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The cruelty of Australia’s endless lockdown While the elites get rich, the working class suffer

When will it end? (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)


August 12, 2021   4 mins

For much of last year, as Britain, the United States and the rest of the world descended into pandemic chaos, Australia must have seemed like heaven on earth. Community transmission of the coronavirus was all but eliminated by May 2020. Apart from Melbourne’s long winter lockdown, most Australians were living pre-pandemic lives behind Fortress Australia’s closed borders.

How things have changed. The US and UK have vaccinated most of their populations and are reopening. Australia, on the other hand, is doing worse than ever. Last Saturday, the country broke its 2021 daily record for Covid-19 case numbers, despite roughly 60% of the population living under a strict lockdown.

International borders are still shut to all but 3,000 weekly arrivals, keeping more than 38,000 citizens stranded abroad. Meanwhile, internal borders between Australia’s states and territories closed 120 times by the end of last month. Australia is effectively fragmented into eight different countries, each with its own hard borders.

And so Australians are left with one question on their lips: when will this end? The bleak answer, at least according to the Government’s pandemic exit strategy, is not anytime soon. According to the plan, lockdowns will no longer be required when 70% of Australia’s adult population is vaccinated, and borders will reopen when 80% of adults are vaccinated. At present, however, thanks to a shortage of Pfizer jabs — combined with mixed messages from the Government and health officials regarding the safety and efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine — only 20% of Australia’s adult population is fully vaccinated (compared to 75% in the UK). Relief for beleaguered Australians is therefore months away, even under the most optimistic scenario.

How has lockdown become so acceptable in Australia, a country where the seven-day average for Covid-19 deaths sits at just two? The answer, I suspect, is because its impacts are not equally shared.

Lockdowns’ worst effects have not been felt by Australia’s elites, including the professional middle classes, who dominate the higher echelons of the bureaucracy, the media and the academy. The same social classes also dominate politics, since today’s professionalised political parties are only weakly linked to their erstwhile social foundations. Consequently, their interests and worldviews have shaped the framing of the pandemic and responses to it.

It is by now well-documented that the pandemic’s impacts have widely diverged along the fault-lines of pre-existing social divides, often deepening disadvantage. And nowhere has this been demonstrated more clearly than in Australia.

While the Government’s main support schemes, JobKeeper and JobSeeker, wound up earlier this year, elite and middle-class incomes have continued to grow during the cycle of lockdowns, increasing already yawning gaps. Throughout the country, the industries worst affected by Covid-19 were twice as likely to employ workers with less than high-school qualifications. While incomes in the worst-affected industries more than halved, in the least affected industries they remained unchanged.

Higher income households have also saved a higher proportion of their income. As saving rates shot up last year, reaching an average 22% in Australia — the highest in 60 years — richer households again benefited disproportionately. Their additional income was funnelled into investments, growing household wealth. Similarly, property prices in Australia rose 16.1% in the 12 months to July 2021, and the share market reached its highest-ever level on 10 August 2021, with the gains accruing mainly at the top. Most striking, however, has been the transfer of wealth to the richest of the rich. Australia’s billionaires had doubled their wealth during the pandemic’s first year.

For a time, economic growth resumed and unemployment dipped to 5%, though 60% of all new jobs were casual or part-time. The recent wave of lockdowns impacting Australia’s biggest cities has upended Australia’s fragile recovery, however, causing economic activity to contract by an estimated $13bn in the September quarter alone. While elites and professionals settled back into their domestic bubbles, many lower paid and blue-collar workers carried on as before or bore the brunt of the economic fallout.

After all, someone has to leave their home to ensure the taps don’t run dry, clean Covid exposure sites, stock supermarket shelves and collect the rubbish. During Sydney’s current lockdown, one in ten infected residents caught the coronavirus at work. Since many of these workplaces are essential, this limits the efficacy of the lockdown, which has no end in sight.

Yet in some ways, these workers may be grateful to have a job. The number of unemployed in Sydney swelled by 300,000 over recent weeks, while casual workers’ shifts in the hospitality industry were cut by two-thirds. Although state and federal payments to workers and small businesses for lost income were boosted in July, the current patchwork of payment schemes exclude many, for example, all those who are receiving welfare payments, who are consequently struggling to survive. In Sydney alone they number 400,000.

In 1996, iconoclast American historian Christopher Lasch’s book, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy, was published posthumously in America — yet its resonance today is surely apparent in Australia. In the book, Lasch argues that elites in Western societies, including the professional middle classes, have abandoned their responsibilities towards their fellow-citizens and nations, orienting themselves towards cosmopolitan identities and agendas. Noblesse oblige, as limited as it was, was replaced by a sense of moral superiority, derived from the feeling that their elevated position in society was earned and meritorious.

If Lasch had been around today he would have readily recognised that the elites in our Covid-stricken societies — not just in Australia — are still in revolt. Faced with these devastating impacts on their fellow-citizens, many elites and middle-class professionals have preferred to look the other way, conflating their own interests with society’s.

They have become lockdown’s biggest cheerleaders and portray their own compliance with lockdown rules as an expression of individual moral superiority, conveniently forgetting that the privileges afforded by their income and lifestyle are not shared by all. They have dismissed resistance to lockdowns as extremism, although evidence from recent rallies in Australia suggests that a number of participants were not fringe-dwelling conspiracists, but ordinary people struggling with long lockdowns.

Although counterfactuals are always fraught, it is hard to imagine lockdowns becoming a mainstream public health measure in a world in which elite interests would have been badly harmed by them. Elites’ disregard for the rest of society makes matters worse. In the longer term, however, the unequal effect of its many lockdowns is likely to deepen the legitimacy crisis already plaguing Australia’s democracy.


Shahar Hameiri is a Professor in the School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland, Australia

ShaharHameiri

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Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

“38,000 citizens stranded overseas” grossly understates the harm caused by arrival and departure quotas and restrictions.

Consider this:
Something like one quarter of all Australians were born overseas.
Something like half of all Australian citizens and residents have at least one parent born overseas.

