“If they open up at 50 per cent, that would be insane. Even at 70 per cent they are going to have to be massively careful.” Professor Peter Doherty
Hoots and jeers break out from socially distanced Coalition MPs, with some zooming in from home lockdown as a depleted, motely crew, who by chance and a good deal of Clive Palmer’s money, find themselves in government if not in power, continuing to show scant respect for Parliament, the people or the truth, as the clock ticks down on Team Morrison’s weakening grip on power, given its criminal neglect of its duty of care and its betrayal of the people’s trust; both brought dramatically into focus by the virulent, fast-spreading, Delta variant of SARS-Covid-19. And now the sixth IPCC panel report.
Not only is the rollout a race, the virus is winning. And we still don’t have nearly enough vaccine. Morrison lies to cover up how badly he and his team botched vax supply and distribution. Health Minister Hunt huffs and puffs on ABC Insiders, Sunday.
Tells us how lucky we are that we’re not Indonesia or India or Mexico – and how fabulously well we are by comparison and to deny there was any Pfizer deal.
But a deal was underway. The crisis in vaccine supply is entirely the Morrison government’s responsibility. We have Norman Swan’s word for it, supported albeit, by anonymous sources and by the Victorian government.
“From Pfizer’s perspective, I have been told they think there’s nothing in it for them to sour their commercial relationship with the government by getting caught up in a political row,” Swan says.
Despite a concerted coverup, a deal was aborted by Morrison, who insulted the giant multinational corporation’s head in sending a junior bureaucrat to negotiate; who then tried to haggle over the price and intellectual property rights. Hunt does himself and his government no favours in trying to fix the record with a semantic quibble. If all had gone to plan, why did Australia get so much less out of Pfizer than other countries?
The UK agreed to purchase 30 million Pfizer doses on July 20, the US followed with a deal for 100 million on July 22. Japan signed for 120 million doses on July 31, and Canada made its first agreement with Pfizer for 20 million doses on August 5, reports Rachel Clun, federal political reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.
James Merlino is unequivocal. “There is no doubt at all. Meetings occurred. Negotiations occurred,” says the Victorian Deputy Premier. “The deal was not sealed, whereas other nations aggressively pursued Pfizer and got the vaccines that they needed for their community. We did not.”
Responding to climate change and global heating is also a race. Denialists hold sway in the federal government but it is our responsibility as global citizens to reduce our carbon emissions and to cease pretending that in exporting coal we’re not big polluters.
Just as Howard got Robert Hill to scam future generations with our dodgy Kyoto credits in 1998, an agreement his government didn’t deign to sign, the Coalition’s climate change canards are coming home to roost, Other countries will soon charge us a carbon tax on our exports. We are already the climate pariahs of our Pacific neighbourhood. And beyond. To say nothing of the legacy we leave our children.
Digging in, Tuesday, our coal lobby puppet-PM refuses to set a goal of net zero by 2050 because he’s scared he’ll be rolled by Dutton or what Barnaby and the boys might think, after an international “code red” warning is issued by global leaders. The least worst scenario is that urgent, concerted action between now and 2030 in doing everything we can to curb emissions will see a 1.5 degree rise which will go higher but then settle slightly below. The consequences of the least worst case will be felt for millennia.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases the first instalment of its landmark Sixth Assessment Report (1). It’s the most comprehensive and authoritative overview of the physical science of climate change to date. The scale and pace with which humans are altering their environment is unprecedented, certainly in the last two thousand years, it reports. It’s accelerating, every fraction of a degree matters and we must do everything we can to lower emissions.
Forget the Canberra Press Club bubble nonsense of moving towards zero in 2050 as being in any sense a commendable commitment, the line the PMO is spinning, the report shows that the globe will warm by 1.5 degrees well before the end of 2040
Yet Morrison is not moved. He sets up a straw man, the lie that we don’t know what we are signing up to, if we commit to emission reduction targets. The other lie is that such targets cost people jobs – when the alternative is neither jobs nor planet – and when jobs may be created in renewable energy – if the government had another set of donors.
