Is freedom an inalienable right or is it a “reward” given by governments to compliant people?
Listening to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today, one could be forgiven for thinking human rights were hers to give, and hers to take away.
The Premier, speaking in Brisbane, described the easing of restrictions on movement and association from December 17 as a “reward” for vaccinated people.
“People who are vaccinated have absolutely stepped up and done the right thing and you deserve to keep your freedoms,” she said, straight-faced.
These freedoms – that Queenslanders may or may not “deserve” – included the ability to go to the pub, a concert, a sporting event, a Christmas party or to visit family members in hospital.
“A lot of people have gone and got vaccinated and they need to be rewarded for their efforts. They have done everything I have asked them to do,” the Premier said.
It is astonishing to me that Australian politicians can speak in this authoritarian tone and receive, as if their due, nothing but approving nods from the press gallery.
Brisbane? Beijing? What’s the difference these days? Not much evidently.
If vaccinated people “deserve” basic freedoms then, by implication, the 20% of Queenslanders who are not vaccinated, are undeserving.
Think about that. If a perfectly healthy person has decided — for whatever reason – that they don’t want to be vaccinated, they are now deemed undeserving of basic rights we all took for granted less than two years ago.
And if vaccinated people are being “rewarded” then those who have not “done everything I have asked them to do” are being punished.
It is one thing to say that unvaccinated people are unwise. It is another thing altogether to say they are undeserving of basic human rights in their own country of birth.
How quickly our relationship to the state has been redefined. And how willingly we have gone along with it.
Regardless of our views on the vaccine, is this really the kind of country we want to live in?
A country in which politicians make medical decisions for us and then hold press conferences where, flanked by the Commissioner of Police, they promise to reward or to punish us according to our obedience?