Via a brown-nosing Australian:
Morrison wants to keep public faith in the system, to avoid partisan clashes within the collective state and federal leadership of the national cabinet and criticism of those leaders, as well as drive home the point that the commonwealth “has come to the rescue” of the states, particularly Victoria.
He also pointed to commonwealth offers of help that have or have not been accepted, and made it clear that he and premiers, including Andrews in Victoria, will be accountable for mistakes and failures.
The Victorian Premier wants to deal with the here and now of the pandemic while trying to avoid the damaging distractions of responsibility for Australia’s second wave and the extra national economic burden and to restore confidence in his leadership.
The other state and territory leaders are maintaining a disciplined unity with Victoria — offering all sorts of assistance, while trying to protect their people from the new coronavirus outbreak and prop up their ailing economies with border closures.
What discipline and unity? There is none and that is all Morrison’s fault.
No doubt, Andrews has buggered it up royally. Readers will know that MB would have liked to see the back of him years ago given his population-ponzi economy, treasonous foreign policy adventures and general disregard for probity. These failures led directly to his quarantine stuff up and the cover-up underway today that is killing him politically.
But Morrison has stuffed his job beyond belief. He has been behind the curve throughout the pandemic. Led by the nose by much more decisive state leaders, including Dan Andrews. He has resisted lockdowns, rushed reopenings and fiscal tightening plus convulsively promoted the same population ponzi of importing foreign students and labour from pandemic nations as soon as possible.
This despite commonplace quarantine failures in every state with only small numbers entering. Morrison’s reopening plan to bring in tens or hundreds of thousands of foreigners From pandemic epicentres had disaster written all over it.
Moreover, even as it became plain that the nation was Balkanising into virus-free and virus states, Morrison discouraged VIC from locking down and encouraged NSW to open up, effectively isolating both permanently from all other virus-free states.
Did Morrison think that once NSW and VIC denizens began to die then other states would happily volunteer their borders, perhaps swept aside by his own special magnificence? Clearly, the answer is yes since he supported the Clive Palmer attempt to bulldoze the WA border.
And has he learned the lesson yet? No. The RBA has the inside run on policy. From Friday:
Education exports are also an important component of Australia’s international trade. This includes spending by foreign students when they are in Australia, as well as direct revenues such as university fees. Many students did manage to get to Australia before the borders closed. So, unlike tourism, this component of services exports will not fall to essentially zero, but it has fallen significantly. We project that education exports will remain broadly stable over the next year. This expectation is predicated on the assumption that allowances will be made for some international students to arrive for the start of the 2021 academic year.
In terms of his own plan, then, Morrison’s position today is preposterous. He will now have to argue to fearful Australians trapped in their own states that they should grant free movement across the same closed borders to tens of thousands of foreign students with very high virus occurrence.
This infected hoard will have no responsibility or obligation to the country, exacerbating the risks of already failed quarantine. And why is it coming rather than studying online? To compete directly for jobs with 20% of Australian workers that are under-employed and to bail out a few ponzi-landlords
Nobody said managing the pandemic would be easy. But this outcome is ludicrous economically, pathologically, socially, and politically.
There was and is a better way. As thirty-five eminent economists made clear in April, it was better to not rush reopening and to support the economy fiscally. Whether we pursue virus elimination or suppression this remains true.
But the Morrison Government does not think in terms of “Australia”. What matters to it are the vested interests it needs to manage for political gain. Morrison probably doesn’t even know the difference. After all, he’s a real estate and tourism marketing hack not a leader. For him, it all equates to a few basic Howard-era managerial principles:
- run a tight(ish) budget to claim “good economic management” and drop interest rates as low as possible to boost house prices;
- run mass immigration at full tilt via foreign students and cheap foreign labour to artificially boost demand and crush wages.
Obviously this trickle-down rubbish doesn’t work amid the pandemic. But Morrison is yet to realise it. He’s humpty dumpty with attention deficit disorder; a broken egg compulsively trying to glue himself back together again.
Australia now directly reflects this Morrison catastrophe, with a sundered federation, trashed economic recovery, persistent health risk, massive lifestyle disparities for the duration of the pandemic, and a building fury.