Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Australia’s new mass surveillance mandate (digitalrightswatch.org.au)
763 points by soylentbeige 43 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 862 comments



I've lived to see this kind of thing enacted in a good portion of the Anglosphere and my visceral reaction is to engage in a combination of civil disobedience and a determination to undermine every overstep made.

With regards to things like the Aussie requirement for phone check-ins every 15 minutes or they will deploy police to follow up and confirm your location, turn off the phone and make them eat the cost of having to deploy all available police resources just to see if people are submitting to the whim of the government every 15 minutes. Bonus if you opt to answer the door naked and claim you were busy showering/having sex/aligning your chakras/whatever.

Any bureaucracy will naturally follow the path of least resistance. It is your job to make it more painful for them to pursue their goals than it is to leave you alone.


You seem to be referring to the South Australia Home Quarantine app [1]. There has been a lot of misinformation circulating about this app recently. I'd just like to clear up some things:

The app only applies to people that need to quarantine, not the general population.

The app allows people who are required to isolate to opt to do their isolation at home, rather than stay at a quarantine facility. Nobody is being forced to use the app.

It is a way for authorities to make sure people are quarantining correctly, and to follow up cases of contact if people break their isolation bubble. Police are not arresting people for failing to check in. (My guess is that they would reset your isolation duration, follow up contacts and/or move you into a managed quarantine).

[1] https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/home-quarantine-app


>> rather than stay at a quarantine facility. Nobody is being forced to use the app.

Download the app or we send you to a camp? That isn't much of a choice. I'd say it is about as non-choice as possible while still meeting the literal definition.


I'll say what I said on the other thread -

If you want to present an argument against quarantine being needed or warranted, please go ahead. Checking in on the app is the least intrusive of the three options - quarantine under guard (usually in a hotel, like the one I'm in right now), quarantine at home with police visits tio ensure compliance, or quarantine at home checking in to the app once or twice a day.

In this context, getting hysterical about the least intrusive option is weird.


Not from Australia, but as a citizen the precaution I would take is not to get tested while such a quarantine policy is in effect.

Don't know, my country does some checks like calling people on the phone, the rest relies on trust. Seems to work just as well.

So I see a lot of room to criticise "the least intrusive" option as well. This is security done wrong. Not slightly wrong, detrimental towards the goal of security. If people get uncompliant, no such measures will be efficient.


> Seems to work just as well.

Curious what country this is where things are working "just as well" as Australia?

The only major places I can think of in the "developed" world faring similarly* to Australia statistically (deaths per capita) are South Korea & Taiwan; both have had similar citizen monitoring.

* leaving out NZ here obvs which is faring significantly better


I live in NZ, and after a recent exposure to Covid, I experienced said daily check in calls from the government that really relied on trust (honesty) more than anything, as far as I’m aware — I suppose it’s possible they were tracking my phone in some way to ensure my location stayed contained/consistent? Seems highly unlikely though.

I will add that if I’d been caught leaving the house, outside of a short daily workout, I’d have been liable for a fine and/or jail time.


Japan for example. Also an island, South Korea is too for all practical purposes. Australia isn't even half an Italy, although the population is admittedly mostly concentrated. Still, you have to compare it to countries which can only be reached by ship or plane.

There is merit for harsh policies if you can prevent any case, what NZ did relatively successfully. But admitting that it failed is hard to convey politically.


> There is merit for harsh policies if you can prevent any case

This seems quite absolutist; why the all or nothing binary of "any case"?

There is merit for harsh policies, to a degree, if you can reduce fallout, to any relatively significant degree.

This may be subjective, but fwiw if Australia were actually monitoring the population via app, requiring check-in every 15 mins & deploying authorities otherwise (a conclusion some commenting here did seem to jump to at first, despite the otherworldly logistics that would entail), then of course questions would need to be asked about authoritarian escalation.

But enforced mandatory quarantine explicitly for those choosing to travel (something that's even been done in some European countries too), given the stakes at hand, really doesn't seem like an overstep relatively speaking.

It's also worth noting that travel in Australia is extremely restricted anyway, so the number of people who are subject to this is pretty tiny.


> There is merit for harsh policies if you can prevent any case, what NZ did relatively successfully. But admitting that it failed is hard to convey politically.

Note that the South Australia app under discussion is in an Australian state which, like NZ, is relatively successful at preventing “any case”. It seems like the last case necessitating a 7-day lockdown in SA was almost 2 months ago and before then they hadn’t instituted a lockdown since Nov 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_South_Aus...


In terms of vaccination coverage, they're doing poorly (just a few ranks below Brazil). They're also currently in lockdown, dealing with their first true spike of cases and struggling to contain it.


The quarantine policy is for people travelling inter-state or internationally.

I have no idea what the requirements are for people who test positive, but here in WA that’s not even relevant because there are no known cases.

So it all looks like it’s working pretty well.


There's a ton of countries that just trusts its people to quarantine without the government checking on them.


That's true. But it is also true that, in some of those countries, people fail to follow those rules. For a worst-case example, the Delta variant in Argentina was traced down to a man [1] who ignored the self-isolation rules and visited shopping malls and a restaurant.

I can be probably persuaded that some specific regions can do well with voluntary quarantine. But I'd rather trust the local authorities to know what the best approach for their people is.

[1] https://en.mercopress.com/2021/08/23/case-zero-of-delta-vari...


Even Norway had lots of cases tracked to people breaking quarantine, after which police started checking up on them. I’d say an argument for not enforcing the quarantine in the hottest phase of a pandemic is in effect allowing such events to compromize things. Maybe you can argue for that, but we need to at least be clear on this detail.


Indeed, there are countries that have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people with their policies. But I can't think of a country off the top of my head that has applied laissez-faire Covid controls but also recorded very low numbers of deaths.


Japan, with a population of around 126 million, only had 16,471 deaths so far from covid, a death rate of 0.013%. As a point of reference, there are around 20k suicide deaths annually in Japan. Japan didn't use harsh/legally enforced lockdowns; almost all their measures have been voluntary: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/covid-19-cases-su....


High social cohesion will do that.


Like the UK, where compliance has been estimated at around 40%?


When the alternative is invasive, Orwellian monitoring and inhumane enforcement by an authoritarian state, I'll take 40% compliance every time.

Remember... governments NEVER give up these powers readily.


> Remember... governments NEVER give up these powers readily.

The West had massively draconian laws during the last similar protracted existential problem, WW2, and gave them up just fine when it finished.


Yeah we totlly gave up the New Deal and the military industrial complex...


> Yeah we totlly gave up the New Deal

The New Deal occurred before WW2 as a way to simulate things out of the Great Depression. Turns out war is even a bigger economic stimulus package than social programs.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal

> and the military industrial complex...

Actually, the US did:

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demobilization_of_United_State...

Then the Korean War happened:

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_War

It turns out the Communists were expansionist and needed a counter-weight in influence.


I think you're possibly confused about what we're talking about here - those weren't restrictions on personal freedoms. A better analogy is blackout laws, which people railed against in the exactly the same way as lockdown laws. But obviously those powers went as soon as possible - literally the day Hitler died in fact.


a blackout law keeps an enemy bomber from dropping a bomb on my house. IMO, if you say to a rational person "keep your blinds down or else the nazi's will drop a bomb on your house" they'll say "gee that sounds like a good idea." While in modern times, if you say "shut down the economy, increase alcoholism, suicides, mental health issues, homelessness, poverty, and inflation to defeat a virus with over a 99% recovery rate that really only effects old and unhealthy people" a rational person would raise their eye brow and say "that sounds suspicious and a great way to cover the fact that the last 12 years of money printing is about to implode"


> IMO, if you say to a rational person "keep your blinds down or else the nazi's will drop a bomb on your house" they'll say "gee that sounds like a good idea."

Your opinion is not factually supported. A million people were prosecuted for breaking lockdown laws in the UK.


> Your opinion is not factually supported. A million people were prosecuted for breaking lockdown laws in the UK.

That's his point. He's drawing a contrast to blackout laws,by claiming that an individual sees direct benefit from compliance (not getting bombed) while breaking lockdown doesn't create a lot of risk for the vast majority of offenders.

Ie, if a hypothetical person was 100% optimizing for self-interest, they would not break blackout laws but would break lockdown laws. This is a dramatic difference in dynamics when seeking to understand differences in compliance.


> Ie, if a hypothetical person was 100% optimizing for self-interest, they would not break blackout laws but would break lockdown laws.

Yes… except that’s the other way around from what happened in reality. People did break blackout lockdown rules but they generally didn’t break COVID lockdown rules.


You said "breaking lockdown rules", not "breaking blackout rules", specifically when contrasting policies that heretofore in the conversation were described as "blackout" and "lockdown".

Though it sounds like you're saying you misspoke, and intended to say that people broke the blackout rules. That makes a lot more sense, thanks for clarifying


In the first six months of lockdown in the UK 6500 prosecutions were undertaken by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). These included non-lockdown flouting crimes which were simply flagged as 'Corona Virus related', such as threatening to cough on somebody whilst 'infected' and stealing items deemed essential for dealing with the pandemic.[1]

Your assertion that a million people were prosecuted seems far fetched.

1. https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/6500-coronavirus-related-pro...


The blackout lockdown. A million people were prosecuted in WW2. It's a myth that everyone was cool with it and compliant back then.


This is a tangential interesting point, not a disagreement with your comment. But despite the mental health costs of the pandemic and associated policy, there's a growing body of evidence indicating that suicides do not appear to have risen, across many countries. Eg https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n834


In Canada, substance-abuse-related deaths resulting from the lockdowns killed more under-65s than covid: https://tnc.news/2021/07/18/lockdowns-killed-more-canadians-...


> 'll take 40% compliance every time

Which has lead to tens of thousands of deaths that have not occurred in Australia.


"There is more to living than not dying."


Honestly, that was mostly our government being incompetent. If our PM wasn't bumbling from one disaster to another, he probably would have tried to implement something similar to what Australia has proposed.


When it all started in February 2020 that's exactly what Australia was doing, but a minority could not be trusted and broke quarantine and consequently COVID started spreading. At that point the model changed to mandatory quarantine in a government facility. There was broad community support for that change. In an ideal world people would have liked to have stuck with the voluntary approach, but most were realistic enough to see that an untrustworthy minority were wrecking it for everyone.


This comment is revealing and truthful. It's almost been 2 years and most people have suffered. They blame and identify a minority for their suffering.

It's one way that if you look at history minorities have also been identified.

Scapegoat behaviour from the crowd is a response to senseless suffering and pain. It actually makes those who scapegoat others feel better and people want to feel better. Why would anyone volunteer to feel worse? Most people don't have empathy for those who scapegoat others but the pandemic is a great way to see this happening at various stages in real time across the world. Some countries don't have any, others more, some loads, some vary according to lockdown severity, others don't.

How can one blame an invisible virus or an abstract political decision when humans traditionally blame each other?

What's the end result if you buy into scapegoating as a personal psychological tactic? We will find out.


