(Image: Tom Red/Private Media)

If Australia's business community was casting around for a passionate, articulate and effective advocate for opening borders sooner than the government's mid-2022-if-you're-lucky deadline in the budget, look no further than Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlicka.

Yesterday she strode to the podium of a Queensland University of Technology "Business Leaders’ Forum" and declared: “We need to get the borders open for our health and for the economy ... Some people may die but it will be way smaller than with the flu ... We’ve got to learn how to live with this."

Putting aside that Hrdlicka thinks COVID-19 is less lethal than the flu when its mortality is multiples of that of influenza, or that somehow only the virus, not flu, will circulate if the economy is completely reopened, her line "some people may die" is now the poster slogan for a business community that throughout the pandemic has demanded that business profitability (they prefer to emphasise jobs) be elevated to a higher priority than it has been when governments make decisions about public health.