Flat White

When will WA Labor lift the Iron Ore Curtain?

26 October 2020

7:11 PM

26 October 2020

7:11 PM

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he is hopeful Western Australia will reopen by late December. No doubt that will be on his Santa list and the Santa list of thousands of West Australians too. 

I hate to break it to you, PM, but at the rate we are going, Santa ain’t even gonna get an exemption into this state. 

Mr Morrison, you and the rest of Australia (who probably believe that WA does not need their business) have been wedged and snookered by a very savvy political operator.  

Premier Mark McGowan knows politics. He also knows that people do not know what he knows and that is never to underestimate him, ever. 

This was plainly seen back in 2016 when former federal Labor defence minister Stephen Smith’s bombshell challenge for the WA Labor leadership did not end well for him — but most people missed the whole point of the story.  

McGowan knew Labor members had approached Smith because they were unhappy with his leadership at the time and doubted he could beat two-term WA Liberal Premier Colin Barnett.  

However, a year later, McGowan did just that after masterfully beating off Smith and his backers. The rest is history and quite frankly any natural disaster, terrorist attack or once in a century pandemic allows a leader to shine. Governing during an event like this really is not rocket science and with a myriad of advisers nowadays, the public can be spun the spin to their heart’s content. 

All leaders would have initially done exactly what McGowan did.  

But now is the time where common sense has to start kicking in, and people have to start thinking.  

The WA Labor Premier Mark McGowan closed our state’s hard border at midnight on Sunday, April 5.  

Labor remains favourite to win the WA state election on March 13, 2021. If it does, then the date for the reunification of Australia that Mr Morrison and many other Australians wish for will probably be Sunday, March 14, 2021. 

Or, for a bit more fanfare, how about a full 365 days after closure Monday April 5, 2021. 

People NOT living here in Western Australia do not understand just how convinced so many West Australians have become that the hard border is the ONLY thing protecting them and their loved ones from a gruesome Covid-19 death 

This hard border closure making WA an island within an island has shown that ruling by fear is the easiest way for people to fall into submission.  

At the time of going to print, this state has had NO community transmission of Covid-19 since April 11. Let’s repeat that. WA has had no virus for nearly 200 days, that is around 6 months and 2 weeks.  

Certainly, some of the gloss is starting to come off the state government as it is beginning to dawn slowly on people that they are living in the equivalent of North Korea. 

This elicits uncomfortable laughs but seriously, no one can come into the state without a special pass and anyone leaving, despite Western Australia being their home, can be refused entry back.   

Contrary to the ill-informed view of many in the Eastern States, not everyone in WA works in mining. We are certainly not all millionaires. There are just as many businesses that have gone to the wall here in this state but the devastation for their staff and owners rates well behind the positive spin from a multinational mining company who says the hard border is working. Come to the suburbs and I will show you the pain. However, what do they say? Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.  

McGowan is undoubtedly playing politics with this border issue. 

Western Australian has a huge fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workforce. With no end in sight, WA’s hard border closures are taking a huge mental toll on these workers who have not been able to see their children, partners and families, in some cases for more than eight months.  

The heart-breaking stories extend well beyond FIFO workers and behind the media spin lies the grim reality of extended months inside a hard border. Not attending funerals of parents. Not attending family weddings. Children and grandchildren not being able to see their dying relatives for one last time.  

This is not just the tip of an iceberg. There is so much heartbreak and mental health trauma behind McGowan’s Iron Ore Curtain. But with no media spin doctors to “sell” this story, the suffering goes on in silence.  

From the outset, McGowan has insisted that he has only closed the borders, and kept them closed, on health advice, 

All hell broke loose a few weeks ago when the Chief Health Officer of the state told a parliamentary committee that he had advised the government that “travel bubbles” with some states were feasible, but the advice had not been followed. 

Initially, the Health Minister seemed to back up these comments from the Chief Health Officer. But miraculously, the very next day, McGowan produced new advice from the same Chief Health Officer contradicting his earlier comments and backing McGowan’s Iron Ore Curtain.  

After a few days of negative media, McGowan then gave an exclusive media interview where he returned to shameless fearmongering, claiming that one of his great fears was that coronavirus would return to WA and that he would have “mass deaths on his conscience”.  

Oh please! Coronavirus really has not been here and our natural isolation would have always ensured we were spared the worst.  

Premier McGowan has also repeatedly said he cannot for the life of him understand why New South Wales has been held up as the gold standard during this pandemic. Every chance he gets he utters his two new favourite words “Ruby Princess”, conveniently ignoring his Labor mate Daniel Andrews and the utter disaster that has unfolded in Victoria.  

Those of us who have refused to drink the Kool-Aid from the very beginning can easily enlighten him: 

NSW has managed to keep its economy going. NSW has great contact tracing procedures in place. Each time an outbreak has occurredit has been dealt with immediately. NSW has not been locked up. NSW has not shut its border. It has kept operating and allowed Australians to learn to live with the virus. 

No-one knows yet whether there will even be a Covid-19 vaccine.  

WA has no roadmap whatsoever and no clue as to when or even if we will ever reopen. Internally, we have not endured the strict lockdowns that some other states have had. But there again it is very easy to govern any state when it is all locked up and to tell people to be fearful of something that is simply not around. WA has coronavirus cases but they are linked to seamen from overseas cargo ships and returned travellers in quarantine. I repeat, the last case of community transmission was on 11 April! 

Australia’s road toll could be zero tomorrow if we ban the motor car.  

We need to learn to live with the virus and we need to get the WA border open again. At very least we need a plan that gives some hope and a target date to work towards.  

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