It has been confirmed that the federal government was contacted by Pfizer in June 2020 to provide Australia with 40 million doses – which wasn’t taken up by the government – after months of denying the story and suggesting that everyone else was wrong.
There’s two issues here: the constant denials – which continue to be provided by Scott Morrison and the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt – and a deal which could have delivered the Pfizer vaccines to Australia in early 2021, offered protection to the community and avoided the current lockdowns, was squandered by the federal government.
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And this has become critical: on a day when NSW recorded 1542 new cases of coronavirus and nine deaths, it’s a issue the federal government wants the public to forget. And those merchants of collective amnesia, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the NSW Government, have decided to cancel daily media conferences, even though the number of cases is going to peak in a few weeks’ time. It’s an abrogation of responsibility and is a tactic to avoid scrutiny and accountability. It’s going to backfire.
The National Summit on Women’s Safety was held during the week, but it was hard not to think that the event was all about the Prime Minister and his desire to resolve the politics of the issue, rather than the issue itself. Sexual harassment, sexual violence and domestic violence perpetrated against women are serious issues in Australia – and costs the economy around $26 billion per year – but that’s not enough for the Liberal Party to take enough notice of these issues and the Summit was a missed opportunity.
We have been criticised for being too Sydney-centric but we have news from Victoria! – a state which has a new (but recycled) Leader of the Opposition – Matthew Guy. He was the leader of the Liberal Party at the 2018 Victoria election and lost 11 seats – leaders can become more successful when they return to the leadership a second time: Winston Churchill, John Howard, Jeff Kennett – but the successes of recycled leaders are few and far between. It’s going to be hard road ahead.
And the “you only had two jobs” message is starting to get through to the electorate. It’s a message pushed through by federal Labor and it relates to the poor vaccination rollout, and the bungles in hotel quarantine.
It’s a message that can only be sustained during this current lockdown period and if NSW and Victoria ever do come out of their respective lockdowns before the next election, a new election message will need to be developed. But the Liberal–National government has had close to eight years of mismanagement and left behind a trail of incompetence. Labor shouldn’t have too many problems finding other issues to campaign on.
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