Cr Geoff Lovett Tuesday 19 October Maryborough Advertiser

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Two years ago the world had never heard of Covid, today it is all we hear about on the news services.

This pernicious virus has brought the world economy to its knees. We have seen international travel stop, international borders closed, and domestically , small business and hospitality crushed by uncertainty. Governments stumbling from one crisis to another!

Here in Victoria it has been one disaster after another. We have seen Melbourne go from the most liveable city in the world, to the most locked down city in the world. However, Covid has exposed something far more concerning.

In 1901 Australia became a Commonwealth. 1st January the six separate British self governing colonies became one. Supposedly ending all the self serving parochialism that, today has left us a legacy of massive inefficiencies and cost duplications. Different rail gauges between the states, separate police forces, hospitals, schools, and fire services. Under our constitution various responsibilities are split between federal and state governments.

Personally, I have always thought of myself as Australian first and Victorian second. When I travel I do so on an Australian passport. Covid has shown just how fragile our Federation is.

When Covid began the Prime Minister convened the National Cabinet. Made up of the state premiers and himself. Their objective was to make decisions in the best interests of Australia. What we have witnessed is the national cabinet descending into petty name calling and self-interest. Consensus and the good of the nation, have been replaced by self-serving political survival.

Victorians have found ourselves shunned in our own country, pariahs, not welcome in other states. Isn’t there something seriously amiss when we are judged where we come from? I thought the Australian credo was all about a fair go for all! I am appalled at the hypocrisy of the state premiers. The Queensland Premier won’t allow a child with cerebral palsy, trapped in Sydney return home to his mother, whilst she travels to Japan for the Olympics! Or the Premier of Western Australia who put up a ‘mexican wall’ to exclude everyone, but enthusiastically welcomed the AFL grand final for political expediency.

It is high time for the state premiers to cease the politicking and name calling, and begin making decisions on what is best for Australia! After all, we are one country, or are we?

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