News location:

Canberra Today 8°/12° | Wednesday, October 20, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Cruel faces of cabin fever lap up the ‘journo porn’

Who doesn’t love the jolly jape of guessing how many people will succumb to covid today. For one, IAN MEIKLE doesn’t. It’s another “Seven Days” in lockdown.

IS it covid cabin fever that drives the banality of the social-media commentary ahead of the Chief Warder’s daily morale floggings?

Ian Meikle.

2CC’s breakfast contrarian Stephen Cenatiempo colourfully calls the late-morning covid press briefing “journo porn” and refuses to watch. He may have a point. 

Watching the ACT Health stream via the ABC there is a fast-moving column of capricious Facebook comments that need to be decoded; ie “15 and no tie”, means the writer is predicting that there will be 15 daily cases and “the Chief”, as the chief (so many chiefs) health officer, Kerryn Coleman, is wont to say of Andrew Barr, won’t be wearing a tie.

Moments before the recent extended-lockdown announcement there was an especially silly frenzy of fast-moving and nervously excited banality a-la “Two weeks, 15, red”. One I saw was along the lines of “35 and free beer”, now there’s a pessimistic optimist. 

But in reality it’s a sick social-media tombola from other people’s trauma amid the deadly serious side to this daily update. 

I wonder if anyone in intensive care at Canberra Hospital tethered to a ventilator via an intubation tube down their throat would get much joy from the jolly jape of guessing how many people will succumb to covid today. 

IN Canberra, half the town is sailing through the inconvenience of lockdown on full pay while much of the other half (the private sector) seriously battles to survive on “disaster” handouts. 

The government support for small business is shameful and it is demeaning to have to keep asking for more, as the Canberra Liberals (all on full pay) have, as the Business Chamber (all on full pay) has. 

An accountant wrote to me the other day to say: “Everyone is struggling right now. I only wish the government understood.”

But they – Labor here and Liberals there – are choosing not to hear those using the parsimonious government support to haplessly paper over the cracks in their broken businesses. 

“There might be stories in some of these struggles,” the accountant wrote and editor@citynews.com.au is always keen to hear about them. 

AND if all this isn’t depressing enough, the ANU is reporting that almost two thirds of Australians believe their life has got worse during the pandemic and more than half are feeling more negative about the future compared to the first wave of infections. 

In a national survey of more than 3000 people, roughly half said they were more stressed and more than a quarter said their relationship was more difficult or strained this year compared to 2020.

The survey was conducted while about half of Australia, 13 million people, were in lockdown.

“We’ve seen a big rise in worry and anxiety due to COVID-19 from 49.8 per cent in April – the lowest during the pandemic – to 60.9 per cent in August,” co-author of the study Prof Nicholas Biddle said.

“Australians are less satisfied with the direction of the country than at any time during the pandemic. They are also less confident in the federal, state and territory governments.”

“IT is an indictment of AMC management, Corrective Services and the ACT government that the inspector of Corrections did not equivocate in finding that the decision to conduct a forced strip search in this instance: ‘Did not comply with the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT)’.” 

So said a vindicated Julie Tongs, the CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services, after the ACT inspector of Correctional Services, Neil McAllister, formally reported on the shameful, violent strip search earlier this year of a vulnerable Aboriginal woman in the Alexander Maconochie Centre. 

Tongs praised the “courage and fortitude” of the young Aboriginal woman, who lives with significant health issues, for making the gruelling details of her treatment publicly available to the media. 

“The treatment by the ACT government of the Aboriginal woman, the subject and instigator of this report by the inspector of Corrections, is nothing short of shameful,” says Tongs. 

Meanwhile, in the parallel universe that is the ACT government, Corrections Minister Mick Gentleman spun like a top by thanking the “committed staff within ACT Corrective Services for their professionalism and dedication”, conceded strip searches “can be stressful and traumatising for both detainees and staff” and committed to minimising strip searching, well as much as possible.

To that end, he’s throwing $450,000 at fast-tracking the purchase of two body scanners and shrugging off the criticism. 

Ian Meikle is the editor of “CityNews” and can be heard on the “CityNews Sunday Roast” news and interview program, 2CC, 9am-noon.

 

Who can be trusted?

In a world of spin and confusion, there’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in Canberra.

If you trust our work online and want to enforce the power of independent voices, I invite you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support is invested back into our journalism to help keep citynews.com.au strong and free.

Become a supporter

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Ian Meikle

Ian Meikle

Share this

Leave a Reply

Related Posts

Opinion

KEEPING UP THE ACT

"KEEPING UP THE ACT" is an original, weekly cartoon strip cheekily aimed at the funny side of politics in Canberra.

Follow us on Instagram @canberracitynews