While we wait for apologies from various disgraceful government goons for the demented, demeaning and destructive restrictions they imposed on us during Covid—and we might be waiting for quite some time—let’s tell a few personal tales of the pandemic.
My own, unfortunately, are not especially notable. I was living an hour or so outside Sydney at the time. That small distance from a major city seemed to allow space for sanity. While reports emerged from Sydney, Brisbane and especially Melbourne of unapproved gatherings being shut down during peak Covid panic times by the full force of legislative authority, our street quietly welcomed visitors.
Why, we even held occasional small parties.
Nobody called the cops on us wild, untamed wine-and-cheese rebels. If they had, lawmen wouldn’t have dared turn up. I fancy that word had got around; officers may have feared dangerous handshakes or possibly a menacingly unmasked “hello” if they ventured for an unprotected moment on to our boulevard of the damned.
Tim Blair appears in every Quadrant.
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Conspiring with long-term and trusted neighbours, friends in Sydney established similarly protective safe zones. In one case—a street with more than a few lawyers living in it—informal documents of agreement were drawn up, not entirely for purposes of amusement.
These safe zones weren’t anything to do with obeying useless Covid precautions or guarding each other from a virus everybody knew they’d eventually get anyway. Rather, these were proper safe zones, meaning mates could drop by for a drink or a daughter could hold an eighteenth-birthday event without fear of legal reprisals.
That lawyer-populated Sydney street wasn’t alone in adopting a legal stance against pandemic oppression. Surfers aren’t especially given to lawyerly considerations, but some in Sydney’s eastern suburbs hit upon a loophole discovery during beach lockdowns that would have done Clarence Darrow proud.
They noted that closures applied only to beaches—which they took to mean, as would most normal folk, the sandy coastal zones typically located between water and land. With that definition in mind, wily surfers avoided the sand (the “beaches”) altogether, instead clambering towards their desired waves via rocky beachside outcrops.
Police and council officials basically realised they were beaten from the first moment a challenged surfer proposed a rocks-versus-beaches defence.
Most of those involved in these mask-shunning, rock-clambering, freedom-loving capers weren’t and aren’t anti-vaxxers, by the way. Nor were they wilfully reckless during the early stages of the pandemic, when it wasn’t exactly clear what level of evil China’s dictatorship had unleashed.
They simply understood that caution is essential when dealing with a tyrannical power’s airborne weaponry. Soldiers who survived First World War mustard gas attacks would understand. So they waited until Covid’s dangers were apparent and understood (a far briefer wait than ours for an apology, I’ll wager) and then acted accordingly.
For them and me that meant just the two required vaccinations. Most of us wouldn’t have even gone to that extent were it not for job requirements and travel barricades. Some of the more gifted among us fashioned their own proof-of-vaccination documents, which to this point so far as I know have passed muster at every request.
Incidentally, those of us in the two-jabs club should be circumspect about claiming any supposed social suffering. As the Spectator’s Melissa Kite wrote earlier this year, we never copped the wrath directed at non-vaxxers and we shouldn’t now be muscling in on their martyrdom.
“There is an annoying new kind of johnny-come-lately anti-vaxxer who boasts about being only minimally vaccinated and in their view, therefore, qualified to join the ranks of the persecuted—those of us who decided at the very beginning not to have a single dose, for allegedly lunatic reasons,” Kite perceptively observed.
“It never seems to occur to these semi-vaxxers that they are about as credible to a real anti-vaxxer as a dirty vegan to a fruitarian.”
Consider yourselves told, fellow semi-vaxxers. Still, we can claim our moments of triumph. I once gained entry to a security-surrounded, one-point-of-entry pub just by waving my wallet at a stupid Covid QR code then jabbing at a few imaginary phone buttons. “You’re good to go,” a guard happily told me.
At the same hyper-vigilant venue on the same night, the IPA’s Bella d’Abrera was refused entry because she’d only brought a photograph of her driver’s licence instead of the real thing. People genuinely took leave of their senses during Covid times.
