Megaphone Madness: how reckless media impeded Victoria’s Covid-19 recovery

by | Oct 16, 2020 | Government

The media we consume influences our compliance with Covid-19 recommendations. Poor media coverage in Victoria is impeding the state’s recovery, writes Michael Tanner.

​Three months ago, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews fronted his daily press conference and announced a record 723 new cases of Covid-19 overnight. That number has now fallen to just two in Victoria. This has been achieved in the face of a campaign from the media and the Liberal Party, state and federal, to undermine the state government’s response.

Trust in the government is crucial to citizens adhering to restrictions that are central to controlling the spread of Covid-19. The media typically has an important role in that process: theoretically, the government cannot act too outlandishly for fear of public backlash.

But when ownership of the media is so heavily concentrated in the hands of a few, as is the situation in Australia, the absence of diversity can make it difficult for contrasting views to be given equal airtime. This can undermine the public health messaging and response, as the stubborn embers of Victoria’s second wave of Covid-19 are smothered. And the coverage of Covid-19 in recent months has been far from balanced, nor even accurate.

The Australian ran an article linking the Black Lives Matter protest to Covid-19 outbreaks in the Flemington housing commission apartments, while The Herald Sun suggested the source of the spread from hotel quarantine was a security guard having sex with a returned traveller. Neither story is correct, but they remain online. And as with any falsehood, once repeated enough times they are taken as the truth.

Sky News ran a headline in late September stating that the hotel quarantine inquiry “finds” the government responsible for deaths of 768 people. Again, false. The inquiry is not set to release its findings until November. This one at least was subsequently updated to “hears” that the government was responsible.

Sky Host Paul Murray also claimed on air that death by suicide is on the rise – again, the data does not stack up. There may be an increase in mental health issues in Victoria, but not of suicide.

The Australian published modelling it claimed was leaked from the Victorian government, warning of thousands of cases a day in weeks to come. It bore a striking resemblance to a graph posted on Twitter.

Phil Coorey, in an article published in the Australian Financial Review, likened Victorians’ support for Premier Andrews to the cult-like support of Donald Trump. ABC Breakfast presenter Michael Rowland tweeted an endorsement of the article.

The media coverage in recent months has undoubtedly polarised Victoria. But it is ludicrous to liken those who support the actions of a government that has imposed strict lockdowns to successfully contain the spread of the pandemic to those supporting a president whose lack of action has seen the pandemic take more than 200,000 American lives.

Polls – with all the caveats required – consistently show a majority of Victorians support Andrews. So much was made of a poll in The Age showing a supposed collapse in support for Andrews and which was seized on by Sky News host Chris Kenny. Media Watch demolished the poll by demonstrating how it was besieged by bots, yet Kenny has yet to retract his claims.

In recent days, the “report” that the World Health Organisation “backflipped” on its stance on lockdowns has gained prominent coverage. But, again, it was taken out of context and used to undermine the patience of Victorians in lockdown.

The statement was not officially endorsed by the WHO, but was a comment from a doctor from the WHO that lockdowns should not be the “primary” method of Covid-19 control. They shouldn’t. They aren’t. Test, trace and isolate remains the primary method of control: lockdowns are to bring the numbers down to a level where this can be achievable. The WHO backflipped on nothing; lockdowns remain an effective tool for suppressing virus spread.

Research published last week found that partisan coverage affects compliance with measures to halt the spread of Covid-19. Compared to those who trust CNN in America, those trusting Fox News were less likely to engage in behaviour that stopped the spread of infection, and more likely to behave in a way that promoted the spread of the virus.

Take the new cluster in Shepparton. Patient zero did not mention they had travelled to Shepparton, leaving the virus to circulate undetected. Andrews has stated there will be no punishment for those who are honest with contact tracers. Meanwhile, Nine Entertainment has run a headline stating that Premier Andrews “will come after you” if you break the rules. The messaging from the government could be clearer, but in a public health crisis the media also has an important role to play in communicating clear and consistent messages.

