Let’s face it. Our federation is a mess. Premiers are running their own shows, all to varied receptions, the Prime Minister talking tough, touting vaccine passports and facing battles within his own party, the media are whipping up fear every chance they get — and the people are sick of it all. COVID-mania has left us all frustrated, both with governments and others in our society. Yet it appears as if the hyped-up pandemic is here to stay for as long as those in power deem expedient, and so the question must be asked: When does the madness end?
If actions taken over the last few months, even the last year, are anything to go on, a pattern is clearly establishing itself. At the start of the pandemic, significant changes were made by governments, with the implementation of numerous restrictions, even lockdowns, to cull the virus. It was at least remotely reasonable when the case numbers were increasing largely day by day, although in many circumstances this has been the fault of governments and their poor response systems. Now, however, when even one case pops up it’s straight to panic stations. The case is announced, the media hype it up to be more than it is, in turn causing a response from rent a quote “medical experts” and the social media fear-dwellers who call for restrictions. The relevant government then holds a press conference to announce new restrictions, or in the case of most Labor states a snap lockdown, and everyone is yet again required to cede their freedoms to a bunch of politicians who either have not a clue what they are doing or know exactly that and are deliberately doing all they can to assume as much power as possible.
That pattern has proven to hold true in New South Wales again, with one new case turning into two, only as a result of the initial case passing it onto his wife who lives in the same household, whipped up into a dark cloud of fear by the media and subsequently dealt with by the Berejiklian government by means of imposing restrictions across the entirety of Greater Sydney. This is despite the fact that a large number of areas in this region are not home to any of the locations listed in those of concern, many even distant from those places. Yet we are once again forced to wear masks at indoor venues and on public transport, cease singing and dancing, lower the number of people we can have in our homes, and cease drinking while standing up at indoor venues (a most unusual restriction to say the least, given the virus surely is not smart enough to just attack those who are standing and drinking and avoid those drinking sitting down). Again, all this because two people who live in the same household have the virus. It is utter madness.
But it seems madness has fast become the norm in the age of corona. Governments clearly see this as a time to capitalize, increasing their popularity by attempting to gain the trust of the people by convincing them they are protecting them, that they are “keeping them safe”. Thus far, corona has proven to be a blessing for incumbents; Each one that has already faced an election has been returned to power. Even those that had clearly overstepped, making the most reckless and heartless decisions, particularly the Palaszczuk and McGowan governments, were re-elected without a hitch. And there is little doubt this pattern will continue, a disturbing notion for Victorians, but also one which would account for why there has been a lot of talk about the potential for a federal election to be called this year. Scott Morrison will likely wish to take advantage of this golden opportunity to obtain a fourth consecutive term for the Liberal Party.
But with Morrison now touting vaccine passports, a dangerous and chilling idea, as the next step in Australia’s COVID-19 plan, we should all be concerned about the way this nation is heading under its current leadership. That is not to say that we should elect a Labor government to power. That would likely be just as bad, if not worse. It is however pertinent that we the people, all of us who are tired of having our freedoms taken from us and given back only in part whenever those in power deem appropriate, all of us who are tired of being lectured to by those who seem to think they can control every aspect of our lives, who determine where we can go, what we can do, and when we can do it, start making noise.
We need to stand up to leaders obsessed with power and take back our freedoms ourselves until we are back to normal. And when I say normal, I mean the real normal, not this “new normal” where one day we may be able to roam freely, and the next we are confined to our homes. We cannot allow the madness to continue. We cannot allow this nation to become an island prison where the government controls the points of exit by means of vaccine passports.
Writing in these pages last September, I wrote about the notion of “COVID normal”, labelling it “life without freedom”. That forecast was in many ways correct. While we may have some freedoms, they are often limited. This cannot be allowed to continue for years to come, and our freedoms cannot be contingent on a vaccine.
It is up to us to show those in power, those playing with our civil liberties, that we will no longer be subject to their reckless, reactionary, and dangerous policy surrounding COVID-19. If we fail to do this before vaccine passports become a reality, it may be too little, too late.
Joel Agius is an independent writer. If you would like to read more of his work, you can do so at JJ’s Outlook.
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