Letter to My Grandson xxxxvii: You have turned seven. This is my photographic record.

This is my selection of photos from the first seven years in your life. Some have special emotional resonance while others are simply good photographs.

Both of these photographs were taken by your mum. The first is me holding you when you were one day old. You grabbed onto my jumper. It was a purely instinctive reaction but the beginning of our wonderful seven-year relationship. The other is your dad holding you after you and your mum had come home. You already seem to recognise him.

These are two photos of you and your Nana taken in the same spot in a coffee shop about year apart. In the second, you were having great fun with your baby chino.

You have a long and happy relationship with birthday cake. This is a photo of one of your less well coordinated attempts at eating one. In the second, you are gazing up through the windows in the roof at the Highett Street.

You weren’t allowed to climb the stairs at Highett Street when you were small so you loved it when your dad picked you up and helped you. You used to love me blowing down the back of your jumper.

You had a very happy afternoon singing and making sand castles with Nana. The other photo is one of my favourites. You had taken your pig to the Collingwood Children’s Farm and you are in the process of explaining something terribly important to me.

This is you at Grasshoppers soccer, as usual, not paying much attention to the coach. And you and your dad at swimming lessons at the Richmond pool.

Auntie Susie is explaining Matilda’s sleep monitoring device. Matilda had been given a new hat but you decided that you liked it more than she did. You wore it all day at Hay’s Paddock.

This is you at your second year of Grasshopper soccer with your dad. The coaches all loved you, not because you’re were a particularly good soccer player but because you can always be expected to do something quite creative regardless of their instructions.

Although you can’t see it in the photo, you are pushing Matilda on the swing and having a wonderful time. Sometimes, I would catch you being deeply thoughtful. This is one of those times.

You and Nana in the café at during one of our many visits to Scienceworks.

This was taken at the Collingwood Children’s Farm where you and your dad had a great day doing face painting and making wool sculptures.

Although you can’t see it in this photo,You have just tied Nana’s shoelaces together. You both thought it was a great joke. Another one of your thoughtful photographs on the swings at the MCG. These are taken shortly after your first-ever haircut.

Face painting at the Prahran market. You requested a dragon. You painted many beautiful pictures which we have kept. This was one of them.

We were at the Barkly Gardens and I caught you in the middle of a joyous dance.

You would often become quite absorbed in your running.

You always thought that Nana trying to catch you was great fun, particularly if she managed to.

These are two wonderful photographs of you just before your seventh birthday.

Victorian lockdown and glacial progress to full vaccination present a grim picture.

The case numbers in Victoria do not augur well for the lifting of lockdown. However, the advent of an untracked variant has authorities worried.

While case numbers are still very low, there is no sign of them coming down. It is worth remembering that every exponential explosion starts at one.

And so they should be. The new Delta variant is more infectious and may possibly be carried by children. This must pose a question mark over reopening schools.

The dilemma is that the economic impacts of lockdowns are becoming increasingly painful for sections of the community. The health implications are equally dire. The question now being asked is whether a lockdown is the best way to deal with an outbreak.

A more worrying picture flying beneath the media radar is the rate at which Australia moves towards full vaccination. Without a second vaccination, the efficacy of both Pfizer and AstraZeneca is around 50%. This lifts to about 90% with the second jab.

Public policy has shifted from inoculating targeted groups to broad coverage of a wider population with a first vaccination.

This policy could be termed the “Better than Nothing” strategy.

In reality, it is a recognition that Australia is in a parlous position in relation to reaching herd immunity.

The WHO regards a 65% fully vaccinated population as the level to assure herd immunity.

The Victorian situation, which mirrors out nationally and interstate, is shown in the following graph.

The vaccination rollout began on February 22nd. It doesn’t show on the graph, and because of the very slow start, there were fewer than 100,000 until April.

The graph shows a rapid increase in first vaccinations from April In response to the recent upgrade. Two months in, just under 20% have now received the first jab. However, because of the 12-week delay for the second AstraZeneca jab, full vaccination still languishes at 1%.

The following graph is a projection of progress until the end of the year. There will be around 3.6 million first vaccinations if the current rate is maintained and everyone gets a second jab.

There will be 2.7 million fully vaccinated. Victoria’s total population is 6.8 million. Of these, 82% are adults over 15. 

