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Sunday, 11 July 2021 02:20

Covid Capers Down Under

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Originally published in the UK's The Conservative Woman.  Explaining Australia's false claim to be a Covid policy superstar.

Originally published in the UK's The Conservative Woman.  Explaining Australia's false claim to be a Covid policy superstar.

 

As The Australian’s US correspondent Adam Creighton recently noted, Australasia’s ill-deserved global reputation for “gold standard” Covid management has had more to do with Australia and New Zealand being islands than anything much else.  Not only this.  We were in a good part of the world – the end of it – and in a good season – late summer – when the virus hit the world.  We missed the “first wave” entirely.

A good analogy is that of what we in Australia call “selective high schools”.  For the very bright kids.  Then we make a fuss when these selective schools routinely produce students that top the matriculation results.  This isn’t an achievement.  It would be the absence of excellent results that would need to be explained.

Understanding this would spoil the narrative of Australia’s multiple Covid governments entirely.  Government policy drives Covid outcomes, right?

Australia has done what distant islands can fairly safely do.  We cut ourselves off from the rest of the world.  The wisdom of the latter is far from established, to put it at its most polite.  Especially for economies reliant on exports of minerals, agricultural produce and tourism, and imports – of people, especially tertiary students, and manufactured goods, like, err, vaccines.  We cut off all but rarely permitted overseas travel, placing us in the company of Cuba and North Korea.  We set up dodgy quarantine systems – totalitarian and incompetent at the same time.  These apply to internal borders between states as well as external borders.

At the same time, and totally without need, we have imposed the full suite of useless yet cloying non-medical interventions so familiar to Brits and to everyone else, except Floridians and a few lucky others who have had the great fortune to possess sane governments with liberal instincts.  We have mask mandates everywhere, including in open air, crowd-restricted sports stadiums in the middle of summer.  Periodic lockdowns at the whim of jumped-up premiers used to neither real power or national attention, and absolutely relishing it now they have it.  As we speak, twelve million Aussies (half the population) are subject to lockdown, on the back of dubiously measured “cases” in the dozens.  Yes, the dozens.  Based on dodgy, discredited tests.  Snap border closures that have all but ruined domestic tourism and hospitality and caused endless grief.  Police thuggery in MelDanistan (aka the capital of Victoria). 

Covid theatre on a grand scale, tedious beyond belief, in the form of daily press briefings where no one asks the blindingly obvious questions.  A supine, utterly compliant media.  Infomercials for Covid safety oozing from every media pore.  Oppositions not doing their jobs, too cowed by the fear of public push-back to criticise, and, sickeningly, even praising the incumbents for their “brilliant” Covid management.  The brand-new NSW Opposition leader provides merely the latest example of this.  The only criticism ever is of incompetence in forcing the totalitarian NMIs they all agree are needed.    Think Keir Starmer.  And a population of both low information and low common sense, buoyed by furlough payments and a preternatural tilt towards state-given comforts.

Then there is the big lie. 

Some Australians with a sense of scepticism – dare one say, conspiracy – have done some digging on the so-called tests that provide the whole underpinning for the Covid State.  Readers in the UK will be quite familiar with the false claims about the reliability of shonky PCR tests upon which cases are derived, and the higher than recommended cycles at which these mass tests have been run.  Australians’ awareness of the notion of false positive Covid tests would be very, very close to zero.

And then there is the truly bizarre story of the silver bullet vaccines. 

The plan of the initially clueless, panicked political class was to hang on for the vaccine.  This would get the pollies off the hook, having destroyed our freedoms for all-but-nought and trashed an economy only propped up by mass welfare for the indolent and the temporarily comfortable, funded from the magic money tree.  Paraphrasing Margaret Thatcher, they are running out of our money. 

Of course, since there are no guarantees of successful immunisation or the prevention of illness or death, they aren’t really vaccines.  Then there are the side effects.  More people have died in Australia from the vaccine than from Covid this year.  And we haven’t even got the rollout right.  At the time of writing, a mere 4.8 per cent of Australians have been vaccinated.  Johns Hopkins University, which keeps a count of these things, has Australia at number 84 globally in terms of the vaccine take-up.  Not gold standard so much, then. 

Of course, given that most Covid “sufferers” don’t die or even get sick – as Peter Hitchens says, the most common symptom of Covid is “feeling fine” – the “vaccine” is really a placebo for over 99 per cent of the population.  Yet the superficial, unthinking treatment of the disease and of the cure in our legacy media never gets to the nub of the matter.  A mainstream narrative has, surely, never been so embedded.

The last few weeks have bordered on high farce.  We have gone from a full steam Astra Zeneca rollout, to age limitations-based advice, to different age-based advice, to advice NOT to take the AZ vaccine at all, to saying “go for it” but with all doctors giving the vaccine being indemnified by the Government against law suits.  And the political class dares to express horror at “vaccine hesitancy”.  Recent polls suggest over a quarter of Australians will say “no thanks” to the big V.  Hence the massive utility of a new “scariant”, Delta or otherwise.

To place Australia’s current predicament in perspective, we have had one death from Covid this year.  Yes, one.  That was in April.  An eighty-year-old man who had been living in, got sick in, and travelled from, The Philippines.  The previous “victim” actually died of pneumonia having had a positive Covid test eight months or so earlier.  Two deaths since the start of our Summer.

That is where we now stand.  In no man’s land.  It is worse than that.  We have a governance structure in relation to Covid called “National Cabinet”, consisting of all the state and territory governments acting corporately, invented out of nowhere, which renders ultimate responsibility for the stuff-ups and disasters very difficult to locate.  It reinforces the benign but meaningless messaging, “we are all in this together”, and makes it more difficult to organise meaningful resistance.  Of which, sadly and unlike in the UK, there has been none to speak of.

In the so-called “liberal” state of New South Wales, held up by the ill-informed as a paragon of Covid policy proportionality, we are subject to internal isolation orders.  If you are travelling form Greater Sydney to elsewhere in the state, you are forced into two weeks’ isolation.  Internal passports, in other words.  Whether or not you have been anywhere near a “hot spot”.  I don’t think even Boris has tried this.

We do understand the predicament of your freedom-fighters in the Mother Country.  It hasn’t been easy, we know.  A large number of Brits have died from or with Covid, relative to Australia.  But we don’t have even anything like a health crisis here.  Except for the mental health crisis.  The untreated cancer crisis.  The teenage crisis.  The substance abuse crisis.  The social isolation crisis.  The crisis of untreated diseases.  The increase in domestic violence.  These are never measured and seldom reported or even discussed.  We just get endless case-demic press conferences.

The lucky country no more.  Superficially lucky, perhaps, on Covid.  What a mess, over nothing.

Read 138 times Last modified on Sunday, 11 July 2021 02:29
Paul Collits

Paul Collits is a freelance writer and independent researcher who lives in Lismore New South Wales.  
 
He has worked in government, industry and the university sector, and has taught at tertiary level in three different disciplines - politics, geography and planning and business studies.  He spent over 25 years working in economic development and has published widely in Australian and international peer reviewed and other journals.  He has been a keynote speaker internationally on topics such as rural development, regional policy, entrepreneurship and innovation.  Much of his academic writing is available at https://independent.academia.edu/PaulCollits
 
His recent writings on ideology, conservatism, politics, religion, culture, education and police corruption have been published in such journals as Quadrant, News Weekly and The Spectator Australia.
 
He has BA Hons and MA degrees in political science from the Australian National University and a PhD in geography and planning from the University of New England.  He currently has an adjunct Associate Professor position at a New Zealand Polytechnic.