The relationship between the NSW and Federal government is going from bad to worse at high velocity.
Gone are the days of Scott Morrison praising NSW for its “gold standard” COVID response, “not just in Australia but in the world.” Words he uttered merely six weeks ago.
Now, Berejiklian and Morrison are caught in a frosty standoff, with the disparity in their leadership approaches growing more visible by the day. While Berejiklian scrambles for solutions to get NSW back to some semblance of normality, the Prime Minister is working overtime to point his finger anywhere but his own guilty face.
On Saturday, Sydney recorded its worst ever day with 319 cases and five deaths. Sunday saw little relief with a further 262 cases noted, and large numbers infectious in the community. The only thing certain right now, is that the road out of lockdown will be debilitatingly long.
Of course, the NSW Premier isn’t faultless in this equation. Two months ago, she failed to lockdown Sydney quickly when the first couple of cases were identified. Her choice to stall, was fuelled in part by her intractable and politically charged position over the last 18 months that lockdowns are an unnecessary knee-jerk reaction only entered into by other state and territory leaders.
The cost of this mistake has been seismic.
But the gall of Scott Morrison (who has also fiercely opposed hard lockdowns and supported NSW’s decision two months ago), to come out over the weekend and argue that the answer to getting on top of Delta is a strict lockdown, rather than more vaccines, is inconceivable. It’s also stupidity personified.
By pushing Berejiklian under the bus, Morrison isn’t improving his own horrifically marred image with voters, he’s exposing how much division and hypocrisy lies at the heart of The Liberal Party, exacerbated by his own shambolic leadership.
No matter how Morrison spins it, the truth remains: If Australians had been substantially vaccinated by now – as originally promised – Berejiklian wouldn’t be facing the present crisis. Parochial tensions now at boiling point between states, would have never existed.
This is all on Scott Morrison.
Berejiklian will bounce back relatively unscathed. In a recent poll, her approval rating as NSW’s preferred Premier stood at 55 percent. While a slim margin of NSW voters felt the decision to lockdown was too slow, most reported that they felt comfortable with Berejiklian’s leadership and approach.
By contrast, just this morning, Newspoll shows that the Prime Minister’s popularity has plummeted. 49 percent of those surveyed said they were unhappy with Morrison’s management of the pandemic while a further 59 percent reported dissatisfaction with his navigation of the vaccine rollout. Meanwhile, the two-party-preferred split of 53-47 percent, remains in Labor’s favour.
Morrison better gear up for the fight of his life including a leadership lobotomy. A subsequent term as Prime Minister is already halfway down the gurgler.