Flat White

Daniel Andrews’ state of disaster

2 August 2020

3:26 PM

2 August 2020

3:26 PM

A curfew from 8.00 pm to 5.00 am. A limit on travelling more than five kilometres from your home. An effective ban on travelling out for shopping, banking, a trip to the post office — or the pharmacy — more than once a day. A state of disaster, not just emergency, across the whole of Victoria.

These are just some of the measures announced by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews just moments ago.

They would have been unthinkable even when the first lockdowns occurred in March. A curfew. It’s hard to comprehend. A curfew beginning at 8.00 pm in a city known for its nightlife, club culture and after hours dining.

We won’t hear further details about businesses and workplaces until tomorrow, the Victorian Premier says.

However, school is over for the senior students and few others now attending classrooms.

And this is where we really start to see the magnitude of the disaster.

We have heard so much about tracking and tracing, of failures of isolation and quarantine. The vast amount of this has been government disaster, though there has also been a disastrous lack of personal responsibility that has compounded the problem.

We know about the economic disaster (although can only guess how it will be compounded tomorrow). We know about the disaster for liberty. We know of the mental health disaster; of the humanitarian and sheer moral disaster of elderly people not only dying alone in their nursing home beds, but being left there for hours.

But what about the disaster of final year school students who will now effectively lose at least two of the four most important terms of their educations. What about students at all year levels, who have suffered similarly.

Are they going to be allowed the opportunity to repeat the wildly disrupted learning of this tragic year; learning disrupted not just by being forced away from school but by parents ill-equipped to act as surrogate teachers, the inadequacy of remote classes — and the all too obvious stress and anxiety students younger than mid-teens simply will have been unable to identify and express, compounding all their worries and fears.

Victoria has become a place where the old die alone in fear, children struggle with unprecedented times and unfamiliar emotions in just the same state — and adults grapple with even heavier day to day burdens and demands as they face new fears over their lives, livelihoods and loved one.

The state of disaster in Victoria is as much personal as economic — yet economic woes will only compound it.

And forget all the big rail and road and infrastructure projects. This will be Daniel Andrews legacy: a state of disaster.

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