Australia: Crossing Lines in Use of Military to Enforce Lockdowns

The coronavirus pandemic saw its worst day in Sydney last week, as the Australian capital recorded its highest number of COVID cases yet. In an effort to suppress the virus, New South Wales’ premier announced new measures to include masks for all residents outdoors and a mileage radius of no more than 5km from residents’ homes. Gladys Berejiklian asserted, “We can only assume that things are likely to get worse before they get better given the quantity of people infectious in the community.”

Currently, residents face a $200 fine for failing to mask, and businesses are subject to forced shutdown and heavy fines for noncompliance. Residents will now face a stiff penalty of $500, replaced with fewer warnings. Sydney’s 500 million residents have endured the current lockdown for weeks and do not anticipate an end until at least mid-August. A recently released University of Sydney model further suggested that the lockdown would need to continue through to mid-September, at the earliest, and only then if 40% of the population have been vaccinated. 

Perhaps an even greater concern than the newly stated lockdown measures is the means by which the Australian state intends to enforce them. The Daily Wire reported last week on Sydney’s request for military personnel “to boost [the police force’s] operational footprint.” Just exactly what role the Australian military will play in supporting police forces remains unclear. State Police Minister David Elliott claims it would help because a small minority of Sydney residents thought “the rules didn’t apply to them.” 

The Australian Lawyers’ Alliance responded in kind, referring to the suggested use of armed forces as a dangerous precedent: “Using the defence force to ensure compliance by Australians or to deter civil disobedience is a concerning use of our armed forces.” 

Steve Christou, one local Sydney mayor said of residents, “They can’t afford to pay the mortgage, the rent, the food or work. Now to throw out the army to enforce lockdown on the streets is going to be a huge issue to these people.”

While Australia continues to grapple with a low vaccination rate and an uptick in COVID cases, the use of military forces heralds a new era in which the use of armed forces can more easily be justified in future national emergencies. 

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Aly is a military spouse and mom to two. She has a special interest in international security and foreign affairs, having lived overseas, worked with Sister Cities International and served as a commissioning editor for an international relations website. Aly holds a Masters in Global Studies and International Relations from Northeastern University and currently resides in Tennessee.
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13 thoughts on “Australia: Crossing Lines in Use of Military to Enforce Lockdowns”

  1. Australia returning to her 1700s roots as prison base for world now
    Model police state
    Scary if coming to the US

  2. This is THEIR country if they want to, OR NOT, fight for it!!!
    This wouldn’t even BE attempted in the USA no matter HOW BADLY the LIBTARDS would love it!!! And I’d guarantee it’s been/being discussed RIGHT NOW!!!

  3. Sydney isnt the capital, Canberra is, also since when does Sydney have “500 million residents ” Try proof reading!

  4. They gave up their guns for what? security? Now they will be under the strict watchful eye of the communist tyrants. You reap what you sow. Australian enjoy the freedom you gave a way. All you need to is salute and click your heels.

  5. It is disturbing, but no information on what the military would actually do.
    Only missed the population of Sydney by a factor of 100. (5 million, not 500 million)

    Even if disturbing to Aussies, it ain`t our business what they do in their own country.

  6. Quite the sh*t show happening there, to be sure – but I don’t think there are actually 500 million people in Sydney.

    Just sayin’

  7. The medical profession tells us ‘the benefits outweigh the risks’. What if the people say the evidence of the benefits is outweighed by the known risks. Who gives a govt. the right to decide we’re wrong. Somebody tell me if Australia is part of the ‘RESET

  8. The Military should never be used to enforce an edict on the People in a Democracy.

    This is quite telling of the folks “In Charge”.

    The People need to re- examine whom they elected to govern.