Australia’s emergency legislation is more dangerous than an actual emergency.
Quite unbeknownst to most Australians, politicians have spent their time inserting pieces of legislation into law that violate the spirit of the Constitution. These amendments are rarely publicised. Politicians have no interest in highlighting their expanding powers while our news cycle has grown fat and lazy through its addiction to a diet of click-bait. Covering obscure changes to legislation simply isn’t on the menu.
‘With great power comes great responsibility’ is definitely an adage lost on Australia’s current generation of half-wit bureaucrats and political leaders forged in the depravity of factional civil war. Their interpretation of a pragmatic, restrained response appears to be the installation of 1940s fascism.
Police are going door-to-door in Sydney’s West, hoping to fine residents caught harbouring their friends. They may as well ask if they’ve got Anne Frank under the floorboards while they’re at it.
Scott Morrison’s Operation Covid Shield is nothing short of an experiment in social engineering. Not only are the government actively legislating private business to re-enforce coercive propaganda, the federal government is encouraging the states to issue health orders to mandate vaccine passports – something Morrison cannot do on his own without falling foul of international human rights violations.
Operation Covid Shield includes a relentless media campaign designed to indoctrinate the public into a positive view of the vaccine. It features instructions on how to hone in and ‘fix’ public dissent if it arises. In other words, correcting ‘wrong think’ has become official policy.
This dystopian behaviour is not restricted to Australia. In America, the CDC have passed an unconstitutional moratorium on eviction with crippling fines, preventing struggling landlords from evicting tenants who refuse to pay rent. The attack on landlords will see America’s banks foreclosing on millions. Meanwhile, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio announced on Tuesday that, “If you want to participate in society fully, you’re got to get vaccinated.”
A global medical apartheid is well and truly underway where ‘choice’ has become an illusion.
We have never seen an Australian government take away basic liberties with the intention of ransoming them back on pain of ruin. Australians have lost the freedom to travel, worship, see friends, go to school, find a new romantic partner, run a business, work, access elective surgery, protest or even speak freely – online or in person.
There have been very few occasions in living memory when the full horror of emergency legislation has revealed itself. Each time, it has caused so much public outcry that politicians backed away.
During Australia’s regular bushfire season, authorities reminded people that they have the ability to remove home owners by force after a state of emergency is declared. This was almost universally met with a stern ‘bugger off’ from rural property owners, who insist that they have a natural right to defend their homes even in the face of danger.
The general public support this stance, arguing that risk is a personal issue. So, while emergency powers allow appointed officers to drag screaming citizens away from their properties, politicians decided that the political fallout at the next election wasn’t worth it.
Australians should have challenged the validity of emergency legislation as soon as they became aware of it, but as a politically apathetic population, we wrongly assumed that our political class would refrain from using it against the wishes of the people.
There has always been a philosophy of ‘she’ll be right’ in this country. We have never sought or expected our government to micromanage our lives. After a short period of propaganda by the government, Australia has mutated into an authoritarian state with a level of control that has become the envy of communist regimes.
Is fear really that powerful?
Can it undo centuries of convention, philosophy, and social behaviour?
Part of the reason emergency legislation exists is to grapple with the civil chaos that surrounds a genuine state of panic created by a crisis. Controlling frightened groups of people is a logistical nightmare and those who originally wrote the legislation did so to protect society during short periods of emergency.
The true problem comes with the ambiguity of ‘emergency’.
Emergencies were envisioned as short-lived, catastrophic events that evolve too fast for the normal process of democracy.
A volcanic eruption placing surrounding cities in immediate danger would be considered an emergency. Out of control fire fronts converging on a community is an emergency. An asteroid approaching Sydney requiring immediate evacuation is also an emergency. A sudden terrorist event at the heart of the CBD – an emergency.
What all these things have in common is a rapid onset scenario with unknown parameters, a high chance of casualties, and a short duration which is certain to create an unmanageable snowball of panic that inflates the total harm caused. This is why an emergency has a fourteen-day sunset clause attached. The option to increase this was not intended to create a rolling state of tyranny, but that is exactly what state premiers are doing.
Even in the rare case of pre-Covid emergencies, there has always been debate about whether the reach of emergency legislation is justified, moral, and enforceable. By all means, allowing the state to take over traffic control to assist in an evacuation seems reasonable. Forcibly removing people from their homes once they understand the risk has never been an idea that enjoys wide support.
