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Give us a break

By 2353NM

A week or so ago, we discussed the union bashing disguised as concern for ‘essential workers’ from LNP MPs Andrew Laming and Peter Dutton. Unfortunately, the pitiful behaviours exhibited by these two LNP politicians is not reserved to the outer suburbs of Brisbane.

It is on the record that the Premiers of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria convinced the ‘national cabinet’ to impose tougher social restrictions on the Australian community earlier than others wanted. This followed the experts’ advice that social distancing was the correct method to ensure that our health care system was not overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases. In comparison to a lot of other ‘first world’ countries, the strategy was successful, leading to us now experiencing a gradual relaxation of pandemic restrictions.

On 8 May 2020, Prime Minister Morrison released what he called ‘the roadmap’ to a reduction in social restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Morrison said in the announcement that

Australian governments are taking a measured approach. Our three-step plan provides a pathway for jurisdictions to move towards COVID safe communities in a way that best suits their individual circumstances. States and territories are able to move between the steps on the pathway at different times, in line with their current public health situation and local conditions. [Emphasis added]

When Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan let loose on the ABC’s Insiders on May 3, Queensland schools were open only as a last resort for children of ‘essential workers who couldn’t make other arrangements’ and New South Wales and Victorian schools were closed. However Tehan certainly didn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story

Tehan: So, he said that when those seven national priorities were put out, and they had two very important conditions to them. Now, the question to Dan Andrews, is, sure, take a sledgehammer to defeating the coronavirus. But, why are you taking a sledgehammer, also, to your school system? When Mark McGowan in Western Australia, when Michael Gunner in the Northern Territory, when Steven Marshall in South Australia, have taken a sledgehammer to the coronavirus, but haven’t to their education system.

Speers: But he is receiving this advice from his chief health officer, that I just quoted. Should he ignore that?

Tehan:` That same chief health officer is on the national medical expert panel, and that national medical expert panel says that it’s safe for children to be at school, and it’s safe for teachers to be at school, with the right protocols. So, why don’t we …

The differentiation wouldn’t have anything to do with the New South Wales Premier being a member of the Liberal Party and the Queensland Premier, while a member of the ALP, doesn’t have a large popularity buffer over the LNP contender would it? Before you answer, consider this report on a statement by Victorian federal Liberal Party backbencher Tim Wilson

As other states and territories took their first tentative steps into life after the pandemic, Victoria held firm.

The cautious approach has won the Andrews Government more support, but predictably it has also attracted detractors.

Among them is Victorian federal Liberal MP Tim Wilson.

And Wilson is quoted in the same article as saying

“The burden and the responsibility then has to be on Dan Andrews, when other states are allowing people to go and visit their mums on Mother’s Day, why can’t we go and visit in Victoria our mums on Mother’s Day?

“Why can’t we send our kids to school? Why are businesses being unnecessarily punished longer than in other states? And he has to come out and articulate that case and take responsibility for it.

Victorian Premier Andrews is not doing much different to New South Wales Premier Berejiklian or Queensland Premier Palaszczuk — primarily because their states have the majority of COVID-19 cases. And for the record, Victoria was still managing clusters of infection in mid-May, unlike the other states so logically Andrews is being cautious. There is nothing wrong with caution; the Prime Minister — a member of the same political party as Tim Wilson — flagged that different states would take action at different times.

Of course it’s political point scoring. And they don’t just do it to ‘the other mob’, they ‘eat’ their own as well! Recently the ALP MP representing Eden-Monaro, Mike Kelly, retired for health reasons. Before Kelly actually resigned, the media was suggesting that NSW Deputy Premier (and State National Party Leader) John Barilaro would be the conservative candidate for the potential by-election. By 4 May, the story had changed

Mr Barilaro said he had not seen Liberal Party polling, but claimed Nationals research showed he could win the byelection, but he was not prepared to trigger a showdown for the seat against [NSW Transport Minister and Liberal Party member] Mr [Andrew] Constance.

“Andrew and I were never ever going to race or compete against each other. That is something we both honoured,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The polling clearly will show Andrew can win the seat and it clearly shows I can win the seat, but at the end of the day it’s not about winning the seat it’s about what’s right for the people of Eden-Monaro.”

