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Chairman Dan, the despot Down Under

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THIS video of a pregnant woman being interrogated and arrested by police in her home in front of her young children was shown on the Australian TV show Jones & Co, and has since been seen on social media around the world.

It graphically illustrates how Australians in the state of Victoria are living under a totalitarian dictatorship where cherished liberties and freedoms have been lost.

For posting on Facebook a plan to organise a public demonstration against the government’s draconian, inflexible and unwarranted measures supposedly to limit the spread of the virus, including lockdowns, curfews and wearing masks, Zoe Buhler felt the full force of the law.

Freedom of expression and freedom of assembly underpin Western liberal societies, as does a commitment to separation of powers, a Westminster form of parliamentary government and an adherence to common law – but not according to state Premier Daniel Andrews (aka Chairman Dan).

Much like the citizens of East Germany under the communists and the Stasi secret police, Victorians are living in fear. Using the excuse of limiting the spread of the Covid-19 virus, Andrews acts as a one-man government. He refuses to allow the Melbourne Parliament to sit, has declared a state of emergency and a curfew, and has extended the powers of the police to arrest citizens going about their lawful business, to use drones for surveillance and to enter homes to interrogate and arrest anyone suspected of failing to comply.

Even though his government is responsible for a plethora of stuff-ups, including failing to establish proper hotel quarantine arrangements, failing to trace those infected in the broader community and allowing hundreds of Black Lives Matter marchers to demonstrate publicly, Andrews refuses to take responsibility.

More egregious examples include selecting security staff to monitor those quarantined in hotels on politically correct diversity criteria instead of expertise, and allowing the virus to spread unchecked and uncontrolled in age care homes.

There’s no doubt Victoria is now the antipodean Venezuela, and the socialist-Left Premier is acting more like the South American despot Nicolas Maduro every day. Like all dictators, Andrews is arrogant and controlling and while appearing concerned and genuine beneath the mask is a calculating and self-serving political operator.

Establishing a royal commission to investigate how the virus was able to spread across Melbourne as a result of bungled hotel quarantine arrangements allows the Premier to evade responsibility and refuse to answer media questions on the basis that matters are before the commission.

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 Big Brother ensures obedience by forcing citizens to take part in daily two-minute hate sessions against a foreign enemy about to invade. In his daily media sessions Andrews also presents a narrative where Victorians are involved in a war against an external enemy: a virus that would soon run rampant if citizens failed to comply to his dictates.

Another strategy used by authoritarian governments to maintain control is to evade responsibility for mistakes by blaming the public and making others feel guilty.  In his media sessions Andrews highlights those few not wearing a mask, not self-isolating or not social distancing.

He manipulates public sentiment by promising a virus-free future if only citizens comply with his draconian restrictions. Instead of his government being responsible, it is the people’s actions determining whether businesses, restaurants and hotels reopen and they are free to interact and socialise.

Ignored is the fact that approximately 98 per cent of those infected during the second wave of the pandemic destroying the Victorian economy and social fabric are his government’s responsibility as a result of the Keystone Kops hotel quarantine incident.

The expression lies, damned lies and statistics is certainly true when it comes to the Victorian government’s coverage of the Covid-19 virus. Each day Premier Andrews underscores the supposedly deadly nature of the virus by reciting the number of new infections, the number in hospital and the number of deaths.

He fails to mention that many of the fatalities, especially in care homes, have been because of existing illnesses and not the virus. Also hidden from the public is whether the cases of infection are mild or serious and how many need medical attention.

The saying ‘The price of freedom is eternal vigilance’ has never been more apt. The reality is that as a result of Chairman Dan’s actions Victoria has been bankrupted and its economy destroyed. Even worse its citizens are now living under a despotic regime where their freedoms and liberties are denied.

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Dr Kevin Donnelly
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University and author of A Politically Correct Dictionary and Guide (available at kevindonnelly.com.au)

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