Who will be COVID-19’s biggest f’wit?

Australian universities made the early running with their community-destroying people smuggling. But there are now several major contenders. Transurban is one:

Australia’s largest toll operator is under pressure from federal and state governments to reverse price hikes, as it stands accused of making an “unforgivable” decision when road transport is regarded as crucial for essential services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Transurban faced a barrage of criticism on Thursday for pressing ahead with a rise in toll charges for cars and heavy vehicles on Sydney and Melbourne motorways.

From Wednesday, Transurban increased tolls for cars between 2c and 8c a trip on four of Sydney’s major motorway routes — the Eastern Distributor, Hills M2, Cross City Tunnel and Lane Cove Tunnel — and between 1c and 10c a trip on Melbourne’s CityLink.

Mining isn’t far behind:

Resources and energy employers have ignited a political storm by calling for the scrapping of awards and enterprise agreements for up to six months to give businesses “unprecedented” power to cut the pay and hours of workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Small business also urged radical­ policy change, demanding workers be denied unfair dismissal rights until September, temporary award changes be made permanent and a post-crisis summit be convened by Scott Morrison to overhaul the industrial relations system.

The employer push was condemned by ACTU secretary Sally McManus as “disgraceful” and sparked a rebuke by Attorney-General Christian Porter, who declared­ it was “not the time for ambit claims for systemic or ideological changes to the IR system”.

My own daily favourite is specufestors:

The corporate watchdog has warned landlords and real estate agents they could face up to five years in prison or penalties of up to $1.3 million by advising renters to draw down on the superannuation if they are unable to pay rent.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission enforcement director Tim Mullaly sent a letter to the Real Estate Institute, to be forwarded onto the industry group’s members, warning the behaviour could breach financial advice laws restricting advice from unlicensed operators and break rules requiring advice be in the best interests of customers.

Mr Mullaly said ASIC would be talking to state police forces and would be contacting real estate agents found to be breaching the laws.

Let’s see some arrests.

It’s early days, expect worse.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. yeborskyMEMBER

    Whoever was behind the Ruby Princess’s release of 2700 potential and actual carriers of the virus into our community has to be a contender.

  2. mikef179MEMBER

    There are so many that there won’t be just one to focus in on and any outrage will get diluted and people will forget and move on after awhile. ‘straya!

  3. Stephen Morris

    Being a tax farmer is fine . . until the Revolution.

    For the Farmers’ General this story does not have a happy ending. On the 8th May 1794 the 28 remaining members of the Ferme were led to Place de la Revolution . . . and guillotined.

    For a full comparison of Transurban and the Ferme Generale, see pp 32-36


    For those with no access to scribd, the original submission is here:


    • GlendaFMEMBER

      Revolutions are messy…..hence the expression ‘heads wil roll’…….
      But these days the actual villains are much harder to identify, I think as someone else mentioned previously because they are all working in a cohesive group to extert their control and can ‘duck and weave’ better than any of us….

  4. DingwallMEMBER

    More specufestor classic behaviour. ………… Let’s put selling a home above spreading the virus:

    Via the SMH today
    Telling self-isolating woman to leave for inspection among real estate bad behavior
    By Eryk Bagshaw
    Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the opposition had received reports from tenants of “entirely inappropriate behaviour” by real estate agents.
    In one instance, Mr Albanese claimed a sick Queensland woman who was self-isolating and being tested for COVID-19 had been told by a real estate agent to “go for a walk” during a property inspection.
    “This is irresponsible,” said Mr Albanese. Mr Albanese said the national cabinet needed to outline how pressure can be taken off tenants and landlords.

    • We’re you not paying attention during the essential-not-essential explanation? Making money is essential. Making money on houses particularly so.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      There needs to be names. There’s going to be an awful lot of bored vigilantes wandering around soon.

    • DominicMEMBER

      You mean, Gubmint had nothing to do with gifting this monopoly to them on fantastic terms in the first place?

      You should really avail yourself of the story behind “Game of Mates”, doc. You’ll understand soon enough that such an outcome is literally un-possible.

    • Stephen Morris

      As explained above (submission pages 93 – 103) the more usual means of rescue is a subordinated loan which is not repayable until the private investors have achieved their return on equity.

      This ensures that the profits remain in private hands whilst transferring risks to the taxpayer.

      And let’s never forget the “pot de vin” which in Australia usually takes the form of a directorship for Ministers and senior public servants when they retire . . . provided they have “played the game” whilst in office.

    • Perhaps if Scott and Josh think of it as the aggressive purchasing of distressed assets in the interest of shareholders in order to lower long term operational costs they’ll cotton on.

      • GlendaFMEMBER

        And, more importantly, if it is ‘popular’ policy that may get them elected again, or into a lucrative chairman of the board position for no responsibility and 5 hours per week….
        It’ll look great on their resumes!!

