Update 29 April




A Twist on the Back-to-School Problem

The message from Federal Government is clear – children need to get back to their classrooms. ‘Vibrant’ discussions have resulted among teachers, parents and the opinionated among us. Victoria has held onto the, “You can’t tell us what to do” card, which they’re in their rights to do.


But wait a minute – the Independent and Catholic schools are funded by the Federal Government. And they’re having cash flow problems because of parents’ reduced capacity to pay fees. So, by request, the Feds have brought forward July’s payments with an added incentive: Get 50% of your students in classrooms by the end of May and you’ll get a second instalment. That includes the independent schools in Victoria, which are governed by school boards, not the state.


The Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, maintains the hope that all schools – state and independent – will be back in classrooms by the end of May.






Staying at home has meant some families have enjoyed quality time together. For other households, being cooped up together feels like being in a pressure cooker. For still others who live on their own, loneliness is the toughest battle.


National Suicide Prevention Advisor, Christine Morgan, reported today how the Federal Government’s additional funding for mental health has been used. A ten-year telehealth plan was shifted in 10 days to make services more accessible. These are the results:

  • Beyond Blue has experienced a 40% increase in calls compared to this time last year, due to an increase in distress and anxiety levels.
  • 1800 RESPECT and Mens Helpline have had increased calls.
  • Head to Health has had a spike in people seeking information on what to do and where to go.
  • Young people contacting Reachout have sought help due to broken education linkages or loss of supports at school.


The message: Keep your eyes alert for what may be needed among those around you. Anyone in need should be able to reach out to a service for help.



Quick Tidbits


  • New South Wales has announced their first easing of restrictions – 2 people may now visit another household. Distance doesn’t matter so long as the outing fits within existing rules.
  • “It’s like putting on sunscreen,” said ScoMo today, using the handy analogy for the COVIDSafe app. Put it on when you go out and it will keep you, your family and health workers safe. Creating a COVIDSafe Australia, will create the capacity for us to return to more normal living. There have been 2.5 million downloads of the app so far. 7.5 million to go.





The Stats


Globally, we’ve reached the 3 million mark on the COVID-19 case count, with a devastating 216,000 deaths worldwide.


In Australia:

A remarkable day yesterday where in the 12 new cases across Australia, only one was from an unknown source. This shows we’re securing the flattening curve.


  • There have been 6,738 confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • Sadly, 88 people have died
  • 5,649 people have recovered
  • 42 are in ICU
  • 27 are on ventilators (as at 28 April)



Hope Over Fear


What’s it like to recover from a near-death experience of COVID-19?

“I beat the bug,” says Jaysen O’Brien. He talks of the miracle he experienced, and how “the best people in the world” gave him his life back. His story, and the long guard of honour formed by medical staff, tell this heart-warming story of hope.


Watch on YouTube here (2.5 min clip).



Your Tip for Today

5 Tax Tips on Working From Home


These are some of the ATO’s most frequently asked questions. More detail on the ATO website.

  1. My employer is encouraging or requiring me to work from home. Will I be able to claim a deduction for home office expenses?

Yes, for additional running expenses like heating, cooling and lighting, phone and internet. See also the shortcut method for the COVID-19 period.


  1. Can I claim working from home expenses when I’m on leave or if I’ve been stood down during the COVID-19 period?

No, only from actual time spent working at home.


  1. I worked from home before COVID-19 and my work pattern has not changed as a result. Am I entitled to claim the shortcut rate of 80 cents per work hour for my additional running expenses?

Yes, the new shortcut method is intended to cover all taxpayers working from home between 1 March and 30 June 2020, whether the working arrangements are a result of COVID-19 or not.


  1. If I use the shortcut method to claim my expenses while I work from home, what records do I need to keep?

Records showing the amount of time you have spent working from home. This could be in the form of timesheets, rosters, a diary or similar document that sets out the hours worked.


  1. Can I claim for my rent or mortgage and will this affect capital gains tax if I sell my house?

No, expenses relating to living in your home – such as rent, mortgage interest, property insurance and land taxes – will not become deductible during temporary work from home due to COVID-19.




What About You?


I’d love to hear your stories.

  • Have you seen signs of anxiety in people around you? Do you feel unsafe?
  • Have you downloaded the COVIDSafe app?
  • What adjustments have you made to work from home?


Drop me a comment below. 




Information Sources


Prime Minister Press Conference with Christine Morgan – 29 April



Federal Minister for Education, Dan Tehan – 29 April



New South Wales Govt – 2 visitors



Federal Minister, Greg Hunt Doorstop Interview with medical stats – 28 April



Department of Health stats



ATO’s FAQs working from home





Update 27 April


Sweet Relief – a ‘Sugar Hit’ for some states

We’ve been under the ‘Stay At Home’ banner long enough now that some are starting to turn the translucent colour of underground insects. Others missed going away on holiday and it’s taking its toll, and I would bet that head banging has been on the rise.


To the relief of many, this weekend offered a pick-me-up for a few states, allowing some return to the things they love. We’re warned we still have a long way to go, but ScoMo has confirmed we’re on the road out.


All states emphasised that social distancing, handwashing and the other daily precautions that have become second nature to us will be around until there is a vaccine. (When last did you pay for something by cash?)


Here are this week’s eased restrictions:


Western Australia

After another day of zero new cases, social gatherings can now increase to 10 people. That means children can have play dates and families can have barbeques again (as long as everyone is 1.5m apart.)


Northern Territory

With THREE WEEKS of zero new cases, and all 5 NT cases recovered, some national parks are reopening. That means a return to camping, fishing, swimming and hiking.



Anastacia Palaszczuk probably wins this week on easing restrictions.Driving up to 50km from your house is now all good, some national parks will reopen and you can shop for nonessential items. That means picnics in the park again (still at a minimum of 2 people gathered), boating, jetskiing, and motorbike riding can kick back in, while those less inclined to the outdoors can indulge in retail therapy.



Testing, Testing

Nationwide, testing for COVID-19 is now offered to all those experiencing respiratory symptoms, with 40- to 50,000 tests being performed daily. Victoria has followed South Australia’s action of having a testing blitz, with the premier announcing Victoria’s target of 100,000 tests in the next fortnight.



Your Bluetooth Handshake – COVIDsafe app

App, app, app, app, appy, app, app.

This is probably NOT the first you’ve heard of the COVIDSafe app today. Launched last night, it reached 2 million downloads this evening. That’s looking good for the target of 40% uptake. According to Sky News, community polls have indicated that 50 – 62% of Greens, Labour and Coalition voters will download the app, and the male-female stats are similar. You’ll find more COVIDSafe details here: www.covidsafe.gov.au


(I got the App but then forgot to leave it running when I went to the shop today. Probably another thing that will become part of the new normal for me is trying to remember that.)




