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Thus Spake Mungo: the snapback

Well, that should be out of the way for the next four months.

Having shrugged off the minor and temporary distraction of parliament, Scott Morrison can resume doing what he is best at – marketing himself and his often-dubious achievements.

And he has finally got a few to boast about, as the overwhelming public support for his JobKeeper package has now been confirmed in the latest Newspoll. So he has momentum; but, as he constantly warns, this is not a time for complacency.

Like many alpha predators, ScoMo needs to keep moving constantly to survive. And given that this is, as he realises, essentially a time of consolidation, of waiting to see what happens – until about Anzac Day – he will have to find ways to keep himself on the daily, almost hourly, news bulletins in case those punters with more than the shortest of short term memories remember why they had doubted him for so long.

Fortunately there are a few loose ends to tie up. Attorney General Christian Porter called it a Dunkirk moment, hardly the happiest analogy given that Dunkirk was not a glorious victory but a desperate retreat – a bit like Anzac, actually, but let’s not go into that.

JobKeeper has left about a million casualties abandoned on the beaches, the hapless lot who are not eligible for the unexpected largesse

And, as Labor’s Tony Burke acidly remarked, JobKeeper has left about a million casualties abandoned on the beaches, the hapless lot who are not eligible for the unexpected largesse. While some can be left there more or less indefinitely, there are those who will have to be triaged out, notably backpackers and other temporary visitors who are currently stranded without the means or ability to get home, and rapidly running out of any visible means of support.

There will be enough tweaking to be done to guarantee a few press conferences. But the main game is sweating on the figures, and particularly in the next couple of weeks.

It is just about time to declare victory over the first wave; the COVID-19 outbreak triggered by overseas arrivals. The clamp down has now been in place for longer than the standard period of infection, and while there are probably a few outlying cases to be identified and mopped up, the worst is clearly over, that curve has been flattened.

We can be fairly sure that there are no more Ruby Princesses preparing to arrive – not even the smuggest of the buck passers in Border Force is willing to risk that

Barring a new disaster it is unlikely to rise. And we can be fairly sure that there are no more Ruby Princesses preparing to arrive – not even the smuggest of the buck passers in Border Force is willing to risk that. So far so good; but now on to COVID-19-Mark II.

The rate of increase among domestic positive tests is still fairly slow, but there are more than enough of them, and they are sufficiently widespread to start a second, and potentially more lethal, wave. And they are harder to police and control; not only are many of them appearing from apparently unknown causes, but there is a well-grounded fear that there are a surge of what are called asymptomatic infectors lurking among the populace – Typhoid Marys who have no signs of the illness themselves, but can and do pass it on to others.

This is big issue for the current fortnight. If this curve flattens, or at least does not start bending more steeply, we can say with some confidence that the measures that are being undertaken, principally isolation, quarantine, and social distancing, are working, and if they are pursued with due diligence they may get us through the initial nightmare.

The economy is not like an elastic band that can be stretched to breaking point, and then instantly resume its original shape. It is more like chewing gum

But of course that will not be the end; even as we slowly and carefully ease the restrictions, things will be very different, Morrison talks airily about snapping back. But the economy is not like an elastic band that can be stretched to breaking point, and then instantly resume its original shape. It is more like chewing gum – it can be molded, distorted and otherwise maltreated, but no matter how carefully you leave it on the bedpost overnight, it can never be the same again.

This does not mean revolution, the overthrow of capitalism and globalism, as some would-be Utopians might hope, but it does mean that there will have to be different rules, and different standards as things struggle back to some form of coherence. And there will be much pain and gloom in the process; a lot of people and institutions have been damaged during the pandemic, and its aftermath will be long lasting and, for some, traumatic.

Privileges, and even rights will have to be curtailed, budgets and belts tightened. Morrison has suddenly flourished as the Great War Leader, but whether he can manage the period of austerity that will surely follow will be the big political question for the rest of his current electoral term.

If he is serious about snapping back, he will have to summarily remove much of the bonanza he has only just bestowed on the voters

He will not have the advantage of urgency, of being allowed and even encouraged to rush through life and death decisions. But if he is serious about snapping back, he will have to summarily remove much of the bonanza he has only just bestowed on the voters. No more free child care, and back below the poverty line for Newstart recipients. And it won’t be just the consumers at the sharp end; industries such as tourism, and private hospitals, will be back on their own. Taking back government benefits is never popular, and it certainly won’t be this time.

In practice it won’t be quite as sudden as that; the wind down will come with warnings, and a deal of preparation. But come it will, come it must, if Morrison’s newfound credibility is to endure and prosper.

