushes to help the arrogant, insolent and depraved get what they deserve. Who better to reveal the empty rhetoric and lies of our top imposters?

Past peak vacuity and a top contender in the keenly contested policy stupidity stakes is political clown prince, Britain’s PM, Boris Johnson. Not for Boris are restrictions, nor indeed policy; that’s for sooky-la-la countries. Boring. Instead, Boris reverts to his signature buffoonery; do nothing.

It’s a novel response to a novel virus. And it’s cheap. When most of the world is hell-bent on prevention, Boris wants Britons just to lie back and think of England.

BoJo’s latest stunt, the non-response, is billed as a “herd immunity” approach. The uncertainty is thrilling. No-one knows if it will work; how long it will take to work, or just how many will die in the process. Yet it parallels Chris Uhlmann’s “war footing” a chilling buzz-phrase which evokes the jingoistic mania which led us into disaster at Gallipoli, The Great War, Viet Nam, Korea, Iran, Syria, or our longest war in history, the war in Afghanistan.

Herd immunity does not spring fully-formed like Pallas or Athene from the head of her father, Zeus. Typically it’s only seen as a preventive strategy in vaccination programmes. If we don’t have a vaccine – as we don’t for COVID-19 – achieving herd immunity would require massive numbers of Britons to be infected and then recover from COVID-19.

Has anyone ever made a vaccine for a coronavirus? Currently circulating in humans are four coronaviruses which cause the common cold. We are yet to create a vaccine for one of them. Pesky, beta coronaviruses are most likely to just become endemic. New variants would crop up each year.

At least it would liven up the doctors’ waiting rooms. Dull and boring cold and flu season could soon become quite a bit more exciting: a cold and flu and COVID season.

Doing bugger all is of course richly attractive to BoJo and many of his compatriots. The theory is inertia will help Britons catch COVID-19 as quickly as possible in the hope – fingers crossed – that when up to seventy per cent of the population is infected, some type of immunity will develop. Genius. If it’s only forty per cent, Daily Kos’ Mark Sumner extrapolates from Italy’s mortality rate, this would cause 27 million cases and about 2 million deaths.

It’s likely to be more. At least sixty per cent of the population – possibly seventy – will need to become infected and recover to create immunity, suggests, Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser.

Paediatrician and former WHO director Anthony Costello, says that the UK government is at odds with other countries in proposing herd immunity. Shifting from containment to mitigation is “wrong and dangerous”, he says. He doubts COVID-19 herd immunity would even last. It’s possible that like ‘flu, new strains will emerge each year and it will need repeat vaccines. By Saturday, Boris is happily selling his brainwave, however, to PM Morrison.

ScoMo and BoJo have discussed international co-operation in responding to the coronavirus pandemic in a telephone call, Boris Johnson’s office says. “The two leaders updated each other on their countries’ respective responses to the virus and agreed on the need to take a science-based approach to mitigate its impact.”

Science-based? There’s little science in either PM’s brief. We are trying to contain; not mitigating. Aren’t we?

But we can’t let Boris steal the hotly contested title Imposter of the Week so easily. Donald Trump misreads his teleprompter in his rushed, unrehearsed and wooden address to the nation Wednesday night. His miscues panic the stock market, prompting an overnight sell-off on Wall Street Friday 13 March which helps erase most of big gains since Trump took office in 2017, gains, albeit, more the result of Obama policy than anything Trump ever did.

Karma? Or more of a SNAFU? His gaffe comes on top of claiming to close borders which happen to be still open. “As you know, Europe was just designated as the hot spot right now and we closed that border a while ago,” he lies. It’s vastly reassuring, nonetheless, to learn that Covid-19 is a nasty un-American foreign disease.

The Donald oozes reassurance. Part of his charisma. An alleged sexual predator, he is accused of 26 incidents of “unwanted sexual contact” plus 43 instances of inappropriate behaviour detailed in a new book last December.

Trust him? Trump can’t lie straight in bed. He did impose a raft of travel restrictions on 26 European countries, Wednesday night, but they were effective midnight Friday. They are not a total shutting down of the border.

