For governments and politics everywhere the aftermath of the pandemic will make the pandemic itself look like the easy part by comparison.
Leaders are currently making unchallengeable collective decisions in the new straight jacket of politics and the temporary absence of Parliament.
Oppositions are sidelined while governments are presiding over a popular social dictatorship.
Now it will get harder.
The brutally tough journey of economic recovery hasn't even started yet and people are restless.
People tire of the endless sacrifice.
Notice how they already are.
They clamour for the way we were.
They are sick of lockdowns, isolation and empty supermarket shelves.
Recovery is an enormous mountain to climb, but there is a way up.
The pandemic will soon stop being the story of the day.
The daily medical briefing in Canberra is already being scaled back.
The big success story of the coronavirus fight has been national cabinet.
People warmed to politicians and experts working together.
I would poach the concept and plot a road to recovery with community groups, unions and small and large business represented on a ruling "advisory council" or cabal, that would in effect dictate policy to be rubber stamped by cabinet.
It wouldn't necessarily usurp cabinet government because cabinet would draw up the weekly agenda.
Rather than an economic summit talkfest, pick the best and the brightest, working with cabinet to plot a course, with a council of perhaps 15 community leaders and experts with real power.
The war council concept perpetuates the wartime theme.
It marshals the community and at the same time spreads the political blame, whenever the pace of recovery is too slow or various measures fail.
Give the council a strong, talented secretariat and plan for it to last beyond the next election in 2022, because in that way it takes politics out of it.
Some leaders, from unions and the social services sector might be reluctant to be part of a government-inspired recovery council, but seriously, who would dare publicly refuse membership?
It's better than a government tackling this on its own.
Look at history.
The 20th century's leading war hero, Sir Winston Churchill, guided Britain through a world war that Germany and Japan should have won.
Despite his leadership, a population, tired of war and weary of sacrifices, threw him out of office in a Labor landslide at war's end.
Australian Labor Prime Minister Ben Chifley suffered the same fate a few years later, in 1949, after he and his predecessor John Curtin took crucial decisions that saved Australia.
Ungrateful but war-weary Australians banished Labor for the next 23 years.
In 1991 US president George Bush Senior enjoyed stellar approval ratings as he assembled a coalition of countries to defeat Iraq after it invaded Kuwait.
A year later Bush was thrown out of office.
Back home Premier Tony Rundle guided Tasmania through the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre.
A year transpired where there was no politics and strong bipartisan unity.
Business and the media pressured the minority government to dig Tasmania out of this terrible morass.
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The Libs embraced a radical reform agenda, including a fire sale of the energy utilities and slashing the number of local councils by two thirds.
Prime Minister John Howard even funded an inquiry into the Tasmania economy as a blueprint for Rundle's road map, but a year later Rundle was thrown out of office - another victim of a cataclysmic hangover.
It seems that wars, tragedies and even global pandemics cannot save a government when it's all over and life returns to near normal.
Donald Trump is ignoring the body count in a desperate bid to get Americans back to work and the US economy ticking over.
He faces defeat in November.
His recovery plan is chaotic.
Premier Peter Gutwein is preparing shovel-ready projects to revive the Tasmanian economy.
He's got 20 months left of Will Hodgman's term, but few people will ponder what just happened, when in the months ahead frightening jobless numbers and a devastated business sector emerge from the rubble.
The dilemma for Peter Gutwein is a cupboard empty of cash along with plummeting GST dividends.
The necessary stimulus splurge of the Morrison and state governments has financially snookered them.
The minority Labor Government in 1989 used the council concept in a bid for peace in the Tasmanian forest wars, but the times and nature of the debate made a resolution hopeless.
The Gutwein war council would operate in a totally different climate.
No one died in the Tasmanian forest wars, where the forests and Forest Industry Council were wedged on either side by politics.
This time it would be a post-pandemic council operating at ground zero, working from scratch to put Tasmania back together.
It would bastardise the Westminster system of government, but what's the point of standing on ceremony, with an economy that just got hit by a double-decker bus?
- Barry Prismall is a former The Examiner deputy editor and Liberal advisor
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