28 August 2021

PM's phoney COVID war more about the election than ending lockdowns

| Ian Bushnell
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is working to a political timetable. Photo: Facebook.

Just why did Scott Morrison pick up the megaphone and crowbar this week to, in his words, make a lot of noise about the road out of lockdowns to a ‘new dawn’?

He says it’s about hope, but it is worth remembering that his government is facing an election soon.*

That’s why he has confected this brawl about COVID lockdowns and restrictions between the Commonwealth and the states, and provides some cover for Gladys Berejiklian’s tragically inept performance managing the Delta epidemic in NSW that has allowed it to spread to the ACT, Victoria, Queensland and New Zealand.

Mr Morrison, who has been all over the shop on COVID, says it’s now all about vaccination and has accused Labor states WA and Queensland of dragging their feet on getting jabs into people’s arms.

READ MORE What I’ve learned from lockdown 2.0

This from the bloke responsible for not covering all the vaccine bases in the first place, the subsequent strollout and the now-infamous “it’s not a race” comment.

He’s also warned the states to stick to the agreed National Plan on opening up the country once vaccination rates hit the milestones of 70 and 80 per cent, saying they won’t be able to depend on Commonwealth financial support if they don’t play ball.

He’s even weaponised the Doherty Institute, trumpeting their modelling that shows that you can open up at these vaccination rates with cases still high.

It’s been a slick week of soft morning show and radio interviews in which he has employed all the skills of a carnival barker. He has been selective in his facts, glossed over important details, played down others, ignored the continuing NSW trainwreck and verballed his fellow leaders in National Cabinet.

READ ALSO COVID business grant opens today, but is it enough?

Chief Minister Andrew Barr – who has been a model of calm, factual reassurance during the ACT lockdown – has refused to take the bait, simply pointing out just what the Plan actually says.

The four-phase plan does not say we can wave goodbye to lockdowns or restrictions, not until the post-vaccination phase, at least.

From 70 to 80 per cent vaccination, the Plan still includes ongoing low-level restrictions, possible lockdowns and any easing of restrictions on the vaccinated to be determined.

The next phase after 80 per cent still includes ongoing baseline restrictions and may still involve highly targeted lockdowns.

So there is built-in flexibility in the Plan, at the request of the states and territories which obviously do not want to be locked into a uniform approach that might not suit their particular circumstances.

The Doherty modelling also assumes that ongoing public health measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing will be needed to support vaccination.

Other modelling suggests that the Prime Minister’s approach could cost thousands of lives.

Mr Morrison’s vaccination push only includes the adult population, but Mr Barr says children over the age of 12 must be included in the vaccination data, particularly with Delta ravaging the young, and this will figure in the ACT’s thinking on its future public health settings.

Mr Barr’s other point is that leaders should be talking about effective vaccination (that is, three weeks after the second jab, when protection hits its high point).

“Delta does not listen to chief ministers, premiers, or prime ministers,” Mr Barr told a press conference this week.

In other words, it doesn’t adhere to a political timetable.

READ ALSO As the Brumbies start searching for a new head coach post-2022, how much say should players have in the selection?

Mr Morrison has decided to amplify the differences rather than what all jurisdictions agree on and so desperately want for their people and businesses.

It is laughable to suggest that the Labor state leaders do not want to open their borders, their economies to be back on track, and people to move freely again.

Tourism-reliant Queensland would give almost anything to have the planes landing again. The ACT has just cancelled for the second year in a row its biggest moneyspinner, Floriade, as the tourism industry it has nurtured lies in ruins.

Mr Barr and the premiers all know vaccination, together with public health measures, is the way out, and vaccine supply, controlled by the Commonwealth, has always been the issue.

But Mr Morrison knows people are weary, particularly in seat-rich Victoria and NSW, and want to see an endpoint to it all.

So he is attempting to regain the political initiative, reassert the Commonwealth’s primacy, corral the states, wedge hapless Albo and be the man who led us out of lockdown to a post-COVID future, just in time for a grateful populace to return his government.

