Checked Out: When Activism Quarantines Common Sense

- August 13, 2020

If you want to know what is going wrong in Victoria, all you need do is look at a job being advertised on Seek by the state’s Department of Justice and Community Safety. The department wishes to hire a “director, inclusion and intersectionality”, for which it is offering a generous salary of $192,800-$249,700 plus superannuation.

According to the ad, the incumbent “will be responsible for providing authoritative, strategic and innovative advice in relation to inclusion and intersectionality to justice ministers, DJCS executives and other senior stakeholders”.

Furthermore, they “will be able to demonstrate an extensive knowledge of inclusion, intersectionality and society and understanding of historical and contemporary issues”.

This ad epitomises everything that is wrong with the Victorian government. In a single job description, it explains the reason the government is incapable of running a quarantine program or looking after the elderly. Instead of doing what it should be doing, which is governing, it is putting all its resources into a vast social experiment based on an ideology of social justice, intersectionality, and identity politics.

We are now watching as Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, fails the Australian public. This is because they have put identity politics, and the concept of diversity and inclusion, before the health of the people, with deadly consequences.

This has come to light in the past few days with revelations that the DHHS farmed out its responsibilities to the DJPR by putting it in charge of the hotel quarantine program. As revealed in The Age newspaper, the DJPR and its international trade agency, Global Victoria, were responsible for engaging private security firms for hotel quarantine. The reason for selecting Unified Security, an indigenous-owned security company that was not on the government’s preferred panel of security suppliers, was supposedly driven by an attempt to provide jobs under “social inclusion” policies.

The bureaucratic elite in Victoria clearly did not see a problem in selecting a company for hotel quarantine based on where it ranked on the intersectionality pyramid. This should have been a strict police or military operation.

According to the DJPR’s secretary, who states in the department’s Aboriginal Recruitment and Career Strategy 2020-23, “diversity in the workplace is not just a nice thing to have” . . . It is” the foundation of good business principles and will ensure the department is best placed to deliver on its purpose”.

Under no circumstance would we want the pilot of our A380 or the surgeon performing open-heart surgery on a family member to be selected on the basis of diversity and inclusion rather than merit. Those in charge of the hotel quarantine approached the job at hand as if it were a lavish junket. They even made a self-congratulatory video in which they referred to the task as “one massive inbound super trade mission which keeps rolling … which has been a really exciting project” rather than a serious quarantine operation in which there was so much at stake.

It is not difficult to see where priorities lie for these Victorian departments.

Two years ago, the DHHS enforced “They Day” for all staff, which mandated that every first Wednesday of the month, its 10,000 employees were to use gender neutral pronouns such as “they” and “them” rather than he and she. Former Victorian deputy chief health officer Annaliese Van Diemen revealed her ideological leanings when she compared COVID-19 to James Cook with her ill-informed and notorious tweet.

The DJPR even has its own deputy secretary for inclusion, which is extraordinary given that the main purpose of the department appears to be the promotion of business and trade. It clearly adheres to the utopian intellectual elite theory that the workforce of the private sector economy can and should be controlled by government.

Victoria, indeed Australia, would not be in today’s predicament had these departments spent time and resources on real issues, not activism. We know from reports that the contact tracing and pandemic team in the DHHS was severely under-resourced.

The government of Daniel Andrews appears to be operating in a different kind of reality in which it is blatantly more concerned with social engineering than it is healthcare. This is because most of the government departments are staffed and run by individuals who have spent years in the humanities departments of our universities, which, of course, are mired in identity politics, social justice, postmodernism and pseudo-Marxism.

According the DHHS cultural and diversity plan, it not only has 18 diversity “deliverables” but it also claims that its commitment to diversity is “central to our goal of achieving better outcomes to all Victorians”.

Tell this to the people of Victoria who are now living under the most draconian measures imposed on an Australian population since days of the penal colony, thanks to the hotel quarantine fiasco. Tell this to the thousands of Victorians who have lost their jobs — perhaps even family members.

The real crisis we are facing is not being caused by COVID-19 but by the elite’s stubborn attachment to identity politics, which is obscuring the real problems and jeopardising the lives and livelihoods of mainstream Australians.

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