You know something is awry when they roll out Simon Birmingham. That is because he is the only remaining member of Morrison’s Government who is not openly despised by the vast majority of people in Australia.
He took over the role after Matthias Cormann got his big job. It is hard to say who is more dedicated to talking points, but Birmingham is growing into the role. He makes the relentless spinning, no matter how dire the situation, appear normal. He would make a jolly good grief counsellor, post politics.
Today he was sent out to defend the so-called “push-through” that Morrison, and his fellow Christian fundamentalist Perrottet, have forced on an unwilling populace. Lost amongst the blather and the word salads look at the deaths recorded every single day, mainly restricted in these early days of Omicron, to Sydney and Melbourne.
How many deaths from this ‘mild’ variant are they prepared to wear? Do five figures mean they made a mistake? What about the next variant? Will we have the same magical thinkers still trying to manage this outbreak? Will they have an adviser explain that without healthy workers we cannot have a healthy economy?
Birmingham spent five minutes telling ABC morning television that the Omicron variant is mild, and that the government is on top of it, that RATs are on their way, and that there is no problem sending close contacts back to work, and school-kids back to school, because one it is mild, and two, the RATs are on their way. The fact that GPs all over the country are being forced to cancel their appointments to vaccinate schoolkids is merely a matter of people talking to their GP. Incorrect. There are not enough vaccines for the 5-11 year olds, and if there are they are not where they are needed.
Responding to questions as to why there are no RATs to be found, he responds that there is a world-wide shortage. There isn’t, because the other countries with which these people compare Australia, ordered theirs, in quantity, and in time. So there you have the complete picture. Morrison, or Hunt, or maybe the parliamentary cat, forgot to order any, until they lost the advantage of being able to observe the wave spread throughout the northern hemisphere.
They saw that hospitals became choked with desperate patients, looked after by exhausted medical staff. They were able to see the importance of RATs in controlling the ability of the workforces to be at least protected from infectious colleagues.
So, Morrison is embarrassed, again, by another crucial failure. Don’t they add up, though? The bushfires, the vaccine strollout, the fiasco in Glasgow, his failure to protect women in the workplace, in the home, and in the streets.
Now we are facing shortages of food, shortages of medical care, shortages of vaccines again, his re-deployment of the general to hide behind, and a new catch-cry, “push through”. He defends his inability to plan by the diversion of telling us we cannot be trusted not to hoard non-available RATs, and that as a responsible money manager, no free tests. We then had the outgoing Health Minister join in, telling us we can’t have any more free stuff. Let me assure my fellow Australians that Greg Hunt will retire this year, with lots and lots of our money, packaged into a super account which would make your eyes water.
But wait, there is more! Old freedom loving Morrison tells us to exercise our Australian larrikin spirit, by getting governments out of our lives. Remember who is speaking here; this freedom fighter is a devotee of a church which believes the bible is literal truth, and who will not be guaranteed a place in heaven unless he is publicly baptised. A man who voted against same-sex marriage, because he believes so strongly in freedom.
And yet we are continuing to die, at a steady rate, and rising. Sydney and Melbourne today, total deaths 50. Not so mild, if it has the ability to regularly take our lives. Remember his executive action when someone was putting pins in strawberries? Very strict laws, his most rewarding legislative triumph, we presume.
What about ensuring we have the necessary testing equipment before throwing the old and the sick to the wolves? How about telling the truth when asked about the kids’ vaccinations? What about the matter of free RATs, for everyone. Because it works. Even his role model, Boris the party boy, gives RATs away.
He is still pushing the Religious Discrimination Bill, which is so important that no-one in the country cares. Oh, except for the homophobes and the Christian lobby, who want to be able to discriminate against Muslims and gay school kids. And gay teachers, or even teachers who don’t see anything wrong with being gay.
He won’t even introduce his Federal Integrity Bill, though. It is interesting to watch the goings on inside this man’s head, even as the death toll mounts, and he continues to go missing when the going gets tough. Is this a good time to say, God help us! But no more tennis players, please.