“I won’t be signing a blank cheque on, on behalf of Australians to targets with no plans” Morrison says. (It didn’t hold the Coalition back from giving $440 million to its Great Barrier Reef Foundation boondogglers) – which the auditor general found had almost no useful detail in its plans at all apart from vaguely aiming at:
“improved management of the Great Barrier Reef” and “management of key threats to the Great Barrier Reef”.
How good is having no targets? Instead, Morrison’s minders have got him to add as much of the word “Australia” he possibly can into every word salad. It’s cheapjack nationalism, he’s whipping up, a narrow and potentially dangerous brew which is based on the lie that there is somehow only one Australia.
But you can’t have an aim or a target if you don’t really believe climate change is real.
“It’s really important that this government actually resolves its internal issues and starts acting with intent in relation to action on climate change,” Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles says, urging the government to commit to a net zero target by 2050.
“To have the government party room full of a whole lot of people who are essentially denying the science of climate change in 2021, is genuinely unbelievable.”
What is also unbelievable is the Abbott-like determination to oppose everything Labor proposes. In full mock outrage mode, the PM squawks like a cornered galah, when Labor proposes a $300 incentive to encourage the eighty percent of the nation who remain unvaccinated, to get a jab. Perhaps Albo is winding ScoMo up. It works.
Outside, the virus rages out of control in NSW, fanned by the state’s Clayton’s lockdown, a lack of vaccine and an underclass of essential workers who cannot afford to take a day off, let alone a month or two of lockdown. The state has a record 356 cases by Tuesday and now six deaths, but gas-lighter-Hunt, on ABC Insiders, praises the job the premier has done in containing infection.
It’s a refrain which fails to distract from Ms Berejiklian’s affair with the-tractor-ate-my laptop, disgraced former man bag and bag man, Daryl McGuire, as ABC 7:30 Report has documents linking the then treasurer with the grant of a tidy five and a half million dollars to a shooting club in McGuire’s electorate. 7:30’s Paul Farrell is rebuffed by the Premier, Tuesday morning on the grounds that his questions are disrespectful.
“I refer you to my previous answer and please respect this press conference.”
Everyone knows what a bastard the truth can be; so it’s heart-warming to hear Gladys evading a question which goes to the heart of her integrity and credibility on the grounds of respect for what is, at best, a disastrous PR exercise.
How good is Covid Shield in protecting an unwary Premier from a matter she’d prefer kept off the record? If the NSW Premier keeps this up, she’ll be upstaging the Morrison government, the most secretive in our political history.
Given that the gun club grant is reassessed after she directly intervenes, when the original submission fails a cost-benefit analysis, a problem which never worries the PM with his sports rorts and his pork ‘n ride car parks, it would seem Gladys’ dismissal of the question shows her disrespect for the public; a shying away from her responsibility to act accountably with public funds.
But it’s no big deal, just a conflict of interest that would have the Newscorp pack howling had she been a Labor premier. Besides, she’s a minnow compared to the PMO with its colour-coded spreadsheet apportioning of the notorious sports rorts. And the sports rorts pale by comparison with Morrison’s $660 million carpark pork-‘n ride scandal.
Morrison appeals to national pride. It’s every Australian’s patriotic duty to comply with a corrupt, double-dealing state government, insanely keen to re-open at the end of August. NSW’s Delta variant now reaches Tasmania, while infection spreads in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. Learn to live with it, he says. In the meantime, there’ll be a zillion doses of vax arriving next month or next year – and we’ve just got our hands on some Moderna, a vaccine which other countries procured months ago.
We’re “hitting our marks”, Morrison lies. Not only do those marks change daily, Greg Hunt, our lame duck Health Minister quacks that “so far” *fewer* than 57% of residential aged care workers have had their first vaccination dose. Group 1A is of course, the Bronte Python’s Flying Circus’ highest priority group. No mention is made of personal carers who make door to door home visits. They’ve been left out of the plan.
(Python here has a less familiar meaning: a person who is possessed by a spirit and prophesies by its aid.)