The important take away from these sorts of restrictions, though, are such state powers set to end when the pandemic is controlled or terminated? I'm not from Australia, so I can't speak to their power systems, but almost every time our federal institutions take a more broader domestic power towards spying, restricting speech, restricting movement, etc. etc. those powers don't come back at the end of the panic, whatever that panic may have been. Some of those expanded powers (PRIZM) we have to find out about through leaks, to the detriment of the people who leaked the information for the greater good.


I guess I don’t understand this concern, because it doesn’t seem historically accurate.

There have been many pandemics in the past. Governments have responded in the past with aggressive quarantines. Yet, before this current pandemic, no country had aggressive quarantines in place.

These kinds of restrictions imposed by governments have historically disappeared with high reliability when the situation calling for them has ended.


Maybe, but in the past no government has had access to the tracking data we are freely allowing them to have to us.

I sound like I'm an anti vax conspiracy theorist, and I don't want to put that across, but there is a strong precedent for abuse of power in every government across the globe. A lot of draconian measures ease when the panic is over, but shadows of them seem to remain in place, at least in the U.S. (again, I can't speak for Australia).

EDIT:

Here's an example of how anti Covid measures are being used to stop protests.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/states-are...

Now, hopefully this will be transparent and end when Covid is over, but that's the question. When is Covid officially over?


> A lot of draconian measures ease when the panic is over, but shadows of them seem to remain in place, at least in the U.S

I'm not sure I fully buy that. What authoritarian powers were left in place as a hangover from the Spanish Flu emergency powers that governors wielded at the time? Historically, the executive of governments have had _incredible_ emergency powers during infectious diseases crises, but I don't know that I've seen those powers extended indefinitely.

I'm absolutely wary of handling governments unlimited and unchecked power, even in emergencies. I generally agree with your concerns about governments being reluctant to return powers once they're granted. But I do think it's important not to overact and refuse to allow any government action on the other side of the equation.

In the given Australia example, the state is exercising quarantine powers to stop an infectious disease. That sounds...not that novel or expansive to me. Nor does it seem like something the government will have an interest in beyond the pandemic. Quarantines, I think, are a really strong example of an _extreme_ limitation on liberty and expansion of the state's powers that are tolerated during a pandemic but absolutely abhorrent outside of one. It's also an example of powers that almost never are extended indefinitely beyond the pandemic.

> Here's an example of how anti Covid measures are being used to stop protests.

Turning to the cited article, I don't think it supports the position you're stating. The author appears to be discussing legislatures using the COVID emergency as a _distraction_, but doesn't present any anti-COVID measures being used to stop protests.

I'll admit that each of the bills passed and signed are an abhorrent restriction on the right to protest and the right to free speech and assembly. Accepted and granted. But none of those bills appear to be anti-COVID measures in any way. As far as I can tell from reviewing the legislation and reviewing contemporaneous articles, the only connection to COVID was the fact that the public was distracted.

The South Dakota bill for example (https://mylrc.sdlegislature.gov/api/Documents/69887.pdf) doesn't mention "COVID", or "pandemic". The only mention of "disease" is in the definition of intoxication (to explicitly say it is not a mental disease).

The Kentucky bill is similar (https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/record/20rs/hb44.html). It doesn't mention "COVID", "pandemic", or "disease", and doesn't appear in _any_ way to be designed as an anti-COVID measure.

The only anti-COVID measures discussed in the article by the author are praised as a measured and reasonable response. The only "use" of the pandemic by the legislatures was as a distraction.

I do agree that anti-COVID measures targeted at public protest should receive significantly more scrutiny than many other anti-COVID measures.


Your comment conflates two meanings of the word "minority". The first meaning relates to a group with a shared inherent property, such as race, and is irrelevant here. The second meaning, which I used, simply means a small number of people.

It's not an invisible virus. With the right tools we can see and track it. Up until the recent delta outbreak, COVID was being accurately tracked and contained in Australia, with the source of almost all transmissions known. Under these conditions, quarantine is pragmatic, not abstract.


These are probably good/important points in a totally different context, but in this discussion, talking about how the virus has been transmitted, and the effect of infected individuals to quarantine or not, it feels a little strange. problematic moral impulses notwithstanding, the virus does indeed transmit person to person


you forgot number 4, be treated like an adult and just stay home for 2 weeks and not have the government check to see if you're at home like you're on house arrest while not having committed a crime


"Government treating its citizens like adults" and "Australia" really do seem to be mutually exclusive at this point.


This a certainly an option but not a realistic one. Culturally speaking it's impossible to trust anyone (adult or otherwise) to comply with something like this.


> be treated like an adult and just stay home for 2 weeks

Ah yes, that thing adults routinely do.


People have been getting sick literally since the dawn of man. I knew many co-workers who'd come in with a cold or a fever and get the rest of the office sick. Now, there's a virus that's so dangerous you need a test to know if you're even sick with it but people are demanding everyone stays home so nobody catches it. If you don't want to catch it, stay home, but don't ask myself or others to change their behavior


Did you just say you are under guard, being forced to stay in a hotel? And this is acceptable? Do you have covid, were you exposed to one person who had it? Did they provide proof of this or just tell you and cart you away?

Bound to repeate history looks more and more valid everyday.


>> present an argument against

I don't. My comment was to the nature of the "choice" not whether or not the mandate was warranted. Let's not pretend that people have options when they really don't. There is no need to dress it up. In times of disease, governments do sometimes order people to do things. Let's not kid ourselves. Personal choice, personal freedom, is set aside.


If you already understood that the quarantine is what is limiting people’s choice and not the app then why did you bring it up as an issue with the app?


I didn't say anything about the app. My comment was about the choice between app and being sent to a facility, about how that isn't much of a choice. I would make the same comment if the "choice" was between a facility and a vaccine, or a drug, or counseling sessions, or paying a fine. Nearly anything is better than being sent to a camp and so any such binary alternative isn't much of a real choice.


> I didn't say anything about the app. My comment was about the choice between app...

Seems self-contradictory.


You have the choice to nose dive off the Burj Khalifa, sign over all of your assets to me, or record a chicken dance video and put it on YouTube.

OP's point is giving a set of all undesirable options which under normal circumstances and given freedom, you would decline all the options. "Choice" tends to imply you have at least some desirable options or at least have the option to refuse all of the choice options (not choosing has to be an option in the proposed choice).

If you're given a set of constrained options where you must choose and none of the choices are desirable, you're really given highly constrained freedom to the point no one considers it freedom. It's even worse when it's clear that most the constraints (choice options) point to only one option for any sane "chooser."

Sure, you could jump off the Burj Khalifa but is that really a viable option? Pretty much everyone would record a chicken dance video and choose minimal public humiliation over the other options. I gave options but they're not really options, not from any sane decision making perspective. That is the illusion of choice to make people feel like they have control over direction. We have a lot of this going on in society these days, where people have options but the options lead to one obvious path, meaning they have no viable alternative options.


Quarantine in a hotel isn't scalable. You can't suddenly quarantine the whole population. Phone tracking is just a pen and paper away from that. The leap from 'tracking the infected' to 'tracking everyone because ~reasons~' is tiny, especially given the pace Australia is running towards stuff like that.


The "least" intrusive option is still a massive government overreach. They love doing this. We could just let you go back to normal if you only show us your papers please.

This a is a mind game they're playing. Show you all the horrible things they could mandate to make the less horrible one sound better.


You are presenting a false choice though.


I'll present an argument against quarantine being warranted: Covid-19 is an endemic virus for which there are no sterilizing vaccines and hence "zero Covid" policy frameworks are an insane and hopeless attempt to turn back the tides. You will either live under these restrictions for the rest of your lives, or give them up and eventually be exposed to the virus.


Consider, however, that being exposed to the virus after being vaccinated reduces your risk of death and/or hospitalization by a factor of 10-20x. The assumption that there are “no sterilizing vaccines” is a little questionable too - even against Delta, the FDA approved vaccines are showing 40-50% immunity against infection, i.e. sterilizing immunity.

Zero Covid countries like NZ and Australia that re-open to the world once their populations hit 80% vaccination will have prevented many deaths among their population.


The real least intrusive option would be to just ask people to quarantine and trust that they do it as their civic duty. You could also offer a small support check at the end if they completed the quarantine without being seen out of the house or offer payment if they download the app and allow location permission. There are so many ways to run a quarantine program without resorting to locking people away or making them use the equivalent of a house arrest bracelet. It's concerning that you don't even see how totalitarian this is. These people weren't convicted of any crime, they caught a highly contagious virus that we will never eradicate and will be living with for the rest of our lives.


For a 0.03 IFR?


How did Australians become like this? In my imagination, my American ancestors were quite similar to yours. And yet...


Become like what? Do you have an argument against quarantine? Would tens of thousands of deaths been better than asking travellers to check in for a couple of weeks on arrival, during a pandemic?

I’m really not sure what point you’re trying to make.

I'm British by the way. The UK also has guarded quarantine centres in hotels for people coming in from what it considers “red zones”


>Become like what?

[...]

>Would tens of thousands of deaths [...]

Like that.

It's absolutely insane to see young, Australian people completely embrace the Covid propaganda and totalitarian nonsense. Say what you want about boomers, but at least they used to be somewhat cool in their 20s, during the 70s. Having unprotected sex, doing drugs, having long hair, listening to rock'n'roll, protesting the wars.

In Australia we have 25-year-old boomers, scared of absolutely everything, and cheering on the government to govern us even harder. A complete nightmare.


Quarantine for what? That's what you do with sick people. Whatever is going on in Australia has long ago left the realm of sane quarantine procedure. It will be 2022 soon, and the Australians are trying to prevent interstate spread of COVID-19. It's madness.

Responding to your edit: still madness


Quarantine for coronavirus, in a pandemic that’s claimed millions of lives.

You quarantine people (and animal) who might be sick, that’s the point of it.

It doesn’t look like madness to me when you look at the comparative death rates.


> Quarantine for coronavirus, in a pandemic that’s claimed millions of lives.

So are we going to do a quarantine for the flu next? A pandemic that claims up to a 2 million lives a year globally:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017%E2%80%932018_United_State...


Precisely. It is the best cover up for global domination while distracting populations with concern trolling around a virus that is not all that significantly worse than the flu given the level of risk across all age groups.

Heart failure and car accidents claim a higher risk.


For pandemic flu, yes, quarantine would be reasonable. The 1918 pandemic claimed tens of millions of lives.


The 2017 flu season killed 200 Americans per million, world wide that amounts to 1,400,000 people.

Should we have locked down in 2017?


Which means that CoVID-19 has had about 10 times the impact as seasonal flu. That's extremely serious.


[flagged]


There's no magic number, but CoVID-19 is the most serious public health emergency in probably a century.

> we need to close everything for years on end?

Countries that properly managed the pandemic locked down hard for a few weeks, eliminated the virus, and then reopened. They've been back to normal (or something close to it) for most of the time since.


Such an unbelievable lie.