None more so, obviously, than politicians who throughout this debacle appeared to be possessed by demons. Victorian Premier Dan Andrews was late last year given the chance to apologise for all of his pandemic excesses. No apology was forthcoming. “Many very difficult decisions had to be made. None of them were made lightly and none of them were easy,” Andrews said. “What I will not do is apologise for doing everything possible to save lives, that’s what we did.”
His government ruined lives and turned citizens against each other. Those who joined Andrews’s mask-and-misery campaign were, although they possibly don’t know it, robbed of their capacities as free, able and independent citizens. Well, “robbed” is the wrong word. Those capacities were surrendered.
Australians deserve an apology too from former Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who joined with his then-Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to throw un-vaxxed tennis star Novak Djokovic out of the country in 2022 because Australians are stupid. Seriously, that was the government’s argument. If Djokovic had been allowed to play in that year’s Australian Open, all of us would have followed his non-vaxxing example as if hypnotised.
“I consider that his ongoing presence in Australia may encourage other people to disregard or act inconsistently with public health advice and policies in Australia,” Hawke announced.
“In addition, I consider that Mr Djokovic’s ongoing presence in Australia may lead to an increase in anti-vaccination sentiment generated in the Australian community, potentially leading to an increase in civil unrest of the kind previously experienced in Australia with rallies and protests which may themselves be a source of community transmission.”
Hawke feared an “increase in anti-vaccination sentiment” at a time when Australia had reached the 95 per cent double-vaccination mark for people aged over sixteen. Morrison and his minister believed Australians were not only in psychological thrall to a Serbian tennis player, but that they also had the ability to remove Covid vaccinations from their own bodies by sheer force of will.
We’ll not be getting any apologies any time soon from those who used Covid as a population suppression device. The most we can expect, in the same way retired climate academics reveal the truth about how absurd is climate panic, will be reason and clarity from former politicians.
Such as, for example, Peter Costello. The Howard-era treasurer had this to say in May on ex-Nationals leader John Anderson’s fine podcast: “We will look back on 2020, 2021, in ten years’ time, twenty years’ time, and we’ll say: ‘Wow. We really closed the workplaces? In some states, curfews? You weren’t allowed out of your home?’”
“How did we put up,” Costello concluded, “with that infringement of civil liberty?”
Good question. An even better one is how millions of Australians embraced infringements. Many personal tales of the pandemic will be tales of shame.
This tactic was successfully used in 2019 by Islamic US politician Ilhan Omar when speaking about the 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks. Omar was addressing the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and couldn’t easily avoid mentioning why CAIR came to be.
So she went all euphemistic, in as coldly dismissive a way as can possibly be imagined. CAIR, Omar told her audience, “was founded after 9/11 because they recognised that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties”.
Note her wicked shorthand description of the 9/11 attacks that slaughtered 3000 people: “some people did something”. Islamic activist Omar can’t really say it straight on Muslim extremism, so instead she says it as though talking about a minor carpark drama down at the supermarket.
The key to understanding left-speak is to always detect what is left out. Though not remotely close to the same level of brutality or reality denial achieved by Omar four years ago, federal Labor treasurer Jim Chalmers nevertheless included some leftist delete code in May’s budget speech.
Talking about the economic factors that had delivered Australia’s first budget surplus in fifteen years, Chalmers credited the “high prices for the things we sell overseas”.
Ilhan Omar avoids directly mentioning Islamic terrorism. Chalmers evidently avoids directly mentioning—at least in positive ways—Australia’s coal, iron ore and gas industries. To modern, green-infected, climate-crazed Labor, the sources of our export riches are all merely “things”, even when they happen to be preventing a potential economic meltdown.
Leftists are always hiding something. To find out what it is, just look behind the unmarked door.
