Despite many calls for an independent public inquiry, usually in the form of a royal commission, to review Australia's responses to the pandemic, no government, federal or state, has obliged.
The problem is any effective royal commission would have to be a joint federal-state effort given Australia's responses were shared across governments so getting agreement on the terms of reference and membership might be hard to achieve. Moreover, all governments might be concerned what a royal commission might expose given their past record.
However, the announcement this week that three philanthropic groups - Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest's Minderoo Foundation, the Paul Ramsay Foundation and the Myriam Wylie to drive a private inquiry into Australia's handling of the pandemic is not the answer.
The proposed review neither appears expert or independent, nor will it have the necessary authority or legal powers to probe deeply and procure information from governments and others about the pandemic.
Although its chair, Dr Peter Shergold, a retired head of the Department of Prime Minster and Cabinet, understands public policy and chaired some government inquiries, none of his experience indicates he has had much to do with health issues.
Indeed, only one of the committee's five members has any health expertise, but that is as a director of the Doherty Institute which provided analysis to governments about pandemic health issues and is thus compromised as any proper review must examine the value of that advice.
One other member served with distinction as head of a Commonwealth department but that was in trade and foreign affairs, not health, and the last review he conducted was into trade with India in 2017.
Exactly how another appointee, the 2021 Young Australia of the Year who although a medical student qualifies as being - according to one of the sponsoring charities - "very experienced" is unclear. And exactly what expertise is brought to the panel by another member whose career seems mostly in banking and finance?
Further undermining this review's perceived independence is that it will be supported by another think tank, the e61 Institute funded by the wealthy entrepreneur Grant Rule which until last week had as one of its key members, Andrew Charlton, now the federal Labor candidate for Parramatta and a former adviser to Kevin Rudd.
Where are the state and territory government representatives and how will this "inquiry" collect evidence from these different jurisdictions?
Also, as a private review there are no open hearings and although public submissions will be accepted - as long as they are not more than 1500 words according to chair Shergold - they will be "kept confidential".
This highlights another flaw. Proper public inquiries usually not only have public hearings, but submissions and any research conducted are usually released so we can see check the veracity of its findings.
This review's lack of any investigatory powers like a royal commission to procure information means it will