Djokovic was made an example of for political reasons.
I’m bothered by what Covid is doing to our nation.
The disease itself is uncomfortable and even lethal - mainly to some elderly, obese and people with other health vulnerabilities.
But what is equally troubling is a virus has infected our national psyche and become an intellectual comorbidity. We’ve changed.
We’ve become sticklers for irrational rules, we’ve turned on each other and we are censoring.
Fear of catching Covid and fear of saying the wrong thing are palpable.
Maybe that’s what Xi Jinping wanted when he knowingly allowed infected Chinese to carry the disease around the globe in early 2020.
Maybe the boffins in Wuhan engineered a totalitarian spike in the coronavirus protein.
Australians have always had an egalitarian, “let’s get the job done” streak. I think that in part explains our high vaccination rates – we have pulled together magnificently for the common goal of getting each other through the pandemic.
I love that about being Australian. It’s what makes we us, to further butcher a line from a Julia Gillard speech.
But it bothers me that I must qualify what I’m about to say next with “I am not anti-vaxx”. But I have to say, I’m not anti-vaxx.
If I don’t say it, I will be automatically seen as anti-vaxx for saying what comes next - such is the toxicity of this debate.
I must go even further and disclose that I’ve had two jabs of Astra Zeneca.
I took it because, while I never feared Covid for my own personal safety, I was told by my government I could reduce the risk of me transmitting and more importantly I would be part of a community effort to ensure our hospital system coped.
We discovered vaccines don’t stop transmission but they did and are protecting the hospitals.
I knew there was a tiny but real risk of blood clots. Other loved ones of mine took Pfizer knowing there was a slight risk of heart inflammation.
Thankfully we, like almost everyone else who has been vaccinated, are fine.
Although those among us who are vaccine hesitant and anti-vaxx will say the long-term effects may be yet to manifest.
They may be right, time will tell.
It would seem the figures for adverse impacts and even death are higher for Pfizer than would be tolerated for other medications approved by our regulatory authorities.
I wish a sensible discussion could be had. Why don’t our journalists who attend near daily press conferences with chief medical officers, premiers and the Prime Minister ask these questions?
That would of course be anti-vaxx, so there’s no scrutiny.
When US podcaster Joe Rogan invited one of the inventors of the MRnA vaccine technology, Dr Robert Malone, to speak to his 11 million listeners, Twitter cancelled him.
Last week when my friend George Christensen, the LNP member for Dawson in North Queensland, invited Dr Malone and other highly esteemed experts to speak on his high-rating Conservative One podcast, Anthony Albanese and the ABC attacked him for promoting “conspiracy theories”.
One of Christensen’s guests, Dr Peter McCullough, who has testified before the US Congress and the Texas state Senate, said he believed everyone over the age of 65 should be vaccinated (by choice) along with people who were medically at risk from Covid.
Hardly an anti-vaxx radical but because he advocates treatments, warns of impacts on women’s menstrual cycles and of heart inflammation risks for young men he is a pariah.
Any questioning of the public health response or highlighting of potential problems is shut down with the pejorative “anti-vaxx”.
While I don’t think I needed to get vaccinated, I don’t regret it.
The hospital figures alone prove that it is those from the five percent of the population not vaccinated who are taking up the overwhelming majority of ICU beds and ventilators.
Yes, I get that the vaxx is not 100pc protective and there are vaxxed people in hospital.
Heck, the vaxx didn’t stop me from getting Omicron on Christmas Day.
What Covid is showing us is that despite the best efforts of our medical experts and political leaders to keep us safe, they don’t know everything about Covid. They are not gods and it would probably be more helpful if some of them stopped acting that way, Brad Hazzard.
When I got my first jab in May there was no talk of boosters.
Now we don’t know whether they will end.
We can’t have a sensible debate about natural immunity from having had Covid, as the Djokovic fiasco has proven.
It’s like we have to use the sledgehammer of vaccines to crush the virus, even on five-year-olds.
I’m not as vaccine hesitant as my friend George Christensen. He revealed on my podcast this week that he is unvaccinated.
I respect his choice. But like him, I want to see a better debate – particularly now we seem to be through the worst of the emergency and that the pandemic might even be petering out.
We went into the vaccination program told it was voluntary. Technically it has been but it’s hard not to feel coerced – particularly in the states where you must show a digital vaccine passport to enter a café.
And then there are teachers and others losing their jobs because of the mandates.
We should always care about minorities and never seek to crush people.
We should accommodate conscientious objection wherever possible and given this is not the bubonic plague, surely we could.
The myriad of stupid rules that still apply – like only the masked vaccinated in church being allowed to sing – continue to gnaw away at public trust.
But if you are unvaccinated, anti-vaxx, or like me just want a better public debate, you are made to feel that questioning is verboten.
Christensen said Djokovic’s deportation showed “if you’re not vaccinated, you and your views are deemed as dangerous”.
“This ‘othering’ of the non-vaccinated is not only patently absurd, given Omicron is ripping through the vaccinated population, but it’s a symptom of a psychosis that’s gripped a certain segment of Australian society,” he said.
This is what is making me feel uncomfortable.
Another courageous voice is South Australian Senator Alex Antic.
I agree with him saying the cancelling of Djokovic’s visa was unnecessary.
“Australia has a vaccination rate of more than 90 per cent which is one of the highest rates in the world. Mr Djokovic came to Australia to play in one of the world’s premier tennis events, not campaign on political matters such as vaccination mandates,” Antic told The Australian.
“There are a variety of vapid Hollywood celebrities who hold incredibly irrational views in relation to a range of medical and social matters and I presume that those persons will also now come under the scrutiny of this ministerial power,” he added.
I’m not anti-vaxx but I think there is legitimate debate to be had about whether children need it. Does anyone seriously think hospitals will be clogged with six-year-olds on ventilators?
But hey, mass formation psychosis is a conspiracy theory, apparently.
To protect our hospital system and our heroic doctors, nurses and frontline workers, is it necessary to vaccinate non-vulnerable portions of the populations?
Now that Omicron is here, do we need to keep getting boosters?
Are there other treatments that would be better than vaccines for some cohorts?
Whenever politicians and elites conspire to say an issue is settled, I get suspicious. All Australians used to once.
Cancerous wokeness has been changing us and I fear Covid might have tipped us over.
We should be free to debate without the Shibboleth.