Chirs Uhlmann, you goose

Chris Uhlman, you goose:

Crisis reveals character and can lead to political revolutions. The Long Depression of the late 1800s sent shockwaves around the globe and, in The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt credits it with giving birth to the New Imperialism that drove the dire scramble for Africa.

…A 13-year-old Jack Lang witnessed a clash outside his home on Sydney’s Liverpool Street, as workers tipped wool bales off wagons bound for the port. In I Remember, the future Labor premier recounts that a delegation of employers implored acting premier Sir William McMillan to issue arms to the troops and put down what they called “an insurrection”. McMillan agreed but an appalled Sir Henry Parkes left his sickbed to countermand the order, reprimanding McMillan whose political career never recovered.

Attitudes were different in Victoria. There, cabinet ordered the troops to arms and “the city [was] placarded with the Unlawful Assemblies Act”.

…Much has changed in 131 years and much appears to be the same. Responding to the same crisis, NSW and Victoria have cut different paths. In the eyes of the neo-protectionist “progressives”, the great crime of former premier Gladys Berejiklian was to have a “mockdown”; that is, to err on the side of leaving her people free for as long as possible.

Happily, we got to witness a real-time, real-world example of the many benefits of a proper lockdown in a demographically identical jurisdiction. Its world-leading exponent, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, rolled off the bench to fire low and lay the disease out.

And the evidence is in. When the lockdowns are lined up from day zero, NSW did significantly better than Victoria on every day in both suppressing the disease and in lifting the vaccination rate. There has also been less civil disorder.

It turns out that when you reflexively imprison people they get sick of it. Some take to the streets in protest and, clearly, a great many others just silently disobey the absurd demands of their overlords. When the dust settles on this pandemic and the world assesses how to deal with a future crisis, Victoria will be used as a template of what not to do.

Through Berejiklian and now Dominic Perrottet, NSW is beating the trail for Australia because, no matter what the COVID-free states might believe, they are behind not ahead on the path out. One day, they will have to exit by the same door. Their great advantage is time and they are squandering it by not forcing the pace of vaccination.

The main reason that Sydney is doing better than Melbourne is that it was given more Pfizer vaccines when it stuffed up its lockdown.

These vaccine doses were explicitly donated by VIC courtesy of the shockingly inept health policies of the Morrison Government. That left VIC more dependent upon Astra Zeneca, of which it has used roughly 500k more than NSW, and is a major reason it is further behind on the rollout and reopening.

The VIC government has, in fact, outpaced the NSW government in vaccinations. The difference is in the federal rollout which heavily favours NSW:

In aged care, a federal responsibility, the difference is staggering:

It is true that when NSW got more Pfizer, it did a better job at prioritising risk areas over regions which resulted in fewer virus cases relatively. But this is hardly evidence of the grand ideological inferiority of VIC.

You’ll get no argument from me that VIC is very often more left than NSW. Personally, I favour the latter. But I’m Australian enough to recognise that the differences result in strengths and weaknesses for both in different circumstances.

On this occasion, a key difference is that Melbourne saved Sydney from disaster by giving it more vaccines – not least rescuing an ideological, business-captured, corrupt and disgraced Gladys Berejiklian – so the last thing that locked-down southerners need is to be kicked in the teeth for it.

If you want to kiss Chairman Costello’s freckle, Mr Uhlmann, then go right ahead.

But don’t pretend it makes history, mate.

Houses and Holes


  1. Did someone have a bet with Uhlmann that he couldn’t cram a list of random unrelated historical figures into a piece on covid? It’s like one of those film comps where you have to include a Chihuahua , a trombone and a socket set in your short film to prove it was made for the competition.

    • ‘Did someone have a bet with Uhlmann that he couldn’t cram a list of random unrelated historical figures into a piece on covid?’
      No doubt about it. The quote from Arendt could be used to prove nearly anything: but the important thing is that is shows that Uhlmann is very deep. He’s read a deep book, anyway. Well, he’s heard of a deep book.

      • Arendt seems to most often be quoted to circumvent Godwin’s law by referring to the bunker idiot by proxy rather than by name, with a good dollop of pseudo-intellectualism for garnish. In Uhlmann’s piece it seems to have even less value.

  2. Melbourne’s handling of covid is the greatest screw up in the history of Australia.
    Should have let it spread last year when they got to 100 cases.(as Chris said last year and as Japan and Sweden did with 100 times better results)

    • Your comment is the greatest load of garbage in history…..Ok, Ok, I know it’s not, but if you ever brought this level of argument to the pub, I’d make them check your ID as you are clearly under age!

  3. Well he got one bit right.

    “It turns out that when you reflexively imprison people they get sick of it. Some take to the streets in protest and, clearly, a great many others just silently disobey the absurd demands of their overlords.”

    It’s funny that the wanker protesters crying freedom were providing the perfect cover for everyone else to just BE free.

  4. Ulhmann seems to be wanting to join Annika Smethurst and Chip Le grand as members of the Rupert Brown Nose Club which is to be highly paid retainers at RupNews for the rest of their careers to repeat their master’s thoughts.

