April 6, 2020 by Dymphna

Is Aussie freedom under threat?

Freedom must always be fought for, but particularly in times of crisis.

You know what keeps me up at night right now?


Well, not all dentists. Particular dictator dentists, like the poor country of Turkmenistan is stuck wtih. He’s apparently banned the media from even talking about the coronavirus. From the NPR blog:

The Central Asian country of Turkmenistan claims it has no coronavirus cases. But if you happen to utter the word “coronavirus” while waiting, say, for the bus in the white-marbled capital Ashgabat, there’s a good chance you’ll be arrested.

That’s because the Turkmen government, run since 2006 by the flamboyant dentist-rapper strongman Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has reportedly banned the word, according to Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondents in Ashgabat report that plainclothes police officers are also arresting people who wear face masks or discuss the pandemic in public.

… “flamboyant dentist-rapper strongman”!!!

Gawd help us. Talk about counting your blessings. Today, it’s for boring politicians like Scomo and Albo.

But this picks up on a worrying trend. Military strongmen in places like Turkmenistan, Hungary and Turkey are using the crisis to dismantle democracy and entrenched their own personal power.

They always do.

But should we be worried here in Australia?

I’m personally not worried about Scomo leading a military putsch on Canberra, but the price of democracy is vigilance. And right now, I am worrying about the way some things are shaping up.

Like I said, I really don’t think Scomo or the LNP are looking to dismantle democracy. I actually think they’re making a pretty decent fist of what is an incredibly complex and difficult crisis.

But the way we handle this crisis will determine how we handle future crises, and we don’t want to get into the habit of calling off parliament with every bad flu season.

And here I think the LNP could think a little more deeply about how to keep parliament going. It’s being suspended for five months.

Really? Is that necessary?

It took me two days to take my entire work flow digital. Zoom meetings are now the norm. Is it really that hard to have ‘digital parliament’ for a while? You can’t tell me the technology’s not there.

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties president, Nicholas Cowdery, is urging the commonwealth and NSW parliaments to resume before August and September. He says the pause is “unacceptable and dangerous for democracy”.

At the very least, we should have a multi-partisan parliamentary oversight committee, which is what they have in NZ, and which a bunch of ex-judges are currently calling for.

And look, Scomo, I get that this slows things down, and it’s probably the last thing on your mind right now.

But we have to safeguard democracy in times of crisis. And if that means we’re a little slower-footed than our cousins in dictatorships like China and Turkemenistan, then so be it.

Lead from the front Scomo. Send the signal that democracy and freedom always come first.

Freedom takes generations to win, but it can be lost in an instant.