We’re Okay. Honestly.

According to some US media pundits, Australia has descended into a dystopian totalitarian hellscape.

That’s news to me. To most of us. Okay, to pretty much all of us except the twilight people who live in the far dark reaches of the internet and don’t get out much.

Have we been under a long and strict lockdown? Yes.

Have our state governments been introducing vaccine mandates for many sectors under a “No Jab, No Job” policy? Yes.

Are we upset about it? Nope.

Okay, yes, there have been protests but they have mostly been attended by those aforementioned drongos. I mean, to protest against a lockdown by doing the very thing that will extend that lockdown (by spreading the virus) takes a special kind of stupid. If you want to understand the kind of people who participated in these events (that, it might be pointed out, fizzled out after a few days), check out this Twitter thread:

At a press conference soon after the announcement of a vaccine mandate for all education staff, one reporter (undoubtedly a Murdoch subordinate by her obsession with ‘gotcha’ questions) asked the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino what the government planned to do to replace all the teachers who would resign because they didn’t want to be vaccinated. Minister Merlino replied that in a recent voluntary survey responded to by 40,000 teachers, 98% of them were already fully vaccinated so he didn’t think it would be much of a problem. For some reason, she didn’t have a follow up question.

Our state has vaccinated at a record pace (since we finally received sufficient supply) and we are on track to be more than 90% fully vaccinated by the end of the year.

Living in a land that infamously tries to kill you every day (floods, fires and hurricanes, spiders, snakes and sharks, not to mention the drop bears and hoop snakes) tends to bring you together with your fellow survivors. There’s a very strong community ethos that flows through the Australian psyche. Given the choice between staying in our homes or watching thousands of our fellow Australians die, to us it’s a no brainer.

It appears that the global nature of social media has tempted some to import the more individualistic, personal rights and freedoms ethos of Americans into our country. You only have to look at some of the protest signs to see slogans more often seen at rallies of the former President. Even the red cap of such followers have been spotted amongst the protestors.(Seriously!) And in the absence of a Confederate flag (Australia never having had the need for a civil war), they chose the closest thing they could find – the Australian Red Ensign. I don’t think the Merchant Navy is very happy about it.

Does this flag make me look American to you?

What these nufties don’t understand is that the political ideologies of another nation won’t just slot into our own. (Ironic, really, when most of these people are part of the ‘if you come to our country you must act like us’ brigade.)

Some have tried to compare our pandemic safety measures to living under the Taliban in Afghanistan. But we have universal healthcare, our elections are run by independent commissions, abortion is a right given to all women and we don’t have to stare at the AR-15 hanging off the back of the person in front of us in the checkout line. (I don’t even know anyone who owns a gun of any kind. Unless Nerf guns or water pistols count.) And to date we’ve had 151,943 cases of COVID19 and 1590 deaths in total across the country (pop 25.7 million).

Does that sound dystopian to you?

Please don’t worry about us. We are fine.

(And in a final point of irony, the call to invade to save us all came on the day my state celebrated “Freedom Friday”. Having reached 70% fully vaccinated adult population, restrictions have eased and we are well on our way to COVID-normal life.)

45 thoughts on “We’re Okay. Honestly.

  1. Coming from the country with currently over 50,000 cases a day and over 100 deaths a day I must confess to have wanted to be a New Zealander or an Australian these past 20 months, except I think at some point you are going to have to accept that the virus will spread once you inevitably open your borders again. Maybe the vaccines will protect you, maybe not, we just do not know the future. Protesters (and we had them too) in the middle of a pandemic is sheer stupidity, but forcing people to be vaccinated to keep their jobs? What about those who cannot have the vaccine for one reason or another? I understand the reason, but it doesn’t sit well with me. I really hope that Australia doesn’t see a spike and I really hope that one day I might be able to visit your wonderful country again and what I hope more is this pandemic to be consigned to the history books. Lovely to hear from you H, and glad you are well. Stay that way!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Havebeen hearing about your concerning numbers, Jude. For a long time we tried to pursue a COVID zero strategy but then Delta got in and now we are facing the reality of learning to live with the virus. The state government relaxed restrictions on Friday despite having around 2,000 cases a day in the state (that’s, like, record breaking numbers here). They are pinning their hopes on high vaccination rates. We’ll see I guess.

