ALS Topic 58 -  ONLINE - The New Australia - After Covid-19

Adelaide Lunchtime Seminar, ALS 58
Saturday, 25 April 2020 11 am to 1:30 PM (end time flexible)

Venue: Venue: ONLINE using the ZOOM meeting app .

Notes to remember online:

a) Zoom is available to use directly in your browser, or can be downloaded to Windows 10, Apple O/S, Android or Apple phones. You don't have to join Zoom to participate. However if you join (free) you can get a personal login and test your microphone & video before the meetup. There are Zoom tutorials on Youtube, and also on the Zoom site itself.

b) To participate in the Lunchtime Seminar Online you will have to paste in a meetup code and password on Zoom. These will become visible on your app after you RSVP.

c) We are limiting the online meetup to 8 people per session. After 8 RSVPs, people go onto a waitlist. If you decide not to come, cancel quickly so that anyone waiting can be notified to attend. If there is a lot of interest, we might be able to run another session at a different time/date.

d) The free version of Zoom only gives us 40 minutes. However, I understand that after that we can re-start for another 40 minute segment, and so on. This Saturday's meetup is our first try online, so there will probably be some teething mistakes.

e) People attending can make a $2 donation in Australia using PAY ID. All the major banks in Australia have PAY ID if you activate it. To send me money, the banking app with PAY ID will ask for my phone number: 0479 154 831

f) If you are not in South Australia, remember that in Adelaide we operate on Central Australian Time (11 a.m.)

g) Before the meetup, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A COPY OF THE FOCUS QUESTIONS BELOW TO LOOK AT WHILE YOU ARE IN THE ZOOM PROGRAM. It is best to print them out. I don't want to waste time having to read these out to people during the meetup.

About Focus Questions: a) Please read them before you come to the meetup. Think about them so you have more than "instant opinions" to offer. b) Feel free to add more focus questions. c) THE FOCUS QUESTIONS ARE JUST A MENU TO CHOOSE FROM. From this menu we can discuss whatever seems interesting. d) Focus questions are not intended to push one viewpoint! You can adopt any position you wish. We actually like friendly disagreement - it can lead to deeper understanding.

Focus Questions

1. We are not who we thought we were as a nation, and perhaps as individuals. What are some standout examples of old certainties being blasted away?

2. How is government debt different from household debt? - think of origins, psychology, consequences, uses. Ideas of government and household debt are nearly always confused, deliberately and successfully, in the popular mind, for political purposes. Will the Covid-19 experience change this?

3. Which kind of government assistance will survive past the Covid-19 emergency and for how long? The government is making large payouts to both individuals and companies short term. It's a law of politics that once you give something to people, it is really, really hard to take it away again.

4. The Australian economy has developed a heavy dependence upon temporary residents - students, backpackers, 457 visa holders etc - to do low paid casual work. At present these people are stranded and penniless, unable even to return home. How is the long term acceptance and availability of this type of temporary residence likely to change?

5. What kind of price will Australians be willing to pay in the future for greater self-sufficiency? At the moment Australia is heavily dependent upon foreign supply chains, foreign investment, consumer and industrial imports, tourists and paying international students etc. We don't even have a local oil refining capacity.

6. How will Australians adapt to a lower standard of living short term and perhaps long term? Both individuals and companies in large numbers will be facing economic hardship for quite a long time. Yet for a generation Australians have been flooded with cheap imports, ever expanding entertainment, cafe & dining out culture etc. How gracefully will they accept a more frugal future?

7. What, if any, permanent effect will 'social distancing' have on the Australian way of life and employment?

8. How will Australia's official and personal relationships with other countries be affected by the Covid-19 experience? Can you think of possible scenarios? Note that in many ways the virus, in its widely different impact on other nations, has been a stress test of those nations' governments, systems and cultures. These differences are likely to affect our perceptions of these countries.

9. How would you expect the practice of medicine, and medical research to alter after the Covid-19 emergency?

10. Distrust of governments, politicians and experts is ingrained in Australian culture (though less so than in, say, the United States). How might you expect the relationships between citizens, experts, businesses and governments to be different in a new, post Covid-19 Australia?