And later on in the same report

“If anyone wants to try and put a wedge through Andrew and I good luck to them, but I know the friendship I have with Andrew.”

Constance did actually announce he would be a candidate for all of about half a day before announcing on a local radio station that he wasn’t going to do it (that’s another story altogether). While Barilaro might get on with Constance, there were clearly other factors in play for Barilaro’s withdrawal.

Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell has obtained an explosive text exchange between the two men in which Mr Barilaro says [Nationals Federal Leader and Deputy Prime Minister] McCormack was “threatened” by his plans to run. “Don’t hide behind the “members will choose the candidate’ rubbish, as you were the only one saying such lines,”

Mr Barilaro wrote in the leaked messages. “Don’t you think my branches would have backed me in? “To feel threatened by me clearly shows you have failed your team and failed as a leader. “You will never be acknowledged by me as our leader. You aren’t. You never will be. “The Nats had a chance to create history, to change momentum, and you had a candidate that was prepared to risk everything to make it happen. “What did you risk? Nothing. “Hope you are proud of yourself.”

You also have to feel sorry for whoever the Coalition does put up as a candidate in Eden-Monaro. Apart from the head start the ALP has on the campaign, why would you vote for a third or subsequent choice candidate representing a party that has a heated public slanging match (the obscene text messages within National Party ranks have deliberately not been linked in this article) over who should be the candidate?

Give us a break — we don’t need the points scoring or the second guessing. What we do need is a demonstration by politicians that they can work together to create benefit for all; without picking over the spoils of victory before the battle has even started and far less ideology for the sake of it.

What do you think?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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  1. Terence Mills

    I live on the Atherton Tablelands , in the Cairns hinterland. Normally this time of the year we have a cavalcade of many thousands of caravaners and campers heading up Cape York to Cooktown and Weipa and across to the Gulf Country, Normanton, Karumba etc to enjoy the winter warmth.

    if as the likes of Dutton and others we had opened up our border there is every possibility that even just one person could pass on Covid-19 to these remote parts of the country where there are numerous Aboriginal communities.

    So far – as far as I’m aware – there have only been two Covid-19 cases in Cairns both brought into the area by travellers – one from overseas, one interstate.

    The Queensland government are very conscious of their responsibilities which go well beyond the Gold Coast and we are well advised to try and wait out this contagion : currently we are aiming at twenty-eight days of no new infections and that’s a reasonable precautionary goal.

    As with everything that Dutton and his cronies at Newscorp do it is pure politics and if we give in to them it could be devastating to the health of our most vulnerable.

  2. andy56

    Politicians may work together but first we need a mass cull. Only when they are on the chopping block will they come to any form of agreement. Thanks to one arsehole TONY ABBOTT and the stupid electorate that voted him in. These two stains that wont go away easily.

  3. Matters Not

    Must admit I thought Annastacia Palaszczuk was making a political mistake by keeping the borders closed for as long as she foreshadowed but when I see that the Mayors across the State surveyed for their views and then responding positively (even Tom Tait from the tourist dependent Gold Coast applauding her stance) it’s clear she’s on a firm political terrain.

    As Terence Mills points out, the grey nomads are usually in plague proportions across the North (broadly defined) this time of year. Might even get a few muddies from Karumba or the Daintree this season. Only have to compete with the crocs. Such is life.

  4. Sailor Mick

    Terrence Mills & Matters Not: The health aspect should be about level of risk, not about emotive Queenslanders treating this virus like a state of origin RL game score.
    The national strategy is suppression & control of Covid, not elimination. To eliminate the risk is a very big task.
    One example of risk. Are all arrivals at the borders of the ‘pure’ states from the ‘polluted’ states, eg interstate truck drivers, stopped? Or, are they permitted to deliver their loads, which may include a ‘case positive’ driver? I would imagine there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of trucks a day crossing state borders.
    From an economic viewpoint, the Qld caravan park that we go to will lose about $50,000 per week from June to October. That is money that will not be recovered by that business. Last time I looked there were also a couple of other caravan parks in Qld that also rely on those awful southerners.The economic cost to Qld will be eye watering.
    Those stingy grey nomads do actually bring their wallets with them! About one third of our discretionary spending a year normally goes into Qld.

