Knowing Hiding where the bodies are buried

Moving to a “post pandemic world,” two Australian states – Queensland and Western Australia – have made two of their most senior pandemic response public servants – QLD’s former CHO Jeanette Young and W.A.’s Commissioner of Police, State Emergency Co-ordinator and previously its Vaccine Commander, Chris Dawson – their respective state’s new vice-regal appointees. In doing so it would seem both governments have created an insurmountable obstacle against these previous “servants of the people” being required to give evidence at any future, formal inquiry into the pandemic.

Will some of the other States move also to stymie the airing of what really happened over these last two and a bit years and utilise as well a “vice regal strategy”? In the case of Victoria, the sidelining of certain minions must be tempting for Daniel Andrews, given the debasing of individual liberty and the abuse of citizens’ rights, including the shooting in the back with plastic bullets of innocent people at The Shrine.

In Victoria, Linda Dessau, the current governor, has been in place since July 2015, while in NSW Margaret Beazley has held the vice regal position since May 2019. It would not be inconceivable therefore for either Premier soon to announce a change to their state’s vice-regal position.

So will we see Victoria’s CHO, Brett Sutton, or their Police Commissioner, Shane Patton, get elbowed upwards? Rather than giving evidence before a Royal Commission, what are the odds for Kerry Chant becoming the next NSW Governor? At the federal level, could we expect Dr Brendan Murphy, our previous CMO and now head of the Federal Department of Health, or Adjunct Professor Skerritt, the current head of the TGA, being re-moved up and away to a “safe haven” in the not too distant future?

But any hope for a formal inquiry will be up against it and what would be examined should one actually be announced. Reported yesterday by the ABC was changes to the W. A. State’s Emergency Management Act (2005), which enables the government to declare an emergency, thereby enabling the government access to the emergency powers, including the declaring of a pandemic, which first requires the State’s Emergency Coordinator, currently Police Commissioner Dawson, provide that advice to the Emergency Services Minister who then makes a declaration every two weeks. In moving to extend W.A.’s pandemic powers until January 2023 in State Parliament on Tuesday, the Emergency Services Minister, Stephen Dawson (no relation to Chris Dawson it would seem) revealed that the fortnightly advice from the Emergency Coordinator was given verbally at each fortnightly meeting. With no formal written advice to examine, evidence taken under oath from W.A.’s Emergency Coordinator (Police Commissioner Dawson) would be central to an examination of how decisions were made in that State during these two long years.

One thing is clear: no one at any level of government is even slightly interested in examining formally how Australia came almost within a hair’s breadth of dictatorial government and the mandating of vaccinations despite our constitutional limitations, if Scott Morrison is to be relied on to announce such an investigation. When asked on the campaign trail about a Royal Commission into the pandemic, Morrison responded that “the pandemic was not over” so an examination of the last two years, he said, could not be had. Yet some days earlier in relation to the Reserve Bank increasing interest rates, his spin was that this move amounted to the “strengthening of the economy,” because we were “through the pandemic.”

Throughout this election campaign there have been few questions from any quarter on what the government did or allowed to be done to citizens during the pandemic, apart from whether the vaccine roll-out was too slow. In fact, the PM has only really conceded on that one point, saying at the leaders debate on Nine last Sunday night, and in response to a question from the Opposition Leader, that “it really was a race.” Thus showing that neither the media or the Opposition is really interested in what happened.

So we sit and we wait for the truth to be revealed, which will happen, sooner or later. And as we wait, our level of trust in government is at an all-time low, which is why the right-of-centre minor parties it would seem have gained momentum.

It’s Hiding in Plain Sight.

On Saturday, the Marshall Government went the way of the dodo with a significant swing to Labor on the 2pp. Interestingly, both Liberal and Labor commenters, Nicolle Flint (Lib-SA) and Amanda Rishworth (Lab-SA), on the Sky News post election analysis agreed with each other that it was the loss of the V8 Supercars to Adelaide in 2020, which was the dominant and deciding factor. On his show on Sunday night, Paul Murray also agreed – “it was the Supercars wot dun it,” he asserted.

I could not help but be a tad sceptical that a car race, which in its final year (2020) had attracted only 206,000 fans over the four days made all the difference, considering what the entire country, including South Australia, had been through in the last two years.

To me, the rationale for the election loss seems all too convenient and, besides, if Marshall’s polling through the last two years could be put down to one issue, surely he would have had enough nous to do a back flip and ensure the race returned to Adelaide post pandemic? Was this issue, as Murray and those South Australian HoRs were contending, really front and centre in this election?

InDaily, an Adelaide independent on-line news site reported 7/9/21 that a statewide poll conducted by Dynata, an on-line market research company, in July, for The Australia Institute – an organisation not known for leaning “right” – had the Liberals in front 51-49 on the 2pp, with health reported as the ‘…dominant issue of the campaign’ and noted that the polling ‘…mirror[ed] the last statewide poll taken in SA, a Sunday Mail-YouGov poll published in March.’

Nowhere in the polling reported by InDaily did the V8 Supercars decision make it as a concern of electors. In fact, InDaily noted that ‘[T]he Australia Institute’s SA Director Noah Schulz-Byard said the polling suggested “voters can expect a strong campaign with a focus on health [38%], the economy [24%] and climate change [(12%] over the next six months…In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, health is shaping up as the key political battleground in South Australia.”‘

Continue reading “It’s Hiding in Plain Sight.”

The Prime Minister’s mea culpa?

What did we learn from Scott Morrison’s mea culpa and precis of his Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic at the National Press Club on Tuesday?

While referring to the up-ending of lives and livelihoods and how exhausting ‘…financially, emotionally and psychologically’ the last two years have been for Australians. Primarily, the decisions made, he said, were about ‘…getting the balance right [between the] twin goals to save lives and to save livelihoods, [and to] balance health objectives with our broader societal and economic wellbeing.’ What seemed the only concession was that ‘decisions are made in real time but with hindsight the view does change.’

Continue reading “The Prime Minister’s mea culpa?”

It’s all about unifying the community

At the beginning of November, and after former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian had announced previously that on 1 December unvaccinated residents of NSW would be able to re-join the social fabric of the State, the new Premier, Dominic Perrottet, reneged, saying that the date would be changed to 15 December. In doing so, Perrottet explained that the delay was designed to ‘Unify the Community.’  The Government’s reasoning was that in certain LGAs/geographical areas vaccination rates were not as high as it wanted them to be. I remember thinking at the time that if some people had decided against being vaccinated – and had held out until then – what difference would another 15 days of F…ing them over make to get them to change their minds, apart from reducing to ten days their Christmas celebrations’ organising.  Basically, the decision seemed both petty and desperate to me. And, I thought, if a reasonable minority of residents of one LGA had made the decision not to be vaccinated, why would their vaccinated neighbours or perhaps another LGA’s residents see their decision as being anything like a Continue reading “It’s all about unifying the community”

Scott Morrison’s fig leaf

On Friday in the Federal Court of Australia, and after CoB, the Minister for Immigration, the Hon. Alex Hawke, cancelled Novak Djokovic’s Visa for a second time after the defending Australian Open Champion had earlier in the week won his case against the Government cancellation of his Visa for denial of procedural fairness.

Continue reading “Scott Morrison’s fig leaf”