After nearly a year of assumed dialogue, state leaders are unable to come to an agreement regarding the freedom of movement for Australians within Australia. This has revealed their inability to formulate a common COVID management strategy, because if they were able to they would have done so by now.
The uncertainty created through the haphazard and unnecessary closures of state borders has left executives reluctant or unwilling to sign off business travel for their teams and forced many of us to reduce our forecasting to just weeks and sometimes just days. Nowhere is this felt more keenly than in the events industry, which is completely dependent on the certainty to plan and then execute events.
Furthermore, the proposition that state leaders’ COVID management decisions are (to a lesser or greater extent) politically influenced, has gained momentum.
We can all be triggered to act in certain ways if we believe we are facing an existential threat. Fear is one of our most elemental emotions.
The Queensland elections took place at the end of October and a hard border was imposed some weeks before to keep Queenslanders safe.
Western Australia has a state election in March and Premier Mark McGowan has announced a lockdown after one new coronavirus case to keep people safe.
On Tuesday 2 February, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced that he intended to present a bill to extend his emergency powers to the end of the year to keep Victorians safe. Just one day later he made a “panicked” (as described by one channel) statement at 10.30 in the evening to announce one COVID case and a return to some restrictions.
At the very least, these remarkable coincidences leave state leaders open to the accusation that their COVID management decisions are politically influenced, and prevent them from agreeing to policy on the freedom of movement for Australians in Australia.
Nearly one year later, we’re still having the same conversations about bubbles not borders and the need for one national approach to this emergency. Likewise, surely the time has come for one consolidated effort by all in the events industry to lobby for Federal intervention or influence, to break the cycle of restrictions and border closures that are damaging the very fabric of our society.