Sunday, April 09, 2023

Startling new figures show even MORE Australians are dying than first feared

No great mystery. The Covid panic led to Covid being prioritzed over all other forms of medical care -- with cancer screenings and treatment in particular being seriously delayed. And delaying cancer treatment will usually make it fatal. Normal priorities would have saved many lives

Australians are dying at a rate not seen since wartime but politicians are ignoring demands to find out why, critics say.

In 2022 there were 25,235 more deaths than would be expected in a normal year, 10,095 of which were directly caused by Covid with another 3,000 where the virus was 'a contributing factor'.

The rate of 'excess deaths' is calculated on a historical average of mortality for a given period and is weighted for shifting demographics, such as an aging population.

Last year saw excess mortality running at 15 per cent above the expected number of deaths, which is a rate of death Australia has not seen in the 80 years since World War II, according to Australian Bureau Statistics (ABS) figures released last week.

The final ABS figures for 2022 are higher than the 12 per cent rate of excess mortality reported for that year by an Actuaries Institute report in March.

The jump in deaths led to a Senate motion two weeks ago, sponsored by Victorian UAP Senator Ralph Babet, to hold an inquiry into excess deaths but this was voted down by the government and crossbench Senators.

Queensland LNP Senator Gerard Rennick spoke in support of the motion saying that statistically such a jump in deaths was a 'one in a thousand event'. ‘We deserve an inquiry,’ he said.

On Wednesday Sydney talkback radio 2GB host Ben Fordham joined calls for a probe into why Australians are dying in such comparatively high numbers. 'Sadly people in power don’t want to talk about it,' Fordham said.

'Does it have something to do with our one-track focus on coronavirus and other diseases and illnesses that were forced into the back seat while we fought off Covid?'

Fordham pointed to a warning issued by Cancer Australia in September 2021 noting that biopsies, scans and surgeries for the disease had plummeted in 2020 because of Covid lockdowns, meaning up to 20,000 cases may have been missed.

In 2022 the ABS recorded 10,000 more cancer deaths than the historical norm, representing a five per cent increase in mortality from the disease.

However, according to the ABS the majority of excess deaths in 2022 were Covid-related.

The bureau said 10,095 people died because of Covid, with an estimated 3,000 others deaths recorded where the virus was 'a contributing factor'.

There was also a 19 per cent increase in those dying of diabetes and a 15 per cent jump in dementia mortality.

There were marginal increases in the number of heart-related and respiratory infection deaths.

Fordham said without an inquiry the issue of excess deaths will be 'weaponised'.

He said on one side are those who want a return to lockdowns or other heavy restrictions on Covid spread. 'As we know Australians won’t cop that,' Fordham argued.

On the other hand there are those who are blaming the Covid vaccines for an increase in deaths.

He noted the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the watchdog on medical safety, had received reports of 900 deaths occurring within days of getting a Covid vaccine but had investigated those cases and found only 14 were because of the jab.

Fordham said the TGA had been so resistant to his inquiries about potential vaccine-related deaths that it raised suspicions. 'If we don’t investigate and come up with some firm answers those whispers will grow louder,' he said.

The TGA has consistently insisted the Covid vaccines are extremely safe and severe, and adverse reactions are 'rare'.

'COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and save lives,' the agency says on its website. 'They are closely monitored in the largest global vaccine rollout in history. 'Most side effects are mild and go away in a couple of days.'

In promoting the push for an inquiry, Senator Rennick claimed it was suspect that there was a jump in deaths after vaccine rollouts.

This is despite just 14 deaths being caused by vaccines in Australia, compared to 10,000 deaths caused by the virus itself last year alone.

The jump in deaths also aligned with the time Covid became widespread among the populations, meaning a larger proportion of the population were coming into contact with the illness - and dying.

But Senator Rennick said while there had been a jump in deaths in 2020 associated with the original Covid wave, that year had seen excess deaths suppressed by the national lockdown and lengthier ones in states such as Victoria.

Lockdowns prevent road deaths and other accidents that befall people in the ordinary course of life.

Senator Rennick argued after the vaccine rollout in April, 2021, all-cause excess deaths jumped by 1,000 and later 2,000 a month.

He argued that states with low or no Covid such as Western Australia and Queensland saw jumps of 9 and 10 per cent in deaths respectively.

'We need to look to see how many people died within a number of days from the vaccine, we need to look at the average rate of daily deaths,' Senator Rennick said in parliament.

Nations around the world are experiencing a surge in excess deaths, not all of which is explained by Covid.

In Britain, 650,000 extra deaths were registered in 2022, which represented a nine per cent increase compared to the more 'normal year' of 2019.

