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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


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Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos Resigns

The Victorian Minister for Health, Jenny Mikakos, has resigned.

Mikakos announced her resignation in a statement posted on Twitter at 9.32am. The statement appears below.

Her resignation follows Premier Daniel Andrews’ appearance at a public hearing of the Hotel Quarantine Inquiry yesterday. Andrews said Mikakos and the Health Department were “accountable” for the decision to employ private security guards at hotels involved in the quarantining of people arriving in Melbourne from overseas.

Mikakos [Read more…]


PM – 20th Anniversary Program

The ABC radio program PM has been a staple program since I was a schoolboy.

I think I began listening to it in 1972, possibly in 1971. Its coverage of the massacre at the Munich Olympics sticks in my memory. Those were the days when news and current affairs was what we now call “appointment” broadcasting. The programs that accompanied breakfast, lunch and dinner were the times you found out what was happening in the world. No internet, no 24-hour television, no mobile phones, no social media.

Throughout my life, PM has been ever-present, one of the essential programs I turned to, not just in times of momentous events, but on a daily basis. As a university student during the Whitlam and Fraser years, and as a teacher through four separate decades, it was vital, not just personally, but professionally. For me, teaching English, Politics and History always required an up-to-date grasp of current events. Everything is relevant.

For many years, I listened to it in the car. The years began with Huw Evans as host, and then Paul Murphy, with Monica Attard and Ellen Fanning preceding the arrival of Mark Colvin. I loved it when a 5pm edition began on Radio National, with the local radio version continuing after the 6pm news. The duplication enabled me to leave work at different times and still listen to the whole program, albeit out of order.

Like many, I appreciated the authority and knowledge of Colvin. He made the program his. It is no reflection on him or any of the other hosts, but Evans will always be the voice of PM for me. Perhaps it was the November 11, 1975 live broadcast that did it. [Read more…]


Morrison National Cabinet Meeting Briefing: Bringing Australians Home

This is Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s press conference following today’s meeting of the National Cabinet.

As with previous National Cabinet meetings, the States and Territories have reserved the right to detemine their own timetables for allowing more overseas Australians to return home.

A statement issued by Morrison is obliquely critical of the Victorian government: “Seven of Australia’s eight states and territories are successfully suppressing COVID-19, enabling most Australians in those jurisdictions to live and work in a COVID-safe economy.”

Watch Morrison’s press conference (30m – transcript below):

Listen to Morrison (30m):

Statement issued by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on National Cabinet decisions.

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, recent progress following the Victorian outbreak, easing restrictions (including international border measures), helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment and getting the economy moving again.

National Cabinet continues to work together to address issues and find solutions to the health and economic consequences of COVID-19. Australia has done well on both the health and economic fronts compared to most countries around the world. [Read more…]


John Fahey, Former NSW Premier and Howard Finance Minister, Dies, 75

John Fahey, the former Liberal Premier of NSW, and Finance Minister in the Howard government, has died, aged 75.

FaheyFahey was first elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly in 1984 as the member for Camden. He transferred to Southern Highlands in 1988 and was a minister in the Greiner government following the 1988 election.

He became Premier on June 24, 1992, following the forced resignation of Nick Greiner, in the aftermath of an investigation by the Independent Commission Against Coruption.

As premier, Fahey is best remembered for the role he played in securing the 2000 Sydney Olympics for NSW.

Fahey’s Liberal-Nationals coalition was defeated in the 1995 election and Bob Carr became Labor premier. Fahey transferred to the federal division of Macarthur at the 1996 federal election and became Minister for Finance in the Howard government, a position he held until he retired at the 2001 election.

His career after politics is notable for his role as president of the World Anti-Doping Agency. He also served as Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University. [Read more…]


Hard Quiz: Scomo and Big Mac

One of the questions on tonight’s edition of “Hard Quiz” evoked memories of a different time and the original “Big Mac”.

Hard Quiz

A question on the theme of branding asked what Scott Morrison wanted to call Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, in the light of the success of his own branding as ScoMo.

The answer was “Big Mac”. It clearly didn’t take off. Last week, there was media speculation that McCormack’s leadership of The Nationals may not survive the year. David Littleproud could be deputy prime minister by Christmas. We shall see.

"But the Big Mac some of us remember is Frank McManus, the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) senator from Victoria from 1956 until 1962, and again from 1965 until 1974.

Born in 1905, McManus had a career as a teacher and Education Department official, before becoming Secretary of the Victorian branch of the ALP in 1950. An anti-communist “grouper”, McManus split with the ALP and joined the group that would become the DLP. In the aftermath of the 1955 split, he won election to the Senate at the December election, taking office in July 1956.

