In a tweet that has gone viral, someone asked what the world’s largest prison looks like from space. The answer was a map of Australia. It seems a farfetched claim at first. But seeing the draconian restrictions the Australian government has put in place due to COVID-19, the tweet makes perfect sense.
Before March 2020, Australia was often celebrated as a role model of liberal democracy, with free elections, a free press, an independent judiciary, a functioning political system, and a market-based economy. Its citizens enjoyed a wide range of political rights, including freedom of speech and assembly.
Australia also stood out for having one of the most open immigration policies globally. As a result, 30 percent of its population was born outside of Australia.
Then COVID-19 swept through the world like wildfire. To contain the infection, the Australian federal and state governments have imposed tyrannical restrictions on their citizens.
Australia’s borders have been closed since March 2020. Australian citizens inside the country are not allowed to leave. Most of those stranded abroad and foreign visitors are not permitted to come back (unless with government approval). The once free and open Australian continent has effectively become a giant prison for its 26 million residents.