The Liberal party has also tried to undermine public trust. One Victorian MP posted cards appearing to target Labor leaders that bore a striking resemblance to “catch and kill” cards used by the USA in Iraq to target Al-Qaeda members. Another planted Australian flags to represent the 790 Victorians who lost their lives. Yet most of these deaths were in aged care homes, which fall under federal responsibility.

Alan Tudge and Josh Frydenberg have also taken to Twitter to express their concern over the mental health of Victorians. As  human services minister in 2016-17, Tudge oversaw the Robodebt scheme. The Department of Human Services told a Senate committee that more than 2,000 people died after receiving Robodebt letters.

The deaths included a spate of suicides, largely among young people.

Robodebt: changes to Criminal Code pave way for action against lawyers who vigorously defend clients

Frydenberg has refused to commit to continuing the coronavirus supplement beyond December, saying it will depend on the state of the job market. Yet before the pandemic, there were more than 700,000 people who were unemployed who were trying to exist on less than $40 a day, some 30% below the poverty rate. Poverty and unemployment are the great drivers of mental health issues, not lockdowns.

It is undeniable that there have been major failings by the Andrews government. The hotel quarantine let Covid-19 out; the response was run from a logistic, not a health, point of view; contact tracing has been under-resourced and inadequate, while government’s messaging on who should get tested remains confusing. These are the issues that the opposition should be pinning the government down on, forcing Labor to improve. The opposition hasn’t, until today (October 16) when Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien released his alternative roadmap.

Accountability and criticism are important, but for the benefit of all Victorians these should occur in a calmer atmosphere.

October 19: This article was updated to correct the cause of death associated with Robodebt. 

Editor’s Note: hyper-partisan reporting of the Covid Crisis in Victoria has amplified the failure of the mainstream media in Australia, as author of this story, Melbourne medical student Michael Tanner attests. From the claim, “We’re all in this together”, the point-scoring by politicians has inflamed tribal media agendas, polarised press coverage and failed the people of Victoria, making an already distressing situation even worse.

A big shout-out to Victorians!

Polarisation in Covid-19 lockdown debate a dangerous prospect


Michael Tanner

Michael Tanner

Michael Tanner is completing a Doctor of Medicine/Doctor of Philosophy. His writing explores the intersection of economics, the media and public health. His writing has also been published in The Age. Michael’s Twitter handle is @MichaelTanner_


  1. Avatar

    Thanks Michael, I’m feeling a little vindicated here. The MSM portrayal of Victoria’s response has been abysmal. The mental health argument is comparable to a bully playing out the old ‘Stop! Hitting! Yourself!’. A pillar of acceptance and commitment therapy (and stoicism I hear) is to accept the things outside of one’s control and work with what you can control. So when the outlets bash Andrews and his approach (typically with an obvious agenda and little substantiation), including by fabricated mental health arguments, they exacerbate people’s MH distress and ability to cope by corroding their ability to accept the situation.

    Personally I’ve found, even if you don’t pay attention to these outlets, some of your friends will, and then it becomes a tangible ‘environment’ of hostility and borderline petulance towards the government and the restrictions.

    Anyway, I keep getting to the bottom of articles I really dig and will then see your name attached. Guess you’ve made yourself a new fan!

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    With great respect to your attempt at writing this article Mr Tanner, one must ask if you have watched one of Mr Andrew’s pressers? I very much doubt it.
    The pressers are pretty much similar with continuous improvement since day one. Personally, I found Mr Andrews voice and manner very calming resulting in easier listening to his directives in suppressing the virus. Many times he has mentioned his need to focus on “getting the numbers down” rather than entertaining others with political views. What you see is what you get with Mr Andrews, Sir.

    What I see is a genuine caring and intelligent man who is willing to front up every day for more than 100 pressers to help Victorians through this pandemic. They have trusted him enough to follow his directives to safety despite enormous opposition from certain press reporters, politicians, and on line abuser’s etc etc. Mr Andrews remains focused and committed to all Victorians.

