Massive stimulus will mean nothing if we fail to stop virus spreading


No amount of money will be enough if governments – and citizens – fail to slow the virus and make sure it does not overwhelm our health system.

The latest stimulus puts an emphasis on simplicity and speed. The $25.2 billion goes to employers according to their size and as soon as they lodge business activity statements.

Scott Morrison can point to this and other actions, like a $17.6 billion stimulus two weeks ago, to argue he is defending the economy. So far so good.

But what about defending the health system? On this front, the Prime Minister and the premiers are struggling to overcome the complacency.

So why should voters pay attention to their politicians? While commentators have obsessed over Morrison’s messaging – whether he is looking weak, strong, right, wrong – the reality is that that most people pay no heed to a prime ministerial press conference.

Plenty of our politicians have been guilty of repeated failure over the past decade, engaging in naked power grabs and outright deception, so it should be no surprise that voters do not trust them.

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The fiscal stimulus offers a sense of reassurance but it does not slow the virus, which has to be the priority. That means tougher measures to slow the spread.

An advertising blitz would also do more to give Australians clear and direct advice on their health precautions, and not just about how to wash their hands.

With new rules being announced every day, state and federal governments need to find more powerful ways to get these updates to the community. This will cost less than the stimulus.



Politics

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