There was a distinction between the Cretins’ Coalition during the 2019-20 bushfires, of a conventional adversary style but that could not be avoided given Morrison’s Hawaiian escape and abuse of firies and farmers &tc.
The outbeak of Coronavirus from January 2020 was a different matter, Labor retreated into an appeasement mode in strange ways reflected elsewhere especially stimulus-stupidity.com.
Here, what matters remain from that period and what new ones have been added? This document was written in mid-December 2020, the interval being covered in depth in https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/c-o-v-i-d-a-u-s-t-r-a-l-i-a-failure-of-the-morrison-trump-johnson-bravura-model; and then this just after the October focus of https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/righteous-blame and updated in small respects this week in July 2022.
It is worth reading as all matters were suppressed by both Coalition and ALP:
UPDATE 21 July The PM and Treasurer had another nightmare of a day they will look back on as regrettable through to ran-and-hide, see also the Malice …. page as well – Integrity and anti-corruption are covered in smoke and there might well be a bushfire going on (they are suppressing my Indigenous fire risk reduction program)
Update 13 July Transparency to ensure accountability
The new page complements all the others. This graphic reflects a sad day where ministers were headless, the PM refused to listen to the whistling kettle and the pot is boiling over, and Kennedy/Chalmers did more of their uber-stupid malenomics by cutting medicines (saving minor amounts of cash) and being incapable of understanding that medicines reduce hospital costs + maintaining $ billion in carbon savings as the Queensland Government launches its Love-a-Lump of Anthracite Day. Albanese and Chambers adore metros so allow Perrottet to lie and the metros and trams to inexorably build capital, operating and debt/congestion/ housing costs, idiocy.
Unfinished Agenda: Repairing Corona Damage
International observers need to understand that the economic and social costs of even Australia’s relatively modest level of COVID-19 infections is unnecessarily high and due to political incompetence.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlights systemic weaknesses in Australia’s political, medical and economic structures and processes. Solutions needed to be as holistic as are the problems. The inter-related areas include international diplomacy, bushfires in tourism areas and political nous. The success and failures of leadership saw “repair” refused, with NSW’s third wave being the result of pure stupidity but across National Cabinet.
The dominant factor in responding to all pandemics is governance, with medical solutions arriving later. Australia was luckier with COVID-19 than most but failed in many respects. Sensible reform ideas have been suppressed, with consequences most dire. The Murray River economy was capriciously and maliciously damaged by Government action while the curtailment of stimulus has damaged all small and medium businesses.
The world is star-struck with Victoria’s incredible progress in subduing COVID after a catastrophic mistake in quarantine. For that the Premier, Dan Andrews, was viciously demonised by News and even public broadcaster ABC opinionists (journalistic pretenders) – with Trump-like fervour.
NSW’s Premier Berejiklian has refused to enforce movement and mask protocols such that the disease has broken out again in Sydney and possibly spread to Victoria.
So we end with 8 major issues still requiring repair.
- Bushfire “ready” as a metaphor
Tourism regions are bushfire-prone as well as Corona-vulnerable. The 2019-20 fires were horrendous: the backburning model had failed for decades and calls to bring back Aboriginal landcare methods ignored. Berejiklian showed a caring face and regained lost credibility. Morrison was cruel and abusive and became an international clown. He promised reconstruction funds and expressed disdain months later when he said it had not been spent because fire victims did not need it. There followed lots of small-scale activity seen in websites but Morrison rejected the Royal Commission’s call to buy heavy-lift air tankers. He rejected this analyst’s Aboriginal landcare submission (c 8,000 rangers). The first fire in 2020-21 was as uncontrollable as in the earlier firegrounds. Morrison deliberately dithered away a full year.
The metaphor works on these premises which parallel Trump’s. Shortage of PPEs and no patient-handling “standard operating procedures”, quarantine failures, random closures/refusals to close down disease-ridden zones, merits of fast hospitalisation versus sacrifices of old folk, incompetent and doctrinaire political appointees, and Morrison washing his hands of his responsibilities for quarantine, border control and Fed-owned aged care agencies.
