There is nothing normal about the 'new normal'. Which is just as well, because there are aspects of this crisis that shouldn’t become normative. Right now, Australians are resigned to trading freedom for health. But, as Michael Bradley writes today, authorities need to exercise caution. The virus must be stopped, but as suspicion spreads almost as fast, we need to keep a close eye on all the costs.
Neo-socialism? State capitalism? Economic authoritarianism? The death of neo-liberalism? Whatever it is, it comes with a price tag.
Today Crikey thinks about communication and transparency. What (and possibly who) dies without them.
Tension is in the air. It's building every day, placing strain on all of us and in particular on our leaders. We are finding out if they are up to task. We should hope they are because the alternative is dire. Australians should expect -- and demand -- leadership fit for these times.
To avoid the very worst of the virus crisis, governments will need to debate and often adopt radical solutions: wage subsidies, housing the homeless, help for school students and yes, a total lockdown. The wages of inaction are too high.
State and federal governments are busy telling citizens to be accountable, be responsible. That's OK, but it cuts both ways. Someone must be held responsible for allowing infected passengers off the Ruby Princess cruise ship, and someone must be held accountable for the Centrelink meltdown.
That's just a start. As Crikey reports today, Australians need leaders who lead — and own up to their mistakes.
The virus crisis is sweeping up some large but often unfashionable concepts. Such as, what is the role of government? Look to the UK today and the answer is clear: to enforce a massive lockdown.
But even if Scott Morrison wanted to do similar, is the machinery of Australian government up to the task? It seems not. But it also feels like the very idea of big government is back in fashion, like it or not.
Pictures of a crowded Bondi beach have come to symbolise a deep flaw in the collective response to the virus crisis. Fair enough; it wasn't a good look. But why did it happen?
Could it be that governments are reaping what they have sown? Could it be the people are confused — and need better information? Today, Crikey asks — and answers — these and related COVID-19 questions.
Will the virus crisis fundamentally change long-held notions of government, the economy and society itself? Things that were unimaginable a few weeks ago are now not so. Government bailouts? Big handouts to the needy? Total lockdown? Nationalisation? There are more questions than answers.
Today, Crikey makes a start at answering some.
There's been a policy change in Canberra: Scott Morrison is embracing facts — in the case to hand, to ward off calls to close down the nation's schools. The virus crisis should put a premium on facts over fear. But then there's Donald Trump...