The bickering in Australia over borders is a prelude to the world
Australian states are fighting about borders. The WA premier swatting down the NSW calls to open with two words “Ruby Princess” — the disastrous failure to allow a cruise ship of coronavirus cases to spread from Sydney to every state of Australia.
The border debate is bizarre. From a pure medical point of view there is zero, no, nothing, none, not one reason to open borders between states when one of those states has a highly infectious, deadly new virus present in the community. There is only risk.
The decision about opening borders is all economic. Is it worth it? The problem is that none of the economists know what the cost is, so we end up with Medical Swamp Experts, who don’t know the answer either, making economic judgements and calling it “medical advice”.
Virus free states are Golden Zones of freedom
The view from within a Golden Zone is very different. In a state with no virus (as far as we can tell) — the costs of letting in just one new case of virus are potentially astronomical. One undetected case could spread for weeks, causing the mass closure of hospitals, aged care centres, and so much economic damage with uncertainty and a second wave of lockdowns.
A virus-free state has almost all the normal freedoms within its border and Western Australia is opening up, people are booking holidays in droves in the South West. Phones are ring ‘off the hook’. People can shop free of fear. Groups of 20 people are allowed to gather indoors, and 30 outdoors. Swimming pools, libraries and gyms are opening on a limited 20 person basis.
The calls from states with uncontrolled infections like NSW to open the borders are purely selfish. The precious state of freedom-from-the-Wuflu is too valuable to risk. For those few state leaders which have cleared the virus the situation suddenly looks very different. The only thing that stands between freedom and pandemonium is the state border. More borders means more freedom. West Australians can’t fly out on holiday and they can’t invite family from the East to visit. But 99% of the freedom of their everyday lives are within grasp.
Freedom from the virus means freedom from Big Government
WA is a microcosm of the world. If many other states clear this virus they will not want travel from the US and the UK (etc). The giants of The Western World have powerful orbital pulls but so does the Golden Zone. The future depends on how many nations end up in each cluster: Virus 1 or Virus 0. The Western World balances on the cusp. If states (European nations) open up too soon, and keep the virus circulating, their risk analysis is different. Twenty or thirty nations are close to the Golden Zone or headed there.
As long as the virus spreads, even at a low level, there is an ever-present need for the claws of Big-Government. Call me ambitious, but there is no true freedom while an untreatable mysterious virus runs free. I want real freedom, not to have governments needing tracking, or calling for mandatory vaccination, constant testing, potential re-lockdowns.
Those who oppose the shackles of Big Government might want to start with science, not politics, and get rid of this virus. It’s possible, especially in summer.
How much is your freedom from Big Government, as well as disease, worth?
Mr McGowan said the WA border would remain closed for months to come and questioned whether NSW was in any position to be handing out advice.
“It’s odd, New South Wales is saying don’t catch public transport in Sydney, they’re restricting the number of people who can go to a restaurant or cafe far more than Western Australia is, yet they’re saying ‘why can’t New South Wales people fly to Western Australia,” he said.
“Their message is totally inconsistent.”
Mr McGowan said as long as the eastern states had high rates of community transmission of COVID-19, they would remain closed off from WA.
“New South Wales had the Ruby Princess — I mean, seriously? And they are trying to give us advice on our borders, seriously?” he said.
Watch the Medical Swamp Experts disagree:
Professor Kelly said there was never national advice issued that states should close their borders, but he respected their decision to do so “to protect their own population”.
“From a medical point of view, I can’t see why the borders are still closed but as I said that’s for the states and territories to decide when that time is right for them,” he said.
But Mr McGowan maintained the WA Chief Health Officer and director general of the state’s Health Department had both advised it was an appropriate measure [to keep borders closed] for Western Australia.
The medical advice should be identical. Curiously, the bias to open comes from those who answer to states-with-virus. The bias to close comes from those in States-with-freedom (no virus). Perhaps the Medical Expert Swamps are providing what their paymasters want to hear. That said, one side is also right.
Borders within borders in WA
Inside the vast million square kilometer state of Western Australia there were nine sub-regions which have draconian fines of up to $50,000 for people who breach them. Some of these regions have now been released or amalgamated into four regions. But the vast North West is still closed (controversially) from the main population in Perth. These regions have no virus, so keeping them shut seems unjustifiable. But bear in mind the North-West has the billion-dollar mining operations, and critical gas supplies and high-risk Indigenous communities. It is both the engine of the economy (even measured on a national scale) and also the most impossible health risk. Some of these communities are 3,000 kilometers away from an Intensive Care bed. The expense of quarantined transport and treatment is shocking. Hopefully, with more days of zero virus in Perth (it stands at six days now), the North West will open in time for their main holiday tourist traffic.
Borders have worked so well for Australia and most of the world. One of the biggest enduring mysteries is why the two Giants of the West — the UK and USA — have so willingly given up the best and cheapest tool to beat a threat that may turn out to an accidentally leaked Chinese lab virus.