That’s 5.6 million people, of whom 2.7 million will be fully vaccinated.

That’s 48%, well short of the WHO target of 65%.

On current progress could be another six months before Victoria is fully vaccinated by the middle of 2023.

This assumes that the current rate of vaccination, which fears of another outbreak have accelerated, will continue.

The slow initial uptake suggests that complacency might set in as the immediate threat subsides.

Northern Australia Minister Keith Pitt takes a step back into the dark ages.

THE AGE The board of the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), which was set up to support infrastructure investment, recommended a loan of up to $280 million for energy developer Neoen’s $380 million Kaban wind farm, located west of Cairns in the Atherton Tablelands.

Mr Pitt wrote to NAIF chief executive Chris Wade on March 29 and told him to reject Neoen’s loan. He said the wind farm would not provide firm power to the energy grid and he was not convinced it would contribute to lower energy prices.

Resources, Water and Northern Australia Minister Keith Pitt. CREDIT:DOMINIC LORRIMER

Neoen is pressing ahead without NAIF funding. The Kaban project is being supported by the Queensland government.

France-based Neoen is one of the world’s biggest developers of renewable energy projects. The company operates the Tesla Big Battery in South Australia, 

So, to sum up.

1 A huge multinational clean energy company decides to invest in a wind farm in Australia supported by the Queensland government

2 The LNP Minister responsible decides not to approve funding.

3 Multinational decides to go ahead anyhow.

It’s hard to find any justification for this other than blind producers against renewable energy.

But why are we surprised about this?

Christian Porter tries to spin his withdrawal of his case against the ABC. Not very convincingly.

The AGE: Christian Porter has discontinued his high-stakes defamation claim against the ABC just days after the parties agreed to attend mediation behind closed doors.

Porter has tried to portray his discontinuation of the case as a humiliating back down for the ABC. It would have been, had the ABC decided to discontinue the case. But it didn’t.

Christian Porter in Parliament on May 27.CREDIT:ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN

The ABC said “it did not contend that the serious accusations could be substantiated to the applicable legal standard – criminal or civil”.

Mr Porter said outside the Federal Court in Sydney on Monday that the outcome was “a humiliating backdown by the ABC.

“I never thought that they would concede that the accusations that were put in the article could never be proven … to the criminal standard or the civil standard.”

Hold on: that’s not what the ABC said.

They said they did “not content” accusations could be substantiated. That is quite different from the ABC saying they “could never be proven

There are now calls for the Inquiry, which was held over until Porter’s lawsuit was decided, to be reinstated.

The Inquiry should find whether the allegations are proven.

The meltdown of Victoria’s vaccination booking system was avoidable.

From THE AGE: The state government was unable to deploy a high-tech management system it bought three months ago to support mass inoculation.

The short-notice expansion of the vaccination schedule to include anyone in their 40s pushed the state’s capacity to take new bookings beyond breaking point.

Microsoft Australia’s chief executive, Steven Worrall, promised in February that its technology needed only to be “fine-tuned” to adapt to the Victorian rolloutAll

Senior government sources conceded that bedding down the platform had not been given priority owing to the shortage of vaccines and tepid demand before this week’s outbreak in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, which forced the state into its fourth lockdown.

So it is quite clear what went wrong.

  • Microsoft didn’t deliver on its promises
    • Bureaucrats didn’t get the platform up and running.

Apparently, there were frantic phone calls to get more people to man the phones.

Does anyone do scenario planning in DHS? Scenario planning is when you ask the “What-if” questions.

Like: What if everybody suddenly wants to be vaccinated and demand goes through the roof?

When that question is asked, someone will be able to provide an answer. it will include how many people be needed, what infrastructure will be required, what the supply chain requirements will be. It’s not rocket science, is just planning.

And it’s not hard.

Nearly 20 years ago, I built a model for the ANZ for a call centre. They were launching a new credit card and wanted to know how many staff they would need after a media blitz.

There were a couple of constraints. They knew that people would ring up during tea breaks and lunchtime. They also had to employ their call centre staff for a minimum of six hours.

It’s a very simple model. It could be applied to the vaccination call centre.

And I would be much cheaper than Microsoft.

Can things get worse with the vaccine rollout? We have our best people working on it.

