PM’s Covid Inquiry puts political interest over national interest
With the announcement of his COVID-19
inquiry, the Prime Minister has put political interest over Australia’s
He has rolled over
to Labor Premiers and in doing so, the Prime Minister has broken a key promise
that he took to the Australian people at the last election.
He promised that he
would hold a royal commission or deep inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic,
looking at the response of all governments across Australia.
It is incredibly
disappointing that the Prime Minister has walked away from his commitment.
Our response to the
pandemic followed a uniquely Australian path, and it allowed us to come out of
the pandemic with health and economic outcomes that were world leading.
But there is no
denying how critical it is that, now the worst of the pandemic has passed
behind us, we learn from the lessons that COVID-19 provided and how we could
have improved our response.
This is in our
national interest, and it is about our preparedness as a country.
Instead, what we
have from the Prime Minister is a quasi-inquiry into the pandemic, concocted
with a Terms of Reference that specifically excludes the states and
territories, and with an approach that looks like a witch-hunt against the
former Coalition Government.
Any inquiry into
Australia’s COVID-19 response that does not involve the states and territories
should be seen for what it is – purely a protection racket for Dan Andrews and
In the absence of
any powers to compel the involvement of state and territory governments, the
Prime Minister’s inquiry is a wasted opportunity to be proactive about
Australia’s preparedness for future pandemics should they arise.
Light must be shone
in on all of the decisions that were taken following the outbreak of COVID-19
in our country, particularly considering the significant role played by the
states and territories, who were often responsible for decisions that most
impacted on Australians lives and on their livelihoods.
lockdowns, testing regimes, state border closures and other restrictions that
were placed on the Australian people, which we know are still having ongoing
And despite what the
Prime Minister may seem to believe, an inquiry must also recognise that the
pandemic did not end on 22 May 2022.
In fact, under the
current government, we saw more Covid-related deaths in aged care in 8 months
than in the entire first two years of the Pandemic.
And for this inquiry
have any integrity and credibility, international comparisons and Australia’s
standing relative to other countries must also be considered.
All of these factors
must be looked at as part of a proper and thorough investigation that is
genuinely aimed at bolstering Australia’s pandemic preparedness.
Otherwise, all we
have here is a half-baked inquiry, merely aimed at distracting from Labor’s
shambolic handling of today’s issues and expunging Labor Premiers’ past