You start to worry that democracy in Victoria is under threat.
It’s one thing for government to impose curfews, massive lockdowns and other freedom-limiting activity based on best available medical advice. But it’s entirely different to use the Covid-19 health crisis as a cover to target a political agenda unrelated to health issues.
That is, creeping authoritarian totalitarianism is rearing its nasty head in Victoria.
On Saturday, August 15, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews announced that self-employment (insecure work) is ‘toxic’. He vowed that once ‘this’ (Covid-19) is over, he was going to do something about ‘it’. We know what the ‘it’ is. It’s laws to make self-employment illegal.
Dan Andrews declared ‘war’ against self-employed people on July 15 this year. His declaration to destroy self-employment comes from a government recommendation to remove the common law test for self-employment. Do this and self-employment is destroyed. Here’s our analysis of that report.
But the Premier has now moved into high-level propaganda mode. He’s trotted out people who are saying they breached Covid-19 rules because they needed income. He’s used such examples to justify his ‘toxic’ remark. Melbourne’s hard-left United Firefighters Union is out campaigning for him. It’s almost as if the firefighters are the Premiers Personal Propaganda Unit.
We think the Premier’s political polling must be showing that people don’t believe his excuses over the Covid-19 mismanagement, particularly the hotel quarantine disasters. He’s blamed everyone but himself—The federal government—Aged care providers—the self-employed—and on and on! We think people may believe there are too many lies. The Premier needs propaganda to counter this. We analyzed the situation last week.
We wonder if the Premier has spent time in Chinese Communist Party propaganda training units. His propaganda techniques seem to come from the playbook the Chinese government’s using in Hong Kong (minus the arrests). Maybe this is the secret to the Belt and Road initiative? That’s speculation.
But here’s the reason that we’re so riled up.
Being self-employed is a basic human right. It’s achieved by being in business for yourself—earning your income by using the commercial contract instead of the employment contract. The common law process secures that right. By taking that right away, big chunks of our basic economic freedoms are stripped away. Don’t think that this can’t happen. It’s happening in California right now. It’s extremely destructive.
This political agenda is illogical economic suicide. It strangles the hope of small business recovery, particularly during Covid-19. It literally makes illegal small business activity by sole-traders and others. The agenda rips the guts out of a major chunk of economic activity. It creates economic inequality and abuse, rather than fixing it.
Ken Phillips is the executive director of Self-Employed Australia. A version of this piece also appears on their website.
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