Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Pauline Hanson launches a blistering attack on Scott Morrison labelling him a 'fool' who has 'lost control' of Australia in epic tirade about Queensland's lockdown

At 4pm on Saturday, the local government areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan City, Moreton Bay, Redlands, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Noosa, Somerset, Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim faced the harshest restrictions the state has seen.

Residents in the affected areas can only leave home for essential work, study or child care, to exercise, buy food and supplies - and to receive healthcare, including being tested for COVID-19 or vaccinated against it.

Any non-essential travel must be within 10km from home, everyone must wear a mask when they are outside their home - and people doing exercise can do so with one person who does not live with them.

The lockdown, which Deputy Premier Steven Miles labelled the 'strictest we've seen', infuriated the One Nation Party founder.

'Like a lot of Aussies I was out enjoying my weekend but now we are going to have to be locked down,' Senator Hanson said in a video shared on Saturday.

'It is bloody ridiculous for only six cases of delta. I'm sorry this is over the top.'

'The prime minister said yesterday it would get no worse than what it is at this point, he's supposed to guide us through this with the premiers.

'As I've said all along the prime minister has lost control of the country and the premiers are doing whatever they want to do. I feel sorry for small businesses.'

A fuming Ms Hanson said premiers and chief health officers were calling lockdowns 'at the drop of a hat' and claimed Mr Morrison was 'foolish' for allowing them to do so.

'Give people clear direction and what's going on,' she said.

The new cases in Queensland are confirmed as the highly contagious Indian delta strain of the virus.

Deputy Premier Miles said the state had no choice but to impose the harsh restrictions.

'We have seen from the experience in other states that the only way to beat the Delta strain is to move quickly, to be fast, and to be strong,' he said. 'This will be the strictest lockdown that we have had.'

Funerals and weddings will be reduced to ten people and hospitality venues will be limited to takeaway only.

The restrictions apply to anybody who has been in any of the 11 LGAs from 1am on Saturday regardless if they've since left the area.

Masks will be required for both students and staff at high schools.

It comes a day after Indooroopilly State High School in Brisbane's inner west was forced to close for a specialist deep clean while Queensland Health performed contact tracing on a Covid positive 17-year-old schoolgirl and her family.

The six new cases recorded on Saturday are all linked to the teenager who is believed to have caught the virus from a medical science student and tutor from the University of Queensland.

The tutor was confirmed positive on Saturday and it's believed she contracted the virus from a returned traveller in hotel quarantine who was transported to hospital.


The vindication of AstraZeneca: A vaccine trashed by Macron, politicised by Europe but quietly saving lives across the world

Last week research scotched claims the Oxford vaccine posed a blood clot risk. But the mixed messaging has caused lasting distrust

A new study of more than one million Covid-19 vaccine recipients has concluded a rare blood clotting side effect is as likely to occur from a Pfizer jab as the much-maligned AstraZeneca vaccine.

In a paper pre-released in The Lancet, researchers from the UK, Spain and the Netherlands said both jabs have a "similar" incident rate of thrombosis.

"In this study we have found the safety profiles of ChAdOx1 (AstraZeneca) and BNT162b2 (Pfizer), an mRNA-based vaccine, to be broadly similar," the paper explained.

The study of Spanish patients also found blood clots are more common in people who test positive for Covid-19 than those who have received either jab.

While the paper is not yet peer reviewed, it is an alarming development that will put into question the narrative around the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia, where confidence in the jab plummeted earlier in the year following the reporting of fatal cases of blood clotting.

Mixed messaging around the vaccine has led to hesitancy at a time when the nation, particularly NSW, needs to reach a high level of vaccination to fend off surging rates of the highly-infectious Delta variant.

While Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has repeatedly stressed the benefits of the AstraZeneca jab outweigh the risks, there has been conflicting advice from other health authorities, notably Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young.

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged under 40s to seek advice on the AstraZeneca jab last month, Dr Young said she "genuinely did not understand" why Mr Morrison would make such an announcement.

"I do not want under-40s to get AstraZeneca," she stressed, saying there was minimal death in young Australians from Covid.

As cases of blood clotting arose earlier in the year, believed to be thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advised against under 60s receiving the AstraZeneca jab.

Such mixed messaging has led to an increase in people eligible for the jab holding out for the scarce Pfizer vaccine, including those who have had one AstraZeneca jab.

Weighing up the heightened risk with Delta outbreaks, ATAGI has since changed its advice, telling over 18s they can seek GP advice on the AstraZeneca.

Experts fear lasting damage from mixed messaging

Professor Greg Dore, an infectious diseases expert at UNSW's Kirby Institute, told the Sydney Morning Herald Australia will "look back on anti-AstraZenecism as one of the greatest public health failings in many years".