Peak doctors' body the Australian Medical Association (AMA) told Daily Mail Australia in September it was 'worrying' that deaths are climbing in Australia, but it reflected what is being seen overseas.

'We have seen the ABS statistics that mirror a worrying trend in other countries like the UK,' AMA President Professor Steve Robson said.

Prof Robson said it was unclear what was driving the excess deaths. 'There needs to be some research into why this is happening,' he said.

However, he pointed to some 'likely factors' that could be a hangover from the Covid period of isolation and restrictions. A major likely cause was that people either couldn't, or were scared of, seeing a doctor because of infection risk.

'People have avoided going to see the doctor for regular checks or to talk about a problem with their health or delayed a trip to the doctor and consequently seen their condition become more serious,' Prof Robson said.

'We need to do more to prepare the health system, both to address the impact of COVID on things like waiting lists but also to deal with those patients who have delayed accessing care and now require more serious intervention.'

Health Minister Mark Butler has been contacted for comment.


Misogyny in drag: sexism has had a non-binary makeover

Imagine if a male Liberal politician said to a feminist activist: “Stay in the kitchen, darling.”

Imagine if he said uppity women who take to the streets to fight for their rights would be better off at home, looking after the kids or darning socks.

There would be uproar, right?

The Nine Newspapers press would overflow with think pieces on misogyny. ABC bigwigs would furiously commission discussions about old white men’s fear of liberated women.

And rightly so. The vast majority of us believe in sexual equality. People don’t take kindly to women being demeaned as the lesser sex.

And yet, something very similar to this scenario took place on Australian TV this week and the right-on barely batted an eyelid.

It wasn’t an old white bloke who said it, though – it was a hip non-­binary activist in a skirt and heels. His name is Deni Todorovic. He was on Q+A. And in a clash with the Liberal Victorian party president Greg Mirabella over Moira Deeming, he said something that I believe was deeply ­misogynistic.

Deeming, of course, has been suspended from the Victorian Liberal party for the supposed crime of attending Kellie-Jay Keen’s Let Women Speak gathering in ­Melbourne. That’s the one at which oafish far-right idiots turned up, uninvited.

Todorovic said Deeming “got off way too easily”. She should have been expelled, he said. Yes, we can’t have women exercising their right to express themselves in public.

Then he said something genuinely repugnant. He slammed Deeming’s “audacity” in attending the event and said: “Stay in bed and watch Rage, doll. Like seriously, stay at home.”

Read that again. *Stay at home, doll.* What decade is this?

Doll? Who does he think he is speaking about? Deeming is a woman, an established politician and a mother of four. She’s no one’s doll. She’s not some second-class creature who can be instructed by a man to stay home and watch late-night music videos on TV.

Just imagine the storm if Peter Dutton had been on Q+A and had said about someone like Van Badham, “Stop going on about politics, darling. Just stay in bed.”

There would be a national meltdown. So why is it okay for Todorovic to speak so degradingly about Deeming?

Is it because she’s a Liberal, and the woke don’t care about women like that? Or is it because Todorovic calls himself “non-binary” and wears women’s clothing?

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe misogyny is always wrong, whether it’s coming from an old fella in a stiff suit or a young activist in blue eye shadow.

No one comes out well from this disturbing incident. Todorovic certainly doesn’t. The audience doesn’t – they laughed at his suggestion that the Deeming doll should stay in bed.

The presenter, Stan Grant, doesn’t. He failed to challenge Todorovic on his use of the word “doll”. Does Grant think it’s ­acceptable to call women dolls? Does the ABC?

And the Liberals don’t look good, either. Why didn’t Mirabella push back harder against the insulting of one of his colleagues? The Victorian Liberals’ suspension of Deeming was shameful. It was a yellow-bellied capitulation to the woke mob.

Deeming had no idea those fascist loons would opportunistically try to attach themselves to the Let Women Speak event. She merely wanted to express her perfectly legitimate view that women are real and women’s rights matter.

To punish Deeming for what a bunch of Sieg Heiling men did is cowardly, intolerant and sexist. If the Liberals won’t defend freedom for one of their own women, how can we expect them to defend it for anyone else?

Let’s be clear about what is happening here: a woman with a principled and personal interest in preserving women-only spaces has been monstered in the most horrible way.

Deeming has spoken about being sexually abused as a child and sexually assaulted in adulthood. This is why she is passionate about women’s rights and privacy.

It is extraordinary that such a woman has been witch-hunted and shamed. That she is mocked as a “doll”. That she is told to stay home. That woke audience members at the ABC cackle as she is ­disparaged.

