Daniel Andrews’ contempt for citizenry might explain loss of trust

Daniel Andrews’ contempt for citizenry might explain loss of trust. By Nick Cater, on the alarming state of violence in Melbourne Victoria.

Why is this happening in Victoria, but not elsewhere in Australia?

Something has changed since officers could send bad guys scarpering simply by turning up. Today, they crouch in formation behind armoured vehicles dressed like extras in a Marvel movie armed with semiautomatic rifles imported from Al Capone’s home town of Chicago.

The tactics employed on the streets of Melbourne last week were the result of a steady decline in respect for the uniform. As their authority has fallen, the police have turned to force. Consent has been replaced with coercion as policing’s main currency. Fixed-length batons and megaphones have been upgraded to extendable batons, riot shields, body armour, capsicum spray and Tasers.

That is where the use of non-lethal force stops in Australia, except in Victoria, where the level of deference to the men and women in blue has fallen furthest. In recent years, the decline in respect has become so critical they can’t shut down a rowdy Airbnb party without calling in the riot squad. …

The Pepperball VKS semiautomatic rifle is modelled on the M4 carbine. The round objects attached to the top are hoppers that feed 200 rounded kinetic impact projectiles into the barrel without stopping to reload. Magazines attached to the bottom contain 15 rounds of tapered projectiles with an accuracy of 50m.

 

As it says on their website, “non-lethal has never been this powerful”.

 

It would have been nice to have a debate before police decided to deploy this weapon. Why, for example, might an officer on crowd-control duty need the capacity to fire a high-velocity plastic bullet at a person 50m away? What are the operating procedures and what precautions are taken to avoid blinding, maiming or otherwise injuring someone, as can happen if a shot is misdirected?

In Victoria, however, public debate on matters of importance was abolished after the coup of March 2020, when the Premier grabbed hold of emergency powers and refused to let go.

Other premiers have exercised varying degrees of restraint, conscious of the natural limits that apply to extra-parliamentary authority in a liberal democracy. Not so Daniel Andrews, who has displayed outright contempt for the “principle of proportionality” in the Public Health and Wellbeing Act, which stipulates that decisions should not be arbitrary. Persons administering the Act, such as political leaders, bureaucrats and the police, are lawfully obliged to exercise power in a transparent, systematic and appropriate manner, so far as is practicable. We never would have guessed it judging by the way Andrews carries on.

Pandemics test society in unusual ways. Here it’s laptops versus utes (utility vehicles, Australian for pickups):

Seldom in our lifetimes have governments demanded more trust from their citizens than during this pandemic. Seldom has a government failed to honour that trust so badly as the Andrews administration. Yet he remains the poster boy for the laptop class, who were as quick as ever to defend the indefensible last week.

The ABC’s Patricia Karvelas blamed “toxic masculinity” while Bill Shorten blamed kindergarten fascists, or “man-baby nazis”. Others blamed the Murdoch (yawn) media. Few summoned the will to suspend disgust at the mob and ask if their grievance might perchance be related to the Premier’s high-handed contempt for the citizens of Victoria.

Might there be reasonable grounds to resent the theft of personal liberty by the world’s most lockdown-happy leader? Could there be plausible grounds for complaint when a premier shuts down an industry employing 300,000 people on a whim at an evening press conference? Few construction workers, after all, have the luxury of sitting at home on full pay ordering stuff on Amazon and augmenting the #istandwithdan thread on Twitter.

The enmity between those who carry their work in a laptop and those who carry it in a ute has a history that predates Covid and is not limited to any particular jurisdiction. The breakdown in trust has been accelerated by the abuse of power that allows the professional class to control social, as well as mainstream, media. The establishment will pay a heavy price for perpetuating a lie as big as the one about the origin of Covid-19 and censoring the reporting of what now turns out to be an account nearer the truth.

Sensible people once tended to resist theories of global cover-ups and conspiracies. Today they don’t, having seen one exposed with their own eyes. … Once the gatekeepers have been exposed for having deliberately withheld the truth about something so important, how can we be confident of anything beyond the world we can see and touch?

Like, say, climate change? The left need “crises” to effect change — as they say, “never let a crisis go to waste”.

hat-tip Stephen Neil