Many of the big public policy reforms in the time since Australian Federation have been anything but easy and popular.
The abolition of tariffs, the introduction of the Goods & Services Tax (GST), and even the removal of the White Australia policy were all met with fierce opposition.
But they were all the right thing for Australia and Australians.
The Hawke and Keating Governments were rewarded for the tough decisions it took to reform and modernise the Australian economy, re-elected four times.
John Howard did an extraordinary thing when he promised to introduce a GST, re-elected in 1998.
In Australia, tough policy decisions are made harder by our short political cycle, three years at the national level.
Of course, our system allows the Prime Minister of the day to call an election at a time of his choosing (within certain parameters) and on average, the three years becomes more like 2.8 years.
Add the rise and rise of social media and minor parties and you have a political environment in which hard but necessary decisions are extremely risky. Regardless, we like to think that people with courage and conviction will continue to turn to politics. Without them we are destined to underperform.
In the big scheme of things, the Novak Djokovic debacle will pass quickly. But it highlighted how politically driven decision making has become and a deterioration in the strength of our democracy.
Working with Tennis Australia, the Federal and Victorian Governments went to great lengths to make sure the World No.1 would be in Melbourne to defend his Australian Open title.
A whole new approvals system was designed and implemented. The system including an independent expert medical panel.
Both governments and the panel knew Djokovic was not vaccinated but they approved his entry on the basis he'd recently had COVID-19 and therefore was ineligible to be vaccinated. Having had the virus, he was not likely to contract it again or spread it.
Yes, Djokovic's team misled - deliberately or accidentally - when they declared he'd not recently travelled elsewhere but the trip to Spain was immaterial and unlikely to change the view of the expert panel.
Much was said about Djokovic's alleged anti-vaccination views but in the Federal Court it was made quite clear the only evidence he held those views was a skeptical comment he'd made in 2020, prior to the release of any vaccines.
There is no doubt Djokovic has avoided vaccination. That's disappointing, but the Government knew that when they approved his entry. So what changed?
The answer to that question is undoubtedly the political environment.
When Djokovic's entry became unpopular the Federal Government turned on him and ruthlessly so. The political nature of its actions were exposed by the first Federal Court case which of course, Djokovic won.
The Government then simply canceled Djokovic's visa again, making sure it got the process right the second time. The Court confirmed that. But as the Chief Justice said, it was the Court's job to test the legality of the decision, not it's merits.
Djokovic has now left us. He is among the many adversely affected by the fiasco. The others include our international reputation, Tennis Australia, the Australian Open and the fans. Maybe too the Federal Government, we shall see.
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