QED

Australia, How Have You Let it Come to This?

On August 2, Victorians began living under a “state of disaster” that has seen some of the world’s most severe restrictions imposed on its citizens and their fundamental freedoms. Leaving home after 8pm is banned with hefty fines imposed on those pulled over by police, who now represent the only cars on the road after dark. There are roadblocks to prevent citizens from moving interstate or, much closer to home, more than the permitted 5km from their their listed addresses.

The Victorian government has effectively become an elected dictatorship. It is August 9 as I write and the latest 19 COVID deaths have brought the state’s death toll to 247. These 19 deaths were of one man and a woman in their 50s, two men in their 70s, one man and six women in their 80s, and one man and seven women in their 90s.[1] (editor’s note: today, August 12, the daily death toll is 21, the overwhelming majority in aged-care homes.)

Approximately 99 per cent of all infections for coronavirus have been mild. Of the 515 people in hospitals across Australia with coronavirus, 496 are in Victoria. Most of those who have died were in their 80s and living in aged-care facilities.[2]

Unfortunately, none of these relevant considerations has prevented the Victorian government  imposing what is by far the greatest violation of fundamental rights in Australia’s history. Victorians have now been forced into stage 4 lockdown; almost 5 million people have been informed that the police can and will enter their homes for any reason and without a warrant. Police can also stop anyone anywhere at any time and demand to see their papers and determine  if they have a valid reason to be away of their homes.

These extraordinary rules imposed on the citizens of Melbourne will remain in force for at least the next five weeks. They include:

# The police can enter homes to carry out spot checks without permission or a warrant.

# Between the hours of 8.00 pm to 5.00 am nobody is allowed to leave their home except for work, medical care or caregiving.

# Daily exercise can only take place within a 5-kilometre distance of a person’s home.

# Apart from of maximum 1-hour of daily exercise, never in groups of more than two (even if they are members of the same household), a person is only allowed to leave home for essential supplies and food. Such shopping trips are permitted only once a day.

# In the whole of Victoria nobody is allowed to buy more than two of certain essential items, including dairy, meat, vegetables, fish and toilet paper.

# Schools, childcare and kindergarten have been closed until further notice.

# Golf courses and tennis courts have been closed; fishing is banned

# Weddings are no longer allowed, and funerals limited to only 10 mourners.

# Facemasks are mandatory for any activity outside the home. A farmer on his tractor, alone in the middle of an empty paddock, must be masked. Thius applies across the entire length and breadth of  the state.

# Nobody can receive visitors unless it is for the purpose of giving and receiving care.

The maximum fine for breaching any of these orders currently stands at $4,999. I am unaware of any state or country anywhere in the world which levies such enormous on-the-spot fines for leaving home without what the authorities regard as a legitimate reason. On just one day, August 6, Victoria Police conducted no less than 4,418 spot checks on homes, businesses and public places, bringing the total to 234,275 since March 21. Also on that very day, more than 50 people were fined for not wearing face masks, with a further 43 penalties issued for curfew breaches. One poor unfortunate, as VicPol gloated in a press release, was hit with a $1700 fine for leaving his home in the wee hours to buy “cigarettes and lollies”.[3]

Victorians in Melbourne are forced to remain in their homes for what the government sees as the ideal 23 hours a day. They are permitted out only for very specific reasons, namely a short period for exercise plus one trip a day for essentials. Police officers have been quick to tackle any locals on the streets without a ‘valid reason’, an approach reflected in the 17,682 vehicles whose drivers and occupants have been quizzed at checkpoints. “We had to smash car windows and pull people out because they wouldn’t give us details,” declared a senior Victorian policeman. “They wouldn’t tell us where they’re going!” [4]

Police issued 276 fines in a single day (August 9).  In the midst of these oppressive actions, police have fined a family with little children over a trip to the swings and slides of a local playground; five young friends were similarly penalised for listening to music in a suburban garage.[5] A 41-year-old man from outer suburban Mooroolbark and another from Chirnside Park have been charged with “incitement” and bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrate’s Court for the alleged crime of attempting to organise a protest against the arbitrary proscriptions detailed above. Images promoting their planned August 9 rally upset the Victorian regime by inviting concerned citizens to safeguard their traditional liberties and “fight the good fight”.[6]  The Spectator Australia points out that “curfews are tools of political oppression, of martial law, of military occupation. They are not part of living in a thriving parliamentary democracy.”[7] From 8pm to 5am the streets of Melbourne and its suburbs are deserted, save for police cars.

