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Byron Shire
June 15, 2024

Democracy under strain as pandemic continues

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With the NSW government now openly threatening that the public will not be able to participate in social activities, work in the public sector or travel interstate unless they are vaccinated for COVID-19, The Echo asked local NSW MP Tamara Smith (Greens) what her party is doing about protecting civic rights and freedoms.

She replied, ‘The Nationals-Liberal government have no accountability, as they haven’t sat in parliament for months’.

‘There’s no opportunity to interrogate their policies, and all the data around their COVID-19 response is kept secret’.

She says that her party supports vaccination, ‘but not cohesion or punishment as a public policy’.

‘To bully and apply coercion is an appalling way to do public messaging. The evidence is that such measures push those undecided, or against, underground. The conversation is lost’.

When asked if there are mandatory vaccination rules for politicians, their staff and bureaucrats, Ms Smith replied MPs and their staff cannot attend parliament unless vaccinated.

In recent weeks it has emerged that NSW Premier Berejiklian handed many powers to police, in particular around curfews, which came without health expert advice.

Ms Smith said, ‘I am told police don’t like curfews, as it’s not easy to police. It’s also not an effective way to engage with communities. Deputy Premier John Barilaro (Nats) said this was in response to media pressure, which looks like a decision that is based on optics. My experience is that police are often the last to know of any government policy’.

Ms Smith says it’s unlikely the police are trying to increase their powers in the background.

She said, ‘Most police are there for the right reasons, but as for police minister David Elliott… the “tough on law and order” is more about certain voter enclaves than good policing’.

A positive from the unfolding pandemic, says Ms Smith, is that there is access to vaccines. ‘Many do not have that. It’s a privilege’.

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  1. I don’t understand why democracy is under strain. My understanding is that a democracy is by the people for the people. The principle here is, ‘do the people who are anti vaccination put the rest of the population under threat of illness and death?’. I am for people deciding that the jab isn’t for them and they willingly take the risks of exposing themselves to possible harm. However this isn’t the case here, as even vaccinated people can catch the virus (albeit not perhaps death threatening) with a greater risk from those with no vaccination shedding a greater amount of the virus. Also the longer Covid exists the chances of mutation rises quite dramatically and may result in a more contagious and deadly strain. If you live in, and value democracy, a person should accept the will of the majority and protect their fellow citizen.

    • Your joking right? Is it that or are you just that brainwashed. Go to the United Nations website or the WHO website, look at the numbers. Global death rate of 2.4%, death rate in Australia of those infected 1.8%. Death rate in Sweden of those infected (without all these BS draconian measures 1.3%). Yes that’s right its a full half a percent lower. Then go and look at the Australian Government Department of Health, Covid 19 deaths by age and gender. You will see that almost all of the deaths are people over 60. So the reality is Covid 19 is dangerous for old people and immunocompromised people. They are the ones who need to be vaccinated, wear a mask and be protected. NOT THE REST OF US. By the way the virus mutates with or without vaccines, that’s how they work, and it is likely that it will mutate to be more resilient and virulent due to the vaccine (just think about the flu). Don’t believe me? Then do some real research, check out John’s Hopkins Medical Covid Research Centre and the other mainstream credible organisations I have listed. You may be surprised to find that your government and media have not been very astute or honest with you.

      • I am very happy if you don’t get vaccinated. However if you do catch the virus are you going to be man enough to give your place up in hospital to someone who has taken precautions?

  2. Thankyou for stating ‘to bully and apply coercion is an appalling way to do public messaging.” Perhaps then it is time for The Greens to rethink – and drop – the nomination of Mandy Nolan. She appears to be quite open to bullying those who choose a different health path than her. And has made that evidently clear in her Echo articles.

  3. The covid vaccine was designed..yep, horrors of horrors, it was designed to lessen the symptoms of Covid.
    People who have been vaccinated can still transmit the virus..sometimes even get some of the symptoms..but those symptoms will be less in severity than those who get the virus and are not vaccinated.
    This fact has never been in dispute, covered up, diminished, hidden nor lied about..
    There was never a statement made by the manufacturers, health departments or the regulators that these group of vaccines would Stop the virus in its tracks
    It has been stated right from the beginning..transmission will still occur and people will contract the virus..but those who are vaccinated will have less severe symptoms and will not need greater medical intervention..ie go to hospital..ICU, ventilators..or have sustained Long Covid symptoms.
    So for the shite that is doing the rounds…”vaccinated people can still transmit the virus”.
    Well hellow !!.
    It can happen.
    There is nothing new in that.
    Maybe in future years a newer vaccine version may be able to stop covid transmission..but at present..this is not the case..this group of vaccines may to some % diminish the chances of transmission..but the data has yet to confirm this.
    In respect for the bullying and coercion…
    Some people are really precious.
    Get a grip..
    It is a personal choice..people have the right to get the vax or not..that decision is completely up to them…
    but it is CHOICE..
    So with that choice there is consequences of making that choice.
    The same with everything people, business and organisations around the planet do everyday of the year..
    Now if that choice you have made results in consequences you don’t like..that is your and your problem alone..you can either whinge about to someone who cares or make another choice to lessen those consequences.

