Coronavirus: Scott Morrison needs to speak to hard-hit young Australians

Coronavirus: Scott Morrison needs to speak to hard-hit young Australians, by Janet Albrechtsen.

Despite the sweet-sounding idea that we are all in this together, the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis are not being shared anywhere equally.

Look at the University of Sydney, where casual workers are being laid off yet the overpaid vice-chancellor, Michael Spence, has refused to shave his $1.5m salary. …

Those with the loudest voices are those most cushioned by a trifecta of good fortune: they haven’t lost their jobs, they haven’t had a pay cut and they haven’t even had their hours cut. They include medical experts, government ministers and public servants fighting for wage rises. All tend to follow the same script on COVID-19. …

In a snub to younger Australians, the ABC has flatly refused to host the kind of robust debate one hears every day at the BBC about the economic, mental, physical and other health costs of shutting down an economy. …

The IPA commissioned polling last weekend:

We learned that, by a large margin, younger Australians have been more adversely affected by the national economic lockdown. Sixty per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds have lost their job, had their hours cut or had their pay cut. Among those aged 25 to 34, the number is even higher: 63 per cent have been seriously affected.

By and large, older people haven’t suffered the same job losses. Among those aged 34 to 44, 45 per cent said they had lost their job, had hours cut or had a pay cut in the past six weeks. The economic impacts dropped away for those in the 45 to 54 age group, where 40 per cent were adversely affected, and for 55 to 66-year-olds, 28 per cent had adverse outcomes.

In other words, younger Australians have borne the brunt of job losses and pay cuts. But how often are their voices reflected among those with the loudest ­voices who purport to speak for the country? …

Opportunity beckons for the right:

By aping the ABC, calling for longer and deeper restrictions, both Labor and the Greens can no longer be complacent about garnering the youth vote at the next election. And if the Morrison government is really smart, it will realise that, instead of playing footsies with young Australians over climate change, the single most important thing the Coalition can do is become the party of jobs for them. …

When the health crisis passes, the economic crisis will remain, and it will continue to hit young Australians hardest.

hat-tip Stephen Neil