    I am watching from afar in NSW at a possible up and coming Prime Minister in Dan Andrews.

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      Sadly, not everybody has the time or will to watch the pressers, so they take the abridged (therefore skewed) version through the media source presented to them, which is often MSM outlets such as Murdoch’s papers (as he has the highest saturation), 9 Fairfax or ABC.

      I hope you’re right though, it’s nice to know that folks from other states support Andrews as well. You probably saw that comical excerpt where Andrews was asked at one of the conferences whether he is undercutting/sidestepping the role of the media by speaking directly to the public (can recommend otherwise). That one deservingly got a chuckle, and is a pretty good reflection of the state of affairs in mainstream media.

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        Thanx, he is no fool for sure, witty as too.
        Oh, here comes the anti brigade…..I refuse to feed em.

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        Versus the Morrison’s tactic of briefing key journalists like colleagues……. before official press releases etc.; all so clubby….. and holding one’s potential enemies close…..

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      Very few politicians ever face press conferences let alone every day for months. Daniel does get repitive and boring but so would anyone talking every day on the same subject. At least he does face the music seven days a week. The average reader of this page I bet does not work seven days a week. Please leave the name on here of anyone who may do a better job.
      Rodway Wolfe, Chandler’s Creek.

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      There isn’t many alternatives though, the fines are enormous and police heavy handed.

      If you see genuine care, you are mislead, this is a guy fighting for his career, there is no alternative to front the press every single day without fail. After all, it is his administration that is essentially responsible for the lock downs and economic harm.

      He is most likely going to retire before the next election. Zero chance of being PM, way too easy to mount a campaign against him.

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      Andrews lies through his teeth about hotel quarantine. Till he’s honest about that, I won’t listen to anything else he’s got to say.

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    “The Australian ran an article linking the Black Lives Matter protest to Covid-19 outbreaks in the Flemington housing commission apartments, while The Herald Sun suggested the source of the spread from hotel quarantine was a security guard having sex with a returned traveller. Neither story is correct”

    What source discredits these claims?

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    Wow, what a great input and honest article, thank you

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    Michael. Thank you for articulating what so many Victorians are feeling and thinking. You have nailed it on the head in one article and made me so elated that I cannot think of the right words to express that elation. Bravo!

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    For the past 2 weeks I seen nothing but negative articles about Dan Andrews and how his lockdowns must end. Including articles about people’s anxiety and mental health. It’s seems clear to me that the mainstream media are just pushing the Liberals agenda of get the kids back to school and the people back to work asap. Meanwhile Victorian infection numbers plummeted under the lockdowns. The Czech republic held a celebration in July where 500 people dined on a famous bridge to celebrate eliminating Covid19, they now have 8,600 cases per day. That’s what happens when you put the cart before the horse. The time to behave like we’ve solved it is once we’ve actually solved it, not before. The economy may tank in the meantime but markets will do what markets have always done once we are post Covid19 and can re-engage in normal market activities.

    TLDR: Lockdown’s work.

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      Crap leadership at the Federal level allowing their dogs to constantly bark is a real problem. Friedberg and Ghunt under real leadership would have had their chains pulled long ago.

      But this is Scomo 101, spin a cooperative narrative to the media and public while letting the idiots on the front bench undermine the work.

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      The lockdown is not cost free. We are all pay the point where the cure will kill more than the disease.

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        Manifestations related to Covid19 include but are not limited to 1) cardiovascular: such as myocarditis, 2) respiratory: such as viral pneumonia, 3) neurological: for example we saw Astrazeneca’s trial put on halt due to a case transverse mylitis, 4) gastrointestinal: nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite leading to anorexia, 5) hepatic: increased levels of hepatocyte-related enzymes, including alanine amino-transferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), 6) hematological: variation in white blood cell counts. SARS-CoV-2 primarily affects T lymphocytes, in particular CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, causing lymphopenia and a decrease in interferon γ (Gamma). 7) ophthalmic: follicular conjunctivitis 8) dermatological: morbilliform rash, purpuric/petechial, and livedoid lesions. In summary, I read your comment and quickly decided you have no idea what you’re talking about.

