Save Australia???

For the past two years, Australia has been besieged by ‘tyranny’ and ‘a health dictatorship.’ That’s according to an American narrative about a COVID police state unbeknownst to Australians themselves.

Journalist Jason Wilson has described an ongoing ‘feedback loop’ between conservative US media and alt-right and alt-green anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown groups in Australia. This was in evidence at a New York anti-mask protest, where Wilson observed participants waving Australian flags and chanting “Save Australia.”

“Totalitarianism,” says Tucker Carlson. “Australia has lost its collective mind,” according to Ben Shapiro. “If we invade Australia we will be greeted as liberators,” argues Jack Posobiec. These are all right-wing figures with millions of followers.

One US site claimed to have “a dire warning” from “Australian activists and political prisoners”: “The globalists have captured our nation, and our [sic] trying to break our will. Please help us, or you are next.”

It’s revealing just how easy it is to formulate a criticism of the government of a far-away country, claiming inside info from “activists.”

One “freedom” activist is former SAS soldier Riccardo Bosi. In Sydney on Saturday, Bosi led protesters through the Lord’s Prayer, then said, “Praise the lord and pass the ammunition.”

Another such “activist” is a YouTuber named Aussie Cossack, who recently had a guest spot on the conspiratorial show InfoWars, hosted by Alex Jones. His channel features him driving around locked-down suburbs heroically thumbing his nose at anti-mask mandates thanks to an apparent medical exemption.

Cossack’s InfoWars appearance had the sub-heading, “Australian Citizen issues SOS to the world”. “There is huge anti-government criticism all over the country, people who would never consider criticising the police,” said Cossack. “You know, normal, peaceful types, they’re rising up to defend their rights.”

Conspiracy theorist ‘news’ presenter Alex Jones.

This is one aspect of the anti-mask, anti-lockdown movement that is particularly grating. People who apparently never cared about bloated budgets for the politicised intelligence services or over-policing in migrant and indigenous communities are suddenly claiming these issues as part of their crusade against personal inconvenience.

That’s not to mention these “normal, peaceful types” pulling stunts like stringing up a Dan Andrews doll from a mock gallows at a Melbourne protest.

Yet the “Save Australia” narrative isn’t as fringe as it may appear. Conor Friedersdorf, a staff writer for The Atlantic, wrote, “How long can a democracy maintain emergency restrictions and still call itself a free country?” 

Friedersdorf also lambasted South Australia and its home-quarantine app, which facilitates the end of the expensive and ineffective hotel quarantine system, as “Orwellian.” 

All of this is striving to rewrite the historical record. The lock-downs in Australia saved approximately 260,000 lives compared to unmitigated spread of the virus. As the 90%+ vaccination rates show, Australia is still, mostly, a relative haven of good sense.

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