This week the Square Holes team spoke with ages 60 – 69 about their perspectives on the current COVID-19 crisis. A common theme throughout the discussion was Australia’s strength in difficult times.
They were proud of the bipartisanship and collaboration across all levels of government:
“I haven’t normally liked the government, but I think they are doing a really good job under the circumstances. When you look around the world on how other countries have dealt with the virus, I think we’re the lucky country as far as that goes.”
“Just the coming together of the whole country, for a common cause, is pleasing to see. It’s good we’ve been able to do it, but I’d like to think we could do it on and on and on outside of times we’re being tested.”
Most in the group had mentioned they downloaded the Federal Government’s COVIDSafe app, and saw it as ‘doing their bit’:
“When you have the Federal Government saying one thing and then the states decide to do something else, I think that makes it really hard. If you’re catching a news flash, and then suddenly you think this is going to happen but no it’s actually in Victoria and not South Australia… It’s really hard to generalise to cover everyone in the population. And then everyone has their own bits and pieces and they get adamant that is more important than the rest of the population. I really believe that a little bit of [individual] pain is worth everyone’s gain. I think that the greater good is more important at this point. And I’ve downloaded the app by the way!”
To some degree, this willingness to help is seen as an inherent part of Australian values:
“Whilst we’re very easy going, laid-back and ‘she’ll be right, mate’ attitude, when push comes to shove, we are very community-oriented. We’re always there to help out a mate.”
Like other groups, there was an effort to support local businesses. However, local business does not necessarily equal small business for the 60 – 69 age group and the desire to purchase Australian-made products stems from the need to lessen reliance on imports from other countries.
“I think the interest in buying local can be fostered a bit more. Even big chains. Why can’t an Adelaide Bunnings have a strong feature of stuff that comes from Adelaide?”
“I hope the government realises that they can’t be so reliant on our food security and manufacturing on international sources, particularly China and India. I think that I’d like to go back to being more self-reliant on our own Australian capacity.”
Despite a renewed respect for Australia, travelling again is still top of mind:
“I’m keen to see when overseas travel opens up again. We might be stuck travelling within Australia, maybe New Zealand, for a long time. There’s going to be places we can go and places we can’t go. Whereas before COVID-19, we could go anywhere in the world quite cheaply. I think the days of cheap airfares are going to go away for a while. And I’m just hitting that time of life where I’m doing a bit of travel and I can do it. The kids have long gone and I’m freer.”
Overall, those aged 60 – 69 are proud of Australia’s response so far and hopeful as we move ahead. Read about our previous discussions with other age groups to make sense of our world today.