WHEN the ‘pandemic’ struck the Australian state of Victoria, Aaron had just kicked his drugs habit and was about to embark on a new life of sobriety as a swimming teacher. But his state premier, Dan Andrews, had other ideas.
A ‘zero Covid’ fanatic, the hard-left Andrews instituted the most draconian and long-lasting lockdowns of any western democracy. Trapped at home, ashamed that he was unable to earn a living and support his family, Aaron decided to end it all.
Before he did the deed, he decided to leave a farewell message to his drugs counsellor, thanking him for all the good work he had done and apologising that it had to end this way. That call was to save his life. Aaron had forgotten to turn off the location finder on his phone and his counsellor tracked him down, lurking by the railway track, just as the express train approached.
This is just one of the extraordinary stories, some deeply upsetting, some life-affirming, many that will move you to tears, on Topher Field’s magnificent documentary Battleground Melbourne.
Field, a 40something Melburnian journalist, had never made a film. He was inspired to do so after living through and helping to fight more than a year’s worth of injustice, brutality and tyranny in the place till quite recently reputed to be the ‘world’s most liveable city.’
I’ve spent time in Melbourne myself and yes, I too could have happily lived there: benign climate, lots of parks and open spaces, great food, leafy suburbs. But that, according to Field, has been its undoing. Like California, he says, it has attracted so many woke urban professionals that it always votes left, ending up with permanently Labor party politicians who have zero incentive to flirt with a single conservative idea.
Perhaps this helps explains why so relatively few people resisted when state premier Dan Andrews used the ‘pandemic’ as an excuse to turn Victoria into an analogue of communist China. Perhaps the good lefties of Melbourne shared his belief in the transformative powers of the muscular state and agreed that desperate times call for Xi-like measures.
These measures included: a declared ‘state of disaster’ giving police carte blanche to enter your home and carry out spot checks without permission or a warrant; an 8pm to 5am curfew; a ban on leaving home in the day except for food and essentials, care and caregiving, daily exercise or work; exercise to last no longer than an hour and to be conducted within a 5km radius of your home; mandatory masks, even outdoors.