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  • Aisling Salisbury

2022 The Year Australia Died For Me

In the last three years when it came to the country of my birth, it is fair to say that I have a love/hate relationship with it now. If I was asked to proclaim my relationship with it, then it would certainly be labelled as "complicated". Because of Australia's policies and behaviours, I have found myself losing life-long friends and even my relationship.


But I have also gained new friends and until recently one of them and I had only conversed via messaging and for Christmas 2022, we opted to finally speak to each other over the phone, no it isn't that kind of relationship, but I bring it up because she had me in stitches when she said "I'm so glad to know that you're still a bogan, just like me" but I did reply that I was seriously considering seeing a dialect coach so I could drop it, because this accent, isn't something to be proud of anymore.


It does seem melodramatic, but for three years I have put up with the constant questions of "what is wrong with your country?" and "what the hell is wrong with you guys?". Australia's COVID response made me ashamed to hold an Australian Passport and speak with an Aussie twang. Australians seriously will never understand the damage that has been done by their attitudes during the pandemic years. People know about it; they know about it because their own countries had to look after your fellow countrymen because you had locked them out. You also locked up citizens internally within your own country and denied them civil rights based on what papers they could hold. You shot unarmed civilians who just wanted their freedom, the world did see this and instead, you then lectured the world on how great you were. The damage has been done.


For me? It was in 2022 that I lost hope for Australia, and I now find myself pursuing Permanent Residency in a place I never expected, The United States of America.


It's a long way from 2019 when I first moved to America for nothing more than a two-year working holiday. Then COVID hit and I found myself in the boat of either going home if I can, the fact that I have to say that is wrong in so many ways, or staying here, locked out from the country of birth but remaining employed in a free society. As much as I struggled with it mentality in 2021 as Australia kept locking me out and treated me as a leaper and as an enemy of the state, we'll get to that, I remained employed and was traveling all over the USA and Central America whilst people in Australia reported their neighbours for not wearing a mask to collect the mail and Aussies couldn't go more than 5kms from their house or be more than an hour outside. It made me sick to my core.


Yet in 2021 I was fortunate, also the wrong terminology, but it's true based on Australia's lockout of the world and internal borders policy, that I got back there twice. Both times I was treated with disdain, a leaper, a threat to society with no logic to any of the policies. Tested negative? Locked up for two weeks. Vaccinated? Locked up for two weeks and be grateful for that opportunity because we didn't have to do this for you. But we demand you pay us for this opportunity. On arrival into Australia for Quarantine, you were under Police escort and guard, read your rights before getting off the bus, and taken to your cell for the next two weeks.


In 2021 I always thought how much longer could that insanity go for? Well throughout most of 2022 as well and that's why it's in 2022 that it became official, I'm massively ashamed to be Australian. Many of the things I loved about the country died out.


One starting block is the National Carrier Qantas, a company I worked for seven years of my life, and for two years they refused to fly, yet try and point that out to Australians and the response is "oh that's the government's fault" but it's plain and simple. Qantas now represents what is wrong with Australia. They abandon you high and dry. They refused to assist with flying during the pandemic and bring Australians home. The rare times they did, they gaslighted it and how great it was, and they were the Spirit of Australia. They sacked pretty much their entire workforce and told them if they wanted to come back tomorrow then they’d have to do so with an external company at lesser wages. But don't worry, that doesn't matter because now they are more worried about acknowledging the traditional landowners and social policies. Even one person I know just recently interviewed with them for a pilot role was asked questions on diversity to which he apparently told them "ah do you want to ask me any questions as to whether I can fly a plane?"

Next comes the denial from Australians in the last 12 months. For two years they lectured the world about how great they were with the COVID policy to only end up with a Health System that has crashed in many states and has one of the highest infection rates in the world. They don't seem to care anymore. Try and point it out and "you're anti-Australian" it doesn't matter anymore because we can go to the pub and the footy again. So who cares?


Who cares about the fact that you were locked up for two years, that you were lied to, and are in no better a position than the rest of the world was after just the first six months of the pandemic? What about the fact that police shot unarmed citizens at the Shrine of Remembrance? Oh, that's right you bought what the media told you, that the most offensive thing wasn't the police shooting unarmed civilians, but it was those unarmed civilians who were being hunted down like dogs just earlier who dared used the site peacefully and like a Church to find some form of sanctuary Their crime? Protesting for Freedom of Choice. The freedom to undertake medical treatment and or stay at home. The freedom to not have to choose whether you’re for body autonomy or to remain employed and keep a roof over your head.

In Australia, Peaceful Protesters are Offensive in this picture, not the armoured car.
Australia where Veterans are arrested for breaking health orders.