“This plan is a bubble without a thought,” sneers Moriarty Morrison, troubled by Labor’s $300 carrot. (Baker Street fans will know Moriarty, a sadistic, psychopath who shows fiendish cunning, grandiosity, incapacity for remorse, arrogance, and overweening self-confidence. Machiavellian, Moriarty commits no crimes directly, but shrewdly uses his networks to get others to carry out his dirty deeds for him.)
Naturally, Moriarty’s character traits are found also in other colleagues but he is the archetype of our post truth, post modern, PM. Just add a dose of raging mythomania and a mentor who runs a megachurch, or a multinational corporation, selling its flock a prosperity theology; God loves you if you’re rich, Moriarty.
It pays to belong to Hillsong. Being granted riches is part its gospel. Serve him well and ye shall receive material wealth. Morrison’s mentor, Brian Houston, whom the police are charging with concealing his father’s alleged child sexual abuse, has written a book about the subject. You Need More Money: Discovering God’s Amazing Financial Plan for Your Life. Yet Morrison baulks at paying punters to get the jab.
It’s out of the question, he barks. First and foremost, the government doesn’t have nearly enough vaccine to want to boost demand. Secondly, it’s really not a race. Suppliers won’t be hurried and the government has changed its tune from suppressing the virus to “learning to live with it” – or die as the case may be.
And there will be a lot of deaths to live with even the vague 70-80 per cent vaccination rate that our Prime Weasel is now making noises about. Up to two thousand in six months. Third, it’s a good idea- even if it is heresy to true believers; Albanese is turning his back on the Labor ethos, to Guy Rundle’s disgust; putting the cash nexus above solidarity forever. Cue ancient, false analogies, comparing Covid with the flu.
It’s all on ATAGI or Doherty advice of course, which is another conundrum the government loves. When it suits its case, the Morrison government would have us believe it is like putty in the hands of expert bodies. Yes sir. No sir. Three bags full sir. At other times, the PM boasts without spelling it out, of bullying ATAGI into line.
” And doing it for the CASH, this is not what would motivate an Australian.” Morrison goes off like a frog in a sock. Or “like a dropped scrabble-box”, tweets Labor’s Graham Perrett, as the PM leaps to his feet, this week, to “Holgate” a Labor proposal; denouncing Albo’s $300 offer to entice us to get vaccinated.
“A vote of no confidence” in the Australian people, bellows the PM, whose government is prepared to splurge on carparks in the air, (only two were ever built); $660m handpicked by the government on advice of its MPs and candidates; “sports rorts on steroids” says Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Andrew Giles, all to buy votes in marginal electorates – 77% of the car parks were in Coalition-held electorates. 10% were in six non-Coalition held electorates after a word with candidates.
It’s a bit rich for a government of spivs, shonks and expense account rorters to pretend that it’s un-Australian to do it for the cash. Especially, given the government’s entire flat-tax proposal is engineered to buy votes and reward its pals. And the wannabes. Whilst it chiefly benefits its fat cat pals, earning over $200,000, other lower-paid workers are enticed by the delusion that, one day they, too, could be big earners.
As for doing it for the cash, Morrison’s government condoned Job-Keeper rorts by thriving firms, such as Harvey Norman, a franchise operation which supplies stock on credit at a rate that would shame a pay-day lender. Clearly not satisfied with its windfall, Hardly Normal seeks to freeze retail wages via the National Retail Association.
It didn’t need $20.6 million. Gerry Harvey, himself, netted $70 million in dividends. As for Un-Australian, thousands of millionaires claimed JobSeeker unemployment pensions from Centrelink when the assets test was temporarily lifted for six months in 2020.
Guardian Australia reports in July that Wesley College, a fabulously well endowed, elite Melbourne school for the privileged, offered fee discounts of 20% last year after banking $20m in JobKeeper payments.
As this generosity is extended, however, with no expectation that fat cats who never needed JobKeeper have to refund their windfall, the federal government demands that unless 11,771 poor Centrelink clients pay back any overpayment, they will be slugged with an interest fee.
“As at 30 April 2021, approximately $32.8m in debt has been raised through completed reviews,” the agency tells Greens senator Rachel Siewert.