The Australian’s Chris Kenny wrote on 2 May “that If the Ruby Princess has been Australia’s single most avoidable slip-up on spreading coronavirus infections, the most unnecessary stuff-up in the societal and economic response has been the way students have been shunned from schools”. He went on in terms reminiscent of my expose of systemic failures sitting behind “$100 billion over 10 years” and sports and women’s facilities rorts:
We are making this up as we go along. Those who are certain that other nations have succeeded where we have been left wanting are having a lend. We just cannot be sure yet.
Risk mitigation is a devilishly difﬁcult practice for public assessment. Think of Shane Fitzsimmons, who headed NSW’s Rural Fire Service for a decade. It was his job for more than a decade to minimise the bushﬁre risk and maximise the ability to protect lives and property. Yet in the wake of the worst bushﬁre season his state has seen, where limited fuel reduction, bad planning and miscued control burns all played a role in the devastating and deadly outcome, he has been lauded as a hero.
Fitzsimmons was promoted while Morrison dressed corona reform out off an anti-climate gas-led agenda. Canberra has lost the ability to plan, assess, implement and repair, as had Trump. NSW and Morrison are fused in incompetence and corruption. Businesses in the border zones have received no compensation for Berejiklian’s malicious capriciousness and must now. The proposal for a strong national indigenous program remained suppressed by Ken Wyatt.
- Stimulus mechanisms working
As in bushfires, there are three phases, none acknowledged in specific ways by governments and consequently none done well if at all. There is the survival mode where personal and property safety are paramount. Then follow stimulus which is short-term revival, months; then recovery which is long-term in industrial and infrastructure terms. The Coalitions have deceived communities in saying that infrastructure is stimulus, it is not, it is camouflage for corruption of national and state budget funding of cronies’ schemes. They have not been prepared for survival and therefore have failed there too.
On Friday 24 April, the Bubble accepted they had made process and other mistakes and backed off with a revised package. In the SMH the next day, Shane Wright and Nick Bonyhardy published “Treasurer closes loopholes, fixes problems with JobKeeper” (both had refused to listen to me previously):
While broadly welcomed by the business community with more than 400,000 formally enrolling in the scheme this week, there have been a series of complaints about its structure and operation. They include pressures on small businesses to find a month’s worth of wage payments upfront, much higher wages for almost 1.7 million part-time workers, rules governing charities and even the structure of firms.
They didn’t mention other problems discussed here. They also did not explain the deferral by six months of the Budget in the context of the imminent publication of my consolidated demolition of Frydenberg’s Budget and MYEFO, rorts and stimulus mistakes.
On 23 July Morrison and Frydenberg responded to this analyst’s pressure over corrupted stimulus to cancel stimulus rather than face claims for plagiarism over previous cycles and incompetence in the current one. Therefore food and accommodation, the driving forces of tourism, were left adrift and arts and recreation were deferred to the never-never. Timing is critical in stimulus: as Morrison has wrecked it, the economy has been unnecessarily damaged.
As explained below Berejiklian’s malicious actions against the Murray River economy and the Queensland border were especially despicable, making her’s and the 23/7 decision a double-tap to SMEs. So-called Liberal leaders are anti-business. Important elements like continuing social support are discussed under the OECD heading.
It was later accepted by NCCC that “The more we can develop predictable, reasoned and carefully considered closure processes to lock down outbreaks as they occur, then we don’t need to fall back to what is an ultimate sledgehammer squashing an ant by closing the border completely” (Nev Power on 21 August ’20 in SMH) – but he is the problem as he has picked up that theme from me, not having any background in the matters.
