Border call reflects our new reality
CONGRATULATIONS to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for having made the brave and correct decision to open Queensland's borders to all but Victorians from July 10, and the wholesale easing of a range of restrictions from Friday.
As we have said repeatedly in this column in recent weeks, we simply can't hide under the doona forever - as appealing as that might be.
We are living in the middle of a once-in-a-century global pandemic caused by a new virus that shows no signs of slowing its deadly path.
That's just something we need to suck up and accept.
Restrictions eased and borders open, then, the Premier now needs to explain what exactly is her long-term strategy: suppression or elimination.
Early on in this pandemic (way back in March), every politician - including the Premier herself - defined "flattening the curve" as spreading out infections over a longer time period to ensure our health system wasn't overwhelmed.
There was never any talk of eliminating the virus.
But after our world-leading success, our politicians - again, led by the Premier - appear to have since redefined "flattening the curve" to be about eliminating any locally acquired cases.
In Queensland we have achieved that, but at great cost to many businesses and entire industry sectors.
Hopefully now these businesses can start to make some money again.
What has happened in Victoria over the past week, however, shows that this virus is still out there, and all it takes is one hiccup for it to flare up again - quickly and dramatically.
Until a vaccine is developed, this is likely to be our shared future.
And remember, there is no guarantee a vaccine will be possible. This is not influenza. What our scientists are essentially doing is trying to find the cure for the common cold (a much more severe strain, obviously).
Let's hope it happens, but we cannot pin all our hopes on a vaccine - and even the most optimistic say it will still be a full year before one could be widely available.
This, then, is a long game.
But through our collective sacrifices since mid-March, we have now bought the time that was necessary to prepare our health system and contract-tracing.
That was the point of the lockdowns we all endured. It's now time to get on with life - a life that has changed, perhaps forever.
But life must go on, lived alongside a new threat.
The eased restrictions unveiled yesterday that take effect from Friday will allow us to get on with life - and that's pretty exciting.
We will once again be able to go up to the bar at a pub and order a beer.
Up to 100 people will be able to attend weddings and funerals - meaning a long list of meaningful events that have been put on hold will now take place.
Venues can now operate under a four-square-metre rule with no upper limit beyond that, allowing many to make a profit for the first time in months. Smaller venues are now allowed one person for every two square metres. Good.
Stadiums will be able to operate at 50 per cent capacity.
Community sport and indoor facilities will open, welcoming thousands who have let themselves go during lockdown (oops!).
House parties are back on. Casinos and nightclubs will open. Art galleries and museums will be able to operate almost as normal.
All of this makes sense. And so welcome back to (almost) normality Queensland.
Yesterday was a very good day. Together, we have earned it.
Remember to be safe, but enjoy it.
Australia's new strike force
IT IS A jaw-dropping figure. Australia will invest $270 billion over the next decade on a military shopping list that includes long-range missiles, hypersonic weapons and an extra 800 military personnel.
The defence white paper, released on the same day Australia boosted its cyber security capacity and the Chinese foreign minister accused us of spying, is a stark reminder of the rising tensions in our Asia-Pacific region.
And while at the moment our potential nemesis appears to be China, we need to ready ourselves so we can react to crises throughout our sphere of influence.
While long range missiles may appear to be a reaction to an increasingly belligerent China, they actually fill a long-range strike deficiency that needed to be addressed.
The defence of Australia requires a capacity that can look and strike beyond our borders. Missiles and cyber spies provide this.
Originally published as Editor's view: Border call reflects our new reality