A pal of fellow travellers, Prince Andrew and the late financier and convicted paedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, Trump was a passenger on Jeff’s private jet, nicknamed “The Lolita Express” as 1997 logs show. In 2002, Trump called Jeffrey “a terrific guy and a lot of fun to be with.” Doubtless, the feeling was mutual given that Epstein had fourteen numbers for Trump and his staff in his phone book, leaked in 2009. Yet everybody lies but The Donald.

“Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign,” the Republican nominee said at a 2016 rally. “Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”

Trump falsely blames Obama for testing shortages Trump himself has helped create. Whilst COVID-19 is now thought to have evolved in China in November, Trump’s administration is only putting key elements of US testing strategy in place, Friday, two months after the danger of the outbreak was communicated by China in January.

With a highly contagious virus that is lethal to vulnerable populations, the delay amounts to criminal negligence.

The Guardian Australia reports Dr Anthony Fauci, a top US official dealing with the crisis, calls US testing a failure on Thursday. South Korea tests up to 15,000 people a day. More than 230,000 people have been reached. The US, has managed only 11,000 in total. The USA’s per capita rate is about 130 times lower than in South Korea.

There have been delays and stuff-ups with botched testing kits but the origin of the problem lies in The White House. Trump has seen COVID-19 as a foreign problem. Yet he has it all under control. Or so he believes.

In his address to the nation, Wednesday, Trump calls it the “foreign virus”, a dangerous misnomer. Remarkably, he still rambles on Friday about combating coronavirus through “a very strong border policy”, when COVI-19 has clearly been spreading inside the US, undetected, for weeks. Then, incredibly, he invents a Google solution.

“I want to thank Google. Google is helping to develop a website, it’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location,” he waffles and lies, hyping a pilot screening service, which is actually being built by Alphabet subsidiary Verily, a site limited to health workers in the Bay Area, which is still being developed.

Such disinformation will help kill his presidency, which is now terminal, given last week’s stock market losses.

Our pseudo-populist, Team Australia’s Scott Morrison, Bronte’s bogus bogan with the slogan, a conman with a cap for all seasons, will not escape either. COVID-19 may not strike him down, as it has Peter Dutton, but it is setting acid tests of his leadership, especially in public health policy and economics that he is already, comprehensively, failing.

How good are the Sharkies? Originally from the Emerald City’s rugby-loving eastern suburbs, Morrison professes his passion to watch his beloved Sharkies, a Cronulla NRL team he adopted only in 2009, dismissing any hint that he act like a leader and self-isolate, especially since he’s up close and personal with Peter Dutton in cabinet since Tuesday.

There’s a bit of a fuss on Sunday’s ABC Insiders regarding Morrison’s intention to flout his own Chief Medical Officer’s recommendation. Whatever that is. From Monday, we’re supposed to self-isolate; stay away from gatherings of five hundred or more. Whew! This gives Scotty and other Hillsong well-wishers a free pass to mingle at Hillsong’s Colour Conference Sunday at the Hillsong Convention Centre in Baulkham Hills in Sydney’s north-west, Saturday.

The venue has a capacity of 3,300.

“A journalist needs to come straight out and ask Morrison if his reluctance to stop large gatherings is related to the big Hillsong Church gathering with people from all over the world attending. Why only stop gatherings larger than 500 people, Chief Medical Officer?’ a concerned Australian tweets.

“Massive Hillsong conference over two weeks finishing this weekend in Sydney. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world tightly packed in. Millions of tax-free dollars for our PM’s best friend and mentor. No wonder there is no shut down of mass gatherings yet,” writes another.

Even more baffling is Morrison’s live broadcast to the nation from Kirribilli Thursday. In true Scotty from marketing style, he doesn’t give away much information but there’s a lot of spin about how well his government’s doing at the economy; keeping people safe; all the regular bullshit and buzzwords. As Matilda’s Chris Graham notes, it takes Scotty barely fifty seconds before he’s into party political mode; back in the Trumpian bubble of his eternal campaign.

