Published: 22/11/2021
Category: On The Job
Published: 22/11/2021
Category: On The Job

You’ve got to hand it to Scott Morrison.

The Prime Minister has managed a unique feat in creating a piece of history by doing as little as he possibly can.

Last week The Australian National Dictionary Centre at the Australian National University announced that its word of the year was “strollout”.

It’s a new addition to the English lexicon, popularised by Australian Unions very own, ACTU Secretary Sally McManus, to describe the excruciatingly slow and chaotic rollout of Australia’s vaccine program.

In inimitable fashion, the Prime Minister who is more interested in photo shoots than vaccine shots has inspired a word that he will be associated with forevermore.

Whilst we can chuckle at the bleak humour that underpins 2021’s word of the year, at its core it captures the trauma we’ve collectively felt as a country. 2021 has no doubt, been a punishing and damaging year for millions of Australian workers who endured more exhausting lockdowns and restrictions, increased job losses, ruined businesses, family separation and sickness as a consequence of Scott Morrison’s vaccine strollout.

“It’s not a race” was the Prime Ministerial mantra at the start of 2021. At least on this point, he was consistent, as it tuned out he was in no hurry to navigate us quickly and judiciously through a well organised, comprehensive and accessible vaccination campaign.

It said everything you need to know about the Morrison approach that, despite bold promises and proclamations to the contrary, it was the most vulnerable in our communities who were more often than not the last to be engaged in the vaccination campaigns.

The slow and messy vaccination of aged care residents and workers and the last minute scamper to vaccinate threatened and exposed indigenous communities vividly display just what priorities this government has.

Remember, this is the government that simply shrugged its shoulders and said whatevs when one of Australia’s most exclusive and privileged schools, St Joeys in Sydney, jumped the vaccine queue and secured a batch of the precious stuff to inoculate its students.

It’s not a race for us, but it sure was for them.

‘Strollout’ is not just about Scott Morrison’s pandemic response. It encapsulates the ethos of a government that wants access to power not for the public good but to further its own sectional self-interest.

This is a government that is not interested in tackling the big issues that are making life difficult for working Australians.

It has no interest in dealing with the scourge of insecure work. Millions of Australian workers and their families are stuck in Scott Morrison’s trapdoor economy where they are just a few weeks without work or enough hours and they would fall through into economic and financial distress.

As inflation outstrips the meagre growth in wages, workers pay packets in real terms are shrinking as the cost-of-living balloons. Anyone filling their car with fuel or doing a weekly shop for groceries will know that Scott Morrison’s wages strollout is really putting the squeeze on family budgets.

Morrison is also on a strollout when it comes to real reform in the aged care sector, despite the confronting and heartbreaking testimony heard at the Aged Care Royal Commission.

Once again, this government is refusing to support the workforce that carried Australia’s aged care residents through the pandemic, a workforce that has been over worked, under valued, under resourced and driven to exhaustion.

Of the $17.7 billion set out for aged care services in the last budget, not a single dollar was designated to improve wages in the sector.

Nothing has been done to address the mess created by the casualisation and labour hire practices that workers must deal with in the sector, something that the Royal Commission acknowledged was crucial to the standard of care residents receive, and was a key factor in the accelerated spread of COVID19 as workers moved from job to job, facility to facility, to put enough hours together to pay the bills.

This needs fixing, and it needs to happen now. And what’s Scott Morrison’s response?

More strollout and cop out politics.

As he ducks and weaves, grins and spins his way around Australia trying his darndest to convince working Australians that he deserves another term in office, Morrison’s only pitch to them is to guarantee that he will continue to do exactly nothing to help them.

Working Australians don’t want a government in every aspect of their lives, but they do a want government that is on their side when they need it.

Scott Morrison can’t bring himself to be bothered with all that though.

The PM’s one great legacy may well be to the Australian vernacular with the word strollout.

It’s clear that at the next election that if working Australians are to be given a chance to improve their circumstance it’ll be time for him to be thrown out.

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Scott Morrison’s Great Strollout

Scott Morrison’s Great Strollout