“This is not a game show,” harrumphs a PM whose government evolved from The Price is Right, or the AWB wheat for oil scandal, exposed in The Cole Inquiry of 2006, in which we paid Saddam Hussein’s government $300 million in bribes in violation of UN Sanctions. Alexander Downer endorsed the wheat exporter. In true game show spirit, the Coalition sprung a $40 million door prize on Rupert Murdoch so that Fox could do a bit more on women’s sport or something – no strings attached. No questions asked. Gave money to polluters to plant trees they would have planted anyway.
Morrison’s manufactured outburst is a sure sign that the government has, itself, canvassed jab incentive payments. Just as it’s likely to be embarrassed by any increase in demand for vaccines which it has contrived to under-supply. As for material reward, it’s certainly talking to TABCORP about a lottery open only to those who’ve had a jab and booster.
Running Operation Covid Shield is Lieutenant-General JJ Frewen, whose uniform adds an illusion of authority and authority to Morrison’s ShitShow™. JJ’s candid about cash incentives being on the table, just as he does not hold back in his public attack on Gladys Berejiklian the week before when she asks for more. Vaccine, that is.
Of course we’re kept in the dark as to whether he’s in charge or just another Morrison stooge; firing the PM’s bullets. Either way, his rebuke of a state premier is way out of line. Under any other Prime Minister, it would lead to his resignation.
The incident passes without mention because it is reported by Rick Morton of The Saturday Paper and later commented upon by The New Daily’s Bruce Pascoe.
“The most extraordinary newspaper story over the weekend disappeared with little trace, swamped by broader, more immediate COVID issues, the Olympics and journalism’s frequent failure to follow up another paper’s exclusive – the “not invented here” syndrome.” Pascoe writes.
Most of us are prevented from learning that an unelected official fires a broadside at a State Premier and that this is condoned by the PM who speaks after the Lieutenant General, of Operation Khaki Creep as The Australia Institute’s Allan Behm puts it.
Naturally, Morrison would be looking at gambling, gimmicks, tricks and spot prizes, perhaps even a getaway to Hawaii, if and when it ever re-opens. It is his stock in trade. His failure to lead in a pandemic is now a running sore even with rusted-on Tory supporters, such as Denis Shanahan, economics editor at, The Australian.
It’s also on the nose in Newspoll’s online survey, published Monday, which continues to show the Coalition’s downward trend in all other recent opinion polls. And the PM’s.
“Scotty’s incessant jawboning, self-promoting and self-applause – “don’t just do it, talk about it” is alarming. His personal approval rating, whatever that means, is negative, whilst not yet the -16 percentage points of his Tory mentor, Boris Johnson.
The Morrison misgovernment and its Covid Shit-Show™, as Bill Shorten dubs it, are now as unpopular as in the Black Summer fires – largely over its capacity to turn crisis into catastrophe; its scandalous ineptitude in every aspect of its pandemic response from supply to distribution to quarantine. Yet there’s no chance of a bipartisan approach to promote vaccination.
For Morrison, the promise of incentives is merely another chance to be hyper partisan, the doom loop of mutual mistrust which has severely corroded democracy in the US and in the UK, as parties and their voters retreat into tribal epistemologies, an increasingly incompatible set of facts, alternative facts and first principles – except that Labor has dropped its opposition to the Coalition’s plans to give a third bracket of tax cuts to the rich – to present a small target. But the government’s intent on giving in to the business class’s demands to open up shop, come hell or high fever, however it dissembles – and especially in its theatrical faux deference to the best medical advice and its fetish for acronyms such as ATAGI and TGA.
In The Mystery of the Miraculous Moving goalposts, the latest ripping yarn from our Prime Mini-serialist, Morrison, part of his prolific Roads to Nowhere series, a 75 per cent vaccination rate – suddenly drops to 56. Risky, irresponsible and out of step with overseas experience and local expertise, his roadmap out of Covid takes us down a one-way, dead-end street, at speed with no brakes, no-one at the wheel and the lights out.
Meanwhile, a virus spreads out of control in NSW into Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, largely because the Morrison government botched its deal with Pfizer, underestimated the time it would take to produce sufficient quantities of AstraZeneca – and failed to set up an effective vaccination programme or quarantine system. Its lukewarm effort, its failure to secure vaccine and its insistence this is not a race, suggest more than ineptitude at play.
