How Long are Australians Going to be Legally Allowed to Criticize the Government?

Previously: Australia: Health Minister Says “New World Order”

This week RT published a good article by Caitlin Johnstone, an Australian independent journalist, explaining that part of why the government of Australia has been able to go so nuts with the virus hoax is that the country doesn’t have any bill of rights.

When I was reading this, I wondered: how long will Australians even be allowed to criticize any of this stuff?

The answer is obvious: not for very much longer.

The government has total authority, and people are not fighting back, so there is no reason for them to allow citizens to question the government.

The Australian government has been on the receiving end of more and more criticism for its Covid response lately, not just domestically but from overseas.

There’s a lot to criticize, from soldiers patrolling state borders and policing the streets of Sydney, to people being arrested for merely posting about lockdown protests on social media, to police accessing QR-tracing information and firing projectile weapons at lockdown protesters, to news broadcasters naming and shaming Covid patients who violate isolation orders, to the frequently ineffective hotel quarantine system for travellers being replaced with purpose-built quarantine facilities and Orwellian surveillance apps. The states of both Victoria and New South Wales have begun moving toward reopening after the Delta variant proved zero-Covid goals unattainable even amid strict lockdowns, but will do so by adding Australia to the growing list of nations that have implemented the dangerously authoritarian policy of vaccine passports.

And there are other aspects of this trend that have nothing to do with Covid. One of the most controversial recent developments in Australia’s escalating government overreach (and potentially the most consequential in the long term) has been the hasty passing of a new law greatly expanding government surveillance powers, which allows law enforcement to hack into people’s devices and collect, delete, or even add to and alter the data therein, as well as take control of their social media accounts, supposedly “in order to frustrate the commission of serious offences online.”

Critics tend to lump this sweeping surveillance state escalation in with authoritarian policies related to the pandemic, but the bill makes no mention of Covid; its proponents cite its utility in fighting terrorism and child exploitation. Indeed this bill, which will certainly lead to myriad abuses, is just the latest in a continuing expansion of government surveillance powers in Australia that has been going on for years. This video from The Juice, for example, was made in 2018, criticizing Canberra’s assault on encryption:

In reality, while the pandemic has certainly been a major factor in exacerbating civil rights erosion, Australia’s Covid response has simply added to a problem that had already existed and was only getting worse. The 2019 report by Civicus Monitor, a global research group that tracks fundamental freedoms in 196 countries, downgraded Australia from an “open” country to one where civil space has “narrowed,” citing new laws to expand government surveillance, prosecution of whistleblowers, and raids on media organizations.

And this ongoing trend can be largely traced back to the fact that Australia is the only so-called democracy in the world that has no national charter or bill of rights of any kind. A tremendous amount of faith has been placed in state and federal legislators to simply do the right thing, which has proved foolish and ineffective.

The state of Victoria has a Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, which supposedly includes rights such as freedom of movement and peaceful assembly, but such protections have been unceremoniously dismissed, as state premiers harnessed sweeping powers hardly anyone was even aware they possessed and began imposing strict laws to get the virus under control.

Officials have been rewarded for these drastic actions with thunderous public support, and, until a few months ago, the Australian government enjoyed soaring levels of approval from a very collectivist-minded population who overwhelmingly desired the elimination of the virus even if it meant trading some freedoms. Approval of those strict measures has dipped significantly since the Delta outbreak, but a majority of Australians still believe lockdowns and other restrictions are at appropriate levels for the time being. The absence of any federal restrictions on state governments’ ability to limit personal freedoms has allowed premiers to chase this public support regardless of potential long-term consequences.

Australia is not a free country. Westerners are trained to believe that that’s what you call any wealthy English-speaking nation with liberal cultural values, but really it’s just a continent-sized US military base with kangaroos. Human rights are allowed only where they are convenient, which is why they are continually disintegrating.

I think this is probably true – the reason Australia is going so much further than the rest of the world with this hoax is that there is literally no recourse.

However, it’s clear that Australia is just the test case. All of these measures are soon coming to Britain and America.

Australia is being used to try this stuff out, and make sure people won’t revolt. They seem to have proved that, so now they are going to begin implementing this stuff in the rest of the Anglosphere, and probably in most of Western Europe.