British comedian Russell Brand has weighed in on Australia’s COVID restrictions, reciting quotes labelling the county’s quarantine facilities as “internment camps”.
“Have you heard about these camps in Australia?” Brand begins in an 11-minute YouTube video, titled, Australian Quarantine Camps: Is This The Future?
“Is it right? Is it wrong? What’s going on in Australia? And when do we start to examine the human rights angle here?”
In the YouTube rant, uploaded at the weekend, Brand threw his support behind “freedom fighter” protesters in Melbourne as he blasted Australia’s “horrible” reaction to the pandemic.
He quoted an article by The Grayzone from early December, which discusses Australia’s strict coronavirus border closures. It details one woman’s experience in COVID quarantine in Australia, where she reported it felt like “you’re in prison”.
“‘You feel like you’re in prison. Like you’ve done something wrong. It’s inhumane what they’re doing’,” Brand quoted from the article.
The stand-up comedian and actor also questioned Australia’s “increasingly strict COVID laws”.
“I suppose the argument is that the coronavirus is so lethal, so deadly, any measures necessary in order to protect human life must be taken,” Brand said.
“Some people would contest that brings to the forefront a lot of questions about liberty, the standard of life, potential hypocrisy in other areas, are we always about preserving and protecting human life, and what about the qualitative component of life.”
“These are questions for all of us to consider – in a free democracy.”
Brand also substantially quoted an opinion article by journalist and Wellmania author Brigid Delaney, throughout the video.
He acknowledged enforced regulations can be “divisive”.
The opinion piece, published in The Guardian on December 4, focuses on how curfews, border closures and vaccine mandates have drawn focus on Australia’s civil liberties.
“With the pandemic, more of us than ever have felt the bridle of government around our throats,” Brand reads.
“We weren’t allowed to leave the country or, if we had left, we weren’t easily able to return, and there were limits on gathering and the ability to protest.”
He said people must start to view this situation through the “lens of human liberty, freedom, democracy and consensus”.