Leading article Australia

Normal normal

19 December 2020

9:00 AM

19 December 2020

9:00 AM

After one of the most gruelling and troubling years of the last few decades, the one thing most of us wish for over the summer holidays is a return to normality; not the ‘new’ normal’, not ‘Covid normal’, but just a good old-fashioned normal normal. Or, as our Summer Special cover by Sarah Dudley and Ben Davis beautifully summarises: ’What do you want for Christmas?’ Answer: ‘Christmas.’ Indeed, it is interesting to look at last year’s summer cover which so perfectly captured the more innocent world of twelve months ago: a Mr Whippy-style ice cream van surrounded by excited kids frolicking in the Aussie summer sun. In the background, the flames of bushfires the only hint that troubled times may lie ahead.

The bushfires were eagerly and disingenuously seized upon not only by the Left here but also by haters of Australia and climate cultists the world over as evidence of global warming. Liberal MP Craig Kelly was mocked on British morning TV for daring to suggest that in fact our dry continent has always suffered and will continue to suffer from regular bushfires and that the lack of adequate back-burning was responsible for the severity this year, as opposed to farting cattle or Adani coal mines. The subsequent NSW royal commission into the fires played to the same gallery, with predictable virtue-signalling about ‘tackling climate change’.

In a tell-tale sign of the new infatuation with authoritarian governments, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was roundly attacked for taking a well-earned holiday in Hawaii. Why wasn’t he back home ‘doing something’ about the fires?, squealed the Left, conveniently forgetting that when a genuine fire-fighting PM, Tony Abbott, donned his gear and headed off to douse the flames they chided him for not being at his desk. (Speaking of Mr Abbott, don’t miss his review of the first volume of George Pell’s Prison Journal in this issue).

And so it came to pass that when the corona virus escaped from a bio-weapons lab in Wuhan or from a bowl of bat soup (take your pick) the prime minister felt it necessary to indeed ‘do something’ on an unprecedented scale to atone for the sins of his Hawaiian sojourn. Ever willing to oblige, the mandarins served up a tempting cocktail of JobSeeker, JobKeeper and other such blank cheques which a motley group of premiers were soon punch-drunk on, allowing them to do as much damage as they could possibly contrive of to small businesses and families knowing the federal Treasurer would pick up the tab.


The lessons of Covid are clear, but whether they will be heeded is a different question. The over-reaction by our federal government and the formation of the National Cabinet gave licence to a new form of authoritarianism that has wreaked havoc with the freedoms and rights we once took for granted. The closing of the international borders, particularly to China, was critical, as were reducing the size of large crowd gatherings and other sensible social distancing and hygiene measures. But as we repeatedly argued (before anyone else), the massive spending and severe lockdowns were out of all proportion to the threat posed by the disease. A year ago it looked like we were returning to surplus; now we’ve racked up a trillion dollars of debt.

Unlike others, we also reported extensively on hydroxychloroquine and treatments that were successful around the world at preventing Covid but banned or even criminalised here.

Although a more normal Christmas now looks likely, the new year gives no reason for complacency. As the Great Treasury Cash Bonanza comes to an end, unemployment problems that have partially been hidden will come to the fore. Troubles with China will continue, and a Biden-Harris presidency does not bode well. The climate change cultists will carry on their merry destructive path, accompanied by the insidious ‘Great Reset’ program, designed to steal our prosperity and our freedom.

The Spectator Australia will not sit idly by while anti-democratic elites in cahoots with the authoritarian Left attempt to achieve through subversion and coercion what they always fail to achieve at the ballot box.

To all our readers, and particularly our many new readers who have joined us this year (and what better Christmas present for that hard-to-buy-for friend or relative than a year’s subscription?), we wish you a safe and Merry Christmas and a prosperous and Happy New Year. Our next issue will be out on 9 January.

In the meantime, put your feet up and enjoy our Summer Special.

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