HomeHealth Care NewsHuman Rights Group Criticized Australia's COVID-19 Crackdown

Human Rights Group Criticized Australia’s COVID-19 Crackdown

Human Rights Watch has turned its focus on Australia for its “harsh police response,” and “abusive practices” in the name of trying to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

  On September 12, the state of Victori imposed curfews on citizens which have allowed police to chase and detain violators. One curfew prohibited residents in Melbourne from leaving their homes throughout the night and limited movement during the day, only for basic needs and within a few miles from home, according to a report on September 24.

     “The videos coming out of Australia, particularly Melbourne, of people being slammed to the ground by police officers for simply walking outside their homes and trying to breath fresh air are simply terrifying,” said Patrick Wood, the founder of Citizens for Free Speech, based in the U.S., in a statement.

“During the height of the pandemic in 2020, and even now in 2021, we have joined our CFFS members here in the U.S. in opposition to lockdown orders that restricted our God-given rights,” stated Wood.  “But what we have endured pales in comparison to what the Aussie people are facing right now. We are witnessing scenes that are honestly reminiscent of the initial phases of Nazi Germany. It’s that serious.”

“No Jab, No Pay”

As the Land Down Under copes with one of the world’s most severe COVID-19 lockdowns, the government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison has further tightened the screws by requiring the country’s health workers to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs.

Morrison’s sweeping October 1 order applies to public hospitals, ambulance services, private hospitals, general practitioners, private nurse offices, consulting offices, pharmacies, and private pathology centers.  The new order also covers student nurses, doctors in residency, and health employees at the Defense Department.

“It’s pretty simple,” said New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard. “If you don’t care enough to get vaccinated and look after your colleagues if you don’t care enough about your patient, you probably shouldn’t be in the health system.”

The move comes as Australia battles the Delta variant, which has spread rapidly despite crippling lockdowns and tightly sealed borders. Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, along with its capital, Canberra, are in the midst of a weeks-long hard lockdown in an effort to control the disease’s spread.  The country has scrapped plans to reach Zero COVID and instead is focusing on mass vaccinations.

“Apartheid”

Not surprisingly, the new rules have triggered a backlash.  Liberal National MP George Christensen compared the vaccine mandate to slavery and “apartheid” in his popular online broadcast.

“This is not an anti-vax thing.  This is about freedom, and it’s about choice, and it’s about telling governments and corporations, you know what, we might be your employee but we’re not your chattel.  We’re no longer in a slave relationship where you can demand certain things be done to my body,” he told his listeners.

Christensen and his supporters appear to be facing an uphill battle. In addition to the government in Canberra and state and territorial governments, the vaccine mandate is endorsed by the Australian Medical Association (AMA). “The public has an expectation that when they go to the doctor, they will be safe and that staff will have been vaccinated,” AMA President Omar Khorshid said.

CFFS’s Wood, who also serves as the editor-in-chief of Technocracy News and Trends, believes that Australia’s obsession with vaccinations will lead to a dead end. “Israel, the most vaccinated country in the world, has seen hospitalizations soar thanks to the Delta variant, which has easily eluded the mRNA vaccines,” he stated on the Janet Mefferd Today podcast in September.

Contagion of Tyranny

Australia’s crackdown raises questions about whether the tyranny could spread to other parts of the free world if it hasn’t already.

“I think Australia-like measures have already come to Canada as we’ve already seen some heavy-handed rules put in place, “ said Colin Craig, president of Canadian-based SecondStreet.org.

 “For example, the province Quebec had curfews earlier this year and Ontario had a stay-at-home order in place for two months (except for “essential” reasons),” said Craig. “Government rules have differed across Canada’s ten provinces, showing that many of the decisions were based on politics, not science. How could it be safe to go golfing or shop for non-essential goods in one province but not another?”

  Could such measures gravitate to the  United States? “I wouldn’t be surprised. So much of COVID is political, which is unfortunate,” said Craig. “It’s a serious disease that I think warrants at least some level of restrictions on our personal freedoms. However, when government rules are needlessly heavy-handed and are poorly thought out, the public can see that officials really don’t know what they’re doing.”

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D., (bcohen@nationalcenter.org) is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research. AnneMarie Schieber (amschieber@heartland.org) is the managing editor of Health Care News.

(This article was updated on October 12, 2021)

Bonner R Cohen
Bonner R. Cohen is a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, a position he has held since 2002.

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