Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan isn’t a native sandgroper. He’s from Newcastle and only washed up in the West thanks to his time in the submarine service.
Pop psychology can be a dangerous thing, but McGowan’s main measure to contain coronavirus, the Iron Ore Curtain that cut off his state, has been the nation’s strongest, longest COVID measure of them all, even outdoing Daniel Andrews. Perhaps from his time afloat — or, rather, not — he only truly feels safe when isolated, when constrained and restrained. Perhaps it even gives him a frisson of naughty delight.
We saw this in his truly bizarre refusal to attend last Friday’s National Cabinet if South Australian Premier Steven Marshall was there.
Now, SA’s handling of its unique strain of coronavirus — the one that had no symptoms, was contracted by touching pizza boxes and turned out to be a figment of the fevered imaginations of overexcited public health officials and ministers incapable of independent or critical thought — was worse than any Crows’ performance of late, but Marshall is a harmless figure of fun; a Keystone Kop, not a Typhoid Mary.
Still, McGowan insisted. It would be far too risky for him to attend.
If he really wanted to make a point about COVID protection while seeking the shelter similar to that offered by a submarine, the isolation, he appears to so crave, McGowan could have fronted Friday’s meeting in a fully-enclosing rubber bondage suit or clad as The Gimp from Pulp Fiction, led by a minder on a leash.
It would have again demonstrated to the nation — not to mention Sandgropers, due to vote next March — about how seriously he is taking the pandemic.
And that’s something the Premier might need to do.
Well, a friend of The SpecOz, currently in quarantine in a private home in the West with their children and some extended family members, was in touch last night with details of just how rigorously McGowan’s tough talk is actually playing out on the ground.
The police, they said, had checked in on them that afternoon. How? “The police just called my mobile and asked me to walk to the front gate while on the phone,” came the response. “They didn’t bother asking about the kids.”
In other words, anyone from the next-door neighbour to Great Aunt Myrtle to an Airtasker hire could have been masquerading as the supposed potential plague carrier, while the actual individual and family frolicked at Freo or wherever.
Mark McGowan should really think about how his rhetoric matches reality.
If this is how it plays out on the ground and word gets around, well, he’ll look like a gimp.
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