A Hill To Die On

The Spectator Australia

In July 2021, when ‘vaccine passports’ were still a crazy conspiracy theory, I wrote an article for The Spectator Australia arguing that Australia must not become a checkpoint society based on proof of Covid vaccination. To allow such tyranny would be illiberal and draconian, and contradict everything that the Liberal Party, as conceptualised by Sir Robert Menzies, stood for.

Not long after that article was written, many unvaccinated Australians were barred from public places, doctors’ clinics, hospitals, and even from working because they turned down the jab. Our health bureaucracies and state premiers told us that this was essential for our safety to ‘stop the spread’.

Contrary to the current claims of these backpedalling authorities, following the admission of a top Pfizer representative that their product was never tested for its impact on viral transmission, the assumption of our health departments was that the so-called vaccines would prevent the transmission of Covid.

South Australia’s Chief Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier, told parents that, ‘Vaccination is the best way to protect you, your family, and your friends from getting sick, and reduce the risk of outbreaks and school closures.’ As recently as January of this year, Premier Daniel Andrews told Victorians, ‘At the moment two doses are protecting the vast majority of people from serious illness, but it’s only with three doses that you’ll be prevented not just from serious illness but from getting this virus, this Omicron variant, and therefore giving it to others.’

State governments made Australia a checkpoint society, but when the Covid cases continued to mount on the daily media tallies, it became obvious that the injections did not prevent transmission. Many so-called ‘conspiracy theorists’ already knew that would happen. Yet it didn’t prevent the establishment media, politicians, and health departments from pushing the lie that the injections were necessary to stop the spread. To this very day, many workplaces still have private injection mandates in place.

People’s lives have been shipwrecked, sometimes ended, because of these mandates, which have turned out to be based on a lie just as the ‘conspiracy theorists’ had warned. This is the greatest political and public health scandal of our time. If Pfizer had no data on viral transmission, on what basis were the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the Department of Health, and state Chief Health Officers making this claim from the moment the rollout began?

I am disturbed by the fact that this has taken place in this country, and by the hostility with which those who were cast aside as ‘anti-vaxxers’ were treated. The reason I am a member of the Liberal Party is because I believe in its foundational principles. Namely, ‘In the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples … a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives; and maximises individual and private sector initiative… In those most basic freedoms of parliamentary democracy – the freedom of thought, worship, speech, and association.’ There is no way that mandatory injections to keep one’s job, even if the mRNA injections were the safest and most effective vaccines ever developed (which they clearly aren’t), would be justifiable to anyone who believes in these principles.

Sadly, many found this too difficult to understand, or were not brave enough to speak out, lest their reputation suffer.

Sometimes doing the right thing requires being called a fool.

In November 2021, after many Australians had either lost their jobs for not getting jabbed or had been coerced into doing so, I took the view that what was happening in our community was so serious, that I could leave no stone unturned to try to help and along with my Queensland colleague Senator Gerrard Rennick I advised the Prime Minister that I would be withholding my vote in the Senate until such time as the federal government intervened. This was not a position I took lightly but it was a hill I was prepared to die on.

Mandates were state driven, but there were many actions that the federal government could have taken to assist such as, legislating against discrimination in the manner proposed by Senator Pauline Hanson (a Bill I supported), withdrawing the states’ funding, or removing their access to the Australian Immunity Register to name but a few.

I also gave a speech in the Senate calling for an end to the mandates, in which I quoted Sir Robert Menzies:
‘The rarest form of courage, I think, in the world, is moral courage. The courage that a man has when he is prepared to form his view of the truth and to pursue it, when he is not running around the corner every five minutes to say, ‘Is this going to be popular?’

I took courage from Sir Robert’s words but sadly, there was no appetite to change course.

The reason I drew a line in the sand was simply that it was the right thing to do, and the only course of action consistent with the values of the Liberal Party. Those of us who didn’t allow ourselves to be bullied into silence and compliance have been vindicated. Others have woken up to the fact that they were lied to as the bureaucratic tyranny expanded.

Courage is contagious, as they say. The quiet Australians are speaking out. The pushback against Covid authoritarianism has been, in many ways, tremendous. The protests in Victoria, Sydney, and Canberra were the largest I remember seeing in Australia, and drew many people from all walks of life, despite the legacy media’s best efforts to smear the peaceful protesters as dangerous weirdos.

The Covid narrative has been exposed. Conservatives who grasp the concept of liberty know that the mandates were both medically and morally wrong. Australians are ready for leadership that is unconcerned with the banal criticism of the craven establishment and courageously pursues the truth. Let’s give it to them.