The federal Liberal Party is being called out for pandering to anti-vaxxers in a move which neatly adds to the maelstromic clusterfuck of this government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After telling reporters he had “no tolerance” for the violent anti-vaxxer protests seen in Victoria, Scott Morrison then felt it was necessary to say that it’s time for state premiers to let Australians “take their lives back”.
“Over the last couple of years, governments have been telling Australians what to do. Now, there has been a need for that as we have gone through the pandemic, but the time is now to start rolling all of that back.”
Obviously, this is supremely fucked for a number of reasons. Number one, the phrasing of “take their lives back” mimics the flawed, aggressive language of freedom that anti-vaxxers are already weaponising against lockdowns and vaccine mandates.
Number two, his comments come in the aftermath of Victorian premier Dan Andrews being subject to literal death threats from anti-vaxxers, and of WA premier Mark McGowan closing his office because his staff were being threatened.
It has led to accusations that the PM is warming up his little toesies by jumping into bed with anti-vaxxers. Is it cosy in there, Scott? Getting spooned by Pete Evans?
The statement also has a gentle whiff of East Cost-centricism. While, yes, 83.9 per cent of the Australian population is fully vaxxed (woo!), only the ACT, NSW, Victoria and Tassie have hit the statewide 80 per cent double vaccine point.
A good chunk of the country – aka the Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia – are still only 70 per cent double vaxxed.
For the actual Prime Minister to give credence to the idea that people should be “taking their lives back” feels particularly grim, with the potential to undermine vaccine efforts in those states.
Obviously, ScoMo’s statements have been called out by a swathe of Labor pollies, including Dan Andrews.
Andrews was on Sunrise this morning, and said that he hadn’t come on the show to beef with the Prime Minister.
However, he did make the point: “why did we have lockdowns? Because we did not have a vaccine. Who forgot to order the vaccine? It wasn’t state premiers.”
Oof. Get him, Dan!
He also called out the spread of COVID from Sydney, because it is literally impossible for a premier to have a conversation without shit-talking another state.
“It is a bit rich from the prime minister from Sydney and all too often for Sydney to be lecturing people about freedom. We have done the hard yards because there was not a vaccine.”
“If there have been a vaccine earlier, when the virus came from Sydney this year, we would not have had needed to lock down.”
Dumping more fuel on the fire, Andrews told Today that his relationship with Scott Morrison would be a lot better when he stops “double speaking to extremists.”
“I’m not here to treat you like you’re French, mate.”
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) November 18, 2021
I mean, given the country is still dealing with active COVID cases in every state, you’d think the government would be a little bit conscious about seemingly empathising with anti-vaxxers. Think again, apparently!