When you were a toddler and those responsible for looking after you asked you to do something you didn’t want to do, you probably threw a tantrum. A couple of years later when you had learnt to communicate, you probably expressed your disapproval (then threw a tantrum when your disapproval was noted but made no difference). By the time you got to school, you were used to people telling you what to do, but you had a number of ‘reasonable’ excuses at hand such as ‘the dog ate my homework’, ’s/he made me do it’, ‘I wasn’t told’, ‘I didn’t hear you’, ‘I didn’t understand’ or simply ‘I don’t want to’. At the time, you probably considered the responses to be absolutely logical, argued rationally, clear and indisputable. In short, they were (in your opinion at the time) world class responses to external events.
It’s a bit like Prime Minister Morrison’s claims around the ‘world leading’ management of the pandemic response by his government. To date, Australia has been relatively successful at ensuring the virus didn’t get more than a toehold in the community. In spite of Morrison’s claims, the state and territory leaders have done the heavy lifting through building their contact tracing capability, isolating areas within their states where necessary to prevent the virus spreading and managing a quarantine process (on behalf of the federal government) for people coming into the country from overseas. While Morrison claims success, in reality the only two items in the pandemic response that have been left to the federal government were vaccine procurement and distribution as well as finding a better alternative to quarantine than that offered by the stop gap use of large hotels in our major cities. The ‘dog' didn’t get to the Morrison Government’s homework — it seems the work was never done. As we entered the 2021/2022 financial year, there were lockdowns in 3 states and one territory, with other states telling their residents to exercise extreme caution, wear masks and observe various restrictions.
On July 2 2021, following a National Cabinet meeting apparently called to bring the state leaders on board, Morrison fronted a press conference and announced Australia’s four stage plan to return to something like ‘pre-COVID’ normality — where the virus is treated like any other seasonal virus such as the flu
. All well and good in theory, but the COVID19 ‘emergency’ is now 18 months old and according to Morrison we as a nation had a ‘world leading’ response. Had Morrison’s government started to develop a plan to exit the pandemic in January 2020, he could rightly claim to have a ‘world leading’ response. It’s not like they weren’t warned by the World Health Organisation that there was a highly contagious virus on the way and it was the ideal time to accumulate test kits, medical equipment and supplies and make arrangements for the isolation of people that were affected.
In March 2020, The Saturday Paper
interviewed Dr Bill Bowtell, who was scathing in his criticism of the COVID 19 response. As he had a considerable role in this nation’s management of the HIV crisis in the 1980s
, he probably had some idea of what he was talking about. Frankly, a lot of his predictions have come to pass. Particularly telling is the discussion around a March 2020 press conference with Morrison, Health Minister Hunt and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly where
Between them the three men said the word “plan” 32 times, but in reality it was more like a blueprint for bureaucratic consultation. There were no concrete actions mentioned. None of the three men uttered the words hygiene, handwashing or social distancing.
By September 2020, we were going to have a ‘gas fired’ economic recovery from the COIVD pandemic. According to a report in The Guardian
, Morrison’s announcement at a speech in the Hunter Valley claimed that there was no credible transition strategy for our energy requirements that didn’t rely on the burning of gas
He announced steps that could expand the gas industry, but few measures designed to boost the economy in the short-term — most were little more than commitments to coming up with a plan.
Morrison acknowledged the rise of cheap solar and wind energy, but beyond a passing reference, there was no discussion of a transition plan or dealing with climate change. The destination set out in the speech was an expansion of gas that could last for decades.
A little light on the detail, which coincidentally is a little like Morrison’s four stage plan to return to something like a pre-COVID normal that he announced on July 2. The first stage is ‘Vaccinate, Prepare and Pilot’ which requires a reduction in overseas arrivals into the country while we all go and get vaccinated when the vaccine is available (weren’t we supposed to be at the ‘front of the queue’?). As The New Daily
Moving on to the next phases relies heavily on the rate of vaccination.
As of Thursday [1 July 2021], 7.9 per cent of Australians are fully vaccinated while 29.6 per cent have received at least one shot.
To see how we rate in comparison to the rest of the world, click here
In the ‘Post Vaccination’ phase, lock downs will become less frequent and those who have been fully vaccinated will have less restriction than others. Arrival numbers from overseas will increase and those who can demonstrate full vaccination may be able to arrive in this country without quotas. Again, as The New Daily
Phase Two of the plan will commence when enough Australians have been vaccinated, though we don’t yet know what number that is.
