Often when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, it sounds like Australia is taking one step forward and two steps back.
While our leaders regularly reassure us that we are doing a good job, there seems to be a large number of people who either don’t listen or don’t care if they violate the laws intended to keep us safe.
To send a snapshot, police in Victoria have given out a total of 860 fines in just five days of this week to people violating coronavirus restrictions.
The tales and explanations given to officers are getting more complex by the day – from two people in Melbourn conducting a Russian political rally to a man in Maroondah telling police that he was out at 3.40am to feed the horses of his uncle.
Considering the severity of Victoria ‘s case, it seems impossible that 860 people will break the laws in five days ‘ time.
And, when you consider that creating a so-called “super-spreading” event such as the NSW Crossroads Hotel cluster in Casula, southwest of Sydney, needs only one person, that figure should surely be a concern.
You ‘d have to have been living under a rock well and truly, not to learn about the pandemic, but ignorance is no longer an excuse.
Professor Liam Smith, the director of BehaviourWorks Australia says that Australians have been asked to change their behaviour in a way that has never been done before, he told in an interview for news.com.au.
“Such a dramatic change in behaviour for so many people in such a short space of time has never been seen before in our history,” he said. “We’ll look back in 2020 and think ‘oh my god’ there were such incredible changes in our behaviour.
“Now, it’s obviously bad that we’ve see a few hundred people break the rules and we need to bring those numbers down, but in the grand scheme of things, what we’ve seen happen is incredible.”
“The difficult thing with this virus is that we need everyone to do the right thing, and these rules, especially in Victoria where they are tougher, are providing people with lots of new opportunities to break the law,” he said. “A big driver of non-compliance is impulsivity and that’s something that varies from person-to-person.
“It makes a situation like this very hard to police because everyone has an opportunity to break the law on a daily basis and everyone has a differing level of impulsivity.”
“You have to put this in context of 5 million Victorians, so 99.9 per cent are following the rules,” he said.
And he believes this says a lot about Australians.
“Despite our reputation for larrikinism and free-spirit, we’re actually very compliant when it comes to rules,” he said. “We were the first country to have seatbelts and the whole world followed, our smoking laws are the toughest of any nation, we’re often the ones doing the new things, and it’s all because we accept these rules.