See the recent case explosions in so called "zero covid" utopias like Mongolia: https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-m...

You can delay. You cannot run forever.


China, the most populous country on Earth, has no community transmission.

I don't know what went wrong in Mongolia, because I haven't been following that country, but China and New Zealand have demonstrated that with a good public health system, elimination is possible and sustainable.


China also didn't have official community transmission in December 2019 yet we were seeing people coming out of airplanes sick constantly, which allowed us to calculate their infection rates, which were then released publicly when they couldn't be hid any longer.

Today there are no flights out of China and we have to trust the same government when they say they have no transmissions.

Need I point to the centuries long history of communist regimes hiding mass deaths?


> China also didn't have official community transmission in December 2019 yet we were seeing people coming out of airplanes sick constantly, which allowed us to calculate their infection rates

No, this did not happen. Infection rates weren't calculated until January 2020. Nobody even knew there was anything like SARS spreading in Wuhan until 27 December 2019.

Within 72 hours of the first test result indicating a SARS-like virus, it was all over Chinese social media, and even CCTV reported on the outbreak. And of course, it only took a few weeks afterwards for the hospitals to become overloaded with sick patients.

> Today there are no flights out of China

This is simply untrue. Just to take one example, yesterday alone, there were 9 flights from Shanghai Pudong Airport to LAX.

The situation in China right now is obvious: the virus is gone. Just ask any of your friends/colleagues who live there.


> There's no magic number, but CoVID-19 is the most serious public health emergency in probably a century.

Do you know what AIDS is?

Unlike Covid which kills something under 1 in 100 people it infects AIDS until the mid 90s was a death sentence for anyone who got it.

I remember being in an emergency room and the nurse asking for people to give blood because their blood banks were tainted and the doctors could either let patients die from from blood loss or in 10 years from AIDS.

I have no idea why that whole pandemic has been pushed down the memory hole. It's like everyone born after 1985 doesn't even know what it is, let alone what it was like to see people you know just wilt and die.

>Countries that properly managed the pandemic locked down hard for a few weeks, eliminated the virus, and then reopened. They've been back to normal (or something close to it) for most of the time since.

Countries that don't have it keep having to lock down for two weeks every three months. NZ is the most successful and they are currently in their 5th national lockdown.


> Do you know what AIDS is?

What kind of a question is that? It's a horrible disease, and it shows how important it is to have a good public health system.

> Countries that don't have it keep having to lock down for two weeks every three months.

China hasn't had a widespread lockdown since early 2020. In recent outbreaks, lockdowns have been very geographically limited. For example, the Guangzhou outbreak in May-June 2021 was ended without locking down more than just a few districts of the city. Mass testing, contact tracing, and testing requirements for people leaving the city were sufficient.


I'm in Western Australia. I'm delighted with prevention of interstate Covid. The freedom to do whatever you want is pretty enjoyable to be honest, and not worrying that family members will die of Covid is even better.


Do you worry about family members in lockdowned states drinking themselves to death? In Canada lockdowns killed more under-65s than covid: https://tnc.news/2021/07/18/lockdowns-killed-more-canadians-...


New South Wales has a solution for this. Limit the alcohol allowance of individuals under lockdown:

https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/news/nsw-health-lim...

I wish this was a joke, or fake news. But no, once they control where you can go, when you can go there, etc, it's not a big jump for them to demand control over what you put in your body. It's for your own safety, after all.


Of course it did, exactly because there was a lockdown that prevented many COVID deaths.

If there hadn't been a lockdown, many more people would have died from COVID than now died from drinking. Sweden for example, famous for its non-lockdown, suffered 10 times as many COVID deaths than neighboring Norway with lock-down (and alcohol).


Quarantine has never been strictly for sick people. It is for people who might possibly be infected. You can see this in the etymolgy of the word "quarantine": it refers to the forty days (quarantena in Venetian) that people arriving by ship were required to wait on board before disembarking in Venice during the time of the plague. The whole idea is to wait for the full incubation period of a pathogen, to make sure someone is not infected, before letting them out in the general society.

In contrast, when someone is separated from society because they are known to be infected, that is called "isolation."


I'm familiar with the etymology. This makes a lot of sense for the bubonic plague. Frankly the Venetians would scoff at what we've done to our societies over a disease so tame (measured by overall rate of survival, individual circumstances can be tragic). It was also an era when people had few rights, no vaccines, no access to treatment.

Surely, we should aspire to be better than 14th-century Venice. To not treat people as if they are nothing more than viral vectors. Instead many would trade away what little control over our own lives we still have in exchange for imagined safety from a virus we will all contract eventually. That the vast majority of people have no issues recovering from.

It's not the plague. It's not Ebola. It's not the worst case scenario we were rightfully concerned about in early 2020. How this hasn't sunk in yet for most people is just baffling to me. Then I look around and see lots of motivated reasoning and state-sponsored propaganda about a permanent transition to remote work, increased government surveillance, curtailing the movement of citizens, and other social initiatives various coalitions were already working towards, that are of course suddenly "absolutely necessary" because of a "once in a lifetime pandemic", and it becomes a little clearer.


Spot on, and once the endless waves of variants no longer convince the submissive within our populations that all of these massive changes to life are necessary, the same measures will be used during a questionably endless "climate crisis" to justify the retention of this newfound power they've gained.

1. https://ktrh.iheart.com/content/2021-06-01-after-covid-lockd...

2. https://hotair.com/jazz-shaw/2021/09/07/out-covid-lockdowns-...

3. https://www.guardiangazette.com/2021/08/30/climate-lockdowns...

And for those who aren't convinced, I'll be available to accept apologies at my nearest concentration camp.


You said that quarantine was only for sick people. That's simply wrong.

It's not the plague, but it has killed around 10 million people worldwide, and 700 thousand people in the US alone.

Countries that have a zero-CoVID policy, such as New Zealand, China and Australia (or at least some states in Australia), must use quarantine to prevent reimportation of the virus. For such a policy to work, it is critical that even people who do not appear to be sick be quarantined.

You may argue that China, New Zealand et al. should not have pursued a zero-CoVID policy (and in that case, you should be prepared to argue that the 4 million deaths that would likely have resulted in China would have been acceptable), but given that they've pursued this policy, they need to quarantine international travelers, even if they appear to be healthy.


People die. My loved ones and I have made peace with that. Life is not about avoiding death.

10 million is frankly a drop in the bucket. We don't shut down society and hand over control of our lives over car accidents, heart failure, or anything else that kills hundreds of millions.

The behaviors that lead to those deaths are absolutely a form of social contagion and in no world are they less important or relevant because they're not caused by a communicable disease. People could choose to stop the world for those, too. It would probably work. That we choose not to, or rather, that we understand there are tradeoffs involved, does not make us callous murderers.

I feel truly sorry for people who believe that "zero Covid" is a possibility. We have documented evidence of animal reservoirs for the disease. You can vaccinate every single person on the planet and it will not eradicate this virus.

Particularly now that we are aware that 1) our vaccines are not sterilizing and 2) we have evidence of a vaccine resistant mutation on the horizon.

If you want to play whack a mole with restrictions and injections your entire life please do so of your own accord and stop trying to force the rest of us to live in this dystopia with you. I have a short life to live.

Humanity has lost its tragic sense. That there are things outside of our control. This reality does however tend to catch up with each and every one of us.


As New Zealand and China have shown, it is within our power to avert almost all deaths from CoVID-19. They have gotten through the pandemic with orders of magnitude fewer deaths per capita and far greater everyday freedoms than most of the world. Quarantine for international travelers is one of the tools they have used.

"People die" as an excuse for letting millions of people die of preventable causes is a terrible attitude to take.


China is lying and New Zealand is one of the most remote places in the entire world.

I hate to be this blunt but you're kidding yourself if you think this was ever an option for the United States.

With respect to "preventable causes", I already responded to that point. Most death is preventable. Or at least delay-able. That does not mean everyone agrees with your scorched earth campaigns to prevent it.


China has zero community transmission.

Here on HN, there are plenty of people who live in China, or who have family/friends/colleagues in China. They can tell you what the situation in the country is.

For more than a year, bars, restaurants and most other things have been open, mass gatherings have been allowed, etc. In densely packed cities with Guangzhou and Shanghai, what do you think R0 would be under those circumstances? Any community transmission would quickly grow into a major outbreak, just like in Wuhan in December 2019.

Yet there's no such outbreak. And no, there's no conceivable way the government could hide such an outbreak.

That's why it's simply not credible to claim that there is any substantial community transmission in China.

The other thing is that you can look at how rigorous the reaction is to every new case of community transmission. There have been small outbreaks in China over the last year, but they've been contained using contact tracing, mass testing, and lockdowns (usually only of individual neighborhoods, but sometimes of cities).


It's a third of Australia that's gone insane. The rest have checked out and completely ignored it. It's like a long holiday where you get paid to pretend you work.

But you can't say that in polite company so you just have ~40 percent compliance with whatever insanity is going on now. Hilariously enough the compliance from police is lower than from the general population so basically we have politicians and the terminally online talking about masks, jabs and sign ins and the people who are supposed to enforce it not being bothered with it.

Standing in front of the super market something like one in three pull out their phone, unlock it, point it at the check in qr code and not log in.

I'm reminded of the latter days of the USSR where no one took anything the government said seriously and just did whatever they felt like. Which does not bode well for the current incarnation of Australia long term.


>latter days of the USSR

Is it better to prolong the perverse, decadent rule of the senators and consuls or to embrace Clovis? Hit ‘em with your Coriolanus swag.


I'm familiar with Clovis (the Frankish king) and Coriolanus (the Shakespearean Roman), but I don't follow the connection you're trying to draw


I mean to say the modern courtiers of the decrepit political class are the problem and warrior-kings at the head of barbarians are the solution. Hoppe would call this natural order.


It’s a consensual decision on behalf of the individual - when you travel from a high risk region to another it’s understood by all parties you will need to quarantine for a period to prevent unknowingly spreading the virus on untold others. Which to me just seems you know, ethical and responsible?


^ Hey everyone, the propaganda worked on this one! ;)


> The app allows people who are required to isolate to opt to do their isolation at home, rather than stay at a quarantine facility.

> Nobody is being forced to use the app.

If there’s a cost difference, I’d say that “forced” is an unfairly neutral word to use.

SA is charging upwards of $3000 (for 1 adult, plus $1000 each additional adult, plus $500 per child) for hotel quarantine [1], and though I can’t find a definitive source, your link does say it is intended to be a “cost effective alternative to medi-hotel quarantine”.

So for a family of 2 adults, 2 kids, being charged $5000 to avoid using the app isn’t real freedom. If it means the difference between putting food on the table or not, it’s no choice at all.

[1] https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibili...


My guess is you didn't read there are three options. In most countries of the world (including mine) you get only two options, yet in Australia three. Two of them being free of cost: at home with human checks, or at home with app checks. Please take down your costs strawman, it's not helping the debate.


Considering the choice is still essentially pay a sizeable sum of money or be physically monitored, I'd say the parent's point still stands.