And the irony as Melbourne is transformed into Tumbleweed Town is that lockdowns don’t work. Evidence suggests the economic destruction they bring is worse than the virus, with large numbers destined to die because of the lockdowns and as a consequence of restrictions and enforced closures that are gutting the state’s economy.  Victoria’s mental health minister, Martin Foley, has actually confessed to a 9.5 per cent increase in reports of self-harm in his state compared with the same time last year..[8]

Victoria is in this mess because of the staggering incompetence of its government.  Businesses have been closed and jobs are being destroyed. Many shops and eateries will never open again. Many people who have lost their jobs will never work again. All this is happening while the government refuses to explain its actions to Parliament, which has been effectively been shut down since March.

We keep hearing that we are all in this together. But no public servant has lost his or her job and politicians continue to receive their six-figure salaries. Those who have no understanding of the productive economy are receiving pay rises. Research by the Institute of Public Affairs suggest that stage 4 lockdown will rob mainstream Victorians of almost $3.2 billion dollars every week in lost income, prosperity and diminished standards of living. We can expect as many as 300,000 jobs to vanish. Is this cruel and undemocratic lockdown proportionate to the risk? Will the poverty and mental health crisis be worth it?

One would suspect that, given these stringent measures, the streets of Victoria must be paved with COVID’s lifeless victims. In reality, Victoria has seen just 162 deaths attributed to coronavirus (the figure as I write). What is more, 137 of 162 those who died were in aged-care homes. There was much made last week about a man who died in his 30s, but Premier Daniel Andrews refused to say if he had any other medical conditions. Incredibly, having announced the death, the Premier insisted that releasing any further details would violate privacy considerations. His silence on this point is understandable. With the average age of those who have died standing at 82, the Andrews regime is frantic to both justify its Stasi-like approach to public health and obscure its inept hotel quarantine program by broadcasting the word that anyone can contract COVID and die, not just the elderly.

Step back, survey the actual death numbers and the only conclusion is that they are pathetically low. There were more deaths in Australia last year from flu, even with a vaccine, than from coronavirus this year without a vaccine. According to Health Department figures, 2019 saw 1,257 deaths from influenza, with more than 3,000 presenting at hospitals for treatment. Strangely enough, the most recent data reveals no flu-related deaths in Victoria so far this year during the so-called coronavirus pandemic.[9] This has prompted a Victorian joke: “Thank God for coronavirus. No one is dying from cancer, heart disease or anything else.”

Victoria has become a police state, but there is no legal basis for what it is being done. Under the so-called Disaster Act, any law in Victoria can be suspended with the stroke of a pen. Of course, such legislation is invalid as it contradicts basic principles of constitutional government. Indeed, the Victorian government has neither constitutional validity nor democratic mandate to introduce such draconian legal measures. Those responsible for them should be held legally accountable. It is they, not families in park playgrounds, who should be facing the full force of the law.

The Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, whose former crusade was to avert the “climate crisis”, recommended against parliament sitting because the government did not define it as an “essential function”. As noted by The Australian‘s Greg Sheridan, “his insistence that parliament should not sit is unambiguously a disgrace”.[10] Of course, if you can allow people to shoot up heroin, surely you can allow the state parliament. As reported by the Herald Sun, the government-operated supervised injection room located in North Richmond not only disrespect social distancing rules, but has been allowed to remain open well past the 8pm curfew.[11] 

Premier Andrews has avoided any reasonable scrutiny and accountability by effectively abolishing democracy in his state.[12]  According to Sheridan,

there has never been a more arrogant episode of disdain for normal democracy than the Victorian Health Minister’s decision not to answer any questions on the virus … in the Legislative Council, sitting only because the Coalition and crossbenches insisted.[13] 

Health minister Jenny Mikakos has refused to give a verbal answer to questions in question time. She made reference to a retired judge’s board of inquiry into the failed hotel quarantine system, although Jenny Coate, the woman in charge, explicitly stated that her inquiry is not a court, so “there is no general restriction or prohibition which would prevent a person from commenting publicly or answering questions to which they know the answers”.[14]