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    796 dead from the virus in the “successful” lockdown.

    This is, of course, not the fault of the Premier, since he is from a party the authour likes, but the fault of media bias, argues the authour in a biased piece in the media.

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      * aged care is a federal responsibility
      * the ruby princess case is a federal responsibility and NSW responsibility
      * how many would be dead with a Murdoch trump boris Morrison anti mask anti lockdown? Go on ballpark figure
      * are the federal government responsible for anything or are they on holiday again?

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        Aged care is a federal responsibility, but that doesn’t absolve the culpability of those deaths. It is the poor efforts and failings of the state government that let the virus into the community who then brought it into poorly prepared aged care homes.

        Both failed. Both need to be held to account. The Federal Government has pretty much gotten away with it at this point, I feel the State Government will too.

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        Where is Colbeck hiding for the last year? They were warned and developed no plans whatsoever.

        Can you imagine any scenario where a Coal party premier like OBrien or whatever nutter replaces him would not have outsourced security to a private company? That is how they always avoid responsibility and funnel money back to donors. They did not even want a quarantine system until other state premiers demanded it.

        Last point, the ADF would not have magically prevented many infections no matter how well trained. There is a huge element of luck in virus containment as reported the hotel manager was infected leading to outbreak. That could easily occur in NSW.

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        I could imagine a scenario where the LNP messed up as bad or worse. But the problem is, they didn’t.

        Which leads to your last point. Quarantine in Melbourne failed. Luck has nothing to do with it. Poor management and training did. A digger would not fall asleep on the floor or let people manipulate him/her into breaching safety standards.

        It could easily occur in NSW, but didn’t.

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        You know that security guards sleeping with those in quarantine was another murdoch lie right? Luck has a lot to do with containing a virus this contagious and it ain’t over yet anywhere. The management fail was casual or poorly trained workers moving to multiple sites, mainly in the aged care facilities. Again a federal responsibility and probably all states did that.

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        Why do NSW and Duttons black shirts get no blame for sending known *infected* passengers from cruise ships all over the country? How much luck was involved in containing that clusterfuckup. Now the same tools have given us round 2 with airport fuckup.

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      Quick reminder that most of the deaths came from aged care residents of which they had minimal to no federal assistance to prepare for.

      You highlight “successful” as if decreasing new daily cases from the 700s down to literally 1 is not a phenomenal success. I have absolutely no idea how you can argue that the state government’s actions and reactions to issues as they were identified were not extremely effective on that basis alone. Some pieces of the plan, on review and in hindsight, may not have been as significantly effective as others, but the overall result is nothing short of exceptional.

      Nitpick all you like – the fact is while Europe is getting dumpstered once more, we are looking at a safe recovery.

      PS: if you really want to try the whole “but who let it out in the first place” argument then let’s wind the tape back to Scomo’s glorious border defence and the original self-isolation farce…

  8. Avatar

    Thanks for an excellent article, Michael.

    The Age online has been constantly sniping at Andrews, attempting to create a tangible sense of being ‘on the edge’ of something every day: who’s going to be found-out by the inquiry? Who’s contradicting whom? Will we ever get our freedom back? Can Andrews survive? Do lock-downs really work? How many days to go? Are we going to make the deadline 14-day average? How much suspense are we all in, waiting for Sunday? And so on ad nauseum… I doubt there has been one article evincing wholehearted support for what was the only practical course of action when the daily cases were at ‘European’ per capita levels well before they even hit Europe weeks later.

    Yesterday, The Age published a list of recommendations by the Opposition leader, who, now that the case numbers have been driven right down and he can enjoy the benefit of the very thing he’s been attacking the whole time (the lock-down) came out to make a few suggestions of a ‘bleeding obvious’ nature for a ‘road-map’ out of the lock-down. Neither O’Brien nor The Age, despite the mountains of negativity, has been able to produce an effective, positive alternative to the lock-down. The cumulative effect has been to watch Andrews’ critics cheer at the suppression of case numbers while at the same time constantly creating doubt and unrest about the method used to achieve it.

