2021-09-03 15:08:41 UTC
George Orwell's "1984" used in a negative judgement of Australia
This from the liberal Atlantic:
Australia Traded Away Too Much Liberty
How long can a democracy maintain emergency restrictions and
still call itself a free country?
By Conor Friedersdorf
In a bid to keep the coronavirus out of the country, Australia’s federal
and state governments imposed draconian restrictions on its citizens.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison knows that the burden is too heavy. “This
is not a sustainable way to live in this country,” he recently declared.
One prominent civil libertarian summed up the rules by lamenting, “We’ve
never seen anything like this in our lifetimes.”
Up to now one of Earth’s freest societies, Australia has become a hermit
continent. How long can a country maintain emergency restrictions on its
citizens’ lives while still calling itself a liberal democracy?
Australia has been testing the limits.
Before 2020, the idea of Australia all but forbidding its citizens from
leaving the country, a restriction associated with Communist regimes,
was unthinkable. Today, it is a widely accepted policy. “Australia’s
borders are currently closed and international travel from Australia
remains strictly controlled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” a
government website declares. “International travel from Australia is
only available if you are exempt or you have been granted an individual
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. People in South Australia 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
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.”
Proud, proud Australians.
(And, before anyone accuses, I do take carnivorous
fairly seriously, I'm in my mid-70s, and my country
provided me with a choice of vaccines, and I took them
in January and February 2021. I avoid large tightly
packed crowds, but do attend and participate in
sports car races, and do travel around.)