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What’s the point of Australia? Lockdown has revealed the Government's impotence

Melbourne under siege (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)


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September 7, 2021   5 mins
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September 7, 2021   5 mins

As the Covid-19 pandemic grinds past the 18-month mark, Australians would be justified in asking: what is the point of Australia? This question is not intended to be facetious or provocative: Australia no longer seems to function like a country and Australian citizenship has been largely drained of legal and practical meaning.

Thousands of Australian citizens remain stranded abroad, unable to return due to strict caps on spots in hotel quarantine, which are set by state governments. Frequent domestic border closures — also decided by state governments — have effectively fragmented Australia into eight separate countries. Last month, Australians were treated to the surreal spectacle of the Australian Defence Force patrolling the border between Queensland and New South Wales.

Across the country, citizens have discovered that reserve powers are largely the prerogative of state governments, and are being exercised in ways that routinely exclude other states’ residents, as if they were foreign nationals. For example, Western Australia now requires that people living in New South Wales have at least one shot of the Covid vaccine to enter the state. In one of the most callous examples of exclusionary state politics in practice, last year the Queensland government denied a 14-year-old double-lung transplant patient from NSW access to his specialist doctor, declaring that Queensland hospitals were for Queenslanders.

Indeed, throughout the pandemic, it seems that states’ rights have trumped citizens’ rights — while at the same time reducing federal government to a feckless bystander.

How quickly things change. Few would have predicted that the Australian federation would suffer from such deep fragmentation before the pandemic. After all, the trend for decades had gone in exactly the opposite direction, towards greater centralisation of power at the federal level. Australia’s federalism was long viewed by political scientists as one of the world’s most “vertically imbalanced”; the Commonwealth has controlled around 80% of tax revenue since World War II, making Australia’s states reliant on federal transfers for half their budgets.

Federal governments used this leverage to introduce greater controls over how the states spend their money, by introducing a host of national schemes that promised funding to the states which agreed to undertake reforms. In some cases, such as in the National Disability Insurance Scheme initiated in 2013, states were relieved of their responsibility for disability care altogether, in favour of private and non-profit service-providers.

But when the pandemic struck in March 2020, state governments moved swiftly into the driver’s seat. Harnessing emergency powers few realised they possessed, they imposed society-wide lockdowns and closed internal borders. Although the constitution accords responsibility over quarantine and international borders to the federal government, lack of federal preparedness saw state governments assume full control over the hotel quarantine system, which was hastily established over one weekend. Since hotel quarantine capacity determines the number of weekly international arrivals into Australia, the states in effect have de facto control over international borders.

Initially, many were thrilled to see state governments taking strong action, especially as Prime Minister Scott Morrison was slow to act in the face of the pandemic. And premiers have been rewarded for this by remarkable levels of popular support, especially when they succeeded in keeping Covid out of their states. The Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, and Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan, were both easily returned to government in their respective state elections. In McGowan’s case, re-election was secured by a margin rarely observed in free and fair democratic polls.

Morrison, meanwhile, despite initially enjoying high levels of public approval, has seen his popularity plunge to negative territory, as lockdowns and border closures sparked by the Delta variant have again handed the initiative to the states. Aware of the potential for incoherence and discord within the federation, he established a National Cabinet in March last year as a platform for federal and state leaders to coordinate policy directly. The National Cabinet was initially heralded a success, with the nationally coordinated lockdown of March-May 2020 eliminating community transmission in Australia. However, beneath the veneer of cooperation, there was squabbling and petty tribalism.

There were, for example, no national standards developed, so each state designed its own hotel quarantine system differently. When these systems failed, rather than learn from each other’s mistakes, states preferred to take pot shots at each other about whose Covid response was best.

The repercussions of this petulance soon became clear. In Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, poorly trained and precariously employed security guards caught Covid from returned travellers and then spread it in the community, sparking the state’s second wave last winter, resulting in more than 19,000 cases and 800 deaths, as well as a 112-day lockdown.