This means that the number of Australian residents separated from loved ones by the border closures runs into many millions.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

The question is not how much harm border closures have done, but whether any other better, or even realistic, option to protect people’s lives was available. In the face of national emergencies, context-free statements about this or that harm done beg the question.
Also, to have at least one parent born overseas does not mean said parents live overseas, nor that grandparents live overseas, nor that the children live overseas. The family combinations and permutations are manifold. Specificity and care is required if an effective point is to be made here.
Do you know which option those affected might freely choose were they to confront the reality of thousands dying, very possibly their own loved ones, if an open border policy were to be adopted? Don’t you think they might choose to postpone travel in such a case, seeing it as an ethically superior course of action?
We all know people love to complain, loudly, when they sense their freedoms are being curtailed. But there comes a point where the noise starts to drown out balanced consideration of the issues, and, worse, to submerge real questions of the values on which the whole social edifice is built.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

On the contrary:
The question is very much “how much harm have closures done” since without properly evaluating that, you cannot conduct any kind of proper risk/benefit analysis.
People die all the time. But people with family do not generally die alone with family unable to visit or even mourn together.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

There is no “proper” risk/benefit analysis that compares trading off uncontrolled deaths and long-term illnesses against being with loved ones at time of death.
The latter is just so sad, agonising, even appalling. But the former is unconscionable in a civilised society that respects human life.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

What do you mean by “uncontrolled deaths”?
Compared to what – “controlled deaths”?

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

What do you mean by “uncontrolled deaths”?
Compared to what – “controlled deaths”?
What I mean by “uncontrolled deaths”, in this context, are deaths which have taken their course through natural causes resulting from infection by the Covid virus, as opposed, not to your “controlled deaths“—that is a false binary—but to “imperfectly controlled deaths“.
In other words, in the first case, nobody does anything to intervene, and the illness is left to take its natural course unhindered by human intervention. It runs riot through the population, ravaging it and decimating it.
In the second case, by contrast, humans do their best to intervene in a positive way to save human lives and contribute to ongoing human health. Their efforts are imperfect—some experts miss the mark, some politicians succumb to ideological point-scoring despite their best intentions, some media can’t help themselves but pander to the population’s baser instincts by ruthlessly stoking the public fires of hatred and misunderstanding—falling short of perfection is the human condition.
As human beings, we have the choice at present:
—keep on trying to do our best, while admitting our failures and imperfections, or
—recoil from the truth about ourselves and our own weaknesses, and blame our problems on everyone else out there, in the hope our problems will go away if we kill off the scapegoat—the person, group or cause which is made to pay in our stead because we can’t face up to ourselves.
The former represents the long path of positive human evolution.
The latter is the path of perdition.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Fair enough.
But it seems clear to me that Australia is not doing its best. Lockdown is easy for bureaucrats, with the power of the police at their disposal. Bureaucrats who have never created any wealth but kept awarding themselves extra staff and extra pay throughout.
Perhaps they see freedom as a threat. Do they even want to open up Australia at whatever level of vaccination they deem appropriate? There doesn’t seem to be much enthusiasm on their side.
What do you think about Jeanette Young stoking the fires with AZ alarmism?
Did she make a positive contribution? Was she driven, just a tiny bit, by ideological opposition to the PM?

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

Lockdown is easy for bureaucrats, with the power of the police at their disposal. Bureaucrats who have never created any wealth

Yes, true enough. It’s very hard for those with secure incomes—public-sector employment, age pension, etc.—to fully appreciate the traumas the private sector is currently enduring, in particular small businesses.
I am economically retired now, on a secure age pension (although I’m very poor!), but I have previously had extensive experience during my external working life of both running successful small businesses (family partnership, sole operator, but not employing staff), and senior management and consultancies in the tertiary education sector and for NGOs. Thus, I can claim valid life experience in both private and public sectors.
Why am I choosing to disclose these personal details? Because I have caught myself often over the past year or so thanking my lucky stars for my present, poverty-stricken but secure, economic position on the age pension, and simultaneously feeling desperately sorry for those rural, risk-ridden small businesses all around me whose fate, and those of their families and employees, hangs on a knife edge, and who stand to lose everything.
This represents a real swing in focus for me, since previously I had just been fed up with the apparent non-rewards of a life spent in genuine service to the Australian people, mostly in the public sector..
So this means, there’s nothing like having some experience yourself of both private and public sectors to give you firsthand understanding of the pros and cons of both spheres. Understanding then leads to both disinterested empathy and judicious discontent/condemnation, with performance.
My gripe with these Unherd pages is that there seems to be a cabal of truly extremist RWNJs who know nothing of real life, but seem to believe if they shout the same thing loud and long and hard enough, it will somehow make all their problems go away and bring in the precious “sunlit uplands”.
This is magical thinking. The Enlightenment was supposed to dispense with this stuff, supersede it and give us the ability to reason logically from established facts. Magical thinking—ungrounded wish fulfillment—now characterises the developmental stage of a small child. This is very serious indeed when it manifests on such a large scale in the public sphere.
So, to wind back round to your response: some bureaucrats are as you describe (yes, I recognise them!), but not all. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Some bureaucrats—yes, still!—serve selflessly and altruistically what they believe to be the public interest. This most probably leads, when given some measure of uncertainty in a situation, to a conservative, protective stance. And here is the key point; such a stance is correct for a responsible public servant. Adventurous risk-taking is the private sector’s role.
In my view, some of the problems you highlight stem from a previous unwise intermingling, confusing and conflating of public and private sector roles: in a brutally individualistic Thatcherism which thought there was no such thing as society, in PPPs (public–private partnerships) from a proudly arrogant New Labour, which wrongly believed it had found the ultimate middle way, and in a plethora of confusions from local government as to where, exactly, their domain might lie.
So, in a nutshell, can we do our best to pinpoint failings and deficiencies in a context-limited, precise, fact-based manner, without condemning entire peoples and ideologies to eternal damnation?

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

thanks Penelope for some balance in this often polarised debate – often both sides are correct !! – and the way forwards is anything but simple…..

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Since the beginning of lockdowns I have thought the Australian approach of Zero Covid to be the wrong one and have argued that they were hanging their hat on a vaccine being available. Well now vaccines are available and they haven’t ordered enough. Moreover Covid is now endemic in the world and the vaccines do not provide 100% immunity. So how are they going to proceed with their Zero Covid approach?

Alyona Song
Alyona Song
2 years ago

Zero Covid is insanity and lockdowns are a crime against humanity. It’s a tragedy on a massive scale that a majority of people in practically any developed country is supportive of the so called ‘public health measures’.

Johanna Barry
Johanna Barry
2 years ago
Reply to  Alyona Song

Amazingly, people in Oz who I would have described as more caring and empathetic than I, still wholly support zerocovid and believe that Victoria is doing better than NSW currently because of their early long lockdowns last year. Needless to say they are among the well-educated wealthy. I am sure, when I express my views, they are utterly appalled by me and firendships have cooled. I find our different competing moral high grounds on the issue fascinating. I am not sure they would not extend me the same interested courtesy.

