Ms Represented a documentary of rare quality that demonstrates the importance of an independent ABC.

It’s important for several reasons.  

The first is that it puts a human face on the women who struggled to become Members of Parliament in the face of male misogyny and indifference on both sides of Parliament.

The second is that it shows the acceptance of the importance of the role of women in Parliament is far from accepted by their male colleagues. However, if this program is to be believed, this is more true in the Coalition. 

The third is that it calls out the shocking sexist behaviour in the Parliament and the appalling behaviour of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in what may be remembered as one of the most disgraceful events in Australian Parliamentary history.

Bronwyn Bishop and Sophie Mirabella supporting Tony Abbott in from of Parliament House during his attacks on Prime Minister Julia GillardAnnabel Crabbe interviewed Bronwyn Bishop for the program. Unfortunately, she did not question Bishop about her role in this demonstration. It was a significant shortcoming in an otherwise excellent program about the role of women in Parliament.

Apart from Annabel Crabb, who does an excellent job as the interviewer, the other standout is Penny Wong. Composed, intelligent, reflective, Wong stood out amongst the other parliamentarians interviewed on the show: Anne Aly, the first woman of Islamic faith to be elected to the federal Parliament. Bronwyn Bishop, the first NSW woman elected to the Senate. Julie Bishop, the first woman to serve as deputy leader of the Liberal Party. Sarah Hanson-Young, the youngest woman to be elected to the Australian Parliament. Ros Kelly, the first woman to represent an ACT seat in the House of Representatives. Julia Banks, Quentin Bryce, Linda Burney, Emma Husar, Cheryl Kernot, Carmen Lawrence, Marise Payne, Nova Peris, Margaret Reynolds, Natasha Stott Despoja, Kate Sullivan, Judith Troeth, Amanda Vanstone and Penny Wong

Not everyone was happy. The outgoing South Australian Senator derided the one-sided attacks on the program towards Liberal men such as former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was labelled “probably a misogynist” by former Liberal minister Amanda Vanstone. 

Well, on that point, Julia Gillard would probably agree with Amanda Vanstone.

Liberal MP Kathy Sullivan was one of the stars of the show.

The programs should become compulsory viewing for all secondary school history classes. It provides an essential benchmark for the development of Australian political history.

It has been great to see Annabel Crabb develop her career to a point where she can now be considered one of Australia’s leading interviewers. 

The next ABC project should be Ms Reported, the history of women in Australian television. Annabel Crabb would make an excellent anchor.

Ms Represented a documentary of rare quality that demonstrates the importance of an independent ABC.

It’s important for several reasons. 

The first is that it puts a human face on the women who struggled to become Members of Parliament in the face of male misogyny and indifference on both sides of Parliament.

The second is that it shows the acceptance of the importance of the role of women in Parliament is far from accepted by their male colleagues. However, if this program is to be believed, this is more true in the Coalition.

The third is that it calls out the shocking sexist behaviour in the Parliament and the appalling behaviour of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in what may be remembered as one of the most disgraceful events in Australian Parliamentary history.

Bronwyn Bishop and Sophie Mirabella supporting Tony Abbott in front of Parliament House

Bronwyn Bishop and Sophie Mirabella supporting Tony Abbott in from of Parliament House during his attacks on Prime Minister Julia GillardAnnabel Crabbe interviewed Bronwyn Bishop for the program. Unfortunately, she did not question Bishop about her role in this demonstration. It was a significant shortcoming in an otherwise excellent program about the role of women in Parliament.