Of course, as also noted by Sheridan, there is no need for a “sham inquiry” to tell us that “every case of COVID in Victoria today stems from this government’s utter failure to design and implement an effective quarantine program”.[15] Under Andrews, “all the mechanisms of democratic accountability have virtually disappeared … [and] Victoria has become a dysfunctional one-party state with a mostly compliant local media,” Sheridan wrote.[16]  He list other failures, including a catastrophic ineptitude in managing the infamous quarantine hotels, and not fining those who attended the Black Lives Matter demonstration, thus “tacitly endorsing a huge event that broke social distancing restrictions and undermined the message”.[17] 

The fact of the matter is that it appears most of Victoria’s second wave of the coronavirus apparently came from the breaches of hotel quarantine processes in Melbourne, not least the employment of security guards who were neither properly equipped nor trained.[18] The hotel quarantine program was designed to shield the state from the virus by placing returned travellers in 14-day isolation in hotels patrolled by private security companies.[19] Instead it encouraged its explosion.

Victoria is indeed a state of disaster due to the absolute incompetence of a Premier who behaves far more like a ruthless dictator than the leader of an authentic parliamentary democracy. Alarmingly, the Public Health and Wellbeing Act, the appalling piece of unconstitutional legislation conferring arbitrary powers on the Victorian Premier was passed by the state parliament in 2008 entirely unopposed by the Liberal opposition, ‘despite Labor then, as now, not having an upper house majority’.[20]  It is therefore no virtue for the opposition to complain about these authoritarian measures when Liberal state MPs allowed the enactment of legislation that provides for ruling by executive decree without democratic accountability.

Perhaps even more disturbing is Prime Minister Scott Morrison refuseal to criticise Premier Andrews, in keeping with his strong belief in “national leadership unity”.[21] This is despite Victoria’s bungled quarantine system, believed to be responsible for the outbreak of community transmission. As stated by Janet Albrechtsen in her column in the The Australian, the imposition of stage-four restrictions on Victorians, particularly those living in Melbourne, may lead to far ‘more people dying’, and also to ‘untold economic harm to millions of Victorians and damaging the economy, a dangerous spike in mental health illnesses especially among young Victorians, and negative educational outcomes’.[22]

However, the Prime Minister has publicly backed the Victorian Premier, including his imposition of de facto martial law across the state. Indeed, Mr Morrison not only has refused to criticise the Victorian Premier for being unable to stop the spread of the virus, he has further encouraged political arbitrariness and oppression in Victoria by, in his own words, “encouraging the Victorian government to ensure that there are appropriate penalties for those who do break public health notices.”[23]  Surely we should expect the leader of a Liberal government to be interested in protecting personal freedoms, not suppressing them. Yet we get this spineless guff instead: “Daniel Andrews has my full support … I will give him every support he needs”.  Offering such enthusiastic support to the authoritarian measures of the Victorian government is actually “the only thing that matters”.[24]

The Prime Minister is also on the record as stating that he is totally unconcerned about ongoing attacks on freedom of speech, because “free speech does not create a single job”. Well, Mr Morrison’ support for a premier’s oppressive measures that can only destroy the economy is certainly not going to create a single job either — at least not in the productive sector. To the contrary, federal connivance can only lead to more human rights violations as well as inevitable economic disaster and massive unemployment.

Granted, the Liberal governments in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania have also been far too willing to rule by decree and impose their own arbitrary measures on citizens. But the fact that the federal government constantly endorses violations of our fundamental rights should not come as a surprise for those who have read the most recent Legal Rights Audit 2019. The main author of this important report, Morgan Begg, first explains that ‘fundamental legal rights are necessary to achieve justice within a legal system and act as a vital constraint on the coercive power of the state’.[25] However, he claims these legal rights have been explicitly breached by 381 separate provisions in Acts of Australia’s Federal Parliament. As Begg points out, the Morrison government is directly responsible. “The Coalition is trashing fundamental legal rights of all Australians, creating unprecedented challenge to individual freedom and human dignity,” writes Begg, a research fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs.[26]

Sir Robert Menzies would be appalled to see what has become of the party he founded. Menzies sincerely believed that the progress of our nation depended not so much upon the security provided by the State, but upon personal freedom. In a keynote speech delivered on January 21, 1943, ironically about the founding principles of Liberal Party, Menzies compared free and democratic societies such as Australia, to dictatorships such as Nazi Germany. Why then, asked Menzies rhetorically, would the Allies eventually defeat them at war? His answer was patently clear:

