Stephen Andrew statement on State Coercion and Lockdown

Those in power know that if you make people desperate enough, you can get them to do almost anything. With vaccination rates stubbornly low – 15.7% as of yesterday – snap lockdowns and harsh restrictions are being used coercively by governments to enforce their will on an unexpectedly recalcitrant Australian people. As the political adage goes, if you want people to be willing to accept a solution, first you have to make them realise that they have a problem.
With each passing day, more and more extreme restrictions are being imposed, and the country’s leadership are stridently adamant that the lockdowns and strict measures won’t end till most of Australia is fully vaccinated. The PM, Scott Morrison, told Australians last month that phase B, the ‘transition phase’, only begins when the adult population has reached 80 per cent of people fully vaccinated, and any State wanting to move to the next stage will also have to have reached that target. The NSW Premier told the people of her State that the ‘harshest lockdown ever’ would be lifted at the end of August. Yesterday, she walked that back, saying only much higher vaccination rates would see restrictions loosened.
In Queensland, we have had three snap lockdowns already this year, with the most recent one extended another week by the Deputy Premier, Steven Miles. Miles told media that this could be the last lockdown, provided Queenslanders did the right thing by wearing masks, checking in at venues, getting tested for the virus and, yes, getting vaccinated. So eighteen months after ‘flattening the curve’, people are still being told that they aren’t allowed to seek and find basic social interaction, enjoy physical contact with friends and family or derive confidence and self-esteem from their work.
The impact of these coercive, cruel lockdowns, combined with the frightening dismantling of our rights and civil liberties, has been enormously destructive of public confidence and trust.
The damage done to social cohesion and people’s sense of happiness and well-being has also been profound. Many will take years to recover, if they ever do.
Whether they will ever forgive their Governments and those who led them down this road, is another question altogether.
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