    Really If you want a example of bullying and coercion…maybe the Taliban might put things in perspective for you.

    • No there have never been these claims made about vaccines. We are currently told that there is around 50% protection against infection. My limited maths ability though suggests that if I don’t come into contact with the virus my chances of infection are zero, therefore the more I am surrounded by others – the only sources of infection – who also have 50% protection the better the odds in my favour.

      This applies whether I’m at work, on a plane, in a restaurant etc.

    • Fools hey Peter, which ones?
      Fools for waiting a few years to determine if there is any serious long term side effects from the jab?
      Fools for getting a jab?
      Fools for trusting Govt secret health advice and confidential contracts with big pharma?
      Fools for believing a Nobel prize wining drug (for it’s contribution to human life), is not fit for humans and is actually a horse de-wormer as MS media call it?
      Fools to think you can determine at this early stage, who the fools are?

      Time will tell, we have a long way to go before we will know who has and hasn’t been fooled!

      • Are you telling us that you never had a vaccination for one or more of the following as a child
        chickenpox (varicella)
        hepatitis B
        meningococcal AWCY
        whooping cough (pertussis)

        Most of these viral infections have disappeared from our society owing to vaccinations. No major side effects to date!

        • No, I simply asked questions.

          What I will suggest is that unlike the Covid jab, the list vaccines you mention have A. been around for decades. B. Actually provide immunity from infection and C. Are not in trail phase or authorised under emergency use exemption.

        • Exactly Chris Hill. Many millions of people are alive and healthy today due to vaccinations.

          Also, how many of these selfish anti vax people drive cars? Despite all the mandatory regulations, such as seat belts, to try and reduce deaths and injuries on our roads, many thousands still die, or are seriously injured each year, in car accidents.

          Going to stop driving are they?

  4. Fully agree with Chris (statements above) this is ONE of the most serious issues where your mindset actually may be a life or death result , for many innocent people. Mandy isn’t bullying anyone , she is simply stating her opinion just like you. She has tried to be open & empathetic but if you don’t agree with her ,you would be blind to her concerns . She has worked her butt off for our community for decades & often given her time & humour for free. You don’t need to trust the Govt (especially this one …I don’t) but listen to the academics & scientists who have also worked their butts off TRYING to find a vaccine 24/7. Many of them don’t work for a pharmaceutical company ( some do obviously ) but work for a University for example & have no vested interest or any opportunity available to them for an increase in salary.

  5. I find it interesting that the large corporations, about to introduce mandatory vaccinations for their workers, are saying that, when surveyed, the vast majority are in favour. Surely all those people wanting a safe work environment have rights as well. Isn’t this democracy?

    • Given evidence is very clear that vaccinated persons can infect others, how does mandatory jab policies make the work place safer Liz?

      What “rights” make it ok to segregate the population when your jab choice will not make others “safer”?

      • Yes Steve, it is though that the vaccines give around 50% protection against infection (much higher against hospitalisation and death) – could be better but that’s what we have for now. I’d prefer that improved chance personally for myself but I’d also like to know that each person I come in contact with has that protection too.

        Just because a vaccinated person CAN catch Covid 19 and pass on infection doesn’t take away from the fact that they are around half as likely to. Multiply that by everyone in the workplace and I reckon you have a much safer workplace.

        There is some suggestion that NSW data are indicating higher efficacy rates against breakthrough infection.

        • In a Business Insider article by Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce published Sep. 10, 2021 she talks about 2 real-world studies, not yet peer reviewed (Qatari published Aug 11 and UK published Aug 26) with protection from any COVID infection (including asymptomatic infection) ranging from 53% for double Pfizer, 67% for AZ, up to 84% for Moderna. However as you say the important point is that vaccines provide far greater protection against hospitalisation and death.

  6. Even the Echo has been seduced into the Covid brain washing agenda. 6 of the 8 articles in the Echo Daily are covid related. Some days its 100% covid related. The constant media bombardment is relentless, unprecedented, usually fear based, and always divisive.


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