The diminished crowd at this year’s Australian Open final in Melbourne may not be exactly representative of public opinion in Victoria, but the crowd reaction at the trophy presentation might spell trouble for both the Federal and Victorian governments. For the Victorian government, it might be seen as a sign that the #IStandWithDan spell has been brutally broken by the recent snap lockdown. For the Federal government, its much-hyped vaccine rollout may be in for a rocky ride.

Both Federal and state governments are pinning a lot on the vaccine rollout. The Federal commitment to the vaccine might be gauged by Prime Minister Scott Morrison donning his most ostentatiously blokey, “daggy dad” attire for a photo-op of him receiving his vaccination. Morrison has also been diligent in appearing alongside the “first jab” recipients in various states.

In their turn, the state governments are explicitly linking the vaccine rollout to a putative easing of restrictions and border closures.
So will Australians rush to get vaccinated? Bear in mind that only about 20% of Australians line up for the tried’n’true annual influenza vaccines. If the crowd at the Open are any measure, they’re less than enthusiastic about the COVID vaccine.

The Australian Open trophy presentation at the men’s final was at times drowned out by constant crowd booing after mentions of the coronavirus vaccine rollout and the Victorian government.

Tennis Australia President Jayne Hrdlicka was forced to pause during her speech when she mentioned the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, which launched on Sunday.

“It’s been a time of deep loss and extraordinary sacrifice for everyone,” she said

“With vaccinations on the way, rolling out in many countries around the world, it’s now a time for optimism and hope for the future,” Ms Hrdlicka said before the crowd starting booing.

It’s notable that the crowd was well-behaved, even positive, right until the mention of “vaccinations”. Fluff about “sacrifice” and “hard work” was greeted with polite applause. But “vaccinations” instantly set the crowd booing.

But, if the crowd were in an ugly mood at the word “vaccinations”, the very mention of the Victorian government set them right off.

She continued the presentation, but again was drowned out by the crowd when she thanked the people who made the tournament possible over the past two weeks.

“The top of that list is the Victorian government, without you, we could not have done this,” Ms Hrdlicka said before being met again by constant boos from the local crowd. Others in the audience appeared pleased and cheered and whistled.

Sydney Morning Herald

The “cheers and whistles” sounded almost entirely like the work of one particularly persistent and shrill whistler, who kept it up long after the speech had moved back to safer territory and the boos had subsided.

The very mention of the COVID vaccine and the Victorian government prompted boos from the Open crowd. The BFD. Photoshop by Lushington Brady.

One might be forgiven for thinking that the dogged “IStandWithDan” hashtagger had just outed themselves. Speaking of which, journalists naturally rushed to their favourite echo-chamber, Twitter, to secure the appropriate tut-tuts from apparent nobodies.

Meanwhile, the entertainment industry in Victoria is voting with its feet.

Daniel Andrews’s hair-trigger approach to locking down Victoria at the slightest provocation may be winning him the Newspoll vote — but on the downside, it’s losing him some big-name TV shows.

Diary has learnt that some of the country’s most prominent productions, most notably Ten’s high-rating The Masked Singer and Nine’s Australian Ninja Warrior — worth millions of dollars and hundreds of production jobs to the Victorian economy — have quietly abandoned Melbourne. And we’ve established that a growing part of the networks’ thinking in ditching Melbourne is that they’re worried about unforeseen financial blowouts, because of the potential for more rolling lockdowns in Victoria.

The Australian

To add insult to financial injury, the big TV productions are moving to arch-rival state, NSW. Tellingly, the Berejiklian government hasn’t even had to tempt them with the traditional bribes production incentives. They’re just glad to be out of Victoria, the Lockdown State.

In other news on the vaccination front, the Australian government is hitting back in its war with Facebook by pulling a big-spending advertising campaign from the social media titan.

Health Minister Greg Hunt ­revealed on Sunday his department would no longer use paid Facebook posts to give its vaccination campaign greater prominence in users’ feeds, relying instead on other platforms and traditional media.

The move follows Scott Morrison’s decision on Friday to halt his paid Facebook posts, setting in motion what is expected to ­become a whole-of-government advertising shift away from the platform. Federal cabinet will consider a formal Facebook advertising ban if the platform continues to refuse to pay Australian media organisations to use their news content.

Australian government spending might be small change to Facebook, but it’s the appearance that will hurt most. If Australia is seen to be standing up to Big Tech, more governments might find the backbone to walk away too.

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Crowd Reaction Hints at Trouble for Vaccine Rollout

Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In last decade or...