Society and Culture

Dealing with Covid-19 in Australia

It has taken me a while to appreciate just how singularly ridiculous the Australian response to the Covid pandemic has been, but it was an email from an old friend who now lives in California who brought it all home. At the end of his note, this is what he said:

“In the midst of this phase of the pandemic, I’m off to Paris for a 6-week travel spree culminating in the wedding of my stepdaughter in New Hampshire. Planes, trains, buses and automobiles.  Will stay as safe as I possibly can!  

Hugs to you – be well, living in your fascist state”

It has been, in particular, the state of Victoria, the city of Melbourne, and Victoria’s Premier, Daniel Andrews, that has made Australia’s response to the pandemic the joke it is around the world.

But first there was this. By some quirk in the constitution, the superficially nation-state of Australia has remained what it was before Federation: six states and two territories with borders as apparently watertight as the old German Federation pre-Bismarck. No sooner had the Prime Minister formed a “National Cabinet” made up of the political leaders in each of the various geographic entities that had supposedly united back on New Year’s Day in 1901, then each of those state and territory leaders decided to limit travel to their own jurisdictions as a means to prevent the spread of Covid among their own populations.

On which matter there also needs this to be pointed out. The total number of deaths across Australia since the arrival of Covid across the world has been just over 1000 in a population of 25 million. And what may be even more astonishing is that the largest number of deaths have occurred in Victoria, with something like 850 out of the total.

And while each of the states has been as individual as the governments that lead them, it is Victoria which really has set the scene as the most absurd of the lot.

However, to understand properly what is going on, special mention must also be made of the local media which have reached a level of Covid-histrionics that have to be experienced to be believed. With Covid deaths over the past eighteen months fewer than in a bad year of flu, there has been an intensity of the coverage that would make you think we were in the midst of the Black Death and were being overwhelmed by the Bubonic Plague. You would think there were wooden carts trundling down our streets with those pulling them along crying, “Bring out your dead.”

The reality is that virtually no one is dying, and even amongst those who have, far and away the great majority have been quite old, in their eighties and nineties many of them, and most having those famed co-morbidities with a large proportion of those who had passed away found in age-care facilities.

But with the media going on and on about case numbers and every form of moderation driven from the public arena, a sense of dread has been fostered that simply will not lift.

It is Victoria that has, however, been the focus of this relentless push to lock us down. The approach which Premier Daniel Andrews has adopted from the start, which is now being slowly withdrawn since it has been utterly without success, is to eliminate Covid from within the state’s borders. A single case is treated as a major catastrophe. The result is that Victoria, and Melbourne in particular, has experienced the longest, most prolonged lockdown anywhere in the world.

This is what I wrote a year ago in September 2020.

“The Covid pandemic has brought on our modern version of The Stockholm Syndrome which you will recall is: “Feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor.” 

We now have the Melbourne Syndrome, which I come across versions of every day:

Feelings of trust or affection felt during a lockdown by its victims towards their most authoritarian political leaders.”

Why, I asked, should it be the “Melbourne” syndrome since there are plenty of places similar where you find such attitudes? This was my answer.

“It should be called the “Melbourne” Syndrome because Melbourne has now implemented the hardest and longest lockdown at the hands of one of the most far-left and incompetent political leaders in the world, a leader who nevertheless retains high approval ratings, within a state in which the coronavirus issue went from benign to statistically explosive (although the death rate is still near invisible at something like 0.002% per head of population).”

That was a year ago. There have since then been four additional lockdowns.

What is possibly the most frightening part of it all is how easily our freedoms have been removed with virtually no legal means to reverse what has been put in place.

And this is leaving aside the smashing of the economy. Our local high street has seen a succession of businesses close, which is typical of what has occurred across the country.

Yet things may be turning away from these authoritarian measures. New South Wales has declared most Covid restrictions are to be lifted during the second half of October, or at least for those who have been “vaccinated”. Who knows, our state borders and even international borders may be open for international travel by the start of the coming year although it is hard to be sure.

Who is to blame for all of this is difficult to say. Terrorising of the population through the media has been astonishing, although I am not sure it has been any different anywhere else in the West.

Australians are a sweet and kindly people so that the drive to get everyone “vaccinated” has been based less on self-preservation than on allowing our present restrictions to be lifted for everyone else.

But it is all the same a massive concern how easily a community can be spooked into the kind of fear-driven madness that has occurred right before our eyes. And while these restrictions may be easing, they are not going to go away completely. There are agendas in play, and whatever they are, we have not yet seen them played out in full.

Covid is disappearing as a lethal problem and is rapidly fading back into the pack as a serious disease affecting any but a relatively small handful of the population. In fact, most of those who are positively tested, are simply asked to go home and quarantine for two weeks.

What must now occur is that the Covid dogs are called off, genuinely serious cases should be dealt with in hospital as would occur if it were a bad case of the flu. Other than that, we should go back to business as usual, at least as was usual prior to March 2020. There should be no vaccine passports. No mask mandates. Our borders should be open to travel, especially our state borders, whose closure has been particularly absurd. Individuals should be permitted to do what they feel is best for themselves, as we all get on with our lives.

1 thought on “Dealing with Covid-19 in Australia”

  1. Posted 04/10/2021 at 21:35 | Permalink

    I wonder if Australia has an equivalent of the UK’s offences against the person act of 1861. The one where it is a crime to cause an infectious disease to spread due to negligence. Obviously deliberate spread is in there as a higher level offence.
    Yes, individuals, families and other groups from fun-runs to music festivals should be permitted to do what is best for themselves. But you would not want to repeal sensible laws.

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