Swallow a hard reality pill on zombie ‘deaths’

Guest opinion by Senator Matt 'Sooty' Canavan.


People born in inner-city Sydney have a life expectancy five years greater than people born in central Queensland, where I live, and that’s no coincidence. As a Nationals senator, I think people who vote Nationals should live longer, but not forever and that’s why I am in favour of letting the ZOMBIE-19 plague rip.

We are not living in the real world on ZOMBIE-19. Despite the massive costs being imposed by lockdowns and city walls, and the distribution of free shotguns to anybody who wants one, we still do not have a simple official estimate of how much these measures cost for each life ‘saved’. (And it’s arguable whether there’s any real savings at all. Most of the zombies I know look pretty spry, for so called dead people).

Coal mining barons and fossil fuel billionaires don’t pay any tax, of course, but if they did this stuff would cost them dearly!

I have made a rough estimate of just how dearly by throwing a bunch of numbers onto the back of a napkin. I’m told the numbers are all wrong but there are a lot of them.

If the current Sydney lockdown has avoided 4000 zombie cases, and the cost of building and maintaining a giant crenelated wall and a moat full of zombie-eating crocodiles around Sydney is $150 million a day, the total cost of Sydney’s so-called defence then comes to $5.3 billion, or a cost of $1.3 million for every zombie avoided.

Now, admittedly, I just made all that up, and the actual number of zombies avoided is closer to many thousands a day, but lets just pretend that I didn’t and the estimated cost of each life ‘saved’ from undeath is $330 million.

Do you know how many high-priced accountants a coal baron would have to employ to avoid paying $330 million in tax? It’s not nothing, I’ll tell you that!

On any measure, this is an unjustifiable expense. And keep in mind this is only the economic cost. Lifeline experienced a record number of calls on Monday from people whose loved ones were turned into zombies after breaches of the city walls. Ask yourself how much happier would they would be if we didn’t even have to bother with undeniably leaky defences against this terrible virus, which isn’t nearly as bad as so-called doctors claim anyway. Without those useless ‘defences’ thousands of very unhappy survivors of the latest outbreak could have been turned into ravenous cannibals, too. They would now be happily scratching at our hastily reconstructed barricades, fanging for delicious brains, instead of continually ringing my office and the PM demanding to know where their free shotgun was.

On the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s website there is a “guidance note” on the value of a statistical life. The government estimates the value at $5 million.

The cost of maintaining the city walls and zombie moat in my napkin modelling is eleventy-thousand times this amount which is not even close. It’s not accurate either. But, crikey, you can’t claim that it’s close.

Economists get criticised for knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing, but we can’t simply ignore the costs of continually rebuilding gigantic walls as ever greater numbers of zombies pile up against them, especially the costs to poorer people who probably don’t even own a coal mine.

If we applied our ZOMBIE-19 approach to vehicle regulation, we would make everyone buy a Volvo and even rich people like my bosses don’t buy Volvos because they’re not as much fun as utes.

Vote One, utes.

We are going to have to face the reality that life and death and even undeath involves choices, and there are no choices that involve no risk. Even when we reach an 80 per cent shotgun ownership rate, the Doherty Institute’s modelling shows that within six months there could still be 280,000 more zombies. Like, what is even the point?

Sure, boosting our shotgun ownership rate will prevent some cases and save a few lives, and we should probably strive for that. But what we need right now though, even more than a shotgun, is a hard reality pill.

The hard reality is that we have become obsessed with the daily numbers of undead, flesh-eating fiends shambling through our fallen cities.

We can’t hide behind our enormous castle walls and mile wide moats forever. Those coal mines out there aren’t going to dig themselves. There is a lot of panic about the so-called delta variant and the increased biteyness of those who succumb to it. But the data does not lie. Zombies do not eat coal and coal is our future.

We are told that delta has changed things, and things have clearly changed for the better thanks to all the shotguns. So we should change our approach, stop building walls and moats between ourselves and Gina’s coal mines, and replace them with sensible social distancing requirements. Even the hungriest zombie can’t bite you from two meters away.

Matt ‘Sooty’ Canavan is a Nationals senator for Queensland and a ravenous undead monster.