Via the AFR’s Phil Coorey:
The former fire chiefs had been begging the Prime Minister for a meeting since April to impress upon him the severity and scale of the forthcoming fire season and the need for increased resources such as firefighting aircraft and military deployment.
For months they were fobbed off and their advice ignored, because they also wanted to talk about climate change.
When Scott Morrison dashed home from his pre-Christmas Hawaiian holiday after having severely underestimated the situation, he put in place many of the measures that the fire chiefs had advocated.
… After first ignoring the warnings, he hid behind process, saying his hands were tied when it came to deploying the military or helping fund new planes.
…When he finally decided to act unilaterally, he made great ceremony of the fact and used his National Press Club speech this week to flag legislative changes to enable the Commonwealth to declare a state of emergency and deploy all resources as it deemed necessary.
And at the other end of the poltical spectrum is Crikey’s Bernard Keane:
After his National Press Club speech to mark the start of the political year yesterday, it’s clear that, at least for now, Scott Morrison has nothing to offer.
It looks like 2020 will be another year of doing nothing. There will be a pretense of action, and copious amounts of marketing spin, but Morrison, the most hollow prime minister in living memory, has nothing, at a moment when the country needs leadership more than at any stage in recent decades.
It’s also clear — to the extent that it might not have been from his stint at Tourism Australia — that Morrison isn’t a particularly good marketer. His speech made “where the bloody hell are you?” look like genius.
Condemned from left and right. So, let’s tally the ScoMo scorecard:
- On China and the politcal influence crisis: 5/10. He has kept the corrupt Gladys Liu but did eventually fund a co-ordinated Home Affairs pushback.
- On the bushfire crisis: 2/10. Fucked off to Hawaii. Too slow in every respect. Useless and often offensive with victims.
- On the economy: 4/10. Housing obsessed. Mass immigration obsessed. Zero structural reform. Weak growth a direct result of Budget obsession. But jobs have held up so far.
- On climate change and energy: 2/10. Lies constanly. Has no policy initiative. Bastardises whatever he touches.
- Governing: 2/10. Has no policy process. Has tin ear and makes terrible captain’s calls. Generally does nothing so as to not disrupt house prices.
That’s about as bad a scorecard as I can remember for a first year PM. Worse than Tony Abbott who got the boot for it.
This morning we get classic Scotty from Marketing. All talking and no doing:
“The National Security Committee will meet today again to go over all of our arrangements, preparations, the co-operation, the pre-planning and the precautions we are putting in place and in particular, working with our State Government partners who are doing an amazing job on the ground with their tremendous facilities,” the Prime Minister said on Friday.
“Australia has been acting in advance of this decision,” Mr Morrison said. “All of the issues – isolation, case management, contract tracing, prevention of onward spread, active surveillance, early detection – Australia has been doing.’
Here’s an example of Scotty from Marketing’s “amazing job” at Nine:
Authorities are hunting down 170 passengers who were on a Tigerair flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast after an infected Chinese national on board potentially exposed them to coronavirus.
One of the passengers on board was 9News reporter Maggie Raworth, who is now in self-quarantine on the Gold Coast.
The flight took off on Monday, but Ms Raworth told Today she only found out yesterday that she could be at risk.
“I’ve been working all week on the Gold Coast as a reporter here. I was covering a story yesterday interviewing people as per usual. That’s when my producer called me and asked me a few questions asking what flight were you on on Monday night and that’s when I learned I was on the flight with the same man who has contracted coronavirus.”
Ms Raworth says there have been mixed messages from authorities when it comes to information and guidance on what she should do now.
“I’ve been told quite a few different things,” she said.
“Yesterday afternoon…they told me I was at risk…then late yesterday I called once again and…they are saying I am at a low risk. I just don’t really know what to do.
If the virus crisis metastasises, such ineptitude will cost lives.