Remember, before his last-minute pivot, Morrison was, like Boris Johnson, happy to let ‘er rip. Above all, hovers the hypocrisy of a PM of handbrake turns; it was Pivot Morrison and his claque of ministers who urged open borders and railed against lockdowns, an idea, writes SMH’s economics editor, Ross Gittins,
“… eagerly pursued by the business lobbies and business’ media cheer squad. In his efforts to score points off Andrews, no one worked harder than Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to propagate the mythology that only Labor premiers were so dictatorial and disregarding of business wellbeing as to lockdown and close state borders at the first sneeze, whereas Liberal premiers knew how to get results with superior testing and contact tracing.”
Mystery is ghost written for the PM by his right hand man, John Kunkel, the PM’s Principal Private Secretary and his left hand man, former Crosby Textor CEO, Yaron “The Fixer” Finkelstein. There’s a bit of input from the Group, an assorted baker’s dozen of brown-nosed MPs, (Hunt’s in there), the odd hard-nosed miner, department head, past and present along with a clutch of big business and big banking bovver boys.
Mystery is about our path to a normal that doesn’t exist, as Pacific leaders remind Australia’s PM, who appears on Zoom, ripping into a slice of toast like a famished Mako shark at the Pacific Island forum leaders, 51st Meeting. It’s a confronting image of neo-colonial rapacity and Australia’s Pacific Aid.
The toast doesn’t stand a chance.
Incredibly, leaders are offended by vision of Morrison Zooming while on the tooth – not just because many Pasifika peoples consider it impolite to guts yourself while someone else is talking to you- especially the leader of Tuvalu-, but because it’s clear that Morrison doesn’t give a toss about climate change; an existential threat to Islanders ahead of the rest of us. There’s also more than a hint of white privilege.
Minders are meant to make sure that the PM doesn’t disgrace himself in public. Do everything but eat his toast for him, Kunkel and Finkelstein are the masterminds behind the chaos, catastrophe and corruption of Scott Morrison’s Gaslight Orchestra but can reasonably disavow all responsibility for the PM’s “learn to live with it” speech last Friday.
Morrison confuses everyone, partly because what he says bears scant resemblance to the Doherty Report, on which it is based and partly because it just doesn’t make sense.
There is no normal after this pandemic, Rick Morton points out in The Saturday Paper.
“The figures don’t provide for it mostly because they can’t.”
Cue the spin doctors. No-one knows Morrison’s pet-name for his minders, Fink ‘n Kunk? “Funk” has a ring about it given the desperation in the office these days with the PM’s perceived pandemic management plummeting, as it frets over a slew of bad opinion polls; Morrison’s negative popularity and the Coalition’s fading electoral prospects.
Friday, the PM makes another palaver about a Pandemic Exit Plan an “updated four-phase road map” that, in fact, has only two phases – only gets us six months down the track and contains absolutely nothing about the thousands a week likely to die once we “ease” restriction. As if that matters. Even 70 per cent means 2000 deaths over six months.
There’s nothing you can’t achieve if you lower your goals – as you see in a suite of federal policies from energy to environment to elder abuse and neglect in “aged-care facilities” locked down in profit-driven private prisons, staffed by underpaid, overworked casuals who are forced to share their services or COVID across several institutions.
And you can fox clever. Friday, our wily PM slyly mis-reports The Doherty Report as way out of our Delta blues. If we have three quarters of any one Australian state vaccinated and provided the Australian nation meets the same goal, lockdown will be lifted and we can go back to our Australian lives of blissful, contented fulfilment. Bingo. Feet up. Name your poison.
Gladys Berejiklian’s clearly smoking something. Several days in a row she’s been talking up a fifty per cent vaccination rate allowing restrictions to be lifted in most places. Kerry Chant’s on record Tuesday saying this would not be a good idea. Boris Johnson’s adopted the hands-free-let-‘er-rip approach to steering Little Britain through the UK’s Covid crises, driven by the latest headlines. My, it’s been a tremendous success.