The Stats for Australia


  • There have been 6,713 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. 
  • Sadly, 83 have died
  • 42 are in ICU
  • 5,558 people have recovered



Hope Over Fear


Working from home …. with wildlife.



In sanctuaries where the animals can’t go home with their keepers, the biggest issue is keeping routines and contact with people. When Cyclone Yasi hit Townsville in 2010, Tonka the wombat at the Billabong Sanctuary stopped eating until visitors returned. Despite having no visitors at the moment because of the coronavirus restrictions, the koalas still demand their cuddles, the birds continue their flight shows, and pythons and crocs continue to be handled, just to keep things ‘normal’.




Your Tip for Today


Bank Support Hotline for businesses dealing with JobKeeper


Your business might have had trouble getting a loan, which was supposed to be much easier with the measures in place. Immediate support might be especially needed to make the first JobKeeper payments to your employees, before receiving your package from the government.


With a bit of chivvying by ScoMo, bank hotlines have now been set up to ensure your business can get the help you need with Jobkeeper:


ANZ: 1800 571 123 

NAB: 1800 JOB KEEPER (1800 562 533)

CBA: CBA: 13 26 07


  • Westpac JobKeeper Helpline  1300 731 073 
  • St George JobKeeper Helpline  1300 730 196 
  • Bank of Melbourne Jobkeeper Helpline  1300 784 873 
  • Bank SA JobKeeper Helpline  1300 669 472 



What About You?


I’d love to hear your stories.


  • Have you go the COVIDSafe app? What are your thoughts?
  • What’s the next thing you’ll do, if restrictions have eased in your state?


Drop me a comment.


Information Sources

I’ve gotten techy (not tacky). Information sources are now linked in the text. Badge for me.







Update 24 April


We’re 3 Steps into the Lifecycle of The Rona

The coronavirus’s potent little life started in what Australia’s calling the export phase, when it was catapulted out of its birthplace in China and into the big, wide, world where it attached to travelling Australians. But Australia saw that and began travel restrictions.


Then, as Australians abroad returned home, Little ‘Rona began jumping onto other Australians in our communities. This was the repatriation phase. That’s when travel quarantines began, and social distancing became part of our new normal. We put a stop to Rona’s travelling party.


Now we’re in the community phase, where we don’t have Rona imports, but are dealing with its covert shenanigans. Now we have to do detective work to track its movements, and stop the virus parties as soon as they start.



Here’s how Nowcasting Moves to Forecasting

It’s a new science, but the team at the Doherty Institute is now using Australia’s real time data to predict our COVID-19 future. Two thirds of all Australian cases used to be from overseas travel. Hotel quarantining for travellers is completely controlling the virus on that front, so those case data have been removed for the forecasting. That enables a more reliable reading of the Reff based on community transmission alone. (Check out my blog on Nowcasting for more about the Reff.)


The Reff is still below 1 across Australia, but cluster infections are expected to crop up.


Just this week, three residents who died at an aged care facility in western Sydney, had tested positive for the virus. Forty-one residents and staff contracted the virus from a staff member that did not know she was infected. That proves that we cannot be complacent in precautionary measures.


Can we keep the Reff below 1 until National Cabinet meets to discuss easing of restrictions?



Construction is On The Money



While much of the job market is in a critical state, construction is going gangbusters, and this just may be the industry that leads Australia out of the economic crisis. The Federal Government is asking all governments to bring infrastructure projects forward where possible. WA just completed the longest road in its history. Sydney is working on its international airport and an inland rail project. Another 160 projects are underway around the country.


So if ever you were thinking of working in construction – now’s your chance.




The Stats for Australia


  • There have been 6673 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia
  • Sadly, 78 have died
  • 43 people are in ICU
  • 29 people are on ventilators



Hope Over Fear


Respite for the Reef

Scuba tour operators were hit badly with the travel bans, but in Cairns and Port Douglas businesses are putting their empty boats and equipment to good use.


Passions of Paradise, Wavelength, Ocean Freedom, Sailaway and Quicksilver Cruises have partnered with Dr David Suggett from the University of Technology in Sydney to give the Great Barrier Reef some TLC. Operators are using their boats and crew to help create coral nurseries by planting coral. This will form part of reef resilience research.


Your Tip for Today


We can’t cure COVID-19, but we can fight the common flu

As we head into winter, having a standard flu jab is a common consideration. This year the supply of shots has been boosted from 13.5 million to 16.5 million, so that every Australian who wants one can access one. My GP sent me a text earlier this month to say flu shots are available.


Its not a defence against COVID-19 but less flu going around means more healthy people. It would mean that if you did happen to contract COVID-19, you wouldn’t have to deal with regular flu as well. Health workers would appreciate the added protection too.


So if you haven’t already, why not get your flu jab this year?



What About You?


  • Anyone in the construction industry? Is it business as usual?
  • Do you normally get the flu jab, and will you this year?


Please drop me a comment. I’d love to hear your stories.





Information Sources


Prime Minister Media Statement with Chief Medical Officer – 24 April



ABC News – Third death at aged care facility in Sydney – 22 April



Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure on the construction industry – 24 April

https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/construction-sector-key-future-job-and-economic-growth – 24 April


Prime Minister Media Release – Western Australia’s Biggest Road Project –  23 April



Scuba Tour Operators Help Reefs – 21 April



UTS – Future Reefs



Health Minister on flu vaccinations – 19 April



Update 23 April



You know how something good sometimes doesn’t feel true until it’s actually in your hands? The government has begun to give out the promised lifelines in the past few days, making them a reality to millions of Australians.


My husband’s small business was one of those. You blink a few stunned blinks when you realise there is no loan repayment required, no long forms required to justify it. It’s simply a gift from your government because they’re looking out for you. Pretty incredible.


We’ve heard the umbrella numbers, but today ScoMo started to break it down:

  • An extra 5000 staff have been employed to help the ATO and Services Australia ramp up their processing rate to 50,000 and 40,000 claims a day respectively.
  • 587,686 JobSeeker applications have been processed – that’s more in one month than is usually achieved in a year.
  • 456,000 applications for superannuation withdrawals have been processed by the ATO, and will be paid out over the next 5 days.
  • 177,000 businesses received a cash flow boost totalling $3 billion so far, to help them meet costs and keep their staff.
  • 900,000 businesses registered for JobKeeper, with 275,000 applications received in the first three days it opened.


Just take a moment to stop and appreciate what it means to live in Australia right now.


How do these supports compare to other countries? Too complicated to try and work that out because of the huge variety, but the TMF Group website on government support schemes for COVID-19 gives really clear outlines for countries across the globe, if you’re interested.



Saving Virgin Australia

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann confirmed that the government would like to see two viable airlines in Australia, but that throwing money at Virgin was not necessarily the solution. The company was not super healthy before the pandemic. The aim in the current administration process is for the parties involved to work on solutions that refocus the performing parts of the airline.


