QED

A Speech the PM is Overdue to Deliver

My Fellow Australians,

It is now well more than one year since COVID-19 has been part of our lives, and looks as though this virus will be with us in one form or another for the foreseeable future. The pandemic has challenged us as individuals, families and communities. We can be proud of our resilience and fortitude in the face of adversity.

I urge everyone to stay calm. No good ever came of panic. For those of you who are interested, the Department of Health regularly updates its data on infection rates in Australia. To date, despite more than 30,000 infections nationally, only three people under the age of 40, and 58 people under the age of 70, have died from COVID-19. Most of these individuals were already sick with other illnesses. The media wants you to be fearful because their business model depends on it.

While all deaths are tragic, we must put this pandemic into some historical perspective. This is neither the Spanish flu nor the bubonic plague. The vast majority of us, should we become infected, will make a full recovery and get on with our lives. The immune system is a wonderful thing, and for most us is easily capable of defeating COVID-19. Our medical management of the infection has also become much more effective in a relatively short period, and a range of vaccines is available to vulnerable Australians.

We know that there is little evidence that lockdowns, the wearing of masks outdoors, or curbs on the freedom of movement significantly reduce the spread of this virus. There is good evidence that such crude measures disproportionately impact small businesses, disadvantage the poor, create uncertainties in the economy, and worsen the isolation and loneliness of the elderly and persons with disabilities and mental illness.

After watching both the heartbreak of the latest lockdown in Victoria, and the now predictable closure of state borders in response, I have formed a view that these knee-jerk reflexes jeopardise the integrity and cohesiveness of our great nation, while imperiling the freedom and autonomy of its citizens. Sadly, some premiers are responding to cases in other states by whipping up suspicion and parochialism.

The founders of our Federation would be horrified by this fragmenting of our Commonwealth. Given our geographical isolation, it is vital that all Australians enjoy the full freedom of interstate travel without the need for border passes or customs officers. Family cohesion depends on it. Tourism depends on it. Supply chains depend on it. Our prosperity depends on it. I will always oppose the introduction of vaccine passports.

We desperately need new, imaginative approaches to managing local outbreaks. The blunt-force trauma of our current ‘aggressive suppression’ strategy is not sustainable.

New South Wales has shown us that it is possible to thrive despite the ever present threat of infection. Compare this to the demoralisation and despair we are witnessing in Victoria, where repeated lockdowns threaten the viability of the arts, the restaurant industry and the AFL.

As a Liberal, I consider individual liberty to be the guiding principle of good government. I fear that our response to COVID-19 has brought out the worst authoritarian excesses of some state leaders and their police chiefs. Appeals to safety have permitted gross violations of civil liberties including the indefinite home detention of healthy individuals, the suspension of parliaments, the forced closure of businesses and schools, and troubling limits to freedom of association and the right to protest.

A Liberal government should treat everyone who calls Australia home as citizens, not subjects. This approach, and only this approach, is congruent with our ethical values.

I respect the rights of individuals, within the constraints of just laws, to take calculated risks and to make choices for themselves. This is what it is to be human. This is what it is to live in a modern democracy. This is what we fought two world wars to preserve.

If we want to stay relevant on the global stage as the rest of the world opens up, we will need to learn to live with this infection much as we have learned to live with other infections and health risks. Don’t ever listen to a politician who can promise to keep you completely safe. They are selling you a lie to buy votes.

International travel and immigration are this nation’s lifeblood. Our isolationism is leading to widespread labour shortages in the agriculture, hospitality, education and tourism sectors. We cannot expect our own airlines, let alone international carriers, to continue to operate where there is no capacity for overseas travel. Mandatory hotel quarantine for aircrew and passengers needs to be replaced with less onerous alternatives. ‘’Fortress Australia’ is rapidly becoming “Prison Australia”.

As your Prime Minister, I desire a return to normality, not just Covid-normality. I will strive to achieve this, and I am willing to stake my re-election on this aspiration. My government will set to work immediately on a timeline on reopening our nation for business. I call on our CEO’s to ask their employees to return to the workplace so that our cities may thrive again.

I will call for an urgent re-evaluation of the viability of the National Cabinet given its poor track record on collaboration, flexibility and creative problem solving. The Commonwealth will allocate GST revenues based on the capacity of states to manage the virus without resorting to restrictive practices. There will be no more ‘lockdown payments’. We will instead provide tax relief for small businesses who have been unfairly prohibited from operating, and will seek to freeze wages across the public sector.

