Politics Opinion

Like the U.S., Australians angry about COVID mismanagement

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Cartoon by Mark David/@mdavidcartoons

Uninspiring leaders and a non-compliant public do not bode well for Australia's management of COVID-19, writes Sue Arnold.

A RECENT POLL in the U.S. is a real indication of what’s here happening in Australia. Angry people are protesting in cities, outside council chambers, at supermarkets, in stores. 

Staff serving the public report being yelled at, abused and threatened.

No analysis of why people are so angry has been taken up by any Australian government or institutes involved in public issues. Protestors yell they have lost personal freedom, that it’s their right to refuse vaccinations.

Epidemic outbreaks have been caused by acts of extreme selfishness as people ignore the rules, pleasing themselves without concern for the community.

The U.S. poll conducted by NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is revelatory.

The poll found that 70% of Americans say they feel angry 'because our political system seems to only be working for the insiders with money and power, like those on Wall Street or in Washington'. 

43% say that statement describes them 'very well'.

There is a similar situation in Australia. Indeed, many believe our political system is broken. Because there’s no apparent way to hold governments to account. The level of corruption and dirty dealings is epidemic and ongoing.

The NSW ICAC has been deliberately starved of funds. Efforts to establish a Federal ICAC have resulted in a watered-down proposal for a Commonwealth integrity commission which will in no way deal with the extent of corruption evident on a daily basis.

According to an article in The Conversation, Royal Commission powers would only extend to 20% of the federal public sector.

The appalling failure of the Morrison Government to ensure early delivery of vaccines in 2020; the ongoing mismanagement and blame-shifting should have ensured that PM Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt, the Health Minister, were forced to resigen.

Instead, they are left to continue dragging the nation down a dark and dangerous pit filled with empty promises. People are angry; they’re furious about the ongoing lockdowns; the stuff-ups over vaccines; lost businesses; loss of freedom and the hypocritical behaviour of their so-called leaders.

Australia’s total fully vaccinated rate of 41.9% of people over the age of 16 is still similar to most of America’s southern states. For example, Mississippi with a population of 2.98 million has only 40.3% fully vaccinated accompanied by a very high death rate.

Florida with a population of 21.6 million has 54% fully vaccinated with an incredible 48,772 deaths.

The pandemic debacle doesn’t fully explain why so many have chosen to use masks, vaccines and social distancing as a new weapon against governments. Or how this epidemic of selfishness and self-righteousness has spread across the nation. 

Nor do many understand that we’re witnessing the most profound social change. Without role models, the social fabric of nations begins to shatter. 

Think about how long it has taken for the health regulator to take action against Craig Kelly MP, the politician who runs a “relentless war on COVID”, using social media and Sky News to get out his message.

The former Liberal sent text messages to more than 14 million phones to discourage people from being vaccinated.  

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announces she will no longer do daily press briefings as the Delta variant soars in Sydney and regional areas. This perfectly underlines the non-accountability attitude shared by the premier and prime minister.  

Berejiklian and Morrison keep telling us we “have to learn to live with COVID”. Surely the real message should be “we messed up and now you’ll all have to accept the death toll because we aren’t taking any responsibility”.

Where does the younger generation find inspiration with leaders who duck and weave? 

Overlay conspiracy devotees and the extraordinary impact of social media in furthering incredibly dangerous theories with not a shred of proof.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently found that unvaccinated people are 11 times more like to die from Covid 19. American hospitals are groaning under the weight of sick and dying people who have refused to be vaccinated. Vaccine hesitancy in the southern states has brought massive, irretrievable human and economic loss.

Has Australia learned America's lesson?

How did we get to a place where a refusal to be vaccinated, to wear a mask, puts everyone else at risk?  

A mild-mannered retired neighbour was walking down the street in Byron Bay, the arguable capital of anti-vaccine folk, properly masked. He was confronted by a woman screaming abuse at him, demanding to know why he was supporting a corrupt Government by wearing a mask. This is not an unusual situation.

Who can people point to in the Government as worthy of respect? If leaders don’t care, why should we?

The delta variant has exposed deep crevices in our national psyche. Crevices that need to be addressed, discussed and ways found to heal the rifts.

Otherwise, Australia may well follow the U.S. in becoming a nation at war with itself. 

Sue Arnold is an IA columnist and freelance investigative journalist. You can follow Sue on Twitter @koalacrisis.

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