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Understanding the Plight of Australia’s COVID Refugees

By Pearl Bullivant on October 20, 2021 in Satire

Spare a thought for the real victims. Photo: Richard Westerner

Until most Australians are vaccinated against COVID, Pearl has elected to extend her contract as self-appointed COVID Ambassador to Australia and will continue each month to advise the masses on appropriate behaviour while also bringing to the fore issues pertinent to the survival of the affluent middle class in the Eastern Suburbs.
This month, I am asking readers to ponder an issue that I find extremely annoying – the sloppy use of ‘terminology’ by those who wish to portray themselves as victims of the pandemic. As in most cases, the perps are typically affluent people used to getting their own way in life, but COVID has thrown a curveball into their glossy, shiny existences and the world needs to hear about their woes.
Unfortunately, Australians have grown accustomed to hearing the bastardisation of terminology from big business and industry groups; the victim playing that so often occurs when the government or the community attempts to counter skewed market forces. We are so used to the lament from property developers that they are “doing it tough” for the purpose of exploiting planning laws that we willingly swallow their crap. We also truly believe that class warfare is being raged against the wealthy by the great unwashed and we appear to be on the slippery American slope of believing that social welfare is really a sneaky form of socialism. And, during the panic of COVID, we have silently accepted that the oil and gas industry have morphed into activists against the evil eco-terrorists lurking in the form of Greenpeace and Knitting Nannas.
The terminology that is currently on Pearl’s goat is the misguided use of the word “refugee” to describe wealthy Australians who have elected to “flee” the COVID pandemic in business centres like New York and London. Until the pandemic, these cashed-up professionals who call themselves “COVID refugees” were happy to be “cutting a swath through business and finance around the world” but realised they could be enjoying the “freedom” of jogging between Bondi’s kerbside bars instead of dodging a COVID bullet locked up in a trendy brownstone in Tribeca.
I understand that these ex-patriots (who are so used to getting what they want, when they want it) are using the word “refugee” in the hope of engendering community sympathy for their “plight”, but the bastardisation of this word has no place in a time of real crisis for political refugees who are sitting in limbo in camps across the world, vulnerable to outbreaks of the virus. If you are one of these returning ex-pats, you are NOT a refugee; you are a wealthy professional with an Australian passport returning with wads of cash to buy into an overpriced Eastern Suburbs real estate market. I am just waiting on the headline “COVID Refugees are Blocking Anzac Parade, Jumping the Queue at Private Schools and Clogging up Our Private Hospitals” to take some heat off those mysterious asylum seekers blocking the M4 and clogging public hospitals.