Australia’s harsh lockdowns continue as the country’s vaccine rollout makes painfully slow progress.
Most of the country’s 25 million citizens find themselves barred from international travel and subject to overnight curfews, all while anti-lockdown protests remain banned. Meanwhile, officials warn the unvaccinated face a “difficult life indefinitely.”
But that’s not all, as The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf explains:
Intrastate travel within Australia is also severely restricted. And the government of South Australia, one of the country’s six states, developed and is now testing an app as Orwellian as any in the free world to enforce its quarantine rules. Returning travelers quarantining at home will be forced to download an app that combines facial recognition and geolocation. The state will text them at random times, and thereafter they will have 15 minutes to take a picture of their face in the location where they are supposed to be. Should they fail, the local police department will be sent to follow up in person. “We don’t tell them how often or when, on a random basis they have to reply within 15 minutes,” Premier Steven Marshall explained. “I think every South Australian should feel pretty proud that we are the national pilot for the home-based quarantine app.”
New South Wales, home to Syndey, the country’s largest city, won’t wholly unshackle its residents from stay-at-home orders until December 1.
That’s the tentative plan anyway.
The state will prohibit those who remain unvaccinated after December 1 from entering shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.
Australia has evolved as a nation differently than the United States. We declared independence for not being able to vote on taxes and other issues. Despite the gap between our countries’ worldviews, Australia was one of the freest countries before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Atlantic further reports how Australia’s federal and state governments have indefinitely traded away their citizen’s liberty in the name of security:
Australia is undoubtedly a democracy, with multiple political parties, regular elections, and the peaceful transfer of power. But if a country indefinitely forbids its own citizens from leaving its borders, strands tens of thousands of its citizens abroad, puts strict rules on intrastate travel, prohibits citizens from leaving home without an excuse from an official government list, mandates masks even when people are outdoors and socially distanced, deploys the military to enforce those rules, bans protest, and arrests and fines dissenters, is that country still a liberal democracy?
Enduring rules of that sort would certainly render a country a police state. In year two of the pandemic, with COVID-19 now thought to be endemic, rather than a temporary emergency the nation could avoid, how much time must pass before we must regard Australia as illiberal and unfree?
To give Australia’s approach its due, temporary restrictions on liberty were far more defensible early in the pandemic, when many countries locked down and scientists understood little about COVID-19’s attributes or trajectory. Australian leaders hoped to “flatten the curve” of infection in an effort to prevent overcrowded hospitals and degraded care, and the higher death rates that would follow. The country was also betting that, within a time period short enough that restrictions could be sustained, scientists would develop a vaccine that protected against morbidity and mortality.
Unfortunately, the Australian government didn’t invest sufficiently in having enough vaccines, prolonging the agony of its citizens.
Even with the Australian government’s incompetence, the health benefits of sacrificing its citizens’ liberties have been undeniable. So far, Australia has recorded 1,278 COVID-19 deaths. That number comes out to four of every 100,000 residents. The United States has lost 211 people out of every 100,000.
That said, disturbing video footage shows a growing backlash from those fed up with the draconian measures that have turned a paradise into an authoritarian regime.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.