Extra Reading, Comments and Links

Karen Middleton (4 April 2020) "Treasury’s plan for a new economy". The Saturday Paper @  [To access the free weekly article on this site, click the 'reader view' function in your browser]

Sam Mostyn and Travers McLeod (4 April 2020) "Coronavirus is a human crisis beyond most of our scariest dreams – we will need to restart our society - It would be a huge mistake for Australia to go back to how it was". The Guardian @ 

Marshall Auerback and Jan Ritch-Frel (April 4, 2020) "Pandemic opens curtains on next economic model -
The champions of offshoring increasingly resort to myths and misconceptions that are irrelevant to a 21st-century economy" Asia Times @ 

Gavanndra Hodge (4 April 2020) "'What I got wrong was trying to be a teacher': how to last the distance at home schooling - It’s a challenge to keep up the momentum when tempers are fraying. Here parents and experts share their tips". The Guardian @ 

Cavin Hogue (8 April 2020) "What will a post-COVID-19 world mean for Australia?". John Menadue's Pearls & Irritations blog @ 

Patricia Edgar (8 April 2020) "COVID-19 has let the genie out of the bottle. Education and entertainment will not return to their traditional forms". John Menadu's Pearls & Irritations blog @ 

Evan Jones (8 April 2020) "The state and the economy - Right-wing governments are splashing the cash – what gives? Neoliberalism is temporarily being abandoned, but will it continue after this crisis is over?". John Menadu's Pearls & Irritations blog @ 

Ian Verrender (8 April 2020) "In the coronavirus pandemic, the Prime Minister must chart a course between saving lives and saving the economy". ABC News @ 

Michael Gebicki (10 April 2020) "Coronavirus and travel: How we will know when it's OK to travel again". Brisbane Times @ 

David Crowe (10 April 2020) "This virus could change the way we live for years, not months". Brisbane Times @ 

Pepe Escobar (April 9 2020) "Total system failure will give rise to new economy - Covid-19 driven collapse of global supply chains, demand and mobility will painfully spawn next great tech-led economic models". Asia Times @ 

Charles Eisenstein (March 2020) "The Coronation - For years, normality has been stretched nearly to its breaking point, a rope pulled tighter and tighter, waiting for a nip of the black swan’s beak to snap it in two. Now that the rope has snapped, do we tie its ends back together, or shall we undo its dangling braids still further, to see what we might weave from them? Covid-19 is showing us that when humanity is united in common cause, phenomenally rapid change is possible.". Charles Eisenstein website @  [Thor, comment: This is a brilliant article. (For those who struggle with long reads, there is also an audio version). As a species, we have been at such forks in the road before, sometimes due to disease. For example, if you do a little backgrounding on how bubonic plague decimated human populations, and the social, political and scientific changes which came out of that, it's illuminating. The difference this time is that we are in a intertwined collection of global civilizations with instant information and far larger populations].

Stan Grant (13 April 2020) "Coronavirus has sped up changes to global order and sovereignty is making a comeback". ABC news @ 

Adam Tooze (14 April 2020) "How coronavirus almost brought down the global financial system". The Guardian @  [Thor, comment: This article (very long) is the best explanation I have seen about what is happening behind the scenes right now. The American President is obviously mentally ill, and no kind of leader. That is costing thousands of lives in America. However, there are still sane Americans in the financial sector who are acting not just locally but internationally. These financial actions, for better or worse, will shape our fortunes going into the future]

Mark Sullivan (April 2020) "All the things COVID-19 will change forever, according to 30 top experts - Tech exec, VCs, and analysts—from WhatsApp’s Will Cathcart to AOL cofounder Steve Case—on the pandemic’s lasting impact on how we live, work, and think". Fast Company @ 

Francesco Sisci (April 23 2020) "Why Beijing must change before it’s too late - From the US perspective, it’s all China’s fault. Could the virus in America be the Pearl Harbor of the next conflict?" Asia Times @ 

Malcolm Sutton (23 April 2020) "Science denial among the greatest risks to humanity, new 'call to arms' report finds". ABC News @ 

David Crowe (24 April 2020) "Get rid of 'old stale' ideas: Prime Minister wants a new way out of the COVID-19 crisis for Australia". Brisbane Times @ 

Jessica Irvine, Economics writer (April 23, 2020) "Our roadmap out of this economic crisis was delivered 12 years ago." Brisbane Times @  l [TM, comment: This is a fairly cogent argument for implementing the Henry Report tax reforms as a necessary component of economic restructuring
Jana Tsoneva (30 Apr 2020) "How the pandemic endorsed leftist politics". Al Jazeera @


Adelaide Lunchtime Seminar

Index of past discussion topics & questions:

Convenor : Thor May Personal website (legacy)
Articles  (.. about 147 articles by Thor)


ONLINE - The New Australia - After Covid-19  (c) Thor May 2020 return to Ddiscussion