No one seems to be thinking of making routes and towns safer through
|Advised routes as needing changes from time to time||Safe zones in towns where the community arranges separation||Special facilities such as bulletin boards showing out-of-hours numbers|
The recrudescence of corona in Sydney has national ramifications. The Murray is so close to NSW that cheats will cross the border and cause problems as they did 7 or so months ago. Again, Morrison and Berejiklian should compensate businesses for killing recovery for the 3rd time. These so-called pro-business Libs are no such thing.
Three months ago I published that “more permanent border changes are being discussed Premier-to-Premier on a happenstance basis, even down to a permanent change in the Queensland border with NSW – which should be tested through a Constitutional Conference. After all, this capriciousness might not be the best outcome, National Cabinet has been defeating Morrison’s imperialist propositions and the members should be receiving better briefings than Morrison’s cabal is capable of. Berejiklian in particular must be curtailed from more opaque and capricious rampaging through communities” – which is now too late.
- National & International Integrity
Integrity is indivisible. PM Morrison worked with President Trump to abuse the NZ PM over carbon policies; then tried to shoehorn his anti-climate warrior, the former Finance Minister, into the top chair at OECD by lying about climate credentials. He was known to have lied to President-elect Biden, IMF and OECD, and to G20 and other leaders. He calls his NSW ally “gold star” and abuses Labor leaders over the same issues, except that he shares with Berejiklian a dishonest infrastructure “pipeline”, plagiarism and vindicative bullying, inadequate and ineffective “stimulus” measures and social support streams, and budgetary gaps compared with OECD guidelines including maintaining massive waste and unnecessary debt. He and Frydenberg deliberately construct corrupt budgets including a gift of $44 million to Morrison’s Hillsong international conglomerate.
He and she vindictively smashed the major food & accommodation sector especially along the Murray River border zone with a mafia-type double-tap, first delaying then killing stimulus, then reducing the access zone from 50 to 2 kms, closing businesses with locked out proprietors and employees all along the 300 or so kms of River.
He imprisons a small refugee family for three consequence Christmases at massive and unnecessary cost. He personally instituted the “RoboDebt” program which was maintained despite an estimated 200 contrary legal opinions and with an inadequate $1.2 billion compensation payout – which cannot compensate for over 2,000 consequential deaths. He runs away from problems he creates as soon as they explode – some 8 times now.
The predominant political culture at Fed and State (NSW and SA) levels is of a fused coalition of mutual boosting. That includes their reliance on back-corridor operatives who have no real life experience or achievements, in fact, the greater their record of corruption of process and protocol, the more they are paid. They are “virtually” violent towards independent thinkers. They cannot provide quality advice, they cause problems, then they reinforce the problems to protect their egos. They are unacceptable in a democracy.
- Repair of budgets, projects and policies (OECD & IMF)
As with the bushfires, Morrison rejects climate change in toto and particularly OECD’s “Reviewing all government expenditure will be necessary to ensure adequate spending on high-priority areas and people, and enhance growth without threatening debt sustainability. Starting a review of public expenditures early is important because reallocation of spending towards priority areas is usually gradual”. [On 15 June, 6 October and 18 December PM Morrison repeated the canards of successive failed cycles of stimulus, which, lacking rationale and wasting rivers of taxpayers’ money, seem to be based on twisted priorities in the back corridors of The Bubble – Morrison’s intrinsic “groupthink” lock-up.] IMF used different words to convey the same intent.
“Reviewing” is anathema to Frydenberg (as being opposed to “Budget repair”) and Berejiklian (psychotic addiction to HK loss-making shiny toys and the Debt Lake). The “costs” of waste and ignored advice are discussed on in other places.