It’s a high-wire strategy. There are real lives at stake, and states such as Queensland and WA have rewarded their government handsomely for their tough stances.

Unfortunately, his attempt to shift the narrative in his favour offers false hope and a false dawn. It only encourages the anti-lockdown element that stages counter-productive and unruly demonstrations.

But all the noise could also be just so much sound and fury.

The threat to states and territories may be hollow, for as Mr Barr says, pulling financial support with an election in the wind would be political suicide.

At this point in the pandemic, we need leaders more than ever who can stay the course, be consistent and reassure the public. Mr Morrison fails on all of these counts.

* This article originally said that the only government facing an election soon was the Prime Minister’s. This was incorrect. South Australia goes to the polls in March, 2022.

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Maaate, AFAIknow the 12 weeks gap between AZ shot 1 and AZ shot 2 was for excellent reasons. And it’s what we two >70s retired folks got, as asked by ATAGI/Feds/ACT Gov’t.

I’d like to have a Pfizer shot soon, as well.

It would take a good big shift in the coalition’s positions – on heaps of things, let alone Covid, before I’d vote for them! Ever.

Our home’s walls are R3.0 – 3.5. The floors are insulated with a bubbled-foam sheet and T&Groove laminated timber flooring, over the original hardwood T&G. Lounge-Dining had/has 80/20 wool carpet. The ceiling is at R6.0 or better. All that by 1988!

Maximum number of PV panels, now paid off via a recent deal with ACT gov.t and Centrelink at 0%.

And, we grow our own veggies.

Don’t think we need to do anymore.

HiddenDragon8:45 pm 27 Aug 21

Morrison’s selling of the “National Plan” has thus far had strong echoes of Reagan’s “if not us, who? if not now, when?”, Thatcher’s TINA (there is no alternative) and Menzies’ “reds under the bed” – with a surveillance and control police state increasingly focused on the not fully-vaccinated (i.e. the new “reds”).

Aside from the obvious point that there would be alternative ways and timetables for re-opening, not just yes/no to the option Morrison has chosen, the big problem for him is that many of today’s “reds” are people who have, until now, been very reliable LNP voters. This is not just people who might be dismissed as “anti-vaxxers” (who do still vote, of course), but the much larger group of still vaccine-hesitant, particularly older cohorts where the big gap between the numbers with first and second doses would be difficult to explain simply on the grounds of the standard delay between AZ doses.

Add to this the scepticism that many would have about the capacity of the hospital system to cope with even the more optimistic scenarios suggested by the Doherty modelling, and the ultimate disinterest of those people in which level of government is to blame for those capacity constraints, and it is easy to see the initial polling and focus group support for the “National Plan” fading fairly quickly.

Finally, on the broader point of politicising the pandemic response, Barr’s daily media events might be run like a show and tell session at a conspicuously precious day care centre, but there is still room for political digs – not just the scatological exchange with Barilaro, but also references such as “alpha male behaviour”. They’ve all got an eye on the next election.

As much as I dislike Morrison (and no Chewy et al I am not going to justify that dislike again) my opinion is the change in rhetoric in the past few weeks will actually do more harm to his election chances than good.

Whilst I personally agree with the strategy to open up, I feel that large parts of the country will be mortified at the thought. They will see this as the feds giving up because the favoured state of NSW has failed and now other states will have to pay the price through infections and deaths.

Whilst NSW voters MAY like that to win Morrison needs to keep seats in places like QLD, Tas, SA and WA, those being the states where opening up will come at a political cost.

As I said I do agree that we do need a plan like this to open up and I am realistic enough to see that an increase in deaths result. But the difficulty for Morrison is the line he has been peddling for the last 18 months is elimination.

JC,
I disagree, I think its clearly going to help him because of the fatigue in the electorate around constant lockdowns and restrictions. The anger is obvious and building.

You’re right that the previous rhetoric was very political but that’s what politicians do and the electorate have the memory of a goldfish.

I should also say that despite the opposition rhetoric about the vaccination roll-out “failures”, my previous assessment the other week is now proving far too pessimistic.

