Guest Post: A Bunyip Epistle

This wonderful piece was sent to me earlier this evening and I, unfortunately, being out, missed it until now. Although it may be too late to beat that pot this evening, please give it a good going over tomorrow at 9pm, and then on until the lockdowns finish.

Professor Bunyip writes:

Bunyips as a broad rule are quite content with our own company. This is as much a matter of inevitability as preference since wives and sweethearts, present and ex, find so many deficiencies of character in need of comment that solitude becomes the balm of a hectored brain. When a cork being popped booms in the silence like Tchaikovsky’s cannon, life is generally as good as it is ever likely to get (allowing, of course, that one has not fallen in love with a lusty deaf mute).

There are, however, exceptions which every weary Victorian will immediately recognise while Lockdown 6.0 inflicts its further ravages on the pitiful tatters of the state’s economy. To the north of Trashcanistan on the Yarra, Sydneysiders kvetch about their first prolonged taste of the madness that has sealed them in their homes. Just wait, Harbourians, until your kids have missed almost two years of schooling, every third shop is shuttered or for lease, and the police have been given their head to stop, quiz, rebuke, rough up and charge those guilty of offences deemed heinous by our elected betters and their chief medical officers.

You know, things like sitting in a sunny park or ignoring the order that children must not, under any circumstances, play on swings and slides lest Mister COVID leap like a tumescent molester from the sandbox. Having pledged herself to the Dan Andrews model, there is no longer any choice but that Old Mother Gladys continues following her nose, as you might say, along the same downhill road.

The time will come though, as it has at the Billabong, when mandated solitude is several weeks of isolation too many. Strange thoughts and bizarre urges arise, even to the point of collecting the empty bottles from beneath the sofa, regarding the cat as a gifted interlocutor or dismantling the upstairs lavatory’s cistern because the constant drip of water leaking into the bowl becomes suddenly and infuriatingly too much to bear. Three weeks ago – blessed be Dan – Victorians were allowed to drive considerable distances to visit friends. Now – Dan be damned – we must remain indoors from 9pm until 5am, and woebetide all who fail to count their remaining cigarettes as darkness falls.

Tonight, come 9pm and every night thereafter, the Billabong will resound to a big metal spoon being banged on a bigger metal pot. It’s a one-Bunyip protest against insanity — and VicPol-proof to boot since there will be no stepping beyond the property line. As an exercise it might just draw off a little of the fury at being ordered about by a corrupt, jug-eared grub of Premier and his simpering sidekick CMO. It might even bleed of disgust with The Grub’s chief enabler, the Prime Minister who reaches immediately for the taxpayers’ chequebook to underwrite each and every of the premiers’ authoritarian frolics. If South Australia’s CMO were to announce an expert initiative aimed at ridding pizza boxes and footballs of viral peril, can anyone doubt Morrison would fund that too? Should Queensland’s CMO yearn for a return to the norm as one of the witches from the Scottish Play’s open scenes, the spineless net zero would rent her a theatre.

So tonight, if any of Dover Beach’s neoCats care to join the racket at 9pm, feel free to bang away. It would restore much faith that the idealised Australian of yore yet draws breath – disrespectful of authority, not open to bullying, imbued with rough-hewn common sense.


Don’t fancy that? Well you can always call one of the dobber lines and inform on noisy, neighbouring Australians. You know, the ones who fall short of the Good German standard. 

Mater’s Musings #1: Why the difference in approach?

This is a guest post by Mater, reposted with permission.

When you hear the Premiers indicate that we will remain under house arrest until we have zero cases and no community transmission, please keep this in mind.

The 2009 Swine flu (A(H1N1)pdm09) has been lurking around killing people during the flu season up to, and including, 2020, when deaths from any variety of flu completely, and miraculously, stopped in July of that year. That being, incidentally, almost exactly the time when Covid deaths started during the second wave in Victoria.

To summarise:
If we’d taken the same approach to A(H1N1)pdm09 as we have with Covid 19 and its variants, we would still be locked down, more than a decade later.

Remember, also, that A(H1N1)pdm09 attacks primarily the younger generations and, like all flus, tends to primarily kill those with co-morbidity factors. That, and the fact that younger people suffer less co-morbidities, would seem to be the telling factor in the death rate differences (although Covid-21 seems less deadly than A(H1N1)pdm09). The specialists seem to explain this by indicating that it is now more prevalent in the young.

“The ratio of deaths to cases in the year to date has decreased in comparison to this time last year, noting substantially lower case numbers this year and the difference in age distributions of those infected in 2021 versus 2020.”

Year to date (2020) 1 January – 1 August 2020 – Case Fatality Rate = 2.75%
Year to date (2021) 1 January – 1 August 2021 – Case Fatality Rate = 0.28%

I rest my case.

https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/1D03BCB527F40C8BCA258503000302EB/$File/covid_19_australia_epidemiology_report_47_reporting_period_ending_1_august_2021.pdf

The lockdowns will continue until morale improves

We find ourselves again in the grip of another lockdown, the 6th in Victoria, on the heels of 6 locally acquired cases. What this portends in the short term, if unanswered, purportedly justifies the deprivations of liberty entailed by home detention, business closure, remote schooling, and the like. But does it?

The initial claim that was used both here and overseas in order to justify lockdowns was that a short but sharp lockdown for 2-4 weeks was needed to stop the spread and prevent the hospital system from being overwhelmed by hospitalizations leading to operational collapse. This never eventuated even in countries that did not engage in lockdowns as a strategy. That is why the example of Sweden regarding COVID is anathema to proponents of lockdowns.

Sweden’s experience, as one of the few developed countries to eschew lockdowns, in terms of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths since Feb 2020 is well within the range of experience of those that did. And the worst of it can be blamed on the poor management earlier on of COVID in aged care, not on any failure to lockdown its people.

Sweden is the clearest lesson that lockdowns were never a necessary component in fending off national disaster. Public order and safety could be preserved within reason without the onerous and crippling deprivations of liberty imposed on the public. State and society could collaborate in their efforts to stave off ‘the spread’, protect vulnerable groups, and engage voluntarily in social distancing and other measures (remote work, effective hygiene, and the like) in ways that continued to respect the rights of its citizens in their pursuit of everyday goods.

Whereas, where we now find ourselves is in a never ending spiral of pointless goals (0 cases) and edicts. Having failed to achieve the impossible goal during a pandemic of 0 cases, the government, and having grown accustomed to emergency measures where no emergency exists beyond the recollection of its own failures, the government is effortlessly and gradually expanding from recurring temporary lockdowns to compulsorily requiring vaccinations as a prerequisite for returning to normal life; or should we say the ‘new normal’ life. To put it another way, the lockdowns will continue until morale improves.