Tucker Carlson Wrong About Australia, Again

Tucker Carlson Wrong About Australia, Again. By David Evans.

Sigh. Tucker is brilliant on US politics, where he knows the scene. But when it comes to Australia he obviously doesn’t know what he is talking about. He has been spreading dangerous lies about what is happening in Australia for weeks now, and yesterday he did it again. …

Yesterday’s monologue

Yesterday Tucker’s opening monologue was on Australia. At least he didn’t repeat the martial law lie, and he got some things right, but sadly there were a lot of falsehoods. If only he’d done his homework.

Let’s just focus on a few of his falsehoods.

In Australia people are “being welded inside their apartments to starve” and there are “guys in hazmat suits forcing people in quarantine boxes and driving away to some unknown destination”

Tucker:

Two years later, what does Australia look like? It looks a lot like China did at the beginning of the pandemic. We showed you those images from China at the time — the people being welded inside their apartments to starve, the guys in hazmat suits forcing people in quarantine boxes and driving away to some unknown destination. At the time, our public health officials, including Tony Fauci, told us nothing like that could ever happen in our country or in the west. But that was wrong because those things are now happening in Australia.

There are zero welded apartments in Australia, and there have never been any. This defamatory lie is made of whole cloth. Tucker, can you produce evidence of even one case of a person in Australia being welded into their apartment, or locked in, or of authorities physically interfering with anyone’s dwelling in any way on account of covid? I think not.

Incoming travelers to Australia are placed in quarantine for two weeks. That’s because we don’t want to get infected, and for all but the last three months Australia has been basically free of covid. Quarantine has been in inner-city 4 and 5 star hotels, or in a mining camp in the Northern Territory. There are some better, purpose-built quarantine facilities currently being constructed in the countryside, out in the fresh air. Some people have been conducted to quarantine in hazmat suits because they are strongly suspected of carrying covid.

However, traveling to Australia is voluntary, and it is made clear that quarantine is a condition of arrival. There is no “forcing” about it, unless someone were to renege and refuse quarantine. In Australia, if you have covid you are asked to self-isolate, or go to hospital. The self-isolation orders have the force of law — some checking goes on, and flouters are arrested. No “unknown destinations.” Nothing like what happened in China, where infected people were forcibly removed off the street or from their homes. This claim of Tucker is also defamatory and untrue.

In Australia you get arrested “if you try to leave your apartment”

Tucker:

This is what happens in Australia if you try to leave your apartment:

REPORTER: Anthony Karam knows he’s COVID positive when he steps into this public lift. Already breaking so many rules, he doesn’t bother to cover his mouth as he sneezes and splutters. The 27-year-old is still infectious but has gone missing from his Wentworth Point apartment, the warrant now issued for his arrest. 

HEALTH MINISTER BRAD HASSARD: This 27-year-old chap who apparently has expressed the view that he doesn’t care less whether he spreads the virus is one example of the worst of the worst.

So a national manhunt for a man who sneezed in an elevator. That’s the state of play in modern-day Australia.

What a crock. Tucker is misinterpreting a single extreme case to imply that if you sneeze in an elevator in Australia you will be subject to a national manhunt, and this is typical if you leave your apartment. Even allowing for the usual political exaggeration, this speaks volumes about the picture Tucker is trying to paint.

The crime of the idiot in the elevator was not sneezing, but deliberately ignoring restrictions and spreading covid. At the time, in August 2021, Sydney had been basically covid free up to that point, apart from the current outbreak. Sydney was locking down in order to return to zero covid (it failed this time — because of delta, scofflaws, and vaccine availability — and has since given up on zero covid). The selfish git in the elevator knew he had covid, and had been ordered to stay at home and self-isolate. If he goes out into the community and spreads covid to say 10 people, then Sydney’s lockdown to return to zero covid will be a couple of weeks longer. So 5 million people must stay indoors for two more weeks because of his wilful foolishness. That’s why this scofflaw was the subject of a manhunt. Most of Australia were completely on authority’s side on this one. “Incandescent” is the word that describes most people’s feelings about this man.

In Australia, peaceful demonstrators are bashed by police

Tucker:

Is the government cracking down on Islamic extremists, dangerous revolutionaries in their midst? No. Just ordinary Australians complaining, demonstrating peacefully against the lockdowns, beaten by police.

