15 July 2020

Nick Dyrenfurth [$]: “Australia — and Victoria — would be in a far stronger position against COVID-19 had it not been for free-market utopianism advocated by libertarian ideologues during the last three to four decades. This fundamentalist agenda has undercut our ability to effectively respond to COVID-19. … It is responsible, in the main, for contracting out essential services… privatising strategic assets, signing bilateral free trade agreements, endless workplace deregulation, and the demise of Australia’s car manufacturing industry. These policies damaged our sovereign capability. We don’t make things any more, nor procure them, including critical medical supplies and emergency PPE. An insecurely employed, underpaid workforce, denuded of vocational training and contracted out to labour hire firms who adopt a cavalier approach to OHS issues, was ill-equipped to fill urgent production needs or perform critical safety tasks. Yet the response by free-market zealots responsible for subcontracting national sovereignty is to blame government when events inexorably go pear shaped. This pandemic has also shone new light on social incohesion and economic insecurity. Hyper-individualism has frayed our social fabric and imperilled our ability to act collectively and co-operatively in a crisis”.