    At the same time, there’s been hardly a mention of the appalling condition of federally managed aged care, where the elderly and their carers have been slaughtered as a result of sheer negligence in the profit-driven sector.

    It’s astounding that so few in the MSM seem to have understood the absolute necessity to bring Victoria in tandem with the other states, and to do so as quickly and safely as possible. The present imbalance is simply not plausible or sustainable.

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    This is the article I’ve wanted to see and read for a long time. It’s been very obvious that these venal media sources are the very reason why some Victorians have seen fit to flaunt the rules and infect other more responsible Victorians with Covid-19. They have been their cheer squad.

    As such they are part of the problem in working against a leader who has made extraordinary efforts to bring the second wave under control. They are a second media virus promulgating ideas that destroy the honest work of others, particularly medical workers.

    For political reasons they have literally increased the death rate of many Victorians through their deliberate lies and spin. It’s Trumpian and we can do without such crap here. Murdoch is always behind such games. The prime minister has remained quiet about Melbourne and Andrews, but he got his attack dogs like Frydenberg and Dutton to do the dirty work, as well as the rotten pro-Liberal, pro-right wing MSM to do it for him.

    The prime minister is in a phase of trying to make himself look like a nice guy while he knows full well others in the same party he is in and MSM do his dirty work for him.

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      Me too. Excellent piece Michael, good onya!

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    How ironic. This article does exactly the same things it’s criticising others for. Complains about partisan politics and does everything but beatify Andrews in the same paragraph. This tired old trope about media is worn out and irrelevant and only ever becomes an issue when things are perceived to go against you. The Murdoch Boogeyman is like a moth to a flame for left wing nutjobs. DO you honestly think people sit around reading The Sun in their living rooms foaming at the mouth? Do you understand that Australians like many other people in the world have the globes entire media outlets at their fingertips?

    Andrews should be held to account and he simply hasn’t been. Trump is apparently responsible for 200k deaths yet Andrews isn’t despite 97% of the covid deaths being in Victoria alone? We are 6.5 billion in debt because of this idiot’s absurd and arbitrary policies made up as he goes along. What will happen if in December or next February we have another spike?, do we close down again? Is this a sustainable policy?

    The irony about complaining about the cult like support of Trump when Andrews is held with as much deference. Go on Twitter and the endless #istandwithdan zombies and their utter refusal to even concede the slightest bit of criticism. Even here, people are saying oh poor Dan got up every day to answer questions. BIG FKN DEAL! He’s not in the mines or tram lines, he’s the Premier and needs to answer ANYTHING thrown at him. This man is lucky he can do 2 hours a day “work” for 450k a year. Some of us STILL can’t get jobs because of the state of the economy. And as this article laughably displays, any polls or surveys that show Victorians are angry or dissatisfied with Andrews is relegated to them being bots LMAO.

    So although you probably felt good with yourself writing this, it changes no ones mind. All you’ve done is preach to the converted and sat in your own circle jerk. Hypocrite.

  11. Avatar

    Michael Tanner, you have nailed it! To all those media representatives who test the Premier’s patience each morning, please know that you are falling in the eyes of the public with your incessant and foolish questions. The majority of the Victorians support Daniel Andrews and are proud of the fact that he is doing his best to protect us and to save our lives. We don’t need the opposing voices, as they do nothing but to damage the Victorian Community. Please, please you media representatives who come each morning to try to grill him – STOP IT! No, one is pleased with your behaviour!

  12. Avatar

    Great article, full of factual examples & no hyperbole.

    Readers, please sign Kevin Rudd’s petition for a Royal Commission into the dominance of Murdoch’s News Corp in MSM, Australia deserves better.

