Tyrannising the minority is not the Australian way.
Australian’s exemplary compliance with Covid vaccination should not be interpreted as trust in government.
Ever-shifting goal posts, conflicting and patronising health advice, heavy handed policing and the demonising of dissent has brought us to the brink of peak cynicism.
For a system of government that relies on bonds of trust between governors and governed, further stretching trust risks something snapping.
We are perilously close.
Among those of us who chose to be vaccinated, there is deep sympathy for those who for whatever reason chose differently.
Many sectors are now mandating no jab no job, causing heartache and worry to tens of thousands of families, despite assurances from no less than the Prime Minister that there would be no mandatory vaccination.
As choice has morphed into coercion, the rubber band of our social contract has only wound tighter.
Anger amongst the unvaccinated heightened yesterday when New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet, seen as the one who punched the frog to get us going again, departed from the much-vaunted “National Plan” to keep unvaccinated people locked up for a further two weeks.
He gave no reason and quoted no health advice, and no one particularly seemed to care.
With vaccination rates in NSW on track to break through 90 per cent, tyrannising the minority passed with hardly a murmur.
The National Plan said let the unvaxxed out at 80pc, Perrottet is now saying 95pc, a world record high.
I follow the news and know how to use Google but I couldn’t find any health advice in any of the reporting explaining why our hospital system remained at risk from unvaccinated people overwhelming it unless 95pc of the population is vaccinated.
The respected Burnett Institute, upon which the National Plan was based, said opening up (including state borders) and ending lockdowns should occur at 70-80pc.
None of the Premiers, not event Perrottet, stuck to it.
As a Christian, I seem to know a disproportionate number of people who have chosen not to take the jab.
I respect them all but don’t agree with them all.
Some are validly hesitant, a rational response to new vaccines rushed to the frontline of a pandemic.
Some believe crazy stuff, but I still love and respect them. They think I’m crazy for taking the jab and that’s fine, I hope we can still be friends.
I share concerns about the crushing of discussion about Ivermectin and alternatives to lockdowns.
Where I also deeply sympathise is in the creation of two classes of citizens.
Where is the Left when it comes to minority rights for the unvaccinated?
Sadly we are becoming ambivalent about even reasonable human rights accommodations for them.
As Lincoln Brown wrote in the Spectator online, we’re moving from segregation to downright exclusion.
Dictator Dan Andrews leads the way decreeing that the only shopping unvaxxed Victorians can do in 2022 is food shopping. No pubs, no David Jones, no MCG – until 2023.
Seriously? Covid is not the bubonic plague.
Andrews is just being mean but he did seem to enjoy having the police shoot rubber pellets at protestors.
Christian churches in NSW have commendably been the exception to the segregationists, refusing to open until the health orders allowed everyone to return to Sunday services together.
Elsewhere the punishment of the unvaxxed is becoming punitive, especially when rapid antigen testing is readily available.
Don’t get me wrong. There is no problem with the government, as part of a pandemic public health response, encouraging people to be vaccinated.
But we’ve moved to coercion and Perrottet admitted yesterday that keeping the unvaxxed locked up for longer was designed to further drive-up vaccination.
“Whatever it takes”, a popular political dictum made famous by Graham Richardson, should never be the modus operandi of government in a free society.
Being treated like pawns by the power players of big government, big tech and big pharma only fuels suspicion and for some drives them deeper into conspiracy theories.
I’ve always felt the response to Covid has been a massive over-reaction but have been willing to cut our leaders slack knowing they were dealing with a novel virus created by the Chinese Communist Party. We’ve been in uncharted waters.
But we know so much more now and it is incumbent on politicians to better explain their reasons if they are going to “other” 10pc of the population.
The English philosopher John Stuart Mill warned that the big danger of democracy is the tyranny of the majority.
Tyranny always leads to a breakdown in trust and there’s nothing more important for politicians to do than re-build it.
Their response to Covid has fractured what little existed pre-pandemic.
Lyle Shelton is Director of Campaigns and Communications for the Christian Democratic Party. To keep in touch with Lyle and the CDP, sign up here.