The government proposed to hit 40million doses by the end of October and they’re now on target to get 35million+ by then, maybe 2-3 weeks late from the target.

So the Libs statements may have been deliberately slanted by politics (around timing and being in the “front” of the queue, etc.) but it’s actually looking more and more like a successful government program, when you look at the numbers that were actually put forward.

Only issue is the lockdown fatigue is not being felt in places like QLD, WA, SA, NT, TAS and I’m certain it hasn’t set in in the ACT.

I would expect to see some seats to move towards Labor in QLD, WA (especially) and SA as a result.

That leaves Vic and NSW which whilst being states with big numbers in the house of reps, the Libs/Nats don’t have much to gain in NSW as it’s a stranglehold already.

As for Victoria it could go either way. But considering how parochial victorians are I’m guessing they will long remember not being given any preferential treatment at the start of their last lock down and being abused by Josh and Scotty, but when Liberal held NSW was in the same boat without haste or abuse money to help was no issue and magically vaccines were found, including drawing down on emergency reserves.

Btw not saying that shouldn’t have happened for NSW, point being it should have happened to Victoria earlier too and that’s how our Mexican friends will probably view it.

“…actually looking more and more like a successful government program…” . So successful we’re ranked 35th out of 38 OECD countries.
“The anger is obvious and building” (only according to the far right and the Freedumb Marchers.)

Astro,
Yes, it’s almost like the countries that had significant case numbers, death tolls and were close to vaccine manufacturing hubs got priority access to those vaccines.

As above, the rhetoric from our government was woeful, but also irrelevant.

The facts are on the government’s schedule from the start of the year, they are only likely to be 2-3 weeks behind.

Considering the difficulties that arose around the UQ Vaccine and Astra Zeneca, its actually remarkable how quickly the program has been rolled out.

““The anger is obvious and building” (only according to the far right and the Freedumb Marchers.)”

Anyone that thinks this is completely split from the reality of large parts of the population who have been forced out of work and are struggling immensely. I suppose considering the amount of people on Canberra who have escaped the worst impacts, it’s hardly surprising that there is such a level of ignorance.

JC,
That assumes that the current situation will still exist at the end of the year. If the election was held today, I’d agree with you.

But think about how QLD, WA, SA residents will feel if their government’s keep them separated from the rest of the country and the world once the vaccine rates are very high and everywhere else is opening up. There is already significant angst about this but it’s currently tempered by the COVID risks and fear.

9months is an eternity.

There was no priority access for countries close to manufacturers of vaccine; don’t know where that opinion comes from. “It’s not a race” was unfortunately the line brought out by Scott Morrison, this has left us as 35th out 38 OeCD countries. Of course someone has to be trailing at the end of the queue, but desperately trying to spin this into some sort of positive outcome is, frankly, unbelievable. And we all have friends and family whose livelihoods and businesses are impacted by COVID restrictions. However some of us also have friends and family struggling to breathe in ICU. It’s a pretty simple principle Chewy, lives first, livelihoods second. That ‘s the way it is.

Astro,
Trying to spin the government actually delivering the numbers that they said they would into some sort of massive failure is frankly unbelievable. Especially considering the pivots that had to occur because of the ATAGI stance on Astra Zeneca which was extraordinarily poor and unbalanced.

As above, I’m not interested in the rhetoric by all sides of politics on the issue which I agree was poor and far too political in nature.

But the fact remains, our death tolls are nowhere near the countries who you apparently think were “successful” with their vaccine roll-outs. Apparently you think lives are the most important thing except when it doesn’t align with your politics.

“It’s a pretty simple principle Chewy, lives first, livelihoods second.”

Oh, yes, I agree your principle is simple. Unfortunately once again you don’t recognise that livelihoods are also inherently linked to people’s lives and that COVID is not the only thing that affects people’s health.

Chewy trying to say we are close enough to original figures when we are no where near them as a measure of success is frankly unbelievable.

As discussed those figures have constantly shifted but even then we are at least 6 weeks behind the projections when the rollout started to be made available to the general public.