The Commonwealth will institute an immediate relaxation of the rules preventing Australians from travelling overseas, and will demand that states increase their caps on international arrivals.

In future, the opinions and medical advice of our CHO’s will be evaluated in the broader healthcare and socioeconomic contexts, and shall be subjected to scrutiny and dispassionate cost/benefit analysis.

I believe that all Australians should be permitted to participate fully their lives with minimal interference by government, and must be allowed to make individual choices about the levels of risk they are willing to accept.

My fellow Australians, I remind you that we are one and free. The greatest threat to our unity and freedom is not from this virus, but from our response to it.

Thank You.

9 comments
  • Guido Negraszus

    Nice try. Won’t happen. Scott Morrison learnt that scaremongering will win him the next election. From the beginning, he was part of the scare mob. Well, after he abandoned the correct approach (flattening the curve). Whatever hope we might have, it’s not our current government.

  • nfw

    Morrison say that? Tell ’em they’re jokin’.

  • Dave Carter

    Top marks, But, drop the “one and free”, it’s unbecoming.

  • Harry Lee

    Yes, very good. This is the speech -and subsequent action- that we should expect from the head of a Lib-Nat government. But there is a reason we will not hear it, or see the follow-through. It’s that the dominant features of the Australian culture -the beliefs and behaviours of a large majority of the populace- are now antithetical to human flourishing and the necessary personal responsibility, self-reliance, and contributory citizenship. The vast masses of folk now expect all things to be lovely at no effort or cost to themselves. The causes reside in the victory by the marxist peoples who dominate elective politics, the public services, the mainstream media and the education and legal systems. Pretending that leftist/Big Statist ideology and its accoutrements do not dominate almost all of what happens now in Australia is as bad as the leftist dominance itself.

  • Dinsdale

    Hahaha

  • DG

    I note the way we have ‘chiefs’ proliferating through the public service, as they have through business. I’ve come across ‘chief risk officer’, ‘chief procurement officer’, ‘chief communications officer’. Like these somewhat minor executive roles deserve a seat at the main table. So in the public sector: ‘chief scientist’, ‘chief health officer’, ‘chief mucker-upper’ (the last one was invented by a libertarian science master in my state high school). Of course, once a government calls a person a ‘chief’, they behave like they think a ‘chief’ behaves, but they all end up acting like the chief mucker-upper.

  • ianl

    As noted in a number of different forums, Morrison is in the process of double-crossing his voter base on all issues that matter – in slow motion.
    Voting is pointless as that is really just a squabble over who’s turn it is next.
    I have come to despise Berejiklian, rather than merely ignoring her. Sneaky beyond parallel, encouraging Keane along his wanton destructive path, encouraging a land tax on the homes of older people to force them out into repulsive aged care so younger peole can buy cheaply and occupy the house … (NSW Treasurer has said so a number of times).
    The collective rules. As Palaeochook has demonstrated with her Pfzier vacc, though, some are more collectively equal than others.

  • Ian MacKenzie

    Nice speech, and absolutely what is required, but as others have said above we won’t her it, or indeed anything like it. Morrison is by instinct an appeaser whose only belief seems to be that if he doesn’t frighten the horses he can get another term in office. What exactly he wants to achieve in office is anyone’s guess.
    As most acknowledge Gladys has done well in the pandemic. After heeding the lessons of the Ruby Princess disaster, she has hardly put a foot wrong. Unfortunately the same can’t be said of the rest of her government. Under normal circumstances the recent scandals would have seen the NSW government kicked out at the next election. Even worse Education Minister Sarah Mitchell is intent on replacing knowledge with woke propaganda in schools ensuring a far leftwing future in NSW, while Environment Minister Matt Kean is working hard to ensure that future is conducted in the dark. Both belong in the Greens. NSW has a Coalition government, but it is not at all clear what parties the Coalition is between.

  • Harry Lee

    Notice that this proposed speech omits to say that the essence of good governance -while it includes individual liberties under the law- must also include contributory citizenship. And also notice that multiculturalism, in its causes and consequences, has vilified and indeed destroyed the necessary ingredient of contributory, loyal citizenship. Further note that the rule of law itself, under our inadequate Constitution does not provide for, let alone insist on, that people who live in Australia must be contributing citizens. Indeed, the guiding principle now is that residents-as-parasites is fine. Contributory, loyal citizenship of a sovereign nation is now denigrated as next to nazism, just as the Left -the owners of ALP and their allies- intended. And the Libs and Nats have had to follow suit, becuase that’s where the votes are.

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