One of the more common questions that’s been making the rounds lately, particularly in terms of how various countries are handling their pandemic responses, is “what the heck is happening to Australia?” The most heavily populated states in the country have been imposing some of the harshest lockdowns and COVID restrictions in the world, with videos emerging showing police firing rubber bullets into crowds, macing elderly women, and beating people down in the streets, all for the crime of being outdoors without permission. But now even more chaos down under is making headlines. The main focus seems to be on the state of New South Wales, home to Sydney, the country’s largest city. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been the author of some of the harshest COVID lockdowns and mandates anywhere and large protests have been common. But in just the past couple of days, the NSW government has undergone a complete upheaval and it’s not being driven solely by opposition to the state’s COVID policies. The Premier has abruptly resigned and her Deputy Premier followed her out the door. A senior Cabinet Minister is also on the way out, along with several ranking members of Parliament. And it was all triggered by the announcement of a corruption investigation centering on Berejiklian’s office. (Australia News)
New South Wales is in a state of political disarray and chaos, facing multiple costly and distracting by-elections and an uncertain path towards post-Covid freedom.
In the space of three days, NSW has lost its Premier and Deputy Premier, a senior Cabinet Minister, three veteran Coalition members of parliament and will likely need to find a new Treasurer in coming weeks.
The shock resignation on Friday of Premier Gladys Berejiklian, both from the state’s top job and parliament representing the seat of Willoughby, has sparked a domino effect of departures.
The corruption investigation was announced by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. The Premier claimed that she doesn’t know what alleged corruption they are investigating and the Commission has been mostly mum about any details. But if you know in your heart that you’re as pure as the driven snow, why in the world would you immediately resign your post? And why are your closest associates all stampeding for the door as well?
Meanwhile, NWS is closing in on the date when most of the brutal COVID lockdown orders are slated to end. But that only applies to the vaccinated. Anyone still resisting being vaccinated will, according to the ex-Premier, be “losing freedoms” and “life will be uncomfortable for them.” Did the public response to her lockdown orders and the actions of the police against protesters add to her decision to call it quits? We may never know.
That doesn’t change the fact that Australia’s recent COVID mandates have drawn global attention at this point. Over at National Review, John Fund asked over the weekend whether someone will be scheduling a human rights investigation into these policies.
Even more so than what Joe Biden is doing in the United States, the Australian government has been moving toward barring unvaccinated people from holding any jobs or being granted access to public spaces. When large numbers of people congregated outside of Sydney to protest the lockdowns, the government instituted a no-fly order over the area so the media couldn’t film the protests and show how large they had grown. That tactic may sound familiar to some of you because the CBP tried the same thing at Del Rio for a few days before press objections forced them to rescind the order.
In the United States, we tend to think of the Aussies as rugged individualists with little tolerance for government oppression. In that sense, we probably see some similarities between our two peoples. But as one Aussie analyst recently quipped during the evening news, the problem isn’t that Australia is peopled by folks who are the descendants of criminals and prisoners. The problem is that it’s being ruled by the descendants of jailors.