Even if it's "just" for 2 weeks of quarantine, being able to check-in within 15 minutes seems unreasonable. What about taking a nap, taking a bath, cooking, etc.?

Many other countries trust their citizens enough that such draconian measures weren't required even at the height of the pandemic. Not to mention now.

I'd be curious how violations to check-in are handled in practice.


> What about taking a nap, taking a bath, cooking, etc.?

If you fail to check in, they try again a bit later on, if you fail again it falls back to the non app-enabled method of a police check at your home.

The app is voluntary and allows you to be at home rather than in a facility, and to not have random police checks. It's a convenience, not an imposition.

> Many other countries trust their citizens enough that such draconian measures weren't required even at the height of the pandemic.

In some like the UK, that trust was misplaced, and compliance with isolation rules was under 50%.

> I'd be curious how violations to check-in are handled in practice.

By a second request and then a police visit, the same police visit you'd get if you opted not to use the app at all.


> In some like the UK, that trust was misplaced, and compliance with isolation rules was under 50%.

More like, people in the UK more correctly assessed the risk of COVID. While is a dangerous disease, it's not so dangerous that it is worth giving up all of your civil rights to avoid it. In Australia the cure seems to be worse than the disease.


I've had to do a 14 day quarantine in the UK at home, and frankly, it was a bit of a joke. Literally no one has ever checked we were actually at home, the amount of trust in the population is insane over here. We actually stayed at home the entire time, but I know people who didn't, they had to go to work to make a living and the fine was like a £100.

In contrast, in Poland if you are told to quarantine you will get occassional and random visits from the police to see if you are actually at home, and the fine for breaking the quarantine is insane, it's like 30k PLN(about $10k USD).


I've been to Poland for a private b-day party over a long weekend in April this year (Thursday--Monday). When this country was marked red.

I came by train from Berlin. The rules were to have a negative test not older than 24hs and to quarantine after arrival. No one ever checked. Go figure.

This happened: Thursday evening, just after I arrived, my host said: let's go to tango (we are social tango dancers).

We drove to a (previously) regular event which is in a park in Warsaw, close to the center, that weekday. It was on as if nothing had ever happened.

I know the tango scene in Warsaw a bit. Everyone was there. All the familiar faces. About 80-100 people. And even some people who live like 100km away. I couldn't believe it.

Dancers I talked to there told me this was going on for months. "Basically there never was a lockdown for social dancers." they said. "At the beginning you had to register for 'classes' but as soon as the doors were closed it was a normal dancing event. No masks, no distancing etc."

Restaurants were not allowed to open at the time. So what happened Friday was straight out of a movie.

We drove to a brand new residential building in a side street. Approaching it the door opened and woman in a black mini dress welcomed us. Immediately checking our names on a list.

Once she had found us two thugs in tailored suits who would befit the extras list of any action summer blockbuster appeared behind her; out of nowhere.

Inside they escorted us to an entrance next to the building's elevators that led through a narrow hallway, past a busy restaurant kitchen into a top notch Italian joint.

No one wore a mask but amazingly only every 2nd table was being used. There was a DJ in the middle and my friend told me: "This turns into a private club from around 10:30pm."

The front side windows had blinds that were tightly shut. From the outside the restaurant must have looked completely shut down.

After dinner, at around 11pm, my friend suggested we go to a (real) club. But we had to wait for at least 30mins, he said.

Because the police were blocking the back door through which we entered -- waiting for their cut. As they did every night at 11pm.

I asked him how he'd know. He said: "I spoke to the owner when this happened before and we couldn't leave."

The owner and the head waitress were pulling together the evening's proceedings on a tablet. Then they stuffed an envelope. My friend told me he had asked the owner and the police would expect to pocket 10% of the evening's earnings.

And they they wanted to see the proceedings on the tablet.

When we exited the building through the side street entrance again, at around 11:30pm, the police car just pulled out in front of us.

The club we went to afterwards was also in an old residential building in the center. Through a narrow old door into a wide, low ceiling hallway leading to the yard. Stuffed with rubble and old bicycles.

In the middle of the side of the hallway a narrow stairway leading down to the basement.

About 300 young guests, seemingly drunk, in a space of maybe 300sqm -- minus bars & toilets. It was so crowded you couldn't drop to the floor if you lost your balance.

I wasn't ok to enter there so went to my friend's house instead but I saw it for maybe 30 secs.

So Poland, yeah. Maybe someone got fined 30k PLN for breaking some COVID rules. Maybe.


Literally nothing that you wrote surprises me :P Sounds absolutely on par for Polish approach to these kinds of "problems".

The main key point here is that you arrived by train - and indeed, trains are not really checked at all. But if you came by plane, you'd absolutely be entered into the system and you'd have police coming over every other day to see if you're actually there. You were just lucky because of your mode of transport. I've heard similar stories from people crossing the border by car - also no hassle at all.

And to add to that - if you were actually diagnosed with Covid, your name would also be entered into the system and police would be checking if you are at home. I know my entire family were checked every day when they got ill.

I didn't mention Poland as some sort of great foolproof implementation - just that if you are actually "in the system", police checks if you are doing the quarantine or not. In the UK we were very much "in the system" and literally no one cared - we didn't even get a phone call to ask if we're actually at home. Literally nothing. Again, I'm not surprised you escaped the whole thing if you arrived by train.


Rather have the country focus on a mass vaccination drive than trying to do a full China style lockdown.

In hindsight the unlimited money spent on healthcare and a collective willingness to take the corona pill works better than whatever Australia is trying to do.


Australia is trying to reach 80% vaccination by the end of the year, then open up.


>Rather have the country focus on a mass vaccination drive

Which is a bit difficult in a lot of places due to international demand.

>than trying to do a full China style lockdown.

Tbh the seemingly extreme chinese lockdown ended with them having less overall restriction in the long run from what i've seen. it's too late to try that here now but i probably would have preferred it. People are much less impacted by severe limitation on international travel than a severe limitation on social and personal life.


Who's given up "all their civil rights" ?

That seems like a massive hyperbole.

In WA, there are no lockdowns or any real coronavirus restrictions once you're in. Looks good to me.

Might want to compare those death rates too.


I live in Victoria. We have certainly given up all of our freedom. Our Premier has suspended parliament and now rules by decree. Citing fabled 'health advice', which is never made public nor provided when queried, to justify anything he does. That's why we have a 9PM curfew that has done nothing to stem the spread, punitive 'alchohol must be drunk through a mask' rules and playground closures. Those were not legitimate public health measures, but punishments for Victorians risking his re-election strategy of 'beating the virus' after spending the weekend outside in the sunshine.

Police harass citizens for the crime of taking a rest on a park bench while on their 1 hour of allowed outside time per day. I have friends who have been unable to leave the country to see dying parents. I have had friends unable to travel interstate to see their dying parents. My own grandmother died in our lockdown so the last 12 months of her life were spent locked in her own home.

This is not a successful strategy, and anybody reading Australia's low deaths and case numbers need to realise this. We have myopic politicians who are suffering from an obsession with a particular metric, neglecting everything else enabled by a population of unthinking zealots who genuinely believe a single death is a policy failure.

Locking down this severely is neither clever nor demonstrates a particularly high level of consideration. It is the most blunt and basic response to the virus and it's only possible in a country of docile livestock who are content to cede every right if the person they're ceding it to promises it will make them safer from a virus, or in the case of these new national 'security' measures pedophiles or terrorists.


All of your freedoms and rights? I imagine someone will be along to arrest you for sedition shortly then?

That sounds horrendous but honestly little different to what we went through in the UK at various points in the last year and a half, and the death rates are very low in comparison.

I’m sorry for your loss.


Funny thing is if he'd posted this on Facebook the Victorian police could well arrest him for incitement.


> I have friends who have been unable to leave the country to see dying parents.

Im somewhat neutral on most of Australia's restrictions: my opinion is that theyre unnecessarily draconian, and that some of them are not in accordance with pretty well-established science (1 hour of outdoor time is ludicrous).

But this is a relatively low-confidence belief, as I don't have a strong rebuttal to those championing the minimal-Covid-until-vaccinated strategy and its relative success. I wouldn't pick the same spot on the freedom/safety spectrum, but I have no basis for claiming those who do are "wrong".

But how on earth do the restriction apologists justify forbidding _leaving the country_? It has, by definition, zero safety justification. Plus, forbidding people yo leave a country is quite reasonably considered a violation of international human rights law. With respect to this specific policy, what on earth are policymakers thinking?


If you can't leave, you can't bring the virus back. I guess.


Yea of course, but it's trivial to just ban returning without quarantine. This policy also has the advantage of not potentially violating international law


has there ever been anything remotely resembling justification for nighttime curfews? I've tried to find any reasoning for it and completely failed to do so.


You're not allowed to leave your state or your country with the permission of some bureaucrat, and you're claiming that you haven't given up any civil rights?

I guess no-one had given up their civil rights in East Germany, or the Soviet Union then either.


Always so hyperbolic. The state border controls are for quarantine.

In states that have covid under control, that means filling out a form stating you're not sick. Rather sensible requirement during a pandemic

The banning of country exit visas is far far more controversial and doesn't have wide spread support. It seems okay as a sensible precaution at the start of the pandemic in order to ensure quarantine places were available for people who want to return to Australia. The fact that it's gone on so long without any real effort to find a better solution is poor government.

Border controls in Australia, are widely popular. Much like in the US.

The border controls will be removed once the country reaches a steady state of vaccination levels and things are as back to normal as they will get. All other controls have been removed immediately once they were no longer required.

This mass surveillance is far more concerning, and people constantly talking about temporary quarantine controls are muddying the waters of an important topic.


> Border controls in Australia, are widely popular.

the Nazi treatment of Jews was also widely popular among the Germans at that time.


UK Covid deaths 133,000 vs Australia Covid deaths 1054.

That's some cold-blooded calculus to say that Australia would have been better off with another 50,000 people dead rather than having some restrictions in place while they wait for vaccination targets to be reached.


Rights are worth many deaths. It has always been. Stopping Hitler was worth millions of deaths, in exchange we still have rights.

Before covid, family visited elderly in nursing homes, knowing full well there is a small chance they could pass the flu on to them and kill them.

I know my grandfather appreciated my visits, even though he knew there was a small risk of contracting something like the flu.

A life where you control for every possible risk is not one worth living.

We accept risk for rights and convenience all the time. E.g. operating vehicles.


> UK Covid deaths 133,000 vs Australia Covid deaths 1054.

Looking at all cause mortality and just eyeballing, it looks like in most cases Covid19 is reducing some lives by a few times while the fact that no one lives forever stubbornly persists.

Australia: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/causes-death/provis...

UK: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/...


Given the UK quarantine period was reduced by the chief medical officers "After reviewing the evidence" to 10 days from 14 by the start of 2021, it probably didn't make a difference.


How many will die from the economic fallout and how who will pay for this insane government debt accumulated over the last 2 years. The kids, thats who, the kids who don't get a vaccine and get the privilege of paying the bill for us to sit at home.

