I feel sorry for Greg Hunt.
You know. Greg Hunt. The Health Minister? The worst sidekick ever? The pandemic’s floppy limbed Jar Jar Binks to Scott Morrison’s Supreme Leader Snoke?
(What d’you mean you don’t see the Snoke thing? Mysterious anus-faced supervillain? Quietly panic-fapping around way above his pay grade? So prefers to phone it into the office from remote, undisclosed locations? Come on, man.)
It’s perfectly understandable that a galaxy-brained marketing genius like Supreme Leader Scotty would put poor Greggy in the corner. I mean, only a virtuoso adept of the dark marketing arts would go on Kyle and Jackie O to reignite the Engadine Macas floor-shitting meme on the day nearly twelve million Australians went into lockdown because he forgot to order enough vaccines.
But lets not ignore Greggy.
He is after all Scotty’s reverent minion in this the winter of our many discontents.
Greggy it was, you may recall, who dragged the first of a hundred Covid fail whales into the back of our national tinny by pouring unknown millions of dollarydoos into the COVIDSafe app, which still costs about a hundred thousand bucks a month to maintain, and is demonstrably less effective at tracing viral spread than simply standing at the entrance to your nearest Bunnings carpark and writing down license plate numbers.
The expenditure of unknowable numbers of dollarydoos on moon pies and penny whistles has been Greggy’s core competency throughout the pandemic. He fucked us from the get-go by laying bets on too few vaccine candidates—
“We were much, much more narrow in our investment decisions than practically every other advanced economy in the world. Other countries hedged their bets across six, seven or eight vaccines, but we only chose four… It was the wrong choice back then and it’s even more clearly the wrong choice now, and we are reaping the consequences of that.” - Former secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Health Professor Stephen Duckett.
—And he fucked us on the back-end by pissing away millions, perhaps tens of millions of dollars on ‘reports’ and ‘advice’ and ‘software solutions’ from private sector management consultants which delivered impressive returns for the Porsche and Lambo dealers across the street from Accenture and PWC, but not much in the way of… well… anything else.
I’m guessing ‘perhaps tens of millions of dollars’ because the final dollar figure on all of the Commonwealth’s Covid contracting is a double plus mystery box of secrets because the details have been hidden away behind commercial-in-confidence screens and embarrassed mumbling about national security.
The cost of the 53.8 million Astra-Zeneca doses Greggy bought; before Scotty mused they were full of cooties and blood clots, immediately convincing millions of idiot boomers that they were entitled to shoulder aside everyone else and grab the shiny, magical super fresh elixir from the fountain of Pfizer all for themselves.
As Dr Lesley Russell from the Menzies Centre for Health Policy at the University of Sydney, writes here, some basic napkin math implies Australia is paying premium prices for a vaccine that Greggy literally cannot give away thanks to such ham-fisted messaging from him and his boss. Even the gubbermint’s biggest Stans at the The Oz estimated Hunt was paying $350 million over the ask for our smaller orders of Pfizer and Novovax.
The vaccine disaster—and it will soon be a disaster with Delta getting loose in the cities—is a multibillion dollar fuck up. Listening to Hunt bumble his way through an excruciating ten minute interview with Sally Sara on Radio National this morning promised that when this variant really gets rolling through the unvaccinated population, the federal government will finally use all of it’s power to deploy an all-you-can-eat word salad of arse-covering fuckwank.
Lane: Minister… don’t you concede that if vaccination rates were higher there would be far fewer people who were symptomatic and far fewer people who would be passing this virus on. The vaccination situation is contributing greatly to the current economic and health situation…
Greggy: Well respectfully the UK has forty-six thousand cases in one day. In one day they’ve had more cases than in the entire pandemic in Australia.
Still the thing I like about Greggy is his attention to detail, even for the little things.
Sure, he might have set five or six or seven or maybe eight billion dollars on fire in comprehensively blundermunting the vaccine rollout. But even in the midst of that epic debacle he took the time to allocate just $1.3m to promote Covid vaccination among the hundred plus ethnic communities whose millions of citizens are among the largest, easily identifiable at-risk populations in the major metro centres.
He really is, hands down, the MVP of arseing everything up.