Australia is ordinarily a calm country immune from the sorts of emergencies that would see a city the size of Sydney come under emergency orders and so the legislation has never had to defend itself under the spotlight. Instead, it has been left there, quietly sitting inside our legal system like an ideological weapon of mass destruction.
The Quarantine Act of 1908 is one such hidden hazard buried close to the surface, waiting to be tripped by a careless politician. Although it has been replaced by the Biosecurity Act of 2015, nearly all of it is referenced in the new Act.
We have drifted a long way from the original purpose of the Quarantine Act. It was created when Australia was in its infancy, cut off from the rest of the world with limited supplies, a tiny population-to-land ratio, and challenging logistics. The importation of livestock and crops was essential to the survival of the nation. A foreign virus had the potential to create a catastrophic food shortage which, if you’re an isolated island at the edge of the map, would have created a genuine emergency.
Quarantine under these circumstances was not only achievable, it was sensible.
While Australia still attempts this sort of quarantine, our standards have slipped dramatically, mostly in response to the simple reality that we live in a globalised world. Mass movement allows viruses and diseases to continuously piggy-back around the globe well beyond the reach of quarantine centres. The legislation is usually reserved for isolated instances of particularly nasty outbreaks. Panama TR4, Chestnut blight, White Spot, and Myrtle Rust are all examples of outbreaks which triggered quarantine measures.
Once an outbreak is declared endemic, quarantine measures stop. This is true of human diseases, where no one in their right mind would suggest quarantining flu patients. There is a genuine question as to whether the Biosecurity Act is still applicable now that Covid has become endemic to the globe. It may be that we have been locked down under false pretenses from the start.
Do not hold your breath waiting for politicians to apologise and relinquish the excessive powers they have enjoyed over the last eighteen months. It is not only a matter of vanity, if anyone manages to prove that government measures were illegal in their destruction, the court cases headed their way will be the largest in Australian history. Aside from a few mates in the rarefied class of businesses favoured by government policy, nearly everyone has suffered extensive economic damage as a direct result of government health mandates from which they may never recover. If things return to normal, the bills which have been put on hold will hit like a freight train, pushing those who’ve held on for months over the edge into ruin.
Putting aside the validity of the Governors and Governor General declaring an ‘emergency’ – the reach of emergency legislation, like the Biosecurity Act, appears to have no meaningful limitation.
If the government deems something to be ‘in the interest of public safety’ they can do it, regardless of whether that action is a violation of civil, Constitutional, or international human rights. They can separate parents from their children, destroy your house and possessions, detain you indefinitely, subject you to medical procedures, close your business, and deny you access to essentially all of your rights. Police no longer require warrants to enter and search your home. Political communication – one of the most sacred of all rights essential to maintaining the integrity of democracy – is considered a dangerous act that if you even think about engaging in, can land you with a huge fine.
The Biosecurity Act is a cleaver in the hand of a madman, hacking down on Australia.
Despite claiming to make their decisions in the safe constraint of ‘science’, there has never been a greater shortage of logic. Chief Health Officers and expert medical advisers stammer and blunder their way through press conferences, unable to define ‘essential’ let alone explain why forcing thousands of people to shop at one central location is ‘safe’.
Under oath at a trial in Victoria last week, one such health expert was forced to admit that purchasing takeaway coffee was scientifically more dangerous than protesting on your own and that there is no discernible difference in risk between grog shops and shoe stores. The conclusion boiled down to ‘society would not accept the closure of alcohol shops’ suggesting that ‘essential’ is nothing more than ‘what we think we can get away with’.
Somehow Australia has gone from ‘protect your health’ to ‘if you don’t let us protect your health we’ll destroy your life’.
If we allow politicians to continue spiralling into oblivion, we will cross boundaries of human decency from which Australia will never recover. We don’t want to end up like the rest of the world, burdened by unconscionable acts of atrocity. This has to stop. If politicians put us last, we’ll put them last.
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Alexandra Marshall (@ellymelly on social media) is The Good Sauce's Editor-At-Large, as well as the host of "Curtain Call", a Good Sauce show exploring the leading personalities in the culture war. She writes on liberty, philosophy and geopolitics. You can find her on Twitter or read her articles over at her blog.
Elly is also an AI database designer for the retail industry, contributor to multiple online journals and a Young Ambassador with Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.
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