Politics

Crikey Worm: Facts and figures

NOT A MODEL ANSWER

The Queensland speaker has dismissed a claim that Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk misled her community about COVID deaths predicted in Doherty modelling, ABC reports. Palaszczuk made the claim — that 2240 will die each month when 70% of the population was inoculated — in parliament and on Twitter, as news.com.au reports. The claim was tested and determined as “misleading” by ABC’s Fact Check, who said it was a worst-case scenario. “Ms Palaszczuk has chosen an extreme outcome … with lower probability,” researchers found, from “a range of modelled outcomes”.

LNP MP Jarrod Bleijie asked the speaker to refer Palaszczuk to the ethics committee, but Speaker Curtis Pitt dismissed it because Bleijie had backgrounded it in the media. Pitt called that “discourteous and an abuse of procedure”. Why? Well, it was said in parliament under privilege, ABC continues, and Pitt says he’s warned politicians before about going to the media after they raised issues under due process with him. It’s not the first time Palaszczuk has been under fire for her, erm, “creative” tweeting — in July she said the UK government wasn’t allowing under 40s to get AstraZeneca, which was incorrect, as the Brisbane Times reported, and which may have contributed to vaccine hesitancy in Queensland.

SHOTS DOWN

Western Australia is still trailing the country in their rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, and the state government is blaming it on the federal government, The New Daily reports. Health Minister Roger Cook said about 700 GPs usually administer vaccines but a little over half of them had been approved to administer COVID-19 vaccines. WA’s health department says about 64% of the over 16 population has had one shot, and about 46% has received both. It’s about 13% behind the national rate.

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It comes as the infected Stolt Sakura tanker is ploughing towards the west of the country, news.com.au reports, with 11 out of the 22 people onboard testing positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile a Victorian man in Perth — who allegedly used fake documents to attend the AFL grand final — has returned an inconclusive test result, as 7 News reports, no doubt bolstering reluctance in the west for opening up the border soon. And they’re not the only ones. Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has said 100 people would die if Tassie reopens at 80% vax coverage, continuing that he wanted to wait ’til they reach 90% instead, as SBS reports.

SUB-STANDARD LEADERSHIP

Former PM Malcolm Turnbull has called his former ally and successor Scott Morrison a national security risk over his “extraordinary deceit” in bailing on the submarine contract with the French, the ABC reports. Turnbull also said if Morrison chooses not to attend Glasgow for the climate summit — the most important climate meeting in half a decade — he’ll be showing where he considers climate is on his priorities.

But Energy Minister Angus Taylor reckons Turnbull’s just a thespian — he called him a “former prime minister looking for attention and relevance”. Speaking of — did you catch Nats Senator Bridget McKenzie’s spray in the AFR? She said it was easy for Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Wentworth MP Dave Sharma to back net zero because climate action doesn’t affect their “affluent constituents”. As Health Affairs puts it, however, “climate change is the greatest threat to human health in history”.

Turnbull is also in the news this week over a messy fallout with a former family friend and CEO of Pengana, Russel Pillemer, as The Australian ($) reports. Malcolm’s son Alex Turnbull is suing Pillemer for $12 million over a deal Alex made years back to sell $6 million in stock to him — unknowingly undercutting the Turnbulls a fair chunk of change, as the company in question merged with another investment house, Hunter Hall, months later.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

Guardian columnist Gabrielle Chan wears quite a few hats in a regular day. So when a mouthy cockatoo came to live with her as a new pet, she was happy for the company and delighted to see him take initiative with her kids. Cocky even started giving them a scold if they got boisterous around the house. But Chan says she got a little “cocky” herself, letting Cocky out of his garden shed for days on end. That’s when the trouble began.

“He began acting like a little general, marching around the joint, berating the family for unknown crimes,” she writes for Guardian Australia. When her kids started arming themselves with sticks, Cocky did the same — with micro-twigs. He even started mustering them and nipping their heels. Chan knew it was time for Cocky to come down from his proverbial perch and go back into the shed. At first, Chan says, Cocky appeared compliant, nestling on her partner’s shoulder — but suddenly the cockatoo clamped onto his earlobe flesh. It came to a climax when her partner — referred to as The Farmer — was mowing. Cocky stood in his path, daring him to make his move. “Cocky won,” she says. “The Farmer bowed his head and went around the beady-eyed terrorist.”

But Chan got the last laugh when she gifted the cockatoo to a zealously enthusiastic, bird-adoring neighbour. Two weeks later, a thoroughly beat Cocky “flew the coop”, Chan says.

All you need is love, folks. Do do do do dooooo.

SAY WHAT?

I am very determined to pursue Facebook in the courts for defamation. I was very careful with what I posted and everything was linked to an expert opinion.

Craig Kelly

The MP says he was “defamed” when his page was banned in February for posts that promoted hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin — both possibly dangerous, and not proven to help treat COVID — and also that questioned the effectiveness of masks, which are proven to reduce the transmission of COVID. Good luck, I guess. Despite the ban, Kelly still managed, however, to front a recent video shared on the platform in which he uses the Victorian police response to the violent protests in Melbourne to urge people to join the UAP.

