I have largely resisted the temptation to rail against the ongoing insanity of Australia’s response to the Wuhan virus (aka ‘the nothing to do with China Covid-19’). Observe our closing borders over a handful of cases – cases note, not hospitalisations, ICU visits, or deaths. Observe Victoria as the second-toughest lockdown response in the world and yet the state that delivered Australia’s worst results and still Il Duce Dan gets praise. And this in a world where the average life expectancy in the US (or age when you can expect to otherwise die) is lower – yes, lower – than the average age of those dying from Covid. Let that sink in. Or where well over 100,000 of those US college students who’ve faced compulsory testing since going back to uni in August have tested positive and yet none has died and under half a dozen have been hospitalised. (Say it with me slowly. This is not remotely a dangerous virus to anyone under 30, or 40, or 50 and even those under 70 face far worse risks than this.) It’s a world where the first, and best, randomised mask trial – so proper science, not an observational study about masks – out of Denmark has shown mask-wearing has no significant effect; it’s basically useless. It’s Kabuki theatre and big time virtue-signalling. And given the media’s ongoing attempts to mimic Pravda that might explain why this big Danish study was removed from LinkedIn. Can’t have people weighing up things for themselves old boy. Or why Facebook censored Oxford’s Carl Henaghan (the Director of that university’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine) when he linked to his Spectator article on this mask study. Or YouTube’s removing the Mike Yeadon interview. This is attempted thought-control on steroids to support the lockdown approach and the ‘this is so scary Mummy’ narrative while blocking as many sceptical voices as possible. Meantime deaths due to lockdowns keep going up and there’s next to no chance they won’t end up far outweighing deaths caused by Covid, or even deaths with Covid (and if you don’t know that last distinction you’ve been watching too much ABC).
And did I mention the total madness of Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York this week receiving the International Emmy Foundation Award for his handling of Covid when the state of New York had the world’s worst deaths per million (about double the worst European country) because he sent Covid-infected elderly people back to old age homes. Forced them back in. Making him pretty much the worst democratically elected leader in the 21st century. Or put differently, giving Cuomo this award – we all know it’s because of his Trump hatred – makes the Nobel award to Obama after only a few seconds in office look good.
At any rate, clearly my ability to resist temptation needs a bit of work. Still, let me now turn to a brief assessment of the Morrison government and of PM Morrison himself. After all, we’ve just hit the halfway point of this government’s term. On the plus side, Mr. Morrison won last May’s purportedly unwinnable election. His retail political skills are top-rate. Also on the plus side is, well, um, gee, not much at all. I’ve held off saying this in the hope ScoMo and his team might improve. But enough is enough. They are woefully awful.
Pick your poison. On the economy this is the biggest-spending government in this country’s history. In terms of responding to the virus we’re outspending Trust Fund Trudeau, darling of the Left. Mr Morrison has been so big-spending that the real pain from our virus just keeps being delayed with JobSeeker and JobKeeper. In fact, it is those programs that have allowed nutty premiers to close down everything at the drop of a hat and face no consequences – no financial costs at all. In line with that, I think that Team Morrison played a big role in helping Labor’s Palaszczuk government win re-election. Her border closures were crazy. But she didn’t have to pay any financial costs. It wasn’t just the hopelessness of the LNP that got her re-elected.
Then there was and is the National Cabinet innovation from hell; the Morrison government’s refusal to support the s.92 High Court challenge to the border closures; ScoMo’s inability to criticise publicly Dan Andrews or any other premier; the fact no federal politician was made to take a pay cut when it was these politicians’ decisions that financially ruined so many small businesses and whole swathes of the private sector. You can’t keep that reality masked with Keepers and Seekers forever.
Or forget the economy and think civil liberties. As the retired top British judge Jonathan Sumption points out repeatedly, these lockdown responses have constituted the worst inroads on all of our civil liberties in the last two centuries. Does Morrison even care a little? Apparently not. And that’s not surprising given that the man made plain back when some of us were concerned about the significant over-reach of the s.18C hate speech laws that he, ScoMo, couldn’t care less about freedom-related issues. How did he put it? Something about their not creating any jobs? Of course that misses the point about freedom wholly – that it matters even if people end up worse off economically for a while. Let’s be honest. Morrison is not a man with any obvious core beliefs or principles, things he’d fight for if they cost him politically in the long-term (or even in the next fortnightly Newspoll).
He never took any brave stand on the George Pell matter, though anyone not blinded by ABC groupthink could see that the charges and trial came nowhere near meeting proof beyond reasonable doubt, or even ‘more likely than not’ proof – and to be clear I said as much before the High Court decision and did so as a non-Catholic atheist.
What else? Well, he and his government haven’t fought for, or even proposed, a single reform idea as regards our world’s most sclerotic labour relations. He clearly has succumbed to identity politics in his ministerial picks. I haven’t noticed an iota of concern about federalism; or fixing our broken and über-PC universities; or about limiting immigration at a time when so many Australians (leave aside the statistical sleight of hand with the Seekers and Keepers) are unemployed. And he’s done nothing about the patent bias of the ABC.
It’s been a dismal first 18 months. Our low Covid death toll cannot persuasively be put down to lockdowns because Japan and Taiwan didn’t go down our path and have done as well or better without destroying the private sector. And worst of all, this is a principle-free government. But hey, I agree that he’s still – just – better than Turnbull. So there’s that I suppose.
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