Vic­to­ria’s ghastly virus rep­u­ta­tion makes it the new Tassie, writes SO­PHIE ELSWORTH

Sunday Territorian - - OPINION - So­phie Elsworth is a News Corp re­porter and colum­nist based in Mel­bourne

OUR friends in Tas­ma­nia have long been the butt of jokes, and now I’m start­ing to un­der­stand how they feel.

Many of us have had a good-na­tured dig at those down south, with long-run­ning jokes about the Ap­ple Isle wheeled out at any op­por­tu­nity.

But now the tables have turned.

Vic­to­ri­ans are the new Tas­ma­ni­ans as we brace our­selves dur­ing these ex­tremely test­ing times.

Mel­bourne is now com­monly re­ferred to as the COVID Cap­i­tal — nd rightly so.

While the rest of the coun­try ap­pears to have re­turned to some sort of nor­mal­ity, in Vic­to­ria we are far from it.

The other day I was chat­ting to some­one in Syd­ney, when he laughed and said to me: “How’s it go­ing down there in Virus Vic­to­ria?”

When­ever I’m speak­ing to any­one out­side of Vic­to­ria, I im­me­di­ately hear pity in their voice com­ing down the phone line, know­ing I’m a Vic­to­rian, born and bred.

No one wants a bar of us right now; we’re be­ing treated like out­casts in our own coun­try, and it’s start­ing to bite.

Mel­bur­ni­ans are locked out of the rest of the state and Vic­to­ri­ans are locked out of the rest of the coun­try. We are un­able to go to Tas­ma­nia if we wanted to.

In­cred­i­ble, re­ally, to think we are hostages be­hind our bor­der walls.

Who could for­get those in­fa­mous words that rolled off the tongue of Pre­mier Daniel An­drews fol­low­ing South

Aus­tralia’s de­ci­sion to open up its bor­ders back in June to other states, but keep­ing Vic­to­ri­ans locked out.

“I don’t want to be of­fen­sive to South Aus­tralians, but why would you want to go there?”

Well, the joke is on us Vics now.

Kick a Vic, as they used to say back dur­ing AFL State of Ori­gin days.

Who would want to come to Virus Vic­to­ria right now?

You’d be hard-pressed to find some­one itch­ing to get down south as the pan­demic con­tin­ues to sweep the state, and any chance of Lock­down 2.0 end­ing seems a long way off.

Vic­to­ria has a bad rap now — not helped by some reck­less be­hav­iour on the part of some — and I reckon it’s here to stay.

So it’s fair to stay Vic­to­ri­ans won’t be throw­ing stones any time soon at our in­ter­state coun­ter­parts, as it’s a long road ahead be­fore we are clear of this mess and, with that, we clear our bad rep­u­ta­tion.

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