3. Let us can all nonsense about such base-level restrictions impinging on our “liberty” and our “freedom”. The embrace of that kind of insanity has lead America to its current position: 3,600 dead, just last Thursday. If the Yanks continue the way they are going, they will have the equivalent of a Pearl Harbor and a September 11 every day.
Our Victorian cousins had similar carry-on bitterly criticising the measures of the government of Dan Andrews but the Vics themselves were magnificent in ignoring the blowhards and embracing what had to be done – and look at them now. The contrast between the situation in Victoria and the US could not be more stark. Which one do we want to be?
4. From now on, the only loud voices on how to get on top of this should be either epidemiologists or those supporting epidemiologists.
You get the drift. This is an absolute bugger but there is simply no point in shaking our fists at the heavens above, our leaders, or the medical folk advising them. We have to get on with it.
All words no action on koalas
It was one-time British Prime Minister Anthony Eden who said it best: “Everyone is always in favour of general economy and particular expenditure.” Exactly the same applies to the environment. Everyone is always in favour of general care of the environment . . . with the exception of the endless exceptions where other factors are always considered more important, just this once.
And there is no better example than caring for our koalas. All those in favour of protecting them from extinction, say “Aye.”
The “Ayes!” were never more resounding than after the bushfires wiped out a third of the koalas remaining habitat. Our own
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been front and centre, promising to look after them.
“Koalas are a national treasure,” she said while unveiling the much vaunted NSW government’s koala strategy. “This strategy will ensure there are far more of them in the wild. This unprecedented action is the first part of a long-term investment by the NSW Liberal and Nationals government that will guarantee koalas have a very bright future in this state.”
And yet, as you will have noted in this column in recent weeks, just about every time we look up the general commitment to protecting koalas is torn apart by specific developments that will wipe out their habitats, announcements about increases in habitat protected are undercut by habitat slated for destruction. Lately the most flagrant examples are in Port Stephens, Campbelltown and Appin.
Now there is a new one, again up in Port Stephens, a new development planned smack bang in the middle of one of only three koala hubs in the area. It involves the clearance of more than 200 hectares of native vegetation. Most of that is prime koala habitat. The developer is Kings Hill Developments. It plans to offset the mature habitat to be cleared with a conservation zone “enriched” with new koala-friendly species – but these will take years to grow.
Next Tuesday, a joint regional planning panel is having a public meeting on the proposed development of 1900 housing lots and associated infrastructure.
Where are you Gladys? How can you have photo ops with cuddly koalas on the one hand and make firm commitments to prevent their extinction, and yet allow so much destruction of their habitat to happen on your watch? And all in a year when so many have been wiped out by the bushfires?
Adieu for 2020
And so ends my last column of the year. Thank you for your correspondence throughout. My plan was to plant myself between the flags at Newport Beach, as ever, even if I had to self-isolate for a couple of weeks after crossing the Spit Bridge coming home! Now? I await instructions from the medicos.
Joke of the Week (with thanks to Vince Sorrenti)
At the end of a very difficult year, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping of China are having a drink. Crying into his pretzels, Trump says, “If only I’d had more time, I could have unveiled so many more tricks in my arsenal and beaten the other guy.”
Vladimir Putin agrees, saying, “Absolutely. A year before the last election, I knew exactly what was going to happen, and even by how many votes I would beat the other guy.”
Xi Jinping says: “Other guy?”
Quotes of the Week
“I am absolutely concerned, as we all should be. This is a critical and concerning situation given the number of cases we have and the concentration of cases.” – Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday morning
“Madame First Lady, Mrs Biden, Jill, kiddo – a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr’ before your name? Dr Jill Biden sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.“ – Presumptuous columnist in the Wall Street Journal, Joseph Epstein, saying Dr Biden, the wife of President-elect Joe Biden, should drop the title because she’s not a medical doctor. Biden, has a bachelor’s degree, two masters degrees and is a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College. The column was not well received.
“We have failed.” – King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden about the country’s keep calm and carry on attempt at COVID control. Carl Gustav is correct.
“Unfortunately, while the government has made some changes, the legislation still falls far short of a workable code. As the legislation goes to a Senate committee for inquiry, it has serious problems that need to be worked through.”– Google Australia boss Melanie Silva, still trying to wriggle out of paying for news content.
“A bit surreal.” – Sariena Ye about hearing that she was the first HSC student in 17 years to top both physics and chemistry.
“Chris Krebs was totally excoriated and proven wrong at the Senate Hearing on the Fraudulent 2020 Election. Massive FRAUD took place with machines, people voting from out of state, illegals, dead people, no signatures—and so much more!“ – President Donald Trump, an energiser bunny of berko, still going on about fraud six weeks after he lost the US election, despite no fewer than 80 courts dismissing out of hand every court case they brought.
“Freedom never kneels except for God.” – Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn,Trump’s first national security adviser as he tweeted a petition calling on Trump to declare martial law – “temporarily suspend[ing] the Constitution and civilian control of these federal elections – so they can re-do the vote, and this time get it right!
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Peter FitzSimons is a journalist and columnist with The Sydney Morning Herald.