William McKinney
William McKinney
2 years ago

This was obvious from the start to anyone with an iota of common sense. Zero COVID was pretty much impossible from the moment it left the lab, and certainly by the time it had hit Wuhan. Period.

I’m looking forward to the denouement – disaster porn, like Titanic played slow motion in real time. Unkind perhaps on those long-suffering Sky-News-watching Australians who never agreed with the zero COVID approach, but the general level of smugness oozing from down under last year was hard to bear. And one would hope that it will give our abysmal left-wing MSM pause for thought – their poster child on the verge of sinking, while the villainous Swedes chug quietly along. It won’t of course – cognitive dissonance is endlessly creative.

Last edited 2 years ago by William McKinney
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

A bit of schadenfreude is in order!

Frances An
Frances An
2 years ago

Hello Dr Hameiri, it’s great to see articles about Australia on UnHerd. I’m based in WA, which arguably had the best outcomes throughout the pandemic: apart from the beginning stretch in March 2020, WA has not had any lengthy periods of strict lockdown orders. However, the acceptability of sudden lockdowns has been concerning: first, it was OK to announce lockdown 2-3 hours before its start. More recently, we had a lockdown announced in the middle of the night. As your article mentions, it seems the people who make these decisions just sit tight in their ‘domestic bubbles’. Meanwhile, other people scrabble up work equipment and supplies. When I spoke to others after the overnight lockdown, many said things like, ‘oh, it’s for the best’, ‘at least we’re keeping the State safe’, ‘you should always be prepared in case we have to lock down again’ etc. And let’s not talk about the confusing postcode-related rules in Sydney at the moment! What sort of democratic standard has Australia fallen to?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

Wild article, strange to hear the Australian perspective, it is about 100% at odds from mine. It is sort of like Lockdown is reasonable, but seen from the view of Socialism – not medical, not the right to be free, but how this event is biased towards people with money, and against working, and Dole people.

I mean there is nothing of Personal Freedom – but ‘Elites’ oppressing the lower orders for some unstated reason and some $. I disagree, the Global Elites are out to destroy the economy of the West and Lockdown was their tool – but the mid range fat cats you call elites? They are just pawns like the lower orders are.

To me lockdown is a great crime done to any free people. It is OUTRAGEOUS the gov has the ability to close business, schools, and take ones freedom to go where one wishes, and of association. The #1 issue is Freedom.
That lockdown causes billions of national debt to pay people not to work, and then importing with debt to replace what is not made. This is likely to create huge inflation – which destroys all savings, pensions, and devalues the currency. Missed education is likely not made up in the lower % of students, sentencing them to a life of reduced income.

Australia underwent a national Psychosis by locking the world out – locking its own citizens out. You Australian Academics, you are pretty much way left if your article is typical.

Our Extreme Left USA Congress just voted along 5 – 7 Trillion of more utterly useless National Debt to squander social engineering the country, (likely saying it is for Christopher Lasch’s kind of justice, wile being the opposite) – in the name of covid insanity – all the wile it is apparent the locking down, the destroying the economy, did no one no good – just harm.

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Individuals may be intelligent and thoughtful, but people are stupid. A mob is a mob, even if they live in nice houses and work in socially elite professions, ‘twas ever thus.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

You are correct that the Overton window is far to the left in Australia but that is another discussion for another article.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I live in Australia.
For your information, we do not have a socialist government in Australia. Our Federal government is a rightwing coalition of Liberal and National parties. Our federal Labor Party opposition is very middle of the road—less leftwing than, say, Tony Blair’s New Labour government. Our Greens are much like the Greens of Europe, but smaller and much less influential. Our state governments are a mix, some rightwing, some leftwing.
The outstanding feature of Australia’s handling of the pandemic in the early days was the social consensus achieved: the national level worked in cooperation with state levels, putting ideological differences to one side in the national interest. The nation was behind its combined governments. This was a high point for our country, one of which we can be proud.
The problems really started when government at the federal level, which is responsible for obtaining and distributing vaccines, became complacent, sitting on its laurels, not researching vaccine options and other countries’ experiences adequately, hence not ensuring a safe mix of different vaccines to allow for unforeseen circumstances, and certainly not proceeding with sufficient sense of urgency. Some bad luck entered into it—relying solely on AstraZeneca, for example, then finding the blood clot dangers surface in research. But even here, it can be argued the prime minister’s eagerness to promote jingoistic, look-good “all-Australian” manufacture of our vaccine interfered with more sober judgments he might have made. Our prime minister is an ex-marketing man, which tends to colour his approach to the problems of government.
So now we find ourselves at risk as a nation, because of the advent of the delta variant, which has caught us largely unvaccinated and unawares until it was upon us. Catch-up with vaccination is happening, but some strains are appearing in the national consensus as a result.
The point of the article was to bemoan the fact that, despite real efforts to look after people, the previously disadvantaged are becoming even more disadvantaged as a result of Covid. Australia appears to be following worldwide trends in this respect. The source of these social justice problems lies well before Covid happened, and their solution is to be sought in a much broader context.
The lesson to be learned is that you allow excessive wealth gaps and consequent social divisions to appear and then grow exponentially at your peril, because, ultimately, we are all in this together.
Your remarks about “personal freedom” are inadequate to address a context where thousands of our fellow human beings are dying and our social fabric is at risk.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

And the deaths in Australia are now? Allowing Delta in may solve the vaccine issue. A milder infection perhaps better than the vaccine and somewhat inevitable. The nation is becoming a poster child for lockdown leakage.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

Allowing Delta in may solve the vaccine issue
 A milder infection perhaps

There is no evidence to support this claim. Morally, it evidences a callous disregard for the value of human life that is reprehensible in a society that professes to be civilised. Human beings are not guinea pigs to be experimented on in a cold blooded manner.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

As far as the elite medics are concerned human beings are most definitely guinea pigs. They’re currently running the largest experiment in human history ON HUMANS with inadequately tested vaccines. The mandatory, but now exempted, Phase 3 trials that are used to establish the long term efficacy and SAFETY of medicines will not be completed for another 18 months to 2 yrs. Meanwhile many10s of millions of women of child bearing age have been injected with lipid based vaccines. According to Pfizer, who did the early pre-human trials, the lipids in these vaccines are known to accumulate in the ovaries of rats with UNKNOWN but potentially catastrophic consequences for sterility or badly mal-formed babies.
What value human life indeed!