Never let the right-on pose as a friend of women again. For we now know that if a woman expresses a view they disapprove of, they will throw her to the wolves. Bye, doll.

Sexism has had a makeover. We might call it misogyny in drag. Intolerance of women’s voices no longer comes from dinosaur blokes who are nostalgic for the 1950s but from youthful activists who worship at the altar of gender fluidity.

Their post-science, post-truth belief that anyone can be a woman – even a man – has led them to view womanhood as a frivolous, flimsy thing, and to view any woman who stands up for biological truth as a bigot.

I was brought up to respect women, to treat them as my equals, and to expect that they will enjoy every right I enjoy. I don’t want to see such equality overturned, whether by sexist throwbacks who think sheilas should stay in the kitchen or postmodern activists who think they should stay in bed.


Brisbane bakery removes hot cross from ‘Easter Time buns’

image from

Sherlock was aghast when he found a local bakery in Brisbane’s inner west had decided to remove the ‘hot cross’ from its buns and label them ‘Easter Time buns’. “This is just another case of woke madness removing the name hot cross buns,” he says.

“This wouldn’t have happened in my time at Brumby’s. You can’t have Easter without hot cross buns. They’ve been synonymous with Easter celebrations since the 12th century in England.”

Sherlock, Sentinel’s chief experience officer, says the Group’s CEO Warren Ebert and the Sentinel staff will be celebrating their Easter morning tea in the Brisbane CBD office on Thursday with many hot cross bun


The world’s flattest batteries

The sheer stupidity of thinking that batteries can replace electricity generators

Kites are thought to have originated in China over two thousand years ago. Since the original incarnations, kites have evolved into a low-cost fun activity enjoyed by kids and adults alike. The link between ancient kites and modern batteries is tenuous but tangible – kites and renewables are equally useless on calm nights, but batteries are meant to change that for renewables.

In order to dissect the ideological policies forcing renewables and their batteries into the grid, it is necessary to test whether batteries are adequate for the task of ‘firming’. With a relatively small network occasionally isolated from the rest of the grid and plenty of hype around large batteries, South Australia is a good place to start.

Could batteries meet the electricity demands of South Australia’s slumbering 1.5 million population overnight?

Despite the lamentations of the renewable lobby and its enablers, we must consider specific periods for a simple reason – electricity is not consumed or generated in averages.

We could take the demand over a twelve-month period, find the average per day, and crow about the small amount of storage required to keep the lights on, but that would be dishonest. No design – be it bridges, boats, pipes or electricity – ever considers averages except in the most cursory terms. The extremes are the only parameters that matter. Will it fall down, will it sink, will it rupture, will it meet demand?

OpenNEM’s excellent visualisation provides near real-time visibility of supply and demand on the grid. One can select the entire NEM, or a preferred state, and analyse the types of generators that are meeting electricity demand.

Accordingly, it can be shown that South Australia’s peak summer electrical demand is around 3,000 MW, while in the comfortable shoulder months, peak demand barely nudges above 1,500 MW.

Sun and wind were absent from South Australia during the 8 hours of midnight to 8am on Tuesday March 28, 2023. Electricity demand was entirely supplied by local gas-fired generators and imports from neighbouring Victoria – itself mostly powered by three large lignite burning power stations.

In this particular 8-hour period, the state consumed 11,000 MWh of electricity with a peak of 1,553 MW. Imports from Victoria totalled 4,600 MWh, with local gas power contributing 6,300 MWh, meaning 99 per cent of electricity demand could not be met by renewables.

Could batteries have replaced 10,900 MWh of gas and imports in this period?

Batteries require a minimum of two numbers to enable basic comparisons. The first is peak instantaneous output (MW), a measure of how fast the battery can discharge. The second is the energy stored (MWh), a measure of how long it can discharge. The world’s largest battery can be found in Moss Landing, California at 400 MW / 1,600 MWh.

To calculate how many batteries are required to meet the instantaneous grid demand, we divide 1,553 MW by the peak output of the world’s biggest 400 MW battery.

1,553 / 400 = 3.88 of the world’s biggest batteries

You can’t have a portion of a big battery. Well you sort of can, but this is a quick model so we will round up to an even four batteries with 1,600 MW combined output – about 50 MW above our peak demand.

Ok, now let’s check the other number, the storage capacity in MWh.

Multiply the number of batteries by their individual MWh number to get the total MWh available from all four batteries.

4 x 1,600 MWh = 6,400 MWh

That’s significantly less than the 10,900 MWh needed.

We need to add more batteries to exceed the storage threshold, or the batteries will run out of juice before the 8 hours are up. This takes us up to six batteries. Six batteries will only supply 9,600 MWh at their combined peak output of 2,400 MW. However, a battery lasts longer if its output is below maximum, so six batteries will do the trick here.