Apart from Annabel Crabb, who does an excellent job as the interviewer, the other standout is Penny Wong. Composed, intelligent, reflective, Wong stood out amongst the other parliamentarians interviewed on the show: Anne Aly, the first woman of Islamic faith to be elected to the federal Parliament. Bronwyn Bishop, the first NSW woman elected to the Senate. Julie Bishop, the first woman to serve as deputy leader of the Liberal Party. Sarah Hanson-Young, the youngest woman to be elected to the Australian Parliament. Ros Kelly, the first woman to represent an ACT seat in the House of Representatives. Julia Banks, Quentin Bryce, Linda Burney, Emma Husar, Cheryl Kernot, Carmen Lawrence, Marise Payne, Nova Peris, Margaret Reynolds, Natasha Stott Despoja, Kate Sullivan, Judith Troeth, Amanda Vanstone and Penny Wong

Not everyone was happy. The outgoing South Australian Senator derided the one-sided attacks on the program towards Liberal men such as former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was labelled “probably a misogynist” by former Liberal minister Amanda Vanstone. 

Well, on that point, Julia Gillard would probably agree with Amanda Vanstone.

Flint was also unhappy that more Labor and Green MPs were interviewed than Coalition MPs. She probably didn’t pause to consider that there are more Labor and Green MPs than women Coalition MPs.

Liberal MP Kathy Sullivan was one of the stars of the show.

 The programs should become compulsory viewing for all secondary school history classes. It provides an essential benchmark for the development of Australian political history.

It has been great to see Annabel Crabb develop her career to a point where she can now be considered one of Australia’s leading interviewers. 

The next ABC project should be Ms Reported, the history of women in Australian television. Annabel Crabb would make an excellent anchor.

A Tale of Two Neighbours: We get a voluntary test after a Day 2 visit to a Tier I site, they don’t wear masks outside

The Prahran Market was declared a Tier 1 site on Friday 23 July.

A Covid positive individual had been at the market between 9am and 11am on Saturday 17. Anyone who had been there between those hours needed to go into immediate self isolation for 14 days.

We visited on the afternoon of Sunday 18th. We did not qualify as people who needed to immediately self isolation for 14 days and were not contacted by the health authorities.

Nonetheless, we decided to get tested and self isolate until we got a negative result which came within about 30 hours.

Our reasoning was that there was a six day delay between the visit of the infected individual and the identification of the market as a Tier1 site. During this time, there could have been widespread infection throughout the market. There was a possibility, albeit very slight, for us to have come in contact stallholders who had been spreading the infection during the six days between visit of the infected individual and the identification of the market as a Tier 1 site.

The possibility was extremely small but nonetheless it existed and we wanted to be certain. We have a month-old granddaughter whose mother is not in a vaccinated age group yet and other members of our immediate family are also not vaccinated.

So let’s look at the reasoning of our neighbours across the road. Lovely couple, handsome and beautiful, is an airline pilot, she is a financial advisor, he drives a shiny black Porsche, Will recently purchased a $2 million property in Mary Street. Out walking yesterday, neither of them wearing masks.

Their logic is probably pretty similar to ours, in a perverted way. There’s not much of a chance of us being infectious, we feel okay. There’s not much of chance of us running into someone who is infectious and they’ll probably be wearing a mask anyhow, so that will protect us. Anyhow, we will maintain social distance, we will dodge other people while we are out.

They are probably right. The chances of running into someone who was infectious, particularly during lockdown, is fairly low. And a good proportion of people are doing the right thing by wearing masks so our neighbours are probably fairly safe.

And we probably didn’t need to be tested as it turns out. but that’s not the point.

This is the point.

If you multiply their behaviour across a large, a very large section of the population, it becomes very dangerous. If large numbers of people go out without wearing masks, the chance of community transmission rises dramatically. Roughly half the people I saw when I went out last week, weren’t wearing masks.

If you multiply our behaviour across a very large section of the population, if everybody who has visited a Tier 1 site at any time after it was announced, who did not need to go into 14 day isolation, went and had a voluntary test, we may go a long way to finding more positive cases in the community.

The key to the successful containment of epidemics is the spread of effective individual behaviour across the total community.

Why Dickensian was a good idea that didn’t work

The first major problem with Dickensian is that all the characters have already been created by one of the world’s greatest novelists. No disrespect to writer Tony Jordan, but he’s not in Dickens’ league. 