We shall defeat them by proving once more that a free individual living in a free community with a free tomorrow in front of him (or her) is worth a nation of slaves.[27] 

Perhaps most disturbing thing of all is to observe how the Australian people, and Victorians in particular, appear to have developed a servile mindset and blind faith in government. In a free society, argued Menzies, there is instead an innate sense of distrust of government and a healthy appreciation of our basic rights and responsibilities which confer upon every citizen a certain measure of human dignity by making them effective contributors to the life of the nation. Hence, in his well-known Melbourne address to his fellow Victorians, on September 7, 1947, Menzies famously declared: 

If we fought for freedom, and as we fought for it, did we secure it? Are we pursuing paths along which we will eventually end up by finding ourselves bond, or free? Why was it that in 1939 we said that the Germans were not free?… It consisted in that the German people, in return for that mess of pottage, had handed over to a few men their birthright and said to a few men: “You rule us, you govern us, you order us.[28]    

What Menzies was asking of his Victorian audience back then is precisely what we should be asking now. “When we have the all-powerful state,” Menzies argued, “the people will then be the servants of that state and the minds of those people will be servile minds, because there will only be only one master – the state inhuman but all-powerful!“[29]

This is precisely the challenge Victorians now face under their deeply oppressive Labor government. Australians at large face a similar challenge under a federal government dominated by a party that has become “liberal” in name only.

 

Dr Augusto Zimmermann PhD, LLM, LLB, DipEd, CertIntArb is Professor and Head of Law at Sheridan Institute of Higher Education in Perth/WA, and Professor of Law (Adjunct) at the University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney campus. He is President of the Western Australian Legal Theory Association (WALTA), and former Law Reform Commissioner with the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, from 2012-2017 (appointed by then state Attorney General Christian Porter). Dr Zimmermann was chair and professor of constitutional law at Murdoch University from 2007 to 2017.

[1] Rachel Baxendale, ‘Victoria Deaths Include Man in 50s’, The Australian, August 10, 2020.

[2] Rachel Baxendale, ‘Promising Trend for Victoria’s Active Cases’, The Australian, August 10, 2020.

[3] Remy Varga, ‘Arrested Made Over Planned ‘Freedom March’ in Melbourne’, The Australian, August 7, 2020.

[4] James Delingpole, ‘Australian State Goes Full Coronafascist’, Breitbart, August 7, 2020.

[5] Remy Varga, ‘Melbourne Family Fined Over Trip to Playground’, The Australian, August 10, 2020.

[6] Remy Varga, ‘Arrested Made Over Planned ‘Freedom March’ in Melbourne’, The Australian, August 7, 2020.

[7] Editorial, ‘State of Disastrous Decision-Making’, The Spectator Australia, August 8, 2020.

[8] Jon Lockett, ‘Australia Records Highest Coronavirus Daily Death Toll as Victoria Sees 17 Fatalities While Cops Twart Anti Mask Rally’, The Sun, August 9, 2020, at  https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/12353559/australia-records-highest-coronavirus-daily-death-toll-as-victoria-sees-17-fatalities-while-cops-thwart-anti-mask-rally/

[9] ‘Coronavirus: Victoria Records Zero Flu-Related Deaths This Year’, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 9, 2020.

[10] Greg Sheridan, ‘Daniel Andrew’s Leadership is Superficial and a Failure’, The Australian, August 6, 2020, at https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/daniel-andrews-cleverly-leads-in-a-vacuum-of-democracy/news-story/075dce1f0b2dda2c693077e92e3ac467

[11] ‘Richard Safe Injeting Room Remains Open’, The Herald Sun, August 8, 2020.

[12] Greg Sheridan, ‘Daniel Andrew’s Leadership is Superficial and a Failure’, The Australian, August 6, 2020, at https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/daniel-andrews-cleverly-leads-in-a-vacuum-of-democracy/news-story/075dce1f0b2dda2c693077e92e3ac467

[13] Ibid.

[14] Rachel Baxendale, ‘Andrews to Give Updated at 11 pm’, The Australian, August 10, 2020, at https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/coronavirus-australia-live-news-victoria-ranks-alongside-african-nations-for-virus-increase/news-story/b5559007e7b700a3fd18f360b783cd92

[15] Greg Sheridan, ‘Daniel Andrew’s Leadership is Superficial and a Failure’, The Australian, August 6, 2020, at https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/daniel-andrews-cleverly-leads-in-a-vacuum-of-democracy/news-story/075dce1f0b2dda2c693077e92e3ac467

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid..

