Learning would be embarrassing

By July 15, 2021Australian Politics

I don’t usually watch the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Q & A television show because they tend to have people on the panel who are either ignorant, but have opinions, or who are politicians, whose only concern is politicking; both are annoying, if not infuriating. As a consequence, that is why I tend not to watch it. However, they actually had people who knew stuff (apart from Meshel Laurie and Steve Price), but perhaps just as importantly, Virginia Trioli was moderating and she is so skilled that she would not tolerate any idiocy. So, I watched the episode on Thursday, July 15th. Early on in the show (1:32), the question was asked by Thejas Balaraman: “Victoria went through a big 2nd wave, killing over 800 people. Mistakes were made. Lessons were learnt. We have had outbreaks and lockdowns since then, none of them have been as severe as that extended lockdown. With New South Wales facing a big outbreak this time around, I have seen the same issues cropping up in the past few weeks. My question is, did NSW learn enough from Victoria’s experiences? I believe they haven’t, and so my further question is why not?”1

Virginia Trioli threw straight to Marylouise McLaws who is from Sydney (2:17); she firstly apologised for Victoria getting “our Covid Delta strain”. She then answered the question (2:28) thus: “Answering that very simply, is, we haven’t learnt because we do everything on a state basis, not a national basis. For example, you [Victoria] learnt from the second wave to go in early and to go in hard, to get out early. You locked down on the third day when you had about 25 cases; we didn’t lock down until we had 54 cases. You were in lockdown for 100 days until you got your last case, and that was on day 28 [I don’t know what this means either]. We are at day 29 and I think we have 930 cases. So, did we learn? No, sadly we didn’t learn from your experience; we didn’t learn from the UK experience that [sic] have been giving us fantastic reports through Public Health England reports [sic] telling us about their anxiety of Delta. We didn’t learn from the anxiety of the UK and the USA. The USA have been telling us that their [DNA] sequence specimens have been doubling in proportion every two weeks for Delta.. [inaudible]. We certainly didn’t learn from your North Melbourne experience where you went in very heavy-handedly and didn’t use your multicultural and local community. We’ve gone in fairly heavy handed and I don’t like seeing the police in Fairfield”1.

The reason that the response to Covid-19 is on a state basis and not at national basis, is solely because of the almost total absence of the federal government from the field. The only things with which the federal government has had a deep involvement, obtaining and rolling out vaccines, quarantine, and the for profit aged care system, have been shambolic. Vaccines are late arriving and the only one obtained in large enough quantities, so far, is less effective, has a problem with clotting and is not recommended for people under 60, and it was the cheapest. The absence of purpose-built quarantine centres has led to the shemozzle of hotel quarantine, which has arguably been more devastating overall than the mess that was the floating hotel, the Ruby Princess. On top of this was the regulation of the for profit aged care system, in which the majority of Covid-19 deaths have occurred2

Not learning from others’ experience is a sure sign of idiocy. Having to make the same mistakes yourself, possibly at the cost of people’s lives is a dangerous idiocy. However, I think the problem is deeper than idiocy; it is politics. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian cannot emulate the successful, if difficult, measures instituted by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and his deputy James Merlino. Why? Because, to do so would make it patently obvious that the hammering Andrews received at the hands of Berejiklian herself, as well as Morrison, Frydenberg, assorted Murdoch ‘ruperters’ and the whining buffoons in the Victorian Liberal opposition3,4, was simply politicking; just more sickening, disgusting, politicking. We can only hope that this failure to learn and emulate will not kill people.


  1. https://www.abc.net.au/qanda/2021-15-07/13442838
  2. https://blotreport.com/2020/12/11/a-lack-of-imagination/
  3. https://blotreport.com/2021/04/25/belting-victoria/
  4. https://blotreport.com/2021/07/10/have-you-heard/


  • Gordon Craven says:

    My wife and myself are in our seventies and live in Queensland. We have been registered for vaccination for months now and heard nothing back. Ringing around is hopeless and we are told it will be months. Seeing the government ads on TV to “Arm Yourself” is infuriating. Morrison and his crony mates make me puke… born liars that care more about politics than the population they are supposed to serve. I believe it will not be long before there are many litigation episodes arising out of this debacle.
    Join the GetUp open letter of disgust to Morrison…

    • admin says:

      I already have signed that letter (I donate to GetUp). As I said in an earlier rant on this blog, I finally got my first AstraZeneca shot on the last day of June from my local GP, and was told that the danger period for the blood clots is from 5 to 21 days, so I only have 5 days to go before I am (relatively) in the clear. My second shot is not until late September. Keep trying for your vaccination and keep safe. I have been surprised at how monumentally incapable Morrison and his government have been. Their incompetence is extraordinary in its completeness. However, their venality is not a surprise. If many of them avoid gaol, then there is no justice.