Victoria tried to redress these problems by establishing a centralised agency for managing hotel quarantine, but in June a leak from NSW sparked another wave of infections, which spread to other states and even New Zealand, resulting in more lockdowns. The outbreak was caused by an unvaccinated driver without the correct PPE transporting airline crew from the airport to the quarantine hotel. While NSW requires all drivers to be vaccinated and wear a mask, compliance and enforcement was left to the private transport companies. Once again, the failure to learn from best practice in other parts of the country had disastrous consequences.

As the pandemic has worn on, these skirmishes have erupted into open warfare, exacerbating the formidable challenge of developing and implementing an exit strategy from lockdown. Take the federal government’s recently proposed four-phase plan for reopening borders and ending restrictions. Based on Doherty Institute modelling, it anticipates reopening to be safe enough when 80% of the eligible adult population are fully vaccinated. Although initially approved in National Cabinet, some states almost immediately began to pull away.

The was mainly due to the emergence of two Australias. The first, which includes the two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, has suffered major outbreaks and long lockdowns. Consequently, they have abandoned “Zero Covid” strategies and accepted that reopening will involve some risk of the virus’ spread and mortalities.

The second group, however, led by Queensland and WA, has so far managed to avoid major outbreaks thanks to border closures and snap lockdowns. Although indicating basic support for vaccination as a way out of isolation, their premiers have nonetheless repeatedly raised the threshold for reopening beyond the figures suggested in the Doherty model.

Palaszczuk, for example, recently argued that reopening should only occur after children younger than 12 were vaccinated. This is despite the fact that no country in the world has vaccinated under-12s, no vaccines are currently approved for this age group and their risk of serious illness is vanishingly low. Yet McGowan concurred, and wondered aloud why the federal government would want to “infect” WA. Although Palaszczuk backtracked a few days later, it is clear that reopening Australia, internally and internationally, will be fraught and challenged at every step, and finding a unified position among the federal and state governments will be difficult, if not impossible.

Australia’s federation is thus facing one of the biggest challenges in its history. Australia’s hodgepodge of state-based systems and responses, combined with endless acrimony and buck-passing, contrasts poorly with New Zealand’s more coherent “whole-of-government” approach, even though both countries are effectively following the same elimination strategy. If there’s one lesson for Australia in the past eighteen months, it’s surely that a greater consolidation of powers within the federal government is necessary for ensuring a unified, efficient and effective national response.

Ironically, however, it is likely this crisis will likely have the opposite effect, further entrenching the fragmentation of Australia’s federation, guaranteeing the same problems will recur in future crises. For state governments and their residents will not forget where reserve powers are truly located, and that they may be exercised with little regard for national agendas or citizenship rights.

In the absence of constitutional reform or some other change within Australian federalism, the temptation in future crises will always be for states to go it alone. So, what is the point of Australia? With 54% of WA residents in a recent survey declaring themselves “Western Australians” first rather than Australians, perhaps it is time we stop taking the answer for granted.


Shahar Hameiri is a Professor in the School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland, Australia

ShaharHameiri

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Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

Compared to the USA, Australians have a poor understanding of their Constitution, of how Federation came about and what powers lie with the states vs commonwealth.

One, vainly probably, hopes that the covid responses will be the start of some enlightenment and reform.

Comparisons with NZ, a single state with one unicameral parliament, aren’t illuminating.

Australia has, counting state, territory and federal, upper and lower houses, 15 parliaments, for a population less than Texas.

Not to mention virtual city states like Melbourne and Sydney councils.
No wonder visitors feel like it’s over governed. It is.

Chris Eaton
Chris Eaton
2 years ago

I’m pretty sure, as an American, the Australian Constitution only faintly mirrors ours in any significant way.

Last edited 2 years ago by Chris Eaton
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Eaton

I’m not sure what you’re saying – are there some words missing?, but to clarify – my point was that Australians do not understand their own constitution as well as Americans understand theirs.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Eaton

Why would being “as an American” help you with understanding the Australian constitution? I’m sure you know the American one.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

The ANZAC and Canadians have become such PU* SI ES. What is wrong with you all? You are like a bunch of rabbits hiding in your holes.

rbrown
rbrown
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Rather smug rabbits, too

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

What would you rather they done, open up the borders to foreign citizens and have to pay good money to cover the extra healthcare costs? Why would they do something that would cost them money and cause their citizens to get ill when they didn’t have to?