THE cruellest thing about the proposed indigenous Voice to parliament is the dramatic and deleterious effect it’s having on someone who already is a voice to parliament. A peak voice to parliament, as it were.
Due to certain verbal peculiarities, Anthony Albanese loses at least half his body weight in fluid every time he attempts to say “constitution”. In terms of the Voice and its legal framework, any commentary from the Prime Minister must be literally draining.
And the poor bloke’s got months of it to go. Labor’s sainted son of a single mum turned sprinkler system in a suit may eventually achieve an increasingly unlikely victory for the Voice, but only at the cost of agonising physical dehydration.
Getting away from day-to-day Voice promotion is proving difficult. Albanese had a brief opportunity early in June to moisturise, having been invited to my Nationals-dominated neck of western Victoria for the official opening of a new Nature and Water Park adorning the Wimmera River.
Sadly for Albanese, however, the visit was rained out. Soggy socialist Albo isn’t having great luck with liquid lately, either internally or externally. In an entirely different and less laudable way, the PM is turning into the greatest Labor dry since former Finance Minister Peter Walsh.
Others not penalised by the PM’s speech issues have also allowed themselves to become vexed by the Voice, including some who you’d expect would be riding high. Veteran broadcaster and current ABC staffer Stan Grant, for example, has previously shown flashes of insight and perception that are uncommon among his people—his people, of course, being Australian television presenters.
Almost uniquely among the ABC’s members of that tribe, Grant additionally has a sense of humour. Absolutely uniquely, Grant once deployed that sense of humour against pro-Voice luvvies Peter FitzSimons and his wife Lisa Wilkinson.
Back in early 2021, Grant wrote a mocking semi-fictional piece for the Australian about attending “Fitzy and Lisa’s Australia Day barbecue at their grand house overlooking Sydney Harbour”.
“What a woke leftie love-in that was,” Grant continued. “Journos, actors, writers, couple of ex-Wallabies (well it was the North Shore), a few washed up politicians, even a couple of Liberals (small l of course) and a former managing director of the ABC for good measure.
“Everyone there voted yes for same sex marriage—the year before last they’d all tearily applauded their first gay married couple guests—they hated the Catholic Church, and had cried when Kevin Rudd said sorry …
“They adored Indigenous culture. There were dot paintings on the wall, a photo with their arms around Cathy Freeman at Sydney Olympic Stadium and a framed copy of Paul Keating’s Redfern Statement signed by the last great Australian Prime Minister himself.”
If you’ve wondered why a few of Labor’s Sydney-based multi-millionaire true believers weren’t entirely supportive of Stan following his coronation night debacle on the ABC, the above is your answer. Grant has that crowd’s number, and he called them out. Worse still, from their point of view, he did it in a News Corp publication. There will be no easy forgiveness.
“There are important things to worry about in the world,” Grant said following publication of his mirthful piece, and the reportedly hostile response to it from FitzSimons. “People who can’t laugh at themselves aren’t one of them.”
Yet even as he mocked everybody’s favourite humourless handkerchief-head, Grant’s piece—written primarily as fiction—was sprinkled with doctrinaire wokeisms itself. It featured “Aussie-flag-wearing white supremacists” on a Sydney beach celebrating “the date they stole the country”. Australia Day was further smeared as “a glorious tribute to the White Australia policy”.
We shouldn’t have been surprised, then, when Voice-hailing ABC presenter Grant came in off a long leftist run-up during the evening of King Charles III’s coronation.
Why, Grant had even warned of his coronation night plans in an article by Dan Butler for National Indigenous Television published several days before. “We may get a bit more honesty in the coronation,” he told NITV. “I think people are looking for something a bit more bracing and a bit more challenging.”
What they got, as Grant described a previous gathering, was “a woke leftie love-in” that generated a record number of complaints even from the ABC’s remaining core viewers. Besides the helpful advance warning, that NITV piece opened with a delicious “magical native” moment. Behold:
“Stan Grant knows this land, down to a bend in the road. ‘The reception should come good around this corner,’ he yells down the patchy mobile line.