There have been cases of Victorian police using excessive force against peaceful people. However, for the most part the violence has been between protestors who came looking for a fight, or are left wing union thugs used to getting their way by intimidation, and the Victorian police. From a recent post on the Victorian thuggishness:

But many of the protestors are looking for trouble, and are not protesting peacefully. They are accustomed to using violence to get their way. They are throwing tap handles, batteries, bottles, and golf balls at the police, who naturally hit back. And it is long overdue justice to see the violence of union thugs being suppressed with their own medicine …

Victoria is a special case. It has 20% of the Aussie population, but is under the rule of state Premier Dan Andrews, who is quite left wing. The violence has nearly all been in Victoria, as have the vast majority of Australia’s covid deaths, and the bulk of the lockdowns. Because Andrews failed to apply lockdown measures quickly enough at first, Victoria’s capital city Melbourne underwent a prolonged lockdown of almost four months in 2020. People have had enough.

The left wing union the CFMEU supports the Andrews government, rules the construction industry by force and intimidation, and was given special dispensation from the covid restrictions by the Andrews government. Then it turned out that CFMEU construction workers were spreading covid during Melbourne’s latest lockdown, so Andrews decreed they must get vaccinated. But many unionists are anti-vaxxers, and went ballistic. The violent scenes followed — those were left wing union thugs fighting the police, not “ordinary Australians”. The complex politics is sketched here. In any case, there have been no deaths and only minimal property damage — unlike last year’s BLM riots in the US.

Outside Victoria, the use of excessive of force by police on covid has been rare. There have been peaceful demonstrations against lockdowns and/or mandatory vaccination — there was one just yesterday in Perth, where I live.

So Tucker’s claim that “ordinary Australians complaining, demonstrating peacefully against the lockdowns, beaten by police” is also false and defamatory.

By the way, if you come to Australia we expect you to obey the traffic rules, for mutual safety. If Australians don’t pay their taxes they can be thrown in jail. It is not “tyranny” for police to use reasonable force against those who break laws from legitimately elected governments.

Australia is chaotic, and Australians are beaten with nightsticks or hosed by the police

Tucker:

You’ve seen a lot of footage from Australia that shows the chaos, but something that’s not immediately obvious from the American vantage is this is not all of Australia. The whole country is not locked down. In Australia, most of the lockdowns are in the eastern part of the country … Western Australia, home to most of the country’s national resources, isn’t locked down at all. 50,000 fans just crowded inside a stadium for a rugby match in Perth, the capital of Western Australia; no one beat them with nightsticks or hosed by the police.

What chaos? Whole cloth lie. Australia, apart from Melbourne, has been mostly free of covid and life has been just like before covid. We live here, we know. …

Apart from violent demonstrations where demonstrators have gone looking for a fight with the police, there are no beatings or hosings. Why on earth would there be beatings with nightsticks or hosing by police at a football match?? Your suggestion is false and defamatory Tucker.

(By the way, it wasn’t a rugby match. It was the year’s grand final in Australian Rules football, a completely different game. Which is not relevant, except that it shows how ignorant Tucker is about Australia. I mean, how seriously could you take a commentator on US affairs who mentioned in passing that the Superbowl was a soccer match?)

Freedom from covid came just from closing borders

Tucker:

Western Australia has virtually no COVID cases.

How did that happen? How does Western Australia not lockdown but remain virtually COVID-free? Simple. By controlling its borders. Western Australia didn’t allow thousands of people to stream in from anywhere they wanted to in the world. They’re not Texas. They didn’t care about protecting their borders. They’re not worried about being called racist. It seemed common sense, and it worked. …

COVID mandates are a far greater threat to Australia’s economy and its social fabric than COVID itself. The Queensland health minister, in eastern Australia, explaining that outdoor mask mandates are necessary because of two new COVID cases. Not two thousand, but two:

QUEENSLAND HEALTH MINISTER YVETTE D’ATH: What these two cases mean is that we will be extending immediately the directive in relation to mask-wearing to the Gold Coast.

Yes, Australia closed it’s borders to keep out covid. But there were already hundreds of covid cases before the borders were closed — so how did Australia then achieve zero covid? Covid has leaked though quarantine several times in the last year — so how did all of Australia until recently, and most Australian states still, keep to zero covid?

