I read the daily Pearls and Irritations email without fail and usually find various pieces I want to read. Continue reading
The latest economic response to the coronavirus is the third economic package announced in less than three weeks. Clearly more should have been done earlier, but the structure and scale of the Government’s overall economic response now seems more commensurate with the size and impact of the economic shock. Continue reading
Poor messaging and own-goals killing flu strategy Continue reading
Two brief comments as a follow up to my article on coronavirus on Monday. Continue reading
Indonesia’s 8.9 per cent death rate for COVID-19 infections is the second highest in the world, just behind Italy nudging ten per cent. The apparent inaction of the Government is particularly concerning with Indonesian meat market practices being quite similar to in Wuhan where it all started.
These are hard times. The twin crisis of public health and economic downturn has no simple solution. Continue reading
Are we about to face the era of a ‘new eugenics’ movement or is it simply a return to the ‘old eugenics’ which we thought had disappeared shortly after the end of World War II? The health crisis may force us to decide who to prioritise and on what basis. Continue reading
As the Morrison Government responds incrementally to the Corona Virus epidemic – apparently following expert medical advice – there has been much comment about decisions to close businesses such as hairdressing salons. Sadly, the decision to shut down parliament received comparatively little discussion.
A friend mailed me recently to ask if I was well and safely distanced socially. He also pasted the following letter and asked me if I’d seen it. I hadn’t. Continue reading
In sharper focus than ever this week is the danger health professionals experience in caring for seriously ill patients infected with COVID-19. Continue reading
Officials are not independent. They are more loyal to ministers than the public need for information Continue reading
Social isolation is hardly a new problem for us: it has been high on the list of concerns for social scientists and health professionals for many years. But the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to confront the potential for loneliness on an unprecedented scale. Continue reading
Barbers are considered essential, but the MPs are considered redundant in a way they have never been, not during wars, depressions and previous pandemics. Continue reading
There is good news for most children and bad news for some in this pandemic. Unlike most epidemics, where those at both ends of the age spectrum are more likely to succumb, the good news is that we are seeing a smaller proportion of deaths and infections in children. Continue reading
In the US, the first formal clinical trial of a drug to treat coronavirus and of a vaccine give us a good moment to reflect on the immunology of this illness. Continue reading
COVID-19 is far from being the end of the world, but it does signify the start of the second cycle of a process known as catabolic collapse.
Getting in early to stop the spread of the virus would have been good for the community, and from Crown’s perspective good for the company’s floundering reputation, as it faces multiple official inquiries. It would also have demonstrated that even ‘special’ companies have to play by the rules. Continue reading
Imagine stopping the boats the centrepiece of your entire political platform for 10 years, and then failing to stop the one boat that actually fucking mattered.
Pearls & Irritations should be a priority resource for anyone with an interest in public affairs who would prefer to hear the voice of experience. Continue reading
By the end of this year Australia will have begun the process of removing our armed forces from the Iraq and Afghanistan or at least be considering what can fairly be termed a retreat after a series of engagements lasting almost twenty years. Continue reading
In the eleven days since we first tried to make sense of the Federal Government’s approach to the current health crisis, little has changed in its approach. Continue reading
Scott Morrison’s National Cabinet is working pretty well so far. Continue reading
In 1651, the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, writing about the social contract, warned that without a strong central government man reverts to his natural state of self-interest and life is ‘solitary, poore, nasty, brutish and short’. The West has rejected Hobbes’ philosophy and we have seen the erosion of strong central government across decades.
And the school girl with her school bag. Continue reading
When did the world’s media and politicians become collective versions of Lance Corporal Jones in the British comedy series Dad’s Army, screaming ‘Don’t panic! Don’t panic!’? Colour me contrarian, but since the 2003 Iraq war, my working motto has been: when you come across excitable exclamation marks, substitute sceptical question marks and you’ll be right. Continue reading
The raiding of supermarket shelves shows the influence of capitalism at its worst: competition, selfishness, exploitation by the successful raiders at the expense of those who could not compete or decided not to. Continue reading
The current pandemic caused by the virus COVID – 19 is affecting many countries; it is highly infectious and potentially fatal, especially for vulnerable people. Indigenous Australians are especially at risk to this infection and will need special arrangements to minimise the devastation that this virus could bring to them. How can this be best achieved? Continue reading
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. How will a coronavirus-led recession affect CO2 emissions? Will health improve from cleaner air with fewer vehicles on the road? How can governments use stimulus packages to protect the vulnerable and hasten the transition to a low carbon, environmentally sustainable, just world? And good news for Torres Strait Islanders: $25m to cope with sea level rise.
What people in other forums are saying about public policy Continue reading
From next week, we will be outsourcing the production, technical support and promotion of Pearls & Irritations. Continue reading
The Government seems to think that it must balance the needs of the economy against the actions needed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. In fact this is not true, and Australia’s future economic capacity will fall if the virus is not defeated as quickly as possible. Continue reading