It was only a matter of time. Once Julie Bishop moved to the back bench in 2018, the clock was ticking on how long she’d stay in Parliament. On February 21, 2019, Bishop ended the speculation by announcing that she would not be recontesting her seat in the next election (due to be held later in the year). After 21 years, the possessor of the most impressive death glare in Australian politics had reached the end of the road in Parliament.
Prime Minister (and graceless oaf) Scott Morrison made a speech thanking her for her service without mentioning any specifics whatsoever, but managing to get in a sexist remark about her shoes.
The first official case of what would be designated as Covid 19 (Coronavirus disease 2019) was detected in the city of Wuhan, located in Hubei province China. In the year to come, it would spread quickly around the world, killing hundreds of thousands of people and infecting millions more – and although a majority of those who caught it recovered, many of these would be left with permanent damage it had caused.
In short order, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January, 2020, and upgraded that designation to pandemic on 11 March, 2020. It is the single greatest pandemic since the Influenza Pandemic almost exactly a century earlier.
It seemed an innocuous end to an innocuous year – or as innocuous as a year can be during the Trump Presidency – but as always, the tides of history were in motion beneath the surface. While most of the world partied to celebrate the end of a year and hope for a better new one, the Chinese government quietly informed the World Health Organization of an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan…
…this would prove to be significant in the year to come.