In the past six months, Australia has seen one of the more startling and significant episodes of rapid political change in its recent history. In short order, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted first a degree of lassitude and disbelief, and then a rapid mobilisation that saw the development of a new entity-the National Cabinet, combining federal and state leaders. The need to respond to an emergency, and the desire to avoid the mass death and chaos that had gripped the United Kingdom and the United States, briefly concentrated the minds of leaders of both the Coalition and Labor. A degree of intergovernmental collegiality ruled, and disaster was avoided. It’s a measure of how successful this was that the flare-up in Victoria, resulting in a few hundred extra deaths in a population of six million – a drop in the dark ocean for the United Kingdom and United States – has been treated as a tragedy and a disaster.
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