Latham's Law

Latham’s law

Make Australia adult again

28 August 2021

9:00 AM

28 August 2021

9:00 AM

Make Australia adult again

What is it with the NSW government and sex? Last year the state’s Department of Health issued an advice – seemingly serious – that the best way for amorous couples to avoid Coronavirus was through socially distanced ‘mutual masturbation’. I quote verbatim: ‘With Covid-19 spreading via respiratory drops, any sex aside from solo sex definitely carries risk due to the close proximity of another person. But masturbating with a partner – as long as you keep your distance – is the next best thing. As well as reducing your risk of getting Covid-19, masturbating with a partner is risk-free when it comes to STIs and unwanted pregnancies. Now that’s what we call a win-win.’

For most men, it’s actually called a blister-blister. But let’s not sell short the significance of this health order. If applied to the world of politics, historically it would have saved more careers than it destroyed. Jim Cairns, for instance, would have been a long-term Labor Treasurer, while Malcolm Fraser would have kept his pants and wallet under control in Memphis. In more recent memory, Craig Thomson would still be in Federal Parliament. And in the ABC’s reporting of the Morrison government, Louise Milligan would have to reduce her sex-scandal tally from double digits to zero – a different kind of maths debate.

Only fools have taken the NSW health advice literally. Like the National Party’s Michael Johnsen who filmed himself masturbating in a Macquarie Street toilet, triggering this year’s Upper Hunter by-election. No wonder thousands of people have ignored Gladys Berejiklian’s daily school ma’am instructions to follow the NSW health orders. The one bloke who did lost his job.

You’ve got to hand it to the Berejiklian government; they are masters of multi-purpose policy development. The Attorney General Mark Speakman is pushing new ‘positive’ sexual consent laws, meaning that anyone hoping to have a naughty needs clear evidence of prior consent, such as a signed statement or even a video. Not many 20-year-olds, their hormones racing faster than Winx, are likely to do that.


So last year’s Health Department advice looms as their only saviour, their best way of avoiding imprisonment. Unless Speakman, of course, goes the full monty and wants a written statement of masturbatory consent – one hand signing off on the other, as it were.

His Cabinet colleague Victor Dominello can help. To qualify for the government’s Covid ‘singles bubble’, participants need to register their lovers on the Dominello database at Service NSW.In the Minister’s office, it’s better than PornHub. No wonder they call it a ‘crisis cabinet’ in NSW. They’ve got an online list of horny singles who need a permission note halfway through sex. Either that or carefully spacing themselves 1.5 metres apart for ‘risk-free’ gratification. It’s not exactly Mills and Boon, is it?  At least the public is getting a better understanding of who the real jerks are.

Enough of the hanky-panky, there’s a serious point to be made. Australia’s Covid response has tipped upside down. Last year we were the envy of the world with low virus numbers and mostly a free society. Now we are in semi-permanent lockdown while Europe and North America are returning to normal lifestyles. They did it the hard way, with countries like Britain and Sweden achieving a 10 per cent base of naturally acquired immunity from their large Covid case numbers.This also spurred successful vaccination programs, giving them enough protection to walk free from anti-social restrictions.

Australia by contrast has an acquired immunity rate of 0.2 per cent. And a vaccination roll-out as admirable as the Afghan army. Scott Morrison’s worst mistake in government was establishing a National Cabinet. He should have used the constitutional quarantine powers of the Commonwealth to create an Australia-wide policy of open interstate borders and minimal lockdown periods. Instead, he empowered provincial leaders (the premiers) to put millions of people under house arrest in state-based health dictatorships. Premiers have not been this prominent in our national politics since World War II. They love the publicity, the power and the control over people. Some have even exploited border closures as election winners.

Don’t delude yourself into thinking these megalomaniacs will relinquish control when we reach the Doherty Institute’s target of 70-80 per cent adult vaccination. Seventy per cent is just 54 per cent of the entire population, well short of herd immunity. Increasingly, epidemiologists are saying that herd immunity is unattainable for Covid’s Delta strain. The virus will still circulate and the premiers will still lockdown for extended periods. WA’s Mark McGowan has already said as much. In NSW, Berejiklian has had more positions on freedom than the Kama Sutra (oops, that health advice again).

One day it’s a 50 per cent vaccination rate to lift restrictions, then 70, then 80, then 80 plus low Covid numbers. She’s a complete mess. While the rest of the world is opening up and rebooting their economies, Australia will remain a backwater into 2022 and beyond. Our governments have entered a twilight zone of lockdown addiction.

The Australian people need to reclaim their self-respect, to stop politicians from treating them like children. We need to restore the freedoms of responsible adult behaviour. We all know the nature of Covid and the issues about personal hygiene, distancing and masks. People should be allowed to make their own way. Those who have decided to get vaccinated will have some protection. Those who haven’t know the risks involved. We can’t be a nanny state forever, with governments sending millions to their rooms like naughty children.

To adapt a Trumpism, we need to Make Australia Adult Again.

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