“I want to assure you and your family tonight, that while Australia cannot and is not immune (sic) from this virus, we are well prepared and we are well equipped to deal with it, and we do have a clear plan to see Australia through.”

Morrison keeps his speech brief, only 605 words, but, as Graham notes, “plan” gets a plug once in every hundred.

There’s a “clear plan” at the beginning, a “plan [with] three goals”, a “national health response plan”, an “economic stimulus plan”, “targeted local recovery plans”, and another “clear plan” at the end.

This is classic Crosby Textor marketing. It is all to do with pitching and spin; the man with the plan thrashes the living daylights out of the word “plan”; banging on and on about his coronavirus stimulus package at his presser earlier.

Seven times in under two minutes, you hear him utter the words “clear plan”. Evading a question from a journo minutes later, he abuses the word plan” another seven times.

Some are troubled by Scotty’s hypocrisy. Oddly, it’s never worried him. After bagging Labor mercilessly, stimulus is not only OK; it’s the new black. The complete U-turn bothers the man who did help get us through the GFC, Wayne Swan.

“For six years,” says Wayne Swan, “there virtually wasn’t a day where they didn’t pour shit all over me, telling lies about the effectiveness of the stimulus.”

The lies have hardened into orthodoxy with the help of the News Corp megaphone. School halls which employed locals and which function today as multi-function community centres remain a brilliant investment in social capital as well as being textbook examples of public money wisely invested. As does the much-maligned home insulation scheme, thank you News Corp.

The opposition’s framing of the issue was reflected in most reporting and commentary, writes Rodney Tiffen. The narrative was one of disaster and incompetence, especially as the controversy gathered intensity. He sums up

As a tool of economic policy, the stimulus worked. Although other factors, including the strong demand from China and the sound position of Australia’s banks, were also important, the stimulus played a central role in making sure that Australia suffered less of a downturn than most other developed countries.

The opposition has criticised the public debt that resulted, but compared with most other developed nations this is fairly small. Moreover, the capacity to repay that debt – and, in the meantime, to service it – has been greatly aided by the success of the stimulus in minimising unemployment and boosting output.

Pensioners the length and breadth of the land enjoy homes made more comfortable. Better insulation has also meant lower heating and cooling bills despite electricity’s continuous rise to record levels due to the rising cost of gas and coal and the abject failure of coalition governments to evolve an energy policy.

The coronavirus crisis is a catastrophe in both public health and in its depression of economic activity. Alternative facts do not help leaders in times of recession, as Trump and Morrison are discovering. Trust and credibility are not rebuilt by talking quickly or by simultaneous mass press drops. A leader who cannot be believed will not be followed – especially in an emergency, Bret Stephens reminds us.

Does Team Australia inspire anything but derision? Did it ever inspire? Morrison will learn to his cost, Team Australia is too closely associated with suppression of dissent; the hoax prime ministership of Tony Abbott, a brief but convincing demonstration of a leadership job that was too big for the man. As for patriotism, it is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

The Canberra Bubble has been used so often by Morrison to rule out questions he wishes to dismiss out of hand. It has come to signal a reluctance to be accountable, responsible or open – transparent in the jargon of the day. First, there are testing kits in abundance; later in the day, the Chief Medical Officer warns they are in short supply.

In these ways, the coronavirus health and economic crisis will be Morrison’s nemesis as it will his mentor Donald Trump. As Bret Stephens concludes

It should not have had to take a deadly virus to expose this presidency (or prime ministership) for what it is. But it’s fitting that it has. A man who thinks he can twist every truth to suit his needs has at last discovered that he cannot twist the truths of nature and of one of nature’s gods. Her name remains Nemesis.

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  1. Pingback: Coronavirus will prove Morrison’s nemesis. #auspol - News Oz

  2. New England Cocky

    Now then David Tyler I refuse to be discouraged and depressed by your accurate description of the Smirkie Sacked from Marketing COALition misgovernment and their blundering attempt to convince Australian voters that “Socialism for the Undeserving Rich” is a valid political policy.

