Leading article Australia

Three pictures of a Covid year

18 December 2021

9:00 AM

18 December 2021

9:00 AM

As 2021 drew to an end, the quest for the Speccie Christmas Special front cover began. How  best to sum up not only the twelve months now behind us but also capture the essence of what has been the over-riding political story of the year.

This year, three different ideas captured three different areas in which Covid has thrown such a dark shadow over all our lives.

The first concept showed Mary and Joseph arriving at the stable only to be turned away because they didn’t have their vaccination papers. ‘No vaccine passport, no Nativity’, mumbles the surly man at the door. Regardless of your view on vaccination, there is no denying that we are currently in a strange and unrecognisable Australia where people are being asked to ‘show their papers’ wherever they go. And are we not heading down a dark path when we make any medical intervention compulsory? As Matt Canavan points out in this issue, whatever happened to ‘My body, my choice’? Or what about parental choice, where young children are involved, and the cost-benefit equation shifts dramatically? But above all, it is hard not to conclude that the concept of privileges for some (the vaccinated) and the deliberate punishing of others (the unvaccinated) flies in the face of some fairly basic gospel teachings. Do we really embrace the idea of medical apartheid?

The second concept, and the one that was selected to run, shows two brutal police officers tackling Santa to the ground for breaking Covid lockdown restrictions. As an image, it immediately evokes the very worst authoritarian behaviour that we have witnessed – the granny being thrown to the ground and then pepper-sprayed, the man slammed onto concrete, the woman being dragged out of her car, demonstrators being shot at with rubber pellets and the many innocent individuals manhandled by police. Do we really want our own version of the Stasi?

And the third concept, on a lighter note, showed a group of kids sitting around the tree on Christmas morning desperately waiting to open their presents. In a clever take on the current mania for linking opening borders to the precise percentage of people double-vaccinated (a seemingly endless game of bureaucratic epidemiological goal-post shifting) their Dad says, ‘Remember, we’re not opening ’til we reach 92 per cent’. Do we as Australians really think numbers on a graph are more important than, for example, a child not being able to see their dying parent one last time?

It is the season of goodwill, so let us put our faith in those politicians who have proclaimed that all borders will soon open, lockdowns shall never return and vaccine passports are only temporary. Both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet have insisted that it is wrong for government to be mandating vaccines and segregating one group of Australians from another. Let’s put our faith in them being true to their word.

But the over-reach of public health bureaucrats and the frenzied hysteria with which our police forces, not only but most noticeably in Victoria, went about enforcing what were the most draconian as well as totally counter-productive, cruel, futile and scientifically meaningless Covid restrictions in the Western world are a stain on the soul of this nation that will not disappear for many a long year. If this is what we Australians can now look forward to, heaven help us.

It is abundantly clear that the Labor premiers have unwittingly exposed the intolerant, sanctimonious and totalitarian impulses that beat within the heart of the modern Left. Or perhaps they did it joyfully. Every decent Australian will contemplate this ugly truth as we head into an election year and ask themselves, do I really trust Labor to responsibly wield power? For now, lie back on the beach, put your feet up and enjoy our bumper special. And have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us all at The Spectator Australia.

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