This week the NSW government properly jumped the shark.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian outlawed browsing and Police Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke said people were only allowed to buy essential items and that the police would decide what was or wasn’t essential, including whether or not people were allowed to buy *check notes* shoes.
This is what ‘community safety’ looks like in the post-Covid-19 world. Apparently, stripping people of their agency makes them safer.
For months the government has told people to use their commonsense, giving people some ability to analyze their own personal circumstances and apply coronavirus guidelines accordingly. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of stupid people in the community but the affliction of stupidity is not as far-reaching as the political class likes to think it is. For the most part, people can aptly make decisions for themselves. And if someone needs new shoes for work purposes – for example – then they should be able to buy them.
What are the police going to do – ransack their wardrobe to determine whether they already have something suitable to wear? The problem with the latest directive from the NSW Police is that it allows the police to decide, in their subjective opinion, what is or isn’t essential for you to purchase. And that’s enough to make your average communist blush.
I figure, if the shop is allowed to open, then people should be able to choose whether or not to buy what is on offer. That is, if it isn’t illegal to open; it shouldn’t be illegal to purchase.
I have it on good authority that the Louis Vuitton store is open by appointment but you can’t browse. The whole premise of luxury is that it isn’t essential; it’s an optional extra. So regardless of whether you’re browsing or not, nothing you can purchase is that store is a necessity.
They don’t sell baby formula or medication or food.
So why is it open? And why should an individual be punished for shopping there but not the multi-billion-dollar international conglomerate for selling items which are not essential? I appreciate that the government doesn’t want to force more businesses than is absolutely necessary to close but the rules make no sense. They punish the wrong people and they instil confidence in precisely no one.
And they illustrate, once again, why we are most definitely not in this together.
Caroline Di Russo is a lawyer, businesswomen and unrepentant nerd.
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