The bit Tucker omits is that the covid mandates — which he rails against — work. The covid free situation in Western Australia, of which he approves, is only possible because of swiftly applied lockdowns, of which he disapproves. Perhaps Tucker doesn’t understand that because he is too ensconced in his US situation. The US lost its chance for zero covid by maybe May 2020 — by then it was just too widespread to be eliminated, and US society wasn’t cohesive enough to be able to pull it off. Even more importantly, the Democrats refused to close the borders properly, so there was constant reinfection from outside, which rendered the US covid mandates mostly pointless.

Here is the giveaway: He uttered that stupid line that people who don’t get it always say, as if it’s clever — they locked down after only two infections!! Why not wait until there are a couple of thousand?!

Ok, we’ll explain again. To return to zero covid — and thus maximum freedom — as quickly as possible, you have to lockdown as fast as possible. Here’s why. If you lockdown when only one or two people have been spreading it in the community, you might only need a few days or a week’s lockdown to pick up all the cases — because there are only a handful of hidden cases out there. If you wait a week, there are then maybe 10 people spreading it in the community, and maybe a month’s lockdown is required because there are tens of hidden cases. Wait a month before getting serious, and you will need three or four months of lockdown to return to zero covid (as Melbourne proved in 2020). And so on. The aim is not to push covid numbers down to just a few, but to zero.

A short sharp lockdown is generally all that is needed, as experience has shown. But it needs to be done quickly, to nip the outbreak in the bud. Lockdowns in Australia have thus been sharp but infrequent, and most of the time Australia  has been free of masks, restrictions, and covid.

Zero covid makes a huge difference. For example, here in Western Australia in the last year there have been three lockdowns, of three, four, and five days (essential work only, no school, supermarkets open but general stores closed, and masks). That’s a total of 12 days of lockdown out of the last 365. For the other 353 days there were no restrictions — except for a minority of the time there were various size limits on gatherings and crowds.

For most of the last year, in Western Australia life has been normal. Like before the pandemic, except you cannot travel outside Australia and New Zealand without special exemption, and planning events or travel is problematic because of the occasional snap lockdowns. No covid, no masks, no restrictions — you are free to go to work or school, visit friends, go to church or the football, go shopping, etc. That’s what it is like at the moment in Western Australia.

We have been freer here in Western Australia than anywhere I know of in the US — except that entering the state from most places is restricted and requires a two week quarantine.

20 months of covid is long enough to compare national covid strategies. Here’s the sickness and death score to today:

 

Known infections as % of population Deaths Deaths as % of population
Australia 0.42 1,321 0.005
New Zealand 0.09 27 0.001
Taiwan 0.07 843 0.004
Vietnam 0.81 19,437 0.020
France 10.72 116,759 0.178
Sweden 11.33 14,827 0.146
USA 13.33 718,984 0.216
UK 11.48 136,789 0.200

The first four countries closed their borders and used short lockdowns to eliminate the virus, repeatedly. Vietnam, and NSW and Victoria in Australia, have recently failed to keep it out — and will not return to zero covid in the foreseeable future. New Zealand is battling a delta outbreak and it is not clear if they will get back to zero covid. Which might just leave Taiwan and some Australian states as the only uninfected jurisdictions. It is not clear what the situation in China really is, but they continue to react as if covid is airborne HIV.

The last four counties — France, Sweden, the US and UK — did not close their borders, choosing instead to endure long lockdowns of varying severity to prevent hospitals from overcrowding. The difference in outcome is striking, isn’t it?

Some say it is just an accident of geography, being on islands. Not so. China’s neighbor Vietnam, like Taiwan, has had long experience dealing with pandemics from China. It kept covid out until recently — and it has long land borders. If covid was as deadly as ebola, do you think the US couldn’t have closed its border? Of course it would have. (And it would have stopped illegal immigration too.)

Lies have consequences

Tucker is presumably saying what he thinks his audience wants to hear. (Perhaps it helps them feel better about their own situation?) But there are serious consequences.

Here is a possible future US President, just recently, in an article entitled “DeSantis questions US diplomatic relationship with ‘off-the-rails’ Australia over military COVID lockdowns”:

Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., questioned Tuesday if the United States should rethink its diplomatic relationship with Australia given its strict, military-enforced COVID-19 lockdowns.

The careless lies on the Tucker Carlson Tonight show and certain right-wing US websites have real world ramifications.

Read it all here. It’s an unpleasant task and I was going to let it go, until I saw the DeSantis quote.