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Testing, one two three (Column No.1469)

Testing, one two three (Column No.1469)

Max Crus (Column No.1469)

Testing, one two three.

“And now a word from the Prime Minister….”

“It’s fabulous to be here at the Finger Wharf fish markets frying up a big bit of barra on the barbie, in hi-viz, hair-net, hard hat and hard toes, which I hardly seem to be without since, well, becoming Prime Minister.”

“Anyway, I’ve called this press conference to announce changes in our covid strategy. Because the Omicron variant is evolving quickly, it’s going to be a very testing time specially when it comes to testing, so we need to foist responsibility back onto the states and individuals.

Yes, scientists and all other countries told us back in October we needed more Rapid Antigen tests, but this was unnecessary because we had PCR tests.”

“Okay, we need them now because no-one can get a PCR test and can’t get them because we sold them to America, but when we do, they won’t be free because, well, someone has to pay for them eventually, namely taxpayers, and anyway Harvey Norman and Chemist Warehouse haven’t sold out yet”.

So if you need a test, get one from them or queue up for four hours for a free (um, $85 taxpayer-funded) PCR test which is no longer possible because they’ve all closed because the staff are on furlough.”

“So, if you’re showing symptoms, do not get a PCR test, and, actually, don’t go to HN or Chemist Warehouse either, even if they have some because you will infect others.”

“Stay at home, and maybe try Uber Swabs.”

“If you’re rich and return a positive RAT, call your GP...hang on, what? Sorry, no, don’t do that, they’re busy. Get a free PCR test, or just get another RAT, when they arrive.”

“Sorry, there’s new data just to hand. RATs will be free for Centrelink recipients, if we get some…and if Harvey Norman and Chemist Warehouse have sold out.”

“Yes, in order to reduce numbers we’ve changed the definition of ‘close contact’ because otherwise all Australians are. The new definition is ‘if you have been in bed for more than four hours with a positive case, or are Novak Djokovic, you must self-isolate for seven days. Otherwise get back to work, or Serbia.”

“Hang on...what? No one mentioned four hours?”

“Okay, okay. If you have symptoms, RATs will be free, because we still don’t have any.”

“I can’t be any clearer. And I commend Dominic Perrottet for relaxing facemask mandates and QR-codes, and for re-implementing them.”

“Look, mate, I don’t hold a swab”.

Maybe we should all self-isolate for another two years until it all blows over, or there’s an election? Better stock the fridge again.

Here’s a few suggestions :

3 Drops Great Southern Nebbiolo Rosé 2020, $26. Quite subtle rosé which packs a punch at the same time. If we only had someone in government like that, this whole mess might be over. 9.1/10.

3 Drops Great Southern Riesling 2021, $26. WA riesling is a whole different kettle of fish, which would make a nice accompaniment, although whether they need to come in a kettle is debatable. And pay attention, this is probably better than you first think. 9.4/10.

Paracombe Mount Lofty Ranges Nebbiolo 2019, $37. At last a party with guests happy to try something new. Well you would after two years in lockdown, wouldn't you? Characterful, interesting stuff not a million miles from your standard fare of Aussie reds. 9.3/10.

Paracombe Southern Flinders Melrose Shiraz, 2017, $37. Sometimes you can be surprised by how expensive things are, like RATs, or how cheap, like this. Fabulous, full bodied and flavoured shiraz for a very fair price. Easily worth a whole box of RATs. 9.6/10.

Calabria Family Wines Barossa Valley Alternato Red Blend (Durif, Nero d'Avola, Montepulciano, Shiraz) 2017, $45. You expect something different in a short, stubby, John Howard kind of bottle, even though he isn't but this definitely is. Indeed it's soft, smooth, rich, and delicious stuff. 9.5/10.

Calabria Family Wines Three Bridges Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2019, $25. Barossan cabernet flies under the radar somewhat but it's always ripe and ready and in your face, unlike  a lot of cooler climate versions. So take your mask off first. More tradie cabernet than immigration lawyer. 9.1/10.

Max Crus is a Clarence Valley-based wine writer and Grape Expectations is now in its 26th year of publication. Find out more about Max or sign up for his weekly reviews and musings by visiting