To reiterate, again, for the last of this series: someone online asked me and others to explain why we could not vote for the Morrison government (not that I ever would), I replied:
“The constant lies, misogyny, racism, idiocy, petulance, corruption, pork barrelling, religious nutjobbery, hatred of expertise, shirking of responsibility, shifting of blame to the blameless, the stealing of credit from the creditable. #WhyIWantChange”1
This is the eighth instalment and deals with Morrison’s stealing of credit from those who deserve it. The first instalment dealt with the government’s constant lying and their misogyny1; the second with their racism, and their use of it, as well as the extraordinarily idiotic things members of the government say2; the third with their petulance and corruption3; the fourth with the government’s pork barrelling4; the fifth with their religious nutjobbery5; the sixth with the hatred of those with expertise6; the seventh with their shirking of responsibility and the shifting of blame7. The stealing of credit from those who deserve it, is what Morrison does when he thinks nobody in the media will notice it was others who did the hard work.
Scott Morrison stated at a Sydney Institute address that JobKeeper was “a uniquely Australian solution” to COVID-19 and that “We didn’t go down the path that others thought we should and criticised us for not doing. We went down a very Australian path. JobKeeper was an Australian idea.” As Michael Roddan said in the Australian Financial Review “What guff! JobKeeper was unique to Australia only in the sense that it was as ill-designed as the PM’s uniquely senseless remarks. New Zealand announced its wage subsidy scheme on March 17, making JobKeeper, announced on March 30, simply plagiarism”. Perhaps, by ‘unique’ Morrison is pointing to the distinctively Australian feature of JobKeeper in that it failed to require recipients to prove they needed government support”, unlike the New Zealand scheme, which had added rigour after three months of payments. Unlike Morrison’s mess, New Zealand’s unique foresight mandated a public register of all recipients. Because of this cockup, Australians don’t know what proportion of the $40 billion in payments to firms that did not suffer the requisite fall in revenue8.
On July 30, 2021, in a National Cabinet statement, Morrison announced a four-phase National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response “from its current pre-vaccination settings focused on continued suppression of community transmission, to post-vaccination settings focused on prevention of serious illness and fatalities, whereby the public health management of COVID-19 is consistent with other infectious diseases”9.
Nowhere did Morrison acknowledge the proposals announced ahead of the National Cabinet meeting by the Premier of Victoria, Dan Andrews, which the National Cabinet had effectively endorsed in its National Plan10.
As part of his re-election campaign, Morrison has claimed his handling of the pandemic had saved 40,000 lives. This figure compares Australia over 2020 and 2021 with an average derived across higher-risk mostly northern hemisphere countries11.
Compared with most other countries, Australia was relatively unscathed by the pandemic, in 2020 and 2021, although its health results were achieved by severe measures, including lockdowns and border closures. In those two years, 0.15% of the population in OECD countries died of Covid-19 which, if applied to the Australian population, is about 40,000. It is also noteworthy that this number only compares 2020 and 2021, not 2022, a year so far in which hospitalisations and deaths increased significantly due to eased restrictions, despite very high rates of vaccination12. About two-thirds of Australia’s total deaths from Covid-19 (6,804) have occurred in the less than four months of 202213.
Mathematician James Wood said the results would be “very different” in 2022, and Australia would be “much closer to the OECD average” because Covid-19 has had a similar impact once restrictions were eased. Professor Nancy Baxter, the head of the University of Melbourne’s school of population health said: “What we’ve seen with Omicron and the loosening of restrictions is a lot of unnecessary deaths and hospitalisations,” she said. Baxter cited mask mandates, working from home and better ventilation as policy settings that could have saved lives. She also said the 40,000 number “fails to acknowledge any potential to do better: a faster vaccine rollout could have saved a lot of grief”, and that the commonwealth “set priorities for vaccination that were entirely sensible – it just didn’t enact anything that would make that happen”, leaving Indigenous Australians, aged care residents and people with disabilities behind. She added that it was “questionable” for the federal government to be taking credit, because many of the policy levers were activated by states, such as lockdowns, mask mandates and gathering limits, to make up for federal deficiencies12.
It is impossible to be any more disgusted by the antics of Morrison. He and his government are the most disgraceful federal government I have seen in decades watching politics. They are the most corrupt, malignant, self-serving bunch of spivs I have ever seen. I hope never to see anything like them again in this nation. Back in 1980, the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew suggested that Australians would end up as the ‘poor white trash of Asia’, if we didn’t open up our economy14. The Hawke and Keating governments did open up the economy and we did not become the poor white trash of Asia. However, if the Morrison government are not ejected in May, Lee’s prediction may still become reality, not because our economy is closed, but because we have a deeply corrupt banana republic government.