Jokes about New South Wales being a ‘failed police state’ aren’t so funny anymore.
Hundreds of ADF personnel patrol deserted Sydney streets, decorated with block after block of boarded-up shops. Police door-knock at random, conducting searches without a warrant to make sure that people aren’t harbouring unregistered friends. Failure to allow the government digital stalking privileges results in fines while compliance runs the risk of house arrest and mandatory testing if someone nearby sniffs the wrong way.
To say that power has gone to the police commissioner’s head is an understatement.
One would imagine his zeal for authoritarianism would be satisfied by the thousands of snitches calling hot-lines to report their fellow citizens for sitting in the sun or walking their dogs, but no. Fuller’s lust extends to enticing suffering businesses into violating health orders. These are the same businesses discarded by the state as ‘non-essential’.
Soon after a ridiculously over-kill lockdown was enforced on the people of Newcastle, a couple of plain-clothes police staked out a small local business. One of the police officers knocked on the door, coercing the shop employee – who was working inside a closed shop with a young child – to unlock the door and find out what the impatient man wanted.
The police officer then tried to force his way into the premises, pushing on the door as another man – his colleague – raced over in what looked like an attempted robbery.
Unsurprisingly, the employee panicked and tried to lock the door before he was overpowered by the two police officers breaking into his shop.
Once inside, they revealed themselves to be police and denied their appalling manner of entry.
“You’ve just forced yourself into my shop!” complained the staff member, repeatedly.
“No – we just need to give you some paperwork,” replied one of the officers. “I am giving you a direction – an official direction – as this is not one of the shops that is allowed to be open during this restriction period, okay? I’m giving you a direction that the shop needs to close.”
Of course, the shop wasn’t open in the first place. The door was locked when the police approached, something they knew from their stakeout. All the staff member did was go to the door to find out why a bloke was knocking on it.
Have we reached the point in our society where shop owners need to be fearful of answering the door in case the police are attempting to entrap them with a Covid fine?
Are police really so cash-strapped after they emptied the freeways that their new revenue-raiser involves hunting struggling family businesses?
The young girl said it best after the cops had left.
“I thought they were normal people…”
Fines for even the tiniest infractions are between $5,000 and $3,000 – ruinous amounts for people who have been trying to pay a mortgage or keep their business open for the last 18 months of random lockdowns and significant restrictions on trade.
Not that the mainstream media are listening.
When Victorian Liberal Leader Michael O’Brien went on 3AW to express his fantasy of ‘locking people up’ and issuing ‘hourly fines’ to Covid rule-breakers, host Neil Mitchell voiced his dismay that the fines weren’t high enough.
“That’s not much – $11,000 for lying,” said Mitchell. “$22,000 for failing to follow a direction, like wearing a mask. When you look at it individually, they are not overwhelmingly huge penalties.”
Perhaps not, if you enjoy a large salary which hasn’t skipped a beat for the duration of the pandemic… The average income for Australians before the pandemic was about $48,000 before tax. In 2021, it’s unlikely the government knows what the true average income is, given how many businesses have shut down and the enormous volume of people subsisting off government handouts.
Those surviving on government money have a yearly income of around half the previous average. These fines, which Mitchell claims are ‘not overwhelmingly huge’ could represent the entire year’s earnings for a lot of Australians who find themselves destitute through no fault of their own.
We are at the point where Australians are too frightened to exercise their constitutionally protected right to peaceful protest because a $1,000 fine means they’d lose their home.
The government is deliberately keeping people subdued under threat of financial ruin. That is no way to run a democracy.
Forget if it’s technically legal. It is definitely unethical.
The longer this goes on, the more obvious it becomes that state premiers like Gladys Berejiklian cannot allow the people of New South Wales to make their own choices. If the iron curtain is torn open and the apocalypse doesn’t eventuate, literally everyone will sue the state for negligence.
And so they should.
What kind of monstrous regime deliberately victimises struggling businesses for profit? How can a police officer look at themselves in the mirror after forcing their way into someone’s home to check if a young single is hiding an unregistered friend after nearly two months of solitary confinement?
The virus will kill people. That is how this works. The biggest mistake our civilisation made was convincing the modern generation that they lived in a big, fluffy safe-space immune from the normal danger of life on Earth. It’s almost understandable that the cotton-wool generation developed an obsession with apocalypse porn. In many ways, Covid lets them live out their fear-fantasy without facing any real danger.
Believe me, if people were truly frightened of Covid, no one would leave their house in anything short of a hazmat suit. Governments don’t have to tell people to be frightened if the threat is real. When governments are forced to bribe people hundreds of dollars for a miracle cure – the population has assessed the risk and decided that it is acceptable. Given the odds, the vast majority would rather have their lives back than live as prisoners of the state.
The one thing that Covid didn’t have to do was tear the soul of Australia to shreds.
Politicians minced our laws for their own benefit.
Early on, they tied their political careers to case numbers. Premiers are set to enforce their barbaric measures on the people of this nation for as long as it takes to secure a Covid-zero future and with it, the next four years of power. The prime minister will encourage them for exactly the same reason.
In the meantime, Australians should accept their fate as walking ATMs which the police come around and shake for loose change.