Well, this was total blasphemy and these folks got the same treatment from the Media, Government, and from the average Australian that the tens of thousands of Australians overseas got. Basically, "you are a traitor, and how dare you criticise us, we don’t need a lecture from you we are doing just fine thank you”. But are you really? You’re no better off than the rest of the world but it seems the smug Aussie attitude comes out with “how dare you point out a possible chink in the armour of the mighty Aussie ego”.

It's for your health.

This is the same Ego that told tens of thousands of Stranded Australians to stay the f*ck out of here we don’t want you. Why didn’t you do what you were told to do and come home when Daddy Government said so? It’s your fault. It was this Aussie smugness that was so disgusting during the pandemic. One Aussie defense to anyone who points this out, and lives in America, is always to bring up mass shootings and gun violence. That is the kind of smugness that is on speed dial.

Only a selection of the language ex-pats received from fellow countrymen.
When in doubt for an Aussie when presented with the facts just mention guns.

No country got COVID right, but it was only Australia that devalued its own citizenship. Even down to the boundaries of a suburb. So when all this came to light how did Australia respond? They always said they take it out at the ballot box after all. Well, they rewarded the side of politics that locked them up, not just rewarded but gave them ringing endorsements.


Federally, they didn’t vote for a solid crossbench to hold the government accountable. If there was ever a time in Australia’s pollical history to have a hung Parliament it was in May 2022. But instead, they rewarded the side of the political fence that locked them up the hardest and punished the side that kept paying them money to stay home. Seriously WTF?


Scott Morrison did deserve to go, he stood back and let states run their own dictatorships but Australia not even considering voting for a crossbench of the parties that were against these measures is just unimaginable. Or so I thought.


That’s right, my home state of Victoria. Chairman Dan, the guy that destroyed your lives for years, even before COVID. Put Victoria’s debt at levels of three states combined. That has destroyed small businesses and lectured you like children during the pandemic. Surely, you’ll get rid of him? Ok, the Opposition is lame but so was the Federal Opposition in May 2022 but you endorsed a lame-duck Opposition just because “oh it won’t be that guy” so surely you’ll do the same here at the State Level? Or ensure a solid crossbench of the people that didn’t want you locked down. Nope, you endorsed Dictator Dan in a landslide. Seriously you need help.

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It seems that Australians want to be told what to do and the results of many State Elections and even the Federal Election tells me, Australians don’t want freedom or believe in individuality because freedom is what the Government says is freedom. That's actually a form of socialism. You might be ok now but when they finally come for you, who is going to speak for you?


Alright, alright it’s sport. Forget about all of this, it's sport where we can forget our troubles for a period. My beloved national game of Aussie Rules. In 2021, I watched my team break a 57-year drought and win a Premiership. Why couldn’t I attend the game, I was in Australia at the time. Oh, that’s right because of your backward COVID policies that locked us out and for me meant, imprisonment for a further two weeks before I’d be dubbed clean enough to be around others despite having just completed a two-week quarantine, I had to do another one because that one was one in another state, so bad luck you have to do it again. I’m not bitter just pissed off at that. But surely it’s the national game where we can forget our troubles and I can enjoy an element of Aussie culture still.


Nope, footy died for me before the season even got up. I did everything possible to figure out a way to get to Australia for the club’s historic moment of unveiling their first flag in 57 years. If you haven’t read that challenge, then (Click Here). The fact is, in 2022 I didn’t watch a single game of my beloved Dees. The reason why is that before Round 1 there was a documentary of the historic 2021 season and it made me sad, so I hit the bottle, and combine that with the late evening viewing, long day, and sadness I simply remember watching the unveiling and passing out. I woke up at 3/4 time and went to bed. When I woke up the result was ruined for me by a text message, so I didn’t watch the game.

Another Missed Moment: COVID policies prevented me from attending.

A week later for Round 2, the game was in Queensland, and it was at this moment that I had an epiphany. Before the game, I Zoomed with some footy friends. One asked why I wasn’t there with them, especially when they found out I was on leave. When I simply replied, “I tried but I’m not allowed into Australia quarantine free because I’m unvaccinated”. Yes, that’s right it was only in early 2022 that Australia ended Quarantine for Jabbed people, and another four months, or mid-2022 that Australia finally ended the charade of quarantining healthy people.


Anyway, this former friend was so offended and demanded that I answer why I wasn’t vaccinated, and I simply replied that I didn’t see a need for it, I worked the entire pandemic maskless, travelled extensively and data suggested that I would be fine if I got COVID. I even went deeper and said based on the reports of Vaccine injuries, apparently small I’m not prepared to risk a heart condition and lose my career like some of my colleagues. The only two jabs I would consider would be AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson but there is a risk of a blood clot and my job already has the risk of that due to long periods of inactivity. I’m not prepared to risk that either. Then I finally got COVID at Christmas and all it got me was a paid Christmas Vacation, it was a non-event after the first two days and now I have the antibodies. Antibodies that a vaccine doesn’t even provide. This person then told me “You know those don’t last” to which I simply replied “granted but I regularly get my blood tested and they’re still there but also who said the vaccine lasts either? Australia is just about to mandate a third shot on a treatment that said you only needed two”. This person didn’t feel wise to continue the discussion, a discussion that must be had, she simply rolled her eyes and hung up from the Zoom conference in disgust with me. We haven't talked since, she barely talks to my parents now either.


