Tony Abbott, the suppository of wisdom, has again jumped (uninvited) into public discourse to bemoan the extent of Coronavirus measures in Australia and suggest that restrictions are threatening our way of life.
The former Prime Minister, known for little else than stirring up division, released a video address to right-wing think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, criticising the impacts of pandemic rules.
“For a full year we’ve let a virus dominate our lives and in the process put safety before freedom, prudence before courage and avoiding danger before accepting risk,” he said. “Even though courage, conviction and character remain vital to our success as a people.”
Subtly condemning Australia’s trust in expert advice, Abbott then said that national security, social unity and economic prosperity “will only get harder to the extent we’ve become conditioned to have experts give us all the answers and to have governments then tell us what to do.”
He went on further to lament his belief that Australian culture was being undermined, pointing to rules against people sitting in the front seat of taxis, which he deems a mark of being Australian.
“But like so much, that’s currently against the rules along with singing, dancing and having too many friends and family around for a barbecue,” he said, “thanks to the pandemic, we’re now told to form orderly and socially distanced queues – as if we were English.”
Labelling some enforced rules as “absurd”, Abbott claimed “it takes a fair dose of virus hysteria and health despotism for Australians to be barred from Victoria without first getting a visa,”
“After a lost year it is time for a reset – but not a politically correct woke reset that seems to be brewing,” he finished.
Abbott’s address however, failed to acknowledge how he’d do things differently given the chance. Would he open up Australia’s borders? Enable free movement between states? Endorse public cuddle festivals? We’ll never know. Because the thing about Abbott’s influence (no more evident than when he was Prime Minister) is that he doesn’t actually have a roadmap. He’s never been an ideas man, he’s been a 3-word slogan kind of guy. A whinger, but not a fixer.
But in his pursuit to undermine the leadership of this country and stir up controversy, he missed a critical point: Globally, Australia has one of the best success rates in the fight against the virus to date.
We’ve had just 28,780 cases and 909 deaths while countries like Britain, the US, India and much of Europe struggle to manage the rapid escalation in cases. In the UK, there have now been 3.6 million infections with just shy of 100,000 deaths, while in the US rates stand at 25.4 million cases and 423,000 deaths.
By not putting hard measures in place from the outset, these countries not only have a dire mortality rate, but have also endured long-term restrictions. The UK is now in hard lockdown. Shops and businesses are closed, the economy is crashing, the NHS is overburdened and family and friends are prohibited from seeing each other.
Yes, we’ve had a hard year, but thanks to our trust in experts we’re actually on the home-stretch. Very few countries can claim the same.
(Aren’t we glad that Tony Abbott isn’t still in the top job).