The Lovers of Liberty (LOL) group convene before the upcoming protest march, decrying "Dictator Dan's" reign of terror in Victoria.
CONVENOR: Welcome, one and all. I’ve called this extraordinary meeting to go over the speech I’ll be making at the protest rally.
(Round of applause from the gallery.)
CONVENOR: Thank you. My first sentence is to be: We, Lovers of Liberty, demand a return to travel beyond a five-kilometre radius, free of government interference.
(Applause from the gallery.)
MEMBER 1: If I may?
CONVENOR: Of course. We are all libertarians here.
MEMBER 1: Any specific mode of travel?
CONVENOR: Well, I suppose we’ll go with auto travel, by car.
MEMBER 1: To be precise, we do have speed limits in different areas; we need to have a licence to drive; our car has to have current registration; we have to have less than .05 blood alcohol content when we drive. We can’t have any illicit drugs in our bloodstream. We have to be over a certain age; we have to obey road signs and light signals, stop at red lights, stay within speed limits, drive on the left-hand side of the road.
CONVENOR: Have you finished yet?
MEMBER 1: Give way to the right. Tax is incorporated in the cost of petrol. Our vehicle has to be roadworthy.
CONVENOR: Enough. What is your point?
MEMBER 1: We already experience a lot of government interference when we drive.
CONVENOR: Okay, I’ll omit mentioning travel by car from my speech.
MEMBER 2: What about by aeroplane, or helicopter?
CONVENOR: Most of us won’t need to fly just to travel further than five kilometres from home.
MEMBER 2: Yes, but if we do, you need a passport to leave Australia, plus a departure tax is factored into the cost of your ticket. The pilots have to be properly trained and licensed and drug-free. To re-enter Australia, we have to be cleared by customs. Planes need to be constantly maintained to remain flightworthy. We are checked to make sure we aren’t carrying weapons and so on.
CONVENOR: Okay, you’ve made your point. I’ll drop air travel as well.
MEMBER 3: We’ve still got bicycles.
CONVENOR: Excellent point. Cycling free of Dictator Dan’s government’s interference.
MEMBER 3: We do have to wear a helmet and ride along bicycle lanes, have a roadworthy bike. Have lights for night riding and attach something highly visible at night. Don’t ride on the footpath.
CONVENOR: Okay, I’ll jettison bicycle travel from my speech as well. I can focus on our freedom to walk without intrusive government restriction.
MEMBER 4: It’s illegal to jaywalk. We also have to obey road rules; cross with the lights within certain designated spots on the road. That’s government interference.
CONVENOR: Enough. For fuck's sake. Enough already. To make you all happy, I won’t mention anything about travel, okay?
(Round of applause.)
CONVENOR: I’ll begin by saying how we long to eat in restaurants and cafes again, free of government interference.
MEMBER 1: May I?
CONVENOR: Not you again. Go ahead.
MEMBER 1: Restaurants have to pass safe food handling regulations; store food safely; provide clean toilet facilities; keep their kitchens clean and safe. Provide proper air ventilation. Have a liquor licence to serve alcohol, plus have staff qualified for the responsible serving of alcohol. They need protocols for fire emergencies.
CONVENOR: Okay, you little prick. I won’t mention restaurants and cafes when it comes to eating. I will highlight we are free when it comes to buying food in supermarkets and shops.
MEMBER 5: Not quite right. Our national Agriculture Department demands safety and health requirements are met to ensure people’s health and safety. Packaging has to display the food’s ingredients, as well as being accurately dated. Transportation of food must meet health regulations. Allergy warnings and, in some cases, religious requirements must be highlighted if necessary. Whether the food is vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, Australian raw materials or produce from overseas.
CONVENOR: Right. If it makes you happy, I won’t mention food. I’ll start by saying it is about time we are allowed to get back to work, free of Dictator Dan and government interference.
MEMBER 6: There are industrial relations laws; Work Health and Safety regulations. Minimum award rates; penalty rates. Superannuation mandatory payments. Businesses need a license to trade and can’t trade if they are insolvent. Many will have signed leases they are legally obligated to honour. They have to keep their tax records up to date.
CONVENOR: Fine. I won’t mention getting back to work. I’ll focus on reopening our schools without Dictator Dan fucking things up.
MEMBER 7: Teachers have to be VIT registered and all staff need police check clearances before they are allowed to work with children. Schools have to meet certain curriculum standards. Teacher/student ratios must not be breached. Schools must be legally registered and function within an overarching system.
CONVENOR: Just shut up, will you? To make all of you happy, I won’t make a speech at the rally. I’ll sing my favourite Ted Nugent song.
Meeting over. Piss off. I’ll see all of you at the rally.
(They leave post-haste. Soon, the Convenor arrives home, the meeting being within five kilometres of his house.)
CONVENOR: I’m home.
(He sees his son and daughter running around their living room.)
CONVENOR: How many times have I told you, no running in the house. Stop it!
SON: Sorry, dad.
CONVENOR: Where’s your mother?
DAUGHTER: In your bedroom.
(He opens their bedroom door and finds his wife watching Netflix.)
CONVENOR: How many times do I have to tell you? Don’t lock yourself away watching TV while the kids are still up.
(She looks at him and rolls her eyes.)
CONVENOR: We can’t just do whatever we like, whenever we like. There are rules, regulations and responsibilities in life.
WIFE: You and your rules, regulations and responsibilities. Haven’t you heard of “live and let live”?
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