    But if England is looking to herd immunity then BoJo must be the biggest duffer.

    No, I shall undertake the near impossible; burst into song like Little Bo Peep:

    “Oh where, oh where, has the economy gone,
    Gone down the sewer to the sea.
    Oh where, oh where, are Kevin (Rudd) and Ken (Henry)
    When you want an economic victory”.

    Perhaps the Hillsong Happy Clappers will be our political salvation thanks to American participants who travelled via Communist PRC or Italy.

  3. Roland Flickett reports, this morning, that Morrison has risen in the polling this last week because of his handling of this very issue…
    I don’t think my estimation of the intelligence of some my fellow Australians can get any lower.
    People are walking around with ineffectual face masks happily handling notes and coins while standing metres from other human beings in case they infect them. Last evening I stood at traffic lights in the Adelaide CBD when a young girl sneezed – once, and effectively smothered – and a middle-aged couple already a metre away from her, and slightly behind her at that, quite ostentatiously stepped even further away..
    As they say in newspeak…FFS

  4. Keitha Granville

    People want to believe him, they a terrified by all the reports and they desperately want to believe him. Simple.

  5. Fergy Nell

    Keith Granville

    Do you think people STILL think he can be believed on ANY subject? A man who lies when the truth is harmless?
    Mind you, polls of US fundamentalist Christians recently found that 75% + think Trump is an honest man and does not lie; 68% say he’s a ‘moral’ person.
    You have to wonder if most people are just stupid. The UK gave the Conservatives a thumping majority even though most believe Johnson cannot be trusted on ANY issue. Maybe Lovelock is right, and Earth is a live entity that fixes it’s own problems. If so, it’s manipulating everything, even to the extent of making its biggest problem – mankind – self-destruct. Throw in a virus to push things along, while keeping Yellowstone and Lake Taupo handy for a spectacular new beginning.
    It’s no more absurd than a God who sends his son to earth for humans to torture.

  6. Harry Lime

    A far more insidious virus took hold the day the idiot bastard Abbott got the gig after a campaign of relentless negativity,remember “good government starts today?” And here we are,years later with a charismaless charlatan and liar trapped in a hamster wheel of his own design.He may be surprised to discover that marketing has no effect on real crises, and no matter how much he evades and obfuscates and pretends he’s in charge,the mountains of lies are gathering to crush him,it’s really a wonderful thing.
    Doesn’t say much about the rest the Liar’s Party that they let this oaf continue,only worry about themselves,Eh?

  7. johno

    What’s the pentecostal take on the virus, gods plan or what ?? There’s that word ‘plan’ again.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Two women who were on a flight with home affairs minister Peter Dutton have contracted coronavirus, as reported by AAP.

    Indigenous activist Boneta-Marie Mabo, who is Eddie Mabo’s granddaughter, and prisoners’ rights advocate Deb Kilroy were on the same plane from Sydney to Los Angeles as the federal minister, before he found out he was infected.

    Kilroy said Dutton was sitting just two seats in front of her and while she can’t be sure she caught the virus from him, he was the only confirmed case she’d had contact with.

    That was the flight TO Los Angeles they are saying.

    Also, entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins has tested positive but says he has no symptoms.

    I think our cabinet and the Trumps should go to Christmas Island…..for a very long time…..see how they like being locked up for seven years

  9. Ray Tinkler

    I’m waiting for a cartoonist to do one of Scotty from Marketing as Fantasy Island’s, Tattoo (Herve Villechaize), excitedly pointing to the sky and exclaiming “The Plan, the Plan!!!”

  10. Terence

    Roland Flickett

    You are dead right – most of the population are stupid (and greedy). END OF STORY.

    It drives me bonkers that when it comes to this very question on the intelligence level of the average Australian, yet somehow there are those who wish to give them the benefit of the doubt by saying “Voters are not stupid”

    You wanna bet? I’ve seen dog s$%t with more smarts. The fact that Clive Palmer and Pauline Hanson were able to get votes shows you that we might as well have taken the billions spent on Education and p%ssed it up the wall for all the good it has done.