David Bell
David Bell
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

They aren’t letting their own citizens return. I don’t know any other country as draconian.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

That’s true in the case of Australia admittedly, though he included NZ and Canada in his rant so I’m interested to see what all three are doing that he is so appalled by

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
2 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Our ‘own citizens’ are mostly those who took on citizenship for what it could provide for them and have little allegiance to the nation.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Agreed. Embarrassed Aussie here. We are held hostage by our egalitarian past and feminism. Everything I held to be good about Australia (resilience, independence, humour, distrust of authority) have been replaced by weak kneed compliance and silence. The Australia of yesteryear lives on amongst a significant but vastly under represented minority.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

In any society, the change occurs when 50% live in cities and not in the countryside, working the land. The reason why so many Special Forces units in WW2 included New Zealanders ( LRDG) was that they were all tough practical farmers.When did the USA become 50% urban, around 1900 ? Once the ruling class is urban rather than land owning/rural, one sees a massive decline in backbone and common sense. The Founding Fathers of the USA were landowners, not office workers.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
2 years ago

What might bring Australia together as a nation? Sport? The Flag? The national anthem?
Waltzing Matilda?
Very few Australians actually know the origin of their favourite national song – and telling them is usually a pretty good way of starting a fight.
The tune itself is that of a march ‘The Bold Fusilier’, that was popular with British soldiers in the C18th
If you google “Waltzing Matilda”, or search through wiki, you’ll get a sanitised – and wholly incorrect – version of its history
To wit: â€œWaltzing Matilda” is Australia’s best-known bush ballad, and has been described as the country’s “unofficial national anthem”. The title was Australian slang for travelling on foot with one’s belongings in a “matilda” slung over one’s back.
Not so.
In fact the original expression was coined by British troops serving in the Napoleonic Wars. The British army maintained much tighter discipline than their European counterparts, and so the opportunities for soldiers to visit brothels or of enjoying some female companionship (whether bought, borrowed or stolen) were much curtailed.
To pleasure themselves, soldiers would tighten up their bedding rolls and hump the end of them. The colloquial term for this was “Taking Abigail (or Matilda) for a Waltz.”
Many early Australian settlers (whether involuntary or free men) would have previously served in the Army, thus the term “Taking Matilda for a Waltz” would have been well-known to them.
Bushmen, who often spent months at a time starved of female companionship, would no doubt have known – and probably employed – the “bedding-roll method” of working-off their frustrations and loneliness.
I’m not saying that the songwriter necessarily knew the connotation of the term – and might indeed have believed it was simply about carrying a knapsack – but it is always worth remembering that when Australian sportsmen, clutching the national symbol on their jersey, and singing with misty-eyed patriotism, launch into a round of “Waltzing Matilda”, they are, in fact, singing in exultation of an elaborate w@nk!

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Wonderful! I hope it’s true.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

The story of it I knew was of a bush wandering ruffian – who then steals a sheep (you’ll come a Waltzing Matilda with me he sings as he leads it off) and later is cought by locals (who sing, you’ll come a Waltzing Matilda with me as they drag him off) who hang him for it and so he dances his Waltsing Matilda at the end of the rope, and finally his ghost sings it. A song of harsh life and death in a harsh place.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Correct. The tune was from a traditional Scottish folk song.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

What di the ruffian do to the sheep?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I’m pretty sure it is not, for reasons explained above.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

No need for all the “would have” and “could have” w@nkery.
For a start – there is no record of the British self-pleasuring song until some years after Waltzing Matilda was written and published. It’s most likely a parody of Waltzing Matilda, not the other way round.
“Matilda” wasn’t a common word for a swag. More common was “bluey”. “Waltzing bluey” , still common in my father’s time, was the whimsical phrase used for going on the road with your possessions carried in a blue blanket roll. It probably derives from the German term for journeymen going “on the road” – auf der walz.
I have not heard Australian sportsmen or women singing Waltzing Matilda at an international match for decades. The song became toxic to the media when the then bete noir of the Australian left, Malcolm Fraser , proposed it as the national anthem in 1976. It has been sung since by drunken fans in gatherings, or the entire cricket team on the plane home in the 1980s or 90s, led by David Boon of course.
The writing of Waltzing Matilda is a matter of record. The most extensive work on its origin has been done by author Diana Figgis, who Wiki quotes sparingly without acknowledgement while padding their entry out with various lefty academic attempts to claim the song as a socialist anthem for the union movement.
I quote briefly from Ms Figgis (later research established that the “autoharp” was a 3-string zither, which must have altered the melody and rhythm of the tune MacPherson had heard a year earlier and adapted and memorised on piano):

1895, while staying in Queensland, “Banjo” Paterson had met Christina Macpherson. Her playing on an autoharp of a tune she had memorised inspired him to write lyrics to preserve the melody. Christina Macpherson had heard the tune the previous year at the annual steeplechase at Warrnambool, Victoria. A band played a tune by Thomas Bulch which he called “The Craigielee March”. Tom Bulch’s march was, in turn, derived from a Scottish melody, “Thou Bonnie Wood o’ Craigie Lee”, composed by James Barr (1781–1860) to words by his friend Robert Tannahill (1774–1810), a native of Paisley.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
2 years ago

Defensive much?

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Defending what?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

How do you know your version is true?! It seems pretty unlikely to me. After all, despite the bawdiness of soldiers and sailors, and lots of sea and marching songs – sex, masturbation, visiting brothels etc don’t seem be favoured topics. Love, girls, yes. This explanation also seems to run counter to human nature, in that while we know ‘these things go on’, our sexual activities are largely private to ourselves. We might tell ‘daring’ jokes – even these can be excruciatingly embarrassing.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

It wasn’t a song. It was a colloquial expression. If you said that someone was “taking Abigail for a waltz” it meant he was shagging his bedding roll.
Abigail was the favoured nomination, though other names – including Matilda – were used.

Last edited 2 years ago by Paddy Taylor
Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
2 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Rugby Union embraced the ‘Aussie Battler’ flavour of Waltzing Matilda to disguise it’s upper middle class disregard for blue collar workers. Still tries it on. Alas, the Wallabies are a sad reflection of our nation; over represented by people with no allegiance to the nation. Yet AFL and Rugby League retain some of the resilience Aussies were once renowned for.
As for the song, my recollection is of a remake of a traditional Scottish song. Pretty sure masturbatory behaviour was not up for public discussion back in the days you speak of.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

This back and forth over a folk song and jacking off has to be one of the most interesting and entertaining arguments I have ever seen on the internet.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt Hindman
Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

As I noted in my original post, it does seem a frighteningly easy way to start a fight. Which wasn’t my intention.
I once gave a potted history of the expression, and thus likely the song – in the most good-natured manner possible – to a couple of our colonial cousins at Twickenham quite a few years ago, I realise it tends to raise hackles.
Not helped by the fact that the Australian front row was getting marmalized for much of the game.
It took a couple of pints and the lobbing of a few charm grenades to avoid a diplomatic incident.
Happy days.
I doubt whoever wrote the song was penning an ode to mattress-based masturbation – but it would seem wildly coincidental that the term “Taking matilda for a waltz”, and Waltzing Matilda were not connected.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

You seem offended that actual Australians (most of whom couldn’t give a rat’s about RU) don’t collude in your ignorance. Defensive, much?

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

It’s more about known history vs fantasy.

Josh Woods
Josh Woods
2 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Last edited 2 years ago by Josh Woods
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Is the powers given the states the Covid response problem? I think Australians generally have become soft over many, many years – they are so used to following rules without question, that there has been little push back against the lunacy of their lockdowns.
And I should point out to the authors that you can transmit the virus whether vaccinated or unvaccinated (reference the unvaccinated driver who spread the virus).

