Before Christmas, I tried to be optimistic as the country, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his NSW acolyte Dominic Perrottet, blithely waltzed into the holidays as if the pandemic was over.
But I knew what was coming.
We were all relieved that some degree of normality would be restored, that we could see friends and relatives in person, and a summer of celebration was possible.
Omicron had arrived, but it was so much less severe than Delta, if more infectious.
What could go wrong?
A health system at breaking point, supply chains disrupted, staff shortages, empty shelves.
As far back as August, the warnings were early, clear and urgent about the need to secure supply chains and workforces, and testing resources, including rapid antigen test supplies.
We were kidding ourselves, and as usual, in a pattern that is becoming depressingly familiar, the Morrison Government either ignored the advice available to it or is incapable of any form of risk management or planning.
The other concern is that the public service itself may not be capable or strong enough to provide that advice or execute the necessary planning.
Who would have thought that all those people would want to get on a plane over the Christmas holidays and need PCR tests?
Who would have thought that relaxing public health measures would turn Christmas and New Year into super-spreader events?
And guess what, Omicron is not just a sniffle. Just ask someone who has been run over by that truck, vaccinated or not.
The chilling thought is we won’t know the long-term effects of this virus for some time, but already the stories of those suffering from long COVID should be a reminder of how dangerous it is.
The blasé statements from Mssrs Perrottet and co about how we are all going to get it, which were so undermining to the public health measures required to manage an ongoing pandemic, should come back to haunt them.
Omicron may have become the dominant strain, but there has been enough Delta around to keep killing people, and the new variant is still putting people into hospitals, and some will die or are dying.
And suddenly it was our responsibility as government melted away and attempted to redefine the relationship. There’s no such thing as a free RAT, the PM said, before quickly adjusting his rhetoric when the backlash hit.
What has happened over the past few weeks has been an appalling failure of leadership from National Cabinet, which the Prime Minister should lead, and NSW, which, as Australia’s biggest state, has set the pace, something Mr Morrison seems happy to have let happen.
And as an island within NSW, the ACT has had little choice but to conform in most things.
Governments were warned months ago, the scenarios were unfolding in Europe and the US before our eyes, but the PM went on holidays.
Nobody expected that we should go back into lockdown, but the ongoing pandemic and the Omicron wave still needed to be managed, especially through the challenges the Christmas period would bring.
Omicron may have finished off the contact tracing regime, but it was so predictable that governments, even gung-ho NSW, would have to reimpose some restrictions in the face of the obvious.
Governments, particularly the Commonwealth, could have and should have been more prepared, instead of allowing situations to deteriorate before belatedly taking action.
How many more press conferences of Mr Morrison blame-shifting, roadtesting slogans and mansplaining from the Department of the Bleeding Obvious can we stand?
I guess we will just have to push through to the election.
Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on Riotact.