OPINION

Max Payne

Max Payne is the Australian Program Associate with Students For Liberty, a global non-profit that spreads the values of libertarianism on campus. He is also a twice former candidate with the Libertarian Party and maintains a keen interest in Austrian economics, classical music and organic gardening.

libertyitch.com


A local rag (The Geelong Advertiser) reported* last month that some sort of strange secretive trade was taking place in the quiet backstreets of affluent Highton. The article heavily implied that this was an illegal distribution of ‘raw’ (unpasteurized) milk – a product that is banned for human consumption in Australia and banned entirely for sale in Victoria.

I found two things rather confronting about this story. 

First, it seemed the main concern of the other residents of this quiet cul-de-sac was that once a fortnight their street attracted some extra traffic. “It was really invasive”, claimed a local resident. 

The article explained that ‘customers’ were turning up to this particular house brandishing empty white buckets, then returning to their cars with a full one. 

Australian State and Federal health departments are becoming a laughing stock.

Second, this saga represents yet another example of Australians loving a rule and hating a rule breaker – a sad inversion of how we are traditionally portrayed. We saw the same attitude during Covid when people dobbed in neighbours who held gatherings at their houses during lockdowns. 

It exposes a distinctly ugly side to the modern suburban Australian – spying on their neighbours and obsessed with everyone’s business but their own. It was apparently too much to ask of a suburban neighbourhood to ignore a few extra cars on their street every second Tuesday evening. 

I don’t believe it has anything to do with health and safety. It’s a twisted manifestation of tall poppy syndrome where Australians seem to believe we should all suffer together under the tyranny of useless laws and regulations. 

The basis for why raw milk is banned in Victoria (until 2015 it could be sold as ‘bath milk’) is a tall tale, based largely on hearsay and a coroner’s report drawing a (weak) link between a child’s death and possible raw milk consumption. Put it this way: the same health department that shut down the Dandenong I Cook Foods business made the decision.    

Illegal distribution of ‘raw’ (unpasteurized) milk – a product that is banned for human consumption in Australia and banned entirely for sale in Victoria

Australian State and Federal health departments are becoming a laughing stock. Our stance on vape products is infamous internationally for how not to regulate them, alternative treatments for Covid 19 were needlessly banned in favour of novel vaccines (such as the recently discontinued AstraZeneca vaccine). Worse, the relentless pursuit by APHRA of renegade doctors who break rank and provide medical advice to the contrary of the national standard drives their valuable advice and expertise underground.  

And so it is with raw milk, where in New Zealand, England, and across much of the USA and Europe, consumers can access it under the protections of a strong regulatory environment. In Australia, consumers discreetly drive to suburban distribution points at night and try not to disturb the nosy neighbours while lugging buckets back to their cars.   

“In general, safety takes priority over freedom of choice” was the catch cry of a Dairy Food safety regulator in response to the Geelong incident, summing up everything wrong with the attitude of the public health system. 

Australians love rules, and health departments love making them. Thus, those wishing to exercise their freedom to choose end up needlessly on the wrong side of both the law and public opinion. At least everyone else can sleep easy at night, lest they be disturbed by some extra cars on their street!
*https://www.melissa-payne.ca/trending/8ad51675cd36/

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