For the virus, that is. Modelling suggests that the central case for UK daily hospitalisations at the peak of the third wave – expected at the end of August – could be between 1,000 and 2,000, with deaths predicted to be between 100 and 200 per day.
Last Friday sees the fiftieth “National Cabinet” another of Morrison’s fantasies, according to a recent verdict of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, explaining that it’s not an extension of cabinet; which means he can’t claim confidentiality. It’s a pity because, for a while it seemed such a neat way to get the premiers to do all the work while the federal government took the credit. It’s not working the way it should.
Now it’s Australian to do whatever the PM suggests. Australian content in the PM’s Shouty-McShoutface-oratory has been absurdly increased lately; but if patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, his first refuge is the barefaced lie. Scott Morrison’s no ordinary mythomaniac, however, nor pathological liar, he actually believes that because he’s said a thing, then it is true – not only true and incontrovertible but a precedent.
Strap yourself in, Australia. It’s going to be a wild Australian freedom ride.
“So, last Friday I announced Australia’s plan to live with the virus. I announced the whole country’s plan to get us back to that position where we can ultimately live with this virus, in the same way that we live with other infectious diseases that are present in the community, and we can get on with our lives,”
Aussie Morrison wraps himself in the flag and kids us it’s Australia’s plan, when in fact it’s a federal rather than a national plan. More specifically, it’s his government’s bid to appease Liberal Party donors who care more about their profits than our health. If it’s a plan at all, given that it’s not compulsory and there’s no timeline. No way known to man of calculating when we enter the last two phases.
Could be a few thousand dead each month, says Doherty, but, Morrison has been told, we’ve got to learn to live with the virus.
Or not as the case may be. The plan is a marvel of lucidity, cogency and futility.
“Phases [are] triggered in a jurisdiction when the average vaccination rates across the nation have reached the threshold and that rate is achieved in a jurisdiction expressed as a percentage of the eligible population (16+)…”
But if a crap vaccination state is stuck on fifty, the rest of the nation can still party on. (Lift your game NSW) but that’s the joy of federation, the rest of us need not hold back. And won’t. Given the state’s track record of infecting the rest of the nation – surely, it’ll be the other way round. Other countries, such as the US warn of the danger of localised pockets of pandemic, typically where anti-vaxxers are active.
Big business and high finance will be over the moon, however. A baker’s dozen strong, Morrison’s Group, a cabal of MPs, corporate heads, merchant bankers, civil servants, past and present, seem bent on an October election. Former Crosby Textor CEO, Finkelstein has mapped out the narrative.
Behold! Morrison, a deeply spiritual, otherworldly, almost saintly being, whose religion is everything to him, according to recent PMO press and emetic puff pieces, is now reborn, remade and with added hair plugs.
Let ‘er rip. Stop all this lockdown oppression. Open those borders. All hail our liberator, a sort of Simon Bolivar of Sutherland Shire in reverse.
Holy ScoMo will give us our freedom by lifting lockdown, just as a stash of vaccine arrives on our shores, which he defends from The Evil Empire of the Expanding Panda, China, a bad actor, which flouts a new Us-led global rules based order, (neo-colonialism), runs bat-infested wet markets, does us down on trade and spies on our war games with the US. Cue a lot of play-acting which includes an Uncle Arthur slide-show or a presentation where the print is too small to read.
It’s not a bug. It’s a design feature. Morrisonian Democracy, invisible to the naked eye.
Affecting an eye-catching red, yellow and black, patterned neck-tie in a beguiling, serpentine, indigenous motif, borrowed from Ken Wyatt, perhaps, Snake oil Morrison is spruiking the success of his mob’s billion dollar reboot, or Closing The Gap 2.0, Thursday, when he abruptly abandons Ken.
It’s his style as laid down in crisis management 101; when the pandemic hit plague proportions, when you’re called out over your rorts, your pork barrelling and your diabolical failure to order enough vaccine, let alone discharge your responsibilities to those in aged care or those who must be put in quarantine – put out a good news story.
Slap on the snake oil. Smirk. Don’t twerk- leave that to Clive Palmer- Find something upbeat. Or beat something up. But Thursday, the Crosby-Textor playbook, the strategists who did so well for Theresa May and Malcolm Turnbull, lets a rattled PM down. He cuts and runs. Beats a hasty retreat. Makes a disgraceful exit.
