This article analyses the Australian Federal Government, and the Victorian State Government’s 2020 and 2021 response to the COVID-19 pandemic, through the lens of key theories of precarity. The article includes a short literature review, outlining the concept of precarity, and its two broad streams of critical theory, which can be summarised as economic and affective, which will be used as frameworks to interpret the Australian pandemic response. The following section posits that the economic stimulus provided during the pandemic, has displayed the potential for the implementation of a radically redistributive Universal Basic Income in Australia, a form of economic care which could permanently ameliorate precarity. The final section uses Judith Butler’s theory of precariousness to articulate the affective shift during the pandemic concerning practices and practicalities of care. This article will include autobiographical writing concerning my relationship to work, care, precarity and writing, asking the question what sort of care we can expect, as citizens, subjects and bodies, from the state and from others, during times of crisis and normality.
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