Empty chairs and empty tables in Melbourne's fourth lockdown (Image: James Ross/AAP)

With the latest Australian outbreak of COVID-19 there have been a lot of pointed fingers and proposed solutions. But who is right? What can realistically be achieved? And who has the power to actually do anything? Today, Your Say dissects the who, the what, and the how.

On blame for the recent outbreak

Mal Kelly writes: Read Bernard Keane’s article today and it is a rational 360-degree view of the situation. I do take issue with this statement though: “Nothing has stopped [state governments] from building quarantine facilities within which to house incoming people — particularly if they’re keen to enable the return of economically important foreign students and tourists.”

The experience of the Queensland government application to build a purpose-built quarantine facility adjacent to the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport would suggest (from what I read and hear) that something HAS stopped them and that seems to be Scott Morrison. He trotted out some feeble excuses to not approve and considering it was going to be privately funded anyway, it would appear that he has blocked it by saying “planes don’t fly to Toowoomba” even though they do — wide-bodied freighters fly to and from every day as well as domestic commuter flights. The only “weighty” consideration for the federal government would be to fund an immigration and customs outpost for international arrivals — too hard?

It’s very puzzling by this government, but consistent on form of being not able to commit and wasting valuable time with word salad.

Avis Williamson writes: Bernard Keane might want to understand who has control of the creation and issue of the Australian dollar. Hint: it’s NOT the states and territories who would have to borrow in order to fund quarantine facilities. However, they all let the federal government get away with NOT committing to and actually building suitable quarantine facilities; a fact we might be able to demonstrate the truth of, were we able to see the national cabinet deliberations.

Austin Docherty writes: I lay the blame for Victoria’s latest COVID lockdown firmly at the feet of Scott Morrison, Greg Hunt, and the federal government with the additional caveats: Victoria entered a snap lockdown following 25 new local transmission cases in three days including very high risk exposure sites at both the MCG and Marvel Stadium — with the infection rate, this is the smart action to take.

For my twopence worth: Victorians (some) are at fault for their complacency, for not getting tested when symptomatic or not using QR codes everywhere, or not wearing masks in any situation where the 1.5m rule can’t be maintained … The Victorian state government is at fault for not fully enforcing an integrated QR code system everywhere sooner, and for maintaining a lackadaisical border permit system. However contact tracers are only as good as the information they are provided.

The Federal government is at fault for not fully implementing fit-for-purpose Australia-wide quarantine facilities (à la Howard Springs) and for incompetence around securing, procuring, and delivering vaccine supply.

Finally the virus is at fault for being a tricky wee bastard.

Joan Chandler writes: I blame old “Have a go”. I just read that the federal government is responsible for QUARANTINE and AGED CARE, didn’t I? Also DISABILITY CARE? He points the finger at anyone but himself and his feckless, bumbling sidekicks. He’s gotta go. They’ve gotta go.

Terence Mills writes: Scott Morrison has said that hotel quarantine is 99.99% effective which I think confused us all until we looked a little closer at this marketing spin — what he was actually saying was that all community infections in Australia have been 100% traceable to hotel quarantine. It just needs one infected person to start another wave of infection as we are seeing in Melbourne but Scottie always likes to put a marketing spin on everything which is dangerous when we are talking about community health and safety.

Stephen Dunn writes: Clearly a responsibility of the Commonwealth — Section 51(ix) of the constitution. Typical of the Morrison government’s ducking and weaving of its responsibilities! We need a statesman-like performance, not a marketing politicking charade. And exactly why did ScoMo get sacked from Tourism NZ and Tourism Australia? The truth please. We need an approach inclusive of all Australians, not just those at the top end of town!

Keith Manning writes: This falls squarely on the federal government … all the money-driven Liberals have done is outsourced the responsibility to Liberal party donor private companies like the ill-fated hotel security guards and aged care homes, leaving the state governments to try and manage. This privatisation of government departments has to stop even though the damage to our country has already been done since the Howard era.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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