Vaccine Eligibility Checker – no medicare? Another fine piece of gobbledygook

Bottom line, the Vaccine Checker is confusing and I’m sure will discourage completion by those who aren’t Australian

What gobbledygook exists in the Vaccine Eligibility Checker when you don’t have medicare? My interest was sparked when I saw the following ABC article.

Federal Government blasts Campsie GP clinic for charging for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine ‘consultations’

Bottom line, the Vaccine Checker is confusing and I’m sure will discourage completion by those who aren’t Australian citizens. Surely the outcome has to be to get everyone vaccinated? There’s a lot of room for improvement in its design to successfully reach minority groups and/or those with poor digital literacy – groups that need the vaccine the most.

A woman in her 20s, who did not wished to be named, told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) she paid the $250 fee at the clinic because she didn’t want to risk waiting months for the Pfizer jab.

The Malaysian woman said she was on a bridging visa and did not have Medicare. She said her colleagues, who were on temporary visas, had been vaccinated the same way.

An early question asks you if your are eligible for medicare and you have to press the tiny question mark for more info.

The more info page is dense and doesn’t get to the point that you can get the vaccine for free regardless.

It suggests to follow a further link to get a Individual Healthcare Identified if you aren’t eligible for medicare. If you are eligible regardless, then why ask the question at all?

Perhaps, the form should simply prompt at the end to bring in a Medicare card, IH card or failing that, their residential address? Then again, what happens if you’re homeless… 116,427 people in 2016 census.

So here’s another confusing page that leads to a number of other text filled, confusing pages. No pictures or shortcuts and what looks like endless bureaucracy.

Two ideologies intertwined

Two ideologies intertwined
Who perceive themselves as poles apart
Meet in righteousness indignation
Staring down in the safety of distance
Dismissing the other
As too radical for a country
Torn asunder.

Photo by Gerritt Tisdale on
Two ideologies intertwined
Who perceive themselves as poles apart
Meet in righteousness indignation
Staring each other down
With the safety of distance
Dismissing the other 
As too radical for a country 
That's been torn asunder.

A country where
Thousands needlessly die each night
In agonising pain alone
With machines switched off
A silence too familiar
To be quickly reused again.

But in truth 
These two pillars of democracy
Of boundless virtue 
Were never so far apart
Unrecognising that special interests 
Hold them in thrall
Their opinions bought and paid for
Many years ago.

The Grand Old Party
To its shame has abandoned its proud legacy
The party of Lincoln
Moved to unrecognisable extremes
Paranoia now its staple 
Paying its dues to special interests
Of what was once considered the extremist right.

And the Democrats
Sidestepping the pleas of its base
Unsurprisingly fails again 
A party who has become
Due to its genuflections
A pale and mediocre simulacrum
Representing the same rich constituents 
The allure of money
Intoxicating power of the Establishment
Oblivious to the needs of the many.

What of those who were proudly proclaimed around the world
The protection of the huddled masses
The tired
The poor
The wretched refuse washed up upon its gallant shores?

Those who for decades have been ignored 
More precarious year after year
There is no place for them
Those perceived as a rounding error
That ignores all math
On silent lips
Once more.

The empty classroom

The empty classroom by Vinod Ralh
Photo by Barry Zhou on Unsplash
Tables of stature half height
Dust settling on mornings glow
Chairs tucked in 
For once 
Lined in a row.

Silence deafeningly unnatural 
Fills the room
Remnants of children's laughter 
Poignant reminders
Remnants that reverberate
Faint shadows.

Dusk pervades the classroom
Teachers weep at time now frozen
As a generation now chilled
For their time has been stolen
Lives full of promise 
Remain on hold.

JobTrainer 2Bn investment

An additional $2Bn for training and re-skilling is certainly a welcome announcement by federal government as well the additional $500M from states. It does require states to sign up to much needed reform – but thats not such a bad thing in an overly complex vocational education sector.

A question remains on course completion rates – how will we encourage people to not just start courses but also successfully complete them. Where courses are completely digital that is less of an issue as production costs are a one off. But if they need online trainers or in location training that can become an expensive issue. So how do we equip learners with the knowledge to pick the right courses, ones they are likely to complete and also provide them viable skills of the future in in demand industries? There needs to be a carrot and not just a stick approach.

Perhaps processes such as those provided by Khan Academy for teachers to monitor progress of student classes gives us a clue on how this can be done at scale?

