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Never let a chance go by

By 2353NM

Have you ever noticed there are some ‘special people’ in our society that are always hustling to gain a sniff of an advantage? With the current restrictions on life as we (used to) know it accepted by the majority of Australians in an effort to prevent a far worse tragedy, our hustlers seem to be lining up to demonstrate their complete lack of regard for the rest of us.

We have the tone deaf as evidenced by Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman fame who spoke to 60 Minutes on Channel 9 late in March

“There’s pretty much nothing to get scared of. It’s not the Spanish Flu that killed 15 million people just after the First World War … I’m 80, I should be really scared. Guess what? I’m not really scared.”

Mr Harvey was pleased to note revenue across his national chain of electronics stores up sharply amid huge consumer demand in recent weeks.

“You know, this is an opportunity,” he said.

“Our sales are up in Harvey Norman in Australia by nine per cent on last year. Our sales in freezers are up 300 per cent. And what about air purifiers? Up 100 per cent.”

We have the outright dangerous as evidenced by ‘reality’ television show co-host and chef Pete Evans who has been on the record for some time as claiming a paleo diet is the answer to a multitude of health issues, sunscreen is poisonous and that vaccinations are ineffective and extremely hazardous to health. Doctors (who do have a clue about health) have been on the record warning Evans to stick to what he is supposed have a clue about — how to cook. Evans has bobbed up again promoting a device that flashes ‘biolights’ as a coronavirus cure. There is no medical evidence behind this device to support Evans’ claim and from the sound of this report, even less chance of a link between the device and a cure for Coronavirus being demonstrated. If that’s not sufficient reason to walk away as quickly as possible, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is investigating the claims made about the $15,000 device. [Edit update: Evans has since been fined $25,000 by the TGA]

Then we have the opportunists such as some large businesses.

Frequently at General Practitioner’s Surgeries around Australia, there is a small room staffed by one of the large corporate pathology groups. Unsurprisingly, the pathology operator pays rent for the room and probably contributes to the surgery’s utilities costs.

So in the middle of a pandemic when people are being told to stay home, use telehealth options (which now have Medicare numbers to encourage a change in behaviour) and generally avoid situations where there are crowds of people, pathology groups aren’t getting as much business through their integrated surgery locations. So the large corporate pathology groups, with multi-million dollar turnovers and considerable government (Medicare) funding are turning the screws on the general practitioners (generally running a small business) that host the pathology offices demanding a 50% reduction on rental payments while retaining the same floorspace.

We can’t move past opportunists without referring to Qantas’ CEO Alan Joyce. Joyce has demanded a $4.2 Billion loan from the Australian Government if the Government decides to assist Virgin Australia with a $1.4 Billion loan to survive the Coronavirus economic downturn. Joyce claims he needs the money to ‘level the playing field’, but the real reason is probably included in this quote from the Sydney Morning Herald

Last week, Qantas raised $1 billion in fresh debt from the market in a loan secured against aircraft it owns to help it through the crisis. The company has $3.5 billion in other assets it can use to raise more cash.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce has been lobbying against government support for Virgin, saying last week that government should not help companies that “have been badly managed for 10 years” and that helping Virgin and not Qantas would be “completely unfair” on his airline.

Joyce also thought it was ‘fair’ to unilaterally ground Qantas domestic and international flights in late October 2011 without notice during an industrial dispute, leaving his customers stranded all over the world. Joyce also didn’t bother informing the government of the day so they could broker a resolution or alternative arrangements for those stranded by Joyce’s actions.

Thankfully, not all the hustlers are residents in Australia.

JK Rowling writes well. So well in fact she wrote the Harry Potter books and due to her skill, the royalties from Harry Potter means she probably never has to worry about how to pay for the best medical treatment (or anything else for that matter). According to reports, Rowling advocates a breathing technique claimed to ‘cure’ Coronavirus. The technique involves ‘controlled coughing’ which according to the experts is a real treatment for some respiratory diseases — Coronavirus isn’t one of them. In fact the coughing could spread Coronavirus to others that are close by. Maybe Rowling should keep to what she’s good at, like Evans.

The original response to the Coronavirus by the UK Government was that all their citizens were reasonable and responsible people, so reminders of the correct hygiene and distancing techniques (or ‘nudges to do the right thing’) would minimise the adverse health effects until a herd immunity had developed.

A month later ‘nudging people to do the right thing’ demonstrably worked so well the UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was reported to be taking short walks after a period of isolation in a ICU bed due to Coronavirus and sadly thousands have died.

At least Rowling and the UK Government weren’t deliberately obstructionist. Rather than miss some of the detail in the USA’s failure to respond appropriately to the threat of Coronavirus, you too can gain a small understanding of the complete and utter failure of President Trump and his hand-picked (and sometimes related) henchmen to understand the risk and protect his citizens by reading this article in The New Yorker.

Nurses having no option other than garbage bags for Personal Protective Equipment in the world’s richest country is a damning indictment, but is not as bad as Viktor Orban, the President of Hungary who has invoked considerable emergency powers to combat Coronavirus. The ‘emergency powers’ have no end date and some of them have nothing to do with the management of the Coronavirus pandemic. Some of the powers instituted by Orban are similar to those instituted by Morrison. At least Morrison can’t change the law or Constitution by decree.

The ‘old normal’ has gone forever. Hopefully in the ‘new normal’, whatever that is, those that practice the behaviours discussed above are given the short shrift they deserve.

What do you think?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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15 comments

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  1. andy56

    the one that gets me about Gerry is the fact his business is thriving yet he wants a cut to his rent. I happen to think philosophically he’s right but its a bit of an unneeded boost to his coffers now. lets just say its a little unethical but legal, thats capitalism for you.
    while everyone else is struggling, this oily wheel will make it difficult for everyone else who really is in trouble.

