Sep 08

Lockdowns are hard. Even for the likes of me, who enjoys his own company, and perfectly happy to sit at home looking out the window.

I accept the reasons why I’m here. It’s for of my own physical health and that of my community.

And it’s tough. Really tough. For the second year in a row, I had a birthday in lockdown. I missed my family and having a nice quiet dinner.

8 month Chris

I haven’t seen my daughter or her son for so long. I miss them. Video, calls, messages, photos, that’s not the same.

I haven’t seen my other child since I gave them a haircut between lockdowns. We haven’t sat in the same space and watched a bit of sci-fi on the telly. We haven’t been out for a pizza and a beer in forever.

I miss Michael’s family. For the second year running, Rosh Hashanah has been food lovingly prepared by Naomi and collected by Michael. The celebration arrives in plastic containers with personalised labels on top. We eat alone in our home, dipping our apple and enjoying the treats. It’s not the same without the noise of family.

I miss my sister and her oldest daughter turning 18. I haven’t heard or seen from them in yonks. Sure, we talk on the phone, send the odd messages, but the yearning to put my eyes upon them is unmet.

Family is important. I know that we’re all in this together, and we’re doing it tough. Unless, of course, you happen to be the Prime Minister. Then you get to make up the rules, and if they’re designed in such a way that permits you to travel, then you can claim to just be playing by the rules.

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has done just that. He works in Canberra, apparently. He jumps on a RAAF jet and heads home to Sydney for the weekend, to spend it with his wife and two children, oh, and it’s Father’s Day.

He says ‘it’s a cheap shot’ for people to point out how unfair this is. He says, ‘they’re the rules’. Rules that have been designed to favour the political class. Sydney is in lockdown, Canberra is in lockdown. Yet, somehow, the Prime Minister is permitted to not only go home, but to return to work. The rest of us would need to spend two weeks in quarantine, both ways.

It’s a hollow man who wants to be playing by the rules. The office he holds needs to be seen to be with the people, not creating loopholes for his pleasure.

This isn’t about doing the ‘right thing’ according to the rules, this is about consideration for those not able to have the same privilege that he has. The families who had to gather on either side of barricades on the NSW & Queensland border to see each other on Father’s Day, the grandparents missing their grandchildren, even though they live in the same area, the important religious celebration that has to be held in isolation. So many people are doing the right thing, following the rules, minimising the risk. And yet, the PM has no hesitation about seeing his family, and makes no apology for it. He hides behind his role. He uses his important role as PM to justify his actions of seeing his family. The man is tone-deaf to the anguish all around him, and fails to see the clear double standard.

For me, I’ll go back to video calls, phone calls, instant messages. I’ll stay away from my 8-month-old grandson, who is only 45 minutes down the road. I won’t see my children, I won’t see the in-laws, I won’t see my sister. Likewise, I won’t look for a loophole or ask for special consideration because, we’re all in this together.

2 Responses to “In this together.”

  1. Jennie Storer says:

    You said everything Iā€™m feeling xx

  2. Naomi Barnett says:

    Gregory – so beautifully written. You certainly haven’t lost your magic touch. Must be a special gift the ‘boys from Hamilton’ are blessed with.

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