George Orwell must be looking down on the state of Victoria, rueing his lack of imagination.
As dark as Orwell’s visions were, not even he foresaw a government telling citizens they must remain locked down because a quick easing of restrictions might breach their human rights.
Yet this is exactly what happened in truth-is-stranger-than-fiction Danistan yesterday.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told journalists that harsh restrictions on movement could not be eased until after public servants had ensured it did not violate Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights.
In other words, the government couldn’t be too hasty giving people their freedom, just in case they violated people’s freedom.
Doublethink, thy name is Victoria!
Acting Premier James Merlino said Tuesday night that the harsh lockdown could end.
But Sutton yesterday advised long-suffering Victorians that they would be confined to their homes and banned from their places of work until at least Friday so that “complex legal drafting matters” could be done.
“Complex legal drafting” is another way of saying ‘bureaucratic butt-covering as citizens languish in lockdown and as businesses fail’.
Victorians might rightly wonder how “complex” it can be.
Surely public servants could cut and paste guidelines from the paperwork used to end the first lockdown.
Or the second lockdown.
Or the third lockdown.
Let’s be charitable. Perhaps the government’s fax machine has broken down again.
Everything is complex in Victoria where they seem to be making it all up as they go.
It’s less “gold standard” than it is amateur night at the RSL.
Star performer Chris Sutton explained that the lifting of restrictions had to be “measured against all of the Charter considerations for each and every charter obligation that is in play with restrictions, and to make sure that it’s not a sloppy process”.
Why the Victorian government is suddenly concerned about sloppy process is a mystery.
And it is mind-boggling that the government could impose supposed health regulation rules with startling speed; but cannot remove those same rules without “a fine-tooth comb to make sure every single drafted piece with the public health directions (is) appropriate and correct”.
We are still waiting for the government to show us the fine-tooth investigation that led them to conclude it is safe to visit a brothel but not a gym.
And what about the fine-tooth investigation showing that people at weddings are five times as infectious as people at funerals?
How is it that a lockdown can be organised and instituted in a matter of hours, and yet after a week of lockdown the geniuses that comprise the Victorian government have not yet got the paperwork done to let people out of lockdown?
You couldn’t make this stuff up. Not even if you’re George Orwell.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.