    P Kelly, Shanhans, Hendersons, Van Onselen, Albretson, etc. beat them there. I forgot to add the Bolter, Jones the lurker and the legend in her own mind, Peta.

    On a positive note, Ross Gittins seems to becoming more forthright in his old age.

  5. As an ex Victorian, it’s sad to have to agree with Uhlmann. Victoria has badly stuffed this up with excessive lockdowns compounded by a poorly managed and ill targeted vaccine roll out. The iron ladies of NSW, Gladys and Kerry, were able to motivate a much greater take up of AZ than in Victoria, they brilliantly targeted vaccines and lockdown measures, and they also adjusted second dosage times in order to fast track overall vaccination levels. Meanwhile the boys in Victoria were busy specifying in mind numbing detail all the do’s and donts suppression required. Inevitably the people stopped listening.

    With their edifice of all-knowing rectitude crumbling, blaming everyone but themselves has been the boys’ last resort. Despite getting more vaccines (when NSW was case free) they took umbrage when NSW received a smidgeon more when it caught alight. Despite everyone knowing of Victorians’ love of footy and the likelihood of breaches they retained the prefinal public holiday, inviting the largest breakout the country has seen. And this after the boys had demanded rings of steel and other medieval methods be visited upon their northern neighbor.

    Full of their own gravitas they pontificated that NSW should have eliminated delta early on but have subsequently showed themselves incapable of meeting the standard they set upon others. Despite these uncalled for barbs, the NSW girls were poised, dignified and professional. Regardless of the turmoil behind the scenes Gladys was Churchillian in her resolve. Ably assisted by Kerry they drew the roadmaps that are leading the nation forward.

    Victoria is a great place – but the boys have misled and abused it. The girls have triumphed. Uhlmann is absolutely correct.

    • Interesting fact- Victorian style hard lockdowns are meant to work in NSW but not so much in Victoria (or NZ for that matter). Gladys had a mock down and didn’t go Victorian and so the virus got away. Hence when the Victorians had a Victorian style lockdown it didn’t work because Gladys.

    • Nailed it.

      NSW made better tactical use of what it had.

      Dan did….. actually I don’t know what Dan did. Said he didn’t want to be like NSW mostly.

  6. Let’s see how well NSW played this when the regions are exposed to diseased Sydneysider hordes at 80%, given some region double doses are under 50%, especially holiday hotspots like Casina (joking) and Bahran Bae.

    Pro tip: it’s not about hesitancy. Supply has been badly constrained, as evidenced by the huge uptick in 1st dose in recent weeks.

  7. TheLambKingMEMBER

    Chris “Yes, ScoMo, I can read out this Dorothy Dix question as the only question in the press conference so you can avoid any tough questions” Uhlmann.

    Not a Journalist.

    • happy valleyMEMBER

      +1 Seems to have lost his independence when he took the Fairfax Media gig and associated wad of cash after Laurie Oakes retired?

  8. Couldn’t let this pass

    Victoria got more than its share for 1st 6-7 months of 2021.

    At one stage Dan was christened the VaxTaker due to Victoria’s disproportionate take. There wasn’t any whinging from Victoria then. Nor from the rest of Australia – everyone seemed to recognised Victorians required additional protection from an incompetent government. Victoria squandered this gift from the rest of Australia

    NSW only got more after it got his with Delta

    Most locked down city, world record.
    Most Covid cases, Australian record
    Most Covid cases in a day, Victoria set a new Australian record on successive days
    Highest Covid CFR, yet another Australian record.

    Covid is endemic = we are going to have to learn to co-exist and mitigate its effects.

    Victorian cases look to be decreasing. The pressure will start to come off the health system in another few weeks.

    Victoria needs to use this break to reflect on its very many mistakes, and learn from them. Not keep blaming everyone else.

    • C'est de la folieMEMBER

      Well we still dont get away from the cold hard fact that when the Royal Commission into Covid in Australia happens it will be a Sydney outbreak starting with a drivers of aircraft staff into CBD hotel quarantine in Sydney followed by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian who refused to lock down anywhere near as tight as Victorians did repeatedly over the previous year, and then somehow looked on with hands in the air as it ripped through the burbs of Sydney and then into the NSW jail system from where it was exported to Wilcannia and places all over the state of NSW which embedded Covid Berejiklian into the country.

      Personally I think every state in Australia should sue the hag for damages

      But I do hope people just like you keep spouting forth with comments just like this. I would love to see ScoMo and Albo go down wedged on an interstate underappreciation of just how mightily peeved much of Australia is….and I reckon you are getting there.

      Like you do recall the Federal ‘Private Aged Care’ debacle also created by ScoMo which unfolded in Melbourne, dont you….? (lots of old people in privately run facilities in the burbs of Melbourne who had 1 assistant between 40 of them and when they got unwell managed to share it around)

      • Mate, Dan has been had by China. Simple as that.

        Victoria presented itself as China’s gateway to Australia.
        Not surprisingly then, Dan uncritically and unthinkingly followed CCP propaganda and WHO naivety into excessive lockdowns.
        Under his watch, lockdown moved instantly from propaganda to untested theory to unchallengeable orthodoxy.