At the most basic levels, the optimistic political push to re-open the gates and “hope for the best” overlooks real challenges, not least being the lack of relevant data collection and reporting at industry sector, local, city/region and national levels – “targetting” and early warnings we now know to be essential. Then there is a critical unmet need for a strong local system (as the Feds impede progress) for economic/medical continuity. “Local solutions” are MIA. NSW is always on the wrong foot.
|OECD: The adoption of well-designed fiscal rules, and a reformed budget process that strengthens incentives for prudent long-term planning and provides better information, would help shape budget decisions. … independent fiscal councils and specific budget tools like the long-term fiscal target established with the Enzi-Whitehouse budget reform legislation in the US could be helpful in this respect [Enzi is macro-political about national parameters, good stuff needed here but not discussed ici] The contrary situation prevails: Morrison and Berejiklian plot a joint path of debt-raising to pay for unsustainable Hong Kong residential densification, leading to suburban stress and disorder.||The creation of Infrastructure NSW was seen to be the needed repair to Labor’s Metro lunacy. Instead, Berejiklian ejected Nick Greiner, and her Laborite malonomics has spread across Australia: no due diligence, low to negative benefit/cost ratios, subsidising foreign corporates not reaping PPP contributions, stealing IP, appointing jackals to guard posts – all repeated at the Turnbull/Morrison level. Macro results depend on micro synergyNCCC has no plan, no fiscal rules, the re-carbonisation agenda dominated from when Neville Power was appointed, he only contacted caravan parks after I wrote to Govt/him in copyright form|
Berejiklian ravaged the Murray border zone then put up a smokescreen of sympathy, but here were the effects;
On 22 August, Berejiklian and her Deputy Barilaro announced “a new $45 million grant program designed to cushion the economic impacts of the southern border closure… the “Southern Border Small Business Support Grant” is designed to support small businesses doing it tough through the current border restrictions. “Thank you again to the border communities for your patience during this very difficult time,” Ms Berejiklian said.
It was not patience, it was anger. The package extends well into inland Nats territory and added insult to injury:
Applications open from 8 September but the closure disaster was from 8 July but especially 21 July, thus 62 days of delay. Money will flow – when? Say a total of 110 days. The Arts ones haven’t even started, that is c 175 days, to mid-December. The housing scheme is just as frustrating.
What will flow – $5,000 for SMEs with 30 – 75% loss of turnover, maximum of 20 staff; and $10,000 for loss of 75 – 100% (that is an unlikely proposition)
Will it cause more harm than good – eligible uses exclude stock and labour costs and are confined to “unavoidable expenses such as utilities, as well as to develop marketing and communication materials or to diversify their offerings to help businesses adapt to the new environment”. As in the chart, does the government sector have any idea at all of how insignificant the amounts are in sustainability terms but extravagant in wasting money on marketing when shaking the piggybank? Free access to business advisers is available but not connected to “survival prospects” under the grant approval process.
What to do? For 4 ½ months I’ve been saying that “stimulus” is $100,000 plus, see above, and that is not just to keep rolling. It includes anticipating the requirements of the “new economy” and is in line with OECD’S guidelines whereas NSW’s scheme is discreditable. Certainly it is better than nothing unless it induces owners to go over the cliff. There was no justification for the closure so just fix it – re-open the borders in accordance with medical safety (above).
The National Cabinet and the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission started under the pressure of medicos and state and territory leaders. They exist as creatures of Phil Gaetjens’ Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, have no “plan” or technical competence, and have refused to listen to independent expertise.
Neville Power started as chair of NCCC with the wrong orientation, was opposed to OECD’s and the UK/USA’s generalised subsidies, and did not focus on “the next few months”. He ignored this analyst except by thieving his regional orientation and doing nothing on key stimulus industry sectors which had been acknowledged by the PM but which the PM subsequently ignored and neutered, with his partner-in-crime Berejiklian smashing border economies and undermining metro-political and holiday ones. He and Morrison are camouflaging these basic OECD-type issues which OECD needs to acknowledge:
- NSW failed to assess situations, options, scenarios and solutions; to engage its communities and develop a willingness to pay; or show it met COAG and generally-accepted standards of assessment
- The metro train network meets none of the usual objectives – neither new viable system nor wise strengthening of the existing system
- The works are commercially unviable in revenue and cost terms, indeed it is the most expensive and inefficient possible scheme or so it seems
- The program will cannibalise the existing double-decker system, causing long-term unforeseen consequences, without meeting land use development and taxation goals
- The program will inconvenience commuters to/from NW and elsewhere permanently, with forced change of mode and loss of special events and disaster recovery capabilities, compared with the Greiner/Gibbons alternative which Berejiklian is so scared of.
- Local government is vigorous in local solutions
Grey Nomads were forgotten in the initial closedowns, and the industry estimates are that some 75,000 were on the roads will make for a degree of uncertainty, perhaps, with possible future, unpredictable closedowns. Subsequent closures have multiplied the costs of political blunders, thank you Gladys.
The complexities of increased spread of the virus in the countrysides, together with thin hospital and testing resources, plus the complexity of contract tracing where so many contacts are casual, will make the States a bit conservative on border crossings at times. The extreme danger associated with poor contact tracing (given the app has been an abject failure) is seen in the UK’s crisis since Boris Johnson suspended their program (and also allowed freedom of movement).
Genuine Localism is of use in many contexts including a long-term solution to greyhound racing problems as seen at www.sydneybetrayals.me. I’m not aware of any person in NCCC or national and state governance who understands “local solutions to local problems”.
Innovation Districts and city/states as well as genuine Localism are vital elements in overcoming local barriers to innovation. Can we trust State politicians to overpower their extended chains of internal Party patronage? – no way. NCCC has been criticised for awarding a whopper PR contract, maybe they should be required to do continuous, clever market surveys of real people at no additional Budget cost, to teach them to not puff up this-or-that mate.
The PM and his Treasurer have been screaming at the Victorian Premier, in a breakdown (reversal) that degrades national cohesion and the Coalition’s own “brand”. This is psychotic behaviour shared by NSW politicians and national and state business lobbies. They have no knowledge of how to meld resources and strategies.
The fusion between the NSW Premier and the PM as NSW and political compatriots is being exposed as a nation-wrecker.
- Clever technologies to repair congestion
“Reducing congestion” is a super-symbol of a whole range of issues covering transport access across regions, age groups and time zones; trucks and buses on roads; and self-containment of developing fringes which is often talked about but success is the rare exception. The Planning Minister among others has said that those who do not understand history are bound to repeat its mistakes; but does his government?
The Eddington Bedrock: from Christie to Greiner to Gibbons is an amalgam of ideas, most of which had been tested in one way or the other. Together as well as individually they make sense; but there are other things to do and a better way of identifying options and scenarios, engaging the community over projects and methods of financing and accommodating them, and getting rid of populist nonsense and lobbyist corruption.
The Greater Sydney Commission is a tragedy and travesty. The Reform Council used to proclaim that they were not focussed on the CBD but on Sydney. Who, pray tell, is doing that now! NO ONE! Innovation comes from ideas competition which is anathema to fascist-inclined cliques. Their way is waste, debt and stupidity, enforced.
- Economic leadership and nous
The Federal and NSW Governments do not have savvy economic agencies, iA and iNSW are embedded with industry lobbies. In Morrison’s first 4 stimulus packages, starting well before the bushfires and Novel Coronavirus, there were no options considered but we know they existed in the ether and included:
- Option A, status quo: muddle through behind closed doors, serial revisions, unclear objectives, little or no data and critical issues analyses, force opponents into gunboat diplomacy, throw up smokescreens about “$100 billion over 10 years” then retreat when whacked by forensic critique, ignore virus warning signs and thus be unprepared, persist with truly damaging infrastructure projects which are debt bombs, focus on idiocies like attacking firies and farmers out of ignorance, issue a meaningless national SMS message, evade Parliament, force businesses to borrow bridging cash instead of advancing the agreed amounts, have secret deals which undermine public processes (Baird/Gaetjens/ Calfas damage to Newcastle, Wollongong and “Morrison’s Backyard”), ensure LG reform is so inept that it cannot reoccur within 10 years (Tas, WA and NSW), befuddle media, and form a national cabinet to mask central confusion around inept political appointees
- Option B: Prepare a national economic framework as PM Menzies and economist HC “Nugget” Coombs did post-1945, have transparent contingency planning based on risk analyses and science, understand and prepare for the inevitable next rounds of bushfires and bat crossover viruses, build up stocks of equipment and PPE, develop a contingency plan for border control + internal movements + placement of testing and hospital resources etc, recognise defects in Border Protection and RFS models and develop the alternatives, don’t make faux-marketing promises, inform media, reinstate full reporting of PIs and LG statistics, bring the people along with you
- Option C – NSIP: face an emergency with alarum, expert economist prepares Newcastle Strategic Infrastructure Plan (framework) in 2 days, shares it with senior managers and Council – all agree, shares with all other 12 Councils in Hunter with Milton Morris – all agree, shares with NSW Minister for Planning Knowles – he endorses it as a model for the whole State. Mesh budgets and site programs, fully engage innovative businesses through 8 sector clusters with Council as facilitator – systematic foundation but municipal inertia reasserts with reversion to deficit budgeting, loss of council leadership. NSIP was based on gathering data and analyses from all sources before finalising implementation details – the opposite of Morrison’s approach.
We know that the treatment of casuals and local government activities has been up and down, again reflecting the lack of forethought. These are all options which should have been considered and informed by the community, not just big businesses, seeing that it is claimed the bods had been on-track for weeks (which we’re entitled to question).
The delays in Morrison’s scheme, which can be said to have been dunderheaded, were unnecessary to a large degree.
- Governance leadership and national cabinet
The National Cabinet was tied to Gaetjen’s apron strings from the beginning and minutes have not leaked so we have to assume they failed to address a positive way of the crisis. So in addition to the policy and process improvements outlined in the above download (c), here is an initiative to make national Budget decisionmaking more relevant (it includes aspects I introduced in the State Government to the praise of the then head of Treasury, Professor Percy Allan):
- update reports and community-based data series (with ABS etc) which will guide “targetting” – spatial and sector areas needing early intervention vs those doing well (in document)
- a special advisory panel, Stimulus Recovery Monitoring Panel or SRMP, well away from the NCC under Gaetjens and the BCA and Australian Industry Group, representative of SME activities across various sectors, retired but still connected, accountable for probity. In NSW I based monthly reports on +/- exception foci and that will predominate, but action line items will be critical
- a new statutory instrument called MEEFYO or “month end economic and financial outlook”, this to get Treasury off its butt and away from its beehive, using the monthly inputs to the full, engaging councils and communities. It will consolidate into MYEFO and the Budgets on the current proper 6/12-month basis
- active auditing by the ANAO and state and territory bodies to reduce waste and ensure probity (better than JobKeeper’s).
The reality of flexibility, scalability and rapidity will be met through these initiatives, which might well be improved through agency and community engagement. There is much more as you will find.
The Treasurer released his July 23 “decision” on 21 July, the heat is on. It is a crippling failure as will be explained in the full booklet. Stimulus should be about healing and rejuvenating, not putting band-aids on self-inflicted bruises.
The PM cannot say “infrastructure is stimulus” if he ignores infrastructure disasters in his own electorate ,which is a low performer in food and accommodation, arts and recreation. He said the stimulus is to be “in the following few months” which means NOW if “stimulus” is to be credible. Existing areas need a kick-up before we can ease up. That includes strong local “safeways” and genuine stimulus and compensation payments, so they stop jerking businesses around.
Corona means areas will close, re-open and be threatened again: closure is a rare thing usually associated with bushfire, flood and environmental disaster, but Corona is “invisible” and extremely dangerous. Moreover, governments are used to treating classes of beneficiaries such as through tax concessions – where relative merit (neediness) is not material. So “scalable” will be the key concept; and the Governments have to understand that on/off is likely to be the norm.