So Victoria ends its first day of another lockdown and the weekend awaits more than six and a half million people, not only in Melbourne, as if that’s bad enough, but hundreds of kilometers away from where there have been no infections, from Mallacoota to Nelson, from Mildura, out on the fringes of the desert, down to Wilsons Promontory, all in lockdown schools, shut shops, shut bars, and restaurants shut. Now, you know, I oppose this. You know, I’ve shown you based on the medical advice, based on the epidemiological data, that the last Melbourne lockdown was unnecessary, useless.
And based on all this, it’s clear that this one is premature, too. If this was happening in New South Wales right now, same numbers of infections, same scenario playing out quite simply, the same vaccination rollout going on, the same hotel quarantine system. If this was happening in New South Wales, there would be no lockdown, would be out for dinner, off to the footy. And what did we find out today on the first day of this lockdown, there were four new cases reported, just four before the lockdown even kicks in.
Talk about panic, talk about overreach. Good grief. Not even for sick people or for people admitted to the hospital. Certainly not. Four deaths, just four infections. What a joke this undeclared virus elimination strategy has become. People put through incredible pain because the Victorian government can’t do its contact tracing properly. Yesterday, it said it had all the contact tracing under control. And then we learned that around the same time, actually, it was issuing an urgent call out for university students to take jobs as contact tracing.
And today, they’ve even asked for more help from the Australian Defense Forces to help with that same task. Fail, fail, fail. They’ve had a year and a half and they are still not up to the task. So instead they lock the state down. It is a disgrace. We know about the workers who are going to go without pay. The businesses are going to go without income, the footy having to be played in front of empty stands or shifted interstate or because of government panic and incompetence.
The politicians and public servants, though they all still get paid. They don’t have to worry about their money or their job security. Labor and the media try to blame all of this on Canberra and the vaccine rollout, which is dishonest and pathetic. Most of the vulnerable are already vaccinated, thankfully, so the risk of having another Victorian aged care tragedy is dramatically reduced. So what are these people saying anyway? People like Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece just half an hour ago, are they saying that the Victorian government can’t manage the virus, can’t manage quarantine in hotels, can’t do contact tracing, so they have no tools at all except lockdowns unless and until every person in the state is vaccinated?
What an admission of failure. And why is it that New South Wales can handle most of the country’s hotel quarantine and deal with outbreaks and never have a city-wide or statewide lockdown? Not only is the Victorian government exposed as hopeless and damaging to its citizens, but most of the media is exposed as complicit, alarmist and dishonest in trying to shift the blame elsewhere. But you know what makes me angrier than anything about this lockdown, and I’m certain it’s the same with you as usual.
It’s the personal trauma. Sometimes we hear about it, sometimes only the families directly involved and their loved ones know about it. I know one great Australian bloke, a bloke who served his country with distinction, whose life has been turned on its head in recent years through no fault of his own. His trip to Melbourne for a very special family catch-up and footy match has been ruined. I know you’ll be watching Dave, so I hope the doggies get up for you anyway.
There are thousands of little interruptions like this, people missing out on special moments. But what about the Warrnambool family? This is the worst. They tragically lost their little boy on a school camp, eight-year-old Cooper on, yet drowned on his first overnight school camp a week ago today. Now, that’s an unspeakable tragedy and incomprehensible loss for his family. Nothing will change that, of course. But today they said farewell to him. His funeral occurred on the first day of lockdown.
The family wanted an exemption from the ten-person funeral limit, permission to have more people outside, they said, in masks, whatever it took to have more people there. Listen to Cooper’s mum, Skye, yesterday speaking to three IWG Neil Mitchell.
We really need a support tomorrow from family and friends to get us through this, so we’ve got a whole week, a whole school this morning for a friend. So, yeah, it’s all been so strong, it’s just to rip away the support that we’ve really opened up to this time, it’s just something I think that would be detrimental to both myself and my partner and and to his big brother. I think it would just be really detrimental to rip away the support that we’ve all welcomed and needed.
It’s just yeah, I think it’s it’s not something that we need right now.
And you know what, the Victorian government said no. No exemption for a little boy’s funeral in Warrnambool, two hundred and fifty kilometers from Melbourne, no farewell from all of Cooper’s classmates. Not all of the family and friends from little Cooper’s life. Not all those people wanted to say farewell and crucially show their love and solidarity for Cooper’s family. I can’t believe it, the government said no. These people who can’t contact Trace, who can’t follow their own rules in hotel quarantine, can’t get the locations of their hot spots right, they’re suddenly ruthlessly efficient and sticklers for the rules when it comes to a little boy’s funeral.
Don’t know the thinking behind it. I’m sure they are considering the equity issues for everyone who will, unfortunately, have funerals in the coming days and there and the equity issues around how you manage the risk in all of those settings because we know transmission occurs in large gatherings.
Your own staff breached quarantine rules, your own staff have refused to take the covid test at hotel quarantine sites, and yet now is the time, this is the occasion, you suddenly decide that no rules can be bent. Look, my youngest boy is eight years old. I wouldn’t urge anything that jeopardizes his health or anybody else’s, but this is so cruel, heartless, and completely disproportionate to the risk, which, of course, is virtually non-existent in this case.
Strength and love to that poor family in such a traumatic situation. But I’ve got to say when I see the Victorian government doing this to its own people. I just don’t know my country anymore.