I am sure I am not alone in having a high opinion of Alan Kohler, who regularly reports on business and finance issues.
Hopefully many of you will have read the article published today (10/06/20) in the Murdoch press Business section, titled What we’re facing is not a ‘recession’.
If you can get behind the paywall to read the whole article on page 32, please do. Copyright does not permit me to reproduce the whole article here but this is a taster.
It’s not just the Federal Government. All Australian governments have made a series of decisions over the past four months that have destroyed thousands of businesses and put more than a million people out of work, and none of them have properly compensated all of the afflicted.
In fact, targeted support for those affected by the business closures should have been announced simultaneously with the closures and it should have been unlimited.
It is a disgrace that this wasn’t done, that so many lives have been devastated while others have sailed on unaffected because their employer doesn’t happen to rely on travel or crowds mingling together to make money.
Mr Kohler has no quarrel with the fact of the closures, which have almost certainly saved hundreds of lives, rather he says “The problem — the only problem — is that having decided to make people unemployed, reduce incomes and close businesses, they did little to help those affected for weeks, and when the help came, it was untargeted and capped.”
He goes on to offer a clear solution and to criticise the fact that the government is pretending it is being generous in giving help to anyone at all – instead of openly admitting that we all need help, that it is not our fault but theirs – if fault is the right word, because the reason was to prevent a more serious crisis.
But governments at all levels are complicit in the decisions made, and the implementation of those decisions, without a ready-made plan to minimise the damage.
Any government worth electing must be prepared for disasters. The Ruby Princess was another example of unpreparedness.
When you board any commercial plane, you are advised of the process to follow in the event of a disaster. It is very rare for any flight to experience a disaster, and we all know that the probability of surviving one unscathed is slim. But at least we have been provided with a hope of survival.
It would be an interesting exercise for someone to list all the disasters which can affect the whole population of a country, and a pandemic would have to be high on the list.
So procedures to follow have to be prepared in advance, ready to put into immediate effect – and we did get fair warning of the corona virus disaster!
But if governments are going to require the population to take actions which put their lives and livelihoods at risk, then it is those governments which have to wear the cost – and Alan Kohler’s article indicates a simple process for doing this (was that beyond the thinking of government officials?) and the outcome must be equitable.
If my memory serves me well, after the Bali bombings, a special unit was set up, based at the Royal Darwin Hospital to be immediately available in the event of another similar occurrence.
In the present crisis, public servants and many other workers have kept their jobs and are minimally affected.
But many in the arts and entertainment areas and in tertiary education have had their lives and their futures shattered.
And as for those non-nationals on visas, along with refugees in the community, and those poor souls, normally incarcerated offshore, but currently packed into hotels, and essentially forgotten while waiting for medical treatment – they are being damaged with no avenue for recompense.
PLEASE do not praise the Prime Minister for doing a good job.
Tell him to listen to the appropriate experts – and that also applies to developing policy to tackle the inexorable path of climate change.
I have noted in a previous article, how Darwin, looking like it had been hit by a nuclear bomb after Cyclone Tracy, was restored by the Federal Government (this was before the NT gained self-government) and experienced a cashless society for weeks, with the government covering the cost of establishing food drops for those who stayed and also assisting those who were evacuated inter-state.
Of course, there will be critics who say this occurred on Gough Whitlam’s watch and he spent money like water!
Well – none of us can survive without water, either, and the cost of caring is usually far less than the cost of ignoring a desperate situation.
PLEASE read Alan Kohler’s article if you can and pressure governments to seek advice from qualified sources rather than fumbling and bumbling along with ill-thought out plans, developed on the run.
What is always apparent with this Coalition government – it is reactive not proactive – and if we ever needed proactive policies it is NOW!
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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