Should Victorians be Forced to Wear Facemasks?

“He who gives up freedom for security deserves neither” — Benjamin Franklin

Legal Authority

The legal authority for the Victorian government forcing Victorians to wear masks is covered in this article. In short, the State of Emergency grants the Chief Health Office broad powers, including the following:

  • “Give any other direction that the authorised officer considers is reasonably necessary to protect public health”.
  • “Subject to this section, detain any person or group of persons in the emergency area for the period reasonably necessary to eliminate or reduce a serious risk to public health.

These are extremely broad powers for a politician, let alone an unelected bureaucrat; however, a State of Emergency can only last for six months.

Victorians voicing the opinion that there is no law forcing us to wear facemasks have a point; there is no explicit Act banning facemasks, only a public health edict by Brett Sutton, the Chief Health Officer of Victoria.

Are you comfortable with a bureaucrat creating a “law” for which you can be fined? I’m certainly not. Brett Sutton is a healthcare professional acting as a bureaucrat, not a politician.

A key tenant of common law is that everything that isn’t explicitly illegal is allowed. It troubles me that the Victorian government can use such broad powers to force Victorians to wear facemasks, even during a pandemic.

Personally, I’m very uncomfortable with a bureaucrat being able to tell me what to wear. I don’t believe that the government should be able to tell me to wear a mask, especially since the government is to blame for the uptick in cases.

“Experts” Acting as Politicians

What the media fails to point out — probably because they’re trying to place safety above freedom — is that Victoria has essentially outsourced law making to a group of unelected and hence unaccountable bureaucrats.

Call me crazy, but I expect democracy to be followed, even under an emergency. Victorians elected Daniel Andrews to run the state, not Brett Sutton. If I were Daniel Andrews right now, I’d be happy to outsource my responsibility, too, given his multiple failures.

In an article in the ABC, Rick Sarre, an adjunct professor of law and criminal justice at the University of South Australia, claims that parliamentary debate cannot take place quickly enough. However, the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 passed through both Houses in one day.

Why parliament cannot sit — given the apparent importance — is beyond me. However, parliament will sit next week.

In my opinion, so-called experts — who are routinely wrong about everything — should keep their advice to their areas of expertise, and politicians should decide laws.

Brett Sutton should keep his opinions to the domain of healthcare, his area of expertise. We voted for Daniel Andrews’ government to lead Victoria, not Brett Sutton.

We can hold politicians to account; we cannot hold bureaucrats, such as Brett Sutton, to account. We cannot remove him from office by voting. We should be able to remove him from office by voting, because he is acting as a politician.

Victorian “Liberals”

Victorian Liberal attack dog, Tim Smith, has regularly criticised Daniel Andrews for being heavy handed. It was with amusement that I saw Smith suggest that the Federal government to step in to take over Victoria’s COVID-19 response.

Daniel Andrews wants to outsource democracy to Brett Sutton; Tim Smith wants to outsource democracy to Scott Morrison. I wonder how Smith would react to a Kew councilman taking his job for which he was elected..?

Leader of the Victorian Liberals, Michael O’Brien, suggested that those who have COVID-19 should be forced by the government to wear a monitoring bracelet.

Taking Victorians’ money — through fines and quarantine at their expense — is easy when one’s salary is guaranteed by taxpayers. Politicians who propose an authoritarian top-down approach fail to understand the everyday concerns of Victorians. Australians will withdraw $42 billion in their own superannuation contributions — to which we should have access anyway, because it’s our money — to help cover financial costs due to COVID-19. That’s 500,000 Australians who need extra funds.

Politicians can’t blame people who will — and must — put shelter, food, and healthcare ahead of failed attempts by politicians to eliminate a virus… especially when we were told that the initial restrictions were to “flatten the curve” in order to ensure enough hospital beds were available. As many warned at the time, the media narrative was seamlessly moved to elimination at the cost of Australians’ jobs and lives.

In my opinion, we’re past the point of no return — lockdowns have failed — and the cure has become worse than the disease. In the years to come, we will see the misery caused by these lockdowns — the suicides, the mental health issues, job loses, business closures, and family breakdowns.

Notice that O’Brien assumes the only answer are further lockdowns, which have already failed. At this stage, there are no other options other than lockdown, because politicians won’t do a u-turn.

Daniel Andrews’ legitimacy has taken a hit after a series of failures. Brett Sutton is exercising powers that he shouldn’t have. The Victorian Liberals have no clue.

Personally, I believe that the state should concentrate its power on those in danger — the elderly & health workers.

Masks should not be enforced by the state. Victorians won’t put up with wearing masks in the long term, and their effectiveness is questionable.

The government needs to move to reopen the state, offering advice to individuals and companies. Companies and individuals can manage their own risk far better than politicians in their ivory towers. Andrews’ attempts have failed.

Elimination is a fool’s errand. The horse has bolted.