After Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s AstraZeneca brain-fart, and the reaction against it1, Minister for Finance, Simon Birmingham has claimed that Morrison was simply trying to spread the word about the indemnity for GPs2. This is a lie. Morrison specifically mentioned those under 60, which was the age cut-off for the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has stated that people under 60 should get the Pfizer vaccine1.
Birmingham said: “The politicisation of the vaccine rollout that has been attempted by some, particularly by some state politicians in Queensland, is shameful. I urge people to listen to sound, sensible advice like you just had from Nick Coatsworth rather than some of the extremist claims that have been made by the Queensland Premier and the chief health officer”2.
One wonders what he makes of the recent statement in response to the Morrison brain-fart, from the head of ATAGI, Associate Professor Christopher Blyth, who poured cold water on suggestions Australians under the age of 40 should be trying to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. He said it should only be considered in “pressing” circumstances and “the ATAGI advice is that Pfizer is our preference for those under the age of 60 years”3.
It makes you wonder where Birmingham was when Treasurer Josh Frydenberg attacked the lockdown in Victoria in October 2020, in saying: “There’s been a callous indifference in Victoria from the government to the loss of jobs and to the plight of small business. The bloody-mindedness is unforgivable”4. It also makes you wonder what happened to Frydenberg’s opinions on lockdowns when New South Wales’ greater Sydney, central coast and Illawarra shut up shop recently because of an outbreak of Covid-19. Was New South Wales’ premier Gladys Berejiklian showing callous indifference or bloody mindedness when she locked down over 5 million people, or was it because it was the sensible thing to do?
It makes you wonder where Birmingham was when the idiots (Michael O’Brien, Tim Smith and Georgie Crozier) in the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party were demanding that restrictions be eased and when Andrews refused, he was called ‘Dictator Dan’ or ‘Chairman Dan’. This drivel was also a constant theme in the Murdoch media5. I didn’t hear Birmingham complaining about their politicisation of the Covid-19 response. Nor did I hear him remonstrate against the numerous other cases of what Dave Milner has termed the ‘psychopathic commentary’ by numerous other politicians and media commentators6.
For Liberals like Birmingham, it is never about what is good for the country or the populace, it is always about what they perceive as obtaining political advantage. Nothing else matters. Th hypocrisy is astonishing and sickening.