Flat White

Daniel Andrews’ deplorables moment

1 September 2020

11:32 AM

1 September 2020

11:32 AM

The clock has struck thirteen in Victoria and no man, woman, or child is free. Writing this sentence, according to Assistant Police Commissioner Luke Cornelius, makes me a kook, an anti-vaxxer, an enemy of the people.  

Cornelius, apart from doing little to dispel the doughnut-munching stereotype of his usually agile brothers and sisters in blue, had this to say after arresting a 76-year-old man allegedly organising protests against Stage 4 lockdown. 

“Please don’t try and dress your behaviour up as exercise,” Cornelius has said. 

“We all know it’s not, so stop playing us and the wider community for fools. 

“The tin-foil hat-wearing brigade are alive and well out there in our community. 

“They’re taking every opportunity to leverage the current situation to serve their own ridiculous notions about so-called sovereign citizens, about constitutional issues and about how 5G is going to kill your grandkids. 

“It’s bat-shit crazy nonsense, and people need to wake up to themselves. 

“The wider community is awake up to you [sic] and you need to stop it.” 

The message could not be more clear: you are either with the captive community for your own safety, or you are not part of the community. You are either part of the Reich, or you are an enemy of it. There is no life beyond the Party.  

Personally, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is no hoax. I have family working at the Public Health Laboratory. I know nurses on the frontline. COVID-19 is a very real and very contagious disease. I simply disagree with the approach the government is taking. Their evidence for justifying this draconian nightmare is lacking and opaque. If there is a vaccine that’s been thoroughly tested and is declared safe by independent review, I’ll take it.  

I just have some questions. Valid and “reasonably necessary” questions that I, and many fellow Victorians, would like answered.   

This message and my opposition to it casts me as a “tin-foil hat” wearing nutjob who thinks 5G towers cause a lizard Bill Gates to read our minds. Or something, I’m not quite sure.  

This is Andrews’ critical miscalculation: his Hillary Clinton moment. The day he called every freedom-loving person in Victoria a “basket of deplorables.”  

How fitting that it arrives on the doorstep of the fourth anniversary — 9 September, 2016 — of Hillary’s ill-fated declaration. Let’s remember as she tarred  Trump supporters as: 

[R]acist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic — Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully, they are not America.

This is from the authoritarian playbook; likely somewhere in the introductory chapters. You just have to “do the right thing” and this “doesn’t have to go on any longer than it has to.” (the Premier’s words.) Collective punishment for the actions of a few? Reminds me of that chilling line from A Bridge on the River Kwai, when Colonel Saito tells Lt. Colonel Nicholson that the Japanese are not signatories to the Geneva Convention. Except, we’re forced into not doing labour. Hard or otherwise. 

Andrews hasn’t just alienated his voters (ha!), he’s made citizenship an either/or proposition. This is his massive miscalculation. Along with hotel quarantine. Contact tracing. The Belt and Road Initiative. Redshirts, Somyurek… man, this gets exhausting after a while. 

The enemy isn’t the lockdown, it’s the virus, to quote taxpayer-funded propaganda – my bad – enlightenment, campaign. If Andrews’ brand wasn’t toxic enough by now, it’s about as publicly favourable as an Enron-Dow Chemical merger. I am irredeemable, but thankfully, I am not Victoria. 

Thanks to a computerised society, we live in a binary world. I mean, do you want to have a beer at the pub with your mates or kill grandma? Why don’t you want a carte blanche 12-month “insurance policy” against further outbreaks? Do you hate people being healthy? I don’t know; did I have a choice between a functioning hotel quarantine or not? Press “Like” if you agree! 

Just don’t ask the Premier; he simply “doesn’t have time” for such things. He’s concentrated on fighting the virus. By attending press conferences. Rattling off numbers. At least footy scores mean something to at least some people.  

My grandmother lived under Communist Romania for ten years before being patriated to Australia. She would have been appalled by what her adoptive country has turned into. Citizens being choked for non-compliance, drones buzzing in the sky, restriction of movement, curfews enforced by the military, drivers seeing their windows smashed in, and mothers visited by the police for Facebook posts. But hey, the cops are only doing their job. Yet I have to love this, lest be pilloried as a knuckle-dragging “bat-shit crazy” goon.  

I say this to Cornelius and Police Minister, Lisa Neville: “Please don’t try and dress your intimidation up as public safety. We all know it’s not, so stop playing us and the wider community for fools.” 


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