This is not 1987 though last night, Wall Street experienced its worst crash since Black Monday. With experts already predicting not just a global recession but a global “economic shutdown” prior, one thing is clear. We are now living in the “Information Era” and that means official communication now drives markets more than ever.
Therefore, with the Australian market soon to open facing a 10% overnight loss on the Dow, the following questions have yet to be answered by the Australian Government regarding the most powerfully moving pandemic in history—the Coronavirus Covid-19:
1. Do Australian companies possess the IT capability to support and operate the move to working from home?
2. Can the new National Broadband Network cope with an increase in home-based Internet demand?
3. Can residential electricity grids cope with increased home energy demand?
4. How will parents be compensated for home childcare if crèches and schools are forced to close?
5. Isn’t refusing to close mass gatherings promoting the exponential risk of virus spread from hosts?
6. Should an employer be able to ban an employee from personal travel to locales designated with a high Foreign Affairs coronavirus warning?
7. What measures are being introduced to regulate the disinfection of contact-heavy retail ventures like cafes, restaurants, optometrists, Apple stores, jewellers and clothing stores?
8. What measures are being introduced to regulate the disinfection of entertainment venues like clubs, casinos, theatres and cinemas?
9. Is there a national protocol for disinfecting public transport, EFTPOS interfaces, ride-sharing vehicles, AirbnB premises and food delivery providers?
10. What floor rate is the government willing to let the dollar slide to before intervention and how many billions will that cost?
11. What industries and product categories have the government identified as supply shortage risks and what measures are being taken to eliminate panic buying and price gouging?
Ultimately, whether the Australian Government can take charge of this health crisis by answering the above, will determine the levels of consumer sentiment and public hysteria to come.
Left alone, panic will overtake not just markets and economies, but the social fabric. After two decades of war-weariness, xenophobia born by terror and the watering down of national values like a fair go—through corporate fiascos, nursing home abuse and domestic violence—the electorate’s patience has been left thin.
This is the age of the Tweet, the YouTube, the Instagram, the social media post. This is the true Communication Age. And governments must start talking “to the people” without spin, because more than ever, the public is now attuned to the smell of bull. And bull is what makes people take their own reins in selfish rage.
© 2020 Adam Parker.