Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Australia's Gestapo State: Police stop Catholic masss to check masks

Churchgoers have been left stunned after a police officer stopped a Catholic mass on Thursday to check parishioners were wearing masks.

Police halted the service at St Bernadette’s Glendalough church midway through the priest addressing the congregation following a tip off that people were not wearing masks.

Masks are currently required to be worn at all public indoor setting across Perth and the Peel, South West, Wheatbelt and Great Southern regions.

Five people were found to not be wearing masks, one of which had an exemption while the four others were made to put them on.

The incident was shared to Facebook by a parishioner, who wrote “a policeman allowed himself in, strutting up the aisle demanding correct mask behaviour and checking exemptions.”

“Where have we seen this behaviour before in history?

Police said in a statement they responded to a report from a member of the public of people not wearing masks inside a church in Mount Hawthorn.

“Upon attendance, 5 people were spoken to by police and complied in wearing a mask,” they said. “One person provided proof of an exemption.”

Catholic Archdiocese of Perth archbishop Tim Costelloe said it is “highly regrettable” that police felt obliged to intervene during the service to enforce the mask rules.

“It is my hope that other ways can be found to deal with this delicate issue in future and my office stands ready to cooperate with the police in this matter,” he said.

“It is the formal and very public policy of the Archdiocese of Perth to do everything it can to facilitate compliance with all the government’s requirements in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is a matter of regret to me that the police were placed in a position which led them to take the action they did.”

The church has since shared a message to its Facebook page reminding all parishioners that they cannot enter the place of worship without a mask.

The interruption left churchgoers stunned, with one audience member saying it was “confronting” to see an officer in the church.

“Everyone was pretty stunned, it was confronting,” parishioner Matthew told 6PR Radio. “It’s troubling to see the liturgy you love stopped by police.”


International students should be encouraged to come back

The Prime Minister has announced a number of excellent initiatives to encourage the return of international students to Australia now that our borders have reopened, from extending working rights to rebates on visas. Behind these initiatives is a recognition that international students are critical contributors to our economic prosperity and crucial to filling workforce shortages in key industries.

This is equally true at a state level. Pre-COVID, spending by international students and their visiting families helped to support more than 95,000 full-time equivalent jobs in NSW, not just in education but also in sectors such as hospitality and tourism, pouring $30 million a day into the NSW economy. And the vibrancy of the diverse cultural life international students bring underpins the character of a globally connected community.

International students hold our education system and qualifications in high regard – nearly 90 per cent are satisfied with their study experience at an Australian university, according to government surveys. They also see Australia as a safe and enjoyable destination.

But during the past two years, many international students who would otherwise have studied in NSW have instead gone to countries with fewer border restrictions like the United States, Britain and Canada. Or they have simply decided to study at home. That meant a $5 billion hit to the NSW economy in 2021, and potentially another $6 billion this year.

Even though our borders are now open, the rate of student return is very slow. Given the proven benefit of our international students to our communities and to NSW, what more can be done by universities, government and business to hasten their return?

In order to restore their confidence in us and put us ahead of competitor destinations, government, business and the education sector should work together to provide a suite of targeted incentives for students to come to NSW.


'Inappropriate’: Former state archivist slams crony appointment

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has defended the appointment of her director-general to probe damning allegations an important report was doctored after it was slammed as “inappropriate” and posed a potential conflict of interest.

As the Premier declared she didn’t believe annual reports were doctored to suit the government’s political agenda, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said there shouldn’t be interference with them.

It came as former state archivist Mike Summerell, who says his 2018-19 annual report didn’t include his critical statement of the government in the published version, lashed out at the government saying it was a “poor choice” for a senior official whose role is “primarily to support the Premier” to undertake the investigation into his claims.

He said the appointment of Director-General Rachel Hunter to review matters was “inappropriate” and presented a potential conflict of interest that could lead to her findings being viewed with suspicion, even if unfairly.

“I believe that for some the ability to be honest and truthful will be extremely difficult given the seniority and status of this individual,” he said.

“The DG of DPC is a powerful position held in awe and fear by many senior public servants.

“The question of conflict of interest is an obvious one.”

Mr Summerell said a number of matters he had raised involved the Premier and her office.

“I would stress the matters don’t involve inappropriate interference or similar by the Premier or her office, but they do relate to matters where others potentially sought to protect the Premier or her office, whether they needed it or not,” he said.

“The DG of DPC would be an inappropriate person to undertake such a review in my opinion because of this potential perception of a conflict of interest.”

He called for an “independent entity” to be appointed instead, such as the state’s corruption watchdog, the Queensland Audit Office, or the Ombudsman.

But the Premier defended the decision – pointing to Ms Hunter’s role as the head of the Queensland public service.

“She (Ms Hunter) had a conversation with me yesterday (Monday),” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“She said that she will begin work on that. She will issue those terms. “They will become public and they will be released once she’s ready.

“The head of the public service is the right body to look at any issues of misconduct of the departments.”

Ms Palaszczuk said she would not be involving herself in the investigation.

Asked if it was common for annual reports to be changed from when they’re submitted to when they’re published to the public, Ms Palaszczuk said it was a matter for each department.

“Sometimes there might be spelling mistakes,” she said.

