Prove your humanity

Scott Morrison’s COVID-19 response has been one of the hidden failures of the pandemic.

But what about the low case numbers? Aren’t we doing well? Yes, we are doing exceptionally well, and major thanks must go to the state governments for going rogue and going against our spin doctor prime minister.

In WA alone, state border closures, alcohol restrictions, regional border closures and competent handling of cruise ships has been directed entirely by Mark McGowan’s state government.

Morrison’s government reacted late and poorly to the pandemic, he communicated National Cabinet decisions inefficiently, and now he publicly brags about his close relationship with the delusional and dangerous US President.

Despite this, his approval ratings are soaring as the daggy-dad PM claims the credit for flattening the curve.

Political point scoring hasn’t gone away in the pandemic, and it’s alive and well with the latest anti-coronavirus measure, the COVIDSafe app.

The debate surrounding the security of the data and who has access to it is perfectly valid, and it is worth pointing out that downloading the app is a pretty small invasion of privacy. However, you can’t ignore the fact that the design is based on Tracetogether from Singapore, a country whose democratic principles have been criticised. Is this where we go for tips on good governance now?

But let’s say you’ve decided to sacrifice a small amount of privacy and download the app. If it is based off of Tracetogether, for it to be fully effective your phone needs to be unlocked permanently, your Bluetooth needs to be turned on constantly, the app cannot operate properly in the background or on battery saver mode for iPhones, and there’s concern iPhone users will be further disadvantaged if they use too many Bluetooth devices.

At the time of writing, nearly 3 million Aussies have downloaded the app, and the government has said they need 40% of the population to follow suit to make it effective.

But how many of these people will allow the app to function properly? How many will accidentally turn their Bluetooth off? It’s also completely unrealistic to assume millions of people will keep their phone unlocked 24/7.

The government says they have fixed these problems, but they haven’t said how.

The app’s flaws beg the question, why? Why introduce an app which requires the user to be on their phone literally all day? Why release an app which could very easily be used incorrectly by someone who isn’t so tech savvy, or just forgetful?

Could it be another political point scoring move?

COVIDSafe appears to be another grand gesture from Scott Morrison, a signal that he’s on top of things. Another step towards the end of social distancing and life going back to normal.

Morrison has flagged the app as essential to the loosening of restrictions, and has taken to Twitter and mainstream media to urge all of us to download it.

All of this carries on while parliament remains closed, meaning the government can act without the usual scrutiny from the opposition and cross benchers.

The app might prove itself and be effective, but right now there seems to be a lack of questions about how good the app really is.

People are giving up their privacy, as is their right. But it’s important to ask why.

Politics is a game that never sleeps, not even for pandemics.