Mike's Minute: On handling Covid, Scott Morrison wins again

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 Mar 2021, 2:00PM

Mike's Minute: On handling Covid, Scott Morrison wins again

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 Mar 2021, 2:00PM

Friday afternoon, the tale of two Prime Ministers.

At 4PM our Prime Minister announces we still have restrictions in Auckland. Level two, not level three, but ask an event organiser how that feels. The rest of the country is back to level one.

No one disagrees this is the messiest of the lockdowns. There has been acrimony, complaints, narking, and general frustration that a year on we are still doing this. But the Prime Minister does not back down, does not apologise, and in fact, with a grand total of no cases, announces she'd do it all again exactly the same way.

An hour earlier, 3PM, Scott Morrison leaves his National Cabinet meeting and announces a migrant worker hub so they can bring more labour into the country. He announces the significant expansion of an MIQ facility so they can bring more Australians home. He praises the medics who, that morning, started rolling out the AstraZeneca jab in South Australia.  And then announces that the CSL, the government owned medical facility, will in have produce 1 million doses vaccine per week.

He also talked of the economic news of the week and generally spoke of Australia being the best performer in the world. The last part is, of course, what you would expect him to say, but the earlier bits are fact. You can't argue with them.

So the tale of two Prime Ministers, one is expanding migrant worker numbers, we aren't. One is expanding MIQ, we aren't. One has has started their AstraZeneca programme, we haven't. In fact, we haven't even cleared it, far less got any.

One is producing a million doses, we aren't. So, what that shows is, we are not at the front of the queue, and indeed never were. Much more importantly we most certainly are not in lock step with Australia as so frequently claimed.

Eventually the frustration we have seen this last week over lockdown will pervade the overall performance debate. As the contrasts grows greater, as the vaccination passports get handed out in Australia, more here will ask why we haven't even started our vaccine campaign to the wider public.

The excuse we've used that we don’t need to because we haven't had Covid will be exposed for the lie it is. The same sort of lie about being in lockstep, or at the head of the queue.

Australia has always been our greatest friend, ally, and unfortunately repository for talent and labour. The latter because they're aspirational and appealing.

If our Prime Minister thinks her approach, a year old and increasingly fragmented, creaky, and disliked is the way forward, the numbers both economically and through migration will, in time, expose that thanking for the dishonest, superficial nonsense that it is.  

And in two hours on Friday, you saw the stark contrast of what we are versus what we could be.