Let's make COVID crisis unite us, not divide us

Let's make COVID crisis unite us, not divide us

OPINION
News
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A mean and petty streak has emerged in parts of Australia in the wake of the horror COVID-19 news in Melbourne - it needs to be stopped.

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LOCKDOWN BLUES: Melbourne will undergo a second bout of COVID-19 inspired lockdowns.

LOCKDOWN BLUES: Melbourne will undergo a second bout of COVID-19 inspired lockdowns.

Here's a quick message for those dishing out vitriol directed at Melbourne and Victoria over the course of the week in the wake of the Victorian government's decision to lock down metropolitan Melbourne to get COVID-19 infection rates under control.

Your attitude is at odds with everything that makes rural Australia great and you need to pull your heads in.

It's been astounding to see such snide drivel from normally civil and rational people over social media, just hours after people have received the news their lives are turned upside down for another six weeks such as 'culturally Victoria is the least Australian state anyway so leave them to it' and 'I hope WA tax dollars are not used to bail out east coast ineptness'.

Let's frame this in a different way shall we?

Imagine if in the aftermath of Cyclone Yazi or the Blue Mountain bushfires someone came out and said 'why should we help, it's their fault for living in an area so prone to disaster'.

We'd rightly be appalled.

Yet in dealing with this public health catastrophe often likened to an out of control blaze we seem far too happy to link the lucky accident of our place of residence as proof of our moral superiority.

Rather than casting this latest outbreak as divine retribution for Melburnians who have brought this entire second wave upon themselves, conveniently ignoring of course, the hordes of people huddled together on beaches across the other states of the country, let's take this as a cautionary tale and remain vigilant.

Remember, it was less than a month ago, on June 12, that there were just four cases across all Victoria, and probably a natural, if regretable, progression was to let complacency set in.

Take some poor management decisions in regards to quarantine protocols, a failure to impress the seriousness of the situation to linguistically diverse groups, combined with Melbourne's cold winter climate and its densely populated areas and voila, we have the situation where Australia's second largest city is brought to its knees again.

We've won some hard earned freedoms in other parts of the nation but rather than point fingers at Melbourne let's leave the moral judgements behind and stick to doing the right thing in our own backyard.

Unfortunately the lock down is the only logical decision, in spite of the huge economic ramifications for not only Victoria, but the nation.

As a rural Victorian I was incredibly relieved I would be allowed to keep operating on a semi-normal basis without the ever escalating risk of the disease being reintroduced into our area by unknowing Melburnians.

However, I'm treating this as a privilege and acknowledging the massive sacrifice being made by millions thrust back into a gloomy black hole for another six weeks rather than using it either as an opportunity to indulge in a bit of tall poppyism, some cheap LOLs or a sneaky chance to lecture on the evils of socialism.

Further to this, anyone advocating measures further punish those doing it tough, because it is somehow their fault or quibbling over costs needs to have a serious gaze in the mirror, especially given Victoria, similar to NSW received a disproportionate share of the returning overseas travellers that have caused such a large percentage of COVID-19 cases.

Just like it an environmental crisis such as fire, flood or drought we should be willing to pitch in and lend a hand.

We, as rural Australians should know all too well how alienating it is to be confronted with a problem that is seemingly meant with apathy from those in other regions, we've seen it first hand over the past couple of years in the wake of glacier-slow political responses to issues like drought.

Equally, we've also seen the best of the Australian spirit with strangers surprising us with their kindness and generosity following crisis.

Let's try and emulate those people who have chipped in for us over the journey and be decent humans, whether that is supporting a business doing it tough or simply acknowledging that most of these people have had their lives thrown into chaos again through no fault of their own.

To be clear, the slogans are wrong, we're not all in this together, we're very much on the right side of the ledger at present.

As rural Australians we are in an incredibly lucky position that anyone anywhere on this entire planet would gladly grab with two hands.

We are not at this stage going to have to do the hard yards many millions of our fellow citizens have to embark on, through no fault of their own.

Let's just take the time to acknowledge the sacrifices that others are being compelled to make to keep it that way.

The story Let's make COVID crisis unite us, not divide us first appeared on Farm Online.

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