  5. Amazon for sacking the guy (on the grounds of breaching social distancing rules) who organised his colleagues into walking off the job because they didn’t have face masks.

    • GlendaFMEMBER

      Oh come on, Bezos can’t afford masks for all….his captured American customers may not have any spare change to buy soon, what then? He may fall in his rich list position!

  6. Actually, I reckon ASIC are a bit out of line on this one. If people owe you money and you know that they have access to funds, then you are entitled to put that option to them. Taking money out of super account isn’t really different to taking it out of a bank account. The super release rules were introduced precisely for this sort of thing – to help people cover their expenses in the short term.

    • GlendaFMEMBER

      I would have thought that you may need a financial advisors lic to make those sorts of suggestions??!!!

    • As long as the landlords are doing the same thing. And perhaps selling any shares they may have and whatnot to meet their debt repayments then I’m down with it. If they happen to be receiving assistance of any sorts before having to draw on their own resources then ASIC are completely in line.

    • If a landlord has a tenant that is refusing to pay rent for the foreseeable future, and they know they can’t cover their immediate outgoings, are they trading as insolvent?

  7. Delusional Economics

    Oh I don’t know.. How about Ransomwaring a hospital while it’s trying to deal with a pandemic

    Ransomware Attackers Exploit #COVID19 to Target Hospital VPNs

    Microsoft has issued an alert to dozens of hospitals warning that their virtual private networking (VPN) appliances are vulnerable to “human operated” attacks from ransomware groups that are actively scanning the Internet for exposed endpoints that can be exploited to infect targeted systems with malware. According to Microsoft, it believes REvil (aka Sodinokibi) operators in particular are probing the Internet for vulnerable systems while VPNs are being widely used by countless people who have been forced to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the new attacks, Microsoft says REvil operators appear to be repurposing the malware infrastructure they used in 2019 to exploit vulnerable health care organizations already overwhelmed with infected patients. Microsoft points out that these human-operated attacks are different from commodity ransomware attacks in that the hackers are leveraging their knowledge of system administration and common network security misconfigurations. According to Microsoft, “Once attackers have infiltrated a network, they perform thorough reconnaissance and adapt privilege escalation and lateral movement activities based on security weaknesses and vulnerable services they discover in the network. In these attacks, adversaries typically persist on networks undetected, sometimes for months on end, and deploy the ransomware payload at a later time. This type of ransomware is more difficult to remediate because it can be challenging for defenders to go and extensively hunt to find where attackers have established persistence and identify email inboxes, credentials, endpoints or applications that have been compromised.” To protect themselves, Microsoft says hospitals should promptly patch vulnerabilities, closely monitor remote access to their systems, enable attack surface reduction tools found in Windows, and turn on Windows Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI) for Office 365 and Office VBA environments.

  8. bolstroodMEMBER

    Qantas must get a gurnsey. Theday after recieving million$ of tax payer $, they sack 20,000 workers.

  9. The real-estate industry are asking deadset chunts of themselves. Imagine what they could do with a bit of effort. Mind you they’re chunts before, during and after the event it’s just who they are.

  10. Goldstandard1MEMBER

    What about the Chinese billionaire that bought Aust private hospitals and threatened to shut them if not bailed out.
    Anus award nominee surely! Especially since his country started the whole thing.

    • blacktwin997MEMBER

      Dead set. What was the guy’s name? Parasites, liars and thieves to the end.

    • Scomo needs to wear a good chunk of the blame for that one. Virtually all the private hospital system does is elective surgery.
      Banning Elective surgery and requiring the private hospitals to remain staffed is equivalent of banning beauty treatments but expecting the beauty salon to remain staffed.

    • I thought that’s why we mobilised the armed forces. To fight foreign aggressors on local soil.

  11. MountainGuinMEMBER

    Trump telling folks to chill as the 15 cases USA had would soon fall to zero.

    • It’s a pretty big field of contenders, each with their own unique brand of fvckwittery.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      What is that? My ten minute drive home yesterday lunchtime spotted three grumpy citizens pulled over at random spots. The roads are damn near empty. There’s no need for sh!tf#ckery yet the driving gets worse.

      It wasn’t that long ago the wallopers were saying they weren’t going to pull citizens up for minor infringements. Maybe it was a trap.

  12. gibber_blotMEMBER

    What about people with economics blogs peddling amateur modelling that criticised some of the best epidemiologists in the country and gave dangerous advice? Probably in the top 10, no?

  13. COVID’s biggest F#*@wits? Don’t underestimate the capacity for cops with crypto-totalitarian fantasies, to abuse the powers politicians give them during “lockdown”.

  14. mikef179MEMBER

    It’s simply really, all anger will be directed at China. Not that they aren’t deserving but many of the smaller (relatively speaking) sins will probably get a free pass.

  15. James DaveyMEMBER

    The Qld Electrical Trade Union has to score a spot on the list for squealing about Qld Public Servants having to have their 2.5% pay rise postponed.