That barrage of boos echoing around Rod Laver Arena last night was the sound of propaganda meeting reality.
Tennis Australia chair Jayne Hrdlicka supposed she would get a warm round of applause when she thanked the Victorian government during the Australian Open men’s trophy presentation.
Instead, the crowd hissed and jeered, prompting the corporate spiv to call them “a very opinionated crowd”.
Well, imagine a group of people who have endured a year of harsh lockdowns having an opinion about their jailers?
Hrdlicka, leading with her chin, told tennis fans: “There are many other people to thank that enabled this great night to take place. The top of that list is the Victorian government. Without you, we could not have done this.”
The Melbourne crowd, breathing fresh air again after only recently being released from yet another term of home imprisonment, was having none of it.
The stadium erupted in a cacophony of boos.
Hrdlicka just stood there, barely able to disguise her disgust at the crowd’s impertinence. Behind her, the tournament sponsor’s representative could be seen covering his face with his hand.
Victorians were booing Dictator Dan on live television. Did they not know this was being broadcast around the world?
How are we to maintain fake news when real life is permitted to interrupt?
Where were the police? Wasn’t booing – along with almost everything else – against the chief health officer’s orders?
The #IStandWithDan mob immediately took to social media to denounce the crowd’s reaction as “embarrassing” and “disheartening”.
“The booing in the crowd was a global disgrace. With the world watching, privileged Australian Open crowd behaviour was disgusting,” wrote one.
Yes. Damn the middle class. You can’t take them anywhere.
This was a perfect example of why Dictator Dan had been right to lock them in their homes and to prevent their free assembly. See what happens when you trust the public with a little bit of freedom?
If there is to be another Australian Open, the government and their partners will need to ‘fortify’ the crowd.
Hrdlicka had one job last night: to honour Open winner Novak Djokovic and thank the army of volunteers who made the tournament possible.
But continuing the recent tradition of Australian sports administrators with a tin ear, she could not help herself but use the moment to genuflect before Chairman Dan.
But worse, right before Djokovic – a well-known anti-vaxxer – was about to be presented with his ninth Australian Open trophy, Hrdlicka decided to ignore the tennis and push the coronavirus vaccine.
“With vaccinations on the way, rolling out in many countries around the world, it’s now a time for optimism and hope for the future,” she lectured.
Rather than cheer for the vaccine, the crowd booed and hissed.
Again, Hrdlicka looked stunned. Why would people boo the vaccine? Why would they not appreciate a tennis administrator’s free medical advice?
But, of course, it wasn’t a boorish mob booing a vaccine, it was a fed-up citizenry tired of having the thug State and its apologists turn every aspect of life into a political rally for scoring points against ideological opponents.
Tennis Australia and the Daniel Andrews got what they deserved last night.
Victorians, on the other hand, deserve a lot better — not least of which is to be being left alone to simply enjoy the tennis.
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