Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaking to the media in Brisbane in  February, 2015 - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

October 31

The Queensland State Election was held on Saturday. A third of voters turned out on the day, the rest had either voted via post or through pre-polling. This was unprecedented. If the election was a referendum on how Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk had handled COVID-19 then it was a resounding affirmation of her policies. Fifty two seats were won by the Labour party, 34 by the Liberal National Party and 7 going to independents and smaller parties.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington had done well given we were in the middle of a crisis to win so many seats but was replaced within days of losing the election.

Many years ago I had been working in government walking past somebody being interviewed outside the executive building. A colleague mentioned that it was the Opposition Leader Anastacia Palaszczuk.

I’d never heard of her.

Within a year she had won an unlikely victory in a election called in a calculating move by the LNP over summer 2015. No one had expected her to win and nobody knew how she would fare.

She won again in October 2017 and now again in October 2020. State elections will now run every four years at the end of October. If she sees out this current term she will become the second longest serving Labour Premier in the state and the fourth overall.

That is if nobody knifes her or her political fortunes do not radically change.

I guess what I’m saying is the unlikely leader with the hard to spell name has become a figurehead in her party and a Premier who has done the job when history threw down a moment for her to meet.

I had not heard of her then.

Now everybody knows Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk.

A lovely smile for Sunday. | Sean connery, Lovely smile, Photo

As I watched the state election unfold that night on the TV a piece of news came in that Sir Sean Connery had passed away at the age of 90.

A lot has been written about Sir Sean in recent days. I won’t have much to add except that I enjoyed his work. I watched The Russia House for the first time upon hearing of his passing and I thought it was really wonderful. I think Connery liked roles like that particularly in his later years. He’s very vulnerable in The Russia House and very real. Then you see him in something like The Rock or The Hunt for the Red October and you think what a movie star. But going back and looking at some of his work like the early James Bonds or even A Bridge Too Far or The Untouchables it is amazing even in the big films in star roles he always seems so flesh and blood. It is with no small delight that I look back and think that Connery became a bigger star later in life and a sex symbol for the fact that he was real and always played it so.

Vale Sir Sean Connery.

November 01

On the 1st of November the World Health Organisation reported there had been 46,067,515 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally with a daily increase of 518,856.

There had been 1,196,274 deaths globally with a daily increase of 7,046.

In Australia there had been 27,590 confirmed cases with a daily increase of eight. There had been 907 deaths.

In Canada there had been 231,999 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 3,457. There had been On the 29th of October with a daily increase of 28 deaths the country had recorded more than 10,000 Canadian deaths due to COVID-19 at 10,001. On the 1st of November there had been 10,110 deaths with a daily increase of 36.

In the United Kingdom on the 1st of November the country reported there had now been more than 1 million reported cases. There had been 1,011,664 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 21,915. There had been 46,555 deaths with a daily increase of 326.

In India there had been 8,184,082 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 46,963. There had been 122,111 deaths with a daily increase of 470.

In the United States of America on the 26th of July there had been a record of new daily cases – 74,235.

On the 25th of October there was a new record of new daily cases – 82,630.

On the 31st of October a new record of daily cases – 89,048.

I remember my father talking back in July of 60-70,000 new daily cases in the country with real dismay and a little fear.

Now on the 1st of November there had been 8,952,086 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 99,356. There had been 228,185 deaths with a daily increase of 1,007.

During the news coverage there was talk about how smoothly and peaceful the election was carried out in the state as thoughts turned to the upcoming U.S. election which was fraught with anxiety.

How sadly true those thoughts would prove.

-Lloyd Marken


  1. You may have heard of the ‘late lockdown’ fiasco announced here that has essentially ‘cancelled Christmas’ for London and most of South-East England. This could well finish Boris off. I am predicting he may either resign or be ‘pushed’ in the New Year.
    ‘The Russia House’ is one of my favourite Connery roles.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. The stats in the UK and US has me scared. If BJ is locking down you know things are beyond bad. Please stay safe. I wish you and yours a safe Christmas. Being together via Skype or in person is all that matters. Not a Turkey or a present is required. Just loved ones and good cheer or at least what can be mustered at this time. Is the vaccine giving any hope? On another note, its a particular treat to have James Bond play a John Le Carre hero and even more so at a different stage of his life. Such a terrific score too. I was also touched by the optimism of the film. Best wishes Pete.

  2. Nice tribute to a great actor. I know several people who worked with him over the years and every one says the same thing, he is a fine, warm person and a joy to work with.

    1. Thanks for your insider show business knowledge. Connery had a rep as a hard man, a tough guy, a penny counter when it came to deals and one who did not suffer fools gladly. Then you add in what was said about hitting women by both he and his first wife. That was wrong to ehat extent he did that. Its not for me to know but I can judge if something is true. Consider this though, he did stay happily married to his second wife for decades, he came from the tenements in Edinburgh and largely self educated himself, a tax exile he still gave enormously to the Scottish Trust and he appeared to be a professional who always worked hard to make the best possible product as he saw fit. Most who worked with him talk of a work ethic and a warm and funny man. There’s a moment at the end of The Russia House when zbarley runs to meet his new family and embraces them and Connerys face has the warmest kindest most vulnerable smile. A terrific arc for the character and a fantastic performance from Connery. Pure storytelling and the sentimental part of me wondered if this closer to Connery the man and that he had shared similar moments with family in his last days. Best not to pretend to have insight to people you have never met, i loved the man’s work and my condolences to those who did know him. Stay safe Don, I couldn’t believe the numbers I was seeing the other day in America.

      1. Like so many of us, I think the years of youth were years of hanging with the wrong people.
        I saw The Russian House when it first came out but based on your review, I have to see it again. Thanks, Lloyd.

      2. Its a slow burn, reviews at the time were mixed but cited the great performances. Personally I love the dialogue and optimism of the film at the point the Cold War was ending and we allowed yourselves to see each other as human beings. The location shooting in the USSR is fantastic too. I rate Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy as a masterpiece but there is a lot to recommend here. My buddy Roger Ebert was not so kind. Take care Don, Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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