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"We Ceased Being a Democracy": Former Australian PM Pushes for Investigation into COVID-19 Policies

"We Ceased Being a Democracy": Former Australian PM Pushes for Investigation into COVID-19 Policies

May 10, 2024

"We Ceased Being a Democracy": Former Australian PM Pushes for Investigation into COVID-19 Policies

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has voiced concerns over the potential for future lockdowns in Australia, advocating for a comprehensive Royal Commission investigation into the country's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Abbott, who led the nation from 2013 to 2015, criticized the Australian government's pandemic response during an interview with his ex-Chief of Staff Peta Credlin on Sky News Australia.

Abbott suggested that the policies employed to combat COVID-19 were more damaging than the virus itself, questioning the abandonment of existing pandemic plans in early March 2020. He attributed the initial overreaction partly to images emerging from Italian hospitals. "The policy to deal with COVID turned out to be far worse than the disease itself," Abbott remarked.

The former Prime Minister's comments followed a submission to the government's COVID-19 inquiry by ex-Liberal Health Minister Greg Hunt, who scrutinized the measures such as vaccine mandates, lockdowns, and domestic border closures implemented by state and territory leaders during the pandemic.

Abbott also expressed his concern that without a "fair dinkum Royal Commission-type inquiry," Australia might replicate the extreme measures taken during the last pandemic in future crises. "My fear is that without a fair dinkum Royal Commission-type inquiry into the whole response to COVID, next time a pandemic happens, and it will, we will take the over-the-top response to this one as the model for all future actions," he said.

Throughout the pandemic, Abbott supported medical advice but lamented that it came at the expense of Australia's democracy. "For a period of time, we ceased being a democracy and became a kind of a 'doc-docracy,'" Abbott stated, alluding to the significant influence of medical professionals on policymaking.

Several Australian senators, including Liberal National Party's Matt Canavan, and One Nation's Malcolm Roberts and Pauline Hanson, have strongly advocated for a Royal Commission. The call for this inquiry gained traction following the global withdrawal of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Despite these calls, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has initiated a COVID-19 Response Inquiry, which has already received over 2,000 submissions. The inquiry is chaired by Robyn Kruk and includes panel members Professor Catherine Bennett and Dr. Angela Jackson.

In his submission, Greg Hunt revealed that certain pandemic restrictions in Victoria, such as curfews and five-kilometer movement limits, did not align with federal or known medical advice. Former Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had introduced these measures during the lockdowns in Melbourne, which became one of the world's longest locked-down cities.

Hunt recommended that future state actions should not contradict National Cabinet decisions without published medical advice. He also proposed a Memorandum of Understanding to commit the Commonwealth and states to use the National Cabinet for future pandemic management.

The Epoch Times Article


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