Most mornings (when I remember to) I put up the Australian flag out the front of our house. I feel enormous gratitude for living in this great country and raising the flag is a small ritual to remember how lucky I am.
Just before Christmas I shared a picture of the flag on Facebook, saying how lucky we are. Plenty of people liked the post and shared that sentiment. A significant number, however, felt they could not be proud of Australia given the increasingly draconian and bureaucratic COVID restrictions on their lives.
That saddened me because not all are getting a fair go in Australia right now. We are not a perfect country but one of our aspirations should be to give all Australians a fair go.
This is not just about the vaccine mandates. This week we learnt that Queensland Hospitals have been ripping newborn babies from their mothers because the Mum might be a close contact. Aleasha Pique described how it was “the longest day of my life” when the hospital took her new baby off her. She was told it could be days until she was reunited as they waited for a PCR test.
My office has been contacted by a teacher from Emerald who is facing the loss of her job because of bureaucracy gone mad. She has a medical exemption from the vaccine, an exemption that has been recognised by the Department of Education. However, under the unfair rules she has to get a PCR test every day to go to work! That is not something she can do in Emerald. Now she is being asked to seek an “exemption from the exemption” and has been told that could take months to process.
Meanwhile she is facing weeks without an income.
Another constituent can not attend an Australian citizenship ceremony because she is unvaccinated. There are meant to be online ceremonies available in these circumstances but she is currently being buck-passed between Canberra and the council over who is responsible.
So much of my job is now taken up with trying to get common sense outcomes from the army of COVID overlords that now rule our lives. As US commentator, Bari Weiss, said this week we now have a pandemic of bureaucracy. To get our country back we need to overthrow these pen-pushers and restore common sense.
You can not deliver common sense outcomes when you are trying to deliver them through the clauses and subclauses of public health orders. These new “laws”, which have gone through no Parliament, are not written by scientists, they are written by lawyers. Hence, the spiderweb of red tape that average Australians find themselves in through no fault of their own.
And the Queensland State Government behind these laws is reluctant to admit any fault. Just before Christmas the State Government enforced vaccine mandates and have forced thousands of Queenslanders out of work, exacerbating shortages in our hospitals and transport systems. We were promised that this would help us tackle the virus when we opened the border.
The data is in, the vaccine mandates have failed. Before the mandates, Queensland had recorded just 2200 coronavirus cases. In the past month, while we have had to show a green tick to go out and about, we have recorded 342,586 coronavirus cases. Vaccine mandates have not worked.
The vaccines have worked. While every death is tragic, just 0.04 per cent of coronavirus cases now end in death. That is down from over 3 per cent in 2020, and it is about half the fatality rate of the flu.
Now that vaccines are available we should dismantle the bureaucratic COVID state. That will be the best way to return to the land of the fair go by Australia Day 2023.