“It has become clear, since the Prime Minister’s announcement of the Covid-19 inquiry, that Australians can have no confidence in its process, its leadership, or that it will provide the answers they deserve about the mismanagement and controls imposed on them during the pandemic,” said Morgan Begg, Director of Research at the Institute of Public Affairs.
On Thursday, the Prime Minister announced the terms of reference for the Commonwealth Government Covid-19 Response Inquiry to “identify lessons learned to improve Australia’s preparedness for future pandemics.”
It has since become clear the inquiry is not designed to ensure Australians learn the facts about the nation’s failed response to the Covid-19 pandemic, for example;
- The terms of reference specifically exclude from the scope of the inquiry “actions taken unilaterally by state and territory governments” including the imposition of arbitrary lockdowns and other public health restrictions.
- The inquiry will not have Royal Commission powers.
- The inquiry will be led by an independent panel of three people, two of which were supporters of Victoria’s hard lockdowns: Dr Angela Jackson and Professor Catherine Bennett.
“In the cold light of day, it is clear that the Covid-19 inquiry is designed to do no more than provide cover to key government officials, rather than give Australians the information they need to ensure that mistakes made during the pandemic will not be repeated,” said Mr Begg.
“There were numerous economic, mental health, medical, lifestyle, and community harms brought about by criminalising everyday life, which no Australian government has answered for, or it seems with this inquiry, will be asked to account for.”
“Every Australian deserves a full and complete account of what happened during the pandemic, and to shed light on how the humanitarian disaster of lockdowns were approved in the corridors of power.”
Previous IPA research reports, Hard Lessons: Reckoning the Economic, Social, and Humanitarian Costs of Zero-Covid and The Crime of Criminalising Everyday Life: The Rule of Law Discarded in Victoria’s Covid Response,calculated the fiscal cost of lockdowns to be approximately $940 billion to June 2022.
“Our research demonstrated the need for a full Royal Commission by state and federal governments to investigate the unprecedented adoption of emergency public health powers. The federal government’s response is sub-standard and is a breach of trust with Australians,” said Mr Begg.
“When in opposition, the Prime Minister promised a Royal Commission into the Covid response. Instead, we are getting a sham inquiry that will do little more than provide protection to government officials who engaged in draconian overreach.”
“Australians deserve a proper Royal Commission to look at all levels of government, to learn the hard lessons of lockdowns and ensure they never happen again,” said Mr Begg.
To download the IPA’s research click here.