It was at that moment that I realised that all these people on the conference, were attending football games and were allowed only because they had the right papers to do so. They were vaccinated, had their papers, and could enjoy life again and screw anyone else. They were checking in everywhere they went, flashing their Vaccine cards for special privileges whilst others were devalued as members of society.


It was at that moment that I realised that even my beloved game was corrupted by this new order Australia is implementing and it made me sick. As such, I didn’t watch a game all season. I never denied that if Melbourne did make the grand final in 2022 I would figure out a way to get there but it wouldn’t be for that season, it would be for the seasons prior, and for the Grand Final I was needlessly robbed off. That will also be the case moving forward because the game died for me because of Australia’s policies and the enablers. The same policies that, if I was there would've trampled on my civil rights just as they did when I, and thousands of others, just wanted to go home. Compared to a country I now found myself in that looked after me, respected my choices, and took me in when Australians told me to "get stuffed".


You throw on all of this and it’s simple.


Getting out of the country was the best thing I ever did in my life and the fact is, the US did more for me in just three years than Australia did in 32. No country is perfect, but Australia was and always is a prison colony. That is its origins, and that attitude clearly still exists even if it laid dormant. When you arrived in Australia once you were either a prisoner or a jailer. It was the jailer and/or officials that protected you and granted you your rights. During COVID Australia immediately reverted to that exact mentality.


Honestly, it was probably always there and when you think about it, it was. Australian officials always talked up how great it was in Australia and degraded other countries when you asked a question. It was always responded with be thankful we are keeping your way of life. Every country has that degree of patriotism in themselves but Australia has always done it. Whether it be health, cost of living, work conditions, or housing it's always a quick response to say “well just be glad you aren’t living in . . . so aren’t you glad now.”


This was especially weaponised during COVID in Australia as politicians and officials simply kept reminding you “if we don’t do this then we’ll be the next New York, the next Italy do you want that?” It was so weaponised that even states would do the same thing. “We’re doing this so we don’t have to lock down as Victoria has”. Don't forget this little quip when asked about border communities struggling to get health services, "well in New South Wales they have hospitals for their people and in Queensland, we have hospitals for our people.”


So after this long rant, and kudos to you if you have read the whole thing to this point you are probably wondering why I’m saying all this as if I was a broken record, well the reason is. In just over three weeks I will be flying back to this country I have just dissed and feel disgusted to be from. Believe me, I don’t want to go back but my US Visa is about to expire, so I have to leave and I need to go somewhere for it. The process now takes a couple of weeks to do so unlike last time so cost wise I may as well spend some much-needed time with the folks.


Once upon a time, I was always overjoyed to go back to that place, even if it was just for a couple of days, but the damage for the last three years is everlasting and simply, I will never forgive and never forget what Australia did, especially to all us ex-pats and how it’s residents and government treated us. But there is one thing I’m hoping for whilst I’m there, the first is to see who will embrace me, who will shun me but more importantly, I would love to see whilst I’m back there, for the first time in three years I can go without being locked up on arrival, see some hope in the streets. That Australians actually aren’t that far gone. That’s really all I want when I’m back there, to understand why Australia not only rewarded their captors but that there is a plan for the future that doesn’t involve ever going back to these policies, despite them applauding them for the entire period of time.


So for 2023 really all I want is the ability to be able to go back there more often and try and understand what went wrong. Because as an outsider who keeps up to date with what’s going on, it’s quite sickening to the point that yes I was looking for dialect coaches to ditch this bogan like accent. I want to be able to see some hope for Australia on this visit at least and perhaps some healing can begin.


Regrettably, I don’t see it happening.


This year Australia will be voting for a change to the Constitution, The Voice, with no detail on it besides “if you don’t vote yes then you’re a racist, and asking for even more details on this makes you a racist”. The fact that right now many are applauding and calling for testing for Chinese citizens visiting the country which in turn is racist so everyone should have to test now because, once again, the outside world is dangerous so be glad we are keeping you safe. The fact that there are multi-million-dollar quarantine camps and government infrastructure and legislation which means they can easily flip a switch and return to many of these policies again knowing full well that the public endorsed them via the ballot box, it doesn’t fill me with confidence. Only time will tell, but I really hope in 2023 Australia you find a way to redeem yourself.

Ash

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