[18] Dennis Shanaham, ‘Morrison Keeps Danbursters At Bay Over Second Coronavirus’, The Australian, August 8, 2020. See also: Gerard Handerson, ‘How Did Victoria Get So Much So Wrong’, The Australian, August 8, 2020.

[19] Rachael Dexer and Marissa Calligeros, ‘Hotel Quarantine Problems? ‘I Found Out In The Media’, Says Sutton’, The Age, August 7, 2020, at https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/hotel-quarantine-problems-i-found-out-in-the-media-says-sutton-20200807-p55jls.html

[20] Editorial, ‘State of Disastrous Decision-Making’, The Spectator Australia, August 8, 2020, at https://www.spectator.com.au/2020/08/state-of-disastrous-decision-making/

[21] Dennis Shanaham, ‘Morrison Keeps Danbursters At Bay Over Second Coronavirus’, The Australian, August 8, 2020, at https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/morrison-keeps-danbusters-at-bay-over-second-coronavirus-wave/news-story/f6ab808ca813beb58856810891a06354

[22] Janet Albrechtsen, ‘She Won’t Talk, She Tweets – Pericles Would Wince’, The Australian, August 11, 2020, at https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/she-wont-talk-she-tweets-pericles-would-wince/news-story/44919481b8d7da08c923b96bb8b027e0

[23] Heath Parkes-Hupton, ‘Scott Morrison Urges Australians to Support Victoria Through Critical New Lockdown Measures, The Australian, August 3, 2020, at https://www.theaustralian.com.au/breaking-news/scott-morrison-urges-australians-to-support-victoria-through-critical-new-lockdown-measures/news-story/a7a62eab55ef290185ed06d72a4d9720

[24] Natalie Oliveri, ‘PM Says Victoria’s Premier Has His Full Support to Tackle State’s Coronavirus Crisis’, Today Channel 9, at https://9now.nine.com.au/today/coronavirus-australia-scott-morrison-says-daniel-andrews-has-full-support-victoria/fd460c9a-db46-408f-82d2-a6e82ef3b865

[25] Morgan Begg and Kristen Pereira, ‘Legal Rights Audit 2019’, Institute of Public Affairs, February 2020, p 1. As Mr Begg points out in his excellent Legal Rights Audit, the federal Liberal governments have been directly responsible for at least 279 fundamental legal rights breaches since 1976, compared with only 102 breaches under Labor. This is the equivalent to 11 breaches for each year of Liberal government compared with 5 breaches each year on average under Labor. – See also: Morgan Begg, ‘Coalition Government Trashes Legal Rights’, IPA Today, February 7, 2020, at https://ipa.org.au/publications-ipa/media-releases/coalition-government-trashes-legal-rights See also: Nicola Berkovic, ‘Coalition Worse than ALP on Human Rights’, The Australian, February 6, 2020, at https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/legal-affairs/coalition-worse-than-alp-on-human-rights/news-story/0bc3d71cd4daf8ab425f3bd5d8edba11

[26] Morgan Begg and Kristen Pereira, ‘Legal Rights Audit 2019’, Institute of Public Affairs, February 2020, p 1.

[27] Sir Robert Menzies, ‘The Individual in the New Order, City Hall, Brisbane (21 January 1943), in David Furse-Roberts (ed.), Menzies: The Forgotten Speeches (Japarit Press, 2017), p 52.

[28] Sir Robert Menzies, ‘Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Address, Wesley Church, Melbourne (7 September 1947), in David Furse-Roberts (ed.), Menzies: The Forgotten Speeches (Japarit Press, 2017), p 58

[29] Ibid., p 58.

18 comments
  • RB

    One thought is to simply contest the fine and look forward to seeing them in court.
    With all of the adjustments and arrangements made the queues will be as long as a Sunday under Daniel Andrews stazi rule.

    Is goosestepping regarded as exercise?

  • PT

    It’s outrageous that a man trying to organise a protest against Andrews’s excessive lockdown is charged with “incitement” but those organising BLM protests are not! Certainly the main “organiser” in NSW is hardly “black” either. It speaks volumes about this lot.