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    My gut feel is that you’re right. What’s impossible to calculate is the degree or extent of the impediment. Could Melbourne have reached Stage 3 targets three weeks earlier, five weeks earlier? What percentage of business collapses will be attributed to media-fuelled distrust of government?

  14. Avatar

    It’s hard to swallow you’re basically giving a free pass to the Andrews government. We are talking about a govt that has caused the kind of economic and social destruction you’d usually only see from war it some catastrophic natural event.

    There’s been a roughly 30% increase in self harm cases presenting at emergency departments. Beyond blue is up 77% on calls for help.

    The Andrew’s government has spent months lying about the decision making process for private security use in hotel quarantine. The inquiry has done a very pathetic job. Too much is still unknown, but the inquiry was designed to shield Andrews from answering questions to the public.

    Never in my life have I been so angry. I have to watch my friends slip into despair as they increasingly realise their job won’t come back.

    We’re talking hundreds of thousands of lives will be destroyed by the incompetent actions of the Andrews government. Mr Tanner might be able to have an aloof academic view of what’s been happening, but FFS we are talking about a third of small businesses in the Melbourne CBD likely closed permanently in March. We’re talking tens of thousands of families losing the family home.

    The people responsible will suffer the consequences of leaving politics and going into some cushy job on the private sector milking their political connections. No justice.

    I’m seething with anger. I’ll be out protesting as much as I can once this govt apps making it illegal. Cops bending the knee to BLM, cops stealing the office of grannies sitting in the park, cops handcuffing pregnant woman and taking them off.

    We have a situation where if you’re breaking the rules and causing harm you won’t be fined, but if you’re breaking the rules and cause no harm you’ll face the full force of the law. How’s that justice?

    • Avatar

      Agree. A risk analysis was never done. Saving the lives of the vulnerable is worthy and, I would say, essential. But the cost was never factored in. This is criminal negligence.

      I note that author’s claim that suicide numbers were not up. Suicides will show up later as people come to terms with the loss of their business built up by long hours of work and mortgaging everything they own. Others will come as the unemployed face the fact that they might never again be employed and relationships and other essential parts of life have been destroyed. Deaths and illness from a large number of causes are expected to rise. Children’s education and social development have been compromised. The list of damages is long and well documented. There should at least have been a discussion of all the flow-on effects.

      • Avatar

        The actual numbers tell a different story from the conjecture and FUD.

        As to the asertion that ‘cost was never factored in’ -please. That’s made up easily a thrird of all we’ve heard about from most Australian print publications and broadcast outlets.

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        I don’t really care what the media is saying. I long gave up trusting what’s in the MSM. There’s been no indication the Govt has done anything but a political calculus that there is less chance of them losing the next election if they keep wuufluu cases low over economic destruction.

        It wont surprise me if Dan is gone early next year and Labor rush to the polls before the full extend of the economic destruction is realised by voters to lock in another term in Govt. Why you’d want to be reigning over what will be the biggest economic recession is beyond me.

        I hope the other states fight tooth and nail to stop Victoria bleeding them dry over the GST allocation when it comes up for review. Why should the other states have to reward Victoria for the incompetence of their Govt?

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        Perhaps not the cost of action, but the cost of inaction was definitely monitored worldwide.

        Mental health issues are certainly rampant and it’s true as you say that we’re likely to see a spike in suicides, but that will probably be attributed to the effects of the global recession/depression we’re about to endure than any lockdown measure. Did lockdowns contribute to the cause of the recession? Sure, but as a measure to prevent virus spread its effect is undeniably necessary. Personally, I’d rather be heading into the recession without a health system collapse on top of economic collapse.

        I also agree that we’re yet to see the true effects of the virus in terms of morbidity and life years lost down the line, especially for young people currently thinking the virus only gave them a bad flu. Who knows what sort of medical issues we’ll see 30-40 years from now occurring earlier than they normally would, given there is evidence of endothelial tissue damage on top of possible chronic respiratory issues (as if restrictive lung diseases from violent coughing wasn’t bad enough).

