The appalling Paul Kelly, who writes for Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian, has railed against almost anything progressive in Australia. Indeed, he railed against the setting up of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, asserting that it was because of the “dismal, populist” governance of Australia. It is likely that he believed it was all part of the Labor Party’s ‘anti-Catholic agenda’ that the idiotic Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine maintained. Their attempt to turn the Royal Commission into a perceived witch-hunt proved to be very wide of the mark1.
Now Paul Kelly has made himself look even more ridiculous in saying “Most of the premiers – not every one – are betraying the compact of free movement within Australia, along with humiliating Prime Minister Scott Morrison”2. While it is true that Morrison has been humiliated, that has largely been his own work, not through actions by the states3-7.
Kelly follows this up with “Deny free movement and you deny the essence of nationhood. This is the sad plight to which COVID-19 has reduced Australia”1. This is simply laughable. While the constitution prevents any impediment to travel or trade between the states, there is a precedent for the shutting of state borders during a health crisis. Once the pandemic of a century ago had arrived in Australia, state borders were shut8. Despite that denial of the essence of nationhood, Australia miraculously survived.
Kelly then doubles up on this drivel with “Our unity is smashed; our prospects for national economic recovery are compromised”. This is what he is really concerned about; money. Like many of the right-wing nut jobs in Australia, many of whom work for Murdoch, the deaths of the worst affected by Covid-19, the elderly, are of little consequence to them. Recently, Abbott has said that we should not worry if a few hundreds or thousands of the elderly succumbed, after all they are expensive to save9. Adam Creighton, a Murdoch hack, has done much the same, but perhaps a little less disgracefully, in advocating for quarantining the elderly while keeping the economy open10. Morrison has also advocated keeping the economy open11.
Kelly opines that the “premiers are safeguarding the interests of their state by punishing the nation and the wider Australian population”. And so they are, but this is what one would have hoped Morrison would be doing too; looking after people. However, like Kelly he is mostly concerned with money; specifically donations to the Liberal Party. If businesses lose money, one of the first line items to bite the dust is political donations.
Kelly complains that the premiers of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, Western Australia, Mark McGowan and Victoria, Dan Andrews, have all shown self-interested contempt for Morrison, who called for everyone to come together. Kelly also praised Gladys Berejiklian who he said is “light years ahead in leadership responsibility”1. Yet it is Dan Andrews who has fronted up every day to provide updates on the situation in Victoria, and has to suffer the inane questioning from assorted Murdoch hacks. Nowhere in his little diatribe does Kelly mention that it was not the Victorian government which closed its border with New South Wales, but the Berejiklian government12. It was not the Victorian government which closed the border with South Australia, but the South Australian government of Stephen Marshall that closed its border with Victoria13. It was not any mainland state which closed its ‘borders’ with Tasmania, but the Tasmanian government of Peter Gutwein, and Gutwein has said that the borders will remain closed until the first of December, but this will be reviewed on a weekly basis14. Why do you think Kelly didn’t mention this? Could it be that these are all Liberal state governments? Could it be that Kelly just wishes to heap opprobrium on Labor states alone? This is typical of the way that Murdoch ‘ruperters’ operate. They lie. In this case Kelly has lied by omission. He must be a sad little man.
- Kelly, P. 2020. Self-interested ‘fortress’ premiers betray our nation. The Australian, September 4.