AS THE Australian’s 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. We missed the ‘first wave’ entirely.
A good analogy is Australia’s ‘selective high schools’ for the very bright kids. We make a fuss when these schools routinely produce top 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, such as, er, vaccines. We halted all but rarely permitted overseas travel, placing us in the company of Cuba and North Korea. We set up dodgy quarantine systems which were 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 sane governments with liberal instincts. We have mask mandates everywhere, including outside, and crowd-restricted sports stadiums in the middle of summer. Snap lockdowns at the whim of jumped-up state premiers used to neither real power nor national attention, and 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.
To place Australia’s predicament in perspective, we have had one death from Covid this year. That was in April, an 80-year-old man who had been living in, got sick in, and travelled from, the Philippines. The previous ‘victim’ died of pneumonia having had a positive Covid test eight months or so earlier. Two deaths since the start of our summer.
Yet we have 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 only criticism ever is of incompetence in forcing the totalitarian non-medical interventions (NMIs) they all agree are needed. Think Sir 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 familiar with the falsely high case numbers derived from unreliable PCR tests, but Australians’ awareness of the notion of false positive Covid tests would be close to zero.
And there is the 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 them off the hook, having destroyed our freedoms for all-but-naught and trashed an economy propped up by mass welfare for the indolent and the temporarily comfortable, funded from the magic money tree.
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. Baltimore’s 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.
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 more than 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.
The last few weeks in Australia have bordered on farce. We have gone from a full-steam-ahead AstraZeneca rollout, to age-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 lawsuits. And the political class dares to express horror at ‘vaccine hesitancy’. Recent polls suggest that more than a quarter of Australians will say ‘no thanks’ to the big V. Hence the massive utility of a new ‘scariant’, Delta or otherwise.
This 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 meaningless messaging ‘We are all in this together’, and makes it more difficult to organise 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 from Greater Sydney to elsewhere in the state, you are forced into two weeks’ isolation whether or not you have been anywhere near a ‘hot spot’. Internal passports, in other words. I don’t think even Boris Johnson has tried this.
We do understand the predicament of your freedom fighters in the Mother Country. It hasn’t been easy, we know. Relative to Australia a large number of Brits have died ‘from’ or ‘with’ Covid. But here we don’t have anything like a health crisis. 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.
What a mess, over nothing.
Footnote: Since writing, New South Wales has announced that from July 12 practically all public institutions, shops and supermarkets will feature mandated QR coded entry only to help contact tracing – and the better to know exactly where everyone is.