April 4th 2020

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The world has changed: Now for the new order

FAMILY AND SOCIETY Move to curtail underage online porn epidemic

CANBERRA OBSERVED ScoMo's delicate balancing act in extraordinary times

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Time and timing are crucial to Cardinal Pell's appeal by Peter Westmore

NEW ZEALAND Political divisions polarise across the Ditch

NEW ZEALAND Victorian Road Map smooths way of NZ anti-life clique to abortion 'reform'

FREE SPEECH Intolerance brigade at UQ attacks professor of Law

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Victoria lifts moratorium of gas exploration

CHINESE HISTORY The Soong Dynasty: Three sisters who rules China

LAW AND SOCIETY Guilt by accusation: The kangaroos are roaming freely through Australia's legal system

GENDER POLITICS Dr Quentin Van Meter's Australian talk is opening eyes in the U.S.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Australia is not safe in the borderless globalised world

SHOPPING AND SOCIETY The Ubermensch in the aisles

MUSIC We seem to have lost the point of counterpoint

CINEMA The Current War: Industrial miracle workers

BOOK REVIEW A dark trade that continues unabated worldwide

EBOOK READ THIS Both sides to this old story



NATIONAL AFFAIRS Use detention centres to help deal with covid19 epidemic

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Justice at last: Cardinal Pell set free

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ScoMo's delicate balancing act in extraordinary times

by NW Contributor

News Weekly, April 4, 2020

It is hard to comprehend that a few short months ago, the biggest political conversation in Australia was the media storm about the Prime Minister choosing a family holiday in Hawaii during the bushfires, while the biggest political scandal of early 2020 was a fracas over alleged misspending on sports community facilities in marginal seats at the last election.

Queues have gathered outside Centrelink
such as have not been seen in generations.

Now there are no overseas holidays for Australians, and, for that matter, no Australian holidays either: no public sporting events at a local or at a national level.

Australians love of live sport, travelling overseas, eating out, going to the pub, lying on the beach, are incomprehensibly and suddenly off limits.

Church services, cultural visits, and live events – all off limits.

Like other countries, Australia has been shut down and Prime Minister Scott Morrison is fighting a daily battle against a seemingly uncontrollable viral pandemic and a looming economic catastrophe of dimensions perhaps not seen since the Great Depression.

As he told the Federal Parliament during the passage of legislation for multibillions of dollars in relief money: “For many young and old, 2020 will be the worst year of our lives.”

Massive queues at Centrelink was “something unimaginable only a few weeks ago”, Mr Morrison said, in fact, something not seen for generations.

Everyone desperately hopes the covid19 event will be short-lived and result in a short “V-shaped” recession, with minimal deaths. In other words, once the virus has run its course and/or a vaccine is found, everyday life will return to normal.

But at the same time, everyone also fears deep down that this will not be the case, that the international economy is being reset. In fact, the unsaid fear is that life as we knew it will not be the same for many years.

Mr Morrison has risen to the greatest challenge he or any other modern-day prime minister has faced, with expected mass unemployment, mass bankruptcies, businesses dissolved and rapidly evaporating wealth from shares, superannuation, and, most likely, eventually property as well.

The Morrison Government’s greatest challenge has been to find a balance between keeping the central nervous system of the national economy on life support, while controlling the pandemic. The economic and social consequences of shutting the economy down completely are unimaginable; so the idea is to “flatten the curve” of the number of people catching the virus.

How to flatten the curve without flattening the economy?

For his part, Mr Morrison has tried to create bipartisanship by introducing a national cabinet of federal, state and territory government leaders. It is an historic moment in a country in which there is normally a never-ending squabble between the federal and state governments. But even in this scenario, desperate state premiers of New South Wales and Victoria have tried to “go it alone”.

The Federal Government has also opted to take the expert views of its key medical experts to guide its principle health policy decisions and actions.

Yet the taxpayer-funded national broadcaster, the ABC, has been at the forefront of the media critique against all these government’s efforts. Either they don’t go far enough or they go too far.

The ABC manages to find an expert somewhere with an alternative view to the Government advice: schools should have been shut immediately, for example.

It has been an odd way to report on the Government’s actions, creating confusion and uncertainty among the public, which in turn the ABC blames on the Government’s “mixed messaging”.

This is not to say there should not be critical analysis of the Government’s decisions, the problems is the constant and pervasive doubt expressed by the ABC about the Government’s intentions.

But the Government, with, it should be noted, the considerable support of the Labor Opposition is taking major decisions that require the support of the Australian people to make them work, including the ABC.

At this time, which few Australians have seen in their lifetimes, the mindless criticisms and the normal knee-jerk suspicion of anything the Coalition does should be put aside.

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm