The opportunities from the dislocation and loss occasioned by the coronavirus shutdown should not be wasted.
The capacity for a massive re-set in the way society and economy operates will surely never be as palpable as it is right now.
Too often political dogma, games or expediency provide the road block for reform and renovation. Entrenched economic theory is rarely questioned by those in the position to make a decision that might change Australia's way of life for the better in any radical manner.
The room to move is way too often so narrow that nothing changes.
But in the longer term response to COVID-19 all bets should be off. The country should not be held to ransom by narrow interests that are in a position through economic or political power to call the shots.
Out of necessity the world is now our oyster to do way better. Leadership will as always be of paramount importance. But it must be about what is best for the country not what is best for the survival of the leaders. One solution is a consultative and consensus approach but Australia has never been really good at that - politically even in times of global war. But there have been cameo moments of universal agreement like the gun laws response to Port Arthur.
Even now the harmony of the national cabinet process in the initial response has morphed into spot-fires of alternate approaches and the occasional squabble.
Out of necessity the world is now our oyster to do way better. Leadership will as always be of paramount importance. But it must be about what is best for the country not what is best for the survival of the leaders.Brian Roe
So where to go and how to get there?
The primary debate is clearly already whether the economic recovery can be market driven or must be led by government.
Any suggestion that the economy might snap back was either mis-speak or misunderstanding. It's unreasonable to expect that after this sort of disruption things will quickly return to anything like normal.
In terms of what might not return - much has been referenced about zombie businesses. There are without doubt a few sub-categories here.
There will be for sure a pocket of opportunists who will have gamed the JobKeeper and other grants systems through bogus businesses. Hopefully not too many - and hopefully when time and priorities allow they will be held to account for the actions.
Amongst the genuine cases there will be those who simply decide now is the time to up stumps.Those who might have been contemplating that in any case, are close to retirement or see opportunity in another venture.
But sadly there will also be those who simply can't resume normal operations. Once the connective band breaks over such a substantial period as we have experienced, viability is lost or made so tenuous that it's unwise to continue. For those folk and businesses - carefully thought out exit strategies and support services will be vital.
Now is also the time to re-value every aspect and the operation of early childhood education and care. When Australia goes back to work many will find themselves in new roles and in need of a whole swag of support services they might not have previously contemplated. But we cannot wait for ever for that to happen. Whilst it must be considered - it must also be expedient.
Inevitably this means it must be government driven - with the sort of expansive and unfettered vision with which Australia approached its isolation and vulnerability after World War 2. It's a chance to brush aside the climate-wars, to take on the nation-building projects that have been considered too hard to seriously contemplate and to install a true safety net of fairness across society.
It's the perfect excuse to invest massively in research and innovation - but in an economically clever way so that when the ideas, inventions and discoveries come to fruition Australia doesn't have to pay again to access the benefits.
The re-set must also include a re-evaluation of how we as a country operate. For example we have come to accept standard costing processes for projects that include too much and over-priced consultancy and feasibility work. Individual responsibility for their own actions was not a bad mantra for previous generations. And it's not just at the macro-level that attention should be directed.
There's clearly been way too much time spent in recent weeks in formulating pick-up and drop-off strategies at schools. There was a way simpler solution - one that served those previous generations so well. As the Prime Minister said in relation to panic buying - just stop it.
On the other hand a little more time could perhaps be spent by bureaucrats on designing forms. It can't be that hard.