Dickensian is a prequel, so we know what is going to happen to the characters. We know that Amelia Havisham is not going to marry Meriwether Compeyson. What’s more, we know what is to become of her and it’s difficult to disentangle the crazed woman of Great Expectations and reinterpret her 40 years earlier. She is such an integral part of Great Expectations that is difficult not to bring some of the resonances from the novel to the TV series.  Much of the dramatic tension is lost. We are interested in seeing how the writer gets this to happen, but it is not all that interesting. Bill Sykes beats a confession out of Compeyson and then it is shown to Amelia on her wedding day. The rest is history.

Another character who comes bearing a lot of history is Honoria, who becomes Lady Dedlock in Bleak House. For me, she is one of Dickens’ more fascinating characters, partly because I think Dickens loses control of her towards the end of the book. 

Another difficulty for me is there are two TV Honorias. The first is from the superb BBC production of Bleak House, where she was played by Gillian Anderson and the second is in Dickensian, where she is played by Sophie Rundle. They are quite different characters, older in Bleak House and somehow uncomfortably incompatible.

This difficulty lies at the heart of the problem of Dickensian. Many people will have seen television series of novels, not to say have also read the books.

The viewer watches this program knowing what is going to happen to Oliver when he teams up with the Artful Dodger, what is going to happen to Scrooge when he starts hearing voices on Christmas Eve.

All of the books that the character come from: Our Mutual Friend, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Old Curiosity Shop, Little Dorrit, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, Bleak House and Pickwick Papers have BBC TV series and there have been 11 films made of Great Expectations alone. So, there is a high probability that anyone who will watch Dickensian will be familiar with a large proportion of Dickens’ work and characters.

Every time a TV series or film is made, there is likely to be criticism of the faithfulness for the effort. 

I have written about this discussing Alfonso Cuarón’s film version of Great Expectations, which makes no apologies for a pretty complete and, I think, very successful update of the original.

Turning books and films: The case of Great Expectations

If you are very familiar with the book, you often have a picture of what the characters are like. This picture is probably pretty vague, ill-defined and fuzzy, something you really cannot describe. But once a director puts that character on the screen, you get a very clear idea of what that character is not like. You may not be able to articulate your view of the character particularly well, but you certainly know that the director has got it wrong.

But what finally makes this less than satisfying can be summed up:

The original concept for Dickensian must have seemed like a good idea at the time. But when you hold it up to the cold hard light of day, it is really a very bad idea. 

What would Dickens have said if he was told that a writer would take characters from 11 of his novels and put them together in a single work?

Indeed, he would have said, “Hold on, if I had wanted Inspector Bucket to work with Mr Venus, I would have put Inspector Bucket in Our Mutual Friend, but I didn’t.”

With the latest Tier 1 site just 1.5km away from where we live, the term “fleeting contact” becomes very real

We could very easily have walked past people who live in this block of apartments In the last few days. I would certainly have walked around a corner in the left-hand side of this photo on Thursday.

How many asymptomatic, infected people did I walk past?

Fortunately, none as I am not showing any symptoms.

The accounts published in the press of the spread of the Delta variant make chilling reading. it spreads very rapidly and was minimal contact.

The fabulously unsuccessful Federal government tracing app which so few people downloaded onto their iPhone required 15 minutes contact before it registered. It was some time before there was recognition that the virus is transmitted by aerosols.

Against the Delta variant the iPhone app, it would be as much use as a bicycle would be to a fish. Airborne transmission would appear to be almost automatic and rapid.

We do not have any information about whether someone who is infectious needs to be coughing or sneezing or whether the virus is airborne simply because they are breathing. This possibility is very frightening.

Mask wearing in public is now essential for public safety,

It appears that passing someone in the street who was infectious, asymptomatic and coughing may have been enough to pass on the virus before the lockdown and compulsory mask wearing in public.

It may be that we can expect the numbers to continue to rise for some time and that the lockdown will almost certainly need to continue for more than five days.