In the meantime, the airline employees are supported through the JobKeeper program, and some call centre staff have been redeployed to help process claims for Services Australia.



Easing, Easing

It’s happening little by little. Restrictions are starting to relax in tiny increments.


  • BIG ONE: School changes. New South Wales children will be starting to return to school as Term 2 starts next week. They will begin one day a week with the aim of being back full time again by the start of Term 3. In South Australia the chief medical officer has written to parents and schools encouraging them to send their children to school. Western Australia contines to give parents the choice. The ACT has designated schools where children will be supervised if for any reason they can’t learn at home.
  • Bondi Beach will reopen next week. Perhaps this community has learned their lesson?
  • Fish and agricultural exports will begin again as 15 freighting airlines help mend supply chains to the world, saving export businesses and saving jobs. Usually these goods are in the bellies of the airlines you and I travel on, but of course, we’re not travelling anymore, are we? To give you an idea of the need – 560 businesses registered their interest for these services.



The Stats 


While we’ve had 75 deaths from COVID-19, and mourn each of those lives, this figure is nothing like the experience of countries with similar economies, populations and facilities as ours.


The latest WHO report gives these numbers:

UK – 17,337

USA – 37,602

China – 4,642

Spain –  21,282

Italy – 24,648

France – 20,736


Australia – 75



Hope Over Fear


It’s Queensland time to shine.


Sewage Has its Uses

While the pending tracer app is a hot topic, today ScoMo reminded us that this is just one tool in the larger plan to squash the virus.


Back in the CSIRO labs, the University of Queensland has been working on a different type of tracing that could be highly effective too – testing sewage for the virus. Already they’ve found that wastewater from the sewage plants near COVID-19- infected people revealed RNA fragments of the virus. Testing wastewater more broadly could uncover community hotspots of the virus. It’s hoped that eventually these tests will even be able to determine the number of people infected.


But just in case you’re freaking out about this – they’ve given assurance that drinking water is very well protected from the virus.


QLD’s Manufacturers are World Class

Among Queensland’s achievements, the coronavirus challenges have seen distillers making sanitiser, plastics manufacturers fabricating PPE and the sector partnering effectively with others to support supply chains. The World Economic Forum has awarded Queensland manufacturers with recognition as an advanced hub in improving the world’s business sector.



Your Tip for Today

COVID-19 has been around for what feels like forever right now, so most of us know the ins and outs of it. Or do we?


  1. Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection?
  2. How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the virus?
  3. Can spraying alcohol all over you body kill the new coronavirus?
  4. Are hand dryers effective in killing the virus?
  5. Can the virus be transmitted through mosquito bites?

For the answers to these questions, scroll to the end, andfind more mythbusters here.



What About You?


I’d love to hear your stories.


  • Have you had a lifeline thrown to you?
  • What restrictions do you want most to be lifted?
  • How’s your knowledge on the coronavirus?


I’m keen to see your comments below


Quiz answers:

  1. No. Sometimes this helps relief for the common cold, but it doesn’t prevent respiratory infection.
  2. Sort of. They are effective in detecting people with a fever, but not those who are not yet showing symptoms.
  3. No. In fact these substances can be harmful to your mucous membranes.
  4. No. Cleaning your hands with an alcohol-based rub or soap and water is what does the trick. Drying hands well is good practice too.
  5. No. It’s a respiratory disease.



Information Sources


Prime Minister Press Release – 23 April



Finance Minister Mathias Cormann interview on Channel 10 – 21 April



Federal Minister Greg Hunt interview (Bondi Beach) – 22 April



NSW govt – NSW schools return – 21 April



South Australia education advice



ACT education advice



Minister for Infrastructure press release (exports) – 23 April



WHO Situation Report – 22 April



UQ – waste water surveillance – 16 April



QLD Govt – QLD Declared Advanced Manufacturing Hub – 19 April



Mythbuster quiz






Update 21 April



Don’t Lock Up Nannas and Pops

If your elderly loved one lives in an aged care facility, apparently you might not have been able to visit them because of heavy-handed restrictions in some places. But for many of the elderly who became completely isolated, this misinterpretation of state guidelines was not good for their health and wellbeing.


Today ScoMo and the Chief Medical Officer emphasised the need to allow vital family and support visits, including for those who have chosen to self-isolate in their own homes. Of course, the normal safety precautions still apply.


So go and knock on your nanna’s door with a nice bunch of flowers. (But don’t give her a hug or a kiss just yet!)




The First Step on the Road Out – Surgical Relief

Have you been hanging on with an aching tooth, or waiting with a painful hip for orthopaedic surgery? You’ll be pleased that as of today elective surgery is back in business.


That’s because Australia has been able to slow the spread (well done, everyone), and there are now enough masks and ventilators to go around. 54 million masks arrived over the weekend, with another 100 million coming in the next 6 weeks. 3260 ventilators arrived yesterday.


Hospitals will gradually phase in Category 2 and 3 surgeries based on clinical priorities. If you’re a patient, the controlled, “gentle” approach means you’ll be safe from the virus in hospital, as your surgery boosts your quality of life.



Navigating JobKeeper Niggles

Maybe you were one of the employees who breathed a sigh of relief at the lifeline of the JobKeeper package. Some have been disappointed by their employers, who are responsible for distributing the benefit to them.


  • 20% of employers are reportedly considering not signing up. Some say it’s because they don’t like the attitude of their employees demanding money. This makes workers more than a little upset.
  • The JobKeeper payment is a flat rate of $750 per week, regardless of previous wage. That means some workers would be paid more than usual, so employers are demanding that they work more hours to earn the payment. Apparently this is okay. An alternative is that the employer does not need to keep that employee. (And that’s where the rubber hits the road.)
  • Workers can only obtain the payment from one employer, so for those with more than one: who pays, and does that employer get the worker’s additional hours?


ScoMo advised that the Fair Work Act has been changed to assist employers with a range of instructions to their employees. Conversely, coercive employers should not be tolerated, and unfair cases should be taken to Fair Work Australia, just the same as before the pandemic.


The Stats for Australia


The curve is now well and truly flattening, with growth in new cases down to less than 1%.


South Australia has had 3 days of no new cases.


  • There are 6,625 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. 
  • Sadly, 71 people have died
  • Almost two thirds of cases (4,258 people) have recovered



Hope Over Fear


Windows of Opportunity


While people at higher risk of COVID-19 infection or severe symptoms live in quarantine, loved ones have become creative at maintaining connection through windows.


Heartwarming moments have included:

  • Dancer Alana McKinley felt she had to do something special for her mother’s 95th birthday, so she arranged a dance-along for the aged care facility in vibrant costume outside the glass doors of the facility’s common room. Her mother enjoyed the party.


