Flat White

Forget coronavirus. Think of the bright future we can build learning from the lessons

31 March 2020

1:09 PM

31 March 2020

1:09 PM

Finally, as the curve begins to flatten, the global panicdemodium (new word) dies down and media get bored with ringing alarm bells 24-7 coronavirus will join the other viruses that we accept as part of life.

It is quite impressive the list of all those sicknesses/fatalities caused by microscopic viruses and bacteria. Some have been circling the planet for millennia such as cholera, poliomyelitis, leprosy, tuberculosis, measles, scarlet fever, malaria, diphtheria, typhus, herpes, mumps, yellow fever, syphilis — even the bubonic plague of the Dark Ages was back to blight Madagascar recently. Not so well known are the more recent Lassa, Marburg, Barmah Forest, West Nile, Ross River, Dengue Fever, Q fever. We never knew the deadly Black Death (1331 -1353) that killed some 75-200 million from Asia to Europe and the Spanish/1918 Flu that killed up to 100 million in one year while HIV-AIDS has killed some 32 million. To date, only one virus appears to have been eliminated via vaccination – smallpox. 

Of the viruses we have come to accept nothing is more mundane than the common cold (which devastated native populations when brought by early navigators) and seasonal influenzas that still wreak huge death rates across the world. The twentieth century brought tranches of influenzas including The Avian Flu (H5N1) killing 2 million; The Asian Flu (H2N2) killing 2 million, The Hong Kong Flu (H3N2) killing approximately 1 million next came the coronaviruses  SARS and MERS. As of have 30/3/20 the death rate of the new virus on the block, COVID-19 is 35,000 with media-fanned fear adding suicides from school-aged children to a European Minister of Finance to the total. 

So let’s leapfrog to ‘Life after coronavirus: the aftermath.  

First, ignore all information coming from China. China hatched this bug, nurtured it and may have the vaccine with which it might buy off the rest of the world so full steam ahead to our vaccine researchers. We now have reports back to November 2019 of Chinese booking out suites in hotels and rentals in Australia for up to a year and actively buying up masks, sanitisers and sending these back to China. Now they are ‘gifting’ these to countries like Italy. So: 

1. Beware of China bearing gifts. While the world’s attention is on this new pestilence China continues on its adverse occupancy of wherever it sees a strategic purpose, with two Philippine islands being the most recently usurped by China for ‘research’.   

2. Time’s up for Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board to come clean and report just how deep and widespread is China’s investment/influence in: our ports (Darwin, Melbourne and so forth); agricultural country; pipelines; airstrips; businesses; hotels/resorts; civic bodies and research laboratories. 

3. Something should have twigged when The Ramsay Foundation’s repeated offers of substantial funding to universities to educate a respect of western culture and its many wisdoms – received knock-backs by the Chinese student-funded-arrogance of several socialist-minded university senates.  For our tertiary think tanks to be so in thrall to foreign influence needs public ‘outing’ and future pledges to open the books on offshore financial support.  

5. Our education focus should switch to reinvigorating our Aussie culture of brawn with brains and get our kids back into apprenticeships and TAFE to learn manual skills that turned Australia into the Clever Country. This hands-on approach had Australia leading the world for over 150 years in innovation across manufacturing, agriculture, engineering, mining and science. Time to kick start that engine again by giving recognition, awards and status to those in these industries. 

6. With a return of ‘can-do’ culture Australians need to look at what this country has to offer because, most assuredly, China has. Australia can feed itself three times over plus huge resources of iron ore, coal, uranium, gas, plus shale oil and offshore oil (which the Greens won’t let us touch preferring shipped imports from the Middle East) as well as silver, gold, bauxite, rare earths and so forth. If we can get our petrol, diesel, electric, hydrogen, nuclear motors running Australia will be one of the few landmasses that is totally self-sufficient. Our only limitation is water which is a fundamental limit to population growth irrespective of what the stooges at the UN say. 

7. Reclaiming a manufacturing and nett manufactured goods exporter base requires addressing our hourly rates. Australia has the most expensive hourly rates across skilled and unskilled labour in the world, the shortest working hours and the fewest legislated days of work per annum. The unions, in their guard-dog capacity re workers’ rights, have handed the jobs to other countries, robbing their own of jobs. 

8. This ‘land girt by sea’, comes with the ultimate barrier – oceans – no wall has to be built. Oceans with oceans of fish, beaches and bays for Australians and guests to enjoy sailing on, diving into and fishing from but not oceans to cruise upon as coronavirus has sunk the huge global ocean cruising industry leaving thousands of huge ships with human carrying capacity up to 6000 empty. So what to do with such a resource? The answer is obvious. For the millions of homeless in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Africa, South East Asia these can be their homes – ship ‘suburbs’ moored off wharves. Sewerage pipelines will be required to move human effluent into land-based treatment systems. All marine life will rejoice for not having so much ‘nutrient-rich’ effluent dumped on it. 

9. Return of the Roaring 20’s. After the social distancing it will be party time. Sure divorces might be up and maybe a spike in births next December but we are social animals so hospitality venues – including moored cruise ships – will be in full swing due to lost time – restarting cash flow as celebrations like weddings queue up, concerts/sporting fixtures sell-out and we all hang out again. 

10. The home environment will change. Some will prefer the work-from-home experience so look for the return of the ‘Australian Dream’ of a ¼ acre with house plus big back yard where children, families and friends can play, fruit trees and vegetables planted, chooks, possibly a swimming pool — and we’ll be the healthier and happier for it. 

When we finally tire of ‘The Panic’ and put into perspective the reality that this virus as of 30/3/20 has a global .00037 per cent death rate that targets the frail elderly – that sector often identified by economists as ‘the burden of an ageing population’ – we will realise that life continues as it always has after those past pandemics. 

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