Nature abhors a vacuum (of leadership)

Of course we need to amend this maxim, because in the case of a seemingly all-conquering virus, nature LOVES a vacuum. The failure of leadership in Australia has been demonstrated, once again, by the mis-steps of our so-called leaders. They then exacerbate the problem by not owning their mistakes, and blindly asserting, against all the evidence, that they are following ‘medical advice’. This is like saying “God told me to do it”.

Morrison and Hunt had two jobs between them

Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt had just two jobs to do. The pandemic had been weathered, the people were feeling safe and even trusting. The dynamic duo merely had to manage the return of Australians stranded overseas, and as a final grace note, to get everyone vaccinated.

We all know their repeated refrain that they don’t even eat breakfast until it is cleared by ‘medical experts’. So it is almost impossible to believe that they have not acted on the desperate need to build dedicated quarantine facilities, rather than to rely on often second rate hotels for quarantine. As every premier and every health officer, in all the states, continually remind us, the hotels are for tourists. They are not quarantine stations.

If we can afford to send Matthias Cormann jet-setting around the globe on his very own VIP jet, we can afford to build some quarantine hubs. Equally, if we can afford to spend $600 million on a great white elephant, a gas fired power station, we can afford to build quarantine hubs.

They don’t need to be luxurious. I once worked in Dampier in W.A. and the accommodation was cheap, but it separated the workers, and if needed, it kept us away from the town. Job done. These villages are everywhere in the outback, some even abandoned, if the mine has closed up, and moved along. How hard would it be to find some workers’ huts, and move them? Or if it is too difficult to find some, build some of our own!

Is Morrison doing everything?

The Victorians have even done the preliminary research, scoping out the best sites. All the Feds had to do was to evaluate the site(s) and proceed, or reject the proposal. But no – the Morrison Cabinet is very different from any I can recall. It is not run like a boardroom, but more like a mediaeval court, with Morrison seemingly dictating policy, ministerial responsibilities, their daily talking points, even the colour of their ties. So he hedged, daily. The best we have seen is that it might be worth considering.

Consider the fact that no Minister ever disagrees with Morrison. No Minister appears to have any original thoughts; they all just go along with the ‘group-think’. So if Morrison is too tied up with all the scandals he daily deals with, perhaps he was too busy to make a decision on quarantine hubs.

We have plenty of evidence that ‘Morrison from Head Office’ is not a great planner, nor does he last very long in his jobs. He has been known to ‘absent himself’ when he feels like it, and the practical day to day stuff often escapes him. Maybe the ministry has picked a dud to follow?

We still have many thousands of Australian citizens stranded overseas. They have a right of return, and whether they are in India or Scotland, we want them back, safely. So what possible reason for the hold up?

If everyone was vaccinated, we would still need quarantine hubs

Recent developments in previously virus-free countries have again proved that this virus is here to stay. Taiwan and Singapore have recently let down their guard, and they have been swamped. Now it looks like the same is happening here. A leak from Adelaide (quarantine) moves to Melbourne, then it moves to southern New South Wales. Where next?

Part B of the optimum plan would be, by overwhelming consensus, vaccinate everyone you can. The results in the U.S. and the U.K. have been miraculous. We forget the horrifying numbers from last year, but they are possible even here, especially with the dangerous variants now arriving. So vaccination is key to long-term protection.

Here is where this badly led, banana republic we call home, decides that, firstly we will wait and see. What were they looking for – a better price? So we missed out on the first batches of vaccines, and then we put all our eggs in the one AstraZeneca basket, and we went to market late. A first year purchasing officer would know that you should diversify your suppliers, so as not to be disappointed when you definitely need the supply.

Another of the reasons for such a rookie failure is that, because of this Government’s war on the Public Service, we have a multi-national contractor ‘handling’ the supply and distribution of the vaccine. What could go wrong with a multi-million dollar contractor not having any experience in something as tiresome as purchasing stuff, and then distributing it? Scotty from the Office, who does not hold a hose, doesn’t buy vaccines, and it seems neither does his fancy contractor.

The next ‘joke’ in this farce is the Government decided that “it is not a race”, kept to that position for four months, until it was actually a race. As per Government policy, even after the Victorian outbreak, Michael McCormack, the Deputy Prime Minister, was on auto-play, repeating the line about there being no race, and so was Dan Tehan, our Trade Minister. One or other of them then explained the difference between a race and a hurry, I think.

They may still be in awe of his last election victory, but let us not forget he sits on the thinnest of margins. So for whatever reason, Morrison declares policy, and he sends various Ministers out to spread the word. We can only hope that the Premiers can save this country, because the no-hopers in power in Canberra could not organise a trip to the lavatory.

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