Is Tony Abbott irrelevant and increasingly out of touch with reality?

In an IPA video ex-PM Tony Abbott warned that even if coronavirus rules were introduced “for our own good” it was possible “freedom and self-reliance can evaporate” as a result.

He cited public health rules to “form orderly and socially distanced queues” and bans on activities such as sitting in the front seat of a taxi, “singing, dancing, and having too many friends and family round for a barbecue”.

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott says in an Institute of Public Affairs video that Covid-19 has been allowed to dominate people’s lives. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP

He also argued that “virus hysteria and health despotism” had to led to border closures that were not justified given the levels of infection.

He clearly doesn’t understand that the time to place restrictions, such as social distancing and border closures, is when infection rates are low. This stops them increasing at an exponential rate to the catastrophic levels of infection seen in the US and UK.

Abbott also argued Australians had become “conditioned to have experts give us all the answers” and governments “then telling us what to do”.

One of the hallmarks of the coronavirus response in Australia was the reliance on expert scientific advice and willingness of the population to conform to the regulations and restrictions necessary to control the virus.

To rail against this is dogma-driven foolishness, something Tony Abbott is turning into an art form.All

Excluding overseas architects from the NGV Contemporary competition is shortsighted

Edwin Chan, a Hong Kong-born architect who worked with Frank Gehry designing the world-renowned Bilbao Guggenheim art museum in Spain, Cannot into the contest the to design the new NGV Contemporary because of the Victorian government’s “Australian only” rule

The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain.

Chan was a design partner with Frank Gehry on the Bilbao Guggenheim, hailed the most important piece of new architecture in the last 40 years.

It coined an economic phenomenon known as the “Bilbao effect”, where investment in eye-catching cultural architecture delivers an economic boost to a city – the museum turned a European backwater into one of the continent’s most popular destinations.

By limiting the entry to the competition to Australian architects, the Victorian government denies self the possibility of having architects like Chan and Gehry producing a building stamped with their signature talents.

Placing restrictions on who can enter the competition based on residency can only limit the pool of talent available and ultimately the quality of the building.

Why not let overseas architects enter? It’s only a competition. Australian architects should not be protected from competition by Australian governments limiting who was allowed to design our national buildings.

These three young women deserve the admiration of our entire community

Elly Sapper, Dassi Erlich and Nicole Meyer.CREDIT:THE AGE

It is impossible to imagine what strength was required to maintain their battle for the return of the woman now facing court in Australia, accused paedophile Malka Leifer.

But 13 years later they had their day in court when former principal of the Adass Israel School in Elsternwick and accused paedophile, Malka Leifer appeared before a Melbourne court accused of sexually abusing three of her then students between 2001 and 2008.

The three former pupils watched her appearance on the video link.

It must have been a very, very satisfying moment.

Well may we say “God save Australia”, because nothing will save the Council for the Order of Australia

If the Council for the Order of Australia award of AC to Margaret Court was designed to close the gender gap, as has been suggested, it is a poor reason and a dismal failure.

Rod Laver’s 2016 AC citation reads: “For eminent service to tennis as a player, representative and mentor, at the national and international level, and as a role model for young sportsmen and women.”

Court’s reads “For eminent service to tennis as an internationally acclaimed player and record-holding grand slam champion, and as a mentor of young sports persons.”

Margaret Court, AC, says she is honoured to be in the same company as Rod Laver.CREDIT:JOE ARMAOAll are

Given the different nature of the citations, it is difficult to see how Court’s could be considered equal to Laver’s.

Despite this the Council has decided to to put some spin on the matter. (Aided by someone from Marketing?)

Members of the Council for the Order of Australia, said the decisive argument behind the decision to elevate Court to an AC was that our greatest women’s player deserved the same level of recognition as our greatest men’s player.

It decided that Court’s attitude towards homosexuality, although offensive to many people, should not prevent recognition of her extraordinary tennis achievements.

Nothing they can say is going to rescue the Council from the opprobrium that comes with this award.

The Council for the Order of Australia has tarnished the awards for ever.

What has Margaret Court contributed to Australian tennis since her last AO? Nothing.

Court is to become a Companion of the Order of Australia for services tennis according to information leaked from the confidential process selection process.

Essentially this award upgrades her current OAM to the country’s highest award: the AC.

Reportedly, this is for “services to tennis”. Yet since retiring as the greatest women’s tennis player of all times, she has done nothing for tennis.

Her activities have been solely devoted to her Pentecostal religious beliefs and desire to be in the public limelight.

It is difficult to see the award of a CA to Court as an endorsement of her religious views and in particular her views on the LGBTI community.

