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Assessment of the Situation

Due to its geographic position and rigorous public health regulations, Australia has managed to ensure low rates of COVID-19 infection (Budd et al., 2020). It is a liberal democracy governed by the Westminster system. It has been one of the world's greatest developed countries in decreasing down the spread of the disease. There seems to be no single cause, although the nation’s stable political structure, national riches, and geographic isolation can all play a role. Nevertheless, the social consequences of these constraints can have a notable influence on the mental health of both parents and children. This report will go into greater detail about the societal issues that have arisen in Australia over the previous two years as a result of the Australian government's pandemic restrictions. These limits were a big change project that had a significant impact on the average Australian citizen's way of life and resulted in widespread demonstrations across the nation. Both the administration and the demonstrators regard themselves as agents of change since they have attempted to completely change the present system. Both sides have made several blunders, and as a consequence, neither has been able to triumph, leaving the country severely divided.

The main aim of this report is to provide a professional expert opinion regarding the effectiveness of both sides in implementing their change initiatives through the prism of change management. In this regard, this paper shall elaborate on critically analysing the actions of both the governments and protest groups, identifying their mistakes and then outlining the things that could have been done more effectively for achieving their goals faster and easier.

Background of the social tensions in Australia

In the domains of political philosophy, the relation among civil societies as well as the state is a major topic of debate. However, there are times when social tensions can arise, affecting the partnership between the state and the citizens. In the aftermath of Covid-19, for instance, the state was forced to implement quarantine and seclusion as a means of controlling the disease's spread. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on people's lives and livelihoods all over the world. Due to the obvious outbreak of Covid-19, the Australians have had to deal with a lot of social issues during the last two years (Rossell et al., 2021). Peoples Relationships And Their Viewpoints Of Compassion Towards Others Have Been Affected By Social Distance And Security Procedures Numerous Negative Impacts Have Been Noticed, involving increases in domestic and family violence, psychological health, homelessness, unemployment, child protection, and the criminal system. The use of lockdowns increased the number of cases of domestic and family violence (DFV). Office-based enterprises were fast to take a lead in promoting its workers to work-from-home to foster social alienation in the business world (Carrington et al., 2021). However, in making this choice to combat the spreading of COVID-19, it had unintended consequences for employees who worked in dangerous home conditions. In many situations, these social effects exacerbated inequality by disproportionately impacting existing underprivileged or lower socioeconomic groups and individuals. Moreover, as Australia went on lockdown, the nation's homeless people were put in grave danger. The issue was that without a safe and isolated location to lock down, they could effectively capture and disseminate COVID-19. COVID-19 had also resulted to a very different manner of school-led online learning in Australia, which came with a slew of issues, including: diminished one-on-one interaction with educators; trouble determining student levels of engagement; and limited ability to track specific student development. It has also had an impact on the young children ’s psychological development.

Key mistakes made by them

Australia's fast response to control the virus has proven critical in avoiding mass infection, mortality, and an overcrowded health system. The federal government announced a $130 billion economic bailout earlier in the pandemic, including a six-month salary subsidy scheme. For providing assistance to Australians who were in desperate need, the measure was hurried through Parliament in only one sitting day (Tracker, 2020). In March 2020, state leaders gathered to organize their actions and form a National Cabinet to share information and plans. In order to avoid widespread infection, fatalities, and an overburdened health system, Australia's quick response to manage the virus was vital. Previously in the pandemic, the federal government proposed a $130 billion economic rescue, which included a six-month salary assistance program. The bill was rushed by the Parliament in only one session day in order to help Australians who were in severe need. State officials assembled in March 2020 to coordinate their efforts and form a National Cabinet to discuss methods and insights.

One of the Commonwealth's first healthcare initiatives was to dramatically increase telehealth availability for Australians. Telek in Australia has seen a substantial improvement in Common Wells Health Early Health. Telehealth allows the patient to consult with health experts through video conferencing or phones, and is not a face, not a face. In other words, it means that health and patient workers can stay at home and are not settled in a hazardous place such as a treatment room or a doctoral inclination. The answer is a "lockdown" style restrictions that contains strict social distance that works at home, and it was effective to closing business operations to solve the spread of COVID-19. In addition, for a rough plug around Australia, the government has supported funds that have been proven to be accommodated in the hotel at a hotel in the hotel in a hotel in the hotel in the lack of tourists. In order to continue training for students, the government and NGOs have implemented a variety of strategies that allow students to learn students around the world to continue their learning. Often if they are based on digital format, they include everything through academic education for social and emotional support, and global diseases can help in the reimagination after the world's lateral epidemic worldwide. The education provider adapted to learning, but despite the way of educational methods, it is more prominent to the child and young people to affect education for education for children and young people. In addition, Western Australia to victims have changed the bill to COVID-19. Other reforms now include courts using a criminal electronic monitoring and can create applications on the Internet. Queensland replied Covid-19 by providing $ 5.5 million. We are in internal funds and family cargo services. Funding is increasing 24/7 emergency audience and providing online support through online support through online support, funding, and online support through online support.

