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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Vaccines – a modest proposal

Updated: Feb 14, 2021

Mrs Thornton is a formidable lady. Trained as a philosopher at Sydney University and Princeton , she met Henry at a party in Mike Porter’s house in Melbourne. She has since improved Henry’s thinking and writing and asked many questions about economics, not all of which Henry can answer.

Mrs Thornton after Henry is sleeping

Mrs Thornton recently made a proposal for our government that was based on her ‘Economics of the Orange trade’. She passed the idea to Henry to write down, and here goes.

It has always puzzled the Thornton family (and Mrs T in particular) why oranges get imported from the USA and exported from Australia to the USA in return. No doubt it is something to do with the mysteries of modern trade, but we have never received a good explanation.

‘Seasonality’ can’t be the reason because oranges keep well in cold rooms. Wouldn’t it be more efficient if each country simply grew and sold their own local oranges? Why add to the cost (and take from the profit) by shipping oranges back and forth across the Pacific.

Here is Mrs T’s proposal for bringing expatriate Aussies home - a sophisticated version of the orange trade you may think.

The starting point is to allow Australians wishing to return to Australia to come provided they are fully vaccinated. The Australian embassies around the world could provide a vaccination service and when one or two jabs have been given the patients can go away with a nice certificate proving they have been given the best inoculation available. In return the embassies of those nations located in Australia could provide vaccinations for their citizens who would then get a certificate and be free to repatriate.

Perhaps the airlines will, or in some cases are already considering, such a system, but if so we have heard no news of this. As part of the introduction of this plan, the government might come to some arrangement with airlines that ends the regular practice of people who believe they have purchased an economy seat being regularly dumped at the last minute. This seems to us a barbaric practice that should be stopped.

Embassies would need to appoint relevant medical staff or better still outsource the program to local medicos Any costs could be paid by the Australian government. Nothing but goodwill would be created by this plan. I am aware that we are still uncertain about transmission of the illness from vaccinated persons, but there have been some very recent positive reports in this area. Repatriating Aussies who have been vaccinated could be given the option of staying with friends or relatives for two weeks rather than hotel quarantine.

Readers who approve of this proposal might email a copy to Minister Hunt. Surely such a nice person would have a serious look at it.


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