      There are exemptions from the mandates for approved medical reasons but you can’t get an exemption if you just don’t want the vaccine.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Jude me love; don’t you think it sensible to try to protect everyone ? – or putting it the other way ’round, do you think it sensible to insist on your personal freedom not to have to do something, thus saying ‘the devil take the hindermost’ ? Why should personal freedom be allowed to cause danger to others ? Surely those whose bodies cannot take the vaccine are exempted ?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sensible, yes. I just think it is a slippery slope to try and force people into something so they can keep their job. One would hope that people are exempt if due to medical conditions. Testing is another way to prevent the spread, and to be fair none of us know how long the veracity of these vaccines will last. It may be possible for a vaccinated person to transmit COVID-19 to people who have not been vaccinated. And I know personally of one person who not only had covid, then had the two jabs, yet caught covid again! Wearing a mask, keeping your distance and avoiding crowded places seem sensible precautions to take. Personally I would rather those people who have not yet had a first jab be offered it than me have a booster. Then we would be protecting everyone.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Yes. Our ‘Freedom Day’ was not a ‘let it all rip’ day. Masks are still required both inside and outside, there are density limits and many of the protective measures are still required in venues. It’s been said that even if we reach 90% fully vaxxed, some measures like mask wearing in high risk situations will be with us for a long time. There is a continued awareness that some people are still vulnerable.

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    • I’ll also add that given 5-11 year olds cannot yet be vaccinated in this country, it’s a general consensus among my teaching colleagues that any teacher refusing to be vaccinated for non-medical reasons is probably best out of the education profession anyway. And I would suggest the same could be said of health workers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Some ‘foreign’ media need to check their mirrors to find dystopia, not here! How arrogant to want to rescue us! Not to mention the flow on issues that arise!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We have a rather large contingent of unhinged here. Somehow you have managed to select quite a few of them. You are wise to ignore them. I wish we could but then that is another long and unpleasant story.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh, how excellently well said/written, dear H !! – I’m jealous: I should love to put out a post anywhere near as meaningful.
    Every time I see that teeny, downwards-pointing slit of a mouth that sits in Tucker Carlson’s face my BP rises (probably a good thing, these days .. but you know what I mean) and I become enraged. Hannity and Ingraham have much the same effect.
    The sheer arrogance of those wanting to “help” us !!! – I don’t have the words.
    I can only agree with your mate Dan there: the media comprise a detested group, by and large.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes, ‘freedom’ in the US is sometimes carried to extremes. If you want to drive a car you need a license. If you want to be part of society without infecting others, you need a double vaccination. Of course, the freedom to carry guns resulting 40 000 annual deaths in the US is part of a freedom that some countries might look at in utter amazement, if not tinged with skepticism of its benefits.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Can’t say I’ve ever stood in line behind someone with a gun on his back. πŸ˜€

    I thought, back when we tried the worldwide shutdown, why didn’t the U.S. close up borders and mandate strict measures? Instead, we’ve waffled based on political decisions and are at the ever-limbo state of continuing to host the pandemic.

    I, also, hope Australia’s tactics work.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well said! The media has a lot to answer for and I’m tired of the politicising of what is such a serious issue. We’ve been leading relatively normal lives here in QLD and I’m pleased to see things improving in the southern states. Best wishes to you all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve gotten so tired of the media negativity. If we open up, it’s too soon. If we lockdown, it’s unfair. If we’re not vaccinated enough, why aren’t you doing more? If it’s vaccine mandates, that’s a bit harsh isn’t it? Pardon my abbreviated French but ffs.

