5 August 2020
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Josh & ScoMo, we need to talk about Victoria

Peter Switzer
15 July 2020

The big story nagging ScoMo, Josh and economists is whether Victoria will drag down the rest of the economy. And the next question is: what are we going to do about it?

It’s a bit like the movie We Need to Talk about Kevin but in our case, Kevin is Victoria. And with most family problems focused on one member, the reality is that the issue begins with the parents or leaders.

That means we should be looking at our leaders — Federal and State — when we ask what needs to be done about this Coronavirus threat to Australian lives and our economy.

And ironically, a good life-protecting solution would also be a great economic-protection strategy — and it simply is wearing masks!

I don’t like being a worry wart but apart from wanting to help save older and medically-exposed Aussies, I don’t want another national economic lockdown. And if mask-wearing reduces the chances of airborne viral particles infecting us, then it’s a small price to pay to keep people in jobs, business owners out of bankruptcy court and the economy growing.

Overnight we learnt that Britain and France are masking up. It will be compulsory in shops from July 24 in the UK, while from August 1, France will make face coverings compulsory in any indoor public place.

What’s driving these two significant countries for the world economy to take actions they’d clearly prefer to ignore? It’s simple. They don’t want another lockdown situation, like Victoria has been forced to embrace over the past two weeks.

And because of our interstate connections, especially via trucks as the Crossroads Hotel has shown, the entire country is virus vulnerable to another lockdown.

Queensland is so worried that it has banned New South Welshman from 77 suburbs from going north, but it’s possible after the school holidays are over in a couple of weeks-time that our entire state could be banned.

This all comes when the economic readings for the national economy were really looking fantastic. On Tuesday, the NAB business survey delivered very good news.  The NAB business confidence index improved from -20.3 points to +1.5 points in June and this index previously hit record lows of -65.4 in March.

However, this reading doesn’t factor in the effects of the Victorian lockdown in recent weeks, so you’d expect this to go off the boil with the July reading.

I know WA and SA with their locked borders didn’t want to think about masks and I’m sure Queenslanders would nearly threaten to secede from the Federation if we tried to force them to mask up. But given what’s happening now, the two biggest state economies have to seriously consider this option. I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it, our politicians have to have the guts to make us do this before it’s too late. Clearly, ScoMo and Josh need to talk about Victoria and then the rest of their Australian family.

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