Scott Morrison makes many – too many – mistakes, but his biggest one is presenting the Coalition government as a one-man band – SCOTT MORRISON – occasionally accompanied by another Minister to speak on the main topic.
Whatever the PM learned in school and at university, it did not include the important bits of history – or of economics.
Nor did he grasp the idea that learning is a life-long process, and change means that knowledge requires to be continuously updated and ideas adjusted to cope with novel situations.
Ideology, of course, is a stumbling block, because it necessarily forces a blinkered view of life.
Much is being made at the moment of the similarities between Australia’s financial situation at the end of WWII and now.
Mention is also made of how long recovery took.
I am not sure whether Morrison is aware of how much he does not know, or whether he has the ability to make realistic attempts to bridge the gaps in his knowledge, or, at the very least, turn for help to people who know a lot more about economics than he does.
The present situation is a brand new paradigm as a whole, but reference to past events can provide clues to guide the way through the current nightmare of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic collapse.
Building up a massive deficit is the least of our worries. Keeping people alive, housed and fed is the priority, with provision of jobs to follow over time.
And rather than being the first thought in Morrison’s mind in planning for recovery, the fate of the people who have lost jobs seems to be pushed well behind the fate of businesses. And as for his treatment of those in the gig economy and the arts – words fail me!
We are in an unprecedented (there’s that word again!) state which could lead to total disaster.
We have the pandemic.
We have parts of the country which are a long way from recovering from the last disastrous bush fire season.
We have a country, the USA, which used to be respected as the major world power, in a worse state of chaos than Australia.
We have China, the rising contender as world leader, on which our economy has become seriously dependent, becoming distinctly unfriendly.
We have effectively closed our borders to the rest of the world because of the pandemic, while we struggle once more to recover stability in Victoria and maybe NSW.
Finally, and importantly – but not to Morrison – we have urgent need for action on climate change, which is not going to be helped by a policy which insists that we can use gas to transition to renewables – as if the gas market would cooperate in a plan from which it will need to be removed again!
To be an effective leader is to get out front and set an example.
The second wave has arisen because leadership has not shown a model of caring for the members of our society – particularly those on the fringes.
If I do not follow the rules of social distancing, hand hygiene, avoiding gathering in large groups and, when necessary, wearing a face mask, the risk I take has three elements:
1. I might contract COVID-19 and recover, not necessarily totally;
2. I might contract COVID-19 and die;
3. I might contract COVID-19, with or without symptoms and pass it on to others.
The worst outcome here is the third, because I would be harming people who might otherwise remain unaffected.
If we have leaders who do not care about us, it is hard to persuade our fellow citizens that they need to care about other people, at least as much as they care about themselves!
So many rumours circulate without any effective efforts to correct them – like only older people are at risk of dying.
Children are not affected.
We can eliminate COVID-19.
We may or may not develop a vaccine, but, as flu has shown. that does not guarantee that, if vaccinated, we will not contract the infection.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear Scott Morrison responding to questions – yes, he does sometimes answer rather than brush the question aside! – there seems to be a whiny note of irritation and defensiveness in his voice, as if he resents being expected to explain to us poor nobodies.
When I think back through history of some of the leaders who have left a legacy of respect, I reflect how unfortunate we are to be in the present quandary, with people in charge who do not have the capacity to lead in an effective way.
I end as always – this is my 2020 New Year Resolution:
“I will do everything in my power to enable Australia to be restored to responsible government.”
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