If government imposes hard-to-justify and unreasonable restrictions on people, then it shouldn’t surprise us if they don’t fully comply. Based on the amount of people wandering around Brisbane City relative to previous lockdowns, and on various media reports, Queenslanders have been less willing to comply with the current lockdown than previous ones. This is perfectly understandable, and it shouldn’t result in a heavy-handed response from authorities, such as what we saw today, when a Newstead beauty salon owner attempted to defy the lockdown and was shut down by “dozens of police” according to the Courier-Mail. As reported by the Brisbane Times:
Police have surrounded a beauty salon in inner Brisbane after its owner defied Queensland lockdown restrictions by opening her business.
Ok, so she breached the regulations, and we all do need to follow the law, even the bad laws, but surely she could have just been sent an infringement notice with a fine and our police officers could have been put to better use.
Almost as disturbing as the Newstead incident is the prospect of our police putting up barricades so people can’t go to the beach during lockdown, as reported by news.com.au. So much for easy going Queensland! Instead, we have the smack of firm government. Unfortunately, it’s an increasingly erratic, embarrassing, and incompetent state government, one which yesterday almost derailed the national vaccination program.
The state government has had a shocking two days, and amusingly the Deputy Premier undermined the Premier’s case for travelling to the Tokyo Olympics when he criticised the federal government for allowing so much international business travel. The state government is now claiming we may miss out on the Olympics if the Premier doesn’t go to Tokyo, but that may actually be a good thing, given the Government so far hasn’t demonstrated the Olympics would stack up for Queensland, and we all know just how costly some previous Olympics in other cities have been. On the risky economics of the Olympics, check out this article in CPA Australia’s In the Black magazine which quotes me among other economists:
Finally, let’s hope this dreadful lockdown ends tomorrow and we don’t further risk the economic recovery, which, according to the data, appears to continue to exceed expectations – e.g. record job vacancies in May (see chart below).
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