O dear, the failure is ATAGI’s fault now. People are getting used to this play from any federal government failure such as the vaccination stroll-out. Australia has always had the advantage of its geographical position and being an island. This has certainly helped keep numbers of infections and deaths at a lower level. However when it came to vaccination it’s accepted now that we were slower off the mark than other countries and “Its not a race” unfortunately has come home to bite the speaker of those words. I’m glad that you understand the principle of lives before livelihoods. Of course lockdown is tough for everybody, some are impacted more than others, but one thing that we all agree on is that nothing is worse than having to struggle for your next breath.

Astro,
ATAGI’s advice on Astra Zeneca was clearly unbalanced seeing as it was based on last year’s outbreak data and the assumption that Australia could remain locked up under government control indefinitely. It was specifically not a holistic determination of the best thing overall for Australians because that was not within their remit. This is simply a fact and it’s something that should be reviewed at a later date.

Without that, the majority of the population would have already been Vaccinated by now and it’s truly remarkable that the government has been able to pivot so quickly to still be so far along the vaccination pathway.

“Australia has always had the advantage of its geographical position and being an island. This has certainly helped keep numbers of infections and deaths at a lower level.”

Ah, so once again you want to pick and choose. You can’t claim we were lucky because of our island status (and the significant controls our government put in place) to take advantage of that but then ignore the exact same thing led to disadvantages with regards to access to vaccines.

JC,
No you are mistaken and I’ve explained the numbers I’m quoting and where they came from.

I am using the figures from the beginning of this year. They haven’t shifted, it was 40 million doses by the end of October.

Clearly the government expected a more even roll-out where in reality, as stocks have increased, they’ve ramped up the delivery significantly.

We are now delivering nearly 2 million doses a week, which is extraordinary. They are just about to hit 19million.

On current rates, we will be 35million+ doses by the end of October, which was the timeline date. So all things being equal, on the government’s figures, they will be 2-3 weeks behind.

Chewy yes you explained numbers, straight out of what would appear to be liberal party talking points or maybe something you regurgitation after having read it in a News Corp paper. Close enough is not good enough.

Besides the only reason we are are close as what we are is because of the outbreak in NSW. That alone seems to have been the trigger for the federal government to actually do something. And amazing hiw they found all this stock for NSW yet when Victoria asked for some “special” treatment when their latest outbreak started they got more but not enough to make any difference.

I’m happy to listen to health authorities, you can listen to your political favourites. ATAGI provides science-based information, yours is opinion (to which, of course, you are entitled).

Astro,
No worries, happy to inform you with the facts, perhaps.it will help you form an opinion that’s your own too.

JC,
What are you on about now?

There’s no talking points, it was literally the plan announced by the government at the start of the year. If you’ve got other information about that plan, I’m happy to see it.

And I’m not even going to respond to the “special treatment” argument it is so ridiculous.

No it’s not Chewy. It is your interpretation of that plan coupled with the daily talking points that everything is on track and there is no stuff up.

Only a rusted on would say the rollout has been to plan and not a stuff up.

And NSW has very much for special treatment. Maybe you won’t respond to it because you know it’s true and it’s indefensible.

At least we now what line the Liberal party is saying today with your posts. We can get the facts from health authorities.
NSW’s numbers today are over 1200, this is an alarming fact. Poor Gladys, holding the line but it’s slipping through her fingers.

JC,
I said I’m willing to read other information about the plan if you’ve got it. I’m simply going on the numbers. There’s no spin there, just facts that overall it’s actually surprising how close to the October target we will be considering the problems encountered.

And no NSW has received no special treatment, unless you believe helping those based on need is special treatment. Or do you think it’s unfair that hospitals triage their patients as well?

Astro,
I do find it laughable that you think I have any connection to the Liberal party considering the amount I berate them on these very pages regularly.

Although it’s hardly surprising that a partisan like yourself can’t recognise objectivity when you have one eye constantly closed.

Also strange that you didn’t mention Victoria’s increased numbers today and the fact that they’ve announced their “hard and fast” lockdown is being extended.