What happens to a country that stops people working and starts living on the government credit card? It's all great now when everything is paid in debt. What happens to health, education and infrastructure? What happens to peoples wellbeing and prosperity in the future? Australia's health care system was already at breaking point pre covid. Education was already at breaking point pre covid. They bullshit us that the numbers are fine, and being the fools we are we believe them even though it makes no logical sense. How will people work and pay tax when there are no jobs? How many will die you think?

Covid is not the only thing that can kill you. Poverty has killed infinitely more.


"Those who would give up ..." oh forget it, old-fashioned ideas


Not sure how temporary the safety gained by those tens of thousands is, nor how essential the liberty to enter a country without two weeks of quarantine is.

In fact, having just a few minutes ago come out of two weeks confined to a hotel room, into a place where there is effectively no coronavirus, I’d say not very essential at all.


Sure we did ... so easy to forget the dead when they don't have a voice to speak.

The UK Covid response was a joke. And the behaviour of the people, who completely lost trust in our leadership (understandably), acted accordingly.


>The app is voluntary and allows you to be at home rather than in a facility, and to not have random police checks

If the alternative is being harassed by the police it's not voluntary.


The app is entirely voluntary. Quarantine is not.

Effectively you get to choose -

  1. Stay in a quarantine centre for two weeks under guard (which you pay for)

  2. Quarantine at home with police visits

  3. As above but check in with the app
In that context, getting pissed off about the app is ridiculous.

You want to argue quarantine is unnecessary or wrong? Go for it, make those arguments. But what you’re doing is pissing and moaning about the easiest and least intrusive option. It’s not a good look.

As someone who is coming to the end of two weeks in a quarantine centre (actually a Novotel, and there’s no app or home quarantine for international arrivals), that app option looks mighty good. And as I am about to enter a state with no coronavirus, quarantine is looking like it’s been a great plan.


> 2. Quarantine at home with police visits

Is this an official option, or do you have to install the app then turn your phone off, with the potential of this turning to 1 if they don't like you doing that too often?


I believe this is an official option, at least in WA where there is already an app, it's up to you which option to take.

AFAICT there is no "we're sick of visiting you, off to a quarantine centre" potential at all, effectively you're doing them a favour by using the app, the default would be police visits.

Unless you're found to have breached quarantine the conditions I guess. Not sure what happens then.


This is in one of the few jurisdictions worldwide with zero covid trasmission, and the government wishes to keep it that way.


See the argument for having a high transmission also justifies this. It's win-win. If you have low transmission, we need to enact these laws to keep it that way. If it's a high transmission, we need to enact these laws to lower the transmission.

I'm amazed people have this much trust in their government officials. I mean they're just people with the same ethical flaws as everyone else, they just have a lot more power.


Hang on, the 15 minute interval requires constant human action, it's not enough that the phone itself is reachable? How does that even work? If that's true (which is sincerely hope it's not) being woken up every 15 minutes during the night for two weeks constitutes torture under most definitions.


It goes off once or twice a day, and you have 15 minutes to check in once it does. If you miss one, it'll try again a bit later. If you miss the retry, the police visit to check you're home.

It's not checking every 15 minutes!


You have to respond within 15 minutes with a geotagged selfie as I understand it. Given that one cannot know when one's chain is going to be yanked, it still sounds like torture.


“ The app allows people who are required to isolate to opt to do their isolation at home, rather than stay at a quarantine facility.”

Sounds just like this was taken from a dystopian novel.


So does a global pandemic that's killed millions worldwide.


Nah that was just taken from the history books. It was our totalitarian response that was from the dystopian novel.


The historical ignorance around Covid and other pandemics, and the way people act as though it was some unprecedented event that justifies the unprecedented reaction, is really stunning.


Quarantines and lockdowns were used against previous pandemics such as the 1918 flu pandemic.

American Samoa, for instance, was entirely unscathed by the Spanish flu because they instituted a strict quarantine at the border, the same policy Australia/NZ did for Covid-19.

See this pre-covid article from 2018, for instance.[0] Sound familiar?

> “These communities basically shut themselves down,” explains Howard Markel, an epidemiological historian at the University of Michigan who was one of the authors of the study. “No one came in and no one came out. Schools were closed and there were no public gatherings. We came up with the term ‘protective sequestration’, where a defined and healthy group of people are shielded from the risk of infection from outsiders.”

[0] https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20181023-the-places-that-...


One might perhaps imagine that those concerned with the lessons of history would not overlook the lack of precedent for a pandemic taking place in a time of ubiquitous and nigh instantaneous global travel. Such a one would be disappointed in this case, certainly, but the expectation could be considered reasonable nonetheless.


No, this doesn't actually make the definitive difference you think it does. Many earlier pandemics had no problem spreading throughout the almost entire world in relatively short order.


I'm glad you see more and more people voicing how insanely wrong this all has been.

For more than a year any counter of the narrative would get vitriol and the same talking points in a very political/religious zealot way


"Our oppressor isn't as bad as you've heard. They give us choices! For example, we get to choose chicken or beef for our 12pm meal."

Be careful. Stockholm syndrome is real.


I still don't agree this should be the way people are treated for having a virus. It's over the top.

No where else in the world is cracking down like this (AFAIK, maybe China?)

This is totally abusing a crisis to gain handover people and using "safety" as justification.


It's not people quarantining because they have the virus, it's related to the mandatory quarantine for international arrivals. Previously you needed to complete 2-weeks of hotel quarantine when you arrived in Australia. This new compromise allows people an option to complete that quarantine period from their own home instead. It's part of a move to increase overseas arrivals while minimising transmission.


Why doesn't the Government take some responsibility though?

They screwed up on some many levels, now it's up to the individual to be tracked like a criminal? That's why this is such a joke.

I remember reading the Prime Minister of Australia scoffed at corona virus, said it was a Chinese problem and said he will attend the Rugby League.


funny, if it’s not even for having a virus then what’s the point? I can’t help but think this is just the next step in evolution of the surveillance state using the existence of cold viruses as an excuse, it is not going to go well for the quality of care if the state becomes this embedded in the healthcare system, this is one of those times when a slippery slope is a very valid argument, if they start pushing unvaccinated people out of society bit by bit all based on data and science that is blessed by the state then this becomes a way of eliminating people who mistrust the government from society by force, it’s all well and good until the system is in place and the even more wrong people become in charge and suddenly at the helm of it


> quarantine facility

> managed quarantine

Love it.


It’s quarantine as a service. The Stripe of quarantine, if you will.


Looking forward to the annual QaaStr conference!


“people that need to quarantine” also happens to be based on something only a tiny fraction of people have the means to verify, I can’t think of anything in modern times more prone to tyranny than invisible requirements only the chosen state mages can bless


>My guess is that they would reset your isolation duration

You do know that quarantine isn't supposed to be a punishment, right? Resetting your isolation duration is punitive and has zero relationship to your ability to spread covid.


> The app allows people who are required to isolate to opt to do their isolation at home, rather than stay at a quarantine facility. Nobody is being forced to use the app.

Oh, well I guess it's ok then. /s


> The app allows people who are required to isolate to opt to do their isolation at home, rather than stay at a quarantine facility. Nobody is being forced to use the app

Weird. In Canada we're allowed to isolate at home without a wildly intrusive app, or police visits or anything like that.

We get a fine if we are caught out when we are required to isolate, that's all.

Personally if my government was proposing this kind of quarantine tracking, I'd be looking to move somewhere sane.


Bad thing that there's almost nowhere to move. Almost everybody has their intrusive model to cope with Covid.


> The app allows people who are required to isolate to opt to do their isolation at home, rather than stay at a quarantine facility. Nobody is being forced to use the app.

Wait. So if I refuse to be tracked by the government, the government will take me by force to a detention camp?

Did someone accidently ran a search and replace for Cuba and Australia before publishing the article?


what prohibits them from quarantining at home in the first place? Is there a difference between not leaving my room for 2 weeks (except to use the bathroom) and staying in a hotel for 2 weeks?


> managed quarantine

What's that?


The phone check in thing is for enforcing the two weeks home quarantine for returned travelers and close contacts of confirmed cases. While there are certainly slippery slope arguments to be made, let's not act like we've already slid down it.


> The phone check in thing is for enforcing the two weeks home quarantine for returned travelers and close contacts of confirmed cases.

So the government can effectively just inprison you in your own house, with no proof, no recourse and no due process, because they suspect you were near some guy at some particular time some days ago. They don't even ask to get tested first! How can people on hacker news of all places not see this as a massive threat to civil liberty is beyond me.


When the alternative is thousands and thousands of deaths, most of us are willing to temporarily give up a bit of civil liberty.


Well, I hope you won't be regretting it soon when you find out it's not temporary.


Where are you going to post your retraction when it is just temporary?


I'm still waiting to post my retraction about the U.S. never repealing the Patriot Act. I'm pretty patient though.


temporarily...almost always those measures stay in place much longer


Based on what examples?


15 days to slow the spread


And what would have done instead? Said 900 days to stop the spread? :-)


So, you are saying they were internationally lying and it was a good thing? Boiled frogs?


WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the war on drugs, the war on terror, now the war on covid.


I'm trying super hard to decipher your message.

Post WW1 didn't erode rights, it actually increased them. Post WW2, the same.

Korea and Vietnam didn't leave behind any long term repression that I remember.

War on drugs and terror, ok.

Covid is a disease. We have vaccines, we'll have treatment. Just get vaccinated. We've had pandemics before, they always end and I can't remember any rights still taken away abusively after the Spanish Flu or SARS or HIV.


You are mistaking extending special rights to minority groups with citizens rights. We have been increasing minority rights as fast as possible with removing all the protections from dictatorships in the name of, I don't even know what.

>Post WW1 didn't erode rights, it actually increased them. Post

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedition_Act_of_1918

>Post WW2, the same.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_Act

And on and on. There are libraries written about this, but no one cares because there has been a bi-partisan consensus that citizen's rights need to be curtailed.


Do you even read your own links?

> As part of a sweeping repeal of wartime laws, Congress repealed the Sedition Act on December 13, 1920

The second wasn't a wartime act and even that was repealed. Talk about cherry picking.


He meant the Espionage Act, which is currently being used to seek prosecution of Snowden and Assange, among others.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espionage_Act_of_1917


Yes, it's hard to keep track of which act was used to curtail what freedoms.

The Sedition Act was used to silence opposition to conscription and gave us the immortal quote of "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schenck_v._United_States

Of course the 'fire' in that case was this letter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schenck_v._United_States#/medi...

Which seems like an extremely level headed question about conscription in the US given that involuntary servitude should only be a punishment for a crime.


We are way past temporary here. Australia is not as far along in vaccinations as other countries, but at this point the most vulnerable have had ample chance to be vaccinated. The virus can't be eradicated, will continue to mutate, and herd immunity by vaccination alone is not likely. At some point, Australia, New Zealand and China will need to join the rest of the world in the new normal, unless they want to become virtual prison states.