“Driving on the road to Bathurst, the Wiradjuri man is on home turf. It’s a familiarity that goes beyond knowing merely landscape, however, and extends into the heart and soul of the nation.”
Butler’s “magical native” celebration should be used in journalism courses as an avoidance example. A similar comment from an ordinary, non-magical white person about the quality of phone reception would have been dismissed, sensibly enough, as too boring to print. Coming from Stan Grant, however, that off-hand remark is presented as evidence of his heightened Aboriginal spirituality and oneness with country.
You know, exactly the same way that Grant’s knowledge of a Coles bakery section—pikelets are furthest along, parallel to the breakfast cereals—presumably reveals his Dreaming kinship.
I once met a bloke who worked in the 1970s as a roadie for Sydney bands. His special talent was being able to find the way back to central Sydney no matter how far out of the city he and the bands were, or how incapacitated they were by alcohol and drugs.
Claiming part-Aboriginal background, this gifted roadie would call for silence, gaze knowingly at the skies and then proclaim: “This direction. We go here.” Remarkably, he was never wrong. Even on nights when stars were obscured by clouds, the roadie’s holy unity with the Australian land and the broader cosmos always guided everybody quickly home.
The bands never worked out what their roadie was doing. Decades later, he finally confessed. Rather than looking at the sky, he was looking at roofs. Specifically, he was looking at television antennas on those roofs—which for purposes of clear reception were always pointed towards city broadcasting towers.
Clarity is missing in the Voice debate, mostly from the pro-Voice team. We don’t get clarity from the PM, whose midwit qualities have been brilliantly illuminated by Samuel Mullins (see page 32), and who essentially is barely able to speak. We don’t get substantial post-2021 clarity from Stan Grant, who a couple of months ago offered this bewildering thought: “Undoubtedly, whiteness as an organising principle is over.”
And we don’t get much clarity from many modern journalists—who, to be fair, are otherwise occupied shielding themselves in case Albanese tries “constitution” again. Personally, I’m going to track down that old roadie again. He’ll show us the way.
RECALL the hate, panic and fear that greeted Donald Trump’s election as US President in 2016. One of the most entertaining responses to Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton came from Mamamia founder Mia Freedman, who at the end of her anguished election analysis included the suicide helpline number.
In short, leftists believed Trump would kill everybody and destroy everything. But then he didn’t. In fact, all economic indicators—including employment for women and ethnic minorities—were fat and happy under Trump, at least until a Chinese virus intervened.
But did leftists, having witnessed the improved circumstances delivered by The Donald, reconsider their alarm? Did they hell. If anything, their hatred of a non-warmongering, wealth-enhancing cheap-energy-providing President only grew.
Just a theory, but perhaps leftists—and Trump-hating conservatives, of whom there are many—despise the forty-fifth President not because he failed while in office but because he succeeded. Perhaps they cannot stand the idea that a vulgar businessman, of all people, can walk into government and somehow make that ridiculous apparatus work.
You can imagine how distressing this was to certain onlookers. Fans of big government, on the wimpy right as well as the left, like to imagine that politics is such a high calling, such an unfathomable alchemy of art and science, that only the anointed might ever prevail.
Then along comes a reality television host who made a few bucks in real estate, and he showed everybody that far from making things worse, he was actually able to make things better. As if to underline the point, Trump was followed into office by one of the most experienced big-government types in US political history.
Joe Biden has trashed the joint. Yet he may return to office for a second term, thanks to a Democrat election machine so efficient that in last year’s midterm vote it secured winning totals for candidates who were dead.
It worked for them, so why not for Biden? Also, although he should be on multiple charges, Biden has the distinct advantage of not being named Donald Trump. He is thus able to devote more time to speeches and naps than to court hearings.
Biden for the win. Now where’s that Lifeline number?