As we await the 2022 Federal Election with cautious anticipation, the question is no longer whether the Morrison Government will survive but rather, will we survive this (never mind another) Morrison Government?
This year, like the last two perilous years under Morrison, began with international attention and, as usual, not for any positive achievements.
BORDERING ON RULES
Referring to the bizarre scenario involving Novak Djokovic’s detainment by Border
Farce Force, Morrison, basking in his five minutes of global interest – reflected though it was, courtesy of the world tennis number one – said:
“Rules are rules. No one is above these rules.”
Much respect to any onlookers who managed to witness this little performance without choking on their morning coffee/stress pill/straight-up firewater.
Because, if “rules are rules”, why do Morrison’s MPs continue to break so many of them and face no consequences?
If rules mean anything at all, why is Australia, not following the international rules under the Human Rights Convention?
If rules are so important, why is the PM letting the pandemic rip, despite the National Cabinet’s stated rules?
And if rules are suddenly so imperative to this caricature of a leader, why does he change them as the mood takes him and then ignore the consequences as he trots off to the cricket, to far-off holiday destinations, or to film himself trying to appear domestically industrious?
As this Federal Government’s incidences of negligence and malfeasance continue to mount, consequences for responsible ministers have yet to emerge. So much for those rules.
IT JUST AIN'T CRICKET
Enough has already been said about Djokovic and the Federal Government looks idiotic enough as it keeps changing its own rules. But farcical though that situation is, perhaps it will help to finally draw attention to Australia’s basement of shame — the place where we keep asylum seekers locked up and torture them against international law. This can surely be the only useful consequence of such a debacle?
There's one set of rules that needs to go.
RULES BE DAMNED
More rules were suddenly done away with, in yet another shambolic episode of Morrison’s “handling” of the pandemic.
“It’s time to give Australians their lives back. ... We’ve decided as a country to live with this virus."
He then stood back awaiting the public adoration that would surely follow.
Pity he didn't bother to tell the states — or consult anyone else about what "we" decided.
Not about to miss out on any presumed adoration, New South Wales Premier Perrottet, eager from the get-go to let the virus rip, threw any prior rules out the window where Federal accountability had been already been tossed, declaring he would be removing both quarantine requirements and caps on overseas arrivals.
And idiotic though it may seem, unlike the PM, Perrottet, despite it not being in his jurisdiction wheelhouse, at least appeared in control as he let loose and announced the borders of his state would be open to all and sundry, rules be damned. Not that this was a helpful break away from the rules, of course, since the other states were, once again, uninformed.
So much for the "no opening up until everyone reaches 80 per cent" rules.
And since then, Australians have watched with varying degrees of fear and horror as all order and semblance of security flew out that now well-used window.
The "National Plan", such it was, is no more.
Vaccination appointment cancelled because there aren't enough to go around? Well, learn to "live with the virus".
Can't access a testing station or a rapid antigen test (RATs) test? We all decided to let it rip.
Have underlying conditions, compromised immune system or too young to have been vaccinated? The virus is to be lived with. Unless, of course, it kills you.
Scott Morrison, in his rush to "live with the virus" come what may, did not first take any safety precautions to prepare Australia's citizens.
Indeed, he has steadfastly refused to assist in any way whatsoever.
Somewhere along the way, "close contacts", defined by the World Health Organization as individuals with 'over 15 minutes face-to-face contact within less than two metres distance' from a positive COVID case, suddenly became "four hours" in Morrison-speak.
Suppliers are pleading for practical help, such as making RATs tests available, as supermarkets and other essential items become scarce while everyone is living/dying with the virus.
And the PM? He has refused point-blank to provide free RATs tests (except for MPs), or to assist pharmacies and GPs to obtain vaccines and, long ago, abdicated his Government's responsibility for quarantine. There is no assistance for sick workers, no assistance for businesses grinding to a halt and clearly, no interest in helping Australians.
So, have you learned to live with the virus, yet? And, either way, will we survive this Morrison Government?
The answers, of course, are not nearly as complicated as the backstory behind why Border Force asked the Victorian Government to allow Djokovic to play tennis ahead of his arrival, allowed him entry into the country and then, at a subsequent time, remembered its own half-baked “rules”.
The answer to all the above questions is that this Morrison Government is not interested in rules. It’s not even concerned with the welfare of its own people in the midst of a global pandemic. Its interests lie only in getting re-elected and appeasing its donors so this can happen.
This editorial was originally published as part of the Independent Australia weekly newsletter. These editorials are usually only available to subscribers and may be read online in the IA members-only area.