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

No country in the world ever “pushes back” while the nation is going well. It’s only during times of hardship the population starts to get angry, and Aus ain’t had a recession in 30 years

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Plenty people in the 60s and 70s pushed back on issues with few economic reasons. Australia is one of the biggest police states in the world and the people are largely soft and accepting.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

Australia had loads of mass demos in the 60s and 70s. Those people are now in charge

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Doesn’t look like it! They have simply become authoritarian, so were not real rebels.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

It’s happened everywhere Lesley.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Why am I still rebelling?! Anyway, that is only part of the argument. I understand the ageing process is a move to conservatism, but Australia stands out as extremely authoritarian. Let’s say that when the red man flashes, South Africans look left and right then walk or run
 and Australians stop. Masks are chin hammocks. Curfew? Holding my sides laughing.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

Maybe Australia needs a few more carjackings and farm invasions.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
2 years ago

I find most of the South Africans I know to be quite compliant.

Su Mac
Su Mac
2 years ago

And also running the media and the Uni’s.

earlene xavier
earlene xavier
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Australia went into recession in 20201

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  earlene xavier

Ok technically yes but the whole world jumped around then with the disruption. Before that was the early 90’s I believe

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
2 years ago

What strikes me is that all these regional government go full totalitarian if they can seize the opportunity. Scotland, Gallicia, Australian States they al go full blown totalitarian. Is it because they are ruled by the ‘mob’ as Hannah Arendt refers to? To me they all look petty martinets basking in a moment of temporary glorification of their own unimportance.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago

Israel is vaccinating children as young as 3.

In any case, in Europe it seems that at national, regional, local levels everyone is more than ready to say how good they have been and how careless their neighbours are.
Also, those who at any one time are “enjoying” “more” (??) freedom always forget that up until the other day they were at house arrests.
What I have noticed is how parochial and short-sighted we are as a species.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago

The COVID ‘pandemic’ has really divided the Anglosphere in two. On the one hand are people who go about their daily business wondering when this period will end and what their government is up to. On the other are those who trust the experts and politicians to have their best interests at heart and and are more at ease dealing with on-and-off lockdowns and travel restrictions.
We are entering a period of mass cognitive dissonance. Unless this state of dissonance changes soon, the only way it can end is either by popular revolt or through tighter government and corporate controls.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Trusting the ‘experts’ (which ones, because they are divided) and trusting politicians is just d@mb. I go for revolt.

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago

Australia is a great mistake. Mostly unfit for human habitation (unless your people have been there for millennia and adapted), population clustered around a few coastal areas, scary poisonous animals to contend with. NZ much more benign. Tasmania had its uses as a penal colony, the mainland should have been left as a wonderful wilderness for the aborigines to enjoy.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

“the mainland should have been left as a wonderful wilderness for the aborigines to enjoy.”

Why? Australia is a magnificent land of all manner of resources. I think they just need to stop being such Liberals, like Canada is too – and be for Australians, and hard work, and stop replacing themselves and have larger families – they have resources to pay for that – instead of immigrants to make up for the demographic decreases.

Val Colic-Peisker
Val Colic-Peisker
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

The Portugiese, the Dutch and the French realised that, had a little look around and left. The British needed somewhere to unload their prisoners and they persisted. Now we’re back in a prison colony, a much more comfortable one than in the 19th century, so most people are enjoying it. The roots of Australian authoritarianism are in its beginnings. It’s been dormant, but the crisis brought it out big way. It is unbelievable how many people are happy to be locked up and ‘saved’ by the their government(s). So un-French 😉

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Australia has been a great success. I have watched us slowly slip back to the field over the past 30 odd years. Like all Western Nations, we sold our soul our land and our people for neo-liberal economics and feminism. Once well respected for our, no dobbing, anti authoritarian and tall poppy stance we are now full of suckholes and educated idiots.

