Human rights are a necessary part of life, if you want a good one that is. Without them, we can easily fall victim to tyrannical governments and leaders, who value power over the people. Human rights are what separate us from constant misery, what protects us from the harshest treatment. If there is anything that must be protected, it is them. Now more than ever, with COVID-19 giving governments the excuse to take away the rights of the people for the sake of “keeping people safe”, we face the very real prospect that we may never see our rights again.
See, governments are very quick to take our rights away, but are extremely slow to give them back, if at all. There is indeed a very simple reason behind this: the less rights we have, the more power they gain. With more power comes more control, and soon we find ourselves very restricted in what we can do. Sound familiar? It should, because that is exactly what has been happening and what will continue to perpetuate as long as COVID-19 is around without a viable vaccine. And with issues occurring with the highly talked-up AstraZeneca vaccine, it is likely to be a long time yet until we have a safe, viable vaccine that people will not be opposed to taking. That means our lives will continue to be restricted for potentially years to come. That is, unless we do something about it.
As previously mentioned, governments are very reluctant to return your rights after they have taken them away. See, these people get a taste for the power it gives them. It is like a drug. They become addicted to it, so much so that they just want more. As the saying goes, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” When politicians get drunk on power, it corrupts them, it makes them do things that are cruel and inhumane. There is only one way to get your rights back from a government; you must take them back.
This is where protest comes in. Protest is essential to getting your rights back from a power-tripping government. Protest is, quintessentially, a right in itself, and a very important one at that. Protest is what I like to term “people power”. I call it this because it is what empowers people by allowing them to make their voices heard. People power can be quite something. It can bring about change of great proportions. It can, quite literally, be the last line of defense between a government hungry for more control, and the rights of the people. That is why, when governments attempt to outlaw protest, you know you’re in trouble. Protest is a fundamental tenant of democracy. Governments criminalize protests when they want to continue their reign unchecked. It is tyranny, plain and simple.
Never in my life did I think I would see this kind of tyrannical rule in the democratic nation that is Australia. Yet, to the horror of many, including myself, this is exactly what is occurring in Victoria. We are bearing witness to a violation of human rights in a nation that it never should have occurred in. When we elect governments democratically, we give politicians the privilege of power. That power is given, it is not taken. It never should be taken, and it should never be abused. However, to the detriment of the Australian democracy, that is what continues to happen in this country.
Right now, Scott Morrison is a Prime Minister without power. The reason behind this is simple: The Prime Minister though a National Cabinet would be a good idea. It was indeed his worst mistake. Through the National Cabinet, Scott Morrison offloaded power to the Premiers. This was always bound to go wrong, and now we are seeing the fruits, or, rather, the poisoned fruits, of one of the worst government bodies in Australian history. If the Prime Minister had made this a temporary arrangement, it may have worked out. But he installed it permanently, and now it has wreaked havoc on this nation. Premiers have gone rogue, developed god complexes, abused their power, and violated human rights. If Morrison had himself declared a State of Emergency and taken full control of the response from the start, the mess that was created by giving more power to the Premiers could have easily been avoided. But here we are, human rights in the balance, all because Morrison could not step up and take some leadership when it was needed most.
Victoria have the harshest lockdowns in the Western world. An unlawful curfew has been imposed upon the people of Melbourne. Freedom of movement has been heavily restricted. Protest, no matter how peaceful, is “unlawful”. People are being arrested for posting on social media, even for having the nerve to go for a walk. Surveillance units (hidden surveillance cameras) have been deployed, breaching the right to privacy that each private citizen in this country has. It is the most absurd and egregious abuse of power in the West. The sheer fact that protest has been outlawed by a Premier who is behaving like a dictator should cause great concern. It is the tactic of a tyrant. But what should really scare people are the comments that have been made by the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in relation to human rights. When asked about violating people’s rights, the Premier responded by saying “This isn’t about human rights. It’s about human life.” When a Premier, or any leader for that matter, becomes so dismissive of human rights, you know you’re in deep trouble. And no, I am not being dismissive of human life here at all. In fact, I would argue that I am taking it into consideration more than the Premier is. Because what kind of life is one with rights and freedom?
And then there’s Queensland. The problem with this State is not lockdowns, it is the cruelty and heartlessness of a self-obsessed Premier who is quite literally playing politics with people’s lives. Annastacia Palaszczuk closed the border to New South Wales for one reason and one reason only: an election. The Premier is so obsessed with this election and keeping herself in power, she has herself started abusing her power, violating the rights of the people in the process. Only this week, she denied a young woman named Sarah from Canberra the opportunity to attend her father’s funeral, having delayed her from entering Queensland to see him before he passed away. When the Prime Minister pleaded with her over the phone to allow Sarah to attend the funeral to be with her mother and younger sister on compassionate grounds, Palaszczuk refused, and then had the nerve to play the victim, telling the State Parliament that the Prime Minister was trying to bully her, and deferring responsibility to Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young. Dr Young’s explanation for denying Sarah access to the funeral but allowing Tom Hanks into Queensland without going through hotel quarantine? In short, money. These people are putting money above the lives and rights of the people of Australia. It has been happening in hospitals and aged care facilities, where anyone who tests positive for COVID19 and passes away, even if they pass away from any other condition, is recorded as a COVID19 death for financial gain. It is sick, twisted, and a blatant demonstration of corruption.
In addition to refusing to allow Sarah to attend her father’s funeral, despite Canberra having had no cases for over sixty-five days, Palaszczuk has refused many other requests to come across the border from NSW which should be permitted based on compassionate grounds. Indeed, all of these cases would be the very definition of compassionate. A father who wants to see his four-year-old daughter who is currently undergoing chemotherapy and is in intensive care. A father In Queensland dying of cancer, who just wants to see his four kids before he passes away (the kids are now being permitted entry providing they front up $16,000 for quarantine fees, which just goes to show this is definitely about money). A pregnant mother who needed emergency surgery to save one of her twins, who was denied entry and tragically lost the baby. A mother and father who were denied entry to be by their dying son’s bedside as his life support was turned off. A grandmother who was denied entry to attend the funeral of her grandson who had tragically passed away. These are just a few of the stories out there. There are so many more, and for Annastacia Palaszczuk to play the victim when she is the one bullying these families and causing them even more heartache is cold, cruel, and heartless. It is borderline sociopathic. The border should not even be closed in the first place. But Palaszczuk is more concerned about winning the October 31st election than the people who are suffering as a result of her personal ambition. However, what she fails to realise is that her inhumane actions are costing her votes, even votes of Labor supporters, and will likely cost her the election. The Queensland State election is on Halloween, and I am sure it will be a terrifying night for the Premier.
I am genuinely concerned about the way Australia is going. What has always been a great, democratic nation, is turning in to a human rights disaster. Yet people act like sheep, giving up their human rights for some temporary safety. I have quoted Ben Franklin before, but I will do it again to reiterate: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” If you are willing to give up your rights for the sake of “keeping people safe”, then you really do not deserve those rights.
What this country needs is solid legislated protection for human rights. We need something along the lines of a Bill of Rights, but it needs to be put to the people, not the politicians. Politicians nowadays, bar a few good ones who actually care about the people, tend to corrupt easily, and will take advantage of anything, including a potential Bill of Rights, to ensure they can gain as much power as possible. All you need do is look at Victoria, the only State with a Charter of Human Rights, whose Government has blatantly ignored this Charter for the sake of accruing power (it would be interesting to see if they could be taken to the Australian Human Rights Commission for that). We need to construct something that will protect us from anything like the disgraces occurring in Victoria and Queensland, and the country in general, from ever happening again. Our rights must be protected from power-hungry politicians.
Scott Morrison, this part is for you: Step up. Show some leadership. Abolish the National Cabinet. Take back power from the Premiers. An intervention is necessary, particularly in Victoria. Withdraw the Australian Defense Force from the State. Tell Daniel Andrews that if he wants to perpetuate with harsh lockdowns that it is on him to pay for it, not the Federal Government. Stop relying on Big Public Health Bureaucrats who are only in it for themselves and the money. They cannot be trusted. They are unelected and should not be running this country. Our elected leaders should be running the country. Show people that they made the right choice electing you to power. Use the Australian Constitution to your advantage. It seems like you have forgotten it. Take Bronwyn Bishop’s advice and have a look at Section 51. Use it. Get our rights back for us Prime Minister. And then do the right thing and help us to protect them from any further abuses of power.
Our human rights matter. They are what provide us with a good life, a life of freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of choice. We should not have unruly arbitrary restrictions imposed upon us. Where there are not human rights, there cannot possible be peace. As the Dalai Lama said, “Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.”
We must defend our human rights, for they are keep us from a life of misery, a life of oppression by governments, a life of despair. Nelson Mandela, who was himself a civil rights activist before he was imprisoned and later released and elected President, said that “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” Human rights could be viewed as the foundation of humanity itself. And like a building goes down when its foundations collapse, when human rights collapse, humanity falls apart.