  • Nezysquared

    Quite simply, Victorians get the government they deserve. After all they voted these jokers in at the last election. Enjoy!

  • Trevor Bailey

    Besides these pages, where exactly is the outrage, the same outrage to which only a few commentators own up? Could it be that Mr Menzies spoke to another Australia, one that had seen first-hand what destruction dictators had wrought? Is it just too early in the piece for contemporary Australia, wrapped as it is beneath the doona of material comforts, to understand that “protection” from a virus is its mess of pottage? “The past is a foreign country;..” as we know, but the exigencies of a time that bred a Teddy Sheean, VC sadly completes Hartley’s sentiment: “…they do things differently there.”

  • Peter OBrien

    Very good summary Augusto. I am staggered by the equanimity with which too many Australians all over the country have fallen for this scam, too complacent to seek out the truth

  • ianl

    The bulk of the population is panicked, especially the women.
    Rational analyses and discussion are impossible.

  • markrow

    It is very tempting to conclude that stringent lockdowns are every closet totalitarian’s wet dream.

  • RB

    I agree completely with your article. What do YOU suggest we do about it?
    Articles are one thing, but with all the respect in the world, the closet totalitarians (thanks markrow) who are in masturbatory heaven stumping up more and more regulation for others do not care in the slightest. You are just another person who wants to knock off nanna (Morrison on TV last night).
    So either I can get angrier and angrier about it or I can just do as I am told. Only one of those alternatives doesn’t lead to risking my family financial security or worse.
    Guess what happens when that security is gone, when my business goes under, I lose my house, the kid’s education has to stop because I can’t fund it anymore, my daughter loses her home because she can’t work? My son (musician) can’t get a gig because all pubs are shut? I will have nothing left to lose. We will have nothing left to lose and desperate people do desperate things.

  • DG

    The lesson of history is that the Left are dictatorial, anti-fun people haters. And so we see this playing out in Victoria. To add fuel to the fire, the PM, for a Liberal, is a pretty good Marxist, it would seem. But then, the LIbs are feckless and Victorians vote with the breeze, so just desserts all round.

  • STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    Given that the survivability rate for CV-19 is around 997 per 1000 and that most deaths are of the elderly in the last years of life, exascerbated by co-morbidities, we need to realise that these totalitarian style lockdowns are about political control and training the populace to be compliant to draconian authority. This training is essential for globalist control which is well underway. The next stage will be implementation of the ‘Great Reset’ due in 2021.

  • Stephen Due

    It would be nice to think mass protests could be organised against the Andrews government. Any and every possible avenue for protest should be explored. In addition, one would hope that the somnolent Victorian opposition might wake up and start pursuing opportunities to discredit the government. There is plenty of circumstantial evidence of incompetence and corruption in this government from day one. It should all be followed up by determined investigators and exposed. Meanwhile, huge anti-Andrews-government advertisements should appear on illuminated billboards throughout the city.

  • Citizen Kane

    I look forward to Jacinda Ardern scolding her peasants for having not done a good enough job in monitoring every waking moment for the presence of this ‘pesky’ strand of RNA, or perhaps only a man of Daniel Andrews standing could accomplish such a momentous piece of disdain, arrogance and chicanery against the plebs who need re-education. For Andrews and his cronies in the public service, the slogan from Orwells’ 1984 ; War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength – sums up their approach quite nicely.

  • en passant

    As I wrote last April: “The argument put forward for closing the Australian economy is that it was a matter of ‘public safety’ (the catch cry that Robespierre used to inflict terror on the French population and his political enemies). We were assured that the destruction of the Australian economy was ‘for our own good’ – and would save lives. I would have been much happier if they had just said “We are doing it because we can, and to test how hard it will be to impose an oppressive totalitarian regime on Australians when we choose to do so for real. This is just a test …”.
    No government has ever said it is doing something for other than our own good, so truth and honest reasons should never be expected. We are confidently told the Australian economy has been placed into a temporarily induced coma and that we were all placed under house arrest for an unspecified period to save lives. The period of our incarceration is indeterminate because there is no measure that can define when it might be safe to open the Gulag gates. Is it two weeks after the last reported death of someone who died of heart failure, but who also tested positive to the Wuhan originated COVID-19 virus? Is it a month after the last report of someone testing positive to having the virus? Is it … what and when?
    When our brightest and best politicians gathered to deal with this Chinese Panda-demic how rationally were they able to think through the options and their consequences (given the recent unjustified beating they had taken in the media over the bushfire crisis)? There is every indication they panicked and created a far worse situation than is necessary – and one from which we will not recover. They have destroyed Australia allegedly to save a few people – maybe.

