March 18. That's the day Premier Peter Gutwein announced borders closed to the rest of the world unless you were willing to quarantine for 14 days. Mr Gutwein had been in the top job for 57 days. He has led Tasmania in a state of emergency for longer than the times of old. For 125 days, Tasmanians have experienced heartache and hope; isolation and connection.
Just as Australia looked like it was moving towards eradication, the situation in Victoria unfolded. Cue the handbrakes. Suddenly Tassie was in a peculiar position. We are living in one of the safest places in the world, thanks to our moat known as the Bass Strait. Some Tasmanian families have buried loved ones due to coronavirus, others have lived in fear due to the incredibly high health risk due to pre-existing conditions. We have all been informed of the devastating impact poor leadership has had on countries where coronavirus either wasn't taken seriously or was simply too late to take action.
The priority of all Tasmanians, and all Australians, should be to save lives. The only way to achieve this is to stay at home when not feeling well and get tested. It's pretty simple.
Opening the borders to South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory will create uncertainty among Tasmanians. And rightfully so. Queensland was somewhat surprisingly left off the list - particularly when they don't share a border with Victoria. Yet, Queensland continues to have its borders open to NSW where the virus is spreading at an alarming rate, despite blocking some suburbs.
But the uncertainty does not mean the government should not be looking towards a new normal. A normal that is taken with extreme caution and the ability to scale back at a moment's notice. Trust has been the main factor when it comes to this battle against this insidious virus. Trust that people will follow the rules and social distance. When it was tested, liberties were removed instantly in favour of public health. Our state has also not allowed pride to get in the way of reversing decisions. Let's hope our processes are in place, pride remains off the table, and trust continues to be valued.