  5. Matters Not

    Sailor Mick – I hear what you say. It’s why I thought she would open the borders but the fact she isn’t caused me to consider that decision from her (the Premier’s) perspective. Annastacia Palaszczuk faces the electorate in October this year and needless to say she doesn’t want to lose. Annastacia became Premier – not because she won (she wasn’t even the leader at the time, Anna Bligh was) – but because Newman lost. And he did so because of a massive, unprecedented swing against him. She would be reminded of that possibility each and every day.

    If you look at the State Electoral Map (and make some generalizations), you can see that the ‘hot spot’ tourist destinations and travel routes are in LNP hands. The tourist mecca of the Gold Coast (and surrounds) is safely LNP and has been almost forever. Yes there’s been some electoral ‘bumps’ but without going into the gory details, the LNP ‘wins’ the Gold Coast electorates and often provides the LNP Leader. Same with the Sunshne Coast – including as far north as Hervey Bay. If you look inland at the electorates that the grey nomads might cross as they move North, they are also very safe LNP electorates into the bargain. So Labor has little to lose that it hasn’t already lost some years ago – mainly because Goss lacked the political courage to have a proper redistribution that removed an unfair weightage factor.

    No – the ALP in Queensland, if it is to win the State election, will rely on votes coming from the urban areas of Brisbane and other larger cities and towns which are not, generally speaking, tourist destinations. Palaszczuk does not want a second wave of COVID – 19! That would be her worst nightmare. She would be reminded about the second wave of the Spanish Flu that was much worse than the first. She won’t want to risk it. She won’t want to lose the election – because the LNP at the moment are not in a strong position to win the election – what with their internal divisions and the like.

    As for me – my travelling days are over. Too old. Now confined to the odd week or two on the Gold Coast and the Casino (within driving distance) but not until all restrictions are lifted or a vaccine has been developed.

  6. Matters Not

    Sorry! On re-reading the above, some corrections are in order. Bligh lost in 2012 and then Palaszczuk became Leader of the Opposition who then had a miracle win (of sorts) because Newman lost. Seems so long ago and besides my mental faculties are in serious decline.

    Worth stressing that politicians are in the business of winning. That’s their first priority. That’s the lens through which their reality is constructed.

  7. Jack Cade

    South Australia recorded its first case today. Not even an SA resident (don’t know where she resides, though – she came here from Melbourne after arriving there from overseas.) She was detected – if that is the word – at Adelaide airport on arrival. Visiting relatives, apparently. She will be here at least the 14-day quarantine.
    Northern hemisphere countries are already suggesting that their social Isolation is working but have cautioned that, as influenza has a season, covid-19 might also be a winter or at least cooler weather virus. And as far as Australia is concerned ‘Sumer is not acumen in’. So we should be vigilant, excessively so, tedious as it may be. After all, Qld, SA and Vic didn’t pour out the virus via cruise ship gangways. The longer the longer that inquiry takes, the more potent the rumours about politicians friends being ‘inconvenienced’ will become. Especially if the ‘findings’ are released – whenever they are – on a Friday.

  8. andy56

    I am making a point that the “market” doesnt know what’s best in important infrustructure. I certainly knows best in discretionary spending. This is where the government can make great strides. Provide quality infrustructure at a price that doesnt cripple us. Eg, its better for everyone to pay $5 a week more in tax than $50 a week in tolls. Its cheaper to pay an extra $5 a week in tax and get 1st world grade NBN at $30 a month than $60 a month for asdl2 grade crap. Its would have been cheaper and longer lasting to build a desal plant to feed the big rivers than the $13b wasted in the murray darling fraud. Thats what responsible planning is supposed to do, not pass the buck so they look like great managers yet deliver shit upon shit upon shit
    These are just simple everyday things that have made our wages diminish in effectiveness.

  9. Jack Cade

    Surely the most obvious reason for increasing the income of the poorest people in the community is that the money gets returned to the Rest of the community almost immediately, by being spent on luxuries like food and shelter, or even poker machines. None of it will end up in the Cayman Islands excepting at the very end of the spending line, by accumulation into the coffers of the REAL owners of Australia’s treasures, who then ensure that NONE of it comes back to where it really belongs – in the infrastructure, and The pockets of the people of the country where it originated.

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