By Colin Toll
Covid-19 has had a shattering effect on the world of work and in many countries, it continues to do so. Here in Australia, except for Victoria, we were not as badly affected by COVID and many countries across the world.
In many cases the measures put in place to contain the virus caused severe economic and social pain. Lockdowns closed businesses, destroyed jobs and required millions of Aussies to isolate at home, away from extended family and friends.
It is interesting to look back at our experience here in Australia.
The effect of COVID varied by State and geographic region. In the Far North of Queensland COVID was less severe and less common than in Southern Queensland where, in turn, COVID was far less severe and common than in NSW and Victoria. In some ways it seems that COVID did not like the warmer climate and outdoor living of the north.
Who could forget the infamous statement by our Premier “Queensland hospitals are for Queenslanders” and the “Iron Curtain” equivalent drawn along the Queensland borders to keep those nasty Australians from other States out!
Individuals were denied the right to attend funerals or visit sick family members across the cities and across state borders. How un-Australian once again.
Down in Victoria where the longest lockdown in the world was imposed, the once admired Victorian police appeared Gestapo like in bullying its citizens. And, we had the army on the streets assisting police. How un-Australian.
In the employment world we were warned about the impending “Great Resignation” which never did occur here in Australia. Working from home was said to be the new norm. That too, has proven to be misleading.
Vaccination was correctly promoted as a sensible measure, but all sorts of negative rumours swirled around the country until it eventually settled down. Very unfairly, those who refused to be vaccinated were often denied their right to work and hence lost their careers and economic freedom.
There are many other negatives that could be highlighted from Australia’s COVID experience. One hopes that the leadership of our country is reflecting on our experience and taking steps to prevent such draconian measured being taken in any future pandemic situation.