“Even though we’ve seen many young people coming forward for AstraZeneca, many more older people are still ‘waiting for Pfizer’ due to irreparable damage by some in the medical profession and other commentators," he said.

Dame Sarah Gilbert, the vaccinologist who co-developed the AstraZeneca jab, told the publication she feared people are "too worried" after receiving mixed messages.

"I think the problem is the messaging around the vaccination, because if you’re telling people at some stage, ‘oh you shouldn’t have this vaccine, it’s probably not the best thing for you’ and then you want to change that message and say ‘oh, no we’ve changed our mind, it is good’, I think that makes it difficult for people who are considering whether to get vaccinated and when to get vaccinated," she said.


Modern dating is a minefield at the best of times, let alone when you add QR codes, social distancing and face masks into the mix.

Rebekah Scanlan

It makes the already difficult task of finding a “good one” amid the sea of never ending red flags – and those who just want to get a leg over – even harder than it was before.

It is impossible to meet someone in a nightclub or a bar, and don’t get me started on the cesspool known as dating apps. Even when you score a date with someone who doesn’t appear to be anti-vax or a covid-conspiracist (I wish I was joking), the natural flow of meeting up with them has been completely disrupted.

You can’t meet someone for a drink and see how the night goes. Even going to dinner is difficult – it requires a booking and down payment which is a big ask considering the chance of being ghosted is very real.

Granted, none of this makes dating impossible, but it certainly steals spontaneity – a widely credited ingredient for romance.

Juggling those covid-dating rules has become a moot point in recent weeks with the return of the lengthy lockdown in Sydney – which, for a 35-year-old woman, is a big deal.

The reality for me is that covid, and the endless lockdowns, come at a time when my biological clock is ticking – fast – and could cost me a chance at motherhood.

I get that lockdowns are devastating for everyone – they kill small businesses, families across different states have been separated for months, and there are thousands of Australians stranded overseas, unable to get home. But for me, the crisis is very personal.

It’s this feeling of frustration that led me to bash out 140 characters on Twitter when news broke that Sydney’s lockdown was being extended by four weeks.

“I’m really mad. Lockdown extended another 4 weeks. This is a joke. We’re being robbed of our lives, time we will never get back,” my tweet began. “As a 35-year-old single woman who would like to have a family one day, these months dictate whether or not that can happen for me. Mad is an understatement.”

Boy, did those few words resonate with the masses – more than 12,000 ‘liked’ my tweet – but there was also an avalanche of people who thought the price I’m likely to pay wasn’t worthy of my public complaint.

Some of the nicer critics rightfully pointed out that I was single before the pandemic, so I couldn’t blame my situation on lockdown.

I have been aware of the ticking of my biological clock for a while. It’s been shoved down my throat by society at every opportunity since turning 30, long before coronavirus became an everyday word in our vocabulary.

Dr Mikayla Couch, an obstetrics and gynaecology registrar at NSW Health, said many women feel this suffocating panic.

“The biological clock is a metaphor that society has created to describe the sensation of pressure many people feel when they are at the peak or past their peak of reproductive years,” she said.

She explained the average age of women having their first child had increased over time, largely because we are “seeking work and university studies before starting a family”.

In 2009, 27.9 years was the age women would, on average, have their first child. By 2019, that had risen to 29.4.

While men waiting until their 30s to settle down is often encouraged, for women it is seen by society as a “short-falling”.

This was evident in the backlash I received to the admission of my fertility fears.

I was called a “whining entitled adult” and told by many men I was well past my sell by date. Some even pleaded with me not to procreate, claiming a child born with my “wholly abhorrent selfishness” is something the world could do without.

Others tactfully told me to “get a grip”, labelling me a snowflake who was prioritising my own wants over the needs of the community.

These angry people were missing the point.

This isn’t a competition about who is getting screwed over the most by covid. Trust me, that’s a game no one wins.

Dr Couch is a single, 31-year-old Bundjalung woman who lives with anovulatory polycystic ovarian syndrome which means she doesn’t ovulate and has no chance of falling pregnant naturally. She’s also a fertility expert who informs me I’m not alone.

“We are now in the midst of the second year of the covid pandemic and for some women with lessening egg numbers, the fear of not having children is real,” she said.

“Everyone has their own priorities, but if starting a family or at least having the option of starting a family is your priority, these last two years will have impacted your fertility journey.”

This was echoed by women online, many sharing their own frustrations, including tales of fertility treatments being placed on hold and partners being stuck interstate or overseas – preventing them from starting their baby-making plans.

“It’s really hard when your biological clock is ticking & for (the) last 18 months all egg freezing & fertility treatments (& partner finding) disrupted. You can’t understand it unless you are living it,” one woman wrote.

Another stressed that the “indefinite revolving door of lockdowns impede the ability to create new relationships and build trust”.

