Flat White The Spectator Australia 15 May 2022
Freedom marches popped up across Australia in capital cities ahead of next week’s federal election. The messages written on their banners, shirts, and flags could not be more clear: ‘Sack them all!’ and ‘Freedom!’ Labor, Liberal, the Greens, and the Teals want Australia to believe that the big election issue this year is the so-called climate crisis. They have gone all-in on the apocalypse fantasy, shouting from street corners about catastrophe and terror while their billionaire backers loiter in the shadows. In order to sell high taxes and outrageous power bills to the electorate, these parties have to convince wealthy inner-city voters that their children will die (or at least glue themselves to the nearest street) if they don’t endorse Net Zero by twenty-something. None of them want to talk about Covid and they especially don’t want voters to remember the actions of Labor and Liberal state governments assaulting citizens and ruining countless lives. Curiously, Australia has not seen any ad campaigns featuring clips of riot squad police shooting peaceful protesters or showing street after street of ‘For Lease’ signs in decimated CBDs. There is no mention of the house arrest and isolation orders inflicted on healthy citizens, or the threatening speeches issued by state premiers telling people that they will be ‘locked out of the economy’ and ‘punished indefinitely’ unless they agree to be vaccinated. Whether the major parties like it or not, Covid is an issue that the entire voting population has spent two years fixating on. It is not an abstract apocalypse or cheap bribe like Labor’s homeownership promise. Covid happened to people. They lost things that mattered – such as their homes, businesses, friends, and jobs. They remember what their government looked like under the shadow of fear-induced autocracy. The freedom movement – demonised by the press as ‘deplorables’ – is overwhelmingly comprised of fed-up Australians disgusted with Covid overreach and political brutality. While the double, triple, and quadruple jabbed moan about how stressful it is being forced to go back into a ‘dangerous office environment’, the people out on the streets shouting ‘freedom!’ simply want the government to restore their right to work. Stop and listen to their conversations for a moment. They speak about the jobs they lost after decades of service. This is discrimination, the likes of which Australia has never tolerated before. How can our Treasurer claim the government is restoring the economy while so many have no choice but to join the dole queue? At least 5 per cent of the adult population are prohibited from earning a living by state-sanctioned vaccine mandates. Worse, plenty of Australians think these people deserve to live in poverty. The nastiness and unscientific cruelty egged on by mainstream media who painted the unvaccinated as filth, animals, grandma killers, and criminals has put a stain on the Australian psyche. It won’t rub out until the leaders of our major parties apologise and outlaw the behaviour that has become a form of virtue signalling in corporate Australia. It is no wonder that Australians have returned to the streets, cheered on by minor party candidates for One Nation, the Liberal Democrats, and the United Australia Party. In Sydney, thousands descended on the CBD outside Townhall before walking down to the harbour at Circular Quay. They gathered in front of Customs House for speeches, joined by hundreds of curious onlookers who were in the city to enjoy the perfect sunny weather. They brought their children, pets, and high spirits. There were plenty of police present, but their main job was to stroll along beside the protest on its way to the harbour, smiling and joking with families. These are not the violent, hateful protests of Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion. On Saturday we saw the Quiet Australians getting loud. When Liberal Democrats candidate for Wentworth, Daniel Lewkovitz, was asked what it was like at the Freedom rally, he replied: ‘It’s an unbelievable crowd. Ten years ago, if you had tried to buy a t-shirt with the word ‘freedom’ written on it you’d get looked at like a weirdo, but I’m seeing it everywhere because I think people have now realised that if they don’t start paying attention to freedom – or to the removal of freedom – all of a sudden it’s gone and you can never get it back. ‘It is truly inspiring to see people who are actually starting to think about their rights and freedoms and thinking about what kind of future they want for themselves and their children. ‘I think this is a very important election. As a candidate, I don’t take anything for granted. I know the battle I have ahead of me compared to the massively funded [Teal] independents and the major parties, but I believe my involvement could be the start of something big and certainly offers a promising future for the Liberal Democrats as a genuine third alternative.’ Running mate and lead Senate candidate for New South Wales John Ruddick was also at the rally. Asked about the impressive turnout, he said: ‘The corporate media and the politicians want to sweep this under the carpet – the last two years of Covid policy failure. There are a hell of a lot of people out here who are not going to forget.’ So, do the Liberal Democrats think freedom is still alive and well for this federal election? ‘This is an extremely important election. It is a big test to see how much the Australian people still value their freedom. Our forebearers did. The test for this generation is next weekend,’ added John Ruddick. Mainstream politicians treat voters like goldfish. They expect the public to forget all the terrible things they spent the last few years doing and instead keep quiet and take the ‘freebies’ on offer. We will see if Australians allow themselves to be bought so cheaply next weekend. As another writer commented last week, we get the politicians we deserve. If Australians want a better – freer – country, they need to vote for it.