Spare a Thought For Shaz
Pearl is always ready to assist those in need, offering advice and raising public awareness of issues that may not be deemed worthy or politically palatable by the mainstream press. Last month it was the Emu Export-deprived FIFOs up in the north-west and this month’s crusade is for Sharon, the mother of Lara Bingle-Worthington, who has become a ‘victim’ of the COVID-19 compulsory quarantine.
Lara’s mother is one of the lucky people able to return to Australia (probably via business class) from overseas during the pandemic. But ‘lucky’ is not Sharon, as she lies languishing in a Newtown hipster hotel posting masked bandit-style selfies of her digs, complaining that the food, bedding and towels generously provided by the New South Wales Department of Health are not up to 5-star scratch. Pearl has heeded Shaz’s call and, knowing that she hails from The Shire, I have used my contacts in the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District to ensure that her food and towels come direct from Sutherland Hospital and not from a lesser establishment like Blacktown.
Satire aside, it’s not just the Sharons of this country who need a reality check. COVID-19 has brought out the very worst in the populace’s behaviour. If one moment in Australia’s history could have predicted our selfish response to the virus it would be the 2019 Westfield Parramatta Balloon Drop Stampede, a shameful event where hundreds of greedy stupid people hustled over balloons containing as little as $5 in gift vouchers. At the time, New South Wales Ambulance Inspector Phil Templeman urged the community to “be patient to ensure the safety of themselves and others around them” as the ignorant, Christmas shopping-fuelled masses took to social media to criticise Westfield for failing to foresee an eminent disaster rather than taking responsibility themselves.
Five months on from the balloon drop and the words of Mr Templeman are quickly forgotten. Australia is in the grip of a worldwide pandemic and our personal response is a zombie apocalyptic raid on every supermarket across the country and flash mobs on Bondi Beach. Those formerly ensconced in gyms malinger on the streets, unable to navigate social distancing rules – so familiar are they with jumping from their 4WD straight onto a walking machine.
All the while, the Chinese government has quietly commandeered Australia’s supply of hand sanitiser and face masks under the neglectful eye of our evangelical, ‘the-market-will-solve-everything’ federal government, which also failed to foresee an imminent disaster by being too slow to close the nation’s borders to a far more dangerous threat than refugees. As this all unfolds, the vultures of corporate Australia circle, waiting on a fire sale of public utilities once the virus abates, employing lobbyists to plead for a handout in the meantime.
But back to Shazz. May she spare a thought for those affected by the closure of botox clinics. I suggest that she uses her quarantine time to lobby the prime minister on their behalf, channelling her outrage over her 2-star accommodation into a far worthier cause.