Raising the BARR – Week ending 11 December 2020

It Has Been a Year to Remember

As I sit to write my last column for the year, I reflect on the past 12 months. It really has been quite a year.

This time last year our communities were on fire. Our villages of Laguna, Wollombi, Congewai, Broke and Pokolbin were all in the line of fire fronts that were burning on fronts bigger than the entire state of Tasmania. Other communities had smaller outbreaks. The ground was so dry that grass would snap underfoot.

As we recovered from the fires in the early months of 2020, when some wonderful rain extinguished the flames, a virus known as COVID arrived on the doorstep of every country in the world. COVID rules and regulations occupied the rest of the year.

Long to be remembered will be the great toilet paper saga – people literally fighting each other in supermarket aisles. Cans of baked beans were as rare as a regent honeyeater and trying to find a supply of hand sanitizer, priced similar to gold bullion, was an act of self-harm.

But there have been some terrific things to come out of this year. Most importantly, our collective ability to rise to the occasion and take all necessary steps to keep ourselves and our family and friends safe. Champion effort of the year goes to all of us. And quite frankly, I just didn’t know if we, as Aussies, would cope with being told what to do, when to do it and how to do it. But we did cope. Better than cope, we excelled.

The year also taught us plenty about how to properly wash our hands and how to be much more mindful of where we might be picking up, or giving off, germs. This will stand us in good stead in future years by helping to keep down the spread of illness and disease.

Kindness of the human spirit saw neighbours checking in on each other. Individuals were collecting groceries on behalf of those most at risk. Hundreds of local businesses held on to staff when the books and budget were suggesting otherwise. And of course, our frontline workers kept turning up to the frontline. It was a truly incredible effort.
Take a well-earned rest if you can in the coming weeks. Recharge the batteries as best you can. And let’s all look forward to a 2021 that might just might, be a little bit easier than 2020.

Will the Summer Bring a Mike Baird Repeat?

Four years ago, Mike Baird had a tough year. It was 2016 and he had taken the drastic step of trying to shut down greyhound racing. There were a few other bumps and knocks along the way, but it was almost singularly the greyhound issue that had the likes of Alan Jones and Ray Hadley turn on the Premier.

Over that summer, Mike went surfing, spent time with the family and realised that he was finished with politics. In early January the then Premier Mike Baird announced he would be leaving politics ASAP.

Gladys Berejiklian has not had a good end to the 2020 year. There are plenty of signs that she is not the woman that we all thought she was. Yes, she was smart enough during the bushfires, floods and COVID crisis to stand aside while the experts, the scientists, led the way. Good on her for that.

But in recent months we have learnt that Ms Berejiklian’s personal judgement, on matters professional and private, has not been terrific. It feels as though we have peeked behind the curtain and not liked what we saw. Gladys Berejiklian might well offer us a repeat of Mike Baird, come January 2021.