It’s fair to say that Australia’s approach to managing Covid-19 has been abysmal. The current state of affairs shows how consistent failures have left Australia ultimately worse off than the majority of other Western Countries, both in respect to upholding rights and in terms of its economic stability.
Every state has taken a hardline approach to new threats, either completely locking down travel, requiring quarantine upon entry, or completely barring travellers from entering. These rules not only apply to inbound travellers but unvaccinated Australians seeking to leave the country as well, thanks to the Federal government.
While there may be an argument that allowing unvaccinated Australians back into the country poses a risk to public health, disallowing healthy unvaccinated citizens to leave at will is an irreconcilable breach of the innate right to freedom of movement.
Proponents of the hotel quarantine method imply there’s some kind of lavish lifestyle to being locked in a tiny room for two weeks, but there is clear evidence that the conditions in these hotels are beyond sub-par. With several infections as a direct result of hotel quarantine, causing further lockdowns, Australians have been subjected to complete uncertainty and insecurity in their personal lives and their jobs.
A vast majority of Australians claim that individuals still hold the right to not vaccinate themselves. This is ultimately a half-truth in the face of extreme legislation. Western Australia, the most economically productive state in the country, has placed mandates covering 75 per cent of all workers. And these mandates themselves are subject to the whim of the state. The Western Australian government just announced that boosters are also mandatory for anyone mandated to have the first two vaccines. Most states are even banning unvaccinated people from attending virtually any social event without a proof of vaccination.
These measures are for the protection of the economy and health system though, right?
Frankly put, the Australian government has had no issue decimating the economy and small businesses. The impact of lockdown on the Australian economy cannot only be seen but measured. At the height of lockdowns, the Australian economy was haemorrhaging £1.3 billion per week. This data does not include the flow on effects to the economy nor the cost to facilitate government programmes.
The reality is that the Australian approach to Covid-19 has left a permanent impact on the economy, with national debt skyrocketing to £513.44 Billion, up from £288.97 billion just before the pandemic.
But it is easy to get lost in the numbers – these are small businesses, struggling families, people already suffering from mental illness due to financial hardship and those living pay cheque to pay cheque. Countless businesses have shut down as a direct result of the government’s lack of care. But why would they care when public service and politicians pay went up throughout 2020-2021?
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews received a £6,000 pay rise on his £237,000 salary while the people he locked down struggled to feed their children. They designated themselves and their buddies as essential, they never stopped working and took no personal risk of the harsh lockdowns they enforced.
The effect this has on the public is real and creates a resulting crisis. A recent Lifeline press release shows that there are on average 3,500 daily calls to the national suicide hotline, showing a 40 per cent increase from pre-pandemic levels. A QUT study showed that 67 per cent of domestic family violence (DFV) agencies received new clients as a direct result of the pandemic and lockdowns. Another study by AIC found that two thirds of women experiencing domestic violence stated that the violence they experienced escalated at the start of lockdowns.
A system in which the government has tried to protect one class of vulnerable individuals has led to serious endangerment of countless other vulnerable people and the general population.
All of this for what? As it stands now, Australia is facing a season of Coronavirus with states that originally boasted having low numbers thanks to lockdowns now recording upwards of 30,000 cases per day.
The most unfortunate thing about the current state of Australia is that this abuse of power, mismanagement and bloating of the federal government has come from Australia’s ‘small government’ party. In a country where there is effectively a two-party system, this leaves the people no viable option to centralise around a party that is pro-liberty effectively.
There has long been commentary on the weakness of Australians’ rights as ‘patchy’, ‘obscure’ and ‘vague’, and the pandemic has confirmed the reality of how weak our implied rights are. Unlike in the UK, where vaccine mandates aren’t even being considered, or the USA, where federal judges are overturning the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates resulting in an upcoming Supreme Court hearing, the heads of government, parliament and courts are striking down objections to mandates across the country. The Family Court in Australia has also reserved the power to force a child to be vaccinated.
Simply put, regardless of your stance on the Covid-19 vaccine itself, the developments seen in Australia over the last two years are an insult to the value of the freedom of the individual that the Australian democracy is built upon. Personal liberty and bodily autonomy in Australia are well and truly dead.