magna carta
(Image: Wikicommons)

Sovereign citizens hit the road

Dear reader, do you hear the people sing, singing the songs of how they’re not subject to the laws of the land or the impost of taxation? Then, friend, you’re hearing the triumphant return of Australia’s small but vocal community of sovereign citizens — and oh, what a joyous cacophony they make! 

If the term doesn’t ring a bell it’s because sovereign citizens are mainly US-based conspiracy theorists who believe there are secret loopholes in the legal framework which allow citizens to bypass things like paying tax or criminal prosecution by essentially reciting a magic legal-spell — the human equivalent of those online ads which promise weight loss or sexual potency using this one weird trick doctors don’t want you to know.

They can sometimes be spotted doing things like spelling their name with weird punctuation in order to differentiate their tax-free identity from their “corporate” selves, which is likely why former One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts once wrote a long, rambling affidavit to then-PM Julia Gillard signed “Malcolm-Ieuan: Roberts., the living soul” in which he demanded that she pay him $280,000 if she didn’t answer a bunch of his questions about why he wasn’t subject to the carbon tax. Bless.

Anyway: this particularly lurid shade of batshittery has enjoyed a new vogue thanks to sovereign citizens who believe that the Magna Carta means they can ignore things like suburb and border lockdowns by scrawling “TRAVELLING UNDER COMMON LAW” on their car’s windshield. 

And that is why one small group of brave patriots (and apparent “QAnon conspiracy” adherents) drove all the way from Brisbane to Melbourne to tell the police that the WHO had “crumbled” and cancelled the COVID-19 hoax, and that the police are treasonist satanists who no longer had any authority, as recorded in a series of Twitter videos.

The police were very gentle with them, convincing them to pop over to the station to file their paperwork and indicating that they’d totally comply with the dismantling of the state once their lawyers had a look-see.

One imagines the convoy of sovereignty will be feeling very satisfied with this result all the way home — or at least right up to the NSW border where some pretty unexpected reality is going to be awaiting them.

It’s the children who are wrong, says SA

And while Melbourne is getting all the headlines, South Australia is experiencing a crisis of its own with the state experiencing a terrifying epidemic of … um, truancy?

Yes, SA parliament has taken the student-bull by the punishment horns and increased the penalties for school skipping by a factor of 10, which should definitely solve the problem.

After all, there’s nothing that rebellious teens fear more than authorities coming down hard on their parents.

The new penalty is $5000, and it’s the new stick being used to encourage parents and carers to engage with the state’s fancy new family conferencing system. Mind you, this seems a roundabout way of achieving that laudable-sounding aim since fines for truancy in SA have been levelled a total of nine times since 1984, with only three successfully prosecuted.

Unsurprisingly, the sorts of disadvantaged families most likely to run afoul of this penalty are also the sorts of families which are least likely to have a cheeky $5000 lying around, so this does look a little like the government punishing people for struggling with poverty. 

Maybe the government just need to make education more appealing, perhaps by getting Premier Steven Marshall to perform a dope hip-hop jam about how skool is heaps kool. That’s sure to appeal to the young people, right?

Some borders reopen (no, not you, Victoria)

If you’re looking for an incentive to help Australia get over its current virus-spike — you know, aside from health and happiness of your fellow human beings — then be inspired by the news that Thailand is working out which nations it should open its borders to for its triumphant return to tourism, which, amazingly, is set to happen on August 1.

The nation has done an astonishing job of flattening their curve, registering a total of 58 deaths in just over 3000 cases, and now that things are under control it’s keen not to ruin things by letting a bunch of virus-sacks sashay in.

So the plan will be for only countries with low caseloads to be permitted to visit, in limited numbers and under new conditions (possession of health insurance, masks at airports and, on inbound flights, temperature checks).

So, Australia: if you’ve been hankering for a Bangkok getaway all you need to do is ensure that Australia stops having coronavirus in it and convince everyone to follow medical advice. Simple! 

If you need somewhere to start, there’s probably a carload of angry, conspiratorial Queenslanders arguing about the Magna Carta with unsympathetic police right now somewhere near Wodonga. 

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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