Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.
Over the last fortnight we’ve been importing coronavirus cases so that Aussies can sit back and watch the Australian Open tennis. It’s good for tennis and good for the Victorian state economy apparently. As you can imagine, some residents of the fair city of Melbourne (where the tournament is being held) are none too happy with the latest virus breakout via a worker at one of the Australian Open quarantine hotels. Melburnians spent six months sheltering at home last year so they are entitled to be a bit miffed. It also does not seem fair on the quarantine workers who risk their health every day to ensure that the rest of the country can live virtually virus free.
I suppose the risk of these small cracks in our borders would be one most Aussies would be willing to accept if we knew that it meant Aussies stranded overseas could come home as soon as possible. Yes, my brother-in-law is currently stuck in the US. I understand that the Victorian Premier has indicated the quarantine arrangements put in place for international tennis players were not at the expense of any Australians wanting to return home. And yet, and yet, there are over 30,000 stranded Aussies still waiting to come home.
Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your point of view, there is always the spectre of the premier of New South Wales (NSW) falling over herself to make the Australian Open happen in her state if the Victorian premier hesitates. State premiers are a competitive bunch, especially that lot in NSW with its gold star everything.
Meanwhile the lovely people of Perth in Western Australia are in the midst of their own quarantine scare. Snap stay at home orders have been imposed for five days. These restrictions do not apply to those affected by bushfires in the northern suburbs of Perth. Phew! The fires are horrendous and many have been left homeless. As for the virus, the more infectious, more deadly strains have got everyone worried. Western Australians are a resilient, diligent lot and I am confident that they will prevent the virus from spreading.
I have great sympathy for the quarantine security guards who have to sit in a hotel corridor for hours on end. In some jurisdictions, they apparently do not have to wear masks while they are guarding since they are not mixing with the “guests”. If the hotels are anything like the ones I’ve stayed at, the corridors are the repository of hot, stagnant air which is only refreshed when someone in their room opens a door. Big breath in now. Breathe that virus-laden air.
Meanwhile we are still waiting for the vaccination program to start (now scheduled for the end of February). If the long awaited vaccination program doesn’t go to plan, that will no doubt be the fault of state governments as well. Can I make a suggestion or two? Despite appearances to the contrary, the national government is responsible for our external borders. Perhaps then, it could set up purpose-built quarantine facilities for international arrivals in Mr Craig Kelly’s electorate? I wonder if the good folk in the electorate of Hughes share their local member’s views on all things Covid-related? Or maybe they could put a quarantine facility out in western New South Wales, in Narrabri? There’s a lot of hot air venting out there and plenty of workers willing to fly in, fly-out. A miners camp will be needed in Narrabri for that new coal seam gas project recently approved by the NSW state government. A multi-use facility. Very efficient. The New South Wales government is good at balancing public health and economic development so they could potentially be only too happy for such a proposal. The federal government too could be pleased to combine its gas-led recovery with protecting Australian citizens. Truly, I don’t know why they didn’t think of that themselves.
Anyway, back to the tennis. I don’t know many songs from this century but I came across this song by Courtney Barnett the other day. It is called Avant Gardener. I am sure you will be able to find a version of the song to view if this one is not available in your region. I’m glad I am not too old to relate. Check it out.
Grab your puffer and breathe easy, Aussies. Everyone else, stay safe and enjoy the tennis.