Articles – The Centre for Independent Studies

Lockdown leaders’ insulting excuses

Monica Wilkie

27 November 2020 | IDEAS@THECENTRE

gladys berejiklianLeaders who bend their own COVID rules are insulting the trust and faith their constituents place in them.

Gladys Berejiklian was caught breaching NSW Health guidelines by not self-isolating while waiting the results of her COVID-19 test. Last week, California’s governor Gavin Newsom attended a friend’s party at a busy restaurant.

From trips to the English countryside, visits to second homes, sneaky haircuts, and amorous extra-curricular activities from the UK lockdown-in-chief, leaders have not been shy about breaking their iconclad, crystal-clear COVID-19 rules.

These lockdown flouters gave various versions of the same apology — claiming they acted responsibly, assessed their own risks, and were sorry they did not set a good example.

These are perfectly reasonable explanations. So why are they good enough for our leaders but not for the rest of us?

Australians have been continuously implored to take this virus seriously, change our behaviour — pretty much permanently, and almost all activities have been restricted.

Fishing, golf, pub drinks, and even sex were all banned in various jurisdictions. Tragically, people have been denied visits to dying loved ones and prevented from farewelling them at funerals.

If you were found eating a kebab, holding a house party, or trying to organise a ‘COVID-safe’ anti-lockdown protest, you were fined, arrested and branded a selfish #covidiot.

These people could not have claimed they “behaved legally and reasonably”, “acted in the belief [they were] immune” or “knew that [they] didn’t have any [COVID-19] symptoms.”

Whether the coronavirus response was proportionate and necessary will be debated for years to come.

But in March, governments decided COVID-19 warranted an unprecedented response – compared to seasonal flu or recent viral infections. This response relied upon a series of coercive measures.

We were told we were ‘all in this together’ and we all had to make sacrifices for the greater good — and we did. Australians have been remarkably compliant, and our leaders have been rewarded with sky-high approval ratings.

But such good will is not unbreakable — especially if our leaders continually demand compliance from us and latitude for themselves.

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