The desire to return to what used to be called ‘normal’ is strong, even obsessive. This is, no doubt, why the National Rugby League is moving Heaven and Earth to resume some kind of competition by the end of next month. There is little doubt that this is the wrong message for the rest of us, immured in self-isolation, but if it happens the fans will be hugely relieved, as will the administrators, players, sponsors and any TV network willing to broadcast the matches in the absence of live audiences.

The games may go on, but if they do, they will be scaled down, not quite the real thing, overhyped, and in the end probably a bit of a letdown. Perhaps an ominous precursor for ScoMo’s brave new Australia.


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24 responses to “Thus Spake Mungo: the snapback”

  1. Len Heggarty says:

    With stress mounting in the community and distress dressed up in a mask in our hospitals prime minister Scott Morrison decided to have a show of strength when he let parliament sit for one day to deal with the Jobseeker payment.
    Now he can kick back and relax and let Labor whinge as he has put plenty of money into supporting the unemployed, except the casuals of course, but that would cost another $18.1 billion.

  2. Mark May says:

    Bitter and twisted, as always

  3. Ivan Ballin says:

    Expect more weasel words like “snap-back” as the semblance of green shoots of normality climb the trellis of public consciousness.

    Morrison just has to get the big-end tax avoiders to cough up, and his cash revenue problems are solved for the foreseeable future.

    Whether he chooses to take them on – the donors, the life-blood of the LNP who live by the code of “grift a little – gain a lot” remains to be seen. My bet is he’ll go for the low-hanging fruit – the less popular option, but the more dull target – the people themselves.A bit of shock-and-awe and they’ll get over it – they always do … don’t they?

    Proof of this is in his current (and still-coming) use of vocabulary, designed to brain-wash the plebs into a state of preparedness to give up their temporary gains. They will not yield easily, but given their willingness to swallow the Angus Taylor scandals eg #Watergate #Clovergate without a yelp, it’s a bet he will go for.

    He’ll get a snap-back alright – the people will not forget his ineptness around the #Bushfires #Hawaii #Newstart (pre-JobSeeker) #Medevac #Robodebt #SportsRorts #AFPRaids #Manus #Indue #ClivePalmer #GladysLiu #EmpathConsultants #ICAC and innumerably more than there is space to list here.

    And if the people do begin to show signs of political amnesia, there are about 10,000 of us here armed and ready to go with little memory jogging hints and recollections.

    But remember Labor is not innocent in this story.
    Labor voted to block the Greens amendments in the Senate, so ensuring the 1.1 million missed out on benefit-support on the Wednesday 8th April vote. We are about to witness evictions en masse and soup-kitchen queues coming to a neighbourhood near you.

    Success for the Greens would have meant the unwinding of the stitched-up deal Labor did with Christian Porter on Tuesday 7th April, when the fix went in.

    My advice – get the best early price available on Labor for 2022, but be careful what you wish for.
    Absent a strong Lang, Curtain or Chifley-type leader emerging, Labor is potentially an even more disastrous obfuscator.

  4. A real observant overview, Mungo. No Brave New World
    to look forward to & ‘snap back’s’ an impossible way of
    putting it. Let’s hope The Curve aint a whip-snake. Yes,
    there’ll be some Dollywood press conferences lime-lit
    & a rugby pass to support it. My focus is to follow the
    virus’ play-back & carriers. Aussie won’t ever be the
    same again any more, ditto the planet as well. Humans
    needed a good shake-up but who would have expected
    this! We need to pull it all together. Lets hope our voted
    in parliamentarians are up to the job. Our leader – I’m
    unsure of. He isn’t Geronimo.

  5. Ken says:

    Quite right Mungo,
    However, while it is true that the Australian public posses the attention span of a gold-fish with alzheimer’s, surely people will not forget the two months of inaction, where the only concern was the effect on private education and the tourist trade, which resulted in ,at least 50,000 Asian students being allowed to self-report fourteen days self isolation in a third country. It was known at the time incubation could be thirty days and some positive for the virus ,showed no symptoms but were just as contagious, now I don’t know if the government and the chief medical authorities were just incompetent or more worryingly, relying on faith.
    Whatever the excuse, its blindingly obvious that this is where the mystery community infections are arising from, and there can be no tracking or mitigation from these undocumented cases and contacts in our midst.
    In the meantime, Happy Easter and keep yourselves Safe. G”)

  6. Emily Stewart says:

    “Well, that should be out of the way for the next four months.” snapped back Scott Morrison to his treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
    Josh was there at the table counting out the money that was to be doled out to Jobseeker recipients being careful to be 1.5 metres away from his boss.
    The PM shrugged his shoulders as that money was not a minor and temporary distraction of parliament. He had just pulled off the best marketing strategy the Australian voters had ever seen. They were to be rich and wealthy for the next four months. But what then?

