The protests in Melbourne this week displayed disappointing and inexcusable scenes of violence and civil disobedience.
On Wednesday, the Shrine of Remembrance was overrun by protestors desecrating the sanctity of this national site to support their own cause.
The Shrine of Remembrance is one of our country’s most significant memorials. It is a place of solemnity and quiet reflection. To use it as a protest site violates its sanctity and denigrates and disrespects the memory of those who have served and sacrificed so much for our nation.
For some, these protests were nothing more than an opportunity to revel in chaos, which is disgraceful to say the least. But for many others, these protests were an expression of the distress facing countless Victorians living through relentless lockdowns and restrictions.
I don’t condone these protests because they undermine the sacrifices all Victorians have made, and risk causing further pain to our communities, but I do understand the pain and frustration that many of us share.
We have lived the past 18 months under differing levels of restrictions, and many are at breaking point. This week, we heard of another beloved local business, ‘Coffee on Indi’ in Red Cliffs, that has succumbed to the pressures of the pandemic.
The level of distress within our community is plain, and unfortunately, the Premier’s roadmap to deliver the National Plan is not what we were hoping for. It outlines limitations on a path to Christmas, but it does not provide hope for a return to normal life.
Families and businesses living in Mallee need to know what the next stage will be. How long will this go on? What will be the next step? When will we return to a semblance of normal life? These are questions the Premier needs to answer.
Government must understand how responses to this pandemic are affecting the social fabric of our communities, as well as the strength of our economy, and the health and wellbeing of our communities.
As Australians, we have overcome our most difficult challenges by coming together. At the moment, our society is at risk of splintering apart. Right now, our communities need a plan we can trust and hope for the future.