He doesn’t hold a hose and he doesn’t give a Rats.
The big news story in Jan 2022 was the lack of Rapid Antigen Tests.
The warning to Scott Morrison about a crisis in virus testing was made very clear last year after the Prime Minister told Australians to prepare for a world where they would emerge from lockdowns and live with the coronavirus. The warning was so loud it was almost impossible to ignore. Almost. Now, only a few months later, voters can see the way Morrison has lost the race to bring in huge supplies of rapid antigen tests when people needed them most.
Still, once Omicron hit we couldn’t get our hands on Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) and our PCR testing sites were overwhelmed.
What did Morrison do? Nothing, until it was way too late.
We couldn’t get our hands on the tests, the government didn’t order any and they insisted we buy them from retailers instead of giving them to the public like most governments around the world. The problem with this was that retailers didn’t have many and any that did were charging an arm and a leg for them. Price gouging was out of control.
In the Prime Minister’s own words, a rapid antigen test (RAT) costs just $15 at the shops so we couldn’t get them for free. In the meantime, for a PCR Test (free) private pathology providers receive a rebate of $85 from the government, while the state-run clinics receive $42.50 for each test.
Mr Morrison said he would not undercut businesses by making RATs free, insisting Australians needed to pay for their own tests (BTW, the tests were available, for sale, at Harvey Norman – yep, the furniture place).
After much pressure he finally backflipped and announced that 6.6 million concession cardholders will be able to receive free rapid antigen tests, up to five per month, over the next three months.
Come the election….don’t forget this one.
P.S. Why don’t we make them here? Well, we do, but we ship them off to the US – https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/queensland-made-rapid-antigen-tests-going-to-us-until-midyear-20211229-p59kny.html