  7. Tony Elwood says:

    What ever happened to the bushfire recovery fund? Morrison announced it back in January. It seems to have disappeared without trace given the current distraction.

  8. Joachim says:

    ‘Snapback’, is ScoNO’s wish, back to how it all was pre COVID-19. Where listening to the experts, acting on the Science was junked, punters were treated as mugs until an election rolled into view and we had ScottyfromMarketing rolling out his scripted soundbites and the dismissal of any hard questioning and scrutiny. I’m thinking ‘SnapOUT’ of the last 6.5 years of Coalition Government is what we really need.

  9. Barrow says:

    Ivan, labor were odds on to win the last election ?
    And to suggest labor have any chance to win
    2022 laughable !! You see Albo is more left
    Than Bill and certainly is more inline with
    The Greens ,and lets face it the new greens
    Leader is a concern for this country, his
    Self proclaimed socialist agendas would not be a issue for labor or Albo ONE big happy PARTY
    You see Ivan the majority of this country
    Believe in this current Prime Minister
    Not just a noisy few that do not !!
    Including the Taxpayer funded ABC
    Who needs a opposition in Government when you have the ABC .

  10. Barrow says:

    But what then ? Well Emily if you have any ideas
    For the for the foreseeable future for us and the
    Present Government? Feel free to do so . You see
    Emily Governments do not have any money !
    It is not a endless nose in the trough for
    Hand outs , the Taxpayer fills the coffers .
    No taxpayer’s no welfare !

  11. Simple, Barrow…. We will all need the rest
    of the alphabet. And that’s putting it mildly.

  12. Barrow says:

    As previously stated Stefanie , if the coalition
    Government were in a surplus, 100 % renewables
    Open borders , closed down all the resources
    Industries . You would still find something to
    Complain about regarding the conservatives!

  13. Joachim says:

    Barrow old son, Sporty Bridget and Team Coach ScoNO had no trouble finding the millions for their Sports Rorts Affair but seemingly now can’t find any left over change for treating ALL casuals as equals. There’s plenty to complain about with your Conservatives, old son.

  14. Bryan Cunnington says:

    The fact our esteemed AG ( just joking) was forced to haggle with the union boss to get this jobkeeper program off the ground is 150 steps back for this fascist govt. Where the govt on Westpac’s 1 billion fine for money laundering not single word and why as they are a major donor.

    The senate should be demanding all donations over $10 be banned outright and each major party given 5 mil each to fight elections with. No 3rd parties allowed to donate so no way tax payer money can be leached out to pay back the donation in spades as is the current norm.

    This current govt is the worst this country has ever had and they got the trifecta for the 3 worst Pm’s and all in a row, the hard part is picking the correct numbers but scumo is odds on to be the winner.

    How Good Is That

  15. And….[ leaving Emily out of this]… Barrow, you will
    always find something to bark about. It’s all hit &
    miss & without any form of foundation. Get a grip
    on the fact that following the leader is a kid’s game
    that thinking adults & students don’t agree with. It’s
    the ‘country’ we’re talking about. Government louts
    & power grabs are not on.

  16. Jenny says:

    Speaking of the stimulus package.
    Can anyone please break down the amount of stimulus and handouts given to each of the following groups
    1. big business including the mining sector, airlines, multinationals and national corporations , eg childcare industry (remembering that only private childcare agencies are funded)

    2. small business. eg cafes, small retail, sports groups

    3. The unemployed, DSP recipients, pensioners and self funded retirees

    NOE CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHERE THE GOVERNMENT IS PLANNING ON GETTING IT’S REPAYMENT FROM. I’M NOT HOLDING MY BREATHE THAT THE MAJOR BENEFICIARIES WILL BE PAYING FOR IT

  17. Barrow says:

    Selective memory Captain Planet Joachim!
    You assume that labor or the Greens are
    Immune from such favoritism whilst in Government? they
    Support incumbent members when grants
    Are given out ? Joachim you are as bias as the
    Majority on this forum for labor or the Greens
    Thats okay because thats democracy!!
    However i dont and thats still okay is it not ?
    Incidentally Joachim with respect when have you had any concerns for the less fortunate or homeless ? Never on any of your previous articles
    Have you ever mentioned the plight of our most
    Vulnerable the homeless? However you certainly
    Have had on numerous occasions had empathy
    For the Refugees in detention centers no doubt about that Joachim, 13 billion dollars later
    Thanks to labor and the Greens. Wow what that money could have done for our own Refugees in Australia … yes the homeless Joachim .ironic

  18. Blue says:

    I dread to think what the income tax and GST rates will be as we Snap Back…..

