Features Australia

Under the cover of Covid

Our governments are ruling by fear

22 August 2020

9:00 AM

22 August 2020

9:00 AM

A spectre is haunting the world—the Mussolini syndrome where the leader addresses the populace based on a cocktail of alien, fashionable dogmas, announcing decisions taken which will significantly change their lives.

No longer needing a Palazzo Venezia balcony like Mussolini’s to speak from, leaders today do this through electronic devices now found everywhere.

Like Orwell’s Big Brother, they constantly spread panic to maintain control. While assuring us ‘we’re all in this together’, they admonish us to ‘do the right thing’. In other words, they demand absolute obedience.

In all this, they are supported by a praetorian guard of elites who proclaim themselves more virtuous and wiser than anyone else

Mussolini is best known for believing he could make the trains run on time.

He did not claim he could change the weather, as our politicians do, no doubt to Beijing’s absolute delight. Nor did he claim he could eradicate a virus without a vaccine, but by imposing a serious recession. Nor did he claim to know which existing medicines should be banned, nor did he have faith in mathematical modelling shown to be constantly wrong.

But like today’s leaders, he did not share the hardships he imposed, at least, not before the end. And he invented party-controlled capitalism, the model copied by Beijing to save them from a looming Soviet-style collapse.

Behind their admonitions, Australia’s emerging dictators have been able to hide or discount their serious mismanagement at every stage of their response to the Wuhan virus. This ranged from its entry, quarantine, unnecessary lockdown, protection of the vulnerable and to their failure to make Beijing pay by ludicrously leaving this to a WHO inquiry, the very agency under Beijing’s thumb.

Our leaders’ greatest failing was to obey Beijing’s instruction to disregard the state which designed world’s best practice, democratic Taiwan. With a similar population to ours but geographically close to China, Taiwan has 481 cases to our 23,035 with 7 deaths against our 379.

This mismanagement has been hidden by playing down our natural advantage in being a remote island nation.

In this the politicians have been aided by a duchessed mainstream media which goes along with the myth that the Wuhan virus is the most serious pandemic since the Spanish Flu.

This ignores plagues more serious than Wuhan both in numbers of cases and deaths, including the 2009 Swine Flu and the 2019 Flu pandemics.

This descent into dictatorship is demonstrated not only by the liberal use of home imprisonment. As with Stalinist regimes, we may not even leave the country. Other undemocratic measures are no doubt under consideration, as Sky’s Paul Murray eloquently puts it, ‘under the cover of Covid’.

The most glaring example so far has been when, with surprising Coalition support, Western Australia’s McGowan  government put through what is a sinister bill of attainder against Clive Palmer. Under bills of attainder, parliament declared, without the benefit of evidence or a trial, that the target, usually prominent, was guilty of a crime for which he would be punished, often executed, with his property confiscated

Palmer is entitled, as we all are, to the rule of law even if he is, as claimed, ‘unpopular’. In arbitrations before a former High Court judge, he established that the government was legally at fault concerning a mining investment and that he was entitled to damages, the amount still to be determined.

Yet under a bill of attainder, forbidden under the US Constitution, Palmer has been stripped of his rights under the arbitral awards. This was on the spurious ground that the state could not afford to pay damages, they claim, of $30 billion.

This retrospective legislation was given Royal Assent just before midnight on 13 August. But that day, Palmer registered the awards for enforcement in the Queensland Supreme Court which means that the legislation can be challenged as breaching the federal separation of legislative from judicial powers.

The McGowan government says it had effectively headed this off because the legislation says it comes into operation on the day on which it receives Royal Assent, i.e., before the sun rose on the day of registration.

Either the government sensibly settles this case, or it will end up in the High Court. There Palmer could also argue that the legislation breaches the constitutional guarantee that trade, commerce and intercourse be absolutely free, as well as outlawing discrimination against residents of other states. His foreign shareholders could take action under various treaties and he could argue that federation was only entered into on the understanding or implication that the rule of law would forever apply.

Meanwhile in Queensland, again under the cover of Covid, the Palaszczuk government introduced legislation to make it an offence, under threat of six months imprisonment, to report corruption complaints to the official watchdog during an election campaign.

This extraordinary attack on the press was far too much for the normally supportive media. The protests, and not only from the media, were such the bill was almost immediately withdrawn.

This does not mean Australians should not be on their guard. The politicians have already gone too far, setting us back for years. We must not accept their nascent dictatorship.

Fortunately, as suggested here, the Wuhan virus will be downplayed in the mainstream American media and consequently here after the presidential elections, especially if Joe Biden were to win.

That unlikely result will be only be possible if the degree of fraud is greater than usual, even perhaps rising to the level prevailing in Australia since the Hawke government decided to ‘make it easier to vote’. (A curious policy, since no one had demonstrated that voting was difficult.) And the problem here is far larger than multiple voting.

But as seems much more likely, and Trump wins, the American mainstream media will just move on.

Our embryonic dictators will then lose their most powerful weapons, fear and panic.

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