As Australians, we sing songs about our national unity. But covid panic and discriminatory laws have split our nation in two. If post-vaccine life is rosy for you, dare to take a look at life from the viewpoint of the injured, the broke or the locked-out.

“Australians all let us rejoice, for we are one and free.”

Are we?

The Prime Minister’s attempt at equity and unity in changing the lyrics to our national anthem appears to many Australians to have stumbled at the first hurdle. With state borders closed, we are not one. And with vaccine passports, we are certainly not free!

Some Australian citizens have made informed, carefully considered choices about the vaccine. They have weighed the risks and rewards, have abstained for religious reasons, or are aware of their medical susceptibility to an adverse reaction. To others, a new vaccine with only provisional approval poses more questions than answers. So they have said “no”.

Many of these people have been unfairly labelled instead of being applauded by family, friends, and co-workers for taking the time to read, learn, and inquire. “Anti-vaxx”. “Lacking compassion”. “Conspiracy theorist”. These and even some four-letter expletives have flown at them, even from people they love.

Our nation has been split like a Portuguese chicken on the spit of half-truths.

Perhaps you have chosen to “do the right thing” and roll up your sleeve for “the greater good”. You may have sailed through the process without any fears and without missing a beat. Maybe you work from home or in an industry unaffected by lockdowns. Good for you.

That is not everyone’s story.

Real Accounts From Around Australia

Meet Peter*. He’s 52 and has had a rough life. He lives on the street after becoming homeless. It’s cold outside and beginning to rain. A mate tells him the local shelter has space. He hurries there. The supervisor meets him and tells him that an extra bed is available. “You’re fully vaccinated, Peter?” the supervisor asks. “Nah, I don’t want to,” Peter responds. “Sorry mate, I can’t let you in. Just get the jab and I’ll be able to fix you up next time.”

Pauline* is 85. She is a widow, a mother, and a grandmother. She’s double vaccinated but suffered an adverse reaction. Many months later, she is still suffering lethargy and pain. She has decided not to take the booster, and she worries about what this will mean for her future interactions in society.

Johanna* is 83. She is a beautiful Christian granny. Her children have harangued, threatened and cajoled her. “Will you get the vaccine for Jesus? Don’t you love us?” Christmas remains under a cloud.

Georgie* is 51. Her underlying health conditions led her to research the possible side-effects of the Covid-19 vaccines. Georgie is a double-certificate nurse of 28 years in both general and ER. She’s being fired after caring for the very people who had Covid-19 this year and last. She has also seen too many vaccine injuries coming through the system: young people with myocarditis; older people who have suffered a stroke shortly after vaccination. Georgie’s position is simple: Covid-19 presents far less of a risk to her health.

Melanie* is 68. She is a retired teacher and an avid golfer. Melanie and only one other friend remained unvaccinated at their club. Her buddy gave in to the pressure and then began to look upon her with derision. Since Melanie wasn’t vaccinated, she could only play golf under strict conditions: she had to play with only one other golfer. To her credit, the club president volunteered. Melanie made the final of her grade competition. But nobody was happy with her because she would not be playing against another player, just the captain playing passively. Word also came out through the club that several people asked for non-vaccinated people to be expelled. Crushed, Melanie withdrew. Her daughter was fired that week, too; a pre-school teacher who rejected the industry mandate.

Injustice After Injustice

Tina and Dennis* lost their 33-year-old son Kris* to suicide in June. He had spent endless weeks alone in a mental health facility, unable to see his family due to NSW lockdowns. His mum had been his rock and confidant. One of five children, Kris knew he was loved, but he just wasn’t coping after ten years at sea on night shift. His body and mind were out of kilter.

Kris finally convinced his doctor that he was responding to new medications, and he pleaded to go home. His mum was concerned, but trusted the health advice and took her son home. He seemed subdued, but he was relieved to be in his own bed, cuddle his sister’s kids and play with the dog. The next day, he slipped away from the family and went to heaven. Like so many others, the family had a ten-person funeral. Our own family were only six kilometres away but were not allowed to go.

Soon after this, Premier Gladys Berejiklian stepped aside to be replaced by Dominic Perrottet. Hope appeared on the horizon. Perrottet spoke of not wanting a two-tiered system and promised an end to medical apartheid in NSW by the 1st of December. Kris’s bereaved family set about planning a wake, a celebration of his life. But then Perrottet cancelled that, too, by shifting the date to the 15th of December.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Break me more.

The New Australia?

This two-tiered justice system has many names. Some call it medical apartheid; others call out the coercion or the discrimination on medical, ethical, moral and religious grounds – simply for someone’s decision about their own body.

The hypocrisy is that even many government officials and elected politicians don’t need to suffer under the unjust vaccine mandates.

As for us, we’ve lost friendships of over four decades. We have stood firm on the principle of letting people make their own choices, as we have. But this has been met with disrespect and mocking. We have shed tears. Our only crime is that we have done more than listen to the squawks of the corporate press.

One of our sons frets how we have changed. “Stop letting this affect you. Get a life. You worry too much.” He has no children and doesn’t want any. He doesn’t understand us.

My doctor respects our position, but he worries that the powers that be will keep making life harder for us if we stand by our decision.

My husband’s mates, who played golf with him for 15 years, deserted him the moment Berejiklian began creating this parallel universe with her speeches and policies.

So, while friends celebrate lunch together or have a barbeque and a beer at the pub, we sit at home. We paint, write songs, or have a hit of golf with some friends. We love our family and the friends we have all the more. Thank God.

Take a Look From the Other Side

Have I described isolated incidents taking place in Australia? No. These are everyday stories that many suffer. The pain continues to mount for many. People are being turned away from their GP’s, dentists, churches, even the Salvos!

If you think that all of this is okay – all for the betterment of Australia – consider that it’s only better for some. You are living in a parallel universe, even if you can only see your side of it.

For further reading on this topic, consider the following informative articles:

* Name changed for anonymity.