On this issue, you’ve clearly taken a partisan stance (defending the NSW chaos, touting the vaccination stroll out as a huge success, trying to put the emphasis on Victorian cases when NSW is clearly out of control). I think you’ll find that the over 1,200 cases recorded today in NSW also necessitated further lockdown. the talking points are just not to call it a “lockdown” (don’t use the “L” word Glad, they won’t notice). What a sad debacle. I feel sorry for NSW people who were led in to this by the inability of their Premier to take the necessary precautions to protect them. One can only hope that they get in control of this before Christmas. We just can’t keep pretending that everything is fine can we?

Astro,
Show me one comment where I’ve defended NSW (I’m assuming you mean their government)?

The fact that I point out that the issues are more complex than the simplistic position you are putting forward does not make my position partisan.

I point out the Victorian numbers just to show that it’s trickier than just suggesting that a hard and fast lockdown is always going to be the answer or that a goal of zero cases is even possible or desirable long term. Considering the pain it takes to achieve it across all areas of society, I don’t believe its worthwhile. I’ve also said that don’t really blame the Victorian government for last year’s outbreaks despite clear mistakes being made.

I could easily have used NZ as another example seeing as they are now dealing with the exact same thing.

And I point out the extraordinary vaccine numbers we are now achieving because it is the way back to some form of normal life. The fact that the government has been able to pivot so fast despite the problems encountered is a very good thing.

You may think that is somehow political but it really isn’t.

He is a ‘bible inerrancy’ right-wing christian to boot!!

Dumber and DUMBER is no longer just fiction.

In one of Spike Milligan’s war memoir books there was an age-ing gunner who remembered Spike’s dad back in Burmah. This chap, had over many years as a regular British Army gunner, as Spike so memorably put it, risen inexorably to Lance-Bombardier (aka Lance-Corporal). It’s a badge for old-soldiers, and not really an ‘Other-Rank’ rank, which Bombardier / Corporal actually IS.

Anyway his memorable saying, quoted by Spike in the series, was ” I like to read friction, Sir!”.

Most regular Armys are dotted with these idiots. Thank-God few become real NCOs. But then again there’s always the ‘junior-subaltern ex-Public-School British Army chap, who was so stupid, everyone noticed! ‘

COVID came to this country by sea and by air. Just as we seem to be on top of it, we open up international travel and a new variant comes. Lesson – stop the incoming celebrities and their legions of rose petal throwers. Maybe we can then knock it on its head

How long do we stay closed for? 5 years, 10 years? All whilst the rest of the world is learning to live with it.

If Scumo had had to prepare a paper for uni on how to manage a pandemic he would have scored a BIG Fat F! He is the the most dud PM we’ve ever had…from any political party!

With the greatest respect Eudamonic, when awarding ScoMo’s the title of “the most dud PM we’ve ever had” you probably should acknowledge that he defeated Mr Shorten, the Opposition Leader who lost the unlosable election! ?

davidmaywald2:02 pm 27 Aug 21

Put yourself in the position of the South Australian Premier: up for election on 19 March next year; zero cases of Covid in the community; and you have successfully implemented three lockdowns to protect your local community… Do you allow NSW and Victorian travellers for Christmas, assuming that the “70% and 80% vaccination rates” have been passed?

It doesn’t matter whether Steven Marshall is Liberal or Mark McGowan and Annastacia Palaszczuk are Labor. They have all been striving to keep their people healthy and safe. From the safety of Adelaide’s position it would be irresponsible (and political suicide) to rush a re-opening, and then let your healthcare system clean-up Covid’s impact during an election campaign. Each and every death would weigh down Marshall’s campaign for re-election.

The delta variant has completely changed the game, relegating “herd immunity” to wishful thinking. There is no “return to normal”, there is no replay of Christmas in 2019 (or 2018 prior to the bushfires). The national plan in Australia is based on vaccinating about 60% of the population (which is way too low), it excludes protection for most children, and it has left many vulnerable groups behind (such as Indigenous and disabled people)…

Scott Morrison chides Queenslanders and West Australians for “living in a cave”, but they are safe and they are enjoying a lot more freedom than Sydneysiders (who are massively suffering from the failures of the NSW coalition government). With better execution of quarantine and vaccination supply, both of which are failures of the federal government, we would be in a much more favourable position right now.

