Well, well. It seems the Powers-that-be covered up the fact that covid-19 originated in a Wuhan laboratory. Early in the pandemic (2020) scientists wrote a much-cited article called the Proximal Origins paper. It argued that the virus arose naturally. Not everybody was convinced. Scientists who had closely examined the virus stated:
“We consider the evidence they present and find that it does not prove that the virus arose naturally. In fact, the features of SARS-CoV-2 noted by Anderson et al. are consistent with another scenario: that SARS-CoV-2 was developed in a laboratory, by methods that leading coronavirus researchers commonly use to investigate how the viruses infect cells and cause disease, assess the potential for animal coronaviruses to jump to humans, and develop drugs and vaccines.” [source] (paywall)
Despite this expert evidence commentators like Dr Fauci told the world that the virus had originated in the Wuhan wet market and anybody who dared to disagree was derided and/or shut down. According to the article I quoted, to this day most people think the virus had a natural origin.
Which brings me to the Communications Legislation Amendment (Combating Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023 currently before parliament. The legislation’s stated purpose is to protect Australians from misinformation and disinformation that is likely to cause “serious harm” – that is, “harm that affects a significant portion of the Australian population, economy or environment, or undermines the integrity of an Australian democratic process” – where misinformation is “online content that is false, misleading or deceptive, that is shared or created without an intent to deceive”, while disinformation is misinformation that is “intentionally disseminated with the intent to deceive or cause serious harm”. [source] The bill will extend the powers of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to administer the regulations.
How easy would it be for Government censors to decide any mention of the virus’s origin in a Wuhan lab is disinformation. Or to silence those who believe climate change is natural and not man-made. There’s no doubt that social media can be a hotbed of activism and strange ideas but at least it also publishes contrary arguments so that a sensible reader can make up his/her own mind. Always assuming that person is willing to consider ideas that contradict their own perceptions – provided the ideas are not totally loopy, like flat earthers.
Apart from that, the news media is full of the Voice, Mr Bowen’s contention that we can run the nation’s energy needs on renewables, and the Treasurer’s suggestion that we’ll be running deficits for decades.
You might recall journalist Peta Credlin pointed out, quite correctly, that the Uluru statement from the heart is twenty-six pages, not one. It was labelled as misinformation (genuinely supporting something that is untrue) not disinformation (wilfully spreading information that is false). In Credlin’s case, neither applies; the statement from the heart is twenty-six pages. I talked about that here.
Mr Bowen has no time for a nuclear solution to Australia’s energy crisis as our coal-fired power stations are shut down. He’ll put up more bird-killing unsightly wind turbines, cover arable land with solar farms, and take over farmers’ land to extend transmission lines. I wonder if it will be politically correct to point out that many nations in the world have reopened nuclear stations and are building new facilities to generate electricity and that nuclear power stations could be built to replace coal-fired stations with minimal disruption to the nation’s power infrastructure. And no, I’d have no problem if one was built next to Hervey Bay. People tend to forget there’s a nuclear facility in the middle of Sydney at Lucas Heights – has been for years.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers reckons we’ll need to run a government deficit for decades to service our ageing population. I’m no economist but if any company tried to run on that surmise it wouldn’t last for long. I suspect in the commercial world the CEO and the board might be in a spot of trouble. Maybe he should be looking at cutting costs, like the exponentially exploding cost of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Recent reports suggest 11.5 per cent of boys and 5 per cent of girls in Australia between the ages of five and seven are enrolled in the NDIS. That can’t possibly be right.
It came as no surprise that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner paramilitary group, has been assassinated. US sources say the plane he was on was not shot down by a missile and the more likely explanation was a bomb inside the aircraft. Whatever. What is a surprise is that he lasted nine weeks since his abortive coup. Putin is not one to forgive.
I was delighted to read that Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales will quit his post following days of condemnation for forcibly kissing a player on the mouth at the presentation of the Women’s World Cup. The man is a total sleaze bag, trying to get some kudos for himself from the women’s win. It has been suggested that the team’s coach isn’t much better.
I confess there are times when I’d love to go back to a simpler time when the worries of the world didn’t weigh quite so heavily. But that’s not possible except in my memories. I’ve been trawling through my photographs, deleting duplicates, out of focus pictures, and shots of grass or people’s feet. It was a nice reminder that despite all the rotten things happening in the world it’s still a beautiful place.