MargaretSimons Profile picture
Journalist and author. Honorary Principal Fellow at Centre for Advancing Journalism, Uni of Melb.. I retweet things of interest. More at
lynlinking Profile picture liz dearn Profile picture 2 added to My Authors
May 18, 2021 10 tweets 1 min read
I’ve talked to a few ppl this week about why they are waiting to get vaccine (as opposed to out and out anti). Here are some “reasons” plus the counter argument. “I want to wait for more data” (with the assumption that it is safe to do so). Counter argument: we know heaps. Millions round the world have had it.
Nov 30, 2020 6 tweets 1 min read
Meanwhile Minister Neville pushes back against counsel assisting's suggestion she "was in a positiong to disagree" with use of private security. She says no matter who made the decision, it was DHHS who was primarily responsible for implementation and management. Last thoughts from me for this evening. The VicPol National Cabinet argument is important and interesting. Raises issues of Cabinet confidentiality as it applies to national cabinet. Having said that, fwiw I think the focus on who made the private security decision is a bit daft.
Nov 30, 2020 7 tweets 1 min read
Very significant: VicPol submission squarely places responsibility for decision to use private security on NATIONAL CABINET. [Interesting] VicPol submission pushes back against counsel assisting's assertion that the decision to use private security was a "creeping assumption" in context of VicPol expressed reluctance to be chiefly responsible
Nov 30, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
DHHS rejects counsel assisting's submissions that the evidence shows a "schism" within the department on the involvement of public health team (ie Helps says they were involved/responsible, Sutton says they were sidelined). "It is not controversial that ... there were differing views held by persons within the Public Health and Emergency Management Divisions of the Department as to the level of engagement and accountability of each Division in the running of the Program." DHHS submisssion
Nov 30, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
Final submissions from counsel assisting hotel quarantine inquiry are up together with responses: The counsel assisting submission paints a picture of dysfunction and dispute in DHHS, casts doubt on evidence given by Helps and Peake and broadly accepts Sutton's evidence that he was not aware of private security use
Nov 29, 2020 5 tweets 2 min read
Really struck by the detail and quality of the energy policy coverage in @GuardianAus today. This piece: NSW's clean energy plan means the federal government is even more isolated on fossil fuels… And this:…
Nov 29, 2020 12 tweets 3 min read
Regarding my profile of @VictorianCHO in a long piece some details didn't make the cut, so knowing a lot of people are interested in him, here are some of the offcuts.… . @MelissaSweetDr or @CroakeyNews said of Sutton that he was “far more engaged and outward looking than many public health officials … He's always been pretty upfront and open about his views.”
Oct 26, 2020 26 tweets 5 min read
So a few points, not so much of disagreement but of addition in the debate between @oz_f and @timdunlop over media and Dan Andrews and so on. (See their threads) First, in his article that kicked off the debate Oz approvingly referenced this piece… which has a headline saying the government is not your friend.
Oct 9, 2020 10 tweets 3 min read
I had just put the finishing touches to a piece about the Dan Andrews pressers, which will run in @sundayage this weekend, when I tuned in to hear #credlin cross questioning him today, and then the discussion about this in here are my thoughts. Spoiler: My Sunday Age piece talks about when the public performance of journalism becomes the point, rather than the published or broadcast report. Relevant, but ...
Sep 27, 2020 12 tweets 2 min read
I'm getting tired of media saying we don't know what happened with hotel quarantine in Vic. Of course we must wait for the findings, and it is always possible somebody is lying, but otherwise the broad outlines seem clear. What seems to have happened is ... ... the police made it clear they didn't want to police hotel quarantine. Understandable. They had a lot on their plate. In that context, I guess the only alternatives were ADF, which Andrews believed to be unavailable, private security and corrective services.
Sep 8, 2020 12 tweets 3 min read
Here is my take. I am not an expert, but during my reporting of public housing lockdown in July, both observed the DHHS at work and developed good contacts throughout bureaucracy. The DHHS has been in trouble for years, and the cracks are now very evident. Work (such as cleaning of public housing towers, but also other public health work) was outsourced and the department became a manager of contracts, while losing the contact with community ...
