If the slogan of 2020 is “We’re all in this together”, perhaps it should come with an asterisk: *except for those with less, who are hurting more.
Covid-19 hasn’t torn through Australia as it has the United States, Brazil, India and much of Europe, but the economic impact has exposed gaping inequities in almost every facet of our lives.
While some people simply packed up their desks and took work home, more than 1 million others are jobless and others only technically still “employed” because they are receiving federal government wage subsidies.
In Melbourne, where the pandemic hit hardest, the virus carved a conspicuous path through the most disadvantaged and culturally diverse parts of the city: the west, north and outer south-east.
“We should not pretend that everybody is in this equally,” says Dr Stephen Duckett, the health program director at the Grattan Institute. “People who are suffering are less well off, and have poorer, precarious employment. So when people say, ‘Look business is hurting,’ that may be true, but these people are bearing the brunt of this.”