Prime Minister Scott Morrison (Image: AAP/Steve Vitt)

Political irony doesn't get much better than this: Scott Morrison having to interrupt his promotion of a new third-of-a-billion dollar package to invest in systems to protect Australia's cattle from external biosecurity threats, to put out a firestorm over his criminalisation of Australians returning from India. All of which is the product of his failure to invest in systems to protect Australians themselves from external biosecurity threats.

When even hard-right commentators and the Institute of Public Affairs are attacking you, you know you've crossed some hitherto-unknown line of offensiveness -- and that's why Scott Morrison, who hoped to devote yesterday afternoon and this morning to a cattle-slaughtering conference in Rockhampton, suddenly felt the urge to do both major breakfast TV shows today to defend his criminalisation as non-racist.

Let's tackle that first. India's current level of active cases, according to Worldometer's COVID page, is 2481 per 1 million people. The widespread assumption, however, is that due to lack of testing, the actual level of active cases is much higher. Let's quadruple the number to 10,000 per 1 million. Or even quintuple it to 12,500. How does that place India internationally? Still far lower than the United States, where the level is, despite extensive vaccination and a significant drop since the Trump administration was kicked out, at over 20,000 per million.