  19. Joachim says:

    Barrow old son, playing the ScoNO trick of deflection when scrutiny of the issue shows up the mean and trickiness of ScottyfromMarketing. The Casual Workers are the issue, stay on topic Barrow old son, these are hard working Aussies who are being purposely discriminated against by your ScoNO. Let’s here it Barrow old son, it is perfectly okay to have two teams of Aussie casuals – there’s ScoNO’s captain’s pick ‘Team Australia Casuals’ and then there’s ‘The Rest Casuals’, those that Scotty purposely dumped off the team sheet for Team Australia.

  20. Barrow, you’ve wandered off track again &
    talking to yourself is a waste of time. None
    of us [here] that I know of have turned
    their back on the homeless. How about
    you give a blow by blow description of
    what you do for those with problems…the
    aged, homeless? What group are you
    part of? How much do you donate for
    local causes? Have you had a real chat
    with a school student? [Your Scono God
    may not look so good if you’d learn to
    listen & stop being a mere critic.] Put
    your time & effort into something worth
    something. Like… (think) is it okay to
    send school kids ‘back to school’ & use
    them as ‘guinea pigs’ to see if they catch
    the virus? Good question. Young ones
    crammed in school aren’t likely to cark
    it? That, old son, is not human. Adults
    are ‘watched’ by the KGB & fined if
    they break the law ‘in gatherings’. The
    kids??? Forget them! Shove ’em in a
    class-room & spread infection. NOT
    On.

  21. Oops! This needs mentioning. Info sent a couple of
    days ago. School’s out, strike school’s in! Starting
    Monday 20th April. ‘ACTIVISM IS LEARNING’……..
    Semester One. Climate Strike School – a 3.5 week
    curriculum / learn about climate justice & plan your
    #ClimateStrikeOnline. Together we will get ready
    for May 15 & meet other strikers from across
    Australia. Don’t miss out on class – RSVP today.
    You can join classes from your computer or
    phone. On Monday we will discuss how COVID-19
    & Climate Justice are connected. Remember, it
    takes deep roots to weather the storm. [These
    students deserve to be supported].

  22. Barrow says:

    You have a real emergency on our doorstep
    And worldwide Stefanie. And is certainly adding
    To young people’s anxiety ! To encourage
    Young school kids to protest about
    Something that clearly dos not exist is
    Absolutely irresponsible. Its hypothetical
    Computer modeling thats the problem .
    Scientist relying on this propaganda
    What if ? What if ? Future what if’s , that never
    Eventually happen stefanie . Give you examples
    Of some predictions! In 2010 the guardian predicted that Greenland would collapse because of climate change by 2020 ?? Thats now ??
    Sound familiar! Guardian also predicted in 2013 that by 2015 the Antarctic would be ice free due to
    Catastrophic methane induced warming pulse.
    Recently the Antarctic set a new record record of
    Minus 75 at vostox according to electraverse
    Thats the coldest and the most snow since
    Records began in 1979.. the northern hemisphere
    On of the snowest on record, America, and Canada right NOW breaking records ! Funny thing is that the Guardian and the ABC have been preaching that snow is going to be a thing of the past .for decades .yes save our Forrests , rid our oceans of plastic etc , save our
    Bees , and whales.. but this Global Warming hysteria
    Has to STOP ..scientists hooked on government
    GRANTS !!!

  23. Barrow says:

    Joachim is that the best you got ?? Team this team that ! I assume you are taking from one of those teams ? Or should i say taxpayer’s?
    one petty complaint Joachim ! The government
    Has to make those hard decisions unfortunately
    On behalf of the TAXPAYER’S Joachim
    It is not a endless nose in the trough .
    Everyone should be grateful to receive
    Something!! Or use your education to
    Come up with who has a better social system
    Than Australia..

  24. Answers…..[1] ..’Global Warming responsible for
    freezing temps, in U.S. while other parts of the
    world have record warm temps. Re – the science
    behind the polar vortex.’ [2] Greenland’s ice
    ‘melting faster than science previously thought.
    Larger chunks of ice into the Atlantic where it
    melts causing sea levels to rise.’ [3] ‘Antartica
    is an Armageddon caused by Climate Change.’
    The ‘above exists’ as the bush-fires existed &
    the world virus. The students are the ones
    who will end up with the ‘clean-up’ of our greed
    & refusal to see right from wrong. They are
    the ones – once grown into adult-hood &
    employed who will be working, tax-paying
    citizens keeping the likes of their parents
    & grandparents [including you] in a safe
    environment. Learn to respect your junior
    survivors who today are far more savvy
    than our current generation. Barrow, you
    have not answered your input into local
    groups who could do with well needed
    support.

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