After hearing PM Scott Morrison post the national cabinet meeting that had “return of international students” on the agenda, I have realised as to why Australia is considered a “lucky” country. It has got so used to this tag that now it has stopped strategising and at times can even be unfair. Still the planets have favoured the country.
The PM chose to not take any bold decision that can indicate that he is still leading. It turns out that he is also another politician working on the dates for the next election.
However the luck is about to run out with “international students” who are now actively preferring UK and Ireland; Canada and US; and rest of the world… Australia is the only country that seems closed even when it is in a far “luckier” situation. International students have been assured for months that they will be returned as a priority once the virus is contained.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said there are no locally acquired cases today and have been very few otherwise over the month. Professor Kelly said there were only nine people in hospital in Australia as a result of COVID-19 and “virtually none” who were seriously sick, and no-one in intensive care. He said that Australia had not experienced a death from COVID for some months and that Australia was a “very different situation” from other comparable countries.
Despite being in such a good position, Australia remains aloof to strategising and taking key decisions that can make a difference to humans involved and also to the economy. I don’t call it “taking risks”.
Letting stranded Residents and Australians back immediately is the country’s responsibility and can easily be facilitated now and not with the lethargy displayed.
International students who have lived here and studied for years need to be brought back so that they can complete their degrees and this too is not “taking risks”.
Family members of residents and citizen are also stranded and need to be reunited. The same applies to workers who are engaged with Aussie companies and contributing to Australia.
If Australia can’t do it now when the virus has been contained and there is adequate capacity in the health care to cover for any risks, then when?
I can only call Australia “lucky” that despite such poor foresight it can still continue to enjoy the goodwill it has.