Extra Mile Writing

Extra Mile Writing

Why Government Over Reach Must be Prevented

mona lisa wearing mask

It was March 2022.  The WA Government was enforcing “emergency” laws left right and centre, because there was a pandemic on.  Where previous pandemics had always previously been responded to with calm, this time there had to be panic, and it had to be widespread. All of us were kept hyperventilating and hot in masks over the pointy end of the Western Australian summer, and we were all being divided on what should have been on our own private individual health choices.  Cafes and supermarkets became check in locations, so that governments could track the population’s private every day movements.  We were prevented from socialising with friends and family or even dancing, and kept isolated in our own homes.  Vaccine mandates were whacked on most of the workforce, and many of us were locked out of cafes, restaurants and bars if we hadn’t submitted to the vaccines.  

deserted european street

Fear and misery prevailed. 

At the time, I was employed in local government.  Ironically, this wasn’t actually mandated under the Covid “regulations.”  However, as a result of the inefficacy of the emergency legislation; chaos and confusion reigned supreme.  What “regulations” applied when you worked in local government, but the “sector” your job was in was mandated?

And you betcha, my position was in such a sector.  I was a Waste Management Officer (glamorous, I know) and waste unfortunately was labelled as a “mandated” critical industry.  And my employer, who was unashamedly and feverishly chasing state government approval, was most definitely not going to let someone as insignificant as me cause a black mark on their precious record.

My immediate manager organised a meeting with me to ask whether I was going to get vaccinated at any point.  The meeting was blissfully brief because my response was a flat no.

Effectively, I wasn’t going to consent to a situation where I was going to be forced into kind of procedure, medical or otherwise, in order to keep a job.  This didn’t reflect the standards of the Australian democracy I was raised in and didn’t create a world that I was happy for my beautiful nieces and nephews to become adults in. 

To be honest, I didn’t think about the consequences of refusing to submit to the vaccine mandates to keep my job at all.  This is typically how I operate in life, if I need to say f*&^ you, I will, and I’ll think about the consequences later. 

And, to be clear, I was lucky.  I wasn’t supporting young dependent children and I hadn’t put myself in a position where I had enormous financial commitments at the time.  I did have a mortgage, but this was of a manageable size and I was in a position where other financial commitments could be suspended, giving me flexibility.

I knew that the privileged position and options I had were largely due to the fact that I was older and in a better situation than I would have been at 18.  I knew that many others didn’t have the luxury of these options. 

Anyway in the end, the shit hit the fan quickly.

I went into work one day and was asked to attend a meeting late in the morning with my immediate and senior manager.  At the conclusion of the meeting I was effectively terminated from my position with only four hours’ notice.  There was also no mention of paying me the standard two weeks’ pay that is required to be provided to all staff terminated under the WA Local Government Award where notice isn’t given.  Luckily someone in my family and friend network asked why I wasn’t to receive any pay upon termination and said that the award surely protected such rights, otherwise what was the point in it?  As I was already reeling, my mind hadn’t even considered this until they mentioned the need for me to establish what provisions there were under the award.

Luckily, my intuition had previously told me that I was going to be done over.  So I’d already tidied up all loose ends and I had a tip sheet document ready to hand to my immediate manager that day so that she could take over my position, as well as another additional position that she was already covering in addition to her own. 

contemplative woman sunset behind

Suddenly I was then of course in a position where I had a distinct lack of income with which I could feed myself, pay my bills and honour my mortgage.

At the time other employment options had largely been closed off due to the mandates, so I couldn’t even get a job stacking shelves at a supermarket without lining up for a series of “mandated” injections. 

Like all of us, I wondered what had happened to our beautiful Australia.  Weren’t we a proud country that our ancestors had worked hard to build?  Weren’t we a western democracy where the rights and liberties of our citizens were recognised and protected?   

We had such a good standard of living that I couldn’t believe that we were all of a sudden being run by a tyrannical dictator under emergency laws.  Paradoxically we were getting this delightful treatment after most of the Western Australian population had actually voted for this particular Western Australian dictator/premier.

Though as Economist Friedrich August von Hayek wisely said, “Emergencies have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.”

Luckily, I had more personal, physical and financial resources at the time than some others had.  So I started a gardening business to keep myself fed, while I continued to develop this copywriting business and to build my list of clients. 

red lawn mower

And fortunately, the beautiful human beings of Western Australia supported both businesses.  I kept myself fed and was able to pay my bills.  In my gardening business, I was privileged to be greeted by ladies in dressing gowns and slippers with friendly dogs at their feet, and I listened to birds singing as I worked.  This was the most perfet soothing balm for a heart that was hurting and sleep deprived. 

The awesome Wheatbelt Business Network made my copywriting business a finalist in their 2022 awards program, which was a beautiful gift.  Other clients who were aware of my situation stepped up and gave me more work. 

Both businesses grew and I slowly got back on my feet after having to use up pretty much all of my savings to keep myself fed and my bills paid. 

The moral of this story is that government over-reach is never a good thing. 

And I was so lucky, because I didn’t lose a business that I had poured my heart and soul into, or have to endure years of making no money due to the “pandemic restrictions” like a lot of hospitality business owners did.

The wasting of phenomenal amounts of taxpayer’s money to supposedly manage an influenza pandemic and the introduction of draconian laws that punished anyone who didn’t go along with the propaganda must never be repeated in history. 

None of the “measures” stopped people either contracting or transmitting the strain of influenza, and for most people it was unpleasant but something they’d survive, even if they had to have a couple of weeks off work.  Certainly, it was nothing compared to Ebola that actually killed many people quickly in Africa, and typically, the rest of the world wasn’t too concerned about this at all. 

This time, it wasn’t the strain of influenza that was the problem. 

It was government over reach that caused the immense economic, personal and social pain.


© Annemaree Jensen