Scott Powell
Scott Powell
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Don’t worry, the CCP will gladly occupy this whole place in a few decades. The (separate) state premiers will probably just roll out the red carpet for them.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago

It is a warning to the rest of us about to avoid totalitarianism.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
2 years ago

I think Australia is just appear as what it has always been at heart regardless of the hedonistic culture and the make believe carefree attitude : A penal colony where a few rogue 
..elected ?
.officials and a corrupt police force make people jump through their loop.
The level of fines enforced
..up to 5000 AUD
.police checks at home
.use of the army
.state borders closure and evil of evil
..its own citizens stranded abroad
..all of this is beyond anyone comprehension

at least mine.
What kind of health officials do you have down there, who would think you can keep a virus at bay for ever just because you are an island ?
The level of mediocrity among Australian politicians is staggering 

.and you guys keep re-electing the very same who treat like this. Something seriously wrong with you.

Last edited 2 years ago by Bruno Lucy
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

er ‘the level of mediocrity etc” I rather hope you are not writing from the US !!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

Australia has always loved a fine, $400 for not wearing a seatbelt in WA (at least it was a decade ago), fines for jaywalking which I’d never heard of until I went there. It’s a wealthy country though so the fines will always be higher there than elsewhere but I was amazed at how high they were

Scott Powell
Scott Powell
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

We had such a care free attitude, we didn’t care who we let into power, and we didn’t care about the growing shopping list of special powers they accumulated.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
2 years ago

Too late. COVID is endemic. Eradication is a fool’s errand.

Humanity has maybe eradicated two viruses, smallpox and rinderpest. But not polio, flu, other coronaviruses, or even measles, notwithstanding the fact that there is no known non-human reservoir for measles.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
2 years ago

I copy a statement made By Ton Nicolai of Eurocam wduring an EU workshop on health:
‘’Current prevention models are especially concerned with the identification of risk factors. Our organisation (EUROCAM) would like to put more emphasis on building and maintaining the resilience of the individual so he/she will be able to respond effectively to existing risk factors. In fact, it is about focusing on the individual who possesses a risk factor, and not the risk factor per se.
 
We are also a strong advocate of a health-oriented healthcare system. In such a healthcare system self-care is essential, which is a daily conscious focus on one’s physical, mental, and emotional state and the ability to take corrective action whenever imbalance is sensed. The providers’ role is to inspire, motivate, empower, and facilitate citizens’ self-care, and to provide, if necessary, appropriate complementary and integrative medicine interventions that enhance citizens’ resilience. 
 
To establish a health-oriented healthcare system, also medical research should shift its focus. There is a fundamental difference between a science that studies diseases and a science that studies health: the questions, hypotheses, methods and answers and conclusions will be different. For instance, research into the mechanisms and factors of how smoking may lead to lung cancer is very different from the research that tries to find out why many smokers do not get lung cancer. Current medical research is typically interested in the way disease processes develop and focuses on how to improve ways to fight disease with the aid of ever more powerful drugs. Host factors are hardly addressed.
 
On the other hand, the concept of positive health, also called salutogenesis, focuses on how and why people stay well. On understanding the resilience factors that protect an individual from developing physical and emotional illness in the face of stress and other pathogenic factors. Within this context it is important to understand that most complementary and integrative medicine interventions are supporting the adaptive coping mechanisms of the host rather than addressing specific diseases and dealing with impersonal risk factors.
 
So, EUROCAM pleads for more research investment into the way these complementary and integrative medicine interventions can raise the resilience of people. And, of course, the same applies to livestock animals.’’

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

There is no point of Australia. Unless you count that pointy bit way up in the north-east of the country.
What is the point of Australia? Did you ever! Maybe a state can go it alone and apply to join the old US of A?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

I have long said that! England become the 51 – 54th States, Scotland, Ireland and N Ireland and Wales the 55 – 58th States, Canada the 59 – 63rd States, Australia the 64 + 65, NZ the 66th.

We could really be something then. Imagine the world one could be part of as a member of that USA! Just think – the Second Amendment for all as a bonus.

