In Victoria we have a Labor government, which at the last election was returned to power in a landslide. This government has done what Labor governments do. They spend lots of money, create jobs, particularly union jobs and they make a lot of people happy and prosperous and loyal. But it always ends the same way, the money is borrowed and the government gets so far in debt that even with 'creative accounting' it becomes obvious that we are going bankrupt. Which brings a temporary end to Labor rule.
The other major party is the Liberal party, currently the opposition party. It suffers from two decades of pathetically weak leaders. Men who are so mild and bland that when a new one replaces the old one we hardly even notice. Men who like to talk tough about how bad Labor is, but who when you pay attention you can't find any way in which they differ.
While we have elections, Victoria is in effect a one party state. Labor so totally controls the Parliament that there is no oversight, the government can do as it wishes. Which we can see.
Add to that Australia's federal government, until 2020 most Australians, myself included, thought that the federal government was stronger than the state governments, even combined. But it appears that weak Liberal party leadership is not simply a state issue. Our current Prime Minister has hardly interfered in the state running of this crisis. A crisis created by and for government.
Victorians have been especially patient with the restrictions put in place by the state government. We are currently in our sixth lockdown. Over 200 days out of around 600, 112 days in a row in 2020. Before 2020 the term 'lockdown' was used in prisons, not in civil society. But we have step by step gone from thinking that we are free to thinking that we have no freedom.
Each step we have had 'conspiracy theorists' saying the most outrageous things and then the government coming out with these same ideas. Vaccine passports, compulsory vaccines, no shopping unless you are vaccinated.
The lockdowns have enjoyed wide support, in 2020 we were all bribed by the federal government. Most people got more money and time off, business even got a lot of that money. Small business suffered but big business made out like bandits. This year the government hasn't been as generous and the good will is vanishing.
Not entirely of course, the government and the lockdowns still have support. The media pressure is intense and constant. For older people for whom television and radio are companions as much as sources of information or entertainment, it is hard to resist. Add to that that they really are the most at risk from Covid.
Currently there are daily protests on the street and Victoria Police have come out in full force. I remember back to April 2015 at the Reclaim Australia rallies, the police were quite surprised and continued to be surprised. Only 6 years ago and the police were dressed like ordinary police, today they look like robocop and act like it. But it was from there that the police realised that the hatred in the community was real and that it wasn't going away. Today it is directed not at immigration but at the government. Not at a policy but at the institution that pays their bills. They have trained and trained for this, they have equipped themselves for this. Body armour, rubber bullets and armoured vehicles. None of which they had 6 years ago.
The police have over many decades become a para-military force. When police were first created in Britain in the early 1830's, there developed what are now known as the Peelian principles. Of the 9 principles, 4 are basically saying the same thing, that the police need the co-operation of the public. Number 7 goes like this:
To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
Does the actions of the police over the past 20 months or so seem like 'the police are the public and that the public is the police?
What about 'the police being only members of the public'?
That's because there is no oversight, the police belong to the Labor party and no institution has complained about it at all. Not the churches, business, the Liberal party, the unions or the Prime Minister.
All seem to think that firing rubber bullets into peaceful crowds is A Okay!
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