Mike Hosking: We're dawdling while Australia's open for business

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 2 Dec 2020, 5:50PM
Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison. (Photo / Getty)
Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison. (Photo / Getty)

Mike Hosking: We're dawdling while Australia's open for business

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 2 Dec 2020, 5:50PM

I could well be preaching to the deaf here, especially given the Ipsos poll out this week that claims 75 percent of us love the border being shut.

75 percent of us also love wearing masks, which does seem the oddest thing in an already odd year, given we don’t have Covid.

It’s literally got so batty and bad I bet many of those mask wearers would say something like ‘better safe than sorry’ even though there is no Covid.

It’s sort of like not crossing the road, because you just never know, even though actually you do.

Of course like most polls it depends a lot on how you ask the question. The border isn’t actually closed - that’s why we have MIQ. And the question wasn’t nuanced enough to garner whether we would be open to the idea of a little entrepreneurial thought around it.

For example, should certain industries like education or big business be able to run their own facilities to boost the number of students and workers allowed in the country?

Should the government look to expand their capability to achieve the same sort of result?

Should the government look to try a bit harder to actually fill the gaps they’ve got in MIQ to try and get as many people here as is possible?

Because here’s what’s happening.

Australia already has RSE workers arriving and picking crops, so they’re beating us to market.

Australia now has its first foreign students on the ground and in quarantine. They are beating us to the rebuild of an industry: here it’s worth $5 billion, there its worth over $30 billion.

The internal borders of the entire eastern seaboard are now open. Even Western Australia, almost as arcane and conservative as us, is opening to the rest of Australia later this month.

Australia is open for business.

Even a bunch of medicos in Melbourne stand aghast currently wondering why our side of the trans-tasman bubble hasn’t been enacted.

To the winners goes the spoils, or in this case, the produce to market, the students to unis, the tourists to Queensland.

The vaccine will only accelerate this. Some in this world are not cowered by Covid. Some are aspirational, and energetic for re-emergence. Australia is a good example of this by doing the spade work now.

They will see a better and more prosperous 2021, while we dawdle at our peril.