Today, Australia faces several political and economic issues. Let's look at few of the most pressing problems in the country known as "the land down under."
Before coronavirus spread throughout the world, Australia was dealing with what the New York Times described as "its worse fire season in history."
The environmental crisis led to a political crisis for Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison. A supporter of coal, Morrison was criticized for his response to the fire. In December 2019, during the fires, Morrison went on a Hawaiian vacation.
When Morrison traveled to the parts of Australia hit the hardest, he was called "an idiot" and reprimanded for not providing enough resources to the fire-damaged communities.
Eventually, Morrison admitted that "there were things I could have handled on the ground much better."
Returning to coronavirus, Australia has been praised for its handling of the pandemic. Like most countries, Australia closed its borders, shuttered its economy, and instituted social distancing. Unlike most countries, Australia was able to issue lots of tests. According to CNN, as of May 1st, Australia had administered over 570,000 tests. Let's compare that number to the United Kingdom. The UK has more than double the population of Australia, yet they've only done 763,387 tests.
As with other countries, Australia faces economic hardships due to COVID-19. Though the numbers aren't as stark as in other countries, they are still significant. In April, over 600,000 Australians lost their jobs. There's also been increased reports of racism against Asian Australians.
Another issue facing Australians is that of robo-debt. A partly automated process, robo-debt targeted Australians who receive assistance from the government. These Australians were told that they'd been overpaid and now owed the government money. Now, to compensate for the inaccurate numbers, Australia intends to refund the inflated debt payments, which amount to around $550 million.