Australia’s vaccination strategy appears to be descending into a disorganised shambles.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly is open to giving adults the first dose of Pfizer if it will help vaccinate the nation faster. CREDIT:ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN

What was, up until now, a disastrously slow rollout to emergency workers, people over 70 and age care homes has now changed focus. Well, perhaps the word “focus” is something of a misnomer.

Health authorities are now considering Pfizer vaccines being made more widely available to those under 50 or changing the advice on who can be given AstraZeneca.

So why is the advice changing? Was it not good advice in the first place?

Victoria is now going to administer the first shot of Pfizer to the 40 to 49 age group.

So how has sufficient Pfizer vaccine magically appeared to cover this group? Or has it been sitting in deep freeze somewhere.

But Associate Professor Chris Blyth, co-chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation said “as of today, clearly, we don’t have sufficient supply to vaccinate the whole adult population,” 

So this is what the situation looks like:

1 We need to get first shot inoculations into a much wider group of the population i.e. not just the 60s.

2 Pfizer is going to be used for everybody under 60.

3 There is enough vaccine in Australia to cover the population.

4 The first shot coverage of a large group of the population is a more desirable outcome than providing second shots for group of older folk.

The conclusion

The scandalously inept performance of the Federal government now means that Australia is going to be receiving a far worse vaccination program than any other major developed countries

Leigh Sales was at the top of her game in 7.30 interview with Health Minister Greg Hunt.

This extract is taken from News.com.au

Interviewing the minister on ABC-TV’s 7.30, Sales was scathing when Mr Hunt revealed “for the first time” that just 500,000 people out of Australia’s 26 million population have been fully vaccinated.

Leigh Sales interviews Health Minister Greg Hunt

“The US announced they have got 50 per cent of their population completely done. Australia’s performance is underwhelming,” Sales said to Mr Hunt.

When he replied that vaccinations on Thursday had been “a record day of 111,000 Australians who stepped forward to be vaccinated” Sales interjected: “Come on minister.

“Five hundred thousand in total? That’s nowhere near the population like the US has.”

Mr Hunt protested that even without full vaccination an initial jab of AstraZeneca had been administered to more than 3 million Australians.

Not happy, Greg. Six months into the vaccination roll out, 79 aged care facilities have not received vaccinations.

Six months into the vaccination roll out, all aged care facilities have not received vaccinations.

Sales moved on to immunisation in aged care facilities after it had been revealed during preparations for the Victorian lockdown that 29 facilities in that state were still unvaccinated.

It was during this exchange that Mr Hunt dropped another bombshell.

Sales: “Minister, can you please address what I was talking to you about. How many facilities does that mean, aged care facilities, have not had vaccination yet?

Hunt: “In Victoria, we have nine to complete tomorrow.”

Sales: “What about nationally?”

Hunt: “Around Australia, prior to today, because we haven’t had today’s figures come in. We had 74 still to go.”

Sales: “74 still to go? You said on 16th February that it would take six weeks.

Later, on the ABC’s QandA program, the federal government’s vaccine rollout was slammed as “a bungle” and “complacent”.

You would feel sorry for Greg Hunt but he deserves this type of interrogation.

He is the Minister responsible and, in Victoria, we are now seeing the effects of the totally inadequate rollout of the vaccination program.

Businesses will close for a week without the support of Jobkeeper. For many, surviving this week may be a bridge too far.

Joel Fitzgibbon should go and go quickly.

That loss of the state seat of Upper Hunter prompted Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon, who holds the neighbouring seat of Hunter, to threaten he could quit the party after it struggled to claim 20 per cent of the primary vote in the byelection.

Don’t let the world think you’re all mouth and no trousers, Joel.

Not many of his colleagues would mourn his departure.

Leave the Labor Party, sit on the cross bench and stand as an independent in the next election.

All the self-centred egotists who threaten to quit their party imagine they were elected because of some charm, talent, superior intellect or immense local popularity.

This is not true. The vast majority of parliamentarians are elected because they belong to one of the major parties. It’s very rarely anything to do with them as individuals and everything to do with the brand of the party that they belong to

There’s nothing like standing in the cold, on your own, handing out how-to-vote cards to an uncaring public at the local railway station at 6 o’clock in the morning to bring this particular aspect of political life that can focus.