The process of awarding Australian honours has considerable criticism for being biased towards white, conservative males, in particular politicians. Any analysis of the statistics of the awards would support this point of view.

The award system is clearly fundamentally flawed and needs to be given a complete overhaul.will

It is worth remembering that George Pell, the Roman Catholic Cardinal who was convicted of child sex abuse but who avoided his prison term after an extremely well-funded appeal that many would have considered a technicality, still holds his AO.

How much will Melania Trump be offered for her memoirs.

“My life with Donald” could run to several volumes and multiple reprints.

Publishers must be queueing up waiting for the divorce and the start of the bidding for the tell-all memoirs.

She would have to be offered mega-millions of dollars.

It would have to be a runaway bestseller. It would have everything: Sex lives of the rich and famous, Infidelity and betrayal, Political drama, International intrigue, Family Infighting.

She could start with the back story to these two particularly endearing images.

And people would be fascinated to know the story behind this wonderful photograph of her and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau.

Such a touching scene

There would have to be a whole chapter devoted to the debate begun by Stormy Daniels who famously wrote in her memoir: “ Trump’s penis was “smaller than average” but “not freakishly small”.

“I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart …It may have been the least impressive sex I’d ever had, but clearly, he didn’t share that opinion.”

It would be an opportunity for Melania to put paid to the terrible rumours of the ex- President’s sexual prowess.

And of course she would write about the many happy moments she shared with her husband.

Palaszscuk proposes shifting quarantine to regional camps. Morrison heads out to undermine the idea.

The AGE: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszscuk is set to put forward her proposal to quarantine people in regional worker camps rather than CBD hotels

The plan was proposed in the wake of the cluster of cases linked to Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor

One mining camp about 20 kilometres from the Gladstone’s CBD turning it into a quarantine centre.

PM Morrison said he had yet to see firm details about the proposal, despite this, the Prime Minister said he had spoken to people in Gladstone about the proposal, including mayor Matt Burnett, and suggested not everyone was enthusiastic about it.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says any plan to move hotel quarantine to the regions needs to have a “net benefit” for the communities affected.CREDIT:AAP/ LUKAS COCH

Morrison should 1) wait until he has read the proposal and 2) leave managing quarantine to the State Premier.

His statements in Gladstone can only be seen as divisive and unhelpful.

Surely the Queensland public can expect better from the Prime Minister.

Are the numbers at inauguration day demonstrations an indication of Trump’s ongoing support?

THE AGE Fewer than a half-dozen demonstrators showed up outside the capitols in Concord, New Hampshire, and Lansing, Michigan.

A lone protester wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat stood outside a chain-link fence surrounding the California Capitol in Sacramento

Three protesters were outside the Nebraska Capitol in Lincoln, one waving a flag that read “Biden is not the president.”

A man waves an American flag as he walks outside the Missouri State Capitol building on January 20, 2021 MICHAEL B. THOMAS/GETTY IMAGES

In the US, states braced themselves for mass demonstrations. They never materialised. The demonstrations that did occur, were small and peaceful.

“This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper”

T. S. Eliot The Hollow Men” (1925)  

With one final churlish gesture, Trump continues to trash the institutions and traditions of US democracy

Trump’s decision not to attend Biden’s inauguration was the first time in more than 150 years that a sitting president did not attend the swearing-in of his successor.

Earlier both he and his wife Melania had refused to greet incoming President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr Jill Biden at the White House.

The Trumps leave the White House disgraced and discredited

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle continued this tradition and extended this curtesy to him and his wife when he was elected.

These two symbolic gestures distinguish the standing of both men.

Trumps intransigent refusal to accept the results of the presidential election did not allow him to participate in the time-honoured rituals of the transfer of power.

If Trump continues to refuse to accept the verdict of the democratic and legal processes of a Presidential election, he should put his money where his mouth is and refuse to participate in them.

This would mean not running for President in 2024.

Tennis Australia is arguing the toss with Victorian health authorities over who should be in quarantine

The AGE Tennis Australia has disputed a statement from Victorian health officials confirming that two tennis players who arrived in Melbourne for the Australian Open have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Soon after, tournament organisers disputed the department’s numbers, with Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley suggesting during a press conference that some of the six cases connected to the event were not acute, but incidents of viral shedding.

Tennis Australia chief executive and Covid expert Craig Tiley

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said in a statement the three new positive cases linked to the Australian Open “involve two players and one non-playing participant”.

Craig Tiley should realise that Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, who has a vested interest in protecting the health of the Victorian community, enjoys far greater credibility than the chief executive of Tennis Australia, who has a vested interest in a highly unpopular sporting event that has the potential to threaten the health of all Victorians.