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Schwarten’s 'Covid logic' cruelly divides Queenslanders

By Graham Young - posted Tuesday, 18 January 2022

It's far past time that people stop playing politics with Covid, as former ALP Old Guard enforcer Robert Schwarten did last week in Queensland.

This is undoubtedly part of a strategy by the state government which allowed the unvaccinated free range before the state reached 85 per cent vaccination rates, but severely restricted the venues they could attend afterwards.

This makes no health sense. If you believe vaccines work, then 85 per cent should be above any threshold for herd immunity and as close to 100 per cent as you could need. Achieving this would be the time to release restrictions, not tighten them.


In the absence of logic, this seems to be an attempt to set-up a portion of the population as political fall guys in the event the state's vaccine strategy doesn't work.

Playing on the fears of the public – and focusing those fears on a minority using falsehoods or half-truths – is a well-trodden path to electoral success, but it is ultimately corrosive of democracy.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has staked her reputation on keeping the people safe, and now that the vaccine strategy is in disarray (with infections rising daily) she needs a substitute threat. Sending a former hack politician out to make a brutish attack is one way to road test the new strategy.

Hopefully, the strategy will backfire.

Schwarten has come out and demonised somewhere between 20 to 30 per cent of the voting population who are either unvaccinated or were vaccinated under duress. These people know they are not 'ill-advised, selfish, or self-centred hypocrites' and they resent the treatment being meted out by the state government and its urgers. Many of these people voted Labor at the last election, but they won't next time.

People don't like to be lied to, they don't like being insulted, and they certainly don't like being put in a basket of 'deplorables'.


Many of Schwarten's facts, while implicit in government pronouncements, are flat-out wrong. Not only can the vaccinated transmit Covid; according to many studies (if not most), they are just as likely to transmit the virus as unvaccinated people. This reality is being reflected in the current spread of Omicron among fully vaccinated populations.

The extent of the benefit of the vaccines is to protect the vaccinated in the event of infection, and with the advent of the Omicron variation, this comes at a significantly reduced rate.

Unvaccinated Queenslanders are not Typhoid Marys roaming the streets infecting the population, they are just like everyone else when it comes to transmissibility – happy to accept their personal risk.

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This article was first published in The Spectator.

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About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

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