Widespread admiration for the Morrison government’s willingness to act quickly and decisively by introducing new programs like JobKeeper doesn’t obscure the larger challenge.

Under the rhetorical cover, those hard arguments are all to come, still unformed and mostly uninformed.
But the obvious priority right now is to get the economy back to any work at all – sooner rather than later – given the mounting level of destruction.
So Scott Morrisons initial warnings shutdown measures would have to be in place for six months have been largely withdrawn.
The success in bringing COVID-19 cases under control much more effectively than anticipated even a month ago means city streets are slowly becoming more populated with cars and people.
Ahead of the national cabinets official consideration of ways and timetables of re-opening a “COVID-safe” economy this Friday, various state governments – although notably not an intransigent Victoria – have been experimenting with the lifting of some restrictions.
Many more shops from my local florist to most of Australias Apple stores are already deciding its safe to open for business again, however. Cafes and restaurants that have been limping along on takeaway-only menus are daring to plan for customers who can sit down again to order.
That still means many social distancing measures will remain in place indefinitely and any quick return to work will be under very different conditions from avoiding crowded elevators in office buildings to putting in more protections in manufacturing assembly lines to extensive new cleaning requirements.
Many individuals and their employers, for example, will also choose to continue work from home for at least part of the week if they can.
The huge surge in online shopping may ease but the experience has clearly accelerated the trend away from bricks and mortar retailing.
Pubs and cafes will have to add up whether its even feasible to operate with strict limits on the number of customers permitted inside.
Frydenbergs major May speech to the National Press Club would normally have been the day after a budget that is now lost to a paleolithic political era.
Instead Treasurys terrifying advice about the impact of COVID-19 meant the government understood the cliff we were standing on, Frydenberg said, leading to its unprecedented response.
But the Treasurer also acknowledges economic indicators will get considerably worse before they get better, including a fall in GDP in the June quarter of over 10 per cent and a doubling of the unemployment rate. The outlook for most of the rest of the world is at least as bad, in many countries far worse.
It does help that significant sectors of the Australian economy like agriculture and mining and construction and to a degree, manufacturing – have been able to adapt and remain open, Frydenberg says.
But many of these businesses are operating at a much reduced level with no or very few new projects in the pipeline and decreased demand from customers.
So Treasury estimates that every week the current restrictions remain in place costs $4 billion in lost economic activity. And thats the least of it in terms of the direct and indirect impact on jobs.
We now need to get one million Australians back to work,” Morrison said, unveiling a range of colourful slides to make his point. “That’s the curve we need to address.
“I can assure you that the national cabinet and certainly the Commonwealth government is under no illusion about the ongoing costs of these measures. And it certainly puts enormous pressure, as it should, on the timetable as we seek to move Australia back to that safe economy.”
That timetable still requires the ability to limit the inevitable outbreaks of infection that will occur as more businesses re-open and people emerge from their cocoons.
Nev Power, former Fortescue Metals chief executive and now head of the government’s National COVID-19 Co-ordination Commission, says the commission had been talking with hundreds and hundreds of businesses about how to best manage COVID-safe workplaces.
This includes developing a business “tool kit” to assist companies understand the new requirements and also how to quickly respond to any outbreaks and fix any problems when they occur.
Power praises the “ingenuity and innovation” demonstrated by businesses as they prepare for the new reality but says many still need help. The government is also telling businesses to make use of the new SafeWork Australia website for advice.
Ahead of the next national cabinet meeting, Morrison clearly wants to avoid any open stoush with the state premiers, particularly Victoria’s Dan Andrews, over the different timelines for lifting restrictions, including sending kids back to school. Back in your box, Dan Tehan.
The general tone will still be one of caution. But the Prime Minister maintains a roadmap is  required to give people the confidence that it is safe to work and the certainty that work can continue rather than having a “sawtooth” response where things start and stop again.
Now, it’s start time.