Aug 12, 2020 7 tweets 2 min read
Reporters have told me that they are beseiged during these press conferences. Those who have their mobile numbers txt. Includes the boss, colleagues from i/state. colleagues from Canberra Press gallery wanting them to pursue a federal angle, suggestions and sometimes attacks from ..their contacts, which yes can include LNP members but also doctors, medical professionals etc. Then on top of that there is the pressure on Twitter, which they do watch. This is what I mean about the moral issues not being clear cut. People can be pressuring them to ask..
Aug 10, 2020 25 tweets 5 min read
Now the atmosphere around media in Vic is slightly less shouty, I'm going to say something about it. Perhaps we can now move beyond the binary of "all journalists suck" on the side of the critics and "don't tell us how to do our jobs, plebs" from the more arrogant journos The Twitter storm was provoked largely because many people are watching the @DanielAndrewsMP media conferences live, and so are seeing how the news sausage is made. Normally, they just get the finished sausage
Jul 18, 2020 8 tweets 2 min read
I now have a statement from @VicGovDHHS in response to my asking for greater clarity on the relocation issue. Here it is in full: DHHS:"Alternative accommodation is available for all confirmed cases and close contacts at the North Melbourne and Flemington estates, who wish to relocate – including 33 Alfred Street.
Jul 18, 2020 18 tweets 3 min read
People have been asking me, both in public on Twitter and privately, for clarity on what is happening with COVID +'ve cases in the towers, and their close contacts, not being relocated, and why I think this is of concern. Is it that people don't want to be relocated, or is it that the offer is not being made? And does it matter so long as people are self-isolating. Well, some of all that, and different in different cases.
Jul 17, 2020 5 tweets 1 min read
Here is what I am hearing. On the Flemington estate, some are unclear whether relocation has been offered or not, due to general confusion and communication/ language difficulties ...and in at least one case, a COVID +'ve person has had a direct encounter with a COVID negative person, outside their flat with the impression being gained that the COVID +'ve person was unclear about quarantine requirements.
Jul 17, 2020 11 tweets 3 min read
Well-known African-Australian social activist Dr Berhan Ahmed has written a widely distributed letter to state government authorities calling for COVID positive cases in public housing towers to be urgently moved out of the buildings. In a letter addressed to @VicGovDHHS and @policevic and widely distributed yesterday, Dr Ahmed says: "There are people with Positive COVID-19 at home with children. The children coming down to play with other kids and also the families are going out for shopping.
Jul 17, 2020 7 tweets 2 min read
Here is a Drobox link to the audio of an interview I just did with the @VicOmbudsman Deborah Glass.… Main points not covered in her media release (already tweeted) include:
- her investigators have already been on site last weekend and were involved in the issue of the erection of the cage/fence by @VicGovDHHS "I think the lessons from that have already been learned."
Jul 16, 2020 21 tweets 4 min read
Yesterday (see thread) I Tweeted a story about residents of the Flemington and North Melbourne public housing towers not being moved to alternative accommodation, which community leaders feared put others at risk. I had put questions to @VicGovDHHS This is of particular concern, because if the schedule for #33Alfred street still holds, those residents will move to Stage 3 restrictions tomorrow, presumably with positive COVID cases still expected to observe quarantine.
Jul 16, 2020 20 tweets 4 min read
COVID positive residents of the Flemington and North Melbourne public housing towers are not being given alternative accommodation, putting other tenants and the wider community at risk, according to community leaders. Only 19 COVID positive cases and their close contacts from the towers subjected to hard lockdown have been moved to alternative accommodaton, according to figures given by @VicGovDHHS yesterday. (see my thread yesterday) This is despite a total of 243 COVID positive cases.
Jul 14, 2020 14 tweets 3 min read
I have had a series of questions in to @VicGovDHHS since Monday. The response just arrived. This thread is first, the questions - not all of which get an answer - and then the response. Note that some questions have been o'taken by events or other info received since being put. Questions: 1 What is the Department's response to the call by Free the Blocks for a committee including health workers and community and resident representatives to help manage the continuing public health crisis in public housing?