We have established that six of the world’s biggest batteries can get sleeping South Australians through 8-hours of no wind and no sun.

Now let’s extend our thinking to the periods just outside the 8 hours. Calculations show that for those batteries to last the full 8 hours, they needed to be at least 70 per cent charged beforehand.

In the hours from 8am to 10am six of the world’s flattest batteries aren’t looking so great to morning commuters. Commuters who may take for granted that the biggest and most complex machine in the state will provide electricity for their barista-made coffees, elevators up to open plan offices, computers and lights, servers and zip boilers, printers and air-conditioning, coffee makers and fire detection systems.

It took local gas and imported coal to meet almost 90 per cent of electricity demand from 8am to 10am. There was no spare power to charge the flat batteries. In fact, across the entire day the ‘spare’ power available to charge batteries (identified as exports to Victoria) totalled just 2,000 MWh.

There is one last sting in the battery tail. One might be tempted to assume all the 2,000 MWh applied to the battery gets stored in the battery, but that’s not how these things work. Energy losses means a battery only stores about 90 per cent of the energy applied, which brings us down to 1,800 MWh. Less than 20 per cent of a full charge, lasting about 1 hour at the original conditions.

Better hope for some wind the next night, or the world’s flattest batteries won’t be much help.


‘We can’t produce miracles’: Minns rules out rent cap, promises supply drive

Some refreshing realism from a Leftist about the shortage of rental accomodation

NSW Premier Chris Minns has dashed tenants’ hopes for immediate relief from skyrocketing rents by ruling out a cap on rent increases, but promised major efforts to increase housing supply to ease price pressure in the long term.

An unprecedented squeeze helped raise the median Sydney apartment rent to $620 a week in March, up from $500 a year ago, with more pain on the way as migration restarts post-COVID and supply remains stagnant, and vacancy rates remain at or below 1 per cent.

Minns refused to countenance an ACT-style rental cap on Thursday, saying he was focused on long-term reforms to speed up the planning system and build more homes.

“I’m ruling it out,” he said. “We believe that would have an impact on supply, and we need to get supply going. The vast majority of rental market and new supply in the NSW marketplace has got to be provided by the private sector.”

Minns said the housing and rental crisis had been ongoing for years and in the short-term “I’m not going to proclaim that we can produce miracles”.

The premier acknowledged the stakes were high as young people and essential workers – including the paramedics he was standing beside following a graduation ceremony – were leaving Sydney due to the ballooning cost of housing.

“If we don’t get this right and start getting supply moving in this state, we will lose a generation of young people,” he said.

During the election campaign, Labor said it would rebalance Sydney’s population growth eastward and increase housing density near major transport hubs, including the new metro lines, as the west had borne the brunt of the city’s growth.

Minns said on Thursday his government now had a clear mandate for that policy. He said his new planning minister, Paul Scully, had also been tasked with clearing out the bureaucracy and red tape associated with development approvals.

“I’ve spoken to many builders who say it is easier to get approvals or quick decisions in Queensland than in NSW,” he said. “We’ve got an artificial bureaucratic level on top of it.”

All states are grappling with a rental crisis as vacancy rates plunge to record lows. The Queensland government recently floated the idea of a quantum cap on rent rises, ultimately deciding to limit increases to once a year, as is the case in NSW and Victoria.

The ACT limits rent increases to 110 per cent of inflation as measured by the consumer price index. Landlords can apply to a tribunal for increases beyond the cap.

Domain data shows the median house rental in Sydney is now $660 a week compared to $500 in Melbourne and $560 in Brisbane. In many parts of Sydney, the median unit rental is now $700 a week or higher, including the eastern suburbs ($790), the city and inner south ($760) and the northern beaches ($700). In the inner west it is $620 and in Ryde $600.

Greens housing spokeswoman and MP for Newtown Jenny Leong said she would introduce a bill on the first day of the new parliament to freeze rents for two years, and Labor MPs should make good on their election promises to help renters in their communities. “My understanding is there’s support from interesting parts across the parliament for that kind of action,” she said.

Minns said the government’s policy commitments for renters were ambitious, including a ban on no-fault evictions, relaxed rules for pets and an affordable bond scheme for renters who move properties. “But it really does come down to supply,” he said.

The Tenants Union of NSW condemned Labor’s stance, with chief executive Leo Patterson Ross saying there was nothing in the plan to reduce rents relative to income.

“Rent regulation is a common and ordinary part of many advanced economies. We should be looking at all the options available to bring the crisis under control.”




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