(As published in The Spectator on 28th September 2021)

I recently saw this acronym for COVID.

C = Censor

O = Oppress

V = Victimise

I = Isolate

D = Divide

In a country that is supposed to be free, we have politicians, bureaucrats and corporations controlling, bullying, harassing, discriminating, ordering, coercing and bribing our deeply traumatized and vulnerable population into a medical apartheid. We have endless lockdowns, quarantines, surveillance, social isolation, closed borders (allowing only the sports stars and celebrities through) and proposed vaccine passports and social engineering. In a nation that appeared to be passionate about fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion, we are now contemplating dividing our community further.

We are living in an increasingly challenging and threatening world, and Australia urgently needs to foster a collective consciousness, kindness, generosity of spirit and raise people up. We are a target; dividing our people further will destroy this beautiful and previously blessed nation.

If Australia continues down the very dangerous and divisive path it is following, we will see even further increases in domestic and civilian violence, mental illness and suicides, terrible rifts between families and diverse groups, further loss of livelihoods and the certain destruction of our free society and productive economy. Our children and their futures will be severely compromised. J. Krishnamurti famously said: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

This is not about vaccinated or unvaccinated. This is about the sort of community and society we wish to live in. My entire career as a social entrepreneur has been about creating charities, organisations and projects with a mission to break down the walls, siloes and boxes which separate human beings. My vision was always to remove ‘us versus them’ and bring together those of all generations, cultures, faiths, financial circumstances, educational backgrounds and abilities, to celebrate diversity and foster truly inclusive and welcoming communities.

In 1967 indigenous Australians were finally granted the right to vote. And since that time Australia has worked hard to embrace many cultures and faiths, and more recently gay marriage. Yet our very troubled nation, which cannot even find any agreement between our State and Federal Governments, now contemplates two more groups of Australians – the vaxxed and unvaxxed – with respective privileges and punishment. Wow!

And what of the many ASX-listed corporations, who have set up entire departments fostering diversity and inclusion, who seem to willingly encourage this sort of division by calling for vaccine mandates? Many diversity and inclusion staff will no doubt be made redundant. What a terrible loss.

Many ‘leaders’ say whatever it takes. Winning battles and deciding policy based on maximum votes has never led to the greater good. No wonder Plato thought democracy was a problem. Leaders will boldly and eloquently tell you what they are ‘against’, but, when asked what they are ‘for’ immediately lose any sense of coherence.

What have we become? What do we even stand for anymore? An elderly woman who is walking along peacefully protesting gets violently pushed over by police and pepper-sprayed.

Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. The politicians, police and public servants are supposed to serve, protect and consult with us, not dictate to us and take away our freedoms. That is why we pay our taxes. Our media is supposed to encourage open and transparent dialogue and debate. So why are diverse viewpoints censored and invalidated? Our doctors are meant to care for us with full disclosure on all potential treatments. So why are we being urged to take experimental injections with next to no disclosure on risks and benefits? And why aren’t our scientists curious, questioning and listening to other international experts, and the frightening statistics in highly vaccinated countries such as Israel?

Certain people and leaders are actively pushing for the creation of a two-tier society where the vaccinated are “privileged” with normal everyday freedoms and the rest are shunned, barred and excluded? In what universe does shutting people out of the economy, openly discriminating against them, and deriding them in every forum constitute a ‘Fair Go’? The Fair Go is what unites us and holds together the disparate and different people living here together. This is the one rock-solid principle that has stopped everything falling into chaos.

We are turning Australia into something we never thought it would be. Our politicians appear to be saying “We won’t mandate it for you, but we will make it pretty hard to live life or work!” This is absolute coercion and discrimination occurring in front of our eyes. And it is a shameful abuse of our human rights.

In Florida under Governor Ron DeSantis, any businesses, government or school that discriminate against people, forcing them to produce a vaccine passport and denying entry or service if they don’t, will be fined US$5000 for every case of discrimination.

If the virus is still carried and spread by the vaxxed, what purpose do “vax passports” have, other than destroying our privacy, and denying Constitutional rights?

Now what if we turned that COVID acronym around?

So that:

C = Community, Consciousness, Creativity, Courage and Collaboration

O = Openness and, One-ness

V = Validation and Victory for Humanity

I = Inclusion and Involvement

D = Destiny

There is no more time left for despair, no place for self-pity or silence and no room for fear. We must create, write, debate and speak because that is how civilisations heal and become more equal, generous, loving and inclusive.