The frightening aspect of this Tier 1 announcement is that the bars, pubs and restaurants of Richmond were packed on Thursday night as people made the most of their freedom before the 12 o’clock lockdown. Clearly they thought that the virus was not a threat until midnight. This behaviour will certainly cause a spike over the weekend

How do you allocate punishment to the removalists who spread the delta variant into Victoria?

When you read the account of the recent spread of the Delta coronavirus in Victoria in The Age, it becomes clear that it has been a result of the irresponsible and reckless behaviour of the furniture removalists and their employer.

It is also clear that this variance groups at an alarmingly rapid rate and given the right circumstances: an apartment block, a large sporting arena, a school, and a naval base, then the consequences will be devastating.

This chart shows how it began:

From the removalists, who were not wearing masks, it very quickly spread to 26 other people. The removalists worked at a block of apartments, where they infected a man who went to a popular hotel in Melbourne and then to a football match at the MCG. This has become a super spreader event whose impact has yet to be fully understood.

This is called exponential growth and it is just beginning.

So what do you do with the removals, who were not wearing masks when they were in the apartment complex and do not appear to have been following any form of protective protocols. Nor does it appear they were directed to do so by their employer.

As result of this behaviour, the entire state of Victoria is now into lockdown and case numbers appear to be escalating, making the odds of an extension of the lockdown fairly likely.

So what is the appropriate punishment? Lengthy imprisonment?

The name of the company should be published immediately so that it can be boycotted.

If the company requires a license to trade as a removalist, it should be suspended.

The individuals concerned should be arrested and charged.

There are three functions of the law: to punish, to provide retribution and to make an example.

It is important that this third one function swiftly and efficiently.

Letter to My Grandson xxxxvii: Questions of existence from a seven-year-old

My last three letters to you have been about the ethical and moral issues that you are raising and dealing with. This one is no different. Your new cousin, Abigail, is now four weeks old and you are fascinated by her.

You and I were driving home last week and you asked this question.

You: Does Abigail know she is alive?

Me: No, she doesn’t.

You: Can she think yet?

Me: No, she is too young. A very famous man once said, “I think therefore, I am.”

Silence from the back seat.

Me: So, this means that there is a difference between thinking and knowing that you are thinking.

Silence from the back seat.

You: So, if I can ask myself if I am thinking, then I know that I am alive.

Me: Yes.

With the Victorian lockdown announcement, restaurants and bars will be packed tonight

The lockdown comes into effect from midnight tonight which means you can go out to the pub or to a restaurant until midnight. So can the Delta variant of the coronavirus: an uninvited guest.

However, logic would dictate that is probably dangerous to do so. It’s not as if things are suddenly going to get worse at midnight. It’s already dangerous.

The good times roll at Heartbreaker. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

So the best thing to do Is probably to stay at home tonight, not have party time until midnight.

So, Victorians can expect case numbers to spike over the weekend as result of Thursday night being party time.

NSW Government refuses to say which jobs are essential – leaving it up to employers.

The NSW government has been unwilling to specifically define which workers are considered “essential” due to the vast range of scenarios under which someone might need a certain service or product. Instead, employers and staff have been told to have discussions among themselves and use common sense.

This move is supported by the Business Council of Australia.

And then this: On the ABC’s RN Breakfast: NSW Treasurer says Sydney florists could very well be essential services

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet speaking to Fran Kelly

Kelly: “Should a florist be open?”

Perrottet: “There may be a reason as to why they could be deemed to be an essential service. 

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.CREDIT:EDWINA PICKLES

Try to emerge in a situation where it is worth considering contracting coronavirus during a lockdown to get a bunch of flowers.

You can make a case for repairing telephone lines, maintaining power suppliers and water supplies, keeping emergency departments opened in hospitals, keeping pharmacies open et cetera but florists?

There will always be an argument for keeping gymnasiums open, for allowing inspections for real estate sales and auctions, for keeping churches open for religious services but essentially these are activities which expose the wider community to ‘unacceptable risk of infection.