Australians were treated to a new level of dystopian absurdity this morning when Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan released an ad campaign for Covid vaccination.
In it, McGowan has his Covid vaccination message translated from English into ... English by the Aboriginal woman beside him.
Whether intentional or careless, the Western Australian government’s footage suggests that Aboriginal people can only understand English if it’s broken up and repeated via an Aboriginal person, thus infantilising an entire community.
Social media has received the patronising campaign with a mixture of shock, awe (from the horror), and bemusement that public money could be misused in a blatantly racist and insulting manner.
“This is an important message to keep Aboriginal safe,” says McGowan.
“This is a message, a proper important one, to keep everybody safe one,” mimics the woman beside him.
“You can die from the Corona, or get really sick,” adds McGowan, coming across like a commercial from an episode of Black Mirror.
“You’re gonna get it. Pass away from this Corona. Or you’re gonna get really sick one.”
“It’s time to get the Corona needle to keep people and country strong.”
The video goes on like this for some time.
It comes as Western Australia launches its ServiceWA app for citizens to verify their Covid vaccination status before checking into retail, hospitality, and entertainment venues.
“It allows West Australians to show proof of vaccination, check-in with SafeWA at businesses and venues and access their G2G passes for interstate travel, all in one convenient place,” said Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson.
“[With] the ServiceWA app, you won’t need to show identification with your Covid-19 digital certificate to enter businesses and venues like you would with a certificate stored in your digital wallet or hard copy. This is because you use a digital identity to set up the ServiceWA app. Your digital identity helps you prove who you are online, meaning the app is safe, secure and not accessible by anyone else.”
Such comments will not do anything for the growing concern about the federal government’s Trusted Digital Identity legislation that is due for consideration early this year, with many observers worried it will formalise the establishment of digital medical verification in the commercial world.