  • A Texas husband whose wife is undergoing chemotherapy used to go with her to every appointment. When she was required to go into isolation he arrived one day and got comfortable in a chair outside the hospital with a large sign that said, “I can’t be with you, but I’m here. Love you.” She teared up when she noticed his unexpected visit a few storeys below, outside her window.
  • In Carindale, Queensland, a band performed live outside and aged care facility. Residents in the multi-storey block sang and danced on their balconies to their favourite tunes.
  • And finally, windows have become the venue for many rounds of Tic Tac Toe, as a way for grandchildren to have some fun with their grandparents.



Your Tip for Today


With children around the country engaging in remote learning this term, this teacher’s advice to stop parents from ending up in a tailspin seemed sensible:



Don’t buy $100 worth of resources, don’t stay up until 2am Google-searching programs to print off. This may all change again at midterm.


Homeschooling is the wrong term. Your school will email, send packages, whatever may be needed. You don’t have to be a teacher, just a supervisor.


You do not have to set up a classroom. Kids don’t have to be working ALLLLL day. Check guidelines on your state’s education sites. The teacher will be checking – it will not all be up to you. 


When you ask a question, it may take 24 hours for the teacher to reply. If you can’t do something until they explain it – DON’T! Just use it as an excuse to chill out. We teachers are not going to be critically analysing every piece of work. We will scan for issues and problems, as we do walking around the classroom.


People show perfect houses on social media, and how they’re setting up enriching and engaging activities with their children. Which leads you to feel guilty, because your kid has been eating biscuits and watching TV. ‘My child will be left behind. I am a terrible parent ruining the future of my baby’. Don’t fall into that trap.


Things are going to happen in the next few months that normally wouldn’t. Your kids will probably have too much screen time. Your house may look messier. Your kids need hugs, not being yelled at by a stressful mum or dad who is doing things that are not really needed.

Their education will recover. Look after yourselves.




What About You?


I’d love to hear your stories.


  • Have you been able to visit your elderly loved ones?
  • How have the first few days of remote learning gone for you and your kids?
  • Have you found new uses for a window?


I’m keen to see your comments below




Information Sources


Prime Minister’s Press Release with Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt and Chief Medical Officer, Prof Brendan Murphy – 21 April



Prime Minister’s interview with Alan Jones – 17 April



Federal Health Minister, Greg54 million masks – health minister – 18 April



Fair Work Ombudsman – Changes to the Fair Work Act – 9 April



The Advertiser – South Australia on zero cases



7News Good News Stories

Husband Holds Sign for Wife with Cancer



A Teacher’s Advice for Remote Learning









Update 20 April 2020


Flying Low


While the future of Virgin Australia hangs in the balance due to the coronavirus debilitation, the government has provided a boost to support essential domestic flights across the country. Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar will receive $165 million in addition to the $1 billion in support to Australia’s aviation industry, to keep essential connections open.


For the next 8 weeks (and then a review), the permitted flights will allow frontline and defence workers access to safe travel, and support the movement of vital medicines and protective equipment. It will also help those Australians returning from overseas, who have completed their mandatory quarantine, to return to their home states.


Western Australia (WA) has appointed a travel agent to facilitate the homeward journeys of those travelling to and from the state. Restricted public transport will also begin to resume in WA.   


New South Wales got a blasting from the Queensland Minister for State Development, Cameron Dick, for suggesting that Virgin Airlines move its headquarters to Sydney. He argued that it is the worst possible time to require families to relocate while their job futures are uncertain.



All the spending


How will Australia end up paying for the government’s current generosity? All $320 billion of it. Of course, few are complaining about the lifelines, but the question hovers and whines like a mosquito: Will our grandchildren still be paying for this extravagance in the future?


Earlier this month, ScoMo assured us that the government has worked closely with the Treasury and Australian Office of Financial Management in working out the capacity of the Commonwealth for the size of these commitments.


One of the important safeguards is the temporary and focused nature of the measures, to ensure there are not long trails of expenditure. That didn’t happen in the last financial crisis, and it wasn’t good. The idea is that things will be able to ‘snap back’ when this pandemic is over.


Today, ScoMo elaborated further. There is no question that the pandemic is going to “hit us like a truck’”. But on the other side of it, a growing economy is what will be nurtured rather than increased taxes or COVID levies. If people are working, they’re paying taxes and the government is building revenue. So there are going to be employment-friendly policies put in place. These will help businesses that have hopefully managed to stay intact with the help of the stimulus packages. The aim is to make the economic recovery as strong as possible.



More on The COVID-19 Tracking App


It’s called TraceTogether and will be available in about two weeks’ time. It will do digitally what health workers are currently doing manually. If it works, it will speed up the ability of health services to trace the contacts of anyone who discovers they have COVID-19. If it doesn’t work…. well it can’t really not work because even a 5% uptake will be better than what we have now.


People are worried, of course, about their whereabouts being snooped on. Especially drug dealers and unfaithful spouses. Stuart Robert, Federal Minister for Government Services, has quieted many concerns with the facts. This is what I understand so far:


  • The app uses Bluetooth only, not GPS tracking. So it won’t identify location. It obtains far less data than any location-based apps on your phone like Google or Life 360.
  • If you are 1.5m from someone else who has the app, for 15 minutes or longer, it grabs their information.
  • Data captured by the app is available via a portal, that only state health will have access to. There will be limited logins to this system, as per the limited number of people using the manual system right now.
  • It will record this data for 21 days (the incubation phase of the virus plus some), after which the oldest data is deleted.
  • Should someone become infected, nurses in state authorities will be able contact people that were exposed to the virus. This could include the ninety-year-old lady standing in a queue behind you at the shop, or the family at the park.
  • You might be that ninety-year-old lady or that family at the park who was unknowingly exposed, so you are made safer through quick contact by a nurse if you have the app.
  • All data from the app, stored by the health authorities, will be destroyed at the end of the pandemic.


The app will work most effectively if there is a minimum of a 40% uptake by the population.




The Stats


Number of global cases topped the 2 million mark on Friday 17 April.

Yesterday, worldwide, there were:

  • 2,241,359 confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • 152,551 deaths reported


In Australia:

  • There have been 6,612 confirmed cases
  • Sadly, 70 people have died
  • 4,230 people have recovered
  • 33 people were on ventilators on 19 April



Hope Over Fear

The Prayer of Faith


ScoMo has often spoken of his prayers for the nation and invited others to keep praying for the National Cabinet and for Australia. He is not alone. All around the globe, those who are strengthened by their faith bring hope through prayer.


  • A group of nurses in Nashville, Tennessee, took 10 minutes out of their busy shift to pray on the hospital rooftop because of the fear and anxiety they were feeling at work. They asked for strength, protection and wisdom for those taking care of patients around the globe.
  • In Italy, as the death toll rose over 9000, the Pope delivered a special blessing over the city and the world. This prayer, usually reserved for Christmas and Easter, was broadcast on social media, TV and radio.
  • The Samaritan’s Purse has medical staff on the frontlines at a field hospital in Italy. They decided that they would dedicate each 20 seconds of handwashing to intentionally praying for each of their patients.



