US President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk saying: “The buck stops here”. If Prime Minister Scott Morrison had a buck-related sign it would say: “Send the buck lower down the food chain to anyone but me.”
The “buck” is a counter used in card games to indicate who is responsible for dealing. If you don’t want the responsibility, you pass the buck to somebody else. Morrison has been adept at that in recent weeks as it becomes clear that he and his government have made bad decisions on quarantine, isolation, and vaccines.
Political tribalism popped up again this week as Australia deals with the Covid pandemic. When Victoria, under a Labor Government, locked down early and hard to fight its second wave of Covid last year, the Coalition Federal Government condemned the action and the Murdoch press stuck the boot into Premier Dan Andrews every day.
But when Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian imposed a similar lockdown (albeit a little late) for exactly the same reasons, the Feds and the Murdoch press say she is doing the right thing. And Lo and Behold, the Feds are now going to kick in $500 million in support for NSW.
Where was Labor in the past couple of weeks? When the Government was flailing badly on vaccinations and integrity, Labor barely squeaked.
It takes two to change a conservative government – a decrepit or deceitful government AND an opposition that is ready with a credible grand vision. History tells us that poor government is not enough for voters to change rulers; nor is an Opposition with a credible plan.
English needs a new word to describe the feeling for the first time you surface from diving on an extensively bleached part of the Great Barrier Reef.
It is like a wine writer grappling to describe a tasting experience, except all the comparisons are awful: despair; anger verging on blind fury; helplessness; blame; resignation; sorrow; hurt; grief; and despondency.
The US alliance is more important to the future of Australia now than it has ever been. Yet this week, the Coalition Government has given the US the biggest slap in the face since the ANZUS treaty was signed 70 years ago.
In the early 19 th century in Britain, Luddites destroyed new technology and opposed the Government. In the early 21 st century in Australia, neo Luddites prop up old technology and are the Government.
In Britain, destroying machines carried the death penalty and a dozen or more Luddites were hanged.
In Australia, the neo-Luddite madness infecting the Federal Government has run to a promise of $600 million in government money for a gas-fired power station and $2 billion to prop up two oil refineries that make inferior petrol.
Thanks must go to Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlika for spelling out exactly how big business thinks: profit first, lives and health last.
“We can’t keep [Covid] out forever,” she told a business leaders’ forum this week. “We’re all going to be sicker than we ever have been in the past because we’re not exposed to the viruses and challenges that the rest of the world is dealing with, so we need to get the borders open for our own health and for the economy . . . . .
“It will make us sick, but won’t put us into hospital. Some people may die, but it will be way smaller than the flu.”