Yeah, and that point is when we have enough people vaccinated. Which should be done by December. Then we can join the new normal. I would classify that as temporary.


> When the alternative is thousands and thousands of deaths, most of us are willing to temporarily give up a bit of civil liberty.

Don't worry, you'll be doing both and it won't be temporary.


Please explain.


The death rate for Covid in even a fully vaccinated population is somewhere between 2 to 8 per million per day given Israel's current figures. Which means from 700 to 3000 deaths per million per year.

And you won't be getting the freedoms you gave up back, since the police are already using your location data to arrest you: https://theconversation.com/police-access-to-covid-check-in-...


Can the quarantine be shortened with negative PCR test?


Unless the exposure site is identified as a low-risk one where contacts are directed to isolate until they get a negative test, no. You have to do a test when going into iso and you have to get a negative test on day 13 to leave it. There have been plenty of cases where the day 13 test is positive, even when the test at the start was negative.


> phone check-ins every 15 minutes or they will deploy police to follow up and confirm your location

WHAAAAAAAT??


The right to bear arms also seems to fit your framework quite well. If the police knocking on your door has to fear that you appear naked that is unpleasent but merely a nuisance. If you could be armed they will probably think twice if it is worth the risk.


And this is the foundation of the Second Amendment despite the intense opposition to it. The Second Amendment creates lines that even the government will be unwilling to cross.


And yet government agents shooting unsuspecting non-criminals in their own home, after mistaking the address or responding to a malicious fake emergency call, is a line that is only crossed in the country with the Second Amendment.


Yeah, plus they're practically the only country that hasn't had serious government threatening civil unrest for 160 years and they still brag about guns.

Heck, the only real recent unrest of that magnitude, the takeover of Capitol, was without guns as far as I remember. As in, no standoff.


>Yeah, plus they're practically the only country that hasn't had serious government threatening civil unrest for 160 years and they still brag about guns.

There was that miners strike which got bombed.


Do you mean this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonus_Army

Or something else? I guess that's the closest thing that would qualify.

But compared to the anti-government protests that have probably happened in half the countries in the world during the same time period, it's peanuts.

Example from Romania: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017%E2%80%932019_Romanian_pro...

Half a million people protesting out of ~18 million or so. For reference, that would mean 10 million people protesting at the same time in the US. I wonder if even the civil rights movement during the 60's ever got that many people out on the streets at the exact same time.


No, I meant this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Blair_Mountain

I agree tho. In general the US is rather good at keeping down any kind of protests that pose an existential threat or undermines it's major goals.


>Heck, the only real recent unrest of that magnitude, the takeover of Capitol, was without guns as far as I remember. As in, no standoff.

Condescending to other countries with smug quips by the American founding fathers turns out to be much easier than taking those principles seriously on your own soil when facing the prospect of armed Federal police.


I think in practice (from the US) they come in with 10 people, guns drawn, in bulletproof vests ready to fire at anything moving just in case which leads to unfortunate deaths which is why 'Swatting' is so dangerous in the US


They also murder unarmed people with a frequency I'm not comfortable with, so any argument that guns is what makes the police trigger happy has plenty of counter examples of clearly unarmed people getting killed.


Yeah but they always think they have a gun, or so they say. It's not always having a gun pointed at you, it's the threat that it could happen. Very real to American police that keep them on edge, where in other countries that risk is lower so there is less sensitivity to a suspect moving there arm near a pocket or behind their back if they are far away from the officer (which makes it naturally harder to see what they are going for). Not saying it's a good thing, it's just a large contributing factor.


There was recently a video of US police attacking a lady in a wheel chair with a stun gun because she was filming them detaining and being rough with her pregnant daughter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9piU6_8y61Q

Here's a recent video of a cop throwing a woman to the cement who was in a fight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCKu-0oAaOk

Here's a compilation of nearly 1000 incidents of police brutalizing BLM protestors and reporters.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/oct/29/us-police-br...

In these incidents the victim was clearly either unarmed or in no way was threatening the police with a firearm. I think that is just yet another excuse the police use to evade prosecution when brutalizing citizens.

This is nothing new, here's the police brutalizing citizens protesting in Chicago in 1968.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XzdltsTfvE


This.


These "data disruption warrants" are the most interesting to me:

> Data disruption means adding, copying, deleting or altering data held in a computer. This can only be done in order to frustrate the commission of offences or determine relevance of data. To assist disruption, a warrant can also authorise other facilitative activities, such as entering specified premises, using electronic equipment to obtain access to data, removing a computer from premises, copying data that has been obtained, and intercepting if necessary to carry out the things authorised in the warrant. A data disruption warrant also allows the officer to take actions to conceal the access and the activities, allowing the warrant to be conducted covertly.

> Data disruption warrants can be used to affect data offshore with the consent of an appropriate consenting foreign official (if the location of data is known or can be reasonably determined). They can also be issued internally in an emergency situation, and subsequently authorised by a Judge or AAT member. They can also permit the officer to seek assistance from a person with knowledge of a computer or a computer system to help in carrying out the warrant.

- https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about-us/our-portfolios/natio...

So they can get a warrant to come into your house while you're not home and put a keylogger in your keyboard USB cable, or put a bug on the UART of your router, etc. Or just hacking your cheap Netgear router with one of the hundreds of vulnerabilities that exist.

Scary shit. Sounds like they're pretty drunk with power. Does Australia really have a capable offensive security group like the NSA to pull these sorts of things off, though?


They're a member of the FIVE EYEs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Eyes


For a second there, I thought I was reading omnipedia instead. Scary stuff.


Well as long as they leave their back doors on these systems open for the rest of us, i think its ok :P

Would love to distrubute zk-chain validators via self replicating router malware lol


Scary shit. Sounds like they're pretty drunk with power. Does Australia really have a capable offensive security group like the NSA to pull these sorts of things off, though?

They do but the real question is whether its appropriate to source intelligence from a place like the NSA when the outcomes are meant to be used by the police.


> So they can get a warrant to come into your house while you're not home and put a keylogger in your keyboard USB cable, or put a bug on the UART of your router, etc. Or just hacking your cheap Netgear router with one of the hundreds of vulnerabilities that exist.

That's actually not that weird.

If you are a suspected criminal and a judge give a warrant targeting you specifically, it's quite natural the police can now gather information on you by any mean possible.

It's not warrant-less, it's not mass surveillance, it sounds like regular police work. Or am I missing something?


Not being a legal expert, I can’t tell where the boundary is between enabling legitimate police work and giving (accidentally or deliberately) the police the power to plant fake evidence, the latter being what some of this sounds like. But, I’m not a legal expert, and “sounds like” is a way to make very large mistakes when looking outside of one’s own domain of expertise like I’m doing here.

(Also doesn’t help that I hear about stories like this from people who don’t like them, so I get a potentially biased first impression).


I have no idea how Australia handles this, but in the U.S., the process of discovery is what is supposed to keep the police from just planting evidence. Prosecution needs to present all evidence that will be used against you, including exactly where it came from and chain of custody. If they can't, it gets thrown out. The only exception is they can't be compelled to give away the identity of confidential informants. But a confidential informant also can't testify anonymously, so the police would always need additional evidence beyond the word of a CI.

It's not a perfect system by any means. The police can and do plant evidence. But a lot of convictions also get thrown out and this is often why obviously guilty people get off on "technicalities" because the police don't follow procedure down to the letter.

The opposite end of the spectrum, not giving the police any power to do covert surveillance at all, is effectively just giving a license to the Mafia to do whatever it wants, as anyone who just commits all of their crimes privately will get away with it as long as they can sufficiently scare or kill anyone who would otherwise have been willing to testify.

It's a tradeoff either way, and we try to let there be a middle ground, where the police can bug your house, tap your phone, hack your router, but they need a warrant that has to be granted by a completely separate branch of government that is not in the same chain of command, and they have to prove to your lawyers that they obtained all of the evidence they have against you legally.


Indeed, I have no issue with the police having the power to read whatever data a warrant grants.

My problem is the linked page says:

> A DATA DISRUPTION WARRANT enables the agencies to “add, copy, delete or alter” data on devices.

Copy is fine, it’s the other three which are scary. Perhaps they shouldn’t be scary, perhaps they have well-defined meanings in law I’m just not familiar with (like how “Hacker News” has nothing to do with cyber crime), but I can only respond within the limits of my knowledge, and that seems scary.


I think the reason they want the ability to add, delete, and alter is so they can disrupt certain users, software, or services legally, like botnets or arms deals. It's probably too broad and could be abused though.


They could always do that: once they have a warrant, they can search your house and pretend to find physical evidences in it.


Indeed they could. However the linked page says:

> A DATA DISRUPTION WARRANT enables the agencies to “add, copy, delete or alter” data on devices.

With the exception of the word “copy”, this makes it seem like the plan is to make it not merely possible but also legally acceptable for anyone given such a warrant to create/place that evidence (or delete things to make real data look incriminating by lack of context).

Again, I really know I can’t trust my interpretation of any legal text, all I can say is it does sound bad to an outsider like me.


It's certainly better than simply compromising everyone but it's not like they're going to stop their mass surveillance activities. This is just a step towards legitimization of those activities.

It's time for computer security to include nation states in their threat model. We need tamper-evident hardware.


I’ve spent a bit of time in Australia. When I compared the caliber of people who worked in tech and venture to those in mining and law enforcement, it was night and day. There’s a TON of smart people at companies like Woodside, and lots of smart people at the Australian Federal Police (to the extent where the US and other countries rely on them for help in tricky technical situations). The tech and VC crowd seemed to get off on the size of a funding round, or how tight they were with the founders of Atlassian, or if they knew some guy from America with a “successful exit,” or other complete nonsense.

With a dynamic like that, the law enforcement people are always going to point to the tech and venture people and say to politicians, “are you going to take orders from these clowns, or are you going to listen to us?” And now that you’ve got the climate activists antagonizing the mining companies, who are responsible for a very significant percentage of the economy, you’ve got two extremely savvy and powerful groups working together.

If Australian tech people want their government to take them seriously, they’re going to have to act in a manner that is as professional as those at the AFP, and they’re going to have to hit people with an economic hammer that can match the force of mining. Yes, it’s not fair that things are this difficult, but that’s life.


I'm Australian. Your argument seems to be "If only the tech sector in Australia had some smart people". That's nice but I don't think that's what is going on.

Most of the general public is apathetic to this kind of thing. They just don't get worked up like Americans do about freedom. Especially in the middle of an epidemic (covid19 is now out of control in the two biggest cities).

We have a conservative government at the moment. They're interested in power for the sake of it and very much against transparency. They're certainly not going to listen to anyone's opinions about it - they'll just do it and wear what they know will be a negligible hit they take in the polls.


Well, you are living a period of incredible prosperity: plenty of money, jobs, fantastic weather and a quiet social status quo.

Comfort makes it hard to rebel.