Your Tip for Today


ANZAC Day, celebrated on the 25 April, will unfortunately not be celebrated through public gatherings this year, but it’s important to remember the sacrifices made for the freedoms we now enjoy, #Anzacdayathome on social media platforms will help you find creative ways to commemorate the occasion. Here are some of them:


  1. Watch the service on TV at 5:30am on Anzac Day, broadcast live by the ABC and streamed online. Seehere for details. There is also a call for people to stand in their driveways all across the country and listen to the service – see here for details.
  2. Put an Australian flag out the front of your house and decorate your car with blue, red and white streamers or green and gold balloons. 
  3. Make Anzac Day crafts with your kidsand talk to them about the importance of Anzac Day as you make them. Make a poppy out of apaper plate, colour in a wreath, make bravery medals out of cardboard and foil, colour in the Australian flag, make poppies out ofred cupcake cases, make your own hand print wreath and create poppies from plastic bottles.
  4. Make Anzac biscuits with your family, have a cuppa and discuss how this country would be different without the ANZACs and the Australian wartime effort.
  5. Visit the Australian War Memorial website and learn more about the story of the ANZACs. You can even take a virtual visit of the memorial from home. See here for details.
  6. Add to the 50,000 Poppies Remembrance Day project. If you have an parent or grandparent who is sitting at home knitting through this pandemic, then why not send them somecrochet and knitting patterns to make poppies. It is a way for us all to feel connected on this national day.


What About You?


I’d love to hear your stories.


  • Where do you wish you could book a flight to?
  • Do you draw hope from your faith?
  • What are you doing for Anzac Day


Drop me a comment below.




Information Sources


Deputy Prime Minister Media Release on Domestic Aviation – 16 April



Western Australia Govt – Travel agent and Public Transport – 18 April





Queensland Govt fights airline move to New South Wales – 20 April



Prime Minister Press Conference on the economy – 2 April



Prime Minister’s Interview with Tracy Grimshaw, A Current Affair – Channel 9 – 2 April



Prime Minister’s Interview with Neil Mitchell, 3AW – 20 April



Paul Murray (Sky News) podcast: PM in the AM – 20 April

(Interview with Federal Minister Stuart Roberts)


Seven News interview with Stuart Roberts – 20 April



WHO Situation Report



Federal Health Minister – 33 on ventilators – 19 April



Moments of Faith









 Top 5 Ways to Mark Anzac Day at Home 2020







Update 17 April


Nowcasting – How Real Time Data Will Inform Restrictions


Everyone wants to see restrictions eased. Yesterday’s blog was on the testing, tracing and isolating that needs to ramp up in the next 4 weeks in order to be ready for this. But how do we know when those are effective enough to lift some restrictions?


Part 2 today is about the tool that will help to measure effectiveness in suppressing the virus, as outlined by Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy yesterday.


Plugging in real time data on any given day, using numbers from the previous 14 days, the model will spit out a number called the Reff.  This number gives a snapshot of how many people, on average, are being infected by a person diagnosed with COVID-19 in the community. When the pandemic started, this Reff  or Reproduction number was 2.5. To consider easing restrictions it must be less than 1.


Guess what? Right now Reff  = <1 (less than 1) in most regions of Australia. Some states don’t have enough data to calculate it yet, so there are still some guesstimates.  


What does that mean? That the intervention strategies (and all the excellent ways you are participating) are working.


So in future, as we trial easing of restrictions, this Reff number will be what the experts watch. Plug in the ‘now’ figures. If it begins to rise above 1, restrictions must tighten up again. If the number stays below 1, we’re keeping the virus squashed enough.


And now you know what nowcasting is.


If you like graphs, you’ll find more of the modelling information here.



The Blame Game


There seems to be a general roaming to find out who to point fingers at for all our discomfort and suffering. The Ruby Princess has been the ideal target in Australia. In an interview last night, Peter Dutton, Federal Minister for Home Affairs, said that there should be investigations around how information was disclosed internationally as the coronavirus pandemic emerged.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also come under scrutiny. It’s questioned whether the organisation announced the pandemic too late. Its backing of China reopening the wet markets has not been received well by other parts of the globe, considering that these markets were the source of Case 1 of COVID-19. ScoMo advised that he too has criticisms of the WHO, and that to be sanctioning wet markets that include wildlife “is just completely mystifying to me.” However, he also acknowledged the important work of WHO, and that, “we’re not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater…


In a response to recent criticism from US President Donald Trump, the WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said,

In due course, WHO’s performance in tackling this pandemic will be reviewed by WHO’s Member States and the independent bodies that are in place to ensure transparency and accountability. This is part of the usual process put in place by our Member States.

No doubt, areas for improvement will be identified and there will be lessons for all of us to learn.”



Correction on Unemployment Stats:

In my blog on 15 April – Cushioning the Blow of Rising Unemployment: The current unemployment rate has risen to just 5.2% (not double digits as stated) with a predicted rise to peak at around 10%. The JobKeeper package has meant Australia will avoid unemployment levels much higher than that.



The Stats for Australia


The curve continues to flatten.

  • There have been 6,497 confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • No further deaths in the last 24 hours.
  • 66 people are in ICU (down from 80)
  • 3747 people have recovered.



Hope Over Fear


Musical Messages


In Africa, singing weaves into every part of life, including responses to COVID-19.



  • In rich tones and harmonies, the Ndlovu Youth Choir sent a message to South Africa: “Don’t panic – we will beat coronavirus”. In different languages the message of handwashing and slowing the spread came through in a flamboyant burst of colour and song. Click on the link below to watch the video – it will make you happy. 
  • A Ghanian doctor in China harnessed the potential of his three-man African band to write a rap song educating people about the coronavirus. Feel the beat of his wise words in the link below.


CNN – African Artists create catchy songs: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/17/africa/coronavirus-music-africa-intl/index.html



One World: Together At Home

Don’t forget the multi-star, multi-hour concert this weekend to promote global solidarity, and appreciation of health workers. In Australia the concert will be airing live on Sunday from 10am-12pm on Channel Seven, Channel Ten, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Twitch.



Your Tip for Today


If you’re looking for a role model in handling self-isolation, Jessica Watson is the champion to speak to. Being the youngest person at 16-years-old to survive a non-stop sailing trip around the world, she spent 210 days alone on a boat.


“I’ve learnt that anyone can choose to manage their fears and develop the resilience to overcome setbacks and reach the smaller milestones that enable you to achieve big, audacious goals.”