McManus was Deputy Leader of the DLP from 1956 until 1973, finally succeeding Vince Gair, a former Labor premier of Queensland, as leader in October 1973. The double dissolution election of May 1974 saw all five DLP senators lose their seats. With the exception of the late John Madigan, who won a Senate seat at the 2010 election, before quitting and setting up his own party, the DLP has never been represented in the Commonwealth parliament since 1974.

This is one of the DLP ads from the 1974 election touting Frank McManus as “Big Mac”.


1982 Video Flashback: Fraser Challenged by Peacock; Cain Labor Government Takes Office in Victoria

This video is a recording of the ABC News in Melbourne on Thursday, April 8, 1982.

On that day, Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, in office for 6 years and 5 months, beat off a challenge from his former Foreign Minister, Andrew Peacock. Fraser defeated Peacock by 54 votes to 27 in the Liberal partyroom. Treasurer John Howard was chosen as deputy leader, replacing Phillip Lynch.

The challenge to Fraser had been brewing for some time but was brought to a head by the defeat of the 27-year-old Liberal government in Victoria on April 3. On this day, the John Cain ministry was sworn into office, the first Labor government since John Cain snr in 1955.

Watch the news item (8m):


Morrison and Hunt Announce Vaccine Deal; Andrews Attacked; Call For Improvements to Victorian Tracing and Testing

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt today announced a $1.7 billion agreement for the supply and production of more than 80 million vaccine doses.

“Australia needs some hope today,” Morrison said when announcing the agreement at a Canberra press conference.

Morrison described as “crushing news” yesterday’s announcement in Victoria of an extension to the Stage 4 lockdown and curfew. “The plan that was outlined yesterday, I hope, is a worst-case scenario,” he said. “The mental health of Victorians will be sorely tested.”

Morrison’s escalating attacks on the Victorian government, aided by his Victorian-based treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, highlight the powers of the states in management of the coronavirus and the tensions in the federal compact.

Morrison and Hunt called for improvement to Victoria’s testing and tracing procedures.

Watch Morrison’s press conference (45m):

Listen to the the press conference (45m):

Transcript of press conference with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Health Minister Greg Hunt and Health Department Secretary Brendan Murphy.

PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON: Good morning, everyone. We’re about to be joined also by the Minister for Health, who was under different travel restrictions in order to be here today which, as usual, were approved by the relevant authorities here. I’m also joined by Professor Murphy, who you all know well. He’s here today not just in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Health, but he is also here as the Chair of the expert panel that has been advising the Australian government on vaccines, which is the principal reason for me being here this morning. [Read more…]


Morrison Government Says Victorian COVID-19 Measures Are Hard And Crushing News

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and senior ministers Josh Frydenberg and Greg Hunt have criticised COVID-19 measures announced today by the Victorian government as “hard and crushing news”.

Whilst generally supportive of measures to rid Victoria of the virus, the three ministers said that “the proposed roadmap will come at a further economic cost.”

In a statement, they say: “Now that we have been advised of the plan and it has been released we will also seek feedback from Victorian business and industry stakeholders to understand their concerns and seek to ensure they are addressed.” They said Victoria’s contact tracing system has to be “strengthened to the highest possible levels”. [Read more…]


Daniel Andrews Announces Slow Road Out of Lockdown for Victoria

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a “roadmap” out of the current COVID-19 restrictions.

The Stage 4 restrictions introduced a month ago, and scheduled to end next weekend, will be extended for another two weeks. The curfew that came into force a month ago has been extended until the end of October, although it will now apply from 9pm until 5am.

Retail shops and hairdressers remain closed until the end of October. Childcare and schools will begin to reopen, and VCE students will sit the General Achievement Test (GAT) in October. People living alone will now be able to establish a “bubble” with one other person.

A series of steps has been set out, with dates ranging into November, each dependent on the numbers of diagnosed COVID-19 cases at each stage. Full details of the changes appear in the documents below.

Watch Daniel Andrews’ Press Conference (113m):

Listen to Andrews (113m):

Statement from Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria.

Today is Father’s Day.

And just like Mother’s Day earlier this year, I know there’ll be plenty of families missing each other.

Whether it’s dad or grandpa, baba, papa or cha – today is a day that is supposed to be spent together.

Normally, for us, it’d be lunch with Cath and the kids. And maybe a trip back home to see mum – and visit dad. This year, though, it’s got to be different.

I know that same sense of loss and missing those you love is being felt by every single Victorian family. [Read more…]


Statement on National Cabinet Discussions

The National Cabinet met today via videolink.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison released this statement on National Cabinet discussions and decisions.

Later, Morrison held a press conference to outline the National Cabinet discussions.

Transcript of statement released by Prime Minister Scott Morrison

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victorian outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment, border restrictions and getting the economy moving again.

The Acting Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, provided an update on the measures underway, the latest data and medical advice in relation to COVID-19.

There have been more than 26,000 confirmed cases in Australia and sadly 737 people have died. [Read more…]