I think you greatly overestimate how “worked up” Americans get. In reality, there is an enormous amount of lobbying and horse-trading that goes on behind the scenes whenever Washington wants to do anything that touches the tech and telecom sectors. Tech and telecom are seen as areas that drive tremendous economic value and national power, so they have the ability to bend things to go their way.

Australia is quite the opposite. The tech industry is a bit like a spoiled, privileged trust fund kid who shows up to the family holding company’s board meetings in flip-flops and a t-shirt and makes a lot of demands. I’m pretty sure the tech/VC industries take more from the government, in the form of mining revenue-funded tax and incentive credits and fast-track high-net-worth immigration residence schemes that require parking money in VC funds, than they contribute back to the Treasury. In fact, I would posit that the state of Western Australia’s share of mining-related tax revenue this past fiscal year was greater than all of the taxes paid by all of Australia’s tech companies combined. (I could be wrong, but it sure feels like I’d be proven correct.)

And on the side of law enforcement and ASIO, well, public sector employees and unions have a LOT of political power. If you think union members are going to vote in favor of policies endorsed by tech plutocrats than those being pushed by their counterparts at other unions... It’s time to go talk to a couple union bosses and see what they think of your ideas. It really doesn’t help the tech crowd that half of them are obsessed with union-busting pseudo-libertarian nonsense, in a country where these organizations still hold a lot of kingmaking power.

Australia’s tech industry just doesn’t have the leverage, either politically or financially, to pursue its agenda. I would flip what you said and turn it back on you, and the other commenters; it seems like all of you are applying American ways of looking at this to a country that has very different dynamics. Trying to import American-style “activism” to make your point isn’t going to get much done there, mate. What plays well on Twitter won’t work in Canberra.


It's interesting to see how, in America, tech is seen as a gateway to prosperity and something worth investing in, while in Australia it's described as a pit for subsidies.

I guess the number one customer for Australian natural resource has incentives to make sure the country stays dependent on said natural resource exports for it's prosperity. Keeps them docile...


I think you're barking up the wrong tree, mate.

The story is "law enforcement and conservative government work together to bring in new laws that makes law enforcement's life easier".

I don't see how tech companies, union bosses or WA tax revenue has much to do with it.


You have an unstated assumption: that the best people in tech are attracted to startups and venture capital. In Australia that's not true. Australia is not America and you've drawn incorrect conclusions due to your incorrect assumption.


> And now that you’ve got the climate activists antagonizing the mining companies, who are responsible for a very significant percentage of the economy, you’ve got two extremely savvy and powerful groups working together.

I wonder which country is the number one customer of these companies.


Atlassian founders are the wrong place to look for tech and VC mentorship.

Every company here has a values round copying them and doing things that atlassian does.

I believe tech and VC ecosystem will improve once they become bigger. There are companies like okzellar, shippit which do not have that atlassian bias.


I simply cannot wrap my mind around what is happening in Australia. Continuing a lockwdown while the number of positive covid cases remains in the low hundreds and the daily death rate in the lower tens to single digits.

Nothing makes sense here. Draconian laws, complete shutdown over something that is and has been statistically under control and managed from months.

Am I alone here or do people really think what is going on in Australia makes sense and that attempting to completely eradicate a virus that may be as easily spread as the common cold makes sense.

Serious cannot leave your house outside and go outside for a jog … because there are 50 positive cases in a nation of millions ?

My mind is blown.


Right, there's something disconcerting about the way people are behaving in this situation, and it's hard to process this as something that could reasonably happen. "I thought we were rational people in a free society?"

The terrible thing is that this is exactly how people behaved in "historical" times - a foreshadowing to what lies ahead. The vast majority of people believe we are post-history, and that we're somehow more rational and good than previous generations. This isn't true, and people are just as susceptible to insane fantasies as they've always been. We're in danger now because of these people.

What we're seeing is exactly what it looks like: mass psychosis on the level of witch-hunts, with incompetent and superstitious leaders trying to rule with underhanded measures. There's nothing to try to understand here, it's just time to wake up from the delusion that everything is stable and properly managed.


The difference between modern and medieval people isn't physiological, it is just education. But since stupidity is unlimited, it will just pick up a new mantle and look a bit different.

Rules of public relation will make it increasingly difficult for any official to take a more relaxed stand. Fearful people are motivated people and will make themselves heard, no matter if their fears are justified or not.


Boiling it down to just education is too reductionist. Education is part of reciprocal human interaction and the academy (often associated with education) is itself an ancient institution. What's different is our collection and employment of knowledge.


> . "I thought we were rational people in a free society

There is no polity in the world in which "rational people" drove covid policy (or individual behavior) to any significant degree. Whether we're talking about Florida's low restrictions and high cases or the Bay Area's converse outcome, the best you can hope for is that the masses, through their blind superstition and social signaling, ended up somewhere close to the policy/behavior landscape that you think is optimal.


I don't disagree with this; it seems that if you ask most people who aren't following mandates why they're not following them you'll get a lot of poorly thought out answers.

I would even say that DeSantis isn't really trying to follow science in his decisions, but more trying to align with the beliefs of Floridians.

Sweden is one country which seems to have made the right decisions, though they themselves have said they would have done lockdowns if it were legal to do so. Because of that, I'd say that Sweden is at least competent and transparent in it's democratic policies. Other countries simply made lockdowns legal, clearly subverting their own established democratic processes. Now Sweden seems to be quite happy about it's decisions though.


Perhaps you're misinformed.

The laws the article is talking about are the big problem - they're Federal and permanent (at least until we have a sane Government elected to reform and repeal them).

The COVID lockdowns are all operating under temporary state of emergencies under the State Governments. There's no actual reason to think they will be 'extended forever' like some crazies seem to think. For several states, our State Governments are actually much more competent and better in many ways than the Federal Government. Of course, a big part of the reason lockdowns are needed is because the Federal Government botched some vaccine deals with Pfizer etc. so we started vaccinating very late and have been continually supply-constrained since then.

The lockdowns have actually have tended to work effectively - for instance, in my state we've had a few lockdowns and have been able to quash every outbreak so far. So we've been mostly COVID free as we are at the moment, so there is no lockdown right now. Right now I can freely travel to any state except NSW, ACT and Victoria (which are hotspots). I would have to quarantine to go to WA though, but hopefully our state goes from "Low Risk" to "Very Low Risk" by their Government's rating soon so I can take a holiday there without two weeks quarantine.

The main actually ridiculous restriction is the Federal Government's ban on travel out of the country. That is wrong, and probably unconstitutional. Travel out should absolutely be allowed, just with the proviso that there may not be quarantine capacity for months to return (perhaps you should need to have to book in advance and pay a deposit if you intend to return in the next year). Although apparently it is actually ridiculously easy to get an exception to leave, I have a few friends that have taken jobs overseas and their applications were approved in hours with no questions (not even asked for any evidence they actually had a job offer).


It's not misinformation, it's that were looking at Australia from the outside. If you live in the US, pretty much any and all restrictions have been lifted for daily life. You see that there are still Covid cases and deaths, but they have dwindled in comparison to last year and life is pretty much back to how it was Pre-pandemic.

So it's absolutely insane to see that for the same or less daily Covid cases/deaths, Australia is going into lockdowns and imposing draconian restrictions. That's the disconnect between for many of us. At least in the US, any politician even suggesting such measures nowadays would be politically crucified.


For last year it was the reverse for us. We looked at the US, incredulous that you let the virus kill thousands of people every day. At that point we had practically zero cases or deaths and we lived with almost no restrictions. So we could see how bad it could get if we let the virus run free in a population that still doesn't have the majority vaccinated.

It's only in the last couple months that things have been different, and bear in mind only two states have any lockdown orders at the moment. It sucks that our federal government fucked up acquisition of vaccines but at this point it seems silly to not just wait a few months to reach high levels of vaccination rates before opening up properly.


I think you are assuming we have access to the vaccine like the US. Where at this point, if you want to get it, you have the opportunity to do so.

We don't have enough vaccine to do that yet. We have a shortage and consequently we are in 'a race' to get a somewhat limited supply of jabs into arms before the delta strain gets out of control here and starts killing folks like it's the peak in America.

I would say, Australia cares more about it's citizens than in America. But there are definite downsides, like for instance, we don't produce Pfizer or have the very strong industrial/tech base (and the good jobs that go with it)


This is pretty hyperbolic. Examination of global excess deaths would tell you that the lockdowns were successful in their stated primary aim. Australia and NZ had significantly fewer excess deaths during the first wave [1]. And if they continue with lockdowns, they will have signficantly fewer excess deaths again no matter what else happens.

You may think this isn't a good trade-off, which is a fine point to make, but I don't think any minds need to be blown.

[1] https://twitter.com/MaxCRoser/status/1434228604666368007?s=2...


You are correct I think this is not a good trade-off. However I stand by “my mind is blown” that continuing with these draconian measures and the lock down approach borders on madness.

For reference in my part of the world we are fully open going on the 5th week of full in person schooling. All athletic teams and events have resumed with full crowds. In a school district of 2600 students we have over 45 positive cases (temp quarantine). The week prior we had 35 cases.

Neither of these case numbers are concerning and we continue to promote vaccination and frequent testing to limit the spread.


It's hard to evaluate what this means without knowing, at least, the demographic make up of your part of the world, the vaccination rates, the vaccination kinetics, and health system capacity and access.

I could equally cherry pick places with more disastrous outcomes as a counterargument eg Italy early on.

Nevertheless, I'm envious of your lack of restrictions. I haven't seen my father for a long time.


Sorry that you haven’t seen your father that is a bummer. Not cherry picking literally describing the town and school system where I live.

Hospitals are busier with an uptick in covid patients however they are not overwhelmed.


The low vaccination rate means it takes little for cases to jump from double to triple or even quadruple digits, at which point things spiral out of control like already happened in many other countries. Compare this to countries like Britain or the US with high vaccination rates and even higher percentages of the population with antibodies.


Where is that? How many tests are being conducted per day? What is the population?

35/45 are meaningless numbers without any context.


35 students out of 2,645 total.

Tests are only conducted on exposed students (confirmed to be in close contact with positive case)or symptomatic students.


Students are not the only members of a community or geographic area.

I’m unclear how this is a relevant comparison to “Covid in Australia” or “lockdown strategy” beyond ‘smaller numbers are smaller’

If you are going to compare the numbers you just provided (which are not a good direct comparison), then it shows that it’s considerably more out of control in your school than in NSW, which is the least contained outbreak in Australia.

26k active cases in 8.1M population. Approx 0.3%.

35 in 2645 is 1.3%.

Other states of Australia are considerably better. So again, what is your point?


Sometimes in Western Australia I forget covid is happening if I don't check the news. Brief, sweet moments. We haven't been in a lockdown longer than 3 days in quite some time.


> Continuing a lockwdown while the number of positive covid cases remains in the low hundreds and the daily death rate in the lower tens to single digits.

Surely you can see how this is equivalent to asking why the company hires a system admin when the system hardly ever goes down or gets hacked.