No farmer left behind: we’ve got the draft of Morrison’s net zero announcement

“[It reads:] ‘As a result of the plan, Australia will reduce its emissions by 32% by 2030, a substantial increase on its existing Paris Agreement commitment. Unlike many other countries, Australia will always meet its emissions commitments and outline how it will achieve them.

“[It continues:] ‘At the heart of ZERO will be a $5 billion, 10-year commitment to carbon capture and storage technology. As the International Energy Agency has shown, there is no credible transition to net zero without massive investment in carbon capture and storage. Australia, already a world leader in this exciting technology, will showcase how geosequestration can drive a zero-emissions future while preserving the millions of jobs dependent on fossil fuel investment around the world.’”

Morrison’s net zero plan: how the media will react

“Not merely have we found Scott Morrison’s net zero plan wafting back from a short time in the future, but we’ve also caught a glimpse of how the media covered it. The Australian: ‘Scott Morrison has fundamentally changed Australia’s economic trajectory and singlehandedly ended Australia’s climate wars, which have contributed to the defeat of five prime ministers before him, including the mighty John Howard.

“[They’ll continue:] ‘His ZERO plan is at once a political masterstroke and work of policy genius that will prevent growing international hysteria over climate from affecting our exports, while preserving regional and blue-collar jobs. There is no doubt that Morrison will go down as one of Australia’s greatest prime ministers for this achievement alone.’”

Jacqui Lambie rubbishes national cabinet secrecy bill and vows to vote it down

“The prime minister’s controversial bill to keep national cabinet deliberations a secret may be dead in the water because crossbench Senator Jacqui Lambie says she will vote against it. Lambie told Crikey she would not support the bill, which aims to subject the national cabinet to cabinet confidentiality, despite it being found not to be a cabinet under Australian constitutional law.

“Lambie’s decision means the bill is unlikely to have the numbers to pass the Senate after a Coalition senator, Gerard Rennick, told the AFR’s Ronald Mizen on Tuesday that he would cross the floor to vote against it.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Romdhane named Tunisia’s first female PM by President Saied (Al Jazeera)

North Korea says it fired new ‘hypersonic missile’ (BBC)

Japan faces big problems. Its next leader offers few bold solutions. (The New York Times)

YouTube to remove videos containing vaccine misinformation (The Wall Street Journal)

Ian Healy slams Sheffield Shield ‘debacle’ as uncertain summer of cricket awaits (The Australian) ($)

Syria high on agenda as Putin and Erdogan meet in Sochi (Al Jazeera)

Record $5b donation to protect nature could herald new green era of giving (The Guardian)

Auckland alert level shift rocked by COVID case spike (NZ Herald)

Thousands of women rally for right to safe, legal abortion in Latin America (SBS News)

Canada: win for anti-logging protesters as judge denies firm’s injunction bid (The Guardian)

No Time To Die: Daniel Craig’s final Bond film gets five-star reviews (BBC)

THE COMMENTARIAT

Bitter truth is we will likely never get any nuclear subsGreg Sheridan (The Australian) ($) “Every major, complex naval build we’ve undertaken has come in way over budget and long over schedule … Obviously, it makes no industrial or military sense to build the subs in Adelaide. Doing so will add years to the schedule and tens of billions of dollars to the cost. The French are criticised for prospective delays in their conventional subs, but we could have had them much more quickly if they were built in France.

“But here is a moral certainty. The dialectics of Australian politics will force both the Coalition and Labor, before the next election, to commit to building all the subs in Adelaide. Say by some miracle the process stays on track and we actually get a boat in the water by 2040 — pretty unlikely, but not absolutely impossible — that does not mean we have our replacement submarine fleet by 2040. If we can build one nuclear sub every three years after that we will be doing very well. That means we would get our fleet of eight subs by 2061.”

The climate crisis has sparked an economic arms race – and Australia cannot afford to stay idleMatt Kean (Guardian Australia): “Small business and households will reap the benefits of cheap, reliable and clean energy, too, with average residential users poised to yield annual savings of around $130 and small businesses around $430 each year. Five renewable energy zones are being created in our regions to combine renewable energy generation, storage such as batteries, and the transmission networks to reach homes, businesses and industries.

“These modern-day power stations represent a trifecta of good policy — jobs and investment for the regions, affordable and reliable power to service the economy, and creation of new income streams for landowners. NSW is also powering the shift to electric vehicles, tapping into surging global markets for their manufacture, and providing the renewable energy needed to service them. The collective action of the public and private sectors is placing a new green premium on the table.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Australia

  • Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja, and Shadow Minister for International Development Pat Conroy will both address the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) 2021 National Conference, held online.
  • Journalists Laura Tingle and Peter van Onselen will discuss Australia’s policies over the past 20 years and moving forward at a Grattan Institute webinar.
  • Author John Marsden will discuss his new memoir, Take Risks, which explores teaching, parenting and society, in an online talk by Readings.

Whadjuk Noongar Country (also known as Perth)

  • The WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety will host the 2021 Resources Sector Awards for Excellence, which celebrates sustainable projects and partnerships.
  • Member for Darling Range Hugh Jones will discuss the challenges facing businesses and the health sector at the Byford & Districts Country Club.

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Peter Fray

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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