  • norsaint

    The greatest hoax ever inflicted on us. It is telling too that the Victorian “chief health bureaucrat” – what’s he do during normal times? – is an enthusiastic climate change proponent. We knew Andrews was a communist but Morrison’s performance has been particularly telling. He’s starting to look like someone who has a very unhealthy lust for power and with not much in the top paddock. His role in the downfall of both Abbott and Turncoat now looks much clearer. The whole episode proves once again that television is the greatest brain washing instrument every invented. The local media’s lack of curiosity has been risible and the readiness of Victorians to comply to this transparent hoax, very dispiriting. Melbourne resembles a giant leper colony, with all its faceless zombies trotting dutifully round their homes for not more than an hour a day. It has been very annoying too to be continually chipped by all the bedwetters when out in public to “put on your mask”. The west is finished.

  • Elizabeth Beare

    It takes a dictator to declare Parliament ‘non-essential’.

  • Elizabeth Beare

    This, from the list provided in the post from Jeffrey Tucker: Billboards outside on the street that say in capital letters: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? STAY HOME.” They feel extremely oppressive, like we’re being yelled at by a very oppressive government.”

    Victoria has had form for quite a while with these sorts of billboards, demonstrating how totalitarianism creeps in by small stages. Driving to Victoria from NSW in 2012 my husband was outraged at all of the nannying that started about self-evident things like road safety, littering, etc. as soon as we crossed the Victorian border. ‘Stop shouting at me”, he finally roared back at a particularly egregious one.

  • padraic

    I agree with the justified criticism in the above article of some of the more stupid excesses of the law enforcement activities. From reading the Australian and other journals plus watching TV there seems to be different ways of looking at the pandemic – Financial (Economists & Media), Human Rights (Lawyers & Media), Public Health (Doctors and other Health Professionals), Death or disability (General Public). The formation the National Cabinet is the best substitute for the Senate we never had. When the Constitution was framed after the States had ceded certain powers to the Commonwealth the Senate was supposed to be a States’ House in which the State Governments could keep an eye on the powers they had surrendered. It turned out to be a dead loss – only in the first Parliament did it happen, when the WA senators voted as a bloc. There needs to be a voting mechanism by which the composition of Senators from each State should contain a majority from the party that is in government in the State. Since its inception the Senate has been a political party/independents’ House which has resulted in the dysfunction and inhibition of progress that has bedeviled Australian politics. I am sure the PM recognizes this and respects the constitutional heads of power of health and others retained by the States, hence the lack of criticism of Victoria’s current approach. I believe that all the other Premiers appreciate the new arrangement which allows things to get done in the national interest – a pity it was not there when Premier Andrews decided that Victoria should be a client state of China. Today’s “Australian” article by Jennifer Oriel describes how the media commentators and economists have replaced the average voter as the new “deplorables”. Media commentators are in a bit of a bind these days – aka “hypocrisy” or “having cake and eating it” – on one hand they rail against the lockdowns but when the public don’t comply and cases spike they blame the government (justifiably, in the case of Victoria, with its double standards of allowing demonstrations and poor quarantine process). Unfortunately for those politicians soon going to an election here or overseas if their views don’t sit well with those of the General Public they will be toast, if the polls are anything to go by. How convenient for the Chinese Communist Party that this pandemic was exported just prior to the US Presidential elections, which may result in a swing against President Trump – a disaster for the West if he does not get re-elected. Also it would be interesting to see a discussion on the constitutional powers in the various States’ Constitutions on some of the powers currently exercised by Victoria and other jurisdictions.

  • Robyn

    I’m labouring a point I’ve made elsewhere with this scenario, but if I had fronted up to my PhD or Masters thesis university ethics committing asking to lock up 50 human subjects for 23 hours a day with an hour in the exercise yard to gain insight into the social, mental, emotional and physical effects of isolation on their overall wellbeing, I would have been tossed out on my ear for suggesting something so unethical and immoral. Then I would have been recommended for further psychological testing to find out why I thought such an egregious experiment was such as good idea.
    Yet, here we are.

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