Yet another week in the nation that is Australia and in its politics.
In this newsletter you will see some comments I will make on COVID-19, on national security, and on Eden-Monaro. But you will also see our Local Hero and our Business Shout Out. Anyone who has suggestions of how people or businesses are adapting, please contact the office so we can feature them and thank them.
As many of you know, I have long maintained that COVID-19 may not be the worst thing that happens to Australia in the post COVID-19 period. An article in which I explained that view, and the consequences for Australia, was published by me last week and published by The Australian’s Paul Kelly yesterday.
We are seeing in the current politics surrounding the Eden-Monaro by-election, the impact on a group of people who have been almost uniquely affected by events of the last six months. Eden-Monaro, where I live, has been deeply impacted by the long drought, by the fires, by localised floods that followed the fires, and now by COVID-19. Now they have to go through a by-election. With agriculture and business restricted or closed down, with the national parks devastated, with the tourism industry closed down entirely, with an inability to capitalise on the largest May snowfall since 1981 in the high country because no one can travel, we must see these struggling communities as a special case. This is a fabulous region and really consists of about five separate areas each quite unique, often separated by about a two hour car trip. This is not an inner city electorate where you can drive from one end to the other in ten minutes. We Liberals need to give these exceptional communities the a committed and enthusiastic representative who will work for their best interests. and, we need to let the Liberal Party members of Eden-Monaro choose that person in a fair pre-selection, something I and many others fought for in the Democratic Reform Movement.
Senate or House Representatives
I have announced that I will not nominate for pre-selection for Eden-Monaro. Regardless of media reports, I have not been “forced out” nor have I been intimidated by another candidate. My reasons are complex, but chief among them was that I was elected to the Senate by many good Liberals as a result of their confidence, and a vote of confidence in me by many voters in the last general election, and I am making headway in my major project, which is a National Security or National Sovereignty Strategy for Australia. Additionally the timing could not be worse as today I must have major surgery to replace my hip, an occupational hazard for any infantryman, which will reduce my mobility for some time. Some may remember that I had a hip replaced in 2018 and it was incredibly successful. But the timing of the Eden-Monaro by-election does not work out for me. I hope to give my full support to a candidate chosen by pre-selection by the party members in Eden-Monaro. I may be a little quieter than normal for the next two weeks. While the timing of the Eden-Monaro by-election does not work out for me, as soon as I am back in action, I will give my full support to the candidate chosen by pre-selection by the party members in Eden-Monaro. I may be a little quieter than normal for the next two weeks.
Coronavirus Update – COVIDSafe App
COVID-19 is being in handled very well by our federal government, and in a way which gives me faith that should our country face a worse emergency, we could pull together.
The COVIDSafe App is our ticket back to our Australian way of life. This app is part of the Government’s effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
As you would have seen, the Prime Minister has given us this week to secure as many app downloads as possible before we can look to ease restrictions. I’ve downloaded it and I encourage everyone to do so.
How does the app work?
The COVIDSafe App recognises other devices with the app installed and Bluetooth enabled. When the app recognises another user, it notes the date, time, distance and duration of the contact and the other user’s reference code.
When someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, state and territory health officials will ask them or their parent/guardian who they have been in contact with. If they have the COVIDSafe app and provide their permission, the health officials will be able to use the contacts captured by the app to support their usual contact tracing.
To read more abut the app, click here:
If you need any encouragment to downlaod the COVIDSafe App please click here: watch https://www.facebook.com/SenatorJimMolan/videos/270496990792946/
Today I’m presenting Local Hero on steroids – I have 90 of them! To the magnificent folk at Queanbeyan Meals on Wheels (MOW), who have faced off every challenge that Coronavirus has presented and are still delivering two meal runs in town three times a week, providing daily care for their clients with special needs, and reaching out on a weekly basis to their valued rural communities in Braidwood, Bungendore, Captains Flat, Sutton and Michelago, you are truly our heroes.
Volunteer Management Committee member Helen advises that the first curved ball Coronavirus sent to Queanbeyan MOW was the extra precaution recommended for our citizens over 70 years of age – the group lost about half their volunteers because of this restriction, but have overcome this loss, for the most part, by strict compliance with social distancing, and having only one person in each team delivering meals.
We need no reminding of the importance of a nutritious meal delivered by a warm, friendly and caring MOW volunteer, so imagine the dilemma faced by the organisation when the suppliers of their premium chilled meals closed. Reluctantly the volunteers switched to frozen meals, and then provided further support and assistance to some clients who found adjusting to the different type of meal a little difficult.
Additional services provided by this dedicated bunch include Individual Social Support services, including shopping, a pick-up meal service offering members of the public economical meals for purchase from the MOW premises at the rear of 138 Monaro Street, and a freshly cooked community lunch each week at the AXIS Youth Centre in Campbell Street – with a volunteer bus providing transport to and from this very popular social event (which will resume as soon as restrictions ease).
MOW describes their organisation as being ‘at the very heart of what a local community is all about’ – I couldn’t put it any better. If you would like to contact, support or donate to my Local Heroes this week please get in touch by calling (02) 6299 3000 between 9am and 2pm Mon-Fri, or emailing email@example.com
Business Shout Out
When Coronavirus changed our world in a relatively short few days in mid-March, Jacqui Smith, owner manager of Wheeler’s Seafood Restaurant, took what she imagined was the only action available to her, and closed her popular restaurant and takeaway café at 162 Arthur Kaine Drive in Pambula. Jacqui spent the following days checking on staff, and contemplating the magnificent oysters that were being farmed on the property, and were at their prime.
Jacqui quickly came to the decision that the best option for her suppliers, staff and customers was to focus on reopening a modified form of the food and beverage business that has won her awards, recognition and impressive reviews Australia wide. Wheeler’s Takeaway & Café reopened a fortnight after closing, and whilst the famed restaurant remains closed in accordance with current restrictions, the café takeaway business is thriving, and adapting almost on a daily basis in response to customer and community needs and requests.
The takeaway menu is varied, changing according to produce availability. Some restaurant favorites are included – seafood chowder and kingfish and prawn linguine, for example – and the usual takeaway staples of the ‘ultimate all time comfort food’ fish and chip packs, plus prawns, oysters, calamari etc, are popular too. A range of cakes and pastries is also available. Menu specials are displayed on a blackboard on the highway, and passing traffic is increasingly detouring to pick up a meal for the road!
Jacqui is quick to identify ‘reconnecting with locals’ as an unforeseen benefit of the pandemic restrictions. International and interstate travelers are being replaced by locals keen to support the takeaway, and locals also keen to enjoy Wheeler’s unique special occasion packages – birthday cakes and high teas have great appeal, but Jacqui and her staff are happy to consider any specific requests. In response to customer demand there is an ever-expanding delivery service.
Shout out to Wheeler’s Takeaway & Café, changing their business model successfully in these challenging and changing times.
Articles of Interest
The impact of COVID-19 has also seen serious discussion in the media about our sovereignty, and our ability to survive on our own during a time of crisis. We have recently seen the Morrison Government announce a $94million purchase of part of the US strategic fuel reserve to help improve our fuel security, and I look forward to examining our plans to bring this fuel to be stored in Australia. Of course, this is only one part of our broader concerns, and I published a piece in Defence Connect discussing why we should be looking at a National Sovereignty Strategy. This was also reflected in a report from the ABC this week where Defence officials raised their concerns about Australia’s vulnerabilities.
Similarly, there was an excellent piece from Paul Kelly in The Australian yesterday. As I have been advocating, and as Kelly quotes me, we should all take a broad view of sovereignty.
Senator Jim Molan AO DSC