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

As far as the elite medics are concerned human beings are most definitely guinea pigs. They’re currently running the largest experiment in human history ON HUMANS

This is just paranoid conspiracy theory masquerading as factual knowledge.
The facts are that, regardless of whether the virus accidentally escaped from a Chinese lab or was deliberately released from a Chinese lab or jumped from animals to humans in China—the fact remains that the rest of the world found itself faced overnight with an enormous threat of unknown proportions from a new virus. It had to act, and has done its honest but imperfect best in impossibly challenging circumstances.
The claim that there is a worldwide deliberate conspiracy to experiment on human beings is delusional fantasy, fabricated out of turgid clouds of mental dysfunction.
During World War II there was hard evidence quite early on of what the Nazis were up to—deliberate, controlled experiments on people, and what they intended—extermination of everyone who didn’t fit the Aryan pure-white superior race criterion. Such evidence was ignored in the midst of the war by the Allies, although there is some evidence that those in charge knew very well what was happening and chose for their own reasons (unwarranted extra alarming of the public? etc.) to play it down.
To jump from the Nazi scenario in 1933 to a supposed similar worldwide secret conspiracy in 2020 is to make an unconscionable error in collecting and evaluating evidence, of reasoning logically from that evidence, and of drawing sound fact-based conclusions.
As things stand, the most we can say is that China is definitely up to something very nasty in Sinkiang using the Uighurs as experimental subjects in mind- and population-control. It seems reasonable to suppose the Chinese Communist Party will try to extend such control methods eventually to the entire population to achieve what they deem “social harmony”. There is evidence for such intent.
We can also suggest that both the Israelis and the Arabs, and the Iranians, are up to no good in somewhat different types of control via surveillance. And then we can look wider still, and see others such as India and Pakistan and Sri Lanka, messing about in a clumsy way with the same stuff. Finally, we can come back home and state with some certainty that the public at large doesn’t know the half of what is going on in GCHQ in the UK or in their sister organisations in the US.
But this is as far as it goes: a messy, chaotic, disorganised world, with shady operators everywhere getting away with what they can. This is a long, long way from an organised efficient worldwide conspiracy run by aliens/Illuminati/giant green frogs which has us all beat.
Yes, we need to be ever vigilant. That is the price of democracy. But we also need to pay attention to our own personal mental hygiene and psychological/ spiritual balance, and not let this stuff overcome our better sense and run away with us.

David Slade
David Slade
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

True; so why the cold blooded experiment in lockdown? Lockdown is the experiment; not allowing human life to continue as normal during the natural trajectory of a pandemic – that’s actually just precedent in the civilised and Enlightenment world.

Last edited 2 years ago by David Slade
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

Lockdown and quarantine is NOT an experiment – it has been standard procedure for 2500 (?) years !

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

Sorry, but you are sadly out of order in terms of facts here.
Lockdown has been the historic method of controlling public plagues since the beginning of recorded history, i.e. around 3000 BC. In pre-Enlightenment societies around the world today, you can still see remnants of this in the way the leper, or other victim of disease, is forcibly isolated from the community. This control mode of compulsorily isolating the diseased individuals from the larger population has applied to supposed spiritual afflictions as well as physical diseases. So, it has applied, say, to today’s Rohingya people in Myanmar, who are believed to be afflicted by spiritual problems (because they are Muslim, not Buddhist); it has applied to individuals accused of witchcraft in supposedly modern West Africa (because they don’t conform to indigenous pre-Christian fundamentalist ideas of what Christianity should be). We in the West would call this racial/ethnic discrimination!
The key point here is that attitudes gradually changed with the adoption of Christianity by various communities around the world.
Take just one telling example, from right here back home in the UK, as documented in Tony Robinson’s brilliant BBC documentary:
A small rural English community chose to self-isolate when a case of plague was detected in its midst. Since vaccines had not yet been conceived, no other protective method was available to prevent the spread of the fatal disease to the wider population of England. So an entire community voluntarily self-isolated, in order to protect their fellow Christians from harm. An act of altruistic self-sacrifice in the interests of the greater good. Many of this community became ill and died. But their act for the common good lives on. They knew: We are all in this together!
In the face of this documented level of human spiritual achievement, your comment comes across as ignorant, ill-informed, bigoted, mal-intentioned and cheap. Please try to do better!

Last edited 2 years ago by Penelope Lane
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Yea, well covid Lockdowns at the beginning 2020 UNICEF (UN Children’s Fund) said 1.2 million young third world and developing world children would die from the Western Lockdowns causing reduced global economic activity.

Save Aus Granny, kill foreign babies – good trade.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

An estimated 100 million people were pushed into poverty last year and that number is rising. To the cocooned (many of whom apparently live in Australia, but they are not alone in this I hasten to add), we should explain that poverty results in death.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

This is deranged, and has no connection to real-world facts. I shall not be spending my time communicating with you henceforth, since you show yourself to be incapable of objective, balanced, fact-informed discourse.
I have tried my best to hear where you are comIng from; and I urge you to seek counselling from a responsible, objective, and disinterested third party, because you are not making sense, and I fear for your self-awareness and mental balance.
Take care
 and my genuine best wishes


Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

But of course these lockdowns are doing exactly what you are constantly decrying – they are grand scale experiments being done on humans as though they were guinea pigs.

Judy Simpson
Judy Simpson
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

“callous disregard for the value of human life”. Oh, how often this phrase has been thrown at me in the past 18 months. I also live in Australia and have been against the zero Covid strategy since it was first adopted. It is an impossible dream only achieved in the short term because of Australia’s relative isolation. Yet, to question is to risk this accusation, so now I keep quiet. As the article suggests, every person who has thrown this accusation at me has been unaffected by these lockdowns. They dutifully work in their comfortable homes, emerging masked for their daily walk to buy their daily coffee so they can proudly support the struggling local businesses. Anyone who questions is dismissed as a covid denier, anti-vaxxer or conspiracy theorist. My husband and I have lost over 12 months income in the past 18 months with no end in sight. And I am well aware that we are nowhere near as badly affected as some, at least we have a valuable house we can sell. We’re considered selfish if we even dare suggest there must be another way to combat this that doesn’t involve the loss of livelihood. Nothing else matters but “saving lives” no matter what the cost. Yet this is a disease with an infection fatality rate of 2%. There is more than one way to disregard the value of human life and Australians have demonstrated that well since the beginning of this pandemic.

