Hats off to versatility … zero credibility … when the earth really moved in Oz

Halton catch fire As we’ve previously pointed out, former Health Department secretary Jane Halton wears many hats, some of which are novelty ones with flashing lights that spell out the phrase “conflict of interest” in bright pink neon. So it was when she was appointed to lead a nationwide review of all hotel quarantine arrangements in July last year, despite sitting on the board of Crown casino, a company deeply entangled with the very crisis she was reviewing.

© Provided by Crikey

And just to ram home the point, the Perth casino royal commission has revealed that mere weeks before her appointment Crown Perth’s high-roller room remained open during the state’s brief June/July lockdown, contrary to the company’s disclosures to the ASX.

Pollywaffle If there was a medal for equivocal language, the following effort from Prime Minister Scott Morrison — in response to US President Joe Biden’s contention that the world is fast ­approaching “a ‘point of no ­return’ in the literal sense” on climate change — would win gold so comfortably it would attract the attention of anti-doping agencies.

In Australia, it’s not enough to have a commitment to something — you’ve got to have a plan to achieve it. And this is an important part of the way we approach this task. You have a plan to meet your commitment. If you don’t have a plan, you don’t have a commitment.

This runs under the headline “Australia will aim for net zero, Scott Morrison tells Joe Biden”. Even that seems to oversell it.

GB Keep an eye on nascent right-wing UK network GB News — some drama this way comes. A mere three months after the launch, founding chairman Andrew Neil has scarpered. The network is an attempt to meld the fury of right-wing posting with the gravitas of a BBC veteran of decades’ standing like Neil. Alas, as Guardian Australia points out, Neil simply does not have the soul of a poster.

And his exit is turning ugly. According to Neil, the network has broken its exit agreement “by briefing Mail on Sunday with load of smears/lies then unilaterally cancelling exit deal”. This in turn leaves Neil “free to do, say whatever I want + never again be on GB News. Couldn’t be happier”.

We’re looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

Quake up Anyone remember the December 1989 Newcastle earthquake — Australia’s most damaging quake — amid all the verbiage yesterday? In all the breathless comparison about earthquakes in Australia yesterday, last night and this morning, Newcastle1989 was ignored. The Australian Financial Review, for example, ran a handy table showing the top 10 quakes recorded in Australia. The final listing was a 6.1 trembler in Western Australia in 1979. It missed the worst quake ever recorded in this country — not in terms of its scale estimate but in the death and damage caused. In fact there is no comparison between Mansfield 2021 and Newcastle 1989 — the latter was a killer.

The 1989 earthquake occurred on Thursday, December 28. The shock measured 5.6 and was one of Australia’s most serious natural disasters, killing 13 people and injuring more than 160. The damage bill was $4 billion in 1991 dollars. The quake triggered what’s called liquefaction — that’s where the ground shakes and sand and soil in the areas of alluvial deposits and reclaimed areas turn to liquid (often causing buildings above to lose their footings and collapse). It was the first quake in Australia to cause casualties.

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