And you have always been allowed outside for a jog. Please do not spread false information.


> And you have always been allowed outside for a jog

If you're in Victoria it can't be a long jog (2hr total per day), and it can't be after 9pm though!

Sorry for being pedantic but really it should be you are allowed outside for a jog sometimes


This talk about "Draconian" lockdown in Australia needs to stop. Our privacy and digital rights laws are awful. But the lockdowns are necessary.

NSW had upward of 1000+ cases and that's why they're (still) in a strict lockdown. QLD and i beleive WA as well for example are not in lockdown at all because of their much much lower daily cases.

Also, "50 cases in a nation of millions"? I dont know where you're getting your info, but NSW and Victoria are NOT on top of COVID: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavir...


>This talk about "Draconian" lockdown in Australia needs to stop.

I haven't been following the lockdown laws interstate, but here in Victoria there have definitely been some restrictions that seemed to be extremely harsh and soul-crushing in comparison to their effectiveness at stopping the virus.

The 5km radius and curfew both spring to mind. I (legally) haven't been able to see a single friend or family member for almost 2 months now, even if socially distanced, wearing a mask, vaccinated and outdoors. They're all outside my 5km.

Yet at the same time a 10 year old kid can go into Woolies with 200 other people and not even need to wear a mask.


Very much agree with the 5km rule and curfew. If there is strong evidence to suggest that they are necessary than so be it but after months and months of restricting basic freedoms 'we follow the health advice' just doesn't cut it anymore.


Then what does?


Hope you’re ok mate. We’ll be vaccinated soon, hold the fort. I can’t see my family and friends either and it’s undeniably tough. But the rules do make sense, it’s just always hard to see that when they affect you.

The 5km makes it possible for them to be talking about the western suburbs being somewhat under control, and for targeted testing and messaging operations to be useful. My area has been in a lull for a bit after being in the spotlight, so I’ve checked out of keeping track —- that is a luxury in its own way. Without the 5km I don’t think I would have that reprieve from the stress.


UK and Israel have proven the "vaccinate your way out of trouble" strategy doesn't work, therefore Australia's lockdown regime will not work either.

Australia is, at a massive social and economic cost, delaying death and cases. They are not preventing them.

At extremely high levels of vaccination, Australia could see 10-50 daily deaths presuming lockdown is eased. There's already prior evidence, other countries have been through this.

Vaccination is not a silver bullet, and lockdown advocates need to stop implying as such.

80% vaccination will mean thousands of daily cases.

Not to mention lockdown advocates routinely ignore the massive costs associated with the ideology, such as additional deaths (suicides, delayed medical treatment, poverty etc) and mental health (1 in 10 Victorians "seriously considered" suicide in 2020(!!!)).

Also, poverty, which will absolutely be the result of this economic destruction, has a directly link to excess mortality (mortality is >100% more likely when you're in poverty).


The recent mask study in Bangladesh comes to mind. I hazily remember it finding mask effectiveness at about 10-15%, which caused the press to proclaim that masks work. However against an exponentially growing virus this reduction amounts to a brief delay in transmission.

Happy to be corrected by someone who has looked at that study more deeply.


> This talk about "Draconian" lockdown in Australia needs to stop.

Actually, telling people to stop talking is what needs to stop.

Here in Victoria we're in our 6th lockdown. 220 days of lockdown since last year. Today there were 221 covid cases reported in Victoria. 87 people in hospital - that's not a daily rate, that's total. These are not big numbers.

We have an angry Premier who yells and threatens. Together with his side-kick health officer, they condemn people for taking their kids to park or watching the sunset. [1]

When watching the sunset is considered immoral, it's time to break out the word Draconian.

We have a curfew here in Melbourne. This means everyone must visit the supermarket in reduced opening hours, increasing density in those places. There is no evidence curfews work. Mask mandates outdoors even when by yourself is another useless signalling technique. Australian authorities love their signalling and behavioral manipulation.

They love blaming the lockdowns on the community. They love their new unchallenged surveillance powers and privacy compromising backdoors. They are ecstatic about the idea of mandating apps and vaccine passports for entry to cafes and venues.

People here are vaccinated enough. A high proportion of older and vulnerable people are vaccinated. Young and healthy people would not fill the hospital beds if lockdowns ended. There may be a small surge, but it would level out, we would deal with it. Lockdowns are doing more harm than good at this point. 80% vaccination target is not a magic number from the Gods.

[1] https://headtopics.com/au/andrews-slams-sunset-lovers-breaki...


If lockdowns are "necessary" then there are other things like taxing unhealthy foods and dedicating the economy to produce enough N95 masks that are vastly more necessary.


1200+ cases in NSW out of a population of over 8 million.

So we should extend a strict lockdown … to do what exactly? Is the plan to manage this virus with a series of alternating lockdowns and get the number of cases to zero? Is this realistic, is this the type of world you want to live in?

The virus appears to be as contagious as chicken pox, vaccines help with serious cases but are doing little unfortunately to stop the spread. At what point do you think it would make sense to manage the disease and resume normal life instead of draconian lockdowns for a untenable goal?


Please put some effort in getting information instead of creating straw man. NSW and Victoria are in a lockdown to have time to get 70-80% of eligible population double-vaccinated. Modelling by couple of institutes show that if lockdown ends today, hospitals would be overwhelmed and lots of preventable deaths occur. By all estimates we would reach that 70-80% number in 1-3 months time, so that's the plan. Google for "Doherty Institute planning", visit https://covidlive.com.au, check daily press conference of VIC and NSW premiers - answers to your questions are in plain sight.


So the "plan" is to do what other countries have already done and didn't stop the spread? That's a bold strategy Cotton.


To answer the last question they plan to open up once double vaccination rates hit a target I think 80%. I think this makes sense.


The target will move once it hits 80%. This is so obvious I feel sorry for all of you/them


We’ve been in and come out of a lockdown before. I’m not worried.


The target is moving indeed, it's going down. NSW didn't want to lock down at all, but had to.


> but had to

Why?

"Unvaccinated people in New South Wales could be barred from locations and denied movement freedoms even after the state achieves 80% double dose vaccination"

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/sep/13/nsw-u...

> the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, warning vaccine-hesitant residents they will not be able to “let everybody else do the hard work and then turn up” for equal freedoms.

> “I just want to send the very strong message that don’t assume you’ll get everything that vaccinated people get at 80%.”

Vaccine apartheid. Enjoy ! I'm glad I visited long ago


per day*


To be clear, that's 1200 cases in one day. There are currently 26907 active cases in NSW.

The goal of the lockdown is to keep new case numbers as low as possible so a greater percentage of the population has the chance to be vaccinated. Nobody is suggesting it's going to zero. Living with Covid, as you suggest, is the end goal. You're advocating for the current plan.


> Continuing a lockwdown while the number of positive covid cases remains in the low hundreds and the daily death rate in the lower tens to single digits.

Correction - thousands, not hundreds. But comparison to the previous numbers is required, because it's approaching the peak we've seen. So close to highest ever, rather than something to be dismissed.

> Serious cannot leave your house outside and go outside for a jog … because there are 50 positive cases in a nation of millions ?

... You can still do that. There are several allowed reasons to leave your house, and exercise is one of those, and always has been.


Do you have to wear a mask when jogging outside? (or walking etc). Can you jog with your family or small group of friends?


One day at the beginning of the pandemic I was out exercising and the police interrogated me over wearing jeans instead of sports wear. The copper was unsatisfied by my responses and directed me to return home + threatened a fine of several thousand dollars if I did not comply.

> Do you have to wear a mask when jogging outside?

Given my encounter and as jogging isn't well defined I assume this is at the discretion of the nearest officer.


> Do you have to wear a mask when jogging outside? (or walking etc).

Jogging, no you don't have to wear a mask. Walking, depends where you live.

> Can you jog with your family or small group of friends?

Depends where you live. But you're always allowed at least one other person, you're not cut off from humanity.


American here. It appears to me to be poor incentives reinforcing themselves in the political sphere. If you make a single metric the measure of success, most will go to extremes to game that metric. Australian politicians seem to have made the low number of COVID infections the sole measure of their success. The result is somewhat predictable.


> Serious cannot leave your house outside and go outside for a jog … because there are 50 positive cases in a nation of millions ?

There were around 1.5k new cases in NSW today. NSW is in lockdown. Victoria has new cases too, but is opening up its regional areas where they are covid free. WA has no cases and no lockdown.

It's not like the whole country is locked down over 50 cases - there are many times that many, and the whole country is not locked down.


> because there are 50 positive cases in a nation of millions

Australia is currently experiencing 1500 daily case of COVID with some 30,000+ cumulative case since the start of this last outbreak which is now some two months old.

> Nothing makes sense here.

Firstly only three of the seven states and territories are in lock down.

Four states and territories are experiencing zero cases and for them life is very close to normal.

However, the reason two states are now in lock down is because, as a developed country, Australia is last in terms of vaccination roll out.

And it is not only last, it is last by a long way.

There are only two ways to deal with COVID:

1. Lock down until the vaccination numbers improve

2. Open up and let the virus rip and hope the hospital system can cope with the increased demand.

NSW is currently in lock down (i.e. option 1) and even with these strict rules in place the health system is not coping well, as it struggles with the uptick in COVID hospitalizations.

The simple fact is Australia stuffed up the vaccination roll out and we are now paying the price for that mistake.


This is false. We currently have ~1500 positive cases per day in NSW in Australia.

NSW is planning to lift restrictions in mid October once vaccine rates hit 70%.

ICU capacity is just about at 100%, with the peak to hit in the next few weeks.

I'm pretty happy to be in lockdown for a little bit longer in this situation.


Thirty thousand cases today, with about 1700 added overnight - and that is with the lockdowns.

You may still personally consider this an overreaction, but please do not invite other people to that conclusion with incorrect data.


> Serious cannot leave your house outside and go outside for a jog

This is simply not true. Why are you making a factually incorrect statement?

Even at the highest lockdown level you are allowed to leave your home to exercise.

NSW: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/greater-sydney

VIC: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/20...


As an Australian, I should note that the reason positive cases were in the low hundreds — actually, low tens most of the time — was precisely because of the lockdowns. Once people stopped obeying the lockdowns, positive cases started rising, and we ended up with the current situation here in Sydney with ~1500 cases per day. The only reason it’s not any higher is because (a) we still have lockdown in place, and most people comply, and (b) we’re rapidly getting vaccinated as I type.

(And also, the lockdowns weren’t continuous by any measure. Lockdown restrictions were consistently relaxed as soon as cases dropped to single digits.)


I’m happy with lockdowns. I think they should have locked down sooner in NSW for the current outbreak.

The alternative is just let a shitload of people die because it enough ventilators to have 100k cases.

I’m not happy with the vaccination sagas and lack of care with the index case that caused the outbreak though.


They're trying to buy enough time to get enough people vaccinated before they "let it rip". Delta has an extremely high R value and will come back in force. This way we eliminate many more unnecessary deaths. Not hard to understand.


Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: