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Byron Shire
October 6, 2022

Thus Spake Mungo: (app)rehensive

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I must admit to a moment of apprehension before downloading the COVID-19 app; anything that involves Amazon or Stuart Robert has to be either incompetent or dodgy or both.

But the case for using it is irresistible, not only because it is the carrot Scott Morrison is dangling to allow us out of lockdown, but because it is simply good sense.

Fears about privacy are almost certainly misplaced, but even if they were valid, the thunder of hoof beats when the horse has bolted is long gone. If either the multinationals or the government really want to spy on us we have willingly offered them far more dangerous tools for the task.

And although I doubt that the app will be anything like as effective as Morrison is promising, it will help, which in these troubled times is all that matters. And obviously a great many Australians agree; even with the usual technical problems over implementation, the take-up rate is highly promising –about four million of us last week.

Morrison says he wants 40 percent of Australians to be using the app, before lifting the lockdown, a figure which Greg Hunt quantifies as 10 million, there is still a long way to go

But given that Morrison says he wants 40 percent of Australians to be using the app, before lifting the lockdown, a figure which Greg Hunt quantifies as 10 million, there is still a long way to go. At Friday’s press conference Morrison was all but obsessive, delivering what sounded very much like an ultimatum: download the app, you slack bastards, or I’ll lock you down forever and throw away the key.

Given the innate skepticism of the population over climate change, vaccination, fluoridation, 5G –  science itself, in fact – the idea that listening to those who actually know the area may be a welcome novelty. A pity that even if it kicks in this time, it is unlikely to continue.

And there are a few other caveats before we can get down to the serious exercise of picking the many locks of business-as-usual. Some states are still seeking increased testing, others want enhanced tracking and locating of potential victims.

But almost all are starting to ease the wards in one way or the other, from the promise of almost complete liberation of a (hopefully) corona-free South Australia, to a cautious permission for two visitors at a time between those in isolation in New South Wales.

It is fair to say that much of the leap in ScoMo’s polled popularity has come from the perception that he is the one in charge – The Man

And this uncoordinated unravelling will bring new problems for our great pandemic leader. It is fair to say that much of the leap in ScoMo’s polled popularity has come from the perception that he is the one in charge – The Man. One reason that the same popularity has not dragged up his government with him is the view that he is something of a one-man band. His constant media appearances, with their almost imperial edicts, to his cosy living room chats, have been convincing and reassuring.

But it will be hard to sustain that agenda if the various premiers go off on their own, as they are clearly determined to do. About the only way to bring them back into line is to pre-empt them – for the commonwealth to start lifting restrictions on a national level, which is no doubt why Morrison is personally foreshadowing an early mark as a reward for obedience.

Apart from the obvious logistical difficulties of putting such a program in place, it would put Morrison’s own political schedule awry. The current plan was to make the big statement on May 11, ready for the latest truncated session of parliament. And we have been told by Morrison and his ministers, that it will not be entirely good news. The restrictions will become fewer; but so too, in the near future, will be the economic stimuli that have justified them.

NewStart will revert to its cruel and derisory level of $40 a day, in spite of pleas across the board for it to remain at the current poverty-line level

In particular, NewStart will revert to its cruel and derisory level of $40 a day, in spite of pleas across the board for it to remain at the current poverty-line level. And some other benefits will also fade away, perhaps before many have even been accessed.

This, Morrison insists, was always the idea; a temporary emergency measure before the revitalised economy snaps back – in all its resilient glory. But the economists, both local and international, are now making increasingly gloomy predictions that this is unlikely to happen.

There will be immense pressure for the government to leave the largesse that the punters expected, and in some case have become used to, especially as unemployment now appears to have risen by at least a million

And Morrison’s promise of a big boost to growth will take a while to materialise – if indeed it happens at all, which, given the global uncertainties (not to mention the local variety) looks pretty dubious. There will be immense pressure for the government to leave the largesse that the punters expected, and in some case have become used to, especially as unemployment now appears to have risen by at least a million – horrendous figures, not just for the politics, but for the hit on both revenue and spending.

Morrison used to talk about the crisis running over six months; he (and we) will be lucky if we get out of it in a year, and probably longer. The push will be, not for removing the stimulus, but for reinforcing it, for continued spending and more spending.

What the vast majority of the nervous and insecure will demand will be, as always, immediate relief – money in the pocket

And this does not mean following the tired old formula of company tax cuts and industrial relations reform (union bashing). What the vast majority of the nervous and insecure will demand will be, as always, immediate relief – money in the pocket. The contradictory imperatives of politics and policy will become stark, there will be no painless solutions.

And as this realisation sinks in, Morrison is facing a by-election. Given his personal approval rating, this might have been welcome news, a rare chance for the government to snatch an opposition seat. But as noted, the other numbers do not look so good – the two party preferred vote is neck and neck in NewsPoll, Labor is holding its ground, and while Morrison is way ahead of Anthony Albanese as preferred prime minister, the opposition leader has kept his own approval rating relatively stable.

This has been no mean feat given Morrison’s unrelenting media blitz and the publicly funded campaign that has accompanied it, and an ominous sign for the government in what looks like a very difficult year ahead. Like COVID-19 itself, it ain’t over yet.

 


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12 COMMENTS

  1. In wanting the Covid-19 restrictions lifted it was quite apt for the public to download the anti-virus APP but then the Minister for Education, Dan Tehan fired a shot across the bow of the Victorian premier Daniel Andrews, and the interaction between iphones was not so happy.

  2. Ah… the happy-yappy. Hey, the tool’s already there.
    It’s called ScoNo’s Law that’s sort of doing legalised
    things to others you would not ever do to yourself.
    Anyway, I won’t cower or moo on order & that’s just
    that. Welcome back Mungo.

  3. Won’t be downloading the Corona Tracker….don’t trust a word that comes out of our PM marketing managers mouth. ALREADY SCUMMO’S OFFICE HAS MADE A COMPLAINT TO THE ABC FOR TOO MUCH INVESTIGATION BY JOURNO DYLAN WELSCH FOR ESSENTIALLY INFLAMING & EXAGGERATING ANY SECURITY ISSUES AND NO TALKING UP THE APP. Man that is all you need to know….also State & Territories Health Depts have not had access to the data yet & this Govt promised to keep their (dirty) hands off it Ummmnnnn why don’t I trust them !

  4. So this regime, the Abbott / Turnbull / Morrison government wants the public to trust it with technology and download the CovidSafe app. Their technology record has been appalling: The NBN, the 2016 Census, the RoboDebt scandal and the recent fails with CentreLink access. Now the latest ‘adventure’ of CovidSafe which isn’t compatible with many people’s mobile phones. And has the source code ( as promised ) been made fully public for analysis. And what about those legislated privacy protections when Parliament is still on hiatus. Good luck Australia!

  5. Hi Lindy Stacker. The story gets worse as apparently ScottyCam / Corona Tracker is NOT YET actually working. ( AFR 5/5/20 story by Paul Smith ). All the 4 million punters that have down loaded ScottyCam believing ScottyfromMarketing claims of keeping yourself safe have all been duped again. Always the same with The LIEberals, can’t be trusted with, let alone make a success of ‘technology’. It’s more like CovidFail for ScottyfromMarketing to go along with the fails of The NBN, Census 2016, RoboDebt and Centrelink.

  6. I absolutely agree with you about the app….

    It’s harmless, people, have a look…

    If it saves one life it’s worth it

    If it leads to an outbreak being curtailed, it could save dozens of lives…

  7. Joachim the failings of centrelink?
    Could you please enlighten?
    Are you not receiving the free pay increase
    Handouts? All for ? Wait for it ! Wait for it!!
    Nothing !! Yes as you have said previously
    Wake up Australia!! And yes taxpayer’s have
    Woken up to the fact that ungrateful people
    Who consistently rundown the present Government
    And incidentally the hand that feeds you !!
    “Cant believe it ” its about time you showed
    Some appreciation for residing in the best
    Country in the WORLD !! And Concur
    John May the App is saving lives !!

  8. All I’ve got to say is – stay in lock-down & quit panic
    buying. It is by far too early to open schools or risk
    the lives of the people. Simple. Look after your
    country & have a genuine respect for others of all
    ages. Life does NOT have a dollar value. If our
    government keeps pushing the envelope in
    order to save a few bucks due to underestimating
    the cost to Australia we will have to cop it sweet.
    Bully-boys don’t impress me one bit. This isn’t
    Russia nor are Aussies aren’t goosestepping
    into a world more crooked than it is now.

  9. Barrow old son, you must have memory fail but happily I am here to help you in your hour of need..Rewind to all the people wanting to logon to Centrelink to register for Newstart / JobSeeker when the economy was being shutdown in response to the Health / COVID-19 threat. You don’t remember your man Minister Stuart Robert doing the public presser saying that the system was hacked which crashed the system and stopped people logging on??? But there was no hack of the system. It was incompetence on the part of your man Minister Stuart Robert in not ensuring the system capability. Oh please Barrow old son, please say it ain’t so that you don’t remember. But wait there’s more to CentrelinkFail, as the punters couldn’t logon to Centrelink they hit the phone lines and guess what happened Barrow old son…the punters couldn’t get through there either. Again incompetence from your man Minster Stuart Robert. Oh please Barrow old son, please say it ain’t so that you don’t remember. But wait there’s even mooooore to CentrelinkFail. The punters not being able to logon or telephone Centrelink, then in their desperation hit the streets to queue up outside Centrelink offices where in one Sydney office they shut the doors at lunchtime and waved the desperate, frustrated punters off with security guards in attendance to ensure the punters disappeared without further ado. What Minister shuts shop in the faces of desperate citizens? Oh Barrow old son, please say it ain’t so that you don’t remember. Barrow old son, for your information I receive ZERO cash assistance from your man ScoNO. The hand that feeds me is mine own! Your ScoNO runs a duplicious and deceitful government and deserves to be criticised and held for account for the divisive way that it has handled the current COVID crisis. As far as the CovidSafe app goes, you’d better check again if it is ACTUALLY working, like you were told it would, after revelations in Australian Financial Review 5/5/20 that the app was not working properly ( at least not working properly up to Saturday 2/5/20 ). How safe do you reckon you are with a misfired CovidSafe app Barrow old son. Dare I say it, another technology misfire from your crowd, the ScoNO & crew.

  10. How can you all be so negative? Scott Moronson has promised us that it is against the law to use the CovidSafe app for nefarious purposes. The hackers and scammers out there will be quaking in their boots.

  11. The pollies are, or should be, quaking in their own
    bounty booties. The COVID-19 Ministerial Power
    is far too real for comfort. Under The Biosecurity
    Act the ‘ministers’ can get away with anything.
    Don’t believe me, check it out.

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