Unfortunately, Australian government has also had several failings to point. The main focus of the decision makers is to protect health and public health systems that reduce the harmful effects of closure of the economy. These political solutions have been positive to absorb innovative technology to the rest of the part, but leading to the destruction of the effect of domestic and family violence (DVF). The Australian Institute of Criminology launched a comprehensive online questionnaire of 1,500 women from 6 May to 1 June 2020, finding that 4.2 percent of all women and 8.2 percent of women in consanguineous partnerships had encountered physical violence in the initial three months of the government-imposed lockdown (Morgan & Boxall, 2020). In the pandemic, police reports of DFV increased, as per the Victoria Police data. Compared to 2019, the monthly year-to-date Victoria Police reported family violence occurrences have shown a significant rise in family violence and assault cases in 2020 (Rmandic et al., 2020). The Ruby Princess case is the next and most important. Despite several passengers experiencing COVID-19 signs, some 2,700 Ruby Princess passengers were allowed to live freely in Sydney on March 19. The cruise ship had become the largest single source of illness in Australia. The ship was related to nearly 700 illnesses and 22 deaths.

Furthermore, Australia spent much too much time in the early stages of the crisis in a state of uncertainty. While Australia was fast to restrict Chinese nationals from entering in Australia, it was sluggish to impose any additional restrictions on travel. As the virus spread over the world and Australia started receiving thousands of international visitors each day, it took over six weeks for the government to impose universal travel restrictions, which included mandatory self-isolation for all foreign visitors. Furthermore, a reactive policy approach resulted from the shortage of a clear overarching strategy to react to the crisis. For this reason, there are conflicting and misleading signals. There was initially some uncertainty about the shutdown processes like, whether businesses or events should be closed (for example, the Grand Prix). There have been discrepancies in the Commonwealth's and states' positions. Most states, for instance, shuttered or partially blocked their public schools during Easter and started opening them once the number of cases dropped by more than a month. Amid concerns made by certain state governments, the Commonwealth maintained that students were not in danger, with Prime Minister David Cameron urging parents to send the students to school on numerous occasions. Childcare centres stayed open as well.

In its COVID-19 national response strategy, the government must have emphasized the avoidance of violence against women. A quick restoration to economic normalcy might be able to limit the scope of the social impacts. Moreover, rather than establishing travel restrictions on certain nations such as China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea, the Australian government must have implemented a blanket ban on foreign travel from the start. To deal with DVF, the Australian government must have implemented measures to prepare for increased risk and incidents of such violence during the epidemic. The state may have undertaken several initiatives to assist in community education about domestic abuse and the need of persons reporting any abuse they witness. It might have put money towards assisting housing and domestic violence agencies handle the projected surge in demand during the pandemic. Despite the challenges of providing support services that depend on face-to-face contact, social services may have been capable of adapting. These changes could pave the way for more innovative service delivery in the future (Cameron & Green, 2019). Because victims of family abuse are often hidden owing to their seclusion, maintaining virtual communication with individuals who are at danger is critical.

In Australia, numerous protest groups took part in various anti-lockdown demonstrations. Melbourne restrictions, comprising of a night curfew, went into effect in September 2020 in an effort to decrease a massive surge in illnesses and deaths (Collyer et al., 2021). Police had previously encouraged residents to abide with community movement restrictions. Four individuals, however, were arrested and jailed with inciting in connection with the so-called "Freedom Day" protests scheduled in various Melbourne locales (Teaiwa, 2018). Thousands of anti-lockdown demonstrators stormed Australia's main cities again in mid-2021, with some battling with police. Following violent battles with police, a German-based conspiratorial organisation helped to fuel a succession of anti-lockdown demonstrations throughout Australia, which resulted in dozens of arrests and hundreds of fines. All through the pandemic, protests against Covid limitations have become prevalent. The rallies were publicised throughout a series of Telegram, Instagram, and Facebook posts, which were frequently amplified by huge anti-vaccination and conspiracy sites with tens of thousands of followers at the time of the pandemic. The anti-vaccine wellness movement, Christian fundamentalists, and some of Australia's most radical far-right organisations are among the demonstrators. Thousands of people have protested vaccine mandates and steps aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Melbourne, Sydney, as well as other Australian cities for months. On Saturday, they marched to the streets of Australia to oppose COVID-19 vaccine laws, while smaller masses assembled for supporting the policies that have helped Australia become one of the world's most immunised countries.