  2. RosemaryJ36

    In a world where the powerful are driven by greed, what do you expect?

  3. John Lord

    The only world he see’s is through the prism of his cash registers.

  4. Ken

    Gerry Harvey is a mate of Alan Jones both of whom are big in the horse racing industry
    and that tells you something about their characters and where they spend their money.

  5. Ray Tinkler

    “Some of the powers instituted by Orban are similar to those instituted by Morrison. At least Morrison can’t change the law or Constitution by decree.”

    Uh-Hu? National Cabinet. Handpicked G.G. Squashing of political debate. “I ask that the member no longer be heard”, after saying less than half a dozen words.

  6. Geoff Andrews

    Shouldn’t Kerry Stokes join this illustrious cohort?

  7. Jack Cade

    ‘I’d like to think the old order has gone forever.’ But what the current Australian government has done, in this virus-driven atmosphere, obscures the fact that the entire National Cabinet stinks, and their immunity from censure has extended to the ministerial and infrastructure staff.
    Remember Godwin Grech? What he did was of sod-all relevance compared to what his peers are now allowed to get away with. Why? Because at the time the criminals were not in government and the AFP were not ‘busy’ looking into the activities of perceived enemies of the Alt-right.
    The old order has not ‘gone forever’. It’s feet are under the table.

  8. wam

    I am a bit stiff from laughing, at the friends advocating a rabbottian knighthood for smirko and H unt
    These and 2 million of their mates, have been believing the government blurb and downloading an app that will record the phones of people near you every 15 minutes and send it to amazon a company burdened with a tax of perhaps as high as 2%.
    That level of government support was expected because they are not inclined to check anything ‘if it sounds good believe it’ is alive and well.

    Gerry is a good bloke, the Rabbott is a good bloke julia gillard is not a good bloke and the boys certainly spent time proving julia wasn’t even a bloke at all.

    The coup for gerry and his money makers is they have convinced the workers that it is the chinese who are causing the problems with wages by buying and manufacturing not the sellers or the relocating companies.

    The virus has given governments the chance of invincibility with a danger of honest evaluation which will sink trump and, if albo has any airtime may tarnish smirko.

  9. Matters Not

    Why can they do it but we can’t?

    been reported since April 20, mainly in the financial press, that the Danish and Polish governments have blocked companies who are registered in tax havens from receiving financial aid during the COVID-19 crisis. … most governments, especially those in the Anglo-Celtic world have made some noises about tax havens, whilst doing very little to close them. The Australian government has been warned repeatedly about the activities of Google, Amazon and Netflix, but has substantially ignored the large mining companies–mostly foreign owned that pay minimal tax and use tax havens.

    Surely, this is an opportunity for Labor to make a fuss?

    unlikely to occur under an LNP government who will simply say we need these large corporations to bring in much needed investment, a questionable argument in itself given how much income in Australia is made through financial vehicles and land speculation. .. forced to thoroughly examine the secrecy of tax havens and establish substantial resource rent taxes as in Norway. The increased money could then be transferred to the bottom level of society in order to make a much more cohesive society. The time is never better than now when there is so much public good will towards the government acting in the broad interests of all of society.

    GREG BAILEY. COVID-19 and Tax Havens

    Might give something for the leadership of Labor to do – given they’ve been a bit quiet of late.

  10. Ray Tinkler

    Matters Not
    “Might give something for the leadership of Labor to do – given they’ve been a bit quiet of late.”

    Well, when parliament has been effectively prorogued for months and when questions are asked in Question Time when it is sitting and the questioner is immediately gagged (“I ask that the member no longer be heard”), it’s pretty hard to make a noise.

  11. Matters Not

    Ray Tinkler – so they are trying? Really, really trying? Press releases – here, there and everywhere? Tanya on the media today responding to Tehan’s attempted bribe to once again bolster the finances of private schools? Or responding to Dutton’s attack on Teacher Unions? Jim Chalmers on a crackdown re multi-national tax avoidance? Drefus on Hunt’s claim that legislation would shut out judicial intervention?
    The sounds of a deafening silence. Won’t go on.

    Watched Kristina Kerscher Keneally on Sunday morning (Insiders) who gave a Master Class (or should that be Mistress Class) on how to handle the media. Refused to be talked down by David Speers which was a feat in itself. A superb performance. Would be the perfect opponent for Morrison – but she is in the wrong chamber and besides Albo is there for at least this term.

    Guess the tactics are a type of political distancing.

  12. Zathras

    Keep smiling Gerry Harvey. Despite people buying up freezers when this thing started your share price has dropped quite a bit too and there won’t be quite as many cashed-up shoppers knocking on your door for some time to come.
    No doubt there will some sort of taxpayer bail-out coming your way but it may not be enough.

  13. Ray Tinkler

    Matters Not- As you say, press releases, Facebook, Twitter, is all that this Govt is leaving them, which is after all, what won it for Trump, so, don’t despair on that point. But as you also say, it is most definitely a tactic of political distancing and disadvantaging. Also watched Kristina on Sunday, denying Speers his tactic of bamboozling his hoped for victim with rapid fire questions, with the deliberate intent of confusing, in the hope of getting a scoop. Someone should ask him if he suffers from ADHD. Labor should get her to give lessons to the others so they can shut him down too. Might even enable insiders to regain some relevance lost.

  14. Anne

    Gerry is one wily operator, he has a nose for easy profits. Surprised Harvey Norman isn’t selling covid19 kits already. If he offers a 20% discount promo deal I’m in. But then again, do I trust a medical test kit out of China in this climate. I know, trust everything and everyone, that’s what is expected. Ask no questions, especially curly ones, that’s the way. Hive mind, what’s not to like?

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