        From an education standpoint, the biggest flow on from that will probably be how that affects/slows down their employability down the line and whether or not a bottle neck will form for a few years with a new spike in youth unemployment.

        As far as the total aftermath from covid is concerned, i fear we’re only partway through a Tolkien size novel…

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      “I’m seething with anger.”

      Much like your American counterparts… and ‘factually challenged,’ to boot.

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        What’s your point? Are you saying I have no justification to be angry at the incompetence of the Andrews Governemnt?

        Surely even the biggest stanwithdan supporter can also understand it’s their dear leader that has caused much of the economic pain we are in and will go through.

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        I’m saying that there’s a lot of lying going on from… certain sources. And worse.

        Is that straight up enough?

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      Give me one reference to support the “30% increase in self harm” and I’ll give your point of view the time of day.

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    I see people polarised on the virulence of the virus and measures taken in the name of protecting society. What I do not see is informed debate on all aspects of what has happened. Instead I see insults and vilification of anyone who questions Andrews’ measures. We long ago should have seen Andrews’ advisors in public debate with prominent qualified opponents of the measures. If what Andrews has done has solid scientific backing, let’s hear about the research they’re relying on. We now have 8 months of data and the experiences of every country in the world so the evidence is in. Let’s hear it from both sides in a competently moderated public debate.

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      Where’s the research showing masks outside are useful? I’d be more supportive of a mask policy for using them inside and if outside in a crowded area.

      When I’m walking to work at 9pm and there’s lucky to be another person within 50M of me, I don’t see how wearing a mask is beneficial. I do see wearing a mask in a grocery store or a lift as being beneficial as it will limit the the inoculum of an infected person and increase the likelihood that any infection caused will be asymptomatic or mild.

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    Would it be possible to get the source that shows a lack of causation between the second wave outbreak and the hotel quarantine fiasco?

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    There was never any lockdown. There was just middle-class class people scared and hiding while they forced the working-class people to bring them things.

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    Shows another aspect of our political media, the obsessive focus upon personalities versus policies for reason of entertainment, clicks and continual electoral strategy.

    As Lynton Crosby said in the UK some years ago, it’s about ‘hearts not heads’ and while multiple journalists, presenters and commenters follow the same without question, the hope of the LNP is that it nudges voters (consciously and unconsciously) away from Labor, especially undecided and ‘persuadables’.

    Can be effective when some only read e.g. the Herald Sun for sport but also receive a barrage of negative headlines about Victoria’s handling of Covid19, and even down to infantile nick names. Interestingly, one HS poll a month ago had 2/3+ majority approving of Premier Andrews which must enrage some LNP/NewsCorp as Labor seem to have a monopoly on Victoria (till another Dick Hamer happens along) to move back into the centre which is now anathema to the Liberal Party, especially their external policy influencers and donors).

    It’s a sign of how American or GOP tactics and strategies are being applied to/by the LNP to create outrage on cultural, identity, personality, one off events etc., issues to help push through radical right libertarian policies, which in fact may impact the Liberal Party like it has the Nationals…. hollowed out delivery systems, future uncertain?

  19. Avatar

    Interesting to see a few trolls and/or empassioned conservative or LNP activists turning up here; hardly their natural choice of media, what gives?

    Nowadays, independent outlets like MW that do not carry the LNP messaging unquestioned like NewsCorp, 9Fairfax and 7 do, are deemed to be fair game for disruption by formal/informal trolling?

  20. Avatar

    11, 5, 6, 2, 1, 2, 4.
    Those have been the number of new daily cases over the past week.
    Which if you average it out comes in at <5 cases per day.

    If the current trend continues for the next week then our fortnightly rolling average will actually be under 5 daily cases before 26th October.
    Funnily enough, that puts Victoria PERFECTLY ON TRACK with regards to the original roadmap - literally perfectly on schedule.

    The senseless, misinformed (or often just apathetically factless) ravings of media outlets with a nefarious political agenda so obvious they don't even care to hide it anymore need to be surgically removed from our society sooner rather than later.