    This is not PC and I make no apologies for it – I hope that this virus wipes out a whole stack of baby boomers, it will be karma for their greed and stupidity which has led us to where we are today. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of pricks.

  11. Harry Lime

    Terrence, be careful about making rash generalisations about baby boomers,not all of them are self centred pricks,there are plenty
    I know who despise the current pack of arseholes masquerading as a government,and not a few of them are actively working to wipe them out How do I know?,I’m one of them.Ever since I was conscripted in 1966 I have an indelible loathing for all things conservative.
    BTW,I’m at the top of the list to be wiped out if I contract this virus,if that makes you happier.

  12. Terence

    Harry Lime

    Yes I’m aware that it was a sweeping generalisation and I’m glad to hear that you are awake to these turd polishers, however there clearly is enough baby boomers out there who swallow their circle jerk and channel their stupidity at the ballot box accordingly. All for their own ends, fark the rest of us.

    BTW I wouldn’t be happy if YOU caught it. We need more baby boomers like you and your ilk to restore our faith.

  13. Ken Fabian

    Voters aren’t stupid, they are misinformed – take the biggest and most influential foreign political organisation (NewsCorp) out of the equation and a lot of that misinforming would stop all on it’s own – and Morrison would look a lot worse for it.

    I don’t doubt Morrison will gain in popularity even as he uses this pandemic to cover past failures – an economy already headed to recession because he’s been giving Business what they think they want, like less taxes, rather than what the economy (and businesses) needs, like healthy educated workers with decent incomes. And use it to create cover and opportunities for pushing pet policy agendas – climate and clean energy… a frivolous waste in hard times whilst coal and gas are deemed the source of economic growth and income to drive the recovery.

    Harsher rules for asylum seekers. More public service cut backs. Greater powers for the Home Affairs minister to snoop and swoop on Australians. “Freedom” of religion rules that enshrine the right to bigotry. And more. Perhaps he can declare the pandemic the fault of The Greens and Labor and have them declared Left wing terrorist organisations.

    No matter that my opinion of Morrison and his team is already so low – they appear well able to exceed my expectations. It is hard to overstate their ability to make things much harder for those that come after.

  14. Kronomex

    It seems that the Slogan Master is considering a second “cash splash”. How much credence I would place on the news/rumour is a different matter. If they go down that road, then we know the country is completely screwed and Scotty from Marketing is panicking. Not for us but for his own political life because I can see the daggers are sharpened and waiting.

  15. RomeoCharlie29

    Like the Third Man, I am a baby boomer in the apparent vulnerable portion of the population but despise this, and all Conservative Governments. I too wonder how it is that the poll has Scummo back as ppm,and wondering about the sanity of those apparently unable to see through the adman’s spin. (I think) I’m one of those who will receive the $750 and while I welcome it I don’t need it and can’t see how it will help the economy. If there’s nothing to buy how will that stimulate the economy? I would forgo my payment if the heartless bastards would just do what everybody is telling them and increase Newstart (and pensions) to above the poverty line.

    And David, I certainly wish I had your confidence that Covid19 will be Scummo’s Nemesis. Well done, however, for the usual cogent summation of recent events. And we all need to remember the Sports Rorts.

  16. Terence

    Ken Fabian

    I’m not sure I buy the argument about misinformed.

    Let’s take the Religious Freedoms bill – I don’t need a news agency to tell me it’s a bad idea, common sense tells me that. Common sense also tells me that society’s desire for properly funded schools, hospitals and infrastructure will not be achieved by indulging in our national past time of dodging your tax obligations (yes I know about MMT but let’s not go there for now).

    Let’s face it, you don’t have to be the brightest star in the constellation to know that SlowMo, BJ and Mr T Rump really are waste of a good wank. Yet here we are.

    I guess it’s true what they say, the thing about common sense is that it’s not very common.

  17. paul walter

    David Tyler, I fear you read it right and that is ominous for many, many people.

    Welcome to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party!

