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The great awakening

By Ad astra

No sooner had I completed a piece titled: How would YOU revive the economy? than it became redundant. A quick glance through it will show why it dated so rapidly.

Like me, do you ponder why it took the dramatic events of recent days, of which you are all well aware, to bring about what can only be described as ‘a great awakening’ among those in charge.

For weeks, the most coherent appraisal of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic has come from medical and public health specialists. Over and again, they had warned of the dire consequences of an uncontrolled transmission of the virus. In unambiguous terms, devoid of political spin, they had insisted that unless transmission could be curbed, the virus would continue to spread worldwide, bringing with it not just illness, but hundreds of thousands of deaths, as well as profound economic disruption.

To many, this seemed to be too far-fetched to believe, as is evidenced by their words and their actions: congregating at the beach-side in defiance of advice. Now the validity of this prediction is being exposed on every news bulletin. The blithe dismissal of the threat by those burdened with ignorance and stupidity is a measure of the problem of convincing the man in the street of the threat.

Our leaders, keen to avoid spreading alarm, used weasel words to placate us. ‘We’re all in this together’; ‘If we all pull together, we’ll get to the ‘other side’. Our PM eagerly grasped the words of the Reserve Bank governor when he promised “To build a financial bridge over the growing chasm in the Australian economy”. Cronulla Sharks fan Scomo offered pseudo reassurance when he insisted he was still going to the footy, later having to change his mind.

But until the announcement of his second stimulus package it was apparent that Morrison had not really grasped the gravity of the situation. Now it seems he has.

He seems to have had a belated realisation that as coronavirus spreads mainly by contact the only way to counter it is to maintain distance between people. Thus he has closed ‘non-essential’ services: bars, restaurants, cafes, clubs, gyms and other outlets. He seems to have been startled by the social and economic disruption and the acute unemployment that this move is already bringing about, resulting in long queues at Centrelink of desperate and worried people who have lost their jobs. They may eventually number a million.

Talk of closing schools is also about, with all the educational and economic complications that would bring with it, such as keeping them closed for months on end, thereby disrupting the jobs of the parents, as well as the schooling of their children. The response of individual states has varied. Uncertainty prevails.

Not only has Morrison and his government had a great awakening; it also has put its money where it’s most needed via its initial $189 billion rescue package. Here’s a brief account of the government’s second stage $66billion remedy taken from ABC News:

On the economic front, small businesses will receive cash payments up to $100,000 and some welfare recipients will receive another $750.

Additional measures include:
• Temporarily doubling the Jobseeker Payment, previously called Newstart
• Allowing people to access $10,000 from their superannuation in 2019-20 and 2020-21
• Guaranteeing unsecured small business loans up to $250,000
• Reducing deeming rates by a further 0.25 per cent

There’s no need to spell out the details: you can read them here.

Now, deeply alarmed by the profound implications of the pandemic and the complexities of putting Australian society together again after it slows, Morrison has established a COV19 Cooordination Commission to carry out this difficult task.

The most striking reversal of LNP ideology though was the government’s decision to double the Newstart allowance and extend it to others. Hoping that voters would not see that as tacit acceptance of the repeated advice of countless social advocates, as well as hard-nosed economists, they ditched the name ‘Newstart’ in favour of the more benign-sounding ‘Jobseeker Allowance’. It was obvious to all that the LNP was devoted to the belief that Newstart recipients were bludgers, ‘leaners’ rather than ‘lifters’, people who ought to be out getting a job. It must have been a hard pill to swallow to accept that increasing Newstart would have large economic benefits, as so many have been telling them for months.

Morrison and Frydenberg have been given praise for their package, bordering on lavish from their media set. But we have to ask why it took a crisis the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic to bring about their awakening.

We can only hope that the great awakening the LNP is now experiencing will cast the scales from its eyes and make it more sensitive to the earnestly offered advice of the many experts who in good faith put forward an opinion. LNP ministers are not the economic magicians they fancied they were. Hopefully they now realise that, and will listen more attentively.

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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17 comments

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  1. Keitha Granville

    No, they will learn nothing from this, other than what not to do in a pandemic. I would be willing to bet once this is over, they will find all manner of draconian belt tightening measures to try and recoup the losses.
    We will pay for this, make no mistake

  2. RosemaryJ36

    When Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin, the Federal government set up packaged food drops at 2 high schools and stocked up the meat at the cold store. We picked up what we needed. Cashless economy.