Her tips for the current time:

  • Be disciplined about your own mental fitness. If there’s no-one around you to cheer you on, you need to sort yourself out.
  • Keep the purpose for why you’re at home in the forefront of your mind. Purpose helps to make it worthwhile.
  • Keep up with rituals (Jessica preferred this to routines). For her, it was remembering to stop and enjoy the sunset each day.
  • Have small goals to cling to. Give yourself something smaller to work towards than the large goal of returning to normal life.
  • Be strong for someone else. ‘It may sound crazy, but in the worst storm, I yelled to my boat – “We’ve got this!”
    Phone someone else who needs a cheerful voice, a joke or reassurance.



What About You?


I’d love to hear your stories.

  • What music cheers you up in isolation? Can you share any playlists?
  • What strategies do you use to keep up your own mental fitness?



Drop me a comment below.



Information Sources


AHPPC Statement on Nowcasting



Prime Minister Interview with Gareth Parker, 6PR – 15 April



WHO Director-General media release – 16 April



Minister for Employment, Michaelia Cash, on unemployment levels – 16 April



Paul Murray (Sky News) podcast: PM in the AM – 17 April

(Includes interview with Peter Dutton, and Jessica Watson)


CNN – African Artists create catchy songs: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/17/africa/coronavirus-music-africa-intl/index.html


Jessica Watson






Update for 16 April


When Can Australia Ease Restrictions?


We are well ahead of where we thought we might be,” said ScoMo today. If Australia is doing so well in containing this virus, particularly compared to other countries with harsher lockdowns, why haven’t our restrictions lifted?


Patience, patience. Unfortunately it will be at least another 4 weeks before anything changes. In this unchartered territory, Australia cannot risk easing off too early or we may end up with enormous outbreaks of COVID-19 like Singapore did despite achieving a ‘gold standard’ of infection control.


Bottom line is, when restrictions ease, there will be outbreaks again. Australia needs to be in a position to immediately pounce on the virus wherever it pops up, and squash it completely. Today the National Cabinet released 3 benchmarks to inform the easing of restrictions. Simplified, these are:

  1. Test. Better than we’re doing now. Health systems need to be able spot the virus anywhere it rears its ugly head. More people need to be tested to ensure that we’re detecting everyone with the virus. South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria are already beginning a broader regime of testing – now including all those with any respiratory symptoms.
  2. Trace. The sleuthing to find the sources of each infection needs to increase to an industrial capability. Finding the mama virus will stop the babies. And apparently…there’s an app for that. Read on.
  3. Isolate. When any trace of the virus is found there needs to be a swift tackle and take-down. The outbreak area needs quick lockdown to ensure it doesn’t transmit further into the community. The recent Tasmanian response to the outbreak in its North West earned a gold star for this.

What Might ‘The Road Out’ Look Like?


For those of us who have been annoyed by the … let’s say over-enthusiastic … policing of current restrictions in various states, maybe there will be some relief. ScoMo advised that “… states and territories will be reviewing in the meantime where they have gone beyond [baseline restrictions].” The aim is to work on achieving the 3 benchmarks in the next 4 weeks.


The first restrictions to lift will be those that offer high value with low risk. Getting businesses back into operation will be the highest priority, as that will get more people back to work. Next priority will be getting kids back to school. The minister for education, Dan Tehan, suggested schools might be back in the next month. Social distancing and hygiene promotion are, however, going to be around until a vaccine is found.


In the immediate future – National Cabinet will be discussing an increase in elective surgeries this Tuesday.




Tracing – There’s an App for That

Imagine the detective work that would be eliminated if, on identifying a person who contracted COVID-19, health authorities could map every contact that person had for longer than 15 minutes, without relying on their memory.


A phone app could exponentially increase capacity to track the coronavirus’ movements. The app has had success in Singapore and is being considered for use in Australia. It would not be mandatory but would require engagement from a minimum of 40% of the population to be effective. Question is – would Australians accept this? Privacy issues are currently being looked at.




The Stats for Australia


  • There have been 6,458 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and of those, 97% are mild cases.
  • 63 people have died 
  • 3686 people have recovered




Hope Over Fear


New ideas to promote hope and a bit of cheer continue to emerge all over the globe.


  • In Canada a cheerful hotline has been launched by a group of high school students, to target those who are lonely in self-isolation. Callers are entertained with recordings of stories, jokes, guided meditations and educational messages. The students plan to keep updating the content until social restrictions are over.


  • In Britain, a 99-year-old war veteran started on a humble campaign to raise $1000 for the NHS by walking 10 laps a day with his wheelie walker, completing 25m-lengths of his garden. His efforts quickly escalated into a fundraiser that has already raised more than $10 million dollars. Captain Tom Moore committed to reach 100 laps by his 100th birthday on 30 April. Mission accomplished. Due to his success he has committed to pushing on with another 100 laps.
  • In a block of flats in Lebanon, one resident had a birthday while in self-isolation. Not wanting their neighbour to celebrate alone, residents gathered on their balconies to sing happy birthday and watch him blow out the candles on the cake. Watch the video here.




Your Tip for Today


FIFA has launched a #BeActive campaign where world-famous football players from clubs across the world will encourage people to set aside their differences and remain healthy at home by keeping active.


The first of the FIFA videos promotes the recommendation of 30 minutes of physical activity per day, and gives these ideas how:

  1. Taking online exercise classes
  2. Dancing
  3. Playing active video games
  4. Jumping rope
  5. Practising muscle strength and balance training

FIFA engaged Luke Anthony, the Clinical Director at GoPerform, an injury and performance centre based in Reading, England, for further ideas. With sport lovers going slowly insane at home, he said routines were important:


Having a routine can help prevent a slow decline of exercise and healthy eating whilst staying at home. Here are some things to include in an ideal day:

  • Seven to eight hours’ sleep
  • Exercise – running is the easiest way to get fit; it works everything
  • Social interaction – call family and friends
  • Study to keep the brain active – languages, playing music, reading a book
  • Hydration
  • Nutrition – make sure at least one meal a day is nutritious
  • Stop smoking and reduce alcohol intake
  • Down time – do stuff you enjoy doing




What About You?


I’d love to hear your stories.


  • Would you sign up for a nationwide app to help with tracking?
  • How do you get your 30 minutes of physical activity each day?


Drop me a comment below.



Information Sources


Prime Minister Press Conference with Chief Medical Officer, Prof Brendan Murphy – 16 April



Prime Minister interview with Gareth Parker, 6PR – 15 April



Los Angeles Times – Singapore Outbreak – 14 April



SA Govt – Testing blitz – 15 April



Tasmanian Govt – Tasmania’s lockdown in the North West – 14 April



Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, on schools returning – 15 April



Joy4All hotline for lonely adults



British veteran raises millions



FIFA #BeActive campaign launched



Expert speaks on the importance of exercise:





Update for 15 April


Redeploying the Unemployed


If you were thinking of changing careers, now might be the right time.