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Not in the current environment, pet. The further away we can remain from the Demonrats, the happier I will be, for one.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

No thanks, the further we are from that shambles of a country the better. I’m quite happy not being scared of being ill in case it bankrupts me. I don’t fancy the police shooting hundreds of people each year, or for vast tent cities living in the shadows of billionaires houses, pavement covered in human faeces because people don’t have access to basic sanitation in the worlds richest country. You can keep your opioid addictions, your two party hyper partisan politics that is nothing but a millionaires playground. You’ve got freedom though, whatever that means

Laura Cattell
Laura Cattell
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Sounds like it’s freedom to shoot people.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Tent cities are at your state borders mate And as to policing
.I see no difference between US and Australian police. I have been pulled over in both countries, and both times I was soiling my underwear my hand on the wheel.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

Billy Bob is in NZ where I am reliably told it is like going back in time
 which has a charm all of its own I suppose.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

It is a very relaxed country

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

I’m English, lived in Aus for a bit and now NZ. I found the old bill in Aus a bit full of self importance but apart from that otherwise ok, I certainly didn’t fear I’d be shot in my run ins with them

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Victoria has always been the Police State of Aus.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

My son lives in Oz and works as an animal rights activist and clashes with the police regularly – no comparison with the US. My brother lives in the states and cautions me every time I go over to never do anything even remotely provocative because their police live on a hair trigger – even to the point (and get this ) of not carrying a water bottle that might look like it had booze in it. Now THAT IS scary Lucy

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Not to forget fires, water running out , poor medical care, and the fact that you are totally f##cked if you dont have a job earning more than $100k per year !! However at least you can buy a cheap cabin in the woods somewhere and eke out a life maybe ??

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Which is a shame because I’ve worked with a lot of yanks and they’re some of the most friendly and welcoming people on an individual level. Their unrelenting positivity can start to grate somewhat when you’ve been raised on sarcasm and cynicism but that reflects more on me than them.
Many know almost nothing outside their borders though, and as such are convinced that their way of running the country is always the correct one. Which is fine, it’s their country and they’re free to choose how to run it, but it’s not for me personally

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

My brother is a prof of anthropology in San Fran and he cant talk to most of his fellow academics because they are so US centric- plus many/most US citizens dont actually follow world news because it is so less important to them compared to their state news . Be damn careful where you go to ‘follow the money” !

Scott Powell
Scott Powell
2 years ago

The past 18 months has made me want to throw away my Australian citizenship. It’s practically worthless at this point. I’m a Victorian prisoner. I doubt there is anywhere sane to migrate to. The virus is claimed common sense nearly everywhere, but so much so here.
Maybe somewhere on the fringe, like El Salvador could be the place to live out my final years. It’s sad, but it feels like the Western Experiment is over.

Karl Schuldes
Karl Schuldes
2 years ago

I think democracy in the West is at a fork in the road here. The kind of actions taken by governments, life changing, society changing actions, should only be taken with democratic approval. But we had decrees, even from small town mayors, that had no input from Representatives. And the people laid down in front of the steamrollers. If we don’t realize NOW what we allowed to happen, it’s all over.

Chris Eaton
Chris Eaton
2 years ago

Amid all the chaos..one thing is certain: Australians are a bunch of sheep.

John Hicks
John Hicks
2 years ago

It is a provocative header for State/Commonwealth difficulties created by States retaining powers and initially ceding only defence and foreign affairs to a Federal Government: unlike many Republics that take all powers then delegate those the Republic itself determine back to the States. Protectionist policies defined Australian States; different gauge railways; city v the bush discrimination. Plus many more determined State identities have endured. What has cemented an Australian Commonwealth has been going to fight and die in other Nations’ wars. Maybe that is “the reason for Australia.” Interestingly the virus hiatus is probably what happens in many families unable to escape their own backyard. Doubt Aussies are going to “die in a ditch” over lockdown disparities. They may however be called upon to again die in other people’s ditches. Who knows, they may even get their barley, coal and wine sales to China going again? Quite a few reasons for Australia, when you think about it!

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
2 years ago

It is interesting to read this article: how the non-scientific approach of an illness and democracies turned in the communist style control freaks make forgotten issues rise to the surface…

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
2 years ago

” … since we gave women the vote” does hint at a much bigger picture. The … first-time-in-human-existence-give-women-real-authority-and-power … experiment in the West is perhaps going a bit sour and needs a serious pragmatic comparative evaluation..