As New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet leads the way out of lockdowns and restrictions in Australia, a job Scott Morrison should be doing but whose weak and ineffectual leadership prevents him from doing so, the pressure is building up on other State Premiers to follow suit, lest their polling take a dive. While it seemed this was beginning to occur in Victoria with the announcement that, from Thursday, they would be getting their very own Segregation Day, it is not as rosy and delightful as it seems. Where Daniel Andrews is involved, there was always going to be a catch.
While NSW can probably trust Perrottet’s word that those who choose not to take the vaccine will be allowed back out into society on December 1, Victorians who make the same choice have no such assurances. In Tuesday edition of the Daily Dan, an emphatic Premier made the announcement that those who remain unvaccinated will not get their freedoms back “four or five weeks” after everyone else. Instead, they will remain segregated from the rest of society.
When asked how long this will continue, Andrews responded: “I cannot put a date on it, but it will not be when we reach 90%. It will not be anytime soon. That’s going to function for a period of time, well into 2022. For instance, I’ll give you an example. The Grand Prix is in April. I don’t think there’s going to be crowds at the Grand Prix made up of people who have not been double dosed.”
From this statement, it is clear that the Victorian Premier, who has become infamous for his fondness of lockdowns and some of the most heavy-handed restrictions in the country, including curfews, in addition to taking the record for the most locked-down place in the world (a record no one should be proud of), has no intention of giving up a significant degree of control anytime soon. He plans to keep Victoria segregated for the foreseeable future. The goalposts have shifted yet again, from 70%, to 80%, to 90%, and now to practically never-ending lockdowns for anyone who makes a conscious decision not to get vaccinated.
In the mind of a power-obsessed politician like Daniel Andrews, it may seem strategic to continue to hold part of the state hostage, given relinquishing too much power would return one in his position to their usual lesser degree of control. The power he currently retains over his State is incredulous; it is far too great for one man. As 19th-century British politician and historian Lord Acton oobserved, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This has become more evident as politicians slowly soak up more and more power than they have been given by their constituents.
It has reached the point where the Victorian government is now locking politicians who refuse to hand over their vaccination information to the state out of parliament, preventing them from exercising their democratically elected right to vote on Parliamentary matters. Four members of the Legislative Council, including outspoken Liberal Democrats David Limbrick and Tim Quilty, remain unable to enter Victorian Parliament and vote on Bills that come before the chamber. This is despite the fact that they are both vaccinated. They just do not wish to take part in the new segregative system in place.
Not only is this discriminatory, but it is also problematic for democracy in this country. Preventing duly elected politicians from voting on matters that will likely affect the general public is something you would associate with an authoritarian nation, not a Western democracy. It disenfranchises the votes of hundreds of thousands of Victorians. It demonstrates a disgusting abuse of power, but has also exposed the Victorian Liberal Party as being just as weak and ineffectual as their federal leader, given they supported this.
That Daniel Andrews is unwilling to allow people to go free based on what should be a personal choice shows us that the word “choice” has become the latest in a long line to lose its meaning. They may say it’s a choice, but if you don’t make the choice the government want you to, you will be held hostage by the State for an undefined period of time. Slowly but surely the pressure gets to people. Those who did not want to take the vaccine take it because it seems there is no other way out of the hellhole they have been forced into by those in power.
The vaccination rates are not increasing because people necessarily want to take the vaccine. They are only going up because people are being backed into a corner where their lives would be a misery unless they take it, because the government is threatening to take away their rights and freedoms, to take away their jobs, income, and livelihoods, unless they get jabbed. The vaccination rates are nothing to celebrate. They have only been achieved by coercion. One wonders what the true vaccination rates would be if this was not a factor.
Dan Andrews has also made one other point that should be ringing alarm bells in the minds of Australians, and indeed those places around the world where vaccine passports are being implemented. After saying medical segregation in Victoria would last well into 2022, he stated:
“Then we’re going to get into booster issues, so it won’t be your first and second dose. It’ll be have you had your third?”
This comes just a few weeks after Andrews brought up “booster passports” in another press conference, in which he said that Victorians wouldn’t be showing their vaccine passports but instead booster passports in the first half of next year. This implies a scenario much like Israel, where vaccine passports are valid in increments of six months. To renew them and maintain their “freedoms”, each individual must have a booster shot at the end of each six-month period. If they do not, they are no longer classed as “fully vaccinated” and return to being heavily restricted. Israel is already up to its fourth doses. It seems a similar system may be headed for Australia, where vaccine passports are set to become a permanent fixture in the State of Victoria.
It also seems likely that the permanent pandemic legislation that the Andrews government is planning to bring forth and pass with the assistance of the crossbench will contain powers to mandate medical procedures like vaccines under the threat of societal and economic exclusion to those who refuse to comply. It is a slippery slope into complete medical tyranny.
What Daniel Andrews has shown Victorians, and in fact the world, in his decision to keep anyone who chooses not to take the vaccine under lock and key, even at a 90% vaccination rate, is that this is not about public health. It never has been. It has always been about the pursuit of control and unlimited power. You would think a leader in the position Dan is in would want to do anything he could to distract from the investigation hearings currently being undertaken by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission into his own government.
But it seems Dictator Dan is much more interested in keeping his title intact, and transforming Victoria from the Lockdown State to the Segregation State.
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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