Last edited 2 years ago by Judy Simpson
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Simpson

Yes
 never met anyone pro-lockdown who does not have money in the bank and food on the table. And they dare to try to claim the moral high ground!

Johanna Barry
Johanna Barry
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Simpson

Excellent response to illinformed claptrap based on MSM propaganda. I would just highlight that the case fatality is something like 0.15%. It varies with when calculated and by who, so I am a bit hazy on exact figures but certainly vastly less that 2%. interestingly the propaganda has been so extreme in the UK, that people believe 10% of the pop have died from covid (6.8 mill !!!!). I am guessing from what I have seen of Oz propaganda the likes of P Lane will believe something similar about the risks in Oz. She probably also buys the exponential growth on infections without lockdown nonsense that social media was awash with last year in the UK. I am hoping that myth has died a death here at least.

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Hysterical nonsense. My aunts would like you. (But do not reply with mad nonsense, the job(s) are taken).

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

All Govt.s need to grasp the nettle that lockdowns have not and cannot work unless it is absolutely total which it can never be.Until that truth is accepted the dystopia will continue.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Australia’s Greens are exactly like UK’s Greens – they get about 10% of the vote, mostly in expensive inner urban areas far from the wilderness they claim to love.
The fact that the wishy-washy Morrison, unlike most politicians in Australia, has actually had a job outside law, government, academia or political activism is a plus, not a negative. Although it was mostly in Tourism marketing, e.g. the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign . It’s strange how his detractors think “Scotty from marketing” is some kind of devastating put down.
And then there’s the state premiers …

Johanna Barry
Johanna Barry
2 years ago

yeah. Chairman Dan and Pluckachook. major eye roll, plus the pizzabox bug lockdown premier of SA. i am surprised more people aren’t questioning the lunacy and utterly inhumane behavious of these premiers, who as far as i know have only ever been politicians.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Good perspective – complacency is indeed the issue vs personal freedom etc – and you are correct that Covid is merely highlighting and excaserbating the inequalities in the system vs somehow creating them

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

The point is that those ordering and implementing the severe lockdowns in Victoria and elsewhere are themselves insulated from economic consequence. Some even had pay rises. The moral hazard is obvious and professor Hameiri has done a good job of elucidating it.

Chris Eaton
Chris Eaton
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Nothing you said obviates the fact that you are a bunch of spineless cowards to bow the knee (or knees) to your government. Look forward to your life of slavery. You deserve it.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I am fascinated by statements such as “the Global Elites are out to destroy the economy of the West and Lockdown was their tool” because I do not understand how agency can be attributed to a group of people unless there is something enabling the agency of the individuals in the group to be co-ordinated. In the case of a conspiracy there will be communications within the group to enable that co-ordination. If there are no such communications then it can be little more than common goals, but then the agency would be weak and frustrated by people with different goals. Whilst I generally find individuals, as Lee Jones states below, intelligent and thoughtful. I find individuals collectively less competent, less thoughtful and their agency is therefore more mindless. What is proposed in this instance?

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

Thank god for a voice of sanity in this RWNJ wilderness!
I keep thinking we’re on Twitter or similar when I see the way they all pile on the minute someone posts an extremist, hysterical comment.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Well, just going along, being nice and pleasant and not making a fuss is exactly what allows tyrants to gain power…

” I find that I am not the first to present the manifold forms of Burke’s Triumph of Evil quote. Lee Frank had already given his own list,
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing.

All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.

In order for ‘evil’ to prevail, all that need happen is for ‘good’ people to do nothing.

All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.

The surest way for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.

All it will take for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.

All that is necessary for the forces of evil to take root in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.

All that is needed for the forces of evil to succeed is for enough good men to remain silent.

All it takes for Evil to prevail in this world is for enough good men to do nothing.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

I am fascinated by statements such as “the Global Elites are out to destroy the economy of the West and Lockdown was their tool” because I do not understand how agency can be attributed to a group of people unless there is something enabling the agency of the individuals in the group to be co-ordinated. 

I understand where you’re coming from. It’s an oft-repeated term and is often just as vague as the pronoun ‘They’. However, articles like this written by organizations such as the WEF don’t help matters either: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/now-is-the-time-for-a-great-reset/
They’re perhaps the closest thing we have to a ‘global elite’ (well-paid consultants employed to manage the world’s problems), although there are many other such organizations similar to the WEF, and while you’re right in asserting there is no such direct communication (that we know of), there does seem to be some common alignment of values, goals and objectives, if not across the entire globe, certainly across the West.
In my experience grown adults don’t like to be managed, even if it is for their own good. CS Lewis summed it up much better than I ever could when he wrote this passage:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.”
We’re currently living in a world where moral busybodies have taken over our public institutions while lining their own pockets. Most people outside these circles see what they are about and for all intents and purposes they can inchoately appear to be a ‘global elite’. When your news media, your education system, your political parties, your medical establishment, and your corporations all parrot the same lines, then, to quote Hamlet, something must rotten in the state of Denmark.

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

CS Lewis, as usual, was right. My evening gratitude prayer for the Second Amendment of the US Constitution is ever more fervent after watching TV news and seeing Australia’s roaming crowds of Nanny police! An unopposed government cannot be trusted to act in loco parentis — it quickly morphs into the evil guardian, fleecing and abusing his ward.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

In my experience grown adults don’t like to be managed, even if it is for their own good. CS Lewis summed it up much better than I ever could when he wrote this passage:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.”
# Grown adults do not see decisions for their common good, in which they have democratically participated as equal citizens, as “being managed”
 no Scandinavian would agree with your misrepresentation
 perhaps you don’t understand what it actually means to be a “grown adult”?
# There is good reason to believe CS Lewis had China in mind here. Certainly not the modern West as it’s currently constituted.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

GLOBAL ELITES, the Davos, WEF, Sun Valle, Jackson Hole, The Donor Class, and so on – well here is a very fun video from a rogue Macro Economics guy, extremely successful – and if you watch you will answer your question, and it is entertaining…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=de5sxxnKOac

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

It is hilarious but the scenario is put forward by an individual, a Danish politician, to promote debate, no evidence is given that participants at the WEF have agreed to do anything, or even want to do anything collectively. The commentator proposes actions by a hypothetical government. It does not really address my enquiry.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Well I see you are a fully paid up member of the US culture war. This gets tedious for the rest of us. Clearly you can’t be doing with the mundane reality of how policies affect ordinary (often poorer) people, whom, tellingly you distance yourself from, and use a disparaging term ‘dole’ to identify some of them. The article clearly argues about the effect on the real working class.