  • Jon says:

    This superficial piece from the SMH is instructive. No-on will be surprised that Morrison has 6 spin doctors with their heads in the trough of public money.
    “Clearly, the number of press secretaries you have denotes importance. Prime Minister Scott Morrison now has six – which is more than CBD can ever remember any PM having.
    Josh Frydenberg now has four, which seems overkill given the energetic Treasurer’s hardest working press officer is actually himself.
    More puzzling is Communications Minister Paul Fletcher who has three media advisers. Why? He barely ever says anything.”

    This – despite the misleading heading – from Gittins however is a much better summary of the pathetic state of national politics in this country:

    • admin says:

      Gittins is almost invariably on the money. I am not really surprised that there are so many spin doctors. They probably need such a number to keep track of the myriad lies

  • Jim says:

    The failings of the Federal Government are clear to everyone, well almost everyone. However, some of the problems come back to old fashioned state parochialism which various premiers have found to be very useful in recent elections. As numerous people have said, you would think Australia was eight separate countries the way the various states and territories have carried on like pork chops. When I first came over to Adelaide from Tasmania, I was genuinely surprised at the latent antagonism South Australians had for Victorians and a mate of mine who had shifted to Perth at the same time wrote to me and said that one of the first things he noticed in Perth was the antagonism to anything from the eastern states (i.e., anywhere east of Kalgoorlie). There are numerous other examples, e.g., the ridiculous build up to the State of Origin Rugby League games each year–a pretty silly sport anyway. This parochialism was mentioned in passing on last night’s Q & A programme and is one of the quite disappointing aspects of the pandemic in Australia.

    • admin says:

      Yeah. I noticed that when I went to Hobart in the 1970s. There was very much a ‘mainlanders and us’ attitude. One of the funniest things that happened to me was as follows: I’d come from Newcastle (at that time population of about 300,000) and someone who knew my origin asked me ‘what it was like to come to the big smoke’ of Hobart (population then of about 130,000). However, the problem with the response to this pandemic, is that the federal government has washed their hands of almost everything to do with it. They even had to be dragged kicking and screaming to start JobKeeper; and they finished it too early. And now they have had to be dragged into doing it again in NSW and Victoria. On top of this, they have actively attempted to make the states point the finger at each other. There was nothing like this during the GFC that I can remember, and that was because the federal government actually did something, and very successfully.

  • Gordon Craven says:

    I have just deleted around 20,000 spam emails you have sent me since yesterday. YES 20,000.
    They are titled “[New comment] Learning would be embarrassing”
    This is causing my email server severe problems!!!

    • admin says:

      Sorry about that. I suspect something has been hacked. I’ll attempt to delete your e-mail from the system.

    • admin says:

      I think you will have to unsubscribe yourself.

    • admin says:

      Talked to my IT bloke and, after reviewing your initial post on’Learning would be embarrassing’, it was clear that when submitting the comment there are three fields below the actual comment for your name, e-mail address, and for a website. It appears that you have put in a website there which may have caused the infinite loop for the notifications. Are you affiliated with the ‘rosesonly’ website you included, as it appears suspicious and may indicate a compromise of your site?

  • Russell says:

    Maybe the Prime Monster asks each of the press secretaries to write up a page of spin, takes the pages after blindfolding himself, uses scissors to slice each page up into sections. He then tosses all of those into the air and picks up four or five of them. All he has to do then is get the sticky tape and unite the scraps in hand. To judge by the semiliterate bunches of uninformative phrases, the cliches and weasel words he vomits up as a speech, I can’t think of another reason those people are needed. Is it really allowed for the Kingpillock of Australia to appoint that many secretaries to himself? I thought absolute monarchies disappeared around 1800 to 1830. Waste, yet another idle, self-serving waste of public money by the Libs.

    • admin says:

      I think there are a standard series of techniques: deflection (that isn’t the real question), denigration of questioner (you are a disgrace for asking that), motherhood statements (with or without a word salad), the Sergeant Schultz defence (I know nothing), variations of the Shane Warne defence (family members are to blame), dead cat (look over there)…….

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