There are national shortages of workers who are helping Australia’s response to COVID-19. Yesterday, Federal Minister Dan Tehan announced that studying is being encouraged to increase the availability of workers in these fields. Beginning in May, university fees for certain courses will be cut by up to 75% to encourage enrolment. Short certification courses will include the vocational fields of teaching, nursing, allied health, agriculture and science.


The Minister confirmed that more information is coming as to the exact courses being offered, along with a central help line for enquiries. In the interim people can contact universities for more information.



Cushioning the Blow of Rising Unemployment


Australia’s 5% unemployment rate pre-pandemic has now climbed into double digits, echoing the 10% unemployment rate when Australia navigated the global recession.

[CORRECTION 17 April: Unemployment rate has only risen to 5.2% at this stage, but is predicted to rise to double figures. Source:



The $200 billion JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs will do much to cushion the blow of unemployment for some 6 million Australians. A hopeful theory is that while the depths of this crisis will be worse than that of the global recession, the journey up and out of it will be much faster, as people resume jobs that are being held for them. Government measures should mean that struggling or closed businesses should not have to go into receivership or be chased down by creditors when the pandemic subsides.



Don’t Forget JobsHub

This online tool enables job seekers to find employers offerering multiple job opportunities, or employers within specific geographical locations. Charts give a good indication of needed workers in the current climate.

Click here to check out your options – https://www.dese.gov.au/covid-19/jobs-hub



Charity Begins at Home


In Australia, there are those not eligible for government benefits, who are now living on the bread line. Foodbank reported that approximately 1 million people are in need of food basics to feed their families.


Federal Minister for Social Services, Anne Ruston, announced yesterday that $200 million will be provided to the charity sector, particularly emergency and food relief, to help those on the fringes of society. She acknowledged that food providers in particular have been hit with a triple whammy – fundraising is more difficult, many older volunteers can’t come to work, and supply chains have been impacted with a 27% reduction in stock they can buy.


192 existing Commonwealth organisations have been selected to receive the funding. These include organisations like the Salvos, Vinnies, Anglicare, Uniting Care, Foodbank, Oz Harvest and Red Cross.


A further $20 million will be spent on financial counselling services like National Debt Helpline, Money Support Hubs and Problem Gambling for those needing advice and support in the economic downturn.




Remembering the World’s Poor


Despite the disappointing news of President Donald Trump pulling US funding from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the remainder of the G20 countries continue in solidarity. Funds go towards essential work for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, who are hit the hardest during crisis.


Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, reported that in Africa, health workers often fall victim to infectious diseases, or even die, because they lack sufficient protective equipment and that, “This is unacceptable.”


With commercial flights grounded, medical supplies in African depots are ready for distribution, but remain stationary. Supplies include face shields, gloves, goggles, gowns, masks, medical aprons and thermometers, ventilators and lab equipment for testing and tracing.

Thanks to the UN’s World Food Programme which is helping by using their aircraft and air bridges, the first ‘Solidarity Flight’ left from Addis Ababa yesterday. This forms part of a larger plan to reach 95 countries in Africa. The plan will enable treatment of more than 30,000 patients, saving lives in the countries that have the weakest health systems. The planes will also carry frontline health and humanitarian workers.



The Stats          


Quick trivia:

Which age group of Australians holds the highest number of COVID-19 cases?

(Hint: It’s different for males and females.)

Scroll down for the answer.


  • There have been 6,416 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, with only one death in the last 24 hours. Sadly, 62 people have now died.
  • More than half of those who have been affected have now recovered.


World Stats:

  • 1844,863 confirmed cases
  • 117,021 deaths



Hope Over Fear


Faster diagnostic tool – all doctors need is internet access


Professor Patrick Brennan, a diagnostic imaging specialist at the University of Sydney, heard the call for help in response to COVID-19, and has shifted development of a unique online diagnosis improvement tool from screening for breast cancer to screening for COVID-19.  


A CT scan of the lungs is one way COVID-19 can be diagnosed. But it’s not foolproof, as other diseases can give similar appearances of ‘ground glass’ in the lung. That means skilled doctors are needed to diagnose from scans, but the number of suffering patients now far outnumbers these doctors who can make accurate diagnoses.


The new tool, DetectED-X, is an online platform that helps to analyse CT scans. Using artificial intelligence and algorithms it can recognise the appearance of COVID-19 more rapidly.


The implications for the world are huge. Here’s why:

  • Diagnosis of COVID-19 just got faster and more accurate.
  • Junior doctors can now make the diagnosis.
  • Because the only requirement is an internet connection, it is available worldwide. 77 countries were using it at the last count.
  • In a move of global solidarity it’s been made available at no cost. That means that it will help greatly in developing countries where radiologists may be in very short supply.
  • Earlier and better diagnosis will reduce the load on healthcare systems and save lives.




Your Tip for Today



Not a frontline worker? There are still many ways you can help your community. Here are some ideas:


  1. If you are well, check in on your neighbours and people in your local community, taking into account social distancing and good hygiene. This could be as simple as a note in their letterbox.
  1. VisitGo Volunteer for volunteer opportunities that are currently available, both related to COVID-19 and for organisations who may have a shortage of volunteers due to COVID-19
  2. Give blood if you can. Our friends at Red Cross Lifeblood have taken necessary steps to ensure donor centres are safe.
  3. Adopt a healthcare worker. Do you know anyone who is working particularly hard in the COVID-19 response? Ask what you can do to help them. You’ll find a Facebook group here with some ideas.
  4. Donate to a local charity that is helping with the response to COVID-19. They could probably really use that help.
  5. Be a changemaker. Team up with others who are passionate about the causes you care about. Change starts with people working together.
    If you are aged 29 and under, join the Red Cross’snew youth network, RedxYouth. Members get to decide the big humanitarian issues they want to tackle and how.
  6. Help charities share their messages by sharing them on your social media platforms. Bonus points: put a reminder on your phone to do this once a week.




What About You?


I’d love to hear your stories.


  • Would you consider changing vocation in this time?
  • What ways have you found to help those in your community?


Drop me a comment below.



Answer to trivia question:

Females aged 20-29 have the highest incidence of contracting the virus, and for males it’s the 60-69 age category.



Information Sources


Prime Minister interview on the Today show – 14 April



Federal Minister Dan Tehan on discounted university courses – 14 April



WHO – First UN Solidary Flight – 14 April



Paul Murray (Sky News) podcast – PM in the AM – 14 April


Anne Ruston – Federal Minister for Families and Social Services on charity funding – 11 April



University of Sydney – World-first tool to improve COVID-19 diagnosis



ABC Interview with Prof Brennan on new diagnostic tool



Ways to Help

Global Citizen – 6 Ways You Can Help Your Community Respond to Coronavirus



Red Cross – Make a Difference



Update 14 April


No Child Should be Turned Away From School


School is the hot topic as Term 2 approaches for most states, with Victorian schools starting today. ScoMo confirmed once again today that, based on medical advice, children are at low risk of contracting COVID-19. Schools will remain open to avoid parents to having to make a choice between their child’s education and having a job to feed their children. “That is not a situation that we would consider tolerable.” Today he reiterated that no child should be turned away from school if their parents cannot educate them at home.