What prompts Morrison to hurriedly exit stage right, pursued by a bear, like Antigonus who abandons the baby Perdita in The Winter’s Tale? A reporter asks about carparks.
It’s another stellar performance from a government which excels in showing itself up despite all its brilliant minders, its fixers and the grubs that “background” against their enemies, as they do against Brittany Higgins by leaking against David Sharaz, her partner.
Our PM blows hard, ending his homily on working together with our indigenous peoples by abandoning his Minister for Indigenous Australians to face a feral press on stage, alone.
Morrison pivots, Ducks and weaves out of the line of fire into the haven of a PMO where his minders, fixers and flunkeys are working out how to tell him that the carnival is over now that the AAPT has ruled that the PM has no grounds to keep his “national cabinet” proceedings secret given that it is not a subcommittee of the federal cabinet .
But don’t get your hopes up. There are no minutes. Just a record of outcomes such as Morrison announces after every meeting. No chance at all of unearthing any real dirt, such as what JJ – Lieutenant General John Frewen said when he monstered Gladys Berejiklian last week.
Ken’s breakthrough is that communities are involved. Apart from its title sounding enough like The Coalition to confuse unwary punters with Liberal Party which shacks up with the boondoggling, pork-barrelling, Akubra-wearing Nats, in a ruse to get enough seats to form government, the Coalition of Peaks represents community organisations.
Badly. It’s an outfit which senior Aboriginal leaders, including Noel Pearson, Professor Megan Davis and Roy Ah-See Pat Dodson claim lacks a mandate and is not representative of Aboriginal people. But you’ll hear nothing but good news of the breakthrough – which meets only three targets, can’t measure another seven, but gets the Coalition of Peaks on board. Nor will you hear anything but praise about carparks.
In a scene straight out of Utopia, Simon Birmingham tells former Sky News political editor, David Speers, now helping to turn away audiences as host of ABC Insiders,
“The Australian people had their chance and voted the Morrison government back in at the last election and we are determined to get on with local infrastructure, as we are nation-building infrastructure,” Birmingham tells Speers.
Poor Ken Wyatt, already a conflicted figure in a mining-lobby dominated government denying constitutional recognition and a voice to parliament by pretending it is a request for a third chamber in a bi-cameral parliament which can barely cope at that, left in the lurch once again. … as the new plan is air-brushed to cover its conceptual failure, the notion that if old white men keep estimating indigenous disadvantage every year, systemic racism, paternalism and inequality will disappear but not as rapidly as the heat-evading missile that is the PM this Thursday.
“We’re doing things differently with accountability and transparency, and in true partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders,” Morrison’s statement, says.
“We are a good team and good teams know how to win when they are behind in the heavy weather on a hard and muddy track. That’s how you know you are a good team.”
That and moving the goalposts. Opening up at fifty per cent vaccination will be a disaster for NSW. And the percentages which Morrison is throwing around are shonky. Neither of his 70 or 80 per cent vaccination targets include children under sixteen. Above all, Morrison is misrepresenting the Doherty Report which is not a plan to open up prematurely at all but as a cover for his intentions to follow Boris Johnson.
As Morton points out the Doherty Report is no “roadmap to freedom”.
Under an 80 per cent vaccination scenario, the report is careful to underscore that low public health measures may be enough to control an outbreak. But to reduce the transmission potential of the Delta strain below one – similar to a virus reproductive number, below one demonstrates control – the Doherty work indicates moderate public health responses including stay-at-home orders will be needed at 70 per cent and possibly even at 80 per cent.
But that’s not what the Prime Minister is saying. But since when, in any field of endeavor, particularly climate science or medicine has Morrison ever been constrained by what the experts have to say? What he’s about to do now is not merely foolhardy, it’s an act of dereliction of duty of care, an act of criminal negligence. And rather than egg her on from the sidelines, he needs to let Gladys know that opening up NSW on a fifty per cent vaccination rate will bring no her state no freedoms. But it will invite disaster.