      I hope QLD and WA learn from our experience and push hard to get vaccinated so when the borders reopen and the virus inevitably makes an incursion, it will be manageable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The government and health officials here have done all they can to offer vaccinations so it’s up to people to take advantage of it. I think the only way some people will actually do it is when there’s an outbreak and they panic. Vaccination rates really pick up when it comes close to home. Everyone in our family is done and that’s all we can hope for. I know exactly how you feel about the media and everyone says the same thing. They’re so unprofessional.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Good to hear you are personally doing okay! I expect your country is now going through what many other countries have already experienced which is that there are many bumps and sudden left turns on the Covid road!

    It has been interesting to me in our country how the phrase ‘Be Kind’, which was so common at the beginning of the pandemic, has been abandoned by so many people now. We were all supposed to be kind to one another during lockdowns, though lockdowns were anything but kind to the working ‘non essential’ poor labourers and small business owners (the law of unintended consequences). Those who wore masks full time whenever they ventured out of their house were asked to be kind to those who wore masks only where mandated (and vice versa). And so it went – be kind to those whose personal health risk comfort level did not match yours, etc, etc.

    Then the vaccine arrived – but only in small quantities. We were all asked to kindly wait until our turn came. Now we have enough vaccine, but some still haven’t got the jab and may not ever get it. I suspect our country never thought 100% vaccination was ever going to happen – for the same reasons that mandates and masks and all interventions were not 100% supported – people are not all the same in their risk tolerance, their health status, their desire to choose what they feel is safe to put into their body, etc, etc.

    Worldwide, 5 million lives have been lost to Covid in the nearly two years it has been circulating – but nearly 4 million people PER YEAR died pre-Covid from similar lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia, acute bronchitis and influenza – yet only about 35% of our population gets the flu vaccine each year…

    Kindness is now what is in short supply in my country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All good points, Margy. At the beginning there was very much a ‘We’re all in this together vibe’. We formed a National Cabinet with all the state and territory leaders and the PM making decisions together. Even when only Melbourne was going through a harsh lockdown last year it was like the rest of the country had their back. But then Delta arrived, mistakes were made, preferential treatment was given to one state (Scott Morrison is known as the Prime Minister for New South Wales) and now it’s every state for themselves. There’s always been a rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne but now it’s positively acrimonious.

      Having said that I do think that there is predominantly a ‘let’s get this job done together’ when it comes to the vaccine (as evidenced by the high and rapid rate of vaccination in many states) so community spirit is not lost.

      As we move into what is being called the “vaccine economy” and those who are not vaccinated for a valid reason are excluded from places and events, we are going to need a lot of kindness from both sides.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And it’s interesting that in 2019 we had 953 deaths from influenza and so far this year we’ve had zero. (37 in 2020). Obviously due to COVID safety measures. So perhaps flu deaths will drop as people may be willing to take precautions during flu seasons in future.

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      • I suppose much depends on what mitigation was the most effective and whether populations will continue doing those things. If the closure of schools and offices was the biggest reason there were so few influenza deaths, then I doubt people will choose to close those places every flu season. If it was because people didn’t gather in groups of any size, will they not gather with family and friends indoors for, say Christmas, every year? What if the Covid virus itself killed off completing viruses? I guess we’ll find more answers as time goes by.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The experts were saying that they think we may have actually eliminated one strain of flu. But they are worried about the return of flu when we reopen as we’ve little immunity after 2 years of almost no exposure. Maybe it will increase flu vaccine rates?
          It’s all very interesting.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. It is always revealing to see how another country, or a few select reporters, view our country and its policy. It is a shame they do not direct their criticism more towards the dragging tail policy towards emissions. Despite losing one long term blogger friendship over a difference of opinion, I have heard from a local GP that his clinic is filled daily with folks requesting vaccination exemptions. None meet the criteria and their heads are full of conspiracy theory nonsense. If Australia is, as they suggest, a dystopia, bring it on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some of these people live in a dystopia in their own heads while the rest of us enjoy a stable and healthy life. I’ll never understand it. Why would you want to live such a miserable life?

      I wonder who they’ll believe when they start getting locked out of the footy and the pub and can’t fly to Bali.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It was nice to see this post in my mailbox, and especially to know that you are well.

    There is a saying that the truth of a person comes out when the going gets tough. I think the pandemic has really put a spotlight on this.

    Liked by 1 person

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