“Sometimes there might be incorrect reporting figures, so from time to time annual reports would be changed. “But if there are any serious allegations the director-general is the appropriate person to look at that.”

Meanwhile Ms D’Ath defended the government’s integrity while saying she hadn’t interfered with any annual reports.

She said it was not the practice for annual reports to be altered.

“Hospital and health services produce their reports, the department produces the reports and as the Minister I table those report and I’m answerable to those reports every estimates (hearing),” she said.

Asked then that if it was not the practice – would she agree that it would be unacceptable for that to happen – the Minister said it was reasonable for errors to be changed.

“But as far as asking for it to be changed – no there shouldn’t be interference with annual reports,” she said.

Ms D’Ath, who is also Leader of the House, denied Opposition Leader David Crisafulli’s request for parliament to be recalled early amid the integrity issues dogging the government.


It’s business abnormal thanks to an abundance of caution


The pandemic has served up a slew of cliches, many of which have a completely opposite meaning to what they intend to convey.

“We’re all in this together” is something Boris Johnson might say over a gin and tonic with chums in his back garden while his neighbours down the street farewell a dying loved one via Microsoft Teams.

“The new normal” is a pleading marketing line favoured by politicians and bureaucrats, urging us to adopt illogical conduct without question.

From this congested field of cant, line honours goes to the phrase “an abundance of caution”. An abundance of caution seeks to validate behaviour that makes absolutely zero sense but has been earmarked as the only sensible and possible course of action.

Here is a true example.

Out of an abundance of caution, the producer of my Adelaide radio show is in isolation. This is because she does not have the coronavirus.

She briefly thought she did because she did a work-mandated PCR test, as the few of us still in the building are, reflecting the paranoia of corporate Australia at having staff numbers gutted by infections.

Surprisingly, that test was positive, even though she had no symptoms, felt as fit as a fiddle and had barely left the house for the past month. For those reasons, in line with the medical maxim, she sought a second opinion. It was, she assumed, a superior opinion, the vaunted “gold standard” PCR tests overseen by SA Health.

As she suspected, the second test came back negative. Happy days. Or so she thought until she made the tactical error of double-checking with SA Health as to her subsequent course of action.

In what anecdotal evidence suggests has become a form of bureaucrat call centre lotto, the health wonk she jagged on the phone said that even though the second test was negative, it was prudent (out of an abundance of caution) to remain in isolation anyway.

And isolation in South Australia still means a full 10 days, even though national cabinet has decreed seven days as standard.

It gets funnier and weirder.

Our producer also inquired as to the status of our assistant producer, who shares a windowed production booth with her for three hours every morning. Surely he wasn’t a close contact?

Ummm, yeah, out of an abundance of caution, he probably is too, so he should isolate for seven days as a close contact.

So here’s the state of play. Out of an abundance of caution we now have our entire production team in isolation: the producer, who does not have the coronavirus, and the assistant producer who, terrifyingly enough, is a close contact of the producer without the coronavirus.

I suppose if you can catch Covid off pizza boxes and flying footballs, who’s to say that someone in a glass container who doesn’t have the coronavirus could give it to someone who doesn’t have it either?

I might be tempting fate here, but as my co-host and I occupy the studio next door to the producers’ glass box of pestilence, maybe out of an abundance of caution we should be close contacts too? Along with my kids, my wife, our two dogs and Dave the butcher down the road, whose hand I shook while buying mince to make some chilli con carne on Wednesday?

We keep getting told we are riding past the Omicron peak and normality beckons.

I am not sure if everyone has got the memo.

The manner in which our office has been up-ended by all this suggests a lethal pincer movement involv­ing the Health Department and the HR department will prevent businesses from operating normally for an extended period.

I know people in business who are conducting PCR tests on each other almost for fun. A friend of mine is high up in the AFL and he told me this week that you almost need a PCR test to walk down the end of the corridor and get a Coke out of the drink machine.

I am aware of cases of PCR testing in the corporate world that make zero logical sense, where workers who have already been in contact with colleagues are having tests but not receiving their results until their shifts are finished. If they did have the virus, they already would have exposed their colleagues to it anyway.

It renders the entire testing regime useless, save for the feel-good factor of management saying they’re at least trying to look after their most valuable asset – people – to use the cloying language favoured by HR.

And in defence of the HR folks, for reasons of legality and compliance businesses will always err on the side of caution, meaning that under our current shambolic arrangements they will be guided by the official government health advice, however dubious or paranoid it might be.

This can’t go on forever. At some point we will all have to be brave enough to just come into work without repeatedly jamming a pipe cleaner up our noses three times a week, especially when we are triple-vaccinated and have zero symptoms.

And surely the same people who brought us the magic pizza box can take a deep breath and recognise that people without the virus (and their close contacts) are probably safe to go to work. Call me a wild-eyed madman, but I am up for taking risks like that.

Writing on these pages many years ago, the late, great Paddy McGuinness bemoaned the early intrusions of the health-and-wellness brigade into the joys of having a quiet beer and a fag at his beloved Riverview Hotel. McGuinness warned of a world where drinkers one day would be required by law to fit themselves with bicycle helmets lest they fall drunkenly off their stools and do themselves a mischief.

The bloke was Nostradamus. Out of an abundance of caution, it all makes perfect sense.


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)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)


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