Hope in the Time of Corona Virus
A lot has been written and said about the pandemic. We know these are historic times. This year will be discussed, analysed and taught for generations to come.
It’s been particularly confronting in recent weeks as Victorians have watched the rest of the country go about their daily activities. So this message is directed to Victorians. The rest of you can go to the gym or drive to a holiday location or go out for dinner or a drink; simple pleasures that have been denied to Victorians for a long time.
Victorians read on.
For the State it’s been a fallow period, a time of respite. Pollution levels have dropped and air quality improved. The creeks and rivers are cleaner and some have experienced the return of fish and bird life. It’s as if nature is in renewal. We should also be thinking about renewal.
The restrictions have affected each of us differently. Some have learned something new about themselves. Some have grown while others have been broken. Some of us have discovered our neighbourhood, found a nature walk or a lake or a park we didn’t know was there. The pandemic has forced us to slow down, to reflect and to plan for the future.
What all Victorians now know, more than our interstate counterparts, is never take anything for granted again.
Victorians have had to endure the jokes, the memes and the patronising television advertisements. But we are bigger than this.
They say the night is darkest just before the dawn. These restrictions will be lifted. We will have our freedoms returned to us. What I want to discuss is what we do next?
Remember we are a strong and determined people.
Let us not forget that Victoria is a powerhouse in this Federation. Victoria leads the country in education, sport, food and dining, nightlife, retail shopping, coffee and cafes, major events, multiculturalism, gardens and landscaping. Victorians have been responsible for major breakthroughs in medicine, technology, agriculture, innovation and architecture. Some of Australia’s most important businesses and iconic brands are Victorian.
Victoria has a proud history of achievement and endeavour. NSW sees itself as the first State, but that was an accident of history. Victoria was the product of initiative and imagination. As early as the late 1800s, Melbourne was a major international destination. The Federal parliament sat in Melbourne for the first 27 years. We have a proud heritage. Determination and compassion are in our DNA. I could go on.
When the restrictions are lifted, Victorians need to go (and in the words of Tom Gleeson) “Go Hard”.
We need to get our bruised and battered economy back on its feet. As a capitalist, free-market economy, Victoria needs spending and investment, and lots of it.
Beginning with our leaders.
Our leader, Dan Andrews has many detractors. He has implemented some of the most severe restrictions in the world. Businesses have closed, some never to reopen. People have lost their jobs. The lockdown measures have meant hurt and pain for many.
Only time will reveal if the measures were necessary or appropriate. Notwithstanding, Andrews has been steadfast in his resolve, articulate in his explanation and compassionate in his objectives.
He has announced a multi-billion dollar rescue package for Victorian businesses. This is a good start but not nearly enough. We need money for all Victorians.
Our leaders need to focus on those who need assistance. I mean the unemployed, those afflicted with mental and physical ailments, the young and the elderly. Governments need to put money in our pockets. If the Great Depression and every subsequent recession and downturn has taught us is that when industry and business is down and not investing, then governments need to spend and spend big. In our case, they need to invest in infrastructure and local initiatives. This will employ Victorians and in turn they will spend and employ others. The multiplier effect.
But our leaders and captains of industry are not the answer.
The heart of this great State lies with its citizens. If anyone is to lift this State out of the doldrums it will be Victorians themselves. Yes, you and me. This will occur not only through the pent-up energy we have been storing for months but also through smart spending and investment.
Victorians need to buy Victorian. Forget about sending your money overseas. Your goods are unlikely to arrive in time, anyway. Think local. Spend in the State on Victorian goods and services. We need your money and patronage and we will all benefit from your investment.
If you want to get away, visit a Victorian location. The other states may not let you in or welcome you anyway. Discover your State, not just your neighbourhood. There are hundreds of great and exciting locations to visit and stay right here.
When shopping think Victoria first.
I have a friend in Ballarat who makes and sells the most exquisite baby and children toys and accessories. These are beautiful items made from safe and natural materials. Toys and gifts that will educate and captivate your children. Well-made products that your children will pass down to their children. Why would you look at imports and imitations? Go to Arabella + Autumn. https://www.arabellaautumn.com.au/
This is one of thousands of examples.
If you need to buy a bag where would you look ? Did you know that Crumpler is a Melbourne company?
If you’re building a home choose a Victorian home builder. Is the product, the furniture, the white good and gift you are buying made here?
Where are the clothes you are thinking of buying made? The list is endless.
Whether your purchase is small or big, research and choose Victorian. It may cost more but think of the cost to all of us when your money leaves our borders.
If everyone spends locally we will get on top very quickly. I know this because we have the best motivation. We know the loneliness of isolation. We know the frustration of travel restrictions. We have experienced the ignominy of wearing a mask and the heartbreak of shutdowns and closures. We take nothing for granted. We know pain like no other Australians.
Shop sooner rather than later. Don’t wait for Christmas.
But let’s be patient and kind to each other. Initially stocks will be low and deliveries slow. Avoid getting grumpy. We are in this together.
And when restrictions are lifted, pay attention to the sounds of normal life. Listen to the gurgling creeks, the sound of waves crashing on the beach, the bells ringing on trams and the hum of traffic. If you open your ears and close your eyes, you will hear these sounds saying the same thing
Yes, we are the masked bandits from the south. We are strong. We are determined. Hear us roar!