    I invite everyone (if they haven't already) to consider signing Kevin Rudd's recent petition for a royal commission into Australian media diversity:

    This blight on our democracy must be dealt with one way or another.

  21. Avatar

    The two competing approaches to the pandemic are to protect public health, or protect private wealth, or a balance in between.

    I leave it to you to decide if News Corp or the Liberal Party gives two hoots about public health.

  22. Avatar

    The two competing approaches to the pandemic are to protect public health, or protect private wealth, or a balance in between.

    I leave it to you to decide if News Corp or the Liberal Party gives a shit about public health.

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    Been pondering all this going down in Victoria, wondering whether they really are just less in touch with reality and incapable of coherent thought, or perhaps it is the case that Victorians are just like much of the rest of Australia, and the vast majority are doing the right thing while a small and very vocal minority are carrying on like their pants are on fire. I’ve decided it it definitely the latter. The polls show that most people are supportive of lockdowns and whatever measures are necessary to bring the number of new cases as close to zero as possible.

    All these pathetic arguments about the cure being worse than the disease are such tropes, picked up from some Murdoch media hound or Facebook troll, while at this very moment we are seeing what happens when you don’t do it, you get the USA, UK and Europe with ballooning numbers. The very evidence of why the cure is much better than the disease stands right in front of them, and still they argue their tired tropes, claiming that suicide numbers have gone up (they haven’t), that they will in the future (really, Nostradamus, tell us more) how businesses will all fold (unfortunately unaware that 80% of small businesses fold in the first year with or without Covid 19), or that calls to lifeline are up X% (so what, a service set up to help people through difficult situations is actually helping people through a difficult period). The bows being drawn are so long there is no arrow that could sit in them.

    And laughably claiming their own special use of logic and reason as they angrily denounce any contrary view. Foaming at the mouth and screaming ‘stop shouting’ at the top of their lungs, and not having the slightest self awareness of the irony.

    Simmer down, please. And to the vast majority of Victorians, good luck out there, you’ve nearly made it, you have my good wishes.

    And isn’t it terrible when the policies you are denouncing are demonstrably working. God I hate that.

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    I think ALL our press on indequate on this issue. Why do you defend one side without any evidence and merely smear other sides. I had thought that Michael West represented accuracy but this is a clear suggestion that he is failing. Honest journalism means that all views should be represented .
    Michael I am bitterly disappointed in your refusal to present both sides on this .
    You have persistently refused to do some investigative journalism on the 800 deaths in Melbourne as opposed to the rest of Australia

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    Please.. don’t pretend one sided biases do not exist in your own opinion pieces. Journalist’s are about sensationalism and spreading the gospel according to *insert journalist name here*. Australian media (all of them) would have still whipped themselves up in a frenzy even if it had been a Victorian Lib Government. And being a more savvy vocal and visual media manipulator, the Labor Party would have served the media well as its highly skilled partner. Does anyone believe that there would not have been an evisceration of a Liberal Premier who dared to impose a curfew, prevent workers from working and the public from moving freely?
    The truth is the victim of all political parties and the media are experts at morphing it all into a bastardised product that sells.

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    An excellent balanced analysis Michael. Victorians have been badly let down by our media and a lack of concern and support from the federal cabinet. I hope Victorians remember this behaviour and that of the NSW government in their chaotic Victorian border closures which caused such damage to virus-free northern Victorian communities (not to mention southern NSW! I was pleased to hear Dr. Norman Swan’s recent assessment of the state of play in Victoria (see Coronocast ‘Why Victoria’s success matters to us all’). It is interesting that the Republic of Ireland Is imposing a lockdown strategy with key similarities in the face of rising cases, no doubt related to the UK’s dangerously inconsistent approach. Again, Dr Swan has broadcast on this (‘Is Europe copying Victoria’s lockdown strategy?’). Why is it that commercial (for the most part) media and our so-called conservatives choose to be the archetypal whinging Aussies instead of celebrating Victorians’ success?

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