Last week former Labor leader Bill Shorten slammed the Morrison government for not tightly closing the border to travellers from India quickly enough. This week he has slammed the government for doing just that.
The Prime Minister’s political enemies have gone in hard. Greens leader Adam Bandt declared the ban a ‘damning indictment on Scott Morrison’, and claimed it was both racist and illegal. Typical of the commentary in the Left-leaning mainstream media, the Nine papers’ UK correspondent Bevan Shields wrote he is troubled to be an Australian in London. The banshee chorus of the Left on Twitter rips into the government, especially on the ‘criminalisation’ of Australians who somehow defy the ban and the allegation it is racist.
But where were these people at the height of the pandemic last year, when state Labor premiers shut down the economies and borders of their states at the mere hint of a cough?
Standing with Dan — and Mark and Annastacia — that’s where.
Mr Morrison’s antagonists vent their fury about restrictions on the freedom of international movement and the temporary prevention of Australian citizens from returning to their own country. But what is so different from Daniel Andrews closing Victoria’s borders with no notice, stranding Victorians for days and weeks and, during the long lockdown, surrounding Greater Melbourne with what he happily called the ‘ring of steel’?
The people so vehemently attacking Mr Morrison now are the people who lauded Mr Andrews to the skies for ‘keeping us safe’ from the consequences of his own hotel quarantine failures, who not only resented anyone questioning his judgment and actions but labelled his interrogators enemies of the people.
Where were they when Western Australia’s Mark McGowan turned his state into a hermit kingdom, and more recently has locked down Greater Perth not once but twice based on just one case each time of community-transmitted Covid?
And where were they when Annastacia Palasczuk decreed that Queensland public hospitals were only for Queenslanders, and not for those poxy New South Welshmen living just across the border who depended on them for vital treatments, some dying because the border closure prevented them getting treated close to their homes?
Praising them as the gold standard of Australian political leadership, that’s where. And in the case of Queensland and Western Australia, delighted their governments were rewarded strongly at the ballot box.
Now these warriors of the Left are launching into NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian for taking added precautions this week around a possible community-transmitted outbreak but not applying a lockdown. It seems Labor premiers getting tough good; Coalition PMs and premiers doing the same bad.
From what is being discussed by National Cabinet today about lifting quarantine caps for repatriation flights after the Indian ‘pause’, the travel ban will expire, as first announced, on 15 May. Even if the tragic statistics in India remain so awfully high or worsens, Foreign Minister Marise Payne confirmed overnight that the ban will not be extended.
The ban may be harsh. But that does not make it wrong in intent. For those on the Left to rally around their state premiers for establishing rings of steel that shut out many of their own citizens and made a mockery of free movement within this great Commonwealth of ours, while excoriating the Prime Minister for doing exactly the same at an international level, is not only inconsistent, but also hypocritical.
Terry Barnes edits our daily newsletter, the Morning Double Shot. You can sign up for your Morning Double Shot of news and comment here.
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