  3. Stephengb

    May I remind all that not one dollar has reached any of those who have lost their job nor the welfare recipients as promised.

    Yes I know it takes time to make arrangements but I note that there was no hurry to recall parliament to present the required Appropriation Bill.

    We have seen this before with the ‘notional’ 2 billion promise to help the bush fire victims – promise that I believe has still not been fulfilled.

  4. Clare De Mayo

    No. He will not learn anything. He is simply buying votes with this handout, as now the part of the electorate that he needs to retain power are feeling the bite of neoliberalism. And sadly many of them will be bought by this. They won’t learn anything either

  5. Stephengb

    More than 70% of the so called stimulus is directed toward business, and the so called stimulous to give unsecured loans when business has no customers is just bloody ludicrous.

  6. Andy56

    No they havent changed spots. They still think everything will go back to normal when this is over. They still think tax holidays and investment allowances will help business to survive. Business surviving is paramount in their eyes. Unfortunately, the vibe i get from “which bank” is that they wont be lending any money, only consolidating whats out already. And Unfortunately, no customers means no sales which means no profits. The turn around will come when people start to spend money, and that will not start on day one. Sure the government is splurging a bit of money and for a few people it wont be spent, but if you have a mortgage or rental, you wont have anything left over till you start to work again. Thats when the real crunch will come, when there are no more excuses and the golden goose is well and truly cooked. The economy was already on its knees and getting back to normal is an economy on its back. They have failed every other test, why should they win at anything? They are the definition of insanity.

  7. calculus witherspoon.

    Let;s not forget the slack criteria for business aid against some of the stuff still in place for the burgeoning legions of unemployed.

  8. Phil

    Morrison is consolidating his Illegitimately acquired unilateral power. We now expect ever more draconian rules and further erosion of democratic rights. This is a given.
    The ‘national cabinet’ is awash with suspected, and in some instances known corrupt operatives.
    We are in uncharted waters under the control of a mendacious, religious nutter.

  9. Kronomex

    “We can only hope that the great awakening the LNP is now experiencing will cast the scales from its eyes…”

    Chances; buckley’s and none. The LNP (in particular Scotty from Marketing) is all about political positioning and how to keep themselves in power, even to the extent of possibly declaring martial law to “help protect and better serve all ‘strayon’s wellbeing during this time of crisis.” I put nothing past them in the pursuit of consolidation of federal power.

  10. RomeoCharlie29

    Reluctant as I am to suggest it, bearing in mind 1975, I think cancelling Parliament for five months might warrant the GG stepping in to force it to sit, especially as both govt. and opposition have shown they can devise a system that aintaibs the separations. This hiatus seems too much like an opportunity for Totalitarianism.

  11. RomeoCharlie29

    Maintains the separations

  12. jim tougher

    Try as they may it means nothing until they actually apologise to Kevin Rudd’s Labor Party and admit the LNP have been wrong all along about the ALP stimulus. That was the only thing that prevented Australia crashing like the rest of the world. Come on you slimy twosome give credit where credit is due and stop the wringing of hands.

  13. Kronomex

    On a side note: That disgusting oaf Clive is going to try and cash in on the virus –

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/mar/27/clive-palmer-buys-huge-news-corp-ad-pushing-malaria-drug-as-coronavirus-cure

    Odds on Scotty from Marketing and Crony Co. Inc. doing anything to stop him or at least chastise the prick?
    On a side note: That disgusting oaf Clive is going to try and cash in on the virus –

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/mar/27/clive-palmer-buys-huge-news-corp-ad-pushing-malaria-drug-as-coronavirus-cure

    Odds on Scotty from Marketing and Crony Co. Inc. doing anything to stop him or at least chastise the prick?

  14. pierre wilkinson

    the great awakening
    is this suppposed to be satire?
    after we get to the other side you can bet that this rabble of reprobates will start singing their own praises,
    blame covid 19 for all the country’s woes
    then inform us that the tab has come in so with great reluctance they have to continue with an accelerated IPA agenda
    and be thankful that the great economic managers were at the helm for this crisis
    rather than those baby eating bastards from the ALP

  15. ajogrady

    How long before ScottyfromMarketing can collect the full pension being paid as Prime Minister. It would not be around August would it?

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