Mr Morrison said it will be determined by a “scientific number” in agreement with each state and territory.
Again, little detail. Apparently no-one knows how many of us have to be vaccinated before we move to ‘Stage 2’. But once we get there, ‘the plan’ suggests we then move through a consolidation phase to an ongoing process where COVID infections are treated like we treat the seasonal flu with some additional requirements around arrivals from overseas.
The Morrison government’s COVID19 management process is similar to his management of many of the challenges in government, long on rhetoric and short on achievement. Certainly, he should be guided by the medical evidence to determine a response to a problem that has a medical root cause, but aren’t we paying him to be thinking of the potential issues before he is forced to address them by the state leaders and have the information to hand? Telling us all, 18 months into the pandemic, that the Australian Government has yet to determine an appropriate level of herd immunity to a virus because they haven’t asked the question until now is insulting to us all. You might recall that vaccination was always seen as the way out of the pandemic.
Most of us are well aware it’s far more likely that a 7-year-old hasn’t done their homework than the dog actually ate it. Morrison hasn’t even attempted to give us a reason why his government’s homework hasn’t been done. Fortunately for us, the state leaders have demonstrated they have the real power, time and time again.
What do you think?
To me, Ad Astra, “Time to say goodbye” are among the saddest words in our language. Yet say them now we must.
I chose Ad Astra as my moniker because my secondary school’s motto is ‘sic itur ad astra’, which can be liberally interpreted as: “Here is the way to the stars”. How inspiring these word...
There is a conspiracy theory that suggests that birds (in the USA at least) aren’t real. The claim is that all the birds in the USA were hunted down by the government between the late 50’s and early 70s and replaced with bird like drones to spy on you. According to the theory President John F. Kenne...
You may not have heard of Mike Rinder. A Scientologist for most of his life, at the age of 52 he walked out, and as a result lost his family, friends, employment and pretty well everything else in his life. RInder has written a book on his time in Scientology, runs a website that questions Scientolo...
Prior to becoming President, Joe Biden was a US Senator for around 36 years. He is known as Amtrak Joe as he routinely took the daily 90 minute each way train trip (on the USA’s national passenger train network — Amtrak) from his home in Delaware to Washington DC to represent his state. If you liste...
Last September, you might have seen Qantas CEO Alan Joyce received a pay increase of $278,000 per annum. It seems that Joyce has met or exceeded the performance goals set by his employers and contractually has earned the reward. It does, however, raise a larger question.
Joyce's pay increase for t...
In his recent Budget reply speech, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton laboured (pun intended) on the increasingly difficult to achieve promise by Prime Minister Albanese that power bills will be $275 less in 2025. While the government is claiming the modelling done in 2021 supports the accuracy of the p...
Wellbeing and politics have collided in the past couple of weeks. Federal Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers has started a conversation about measuring the ‘wellbeing’ of the nation as a result of the measures in the budget. The Opposition, as you would expect, has poured scorn on the idea.
On a purely lo...
Recently, in what could be described as an epic fail in recruiting practices, the Essendon Football Club hired and accepted the resignation of the same CEO within a day. The issue was that the CEO was also the Chairman of ‘City on the Hill’, a church that seems to promote some conservative views on ...
It was probably co-incidental that the Australian Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was held in Sydney around the time the NRL and AFL finals were occurring. CPAC originally advertised the conference would be at Luna Park — until Luna Park claimed they had never had a booking. The Conf...
Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong recently addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Accompanying Wong on the trip was Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen and ‘Special Envoy for Reconciliation’ Pat Dodson. Wong told the General Assembly that Australia believed the UN an...
You’re probably aware of some who don't see the need to reduce emissions. They have a lot of different reasons or excuses for the position, including the current systems have served us well in the past, we’re only a small population so our changes won’t mean much or just a general reluctance to cons...
A local real estate agent rings me every couple of months asking if I am willing to sell my house. So far he's tried the 'look how much you could get' strategy, 'the market is moving, you don’t want to miss out’ strategy and telling me he could help me buy another house if I did sell; to which my re...
Current rating: 5 / 5 | Rated 32 times