One always tries to avoid resorting to hyperbole or comparisons linked to extreme events, but in this instance there doesn’t seem to be any choice. So we will be blunt on this particular occasion: if Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Health Minister Greg Hunt or any members of the federal or ‘national’ Cabinets seek to impose a ‘vaccine passport’ that restricts the freedom of movement and liberties of Australians, they will potentially be guilty of human rights abuses and even crimes against humanity. Any number of conventions and laws exist that make it a criminal offence for a government or its bureaucrats to coerce or make mandatory any form of medical treatment against the will of the individual. Such laws and conventions were brought in as a direct result of the atrocities of the second world war and the revolting medical experiments conducted by not only the Nazis but other totalitarian regimes against their own people, for all sorts of dubious ‘scientific’ reasons, including, of course, ethnic and racial ‘cleansing’. Indeed, if reports are true (and there’s no reason to suspect they are not) the Chinese are currently committing such crimes against the Uighurs in Xinjiang province.
Make no mistake; a ‘vaccine passport’ denying liberties and restricting the free movement of Australians within their own country (we’ll get onto international borders in a second) will be potentially the most sinister and disgraceful act by an Australian government against its own people in our history. This is for one simple reason: governments and bureaucracies have no right to enforce or to coerce an individual to take a medical treatment or drug against the individual’s better instincts or judgment. And that includes prescribing the vaccine which has caused most concern as the only one to be used on the elderly.
Put simply, if the government introduces a coercive ‘vaccine passport’ restricting individual rights within Australia, the ministers involved in that legislation will almost certainly within a very short period of time be morally, ethically and probably legally guilty of coercing a person to their death. Full stop.
In any free society, the government’s role is to persuade, not to coerce or to mandate. By all means, the government must keep its citizens safe from the corona virus by all ethical means possible. This requires persuading the public that the various vaccine options are safe (where applicable) and that they serve the common good. The government may even claim that they are essential if the borders of the country are to be fully opened to incoming non-citizens, as has been commonplace around the world for decades in any number of health scenarios.
But the government has no moral, ethical or, arguably, no constitutional right to limit individual freedoms based on medical intervention.
It is a fine line between encouraging or incentivising vaccination and coercing it, but telling traumatised Australians that they can, for example, only visit their loved ones or carry on their normal business if they inject a certain drug is completely unacceptable and indeed reprehensible. Persuasion is all very well. Coercion and emotional or financial blackmail are not.
On top of which, there are currently proven medical treatments that Australia should be allowing GPs to prescribe to individuals who so desire, such as ivermectin (developed in Australia by Dr Thomas Borody), hydroxychloroquine and others. It is surely the definition of stupidity and/or sinister intent that our governments ban successful, proven safe treatments at the same time as threatening our lives and livelihoods unless we take drugs that have yet to be proven completely safe.
As Rebecca Weisser documents in this week’s issue, there are, to quote Donald Rumsfeld, many ‘known unknowns’ and even ‘unknown unknowns’ about the longterm effects of the new vaccines, not to mention many disturbing ‘knowns’ such as the possibility of blood clots and other adverse immediate side-effects. At this point in time, and when the medical advice keeps changing with alarming frequency, the government of the day has a duty of care that must recognise the possibility that some people, if coerced against their better judgment into being vaccinated, will die unnecessarily.
In all likelihood, the vaccines will be shown to be effective and safe over time. But that is no excuse to throw caution to the wind on the grounds of a few focus groups showing that voters quite like governments enforcing anti-democratic public health measures.
As Ms Weisser writes: ‘The only moral solution for any Prime Minister who shares the Liberal party’s values of freedom, choice and personal responsibility, is to make the vaccine available to everyone who wants it as soon as possible, ignore the advice of the mendacious WHO which has disgraced itself during the pandemic and allow doctors to prescribe off-label any drug that has already been approved so that they can treat early anyone who gets Covid, and end the medical tyranny that is ruining the lives and livelihoods of so many Australians.’
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