  18. Kerri

    The usual brilliant article Mr Tyler.
    I would so love to hear journalists reply to the “Canberra bubble” excuse by saying
    “I reject the premise of your answer”.
    I find it interesting too to note that Scottyfrommarketing has chosen to follow the lead of Jacinda Ardern by imposing a 14 day self-isolation period on all passengers entering Australia by plane.
    Only difference is we have 375 cases.
    New Zealand has 8!!!!
    Like Rudd said “go late, go half-measures and ….. well…. go to Hillsong.”

    Incidentally the smirk???
    Is known to psychologists as “Duping Delight”
    He smirks when he thinks he is fooling us.

  19. John L

    Terence – stupid is as stupid does. The idiot old boomers were idiots as young boomers, just as the ranks of braindead millenials, Gen X, Y, Z etc are alive and writhing to keep the hell alive…..

  20. Patagonian

    After watching Q&A tonight I am even less reassured than I was that the COALition hasn’t signed up to the ‘herd immunity’ claptrap. Eight weeks to produce a pathetic video about washing your hands? I’m surprised they didn’t have a chirpy jingle backing it. No wonder the population is buying up toiletries as if they are magic totems that will prevent disease and death.

    And even in the teeth of the worst pandemic for over 100 years, our so-called Prime Minister does not do us the decency of participaing. Nor the ‘Health Minister’. Instead we get an ex-chippy who was a complete train wreck, and STILL got to dominate!
    We need another Q&A next week with NO politicians involved Maybe we’ll actually get some accurate information.

    And unbelievably there are large swathes of cannon fodder within the populace who think the Happy Clapper-in-Chief is dong a good job handling the Coronavirus…they are in for a major wake-up.. Those of us who have some inkling of what’s actually going o, who know about the devastation that 25 years of neocon governments have actually done to our public sector, who understand that the sustained attacks on workers’ rights have left them absolutely without protection, are quietly shitting ourselves.

    The only upside I can see is that this is the stake in the heart of the neocon bloodsuckers. They’ll writhe and scream and rage, but in a generation I think they will be reduced to little more a repulsive memory of a time when the greedy and entitled and frankly effing stupid forgot that nature links and controls the fate of every single living thing.

  21. New England Cocky

    @John L: Yep!! No doubt about it!! Us “idiot [insert age] boomers” changed the world to what we wanted regardless of the demand so of the so-called “Establishment”.

    We stopped the Vietnam War and conscription, we demanded and got free tertiary education by voting for Whitlam and Labor, we thrived on Medibank and later Medicare thanks to Labor.

    But then aspiring to push our kids ahead, too many of these boomers sold out to the vote buying “Socialism for the Undeserving Rich & Corporates” of the self-serving Howard Liarbral Nazianal$ misgovernment and their under-whelming successors.

  22. Jack Cade

    The Whitlam boomers voted to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’ until they BECAME the Jones’s, and turfed Gough out with the assistance of Betty Battenberg (probably herself under pressure from Uncle Sam) and then watched while Fraser and Howard, and – yes- Hawke and Keating – undermined the Whitlam interregnum after garnering most of the benefits, and then subjected the country to a further 11 years of neo-liberalism, firstly the disgusting John Howard and now the even worse spawn of those Howard years.
    Baby boomers had the best chance, ever, of changing Australia permanently for the better, and squibbed it.
    I am a baby boomer, and know of what I speak.

  23. Sammy

    I think it’s pointless blaming generations for our current plight. Unfortunately, our way of life and capitalism is not compatible with the future of this planet. Humanity needs to adjust or perish, it’s very simple really but the real question is are we as a species smart enough to not only realise this but to act effectively.

    There is a tidal wave of an apathetic younger generation coming through who will soon hopefully wake up and realise they need to care about who they vote for. As for older aussies who vote the way they do I really wonder if there is any hope for them.

    One last thing. If we look back in time, we will see that whomever is leading the government has a popularity swing in times of disaster (look at the big wars, 9/11, etc) but history also shows they swing back the other way when its over.

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