Dan O'Heirity

Declaring A State of Disaster in Victoria Was Ridiculous

I have written quite a lot over the last few days about the declared state of disaster and the curfew that has been introduced in Melbourne. Today I’m just going to include a video that makes a lot of points that I have been making. The video also goes further in claiming that Covid-19 is not a pandemic. Unfortunately the logic of the argument does not really hold in terms of the definition of a pandemic from the World Health Organization which states that, “An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and spreads around the world, and most people do not have immunity“. However, what I would say is that the severity of the pandemic has been massively over played around the world. This claim is unquestionably true of Australia where so few people are dying that news reports can actually point to, for example, the aged care facilities where people have died along with the age of all those who have died.

Whilst I can’t agree with the argument against Covid-19 being a pandemic, I can definitely agree that current measures in Victoria border on the criminal. I can also agree that the Covid-19 situation in Victoria, and indeed in Australia, has been horribly mismanaged. For example, those most vulnerable to Covid-19 – the elderly, the sick and healthcare workers on the frontline – have not been protected from the virus. Secondly, the Victorian economy is losing millions of dollars everyday when Australia has seen only 255 deaths over the last 7 months. Finally, and I say this nearly every time, only 1% of all active cases worldwide are in a serious or critical condition and the death rate is continuously falling.

There is Something Terribly Awry With the Covid-19 Response

I’m going to take Australia as a case example for the fact that we should not take the government’s response to Covid-19 at face value. The trouble with conspiracy theories is that the multiply unevidenced conjectures and hypotheses exponentially which means that the whole conspiracy theory comes tumbling down when examined in any detail. All that I am saying is that it is worth looking at the Covid-19 facts and then asking the question about how we can explain the Australian government’s reaction to Covid-19. One explanation would be that our leaders are incompetent. This hypothesis is testable. One could review, for example, the history of the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrew’s leadership in order to make judgements about the wisdom of his judgements. For example, why did he sign a Memorandum of Understanding with China over their “Belt and Road Initiative” when the State Government had said that they wanted nothing to do with the project. One could apply the same logic to Scott Morrison’s leadership as Australia’s Prime Minister in terms of what might be termed the mismanagement of protecting those in aged care from the virus.

Another way to look at what can only be called a massive over-reaction in Australia to the Covid-19 pandemic could be to ask who “wins” and who “loses” from the measures that have been put in place. I don’t mean the short term measures such as fining people over $4,000 if they breach self-isolation restrictions. Nor do I mean having the police patrol the streets to enforce curfews or fining people for not wearing masks even though scientists fundamentally disagree on the effectiveness of wearing masks. Take a look at the video above, for example, which provides academic research from prestigious journals to suggest that mask wearing may not be all that it is cracked up to be in fighting Covid-19. Then take a look at this story from Australia which states quite categorically that mask wearing has is crucial in combatting Covid-19.

A New World Order is Emerging and We Should Pay Attention

These points are certainly interesting in terms of dominant discourses or narratives that the masses are supposed to accept uncritically but they do not really get to the heart of the matter which is that we are seeing the emergence of a new world order. This is not conspiracy theory. It is fact. China is in the ascendancy. Countries around the world are now questioning their relationships with China and distancing themselves from China strategically, economically and technologically. New alliances are being formed between countries and countries are coming together in joint military exercises to send a clear message to China that they will, for example, not let China pursue expansionist policies in the South China Sea. I might say, in terms of a new world order, that we are being mis-directed with Covid-19. That is, Covid-19 is all consuming from a news perspective when much more serious matters are afoot.

So, I am asking the question of who wins and who loses in terms of the fact that there will be a new world order in the post Covid-19 world. You don’t have to posit “shadow governments” or secret societies of the world’s richest businessmen in order to answer this question. It would be possible to piece together historical evidence to try to paint a picture of events that have led up to the exploitation of Covid-19 for strategic, political and economic purposes. For example, Xi Jinping has been signalling the ascendancy of China for years now and one could quite reasonably argue that he has seized the Covid-19 situation to pursue his aims whilst the world is caught up with trying to deal with the virus. As an example, China has now basically taken over Hong Kong through a new security law and whilst world leaders have reacted, China’s rule of Hong Kong is a done deal.

One could also look at Australia’s trading relationship with China over the last decade or so in order to map out how Australia, and many other countries around the world, became overly dependent on trade with China to such an extent that some Australian businesses would be barely viable with trade with China. Then there is the case of Australian Universities that are unable to survive without Chinese students. The tourist industry is another example where Australia is too dependent on the Chinese. Whilst this big picture is important in terms of a Chinese ascendancy strategy, the details or nuances in what is happening also need to be considered. For example, whilst China is certainly playing the big picture, there are day to day manoeuvres such as launching a cyber police portal where Chinese internet users can report acts that undermine Beijing’s image. There are even more subtle moves. For example, being able to exert influence over Australian universities that act in a way that is not palatable to China.

First Published August 6th, 2020

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