China sneezes and the ADF is press-ganged to assist

By Ross Eastgate

As Chinese say to welcome in the lunar new year, gong hei fat choi. What a year the tiger promises to bring this sunburnt country, already experiencing flood, fire and famine.

Plus the never-ending curse called COVID.

By world standards, we have done amazingly well, with some notable exceptions which have been airbrushed by political spin.

Future risk remains while the virus mutates as regularly as a politicians’ excuse.

The focus has now shifted to aged care facilities and nursing homes, with the federal opposition accusing the federal government of causing unnecessary deaths.

That’s a big call given the record of some state government supervised health facilities.

Hospitals are high risk COVID areas with many operating on severely reduced staffing levels as staff test COVID positive.

From recent personnel experience, those limited staff do an amazing job but eventually something has to give.

Governments at all levels have demanded ADF assistance, particularly in aged care facilities, a brain fart which ignores the equal risk to uniformed personnel who might be deployed.

Australia’s ADF medical resources already have a large proportion of reservists, which begs the questions, are civilian medical specialists going to be activated to populate any ADF response and will non-specialist ADF personnel be used to bolster the numbers?

South Africa’s Military Health Service operates separately from the other three services and has a charter to provide medical assistance to the wider community as directed by their government.

Employing the ADF is not a realistic solution when governments suddenly have to pay the price for operating on shoestring budgets, employing minimal staff to scrimp on costs.

ADF personnel, who often struggle to transition to civilian employment because prospective employers consider them to be inflexible with no “real” skills will, after some basic training, do what is asked of them.

They will do it well, without complaining despite the personal risks, because that is what they do.

They are also vaccinated against a range of exotic diseases and plagues to make them available at short notice.

The Chinese are also credited with another saying, sometimes called the Chinese curse.

May you live in interesting times.

While seemingly a blessing its actual meaning is ironic, because interesting times are usually times of trouble, rather than uninteresting times of peace and tranquillity.

As the federal election looms menacingly closer, expect the rhetoric and blame game to be escalated considerably.

Interesting times indeed.


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