The example of a pregnant woman in her home in front of her young children being interrogated and arrested by police graphically illustrates how Victorians are now living under a totalitarian dictatorship where once cherished liberties and freedoms have been lost.
For posting on Facebook a plan to organise a public demonstration against the government’s draconian, inflexible and unwarranted measures to supposedly limit the spread of the virus, including lockdowns, curfews and wearing masks, the woman felt the full force of the law.
Freedom of expression and freedom of assembly underpin Western liberal societies as does a commitment to the separation of powers, a Westminster form of parliamentary government and an adherence to common law – but not according to Premier Daniel Andrews (aka Chairman Dan).
Much like East Germany under the communists and the feared secret police the Stasi Victorians live in a state of fear where long-held liberties and freedoms based on a Westminster form of parliament and British common law no longer apply.
Using the excuse of limiting the spread of Covid-19 Andrews refuses to allow parliament to sit, has declared a state of emergency and a curfew and extended the powers of the police to arrest citizens going about their lawful business, to use drones for surveillance and to enter homes to interrogate and arrest anyone suspected of failing to comply.
Such is Andrews’ thirst for power that he acts as a one-man government, always evades and obfuscates when being questioned by a normally compliant media and after imposing one of the most stringent and unforgiving lockdowns planned to extend the state of emergency for another 12 months.
Even though his government is responsible for a plethora of stuffups including failing to establish proper hotel quarantine arrangements, failing to effectively trace those infected in the broader community and allowing hundreds of Black Lives Matter marchers to publicly demonstrate Andrews refuses to take responsibility.
More egregious examples include selecting security staff to monitor those quarantined in hotels based on politically correct diversity criteria instead of expertise and allowing the virus to spread unchecked and uncontrolled in age care homes.
There’s no doubt Victoria is now the antipodean Venezuela and the socialist-left Premier is acting more like the despot Nicolas Maduro every day. Like all dictators, Andrews is arrogant and controlling and while appearing concerned and genuine beneath the mask is a calculating and self-serving political operator.
Establishing a royal commission to investigate why the virus was able to spread across Melbourne as a result of bungled hotel quarantine arrangements allows the Premier to evade responsibility and refuse to answer media questions on the basis matters are before the commission.
In George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 Big Brother ensures obedience by forcing citizens to take part in daily 2-minute hate sessions against a foreign enemy about to invade. In his media sessions Andrews also presents a narrative where Victorians are involved in a war against an external enemy; a virus that would soon run rampant if citizens failed to comply with his dictates.
Another strategy used by authoritarian governments to maintain control is to evade responsibility for mistakes by blaming the public and making others feel guilty. In each of Premier Andrew’s daily media sessions he highlights those few not wearing a mask, not self-isolating or not social distancing.
Andrews also manipulates public sentiment by promising a virus-free future if only citizens comply with his draconian restrictions. Instead of his government being responsible it is the people’s actions determining whether businesses, restaurants and hotels reopen and they are free to interact and socialise.
Ignored is that approximately 98% of those infected during the second wave of the pandemic currently destroying the Victorian economy and social fabric are his government’s responsibility as a result of the Keystone Cops hotel quarantine incident.
The expression lies, dammed lies and statistics is certainly true when it comes to the Victorian government’s coverage of the Covid-19 virus. Each day Premier Andrews underscores the supposedly deadly nature of the virus by reciting the number of new infections, the number in hospital and the number of deaths.
What the Premier fails to mention is that many of those who have died, especially in aged care homes, have died because of existing illnesses and not the virus. Also hidden from the public is whether those infected are cases that are mild or serious and how many need medical attention.
The saying ‘The price of freedom is eternal vigilance’ has never been more apt. The harsh reality is Victoria as a result of Chairman Dan’s actions has been bankrupted and its economy destroyed. Even worse its citizens are now living under a despotic regime where their freedoms and liberties are denied.
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University and author of A Politically Correct Dictionary and Guide (available at kevindonnelly.com.au)
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