Schools’ New Normal


It’s pretty much the same across Australia. Northern Territory was the only state for which I could not find any new advice, which I assume means that it’s school as usual for Territorian kids, but for all other states there’s a similar status quo as follows:


  • Remote and flexible learning is encouraged wherever possible. Queensland will review this position midway through the term. South Australians seem a little more relaxed saying school attendance could continue ‘if it is safe to send your children to school’.
  • On-site learning in general is reserved for students whose parents can’t work from home, or vulnerable students who do not have suitable learning environments at home. Students attending school will be supervised, with health precautions firmly in place.
  • Many states have opted for a single method of teaching, meaning that those children who attend school will also be taught via the online format.
  • Most states will consider temporary closure of schools if any cases of COVID-19 are identified, which will be assessed on a case by case basis.
  • End of year exams may look different as adjustments are made, like compressed exam timetables and shortening exams.
  • Children attending special schools can continue their specialised education programs at school.



What about laptops and computers for online learning?


Many children have neither a device for online learning nor internet access. Generally, schools are trying to assist these learners by loaning computers or working with school leaders to provide equipment to those in need. Some schools are making hard copies of teaching material available to students.


Telstra has offered assistance in the form of arranging internet access for 20,000 students across the country, and is working closely with Victoria and South Australia at present. In Victoria, the government will loan more than 6,000 laptops and tablets to students who don’t have access to digital technologies, and support Telstra’s service with an additional 1000 SIM-enabled dongle devices for internet access.


Will Year 12 become Year 13??


For a hypothetical Sally School-leaver, the coronavirus pandemic has severely interrupted her critical final year of school. There won’t be any formals, 18th birthday parties, or even driver’s licence testing for her this year.


Some have wondered if it will mean that ATAR and Senior Secondary Certificates cannot be issued this year, since NAPLAN assessments were cancelled for 2020 nationally. Some certification subjects are not physically able to be completed at present. So what does this mean for ATAR assessment and calculation?


The unanimous decision is fortunately that no Year 13 will be necessary. ATAR assessments will take into consideration the challenges of the pandemic, and adjustments will be made in the assessments, so that Year 12s can complete their schooling. Universities will also be taking into account the adjustments made for students wishing to enter tertiary education.


Here’s how some NSW students are experiencing their new style of learning:


Laura, Yr 9 says:

Learning from home is challenging simply because it is different. I’ve been trying to keep to my regular timetable so that I don’t miss out on work, but being at home means that if I’m having trouble with a concept or flying through work, I can spend a little more or a little less time on each subject or lesson.


Hunter, Yr 12 says:

“…initially, I couldn’t find the motivation. I had no routine and there was so much more I could do; from playing games to watching YouTube.

Then came the assessment I had to quickly finish. At that point, I created a routine that was similar to my school timetable and formed a functional workspace.”


Bad Behaviour with COVID-19 is Now a Crime


Some adults just behave badly. There have been a few situations where people with COVID-19 have intentionally coughed or spat on health workers or police. These acts of deliberate transmission have been nipped in the bud with harsh penalties, and are now classified as an offence under general criminal law. The offence of causing health workers, police, pharmacists, paramedics or other public officials the fear of virus transmission is punishable by hefty fines ($5000 on the spot in NSW) and up to 6 months in prison. Two people in ACT have already been charged.



The Stats


For an overview of worldwide spread in race motion, take a look at Cyber Natives’ fascinating infographic.


  • There have been 6,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and sadly, 61 have died
  • 3598 people have recovered



Your Tip for Today



With so much learning online at the moment, it’s worth considering your cyber safety. Because – yes – there is such a thing as cybercrime, which you can report here: https://www.cyber.gov.au/report


A free eSafety booklet for parents and carers that covers online safety issues like managing time online, using parent controls, and responding to issues like cyberbullying and inappropriate content is available to download here.


These are eSafety’s top 10 steps to protect children online:

  1. Build an open trusting relationship around technology
  2. Co-view and co-play with your child online.
  3. Build good habits and help your child to develop digital intelligence and social and emotional skills — such as respect, empathy, critical thinking, responsible behaviour and resilience — and practice being good online citizens.
  4. Empower your child — wherever possible, help them make wise decisions for themselves
  5. Use devices in open areas of the home
  6. Set time limits that balance time spent in front of screens with offline activities
  7. Know the apps, games and social media sites your kids are using, making sure they are age-appropriate
  8. Check the privacy settings on the games and apps your child is using and make sure their profiles are turned on to the strictest privacy setting.
  9. Use available technologies to set up parental controls on devices that can filter harmful content, monitor your child’s use and limit or block their time
  10. Be alert to signs of distress and know where to go for more advice and support.


Hope Over Fear


As the younger generation tackles learning issues, the elderly are accumulating their triumphs too.


  • A South Australian man who survived the holocaust of World War II, recently turned 100. His family was assisted by his aged care facility to have a small courtyard celebration of his courageous life that continues to inspire others.


Some centenarians are stronger than we might think.

  • In Italy, a 102 year old woman named Italica Grondona recovered from heart failure related to COVID-19. The doctors have nicknamed her ‘Highlander – The Immortal’.
  • Until recently it was thought that a 103-year-old Chinese woman named Zhang Guangfen from Wuhan was the oldest survivor of COVID-19, but William Lapschie of Oregon just trumped her victory as he turned 104 this week, after recovering from the virus.


And finally, in a rare gesture Queen Elizabeth delivered an encouraging speech watched by 24 million viewers. The 93-year-old urged us to “take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”



What About You?


I’d love to hear your stories.


  • What are your thoughts about your children learning from home?
  • How are you juggling working from home with children at home?
  • How are your elderly loved ones seizing the day?


Drop me a comment.




Information Sources


PM Interview on Sunrise



Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt Media Release – 9 April



NSW Govt – Fine for Spitters – 9 April



Australian Dept of Education – Coronavirus information – 6 April



VIC Students Education Update – 9 April



ACT Education update – 8 April



NSW Quotes from secondary school children – 9 April



NSW School Operations – First published 23 March, updated 9 April



QLD Education updates – 13 April





Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority – Frequently Asked Questions – 3 April



WA Education update – 1 April



SA Education update – 6 April



Tasmania Education update – 3 April



Telstra providing internet access for education



Practicing e-Safety – booklet from Australian Government



ABC News – 100 year celebration



People aged over 100 recovering from COVID-19







The Queen’s Speech