Politics Opinion

Scott Morrison to blame for latest Victorian lockdown

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Blame for the latest Melbourne lockdown falls squarely on the ineptitude of the Morrison Government (Image by Dan Jensen)

Victoria is entering yet another lockdown, but Victorians shouldn’t be blaming contact tracers or the State Government, they should be blaming Scott Morrison for his inaction on purpose-built quarantine facilities, writes Hayden O'Connor.

ANOTHER OUTBREAK. Another lockdown. More anti-Victoria media coverage. More ridiculous press questions in press conferences. Deja vu for Victorians as it was announced that Victoria would be heading into a seven-day state-wide lockdown from midnight. The only difference being that Deputy Premier James Merlino delivered the lockdown news instead of Premier Daniel Andrews who is expected to return next month.

This latest outbreak is a result of the virus escaping from hotel quarantine in South Australia. So, is South Australia to blame? No, absolutely not. As we know, COVID-19 has escaped from hotel quarantine in every state but Tasmania and despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s claims that hotel quarantine has been 99.99% successful, we all know that hotels aren’t suited for quarantine purposes. Hotels are for accommodation, not for containing viruses.

Does that mean contact tracing is to blame? Again, no. Whilst the Woolworths mix up is concerning, it was not a mistake from contact tracers — the banking receipt contained incorrect information. Contact tracers can only work with the information they are given and the mix up was not actually linked to the latest outbreak. As per James Merlino’s press conference, contact tracing has been done within 24 hours and all cases are linked. It is clear that contact tracing is not at fault and has done an excellent job in relation to this outbreak.

So who or what is at fault?

According to ABC 7.30’s report on Wednesday, this outbreak could have been avoided with Professor Brendan Crabb stating:

“This outbreak is inevitable. We will see more until hotel quarantine is tightened up. So it's a weakness in our system that needn't be and let's hope this is the wake-up call to fix it.”

He also added:

“With a bit of luck and good management, this Melbourne outbreak will be the warning shot we need to get vaccinated.”

The evidence is clear that Scott Morrison and his government are to blame for this lockdown. Australia needs purpose-built quarantine facilities and we need a faster vaccine rollout. Sending extra vaccines to Victoria now is a little too late.

James Merlino made his thoughts known on the slow vaccine rollout when announcing that Victorians over 40 would now be eligible for vaccination, saying:

“We also know our nation’s vaccine rollout has been slower than we’d hoped. And if more people were vaccinated, we might be facing a different set of circumstances. Sadly, we're not.” 

Scott Morrison could have commenced construction on purpose-built quarantine facilities last year and if he had done, they would have been completed and in use by now. We could also be producing our own Pfizer in Australia right now if Scott Morrison acted earlier to set up mRNA manufacturing capacity. Instead, Victoria has put plans to the Federal Government for purpose-built quarantine, as has Queensland. Victoria has also invested in mRNA manufacturing. The states are stepping up whilst Scott Morrison is simply missing in action but unfortunately, that doesn’t do much for Victorians who are entering another lockdown. 

If you’re in Victoria and you’re angry about another lockdown, don’t blame the Victorian Government, don’t blame South Australia and don’t blame the contact tracers. Direct your blame and anger at Scott Morrison. His inaction and incompetence are literally putting your life and livelihood at risk.

Hayden O’Connor is an I.T. professional from Tasmania who currently lives in Melbourne. You can follow Hayden on Twitter @HaydenJOConnor.

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