The pandemic certainly isn’t to blame for anyone’s fertility or relationship struggles, but it certainly amplifies it.

Australia rightly has compassion for the countless small business owners who are on the brink and the couples who have lost thousands of dollars every time a lockdown forces their wedding plans into chaos — but it appears there’s a real lack of empathy and understanding for someone worried their dream of having a family is slipping away from them.

It certainly seems my tweet made people squirm. Dr Couch suspects it is down to the fact fertility and pregnancy issues are “prohibited topics”.

But fertility is a dire covid crisis, one no one is talking about, and I’ve got no problem being the “entitled” millennial who brings it to attention.


‘Fox News of Australia’ temporarily suspended from YouTube for allegedly spreading coronavirus misinformation

Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News Australia has been banned from posting new videos and live-streaming on YouTube for a week after violating the platform’s policies by sharing clips that allegedly spread misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.

The ban comes amid growing concern among some Australian political and media commentators about the way in which the once-niche pay TV station, which some have called the “Fox News of Australia,” has expanded its reach on social media by adopting methods that have helped make the Murdoch-controlled Fox News successful in the United States.

These include featuring some right-wing personalities that discourage viewers from taking the coronavirus threat seriously.

A YouTube spokeswoman said the company has “clear and established COVID-19 medical misinformation policies based on local and global health authority guidance, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 misinformation that could cause real-world harm.”

“We apply our policies equally for everyone regardless of uploader, and in accordance with these policies and our long-standing strikes system, removed videos from and issued a strike to Sky News Australia’s channel,” the spokeswoman told The Washington Post in an email.

YouTube didn’t disclose which videos violated its regulations and many remained visible on Sky News Australia’s channel Monday, including clips discussing potentially risky or unproven covid-19 treatments with limited context.

In October, Sky News produced a video in which Alan Jones, a high-profile Australian commentator, expressed doubts about mask-wearing and lockdowns, citing U.S. skeptics. Another video by Jones, titled: “Australians must know the truth — this virus is not a pandemic,” posted in September, garnered millions of views on Facebook. It isn’t clear if these videos were shared on YouTube.

(After having warded off the pandemic through a mix of geographical isolation and tight borders, Australia is facing a delta variant wave that it has struggled to quash.)

Sky News, which is no longer related to its better known British namesake, said in a statement Monday that it “expressly rejects that any host has ever denied the existence of COVID-19 as was implied, and no such videos were ever published or removed.”

Jack Houghton, an editor at Sky News, described the suspension as a “disturbing attack on the ability to think freely.” In a column posted Sunday, he wrote that “Holodomor, Auschwitz and Mao, are just three historical examples” where the “freedom to engage in debate and challenge conventional thinking and wisdoms were not always accepted as human rights.”

The Murdoch family took full control of Sky News Australia in 2016, through the local arm of News Corp. Its executives deepened the lineup of right-wing opinion shows that focused on hot-button topics such as immigration, climate change and, more recently, the pandemic.

News Corp didn’t respond to a request for comment. Fox News, which is owned by another Murdoch company, has also made a public service announcement featuring its anchors and correspondents encouraging vaccination. A Sky News Australia spokeswoman said the broadcaster supports “broad discussion and debate on a wide range of topics and perspectives which is vital to any democracy.”

Kevin Rudd, a former prime minister of the center-left Labor party, on Monday accused the broadcaster of “following the Fox News model” and “deliberately cultivating an anti-fact, non-science base of support around Australia.”

Sky News’s YouTube channel has grown rapidly in recent years from fewer than 100,000 to 1.85 million subscribers. These are relatively modest numbers by global standards, but it is more than the news platform of the state-funded Australian Broadcasting Corp. commands and sizable enough to give it large political sway, critics say.

“There’s a belief among Australian elites that nobody watches Murdoch’s Sky, but they’re wrong. Nine million Australians — that’s one in three of us — already do, and mostly online through YouTube and Facebook,” Rudd wrote in an email to The Post. “This is creating an alternative media ecosystem that encourages viewers to disbelieve science, disbelieve facts because Murdoch gets to make a boatload of money out of it.”

Rudd last year launched a petition calling for an inquiry into the political influence wielded by Murdoch’s Australian media empire, which he and at least one other prime minister have blamed for their political fall. The petition has garnered more than half a million signatures.

Murdoch, who was born in Australia and started building his empire there, has repeatedly played down his purported political influence in public over the years.

Sky News says it has published more than 20,000 videos on its YouTube channel over the past year. The clips draw viewers globally, including in the United States.

“Sky’s Australian stories get tiny audiences, but stories about the United States get vastly bigger ones, suggesting Sky has developed a following in the United States,” Denis Muller, a senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne, wrote in an article in the Conversation earlier this year.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)


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