Scott Morrison's latest reversal on hairdressers - removing the arbitrary 30 minute limit on appointments, even as the industry demands to be part of the lockdown - shows us a man feverishly committed to 'business at all costs'.
So feverishly committed that the cost can even be business itself.
It seemed like only yesterday a set of new confusing, arbitrary rules came into force. One of these rules was a requirement that hair appointments could be no longer than 30 minutes. We covered the absurdity of this recently (see Morrison's Australia: Increasingly Like France in Post-Chernobyl 1986).
Whatever you think of the directive, it's clear Morrison believed the evidence on health risks was compelling. So compelling that he announced the 30 minute limit as part of a recent public coronavirus update.
So what just happened?
According to reports from the Guardian, the industry said 30 minute appointments were completely unworkable, and pleaded with the Federal Government to be included in the lockdown.
So what did Morrison do? He removed the restrictions and ignored the business pleas:
It defies commonsense to choose a reversal of position that manages to both disregard health and business considerations at the same time.
If we move beyond the hairdresser debacle to the broader question of an extreme lockdown we also see a Federal Government whose misguided dragging-of-feet on their pandemic response is shaping up to drag the whole crisis out much longer than necessary, significantly harming business.
Many experts have pointed out that a short, sharp lockdown of as little as 5 weeks is possible. See for instance:
- Coronavirus expert advisory panel member calls on Federal Government to lock Australia down
- We need an immediate five-week national lockdown to defeat coronavirus in America.
This kind of bizarre behaviour from government reveals what can only be considered a feverish commitment to business at all costs.
Yes, even if that cost is business itself.
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