For professionals looking at short courses – subsidies to global providers such as Linkedin Learning, Udemy, Coursera, Edx, Pluralsight, SkillsShare and others – would be a valuable additional option to locally created short courses. A small monthly sum typically provides access to 1000’s of courses and for large cohorts of self-sufficient people, that’s probably all they really need.

An elephant remain firmly planted in the centre of the room. Training alone will never be enough as people need ultimately jobs. Waiting for industry alone to create jobs will simply take too long and a large pool of unemployed and underemployed already exists. A generation’s talent will be wasted unless more is done.

Coalition to commit $2bn for training if states agree to overhaul of vocational education – The Guardian

By persisting with COVIDSafe Australia risks missing out on globally trusted contact tracing – The Conversation

Time to evolve and pivot the COVIDSafe app to use “Gapple” APIs. This is even more apparent and inevitable when you look at the roadmap that Google and Apple have stated to embed key contact tracing functionality into their base platforms. Heck, you can still call it the COVIDSafe app and accept a more trustworthy decentralised model.

“In the second phase, available in the coming months, this capability will be introduced at the operating system level to help ensure broad adoption, which is vital to the success of contact tracing. After the operating system update is installed and the user has opted in, the system will send out and listen for the Bluetooth beacons as in the first phase, but without requiring an app to be installed. If a match is detected the user will be notified, and if the user has not already downloaded an official public health authority app they will be prompted to download an official app and advised on next steps. Only public health authorities will have access to this technology and their apps must meet specific criteria around privacy, security, and data control.” – Exposure Notification FAQ Apple and Google #covid19au

Why we need to debunk the deficit myth – BBC

Modern Monetary Theory is getting more attention and could be the lens we need to promote a return to full employment, infrastructure and ecological investment and the support of the most vulnerable and invisible in society. Perhaps its time to put to rest the dogmatic ideology of a balaced budget and austerity measures that do nothing for the vast majority of the population. An ideology that has helped only a privileged few at the best of times while whittling away the living standards and opportunities of the many. Great short video on the topic and plenty to explore. #economyrecovery #covid19recovery #covid19australia

I traced your fingers in the air

My fingers achingly trace a path in the air
My fingers achingly
Trace a path in the air
Imagining your fingertips
Touching tentatively
A fleeting apparition
No longer there.

Spoken word on Covid-19. Its easy to forget how blase we were all about this before X-mas when it was something happening in a far away land. Now the whole world has been turned upside down.

I used stock video from Pexels site which I made black & white and added a number of effects in Adobe Premiere Pro. I liked how it started and ended with the same footage, but with the ending in colour.

The music was Royalty free music from which I treated in Adobe Audition to add effects such as coughing and laboured breathing… I hope I didn’t overdo that!

The poem was written over a few weeks as I tried to figure out what message I wanted to give. I guess I opted for realism. The future is uncertain and we can all hope and pray for the best. Hopefully, we’ll all learn from this and become a fairer and just society.

Take care of yourselves and your families!

I traced your fingers in the air (A COVID-19 poem)

My fingers achingly trace a path in the air
My fingers achingly
Trace a path in the air
Imagining your fingertips
Touching tentatively
A fleeting apparition
No longer there.
So inconsequentially it began
Yet another far off disease
Affecting others overseas
Drowned out by incessant noise
Dismissed by the humdrum of every day living
A second thought not given.
But slowly it took over lives
Incessantly the news focused on the pandemic
The growing horror overseas
A drumbeat growing louder and louder
The spectre  of death
Harder to ignore
Finally capturing our imagination.
And then suddenly it was upon us
Our politicians fumbling and stumbling
Posturing and prevaricating
Ignoring the playbook of epidemics
Putting off the hard decisions
Consigning our fate
Because of the lack of balls.
In the face of divided opinion
We did what we did best
With false feelings of invincibility
We carried on as we had
Oblivious to the facts
Living the lie of wishful thinking
And so a new regime finally began
One of working from home
With great uncertainty of the future
Livelihoods shattered in an instant
Now playing at social isolation
Against a silent killer
One that wore no mask at all.
A temperature was how it started
Another man flu we hoped and prayed
But after day three the truth was out, it turned
Breathing more laboured
A constant fever soared
Coughing fits became the norm.
I don't recall how I got here
Alone and away from all I love and care
I drift in and out of sleep
And for the last time
In my mind
I trace your fingers in the air...