politics

Victorians are angry. But not at who you might expect.

Victorians are getting ready for another weekend indoors.

Brides and grooms are cancelling their weddings, and families are un-inviting loved ones from funerals.

But even as businesses stare devastated into fridges full of stock, all ready for a weekend of bums on seats that will never arrive, there are still cries of "we've got this Victoria" from quite possibly the most resilient state in our country.

But there's also an anger that wasn't there before. 

Watch: Victoria announcing it's fourth lockdown restrictions. Post continues after video.


Video via Ten.

It's bubbling away under a swirl of flashbacks to the 112 day lockdown of 2020. 

It's born from the sacrifice of months and months spent in solitude, from the lost wages of small business, and from the commitment of those who did exactly what they were told in the face of a global pandemic.

It's the fourth lockdown the state has endured in 12 months - the most of anywhere in Australia - as COVID-19 once again threatens to unseat us. 

Victorians have been generally quite understanding of the state government's lockdowns and restrictions, but as The Project's Lisa Wilkinson told viewers on Thursday night: "Every Victorian has the right to feel angry tonight … four lockdowns in the space of 12 months is just untenable."

"Especially when the federal government has been sitting on its hands on this for so long. The confusing messages over the vaccine rollout, the fact they’re not setting up properly to do the mRNA vaccine here in Australia … just one thing after another, and here we are again," she continued.

This morning Sunrise put the Health Minister, Greg Hunt, on notice. 

Host Natalie Barr asked why the government kept telling Australians "it wasn't a race" and there was "no rush" to get a vaccination against a virus so contagious it jumped from zero to 30 infections in a matter of days. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"That's false," Hunt retorted. "That's not something I have ever said."

But his government did say it. They have been saying it. And it's one of the reasons Victorians are angry.

On Twitter it's being called the #MorrisonLockdown.

Because even though there's an anger at the Victorian state government for not being able to follow in NSW's footsteps and keep things relatively open - there's a greater frustration at the lack of urgency from Federal leaders.

"Victorian government again cleaning up Morrison's messes," wrote one Melburnian. 

"Fact is, everyone should have been vaccinated before winter. The federal government has failed," wrote another.

One week away from winter, only 500,000 Australians are fully vaccinated of the four million that were supposed to be immunised by the end of March. Australia is one of the slowest in the developed world to immunise its population.

Then there's quarantine. Morrison has continuously defended the hotel system as "99.99 per cent effective" at protecting the community against COVID-19. But experts keep telling us the opposite. 

"The hotels have never been fit for purpose and we've been saying that from the start," WA AMA president Andrew Miller told the ABC.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Northern Territory's Howard Springs facility is currently being expanded, and the Morrison government looks like it's finally this week getting behind Victoria's desire to set up a 500-bed facility 30 kilometres from Melbourne. But there's still a stalemate underway regarding Queensland's Toowoomba proposal. It's all just moving so slowly. 

"You said you put the National Cabinet on war footing, so why isn't there strong national quarantine which may have stopped the latest outbreak?" Greens Leader Adam Bandt asked Morrison in parliament on Thursday. 

"This is a Morrison government lockdown in Victoria," he told the Prime Minister. "Victorians are doing their bit, but the Prime Minister isn't doing his."

ADVERTISEMENT

As he announced the seven-day lockdown, Victoria's Acting Premier James Merlino told Thursday's press conference, "There's only one path to defeating this pandemic, and that's the successful rollout of the Commonwealth's vaccine program, and an alternative to hotel quarantine."

"We're stepping up where we can," he added. "But this is the Commonwealth's vaccine program, they're responsible for supply,"

There's been criticism that perhaps the contact tracers should be copping the blame. But as Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton hit back, "contact tracing is an integral part of how to get control. It does not do magic."

Right now all the states can do is try to treat the flareups as best they can.

But until the Morrison government deals with the bigger picture, outbreaks like the one unfolding in Melbourne will keep happening.

Victorians are angry. More so at the Commonwealth than their government. 

They fought too hard and for too long last year. 'Thoughts and prayers' simply aren't going to cut it this time. 

Feature image: Getty.