        He never stopped to think.
        He never wondered at the disconnect.
        The worse he did, the more he enforced lockdowns stating they were inadequate.
        He kept doubling down

        Yet Victoria did WORSE than every other state.

        Do you not get this? I can not say it any clearer. Victoria (Dan) has been had by China.

    • Steve, I get that you prefer NSW’s handling to VIC’s. It shows in your comments, and you are entitled to your opinion/bias.

      I personally think both failed in different ways – NSW is 4 weeks ahead of VIC right now and as I think you pointed out? most viruses typically has “waves” and follow an exponential pattern at the beginning and eventually flatten out as they run out of bodies to infect easily (i.e. the low hanging fruit is picked). Removing lockdown increases the low hanging fruit available quite substantially I would hypothesize as some people not in the original wave now start interacting with the community. VIC will probably be in a similar situation in 4-5 weeks time as NSW is today. It also has climate and other factors that I suspect make it on the margin more COVID prone (e.g. weather; its still quite cold there right now).

      We are comparing one failure state to another and picking at each of them on minor points that I don’t think change all that much if we zoom out across both lockdowns once all this is over (current lockdown only). VIC didn’t lock down the NSW border hard and fast enough, NSW had very lax (almost deliberately negligent?) quarantine procedures letting this become the problem worth discussing in this and other forums in the first place.

      Only failure warrants this much discussion. On that measure I would argue both NSW and VIC failed in different ways. But I argue NSW failure to be much greater since probability wise they had a better chance of containment and it still got out. They failed to keep it contained within an airport, then when it was reported they failed to trace the cases on time, then when that failed they didn’t even try to lockdown, then when it spread to marginal/poorer communities they locked them down only when it came from the east side knowing that lockdown as a control doesn’t work well on “essential worker communities”, and so on. Every layer of control failed in NSW due to inaction and negligence.

      i.e. P(Hotel Quarantine Success * Testing and Tracing Containment * East Side LGA lockdown) should be extremely high. (1 – P) with proper processes and foresight should be almost zero. All the strategies to contain it failed due to delay and inaction to “keep business open”. Once its in and spread much harder for VIC to keep it out. IMO that’s why NSW’s failure is greater.

  9. As a result of GB’s negligence, many Australians have been exposed to a medicine they need not have taken. Many people I know have suffered problems coinciding with their vaccination, some minor, some serious. Heart problems, resurgent cancer, shingles, and arms sore for a week. Newspapers have reported people dying after their vaccinations. But I am not here to comment on the effectiveness of the vaccine. We’ve all had enough of that debate. Until GB’s negligence, Australians didn’t have to choose between the risk of the vaccine or the risk of COVID. Now we do. The only reason GB did this was because NSW is a ponzi economy run by same party as the federal government: the ponziteers in chief. They had no choice. Without adding people faster and faster, ponzi schemes collapse. I’ll hold out as long as I can, but expect to be forced to vaccinate by my employer, my government, and the tossers in NSW who keep insisting “we can’t stay shut forever”, just so they can ramp up immigration to the next level required by the ponzi while I watch my people be forced into ever smaller dwellings at ever greater prices. #putlaberallast

    • Much of this is true. I’m a signed up critic of Ponzi immigration too. But criticism of Berejiklian is I’ll founded when neither Andrews or Ardern or even Singapore could control delta. If you’re searching for someone to blame, look no further than WIV

      • QLD contained the recent delta outbreak with swift effective action however that isn’t well reported or highlighted. Doesn’t matter what you think of the QLD government the numbers don’t lie. They had an outbreak, got rid of it quickly. That’s how “getting rid of a high R0 virus” should look like. NSW could of done it too if it wasn’t so resistant in “doing the right thing”, then we wouldn’t be seeing it as a big deal. VIC wouldn’t have the unrest, the protests and the depression that it has right now.

        • Sure. There is a fleeting chance to suppress right at the very beginning. If you are lucky. Favorable weather and demographics help also.

          But then what?

          And you have to be lucky each time.
          The virus only has to be lucky once

          • Agree with this believe it or not but only given the controls that they did setup. However as per another comment I do believe that you can make the probability with layers of control much lower than NSW did it. Now that it is on our shores we have less controls available than NSW did. Given their lax quarantine (not quarantine at all) its surprising that in NSW it lasted 6 months – showing it isn’t actually that hard. Imagine if they had proper processes.

            My point is I don’t think it is infeasible to keep it out indefinitely and if it does come out limit the damage to a small traceable area with other layers of controls to reduce probability of spread even further. Having a liimo driver going in-and-out of a quarantine medical infectious zone daily and having the surrounds being one of the most populous places in Australia was definitely NOT the way to do it.

            It only has to win once to break one control, but multiple layers of controls it has to win several times. NSW allowed it to do so hence it failed the hardest. Its failed but its probability of failure could of easily been much lower – risk return tradeoffs.

            The fact that it lasted 6 months even as a weak control is impressive – imagine if they were actually serious about it. But I doubt they ever were, COVID getting in has been a boon for vested interests, big Australia proponents and white-ant’s anyone who has managed to contain it politically. Its genius.