Ok, nobody has actually said that the best form of healthcare is a job. Nor has anyone said the best form of wealthcare is a job.
However, it’s certainly no sillier than the vacuous: “The best form of welfare is a job”!
Scott Morrison’s reluctance to introduce lockdown measures in response to Covid-19 does seem to underline the priorities of this government. I mean, if you think about this in terms of how they’ve framed climate change action then their slowness is perfectly consistent. “No, we understand the threat perfectly and we’re talking action, but it’s calm, measured action and we won’t be panicked into doing something which will affect
our good friends and donors workers in the affected industries.”
Similarly, when it comes the Coronavirus, the Prime Minister knows that some action needs to be taken and, failing that, something needs to be said about the action that his government intends to take. So we have daily announcements about his intentions and how the best medical advice is being followed.
- “I’m going to the football.”
- “I’m not going now because of the way it would be misrepresented.”
- “Nobody should be going to the football because it’s Monday and my advice is to stay home.”
- “People are defying my advice so I’m telling you I’m going to make the advice compulsory if you don’t start doing the right thing.”
- “No schools aren’t closing. Kids are perfectly safe and I’m happy to send my kids to school.”
- “How dare you ask me if I’m actually sending my kids to school. My family is off-limits. Let’s concentrate on what matters; keeping the economy going and making sure that people are all right. To ensure that’s happening we’re announcing a second stimulus package because the first one was so well-received in the media even though nobody’s actually received anything yet. Not only that I’m forming a committee to advice us and we’re putting on experts in the fields of mining and industry to tell us what’s really important during a crisis.”
And so on…
Of course, I’ve resisted the temptation to be pedantic and point out some of Scottie’s inappropriate use of language like when he told us to “reconsider the need for unnecessary travel”. (If you think about that, there is – by definition – no need for unnecessary travel so if one rethinks the need for it one may decide that it is actually necessary!) When he said: “This will be a difficult six months. It could be longer,” I didn’t point out that while the next six months will be difficult a six month period won’t be longer than longer six months no matter how difficult it is I’ve tried to refrain from being un-Australian with regards to hoarding toilet paper, and I have attempted singing that tune from High School Musical “We’re all in this together”. However, it it does get hard when the Prime Minister’s press conferences start to follow that familiar pattern.
- We are doing all that we can.
- We would do more but it’s not our job.
- The states are responsible for almost everything.
- We don’t think that (insert latest SNAFU) was badly handled.
- SNAFU was badly handled but it was one lone public servant/Labor’s bad planning/Gladys Berejiklian
- We’re sending in the army.
As it stands, we’ve been warned by Morrison to be careful what we wish for when it comes to a lockdown because whatever action gets taken, we’ll be stuck with for six months.
It’s a shame that he didn’t give the same warning before the election and tell us that whatever happened we’d be stuck with it for three years.
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