Today, Scott Morrison told us to stop panic buying and not succumb to fear. In the last fifteen years, the message has been the exact opposite.
This morning, I experienced peak absurdism. As Scott Morrison was asking us to stop coronavirus panic buying, I was at Woolworths, witnessing a woman justify the twenty-four bottles of lime juice in her possession, drowned out by the man with an armful of duck pâté, claiming that his five-year-old’s birthday dinner will be carrying on regardless.
One tends to wonder how we’ve got to a stage where we’re trading blows over toilet paper while pretending not to hear the anguished one-way phone conversations or the gesticulated pleas of those stranded in aisles with barren trolleys, wondering how they’re going to feed themselves and their family for an unknown period of time.
Yet, in the words of the Prime Minister, “Stop hoarding, stop it now…it’s one of the most disappointing things I’ve ever seen.”
BREAKING: Australian PM @ScottMorrisonMP
– Upgrading Travel Ban to Level 4
-“Don’t go overseas”
“We are going to keep Australia running.. it won’t look like it normally does”
— Simon Love (@SimoLove) March 17, 2020
Admonishment from an unpopular leader is one thing, but once again, Morrison has totally failed to read the room. Many of us are scared that we’ll lose our job, be unable to pay the rent, or to some, literally survive. Shaking a finger at these ‘disappointing’ people fails to grasp what pushed them to do it in the first place.
Today, we were told not to be afraid by the same people who taught us to fear everything. Muslims, boat people, the poor, the unemployed, the indigenous, the unions, the latte sippers. We’re learning that the 2019 election loss was more than the unsuitability of Bill Shorten, it was massed pork-barrelling, voter coercion and the deep pockets of Clive Palmer.
While some may loudly decry the busloads of city folk stripping the shelves of rural supermarkets as un-Australian, I believe this is exactly who we are, or at least, who we’ve become. It’s not entirely Morrison’s fault, but the utter hideousness of our portrait in the attic has been a long time coming. If we’re looking for a catalyst, I’d wager the 2001 Tampa crisis was the beginning of the course we seemingly cannot right.
#auspol #C19au I am not so much scared of the virus as I am of my fellow Australians. Buses came up to Lithgow yesterday from Sydney with hordes of Morrison’s drooling and greedy Bogans and stripped the supermarkets bare. Is every town in the west going to suffer a similar fate?
— Bruce Haigh (@bruce_haigh) March 18, 2020
Empathy has since become a luxury that we cannot afford, or afford to show, otherwise these faceless people from somewhere dirty will steal our tiny piece of Australia from underneath us. It echoes the lessons from above, as we’re all guided by the mind of a religious man whose beliefs allow one to be rich and pure at the same time.
I don’t know who the bloody hell we were, but I certainly know who we’ve become. Adani, Peter Dutton spying on Australians, secret trials of whistleblowers, offshore detention, the AFP raids, the repeated (unpunished) instances of corruption, undercutting marriage equality with the right to discriminate, the systematic failure to combat the bushfires or manage the climate. All have been ants slowly gnawing away at the metaphorical green-and-gold meat pie within.
After all, the ALP’s plan to defeat Scott Morrison is a clone of Scott Morrison. Our leadership comes in the form of nonsense, trite catchphrases: The best form of welfare is a job. Have a go, get a go. Patriotism will see us through a global pandemic.
So, we’re left to lead ourselves. It’s why we’re prone to this primordial selfishness Morrison fails to grasp. We don’t trust the government to look after us, so we’re desperately attempting to look after ourselves. We’re having a go in lieu of getting a go.
Morrison’s attempt to put the genie back into the bottle by force is typical of the man and the party, but it will invariably fall flat, and will thrust us further into panic and fear, as again, the plan is no plan; nothing but the usual cocktail of buzzphrase, punishment, and empty platitude.