The correctness of the grounds for the protest cannot be disputed, but that does not justify the manner in which it is carried out. Morality is likewise being used as a distraction when the topic of accountability is addressed, and police behaviour must be evaluated in the context of the norms and laws they are obligated to implement (Cath, 2018). Allowing huge gatherings of individuals, when movement is prohibited and seeing others in groups is banned, cannot be in the public interest in the face of a national health crisis where enhancement is precarious. Police officers, who are tasked with upholding the law and protecting the public, have been chastised for confronting illegal meetings when the guilt lies with individuals who gathered. When you have rights, you also have responsibilities. People must, without a doubt, take caution and select appropriate, safe times to use their freedom to congregate and protest. Unfortunately, the problems will still be existent when the time comes.

Despite of the economic burden the lockdowns were having on Australia's poor, no demonstrators had displayed their personal hardship, such as by posting placards requesting assistance. Instead, some carried banners that said things like "Poverty Kills" or voiced fears like the restaurateur in Phoenix who informed a passing videographer that he was concerned about his 121 "suffering, devastated" workers. Their statements made it obvious that they were not looking for a handout or charity, but rather permission to work. Protesters in a number of places claimed that their work – or possibly all employment – was critical. Despite disturbing news reports that protestors were disregarding physical separation, many protesters followed safety recommendations. At least some of the persons in the photos were wearing masks. 

One of the most essential ways we may voice our dissatisfaction with government activity is through protest. Yet, in an emergency circumstance like the present epidemic, people's potential to protest is unknown. Instead of mass protesting, activists might have chosen an alternative method of demonstrating during the lockdown. As a result of the pandemic, some activists have become more inventive in their protests, avoiding the requirement for social connection. Protests on the internet or in virtual spaces are good options. Greta Thunberg, a climate activist, has suggested individuals to ignore huge meetings at the time of pandemic and instead participate in online campaigns and online strikes (Thunberg, 2020). In addition, rather than a blanket ban on protesting, the limits might be adjusted to enable protest as a legitimate excuse to leave the house providing demonstrators follow social distancing guidelines. In states where meetings are strictly controlled, this could entail limiting cars to members of the same household or to a total of two persons. Effective protest, on the other hand, is defined by its public, visible effects. With the same, media coverage of protests is often used to gain popular support. Furthermore, the public health shut downs have become the newest flashpoint in a larger debate about how to better link citizens' demands with government action. As the pandemic unfolds, authorities have demonstrated a disturbing tendency to exploit COVID-19 as a justification to limit down the  liberties in ways that go well beyond legitimate, time-bound public health precautions. Protest limits have been imposed in some liberal democracies in response to the pandemic.

Conclusion

Hence, from the above analysis it is to conclude that Numerous negative societal impacts have been documented in Australian society as a result of Covid-19, including increased incidence of domestic and family violence, mental health, homelessness, child protection, and the criminal system. Different ways have been tried by societies, with varied levels of effectiveness. Though the nation's trajectory is shaped by the activities of people, its culture, and companies, success is not just in the government's hands. The capacity of Australia's reaction to organise a cohesive national reaction while allowing the state to preserve autonomy and decision-making powers—and to benefit from one another—has been a crucial component of the country's response. At the start of Covid-19, ethnic, racial, and marginalised groups were put at a high risk of social prejudice and health inequities. As there was a delay in the testing, under-treatment, a shortage of insurance, and countless incidents of misdiagnosis, health inequities were on the rise. In other circumstances, persons from racial and ethnic communities in specific locations of Australia recorded higher fatality cases than non-racial groups. Other stresses brought on by confinement and isolation, such as job loss, economic decline, and diminished services, raised the likelihood of violence, starvation, disease, and homelessness among marginalised communities. The impact is mostly on the government's capacity to react effectively to catastrophes, impacting people's ability to preserve unity and solidarity. At the start of COVID-19, unanticipated tensions were developed when the Australian government has been seen to act in a way of profound uncertainty. This has shifted the path of government and prompted calls for the restoration of the social compact in order to restore people's harmony and togetherness. Even though a complete recovery will take longer, present findings suggest that applying theoretical perspectives to the connection among civil society and government produces better results. Protests were also put on hold practically everywhere due to the Lockdown measures, which included stay-at-home orders and prohibitions on mass assemblies. However, as the pandemic has progressed in Australia, the growing strained relationship among governments and residents in several nations has prompted protesters to go to the street once again. Though many of the current protests are focused on familiar problems such as corruption, political repression, and financial distress, a remarkable new trend is emerging: citizens publicly questioning public health measures adopted by the state to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Below are mentioned few recommendations in order to deal with the situation better in the near future:

  1. The government should implement Job Retention Programs to mitigate the employment and social consequences of the Covid-19 problem. The goal should be to lower labour expenses, which would avoid an increase in the unemployment figures while also alleviating financial hardship and promoting consumer spending by maintaining the earnings of workers with reduced working hours. In the future, the Australian government must be watchful for ensuring that JR initiatives are neither downscaled too soon, resulting in the loss of productive jobs, or too slowly, posing a barrier to economic growth.
  2. The government must no longer close schools for extended periods of time. All public schools, including schools, must be reopened. It would enable students to finish their education and go to the next level, as well as improve their mental health and psychological health.
  3. The government should initiate various initiatives to assist in community education about domestic abuse and the importance of citizens reporting any abuse they witness. It might have put money towards assisting housing and domestic violence agencies handle the projected surge in demand during the pandemic. Despite the challenges of providing support services that depend on face-to-face interaction, social services may have been capable of adapting. These changes could pave the way for more innovative delivery of services in the future.
  4. Protesters should refrain from staging large-scale demonstrations in such circumstances. People must use caution and select appropriate, safe times to exercise their freedom to congregate and protest. They should protest electronically or through online platforms like as Twitter, or they may demand for an open dialogue with government officials.
  5. Governments should devote more resources to assure public that the public health measures, such as lockdowns, are implemented for the greater good. States must also guarantee that economic development and public health policies are not perceived as mutually exclusive. To stem the tide of anti-lockdown riots, the Australian government will have to react promptly to misinformation, develop compassionate measures to meet individuals' fundamental requirements, and implement public health regulations in a fair manner.

References:

Budd, J., Miller, B. S., Manning, E. M., Lampos, V., Zhuang, M., Edelstein, M., ... & McKendry, R. A. (2020). Digital technologies in the public-health response to COVID-19. Nature medicine, 26(8), 1183-1192.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-1011-4

Cameron, E., & Green, M. (2019). Making sense of change management: A complete guide to the models, tools and techniques of organizational change. Kogan Page Publishers. Retrieved from:

https://www.uop.edu.pk/ocontents/Change%20Management%20Book.pdf

Carrington, K., Morley, C., Warren, S., Ryan, V., Ball, M., Clarke, J., & Vitis, L. (2021). The impact of COVID?19 pandemic on Australian domestic and family violence services and their clients. Australian journal of social issues, 56(4), 539-558.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1002/ajs4.183

Cath, C. (2018). Governing artificial intelligence: ethical, legal and technical opportunities and challenges. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 376(2133), 20180080. Retrieved from: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsta.2018.0080

Collyer, T. A., Athanasopoulos, G., Srikanth, V., Tiruvoipati, R., Matthews, C., Mcinnes, N., ... & Andrew, N. E. (2021). Impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on hospital presentations and admissions in the context of low community transmission: evidence from time series analysis in Melbourne, Australia. J Epidemiol Community Health. https://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2021/11/14/jech-2021-217010.abstract

Morgan, A., & Boxall, H. (2020). Social isolation, time spent at home, financial stress and domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice No., 609, 1–17. Retrieved from 

https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi609

Rmandic, S., Walker, S., Bright, S. & Millsteed, M. (2020). Police-recorded crime trends in Victoria during the COVID-19 pandemic (pp. 1–22). Retrieved from https://apo.org.au/sites/default/files/resource-files/2020-09/apo-nid308473.pdf

Rossell, S. L., Neill, E., Phillipou, A., Tan, E. J., Toh, W. L., Van Rheenen, T. E., & Meyer, D. (2021). An overview of current mental health in the general population of Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic: Results from the COLLATE project. Psychiatry research, 296, 113660.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7836867/

Teaiwa, K. (2018). Our Rising Sea of Islands: Pan-Pacific Regionalism in the Age of Climate Change. Retrieved from: 

https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/bitstream/1885/164906/2/Our%20rising%20sea%20of%20islands.pdf

Thunberg, G. (2020). Greta Thunberg. Climate Change ‘as Urgent’as Coronavirus. Justin Rowalt BBC Interview.

https://www.wikizero.com/en/Greta_Thunberg

Tracker, C. A. (2020). A government roadmap for addressing the climate and post COVID-19 economic crises. CAT (Climate Action Tracker). URL: https://climateactiontracker. org/publications/addressing-theclimate-and-post-covid-19-economic-crises/.(accessed 5.19. 20).

https://www.acamedia.info/sciences/sciliterature/globalw/reference/climate_action_tracker/CAT_2020-04-27_Briefing_COVID19_Apr2020.pdf

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