Great points. I didn’t realise SA election is next year. You can be sure SA won’t be opening anytime soon for all the reasons you mention.

Also same reason why I don’t think the change help Morrison either. Maybe the Libs have decided federally to give labor 3 years to wear the impact of opening (which as I’ve said elsewhere is needed but the results are inevitable).

BUT Scomo IS in a cave – two layers of dense rock thick.

i) He’s a bible-inerrancy right-wing Christian.
ii) He’s a winger in political terms too!

As a fully-drummed, bible-literate, High-Church Anglican, and a former Cathedral Chorister, who was throroughly prepared over a year and twice each week, by our Dean after choir practice – for Confirmation.

I can assure all my huge throng of eager readers, that the Bible is riddled with errors, inconsistencies and a good deal of nonsense to boot.

You see, it WAS written be terribly keen Jews and Christians aka FUNDAMENTALISTs, who, if you remember the Wars of Religion and the Reformation, and pyres for heretics, or worse, didn’t actually have a Christian or tolerant bone in their bodies.

And still don’t, mind you!

I’d remove QEI from that, as she was enough of a prgamatist about the KEENLY & COMMITTEDLY FAITHFUL to have died as Queen!

I’ll stick with JC’s simple two sentence version, though I won’t add liking and not correcting to his 2nd ‘love’ rule.

With such folk, I am tolerant but critical, even in public as here! 🙂

ChrisinTurner1:27 pm 27 Aug 21

The experts talk about 70% and 80% of the population while ScoMo talks about percentage of the “eligible population”. Another scam?

Chris,
No they don’t.

The modelling completed by the Doherty Institute for the national plan (70%, 80% targets) is specifically relating to those “eligible populations”, not the total population.

Although now Pfizer is approved for 12 year olds and up, we can get even broader coverage of the population as a whole.

Christian as Chewy said the experts also talk about eligible population. The media however rarely make that distinction.

But here is a thought. I am sure that slight technicality and the ambiguity around the messaging is somewhat intentional. I wouldn’t called it a scam, I call it politicking or maybe even propaganda.

In actual fact the way this whole Doherty Institute report is being used by NSW and the Feds is borderline propaganda too. Even though I do believe the end goal suggested by that report is what we should be aiming for. That is high vaccination rates and learning to live with COVID and the obvious consequences. But how it is being used by those two governments as some wholly grail is a bit of a worry. Especially when it is a report they commissioned and paid for.

Another example of the propaganda machine ramping it up a notch today. As mentioned in another thread watching sunrise today they had an interview with a news Corp jurno about her attack article on premiers playing politics and how the feds and NSW are the shining light.

Again agree with the basic sentiment of it all, this nonsense needs to end and we need to learn with Covid, but raise it as an interesting example of how the feds are using their media mates and their propaganda machines.

Matthew Fleming10:39 am 27 Aug 21

Sounds like Ian Bushnell is straight out of Labor’s faceless men support group. The Labor vs Liberal rot is exactly what Australians are sick of; get vaccinated and then open up. The rest of the world is about to leave us behind, not including North Korea, the other hermit nation. So, Ian, get behind the National Plan, and forget about your political point scoring opportunity, we are over it.

I don’t think so! Ian’s merely a sensible rational critic of greed and I’m alright-ism.

Scumo & Gladys cannot be trusted.
Both have been caught out being corrupt within the last 12 months -haas our collective memory become so short or, worse, do we simply not care?
Scumo bungled vaccines from the start because he has no policy except ‘Im on the ark, don’t care if you’re stuffed’, even less nouse for implementation.

Gladys has played the ‘poor woman in leadership’s when, quite apart from her gender-she’s just a bad leader. Ruby princess and porkbarrelling remind you? She has tried to play to business at a risk to lives that a short sharp lockdown could have prevented – go Andrews & Vic beating covid what 7 times now?

Barr’s leadership has been exemplary calm in an incredibly uncertain world we all find ourselves in. Better to undersell and overproduce than oversell & produce sweet FA – annoucements change nothing, they’re very similar to thoughts &prayers.

Anyone who thinks covid is just a bad flu or that these lockdown aren’t necessary seems to be from the ‘we need another war’ type of person who will no doubt complain about wait times in ER for their broken arm when the health systems are so under strain there are no more beds for trauma patients due to high covid hospitalisations.
It is time we grew up. Actions & INaction have consequences.We need to have a long view beyond the election cycle. Scumo and Gladys, & their ilk do not & don’t care to change so long as we let them keep skimming funds4friends & against public interest – conservatives in the traditional sense they are not as they conserve nothing but their own hides.
Vote to demand better than their paltry offering to governance. Otherwise what is the point of ANY government?

When a commentator starts with “Scumo”, you know that the remarks will be politically biased.

It doesn’t really matter whether it is a State/Territory or Federal politician. Any politician of any flavour will seek to maximise their re-election opportunity.

Were seen State Premiers, lockdown hard and then get re-elected because in a crisis, they have kept their State safe. ScoMo hasn’t been perfect but by the time the election is due, the countries Covid protection should have improved dramatically and businesses re-opened; possibly getting him re-elected. To be honest, Albo hasn’t done much to justify a change.

In 18 months NSW goes to the polls. I’m not so confident that Gladys will be returned. In comparison to other Premiers, NSW has been a Covid nightmare that has threatened all other States and Territories

Okay? so how about his commitment to Bible Inerrancy?

As a calmly Christian Anglican, who has read the Bible, several times, that smacks of fascist thought-control.

Who would have thought Scomo and Gladys would become the only voices of reason in all of this and the best way towards Australians living normal lives. Labour leaders are stuck in the 2020 way of thinking when Delta didn’t exist and there were not effective vaccines or treatments available.

Our fixation on lockdowns needs to end. The public has such poor understanding of relative risk demonstrated by the hesitancy around AstraZeneca. Vaccinated 70 year olds have the SAME relative risk as an unvaccinated 40 year old. Overweight people that are vaccinated have the same mortality risk as an unvaccinated person of their own age group that are in a normal weight range. RSV, flu and chicken pox all have far more severe health outcomes in children that I will never understand why they need to be vaccinated.

Happy to wait until 70% of the eligible population gets vaccinated but it is hardly necessary. The treatments available now are so much more advanced than a year ago. We can have thousands of cases (which we inevitably will) in NSW while at the same time keeping fatalities low. This is the new normal and covid zero is NOT a sustainable option giving the economic and social consequences of perpetual lockdowns.

Oh dear, this opinion piece is an example of the 4th Estate turning itself into the 5th Column.

Stephen Saunders9:01 am 27 Aug 21

Ignore Bushnell, Chewy. Morrison’s 187th COVID “pivot” was good enough for Albanese. Michelle Grattan also takes it at face value.

Who’s this Albanese fellow you mention?

Oh please, it’s laughable to think the state premiers haven’t enjoyed using their newly found and exercised powers to exact maximum political mileage.

And you can’t honestly be saying that some of the premiers haven’t been trying to back away from the national reopening agreement, with ever expanding caveats on what was agreed.

Initially they tried to attack the modelling, then trying to assert that case numbers were important. Now that the Doherty institute has clarified that initial case numbers do not significantly affect the plan, they’ve attempted to try and include all children as well as putting further caveats on the reopening plans.

You laud Barr when he’s said that his target is now 80% and including children which was absolutely not part of the agreement.

No one is saying that at 70% coverage, we will have a victory celebration, just that lockdowns become less likely and other restrictions reduce. At 80%, lockdowns should only be used in extremely small and targetted ways.

It’s easy to try and look tough as some of the premiers are attempting to because they know the Feds have been picking up the Tab and because they are not thinking about the longer term implications of their stance.

Of course Morrison is thinking of the election, the same way that the WA and QLD premiers did.

But that doesn’t mean he’s wrong.

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