‘The state is divided’: how debate about the lockdown turned ugly

‘The state is divided’: how debate about the lockdown turned ugly, by Henrietta Cook.

Nicole Johnston usually avoids sharing anything political online.

But a few weeks ago, the 37-year-old restaurateur posted a fiery video on Facebook of Victorian Liberal MP Matthew Guy slamming the state government over its mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.

All hell broke loose.

A close friend called the owner of Panda Blairgowrie an idiot and the pair are no longer speaking. The experience was so toxic Ms Johnston deleted the Facebook app from her phone.

“It has really turned people against each other,” she says.

“I understand that people will react differently. I have a business and a young child and this is going to affect me differently to someone with an elderly mother. The whole state is so divided.” …

There is broad political support for the lockdown if — and only if — it is seen as necessary:

When Roy Morgan started surveying Victorians about their attitudes towards COVID-19 restrictions in August it expected to detect strong opposition.

But Michele Levine, the chief executive of the market research company, was surprised to discover most people supported the strict rules.

“We thought there’d be quite a strong rebellion against the restrictions but most people said, ‘no we don’t need to visit the homes of our immediate families, we’re happy to wear masks and happy with the five kilometre restrictions and happy with the curfew’.”

But over time, as the number of coronavirus cases have dropped significantly, more Victorians are calling for restrictions to be eased.

A lot of it just seems to depend on people’s perception of the danger level.

hat-tip Chris