Then, a ‘far Left’ government (albeit elected by the people, except not the RIGHT people). The first time in history Biden has ever been referred to by term. The ‘people’ must be completely deluded, diverging as they do from the gospel according Saint Artzen. ‘Global elites’ largely from the West, trying to, er, destroy ‘the West’ (as defined by you) ie. themselves for some bizarre reason.

Everyone is a pawn, of, who exactly?! Ah the shadowy globalist conspiracy, CCP, Bill Gates etc. But only a well informed few such as yourself, are wise enough to uncover it, using sources unavailable to ordinary people, like, er, the Internet.

Screaming about ‘freedom’ when acting for sectional interests is a piece of empty, if often effective, rhetoric.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Thanks for your post. What really bothers me are the undisclosed values, or lack of them, apparently lying behind so many of the comments on this page.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

“Well I see you are a fully paid up member of the US culture war.”

I suppose by resisting Germany Churchill was a fully paid up member of the great 1940s European War. If those resisting tyranny are the same as those trying to impose it, then you are correct.

But the sheep will go along, and you will be with them… I posted this link above, just for fun someone elaborating on WEF ‘You will own nothing, have no privacy, and be happy’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=de5sxxnKOac

So watch it, it is fun, and maybe you will figure out what I am talking about instead of just joining the flock and masking up.

Scott Powell
Scott Powell
2 years ago

It’s interesting that no one in office here will actually utter the words ‘Covid Zero’. It’s forbidden for some reason. Maybe because it’s utterly insane? Imagine trying to insist that if ANY flu gets detected this year, everyone stops what they’re doing. I think I’ve lost the will to keep debating any of these issues any more. Insanity has reached critical mass, and it’s here to stay.

Human Being
Human Being
2 years ago

You’re completely right about the states effectively becoming separate countries. Most people outside Australia aren’t aware that you now need to get permission to travel between states and are forced into hotel quarantine if you are traveling and a lockdown is announced while you’re en route (as the article says, this can happen if there are 5 reported cases in a state). Speaking as an Australian living outside the country, I’ve also noticed how state-centric everyone now is. Queenslanders want to keep New South Welshmen out, South Australians want to keep Victorians out, and the Western Australians want to keep EVERYBODY out.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Human Being

I think you are reading a jingoistic sub-nationalism into the situation, where the concerns in fact relate specifically to Covid risk.
Borders are flexibly opened and closed depending on the health advice; they are not permanently closed, as you seem to suggest.
We want to keep Covid out, not our interstate neighbours as such. Australian culture is mostly open in attitude, with some goodwilled jesting about relative merits of Sydneysiders vs. Melburnians.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago

Come on you Aussies, polish up your risk assessment skills and get those AstraZeneca jabs in your arms. Waiting for Pfizer is just going to extend the current situation.
In the first phase of the pandemic, I felt quite envious of my friend in Brisbane who has enjoyed far more freedom over the last year and a half than I, living in continental Europe. But somehow I knew that these early successes would lead to complacency. People talk a lot about British exceptionalism, but there is definitely also such a thing as Australian exceptionalism and it has definitely been on show in the sluggish vaccine procurement and rollout. Early successes seemed to lead Australians to think this was all about cleverness when actually a lot of it was about the sheer dumb luck of geography.
I’ve also been surprised at how state-reliant the Aussies have been in this time, I had them down as a bit more anti-authority. But there again, I thought that about the British too and look what happened there. The Australians and the British really are very similar.

Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The eagerness shown by the Australians (and to a very slightly lesser extent the British) for state control over their liberties has been shocking and frankly disgusting. Cowards.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

Not cowards. Actually, Christian-based values. Altruism and good ethics. Thinking of the other guy before oneself.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Freedom or safety? When you’ve only known the one, the other seems intolerable.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Freedom or safety? When you’ve only known the one, the other seems intolerable.
You miss the point. Thinking of the other guy means putting their interests before your own. That’s Christian values.
It seems you cannot conceive that a community would actually voluntarily come together to make decisions in their own communal best interests, rather than the sectarian interests of isolated individuals.
“Freedom” and “safety” are not opposites. You are positing an incoherent, invalid polarity. The communitarian view says that, as fellow human beings, we are all in this together; therefore, my freedom is also yours, and if you are safe, then also so am I.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

God helps those who help themselves. Each and every person had their own risk, cost benefit, decisions to make. The lockdown/not Lockdown has NOT shown to make a difference. Christianity says we are free, and must take care of ourselves by hard work – not hiding in the bedroom getting the dole, that is not Christian. Christianity is a ferociously tough line to fallow, it does NOT teach to roll over when told to by some petty bureaucrat for some pointless reason.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Depends on how you view ethics and altruism. Most people I know think these values are not embraced by people who are content to watch people lose their businesses, livelihoods, futures and freedoms.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Altruism? These lockdowns are not happening due to a sudden outpouring of Christian charity.
They have been enforced by the state with uncommon zealotry and heavy handedness.
Remember the police entering the home of a pregnant woman in Ballarat who had proposed a distanced gathering on Facebook?
The police wrestling an unmasked woman to the ground on a street in Collingwood?
Altruism?

Last edited 2 years ago by Brendan O'Leary
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

You seem to be saying ‘let covid have its way with everyone’ – you do realize that it will be ‘the poor’ who would be worst hit – so you are OK with that. Plus overrun breaking down healthcare etc etc. Maybe not ‘cowards’ , maybe rather a bit more informed than yourself ??

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Aus is not on the top of my bucket list, despite my having friends and family there. And many friends who have visited (from the UK which is quite nanny state) say it is the biggest police state in the world.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

My son lives there and says he would not live anywhere else except NZ (but its too cold). He is an animal rights activist and clashes with the police regularly and says they are professional and well behaved generally – your friends sound as if they dont get out much….

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

They live in London, are very widely travelled and ‘get out’ every day!

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

then how can they think Oz is a police state ? I have seen lots of “heavy handed’ police in the US, Thailand, Italy, and of course Africa, and many other countries via internet . There was quite a bit of corruption in the past but things seem fairly civilized now. I think it is important to keep a sense of perspective about everything or we run the risk of paranoid hysteria – which is not far below the surface of the human condition -witness some of the fairly outrageous views heard on Unherd – which is itself reasonably sane in the big scheme of things….

Philip L
Philip L
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Except this article details how we’ve turned out *not similar at all*

Yes, we drive on the same side of the road and insert more lazy anglosphere parallels here. But one of us has lost the plot. In fact there is no take I can think of that makes the Brits seem crazier.

Despite squeaks about creeping authoritarianism in the UK, the big difference is that we have antibodies and are now more or less free. The Aussies don’t and are not even close.

They have their own military breathing down their necks; we have the occasional old geezer muttering about mask etiquette in the frozen foods aisle at Sainsbury’s. That’s it.

I also don’t understand your comment about complacency: in fact, what they are doing down there is the opposite of that.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

“…someone has to leave their home to ensure the taps don’t run dry, clean Covid exposure sites, stock supermarket shelves and collect the rubbish. During Sydney’s current lockdown, one in ten infected residents caught the coronavirus at work. Since many of these workplaces are essential, this limits the efficacy of the lockdown, which has no end in sight.”

That, right there. We hear a lot these days about which vision of a dystopian future is coming to pass, George Orwell’s or Aldous Huxley’s. We all seem to forget the father of modern science fiction, HG Wells. The article above is describing a society of Morlocks and Eloi and the Eloi in Australia seem to be as utterly useless and vacuous as the ones in The Time Machine.

Last edited 2 years ago by Francis MacGabhann
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

The stupid thing is it means 9 in 10 caught it NOT at work – so work must be safe, so why lock down?

Heidi M
Heidi M
2 years ago

Love to see Australia making it in, even if it is for Covid. One item that I think is neglected here is that because the rest of the states were never in lockdown like Victoria, there has been this odd naivety about what it entails to lockdown and the danger of Covid. Living in Victoria and having talked to family and friends in other states, there is this odd disconnect where they view Covid much as the majority of the world did in February/March of last year. Only now with their own lockdowns are the cracks starting to form and no one is as eager to judge people for being complacent or irresponsible. It is terrible having so little rights. No rights to be able to see family in other states or overseas, and even if you can get permission to leave, there is no guarantee of when you can come back and you must pay an obscene amount of money to be quarantined in a hotel for two weeks when you do. Everytime restaurant and cafes reopen and then are put back in lockdown a few weeks later they lose thousands of dollars in wasted food. The worst showing was when the government locked down the entire low income housing block. These are people already living in dark and dismal conditions in old pre fab apartments, in potentially unsafe households. It was an incredible injustice. A family who returned from Qatar who were vaccinated and tested negative were seperated from their baby who was born premature until they had completed quarantine. And yet our state leaders in their daily updates just wag their fingers at us as though we are incompetent and irresponsible children.

Hoping Novavax is released soon.

Last edited 2 years ago by Heidi M
Scott Powell
Scott Powell
2 years ago
Reply to  Heidi M

I want a divorce now. (from Australia)

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Heidi M

It is terrible having so little rights
 our state leaders in their daily updates just wag their fingers at us as though we are incompetent and irresponsible children
I too live in Victoria. I too have family I am unable to visit—in my case, a 97-year old mother and a sister in the UK. I too fear I would not be allowed back even if I were able to leave the country to visit them. I too could not afford the fares even if I were allowed back. I too have seen local businesses frustrated and on the verge of going broke. But my attitude to it all is the polar opposite of yours.
Your comment is one long list of complaints. Most of them are factually correct, more or less. But you leave some important things out. For example, the reason for the lockdowns: people were ignoring health advice and spreading the virus. Yes, they were behaving like “incompetent and irresponsible children”, to use your words. So authorities had to act to protect the wider population.
In particular, you omit to mention that the reason Victoria is in lockdown again was because a removalist from New South Wales broke the rules, brought Covid back into Victoria, then spread it to South Australia too.
So you beg the question: what was the alternative? To let thousands die? Really? If not, then why are you complaining?
Here’s my response to the situation: I am truly grateful we still have government in this country capable of thinking and acting, by and large, on behalf of the whole population. That on the whole we have been able to rise above petty ideological squabbles to grasp the greater national interest. I am grateful modern technology enables me to connect over the internet with family on the other side of the world. I am grateful that I have been able to receive two vaccinations of AstraZeneca and also a flu shot. I am grateful that strangers have been kind and thoughtful to me in the supermarket and in smaller shops. I try to do what I can for others as well. This generates happiness and good feeling.
There is an old saying: Count your blessings! It contains a deep wisdom.

Last edited 2 years ago by Penelope Lane
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Agreed – if coping with lockdown in Australia is the toughest thing you will ever have to do ……..spare a thought for the nice people in Afghanistan right now…..

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

A useful argument in any circumstance. Hey, what about Afghanistan?
Unless you’re a victorious Taliban, of course. No truth in the rumour that they’re studying Victoria on how to close borders, lock down cities , close schools, and destroy businesses

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

See my comment about hysterical paranoia alive and well not far down in the human consciousness…

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

Oh for heaven’s sake! You know better
 I know you do


Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan


spare a thought for the nice people in Afghanistan right now

Yes of course… I weep
 it’s hard to deal with everything in this short comment space


Martin Smith
Martin Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Lockdown has certainly helped get women back into the kitchen and girls out of school. It got them veiled too…

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Heidi M

I’d like to see more articles about Australia on here! I find it fascinating – as a Brit, it feels kind of familiar and when you meet Aussies (or Kiwis), you are quickly on a wavelength. At the same time, it’s so different in some ways. Apart from the fact that one of your PMs drowned down near Adelaide, I know diddly squat about Australian politics but would like to know more.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

PM Harold Holt went missing, presumed drowned, in 1967 at Cheviot Beach, Portsea, on the Mornington Peninsula – opposite side of Melbourne from Adelaide and as near to Adelaide as Aberdeen is to London.

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
2 years ago

According to yesterday’s DT the ‘Delta variant has wrecked hopes of herd immunity, warn scientists’. So even if vaccinated you can still get it, albeit probably as a much milder cold like illness, unless you have serious comorbidities.
So the Australian gov will spend billions on the $30 a shot Pfizer jab (not the $3 AZ one) and in a year when 80% are vaccinated try to open up. And then gets lots of clusters of outbreaks of cases and a few deaths among the most vulnerable (just like ‘normal’ flu), and this will trigger spasms of lockdowns and hysterical headlines for the next 2 or 3 years.
This course was set at the start of the pandemic.

Susan Lundie
Susan Lundie
2 years ago
Reply to  Pete Marsh

And none of that covers the inevitable side effects, some very serious and life changing, that will accompany the vaccine program.
I’m not anti vax, I’ve had both Covid and my AZ shots (76 years old), but the failure of governments and public health authorities to weigh up the risk balance of short and, as yet unknown, long term side effects in younger age groups is deeply unethical, at the least. Doubly so, as we now know that being vaccinated does not prevent one getting either a, hopefully, milder dose of Covid, nor the ability apparently to transfer a viral load just as heavy as a non vaccinated person.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
2 years ago

Please before you talk/write about lock-downs check all opinions on the way covid behaves: the current trendy, convenient narrative (to force vaccinations) on covid may not be as accurate as you may think. Check: https://www.questioneverything.io/
The complete disregard for the poor from the governments that decided on lockdowns is shameful. I do not think history will be tender in its analysis….

Jim Cox
Jim Cox
2 years ago

Spot on! The professional elites have decided to give concern for others a miss.
Only occasionally do the runblings of the wornout and discouraged working class penetrate the elites’ bubble of prosperity and selfregard. The solution is blindingly simple. If Western civilization would turn to the documents and ideas that made it great, not excluding the holy scriptures of Judaism and Christianity, it would find that today’s elites’ disregard of others’
suffering is roundly condemned in Scripture. Try reading the Old Testament book of Micah and its resounding condemnation of those who take advantage of their fellow citizens. And Christ’s two great commandments were to love the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF(emphasis mine).

Tharmananthar Shankaradhas
Tharmananthar Shankaradhas
2 years ago

Isolation leads to specialisation to survive, but makes it vulnerable to any exposure to outside.

Jonathan Bagley
Jonathan Bagley
2 years ago

If borders reopen when 80% of adults are vaccinated, the epidemic will rise uncontrollably. I’m sure Australia has a younger population than the UK, so 80% of adults is less than 57% of the population – far lower than the 85% needed for herd immunity; and with no additional immunity due to infection. I don’t see an end to these lockdowns.

Julie Kemp
Julie Kemp
2 years ago

I admire this commentary and am Australian and studied at UQ.
It reminds me (am 72) of much i have read over several decades re ‘western’ civilisation, democracy, history, capitalism, imperialism, slaveries and just mere internecine cruelties around the place.
More recently many of the best and fairest social commentators in the last couple of years especially, eg Douglas Murray, Thomas Sowell, and many other very concerned and articulate people in interviews with Peter Robinson (Stanford) and with ‘my’ own John Anderson based in Sydney (and i think from his country home base near Armidale, New South Wales) expertly serve this ice-cold dish of real and apparent societal decline.
It is my opinion that Ivermectin and the associated fraternity and sorority have been plotted against in the most vigorous and wicked of ways. To think what a certain ‘lab’ ‘someplace’ did (whether consciously or not) has not been countered with all guns blazing is utterly aghasting and puts paid to any traditions where ‘our men’ faced the enemy of totalitarian exterminating regimes not so long ago.
My late darling gentle Dad, and my dearest maternal grandfather fought nobly in their age relevant world war. Dad was ‘Navy’ and Grandpa (a Scots grandson) was an Army Man and officer in WWI. A book of his letters home is one of my family’s treasures. My late Mother at age 90 rued how her father just was not the same man after that wretched abominable war that was so contrived by hidden fiscal factions. And then that ‘Flu arrived! Co-incidence? Every decade since has had its great calamity and many have paid dearly for it – and i automatically recall dear JFK – murdered on my 15th birthday in 1963.
What we seem to have lost by woke cancer is the whole show, and i reasonably suspect all the ‘biggies’ (pharma, techies, foodies, movie types, pollies, monieds etcetera) have emerged to poison and diminish the Earth and its Human Beings just so they may survive perhaps by going into massive underground structures and/or going ‘off planet’. All that is just so weak and gutless. I can’t or don’t admire that – a seed bank perhaps has some sense to it. ‘My’ consciousness and passion source is entangled with theirs no matter who and where they are. Rebound and ‘common sense’ unite us all (thanks to quantum science and its story ) and offending such realities has a greater cost i think. Gregg Braden et al have spoken so well on where things are at in this scientific and deeply spiritual consciousness Matrix.
And i call those ‘biggies’ the obese aleets. They too will pay.
Thank you Shahar for ‘getting me going’.

Chris Eaton
Chris Eaton
2 years ago

I have a hard time believing that the average Australian is so spineless. Learn something new every day.

Julia
Julia
2 years ago
Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
2 years ago

Apart from the rather obvious point that the coronavirus does not blow in on the wind but is carried by people and, so scientists keep insisting, spread by close contact, a year and a half into the pandemic there seems little hard evidence about how outbreaks actually begin, nor apparently how they end. The UK and Australia are 10,000 miles apart and have had, and even more now have, very different policies. But looking at the graphs of daily cases, available on the WHO’s web site, I find a surprising similarity between them and no clear relationship to ‘lockdown’ measures or ‘releases’. Height of the peaks varies, but the waves peaking in the UK in January and July 2021, and in Australia in July-August 2020 and potentially around the end of this month August 2021, rise exponentially over about two months, then decline exponentially over three to four months. The current UK wave is exhibiting a flattening off since late July which breaks this pattern, but so is the rate of vaccination because of ‘reluctance’ mainly by young people – at its peak the UK’s 2nd vaccination rate was about 10M per month, now it’s a third of that. In contrast to the Australian clampdown, the UK government seems to have gradually lost interest. One wonders whether its delay in ending the ’pingdemic’ was more for face-saving than any rational reason. While some actions or inactions certainly had an effect, the most notorious being failure to stop movement of infected care workers between hospitals and old-people’s homes until 39,000 had died, there was only a modest reduction in people driving all over the country while the prime minister was intoning “You must stay at home” at those of a more nervous disposition, mostly hitting easy targets like ‘non-essential’ businesses. We still don’t know whether closing or reopening schools had a significant effect. It will be interesting to see what happens next, and eventually the outcome of an inquiry into whether any of the measures actually made any difference. New Zealand shows that strict border controls and intensive tracing of contacts can work with small outbreaks, and it’s rather obvious that masking and avoiding crowded gatherings in confined spaces reduce risk, but is that it?

Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
2 years ago

“During Sydney’s current lockdown, one in ten infected residents caught the coronavirus at workmany of these workplaces are essential …” So if 90% caught it when not at work, and in lockdown, what were they doing? “This limits the efficacy of the lockdown” does seem an understatement.