Tidings from Planet Ruok

The week began in this antipodean paradise with its prime minister rushing onto the stage to grab the microphone from the clammy undeserving paws of a woman – any woman.

It was, after all, the National Summit on Women’s Safety, to be attended and addressed by women. And as our national wag, The Shovel, explained…

Scott Morrison says he is uniquely qualified to speak at this week’s women’s summit given his wife is a woman.

As his 3300 words induced narcosis over attendees who would otherwise be squirming in shitless boredom, all were quite aware that the government led by this man haranguing them from the podium had just passed legislation to make workplaces safer for women, but with only six of 55 recommendations from a “revolutionary” enquiry by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.

Fathers’ Day – even farther out

As the eastern half of the continent (to those in the US, yes, it’s a large island) was locked down by COVID19’s Delta strain – family visits for Fathers’ Day off the agenda, no interstate funeral or welfare visits, ruined weddings, and pubs sans crawls – the PM thought it quite reasonable to hop onto Wombat One and fly home to Sydney to visit Jen and the girls. Australia is a big firm, so we shouldn’t complain just because it left the taxpaying plebes $4,000 out of pocket, and rubbed more salt into that wound – that the rich and powerful do indeed live under different laws.

The lad has a habit of dashing off to somewhere or, while somewhere, off course to somewhere else. Hawaii during a national bushfire disaster; a COVID-unfriendly visit to genealogy remnants during a UK visit.

Pfizer hunts Hunt

Several months ago disturbing rumours circulated that the government was asleep at the wheel in early 2020 and missed getting a good dose of Pfizer despite that company’s efforts to receive an order.

The word was that Pfizer couldn’t get the attention of the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, and negotiations limped along with some lesser departmental minions more interested in red tape than buying some, you know, vaccine during a global pandemic.

Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition (The Australian Labor Party) finally managed to extract email transcripts that plotted the merry odyssey in considerable detail.

The bottom line of this ongoing kerfuffle is Australia’s pitiful vaccination rate, the blame for which sits squarely in the lap of prime minister Scott Morrison whose famous last words describe his government’s and his attitude: “It’s not a race.”

Australia sits stubbornly near last in the COVID-19 vaccine dosage rate for OECD list of countries.

Consequently, Covid’s Delta variant cripples the nation’s two largest states, Victoria and New South Wales. That’s half the population, about 13 million people locked down.

This is due entirely to the government’s failure to: 1. Buy enough vaccine;  2. Manage quarantine. The first failure is the health minister’s fault. The second is the government’s, which means it’s the PM’s fault. Nearly two years into the pandemic, there’s a vague chance that hotel quarantine is an abysmal failure, for obvious reasons, ventilation being a big one. One can only guess it was seen as a business-friendly option. Keep that sector of commerce rolling along. But the states had no choice as the government was serially uninterested, despite blind Freddy calling it early in 2020 – foresight that the government tells us is hindsight.

Well, it is now.

Effortless Effort

The saga continued for a second day (totally baffling the 24 hour news cycle) as PM Morrison opened his mouth, or minister Hunt penned an inane op-ed. Hunt’s musings boiled down to praising “Aussie spirit of helping our mates” Oi Oi Oi, as if we were all on the Kokoda Trail again.

Morrison just did his usual obnoxious bullying at yet another faux press conference.

JOURNALIST: What efforts did you make to get more than those ten million [Pfizer vaccines] ?
PRIME MINISTER: Every effort that we could.
JOURNALIST: In what way?
PRIME MINISTER: No, I’ve answered the question.

Anyway, noone, the PM said, “has put more effort into that task than the minister for health.”

RUOK?

Um, no. And just as we don’t want to hear anything more about 9/11, Afghanistan, Trump, or, for that matter, bloody COVID19, nor do we want the person most culpable for the vaccination/quarantine snafu open his presser with that acronym.

But he did.

Even to minds sharp and fresh, his opening sentence – a very short sentence by his standard – seemed to lose its way. But did it forget to end itself, or were our minds sucked into the abyss?

Well, before I start can I just remind everybody today it’s RUOK? Day, and the question we have to one another, not just this day but everyday, particularly as we go through the very challenging times of the pandemic, especially those states and territories that are in lockdown and the impact that that has on the wellbeing of Australians right around this country.

After 1400 words had passed, along with several eclipses of the sun, he took questions.

Not to waste any more of your precious time, let me assure you that his very first question was repulsed with the famously aggravating riposte:

Well, I don’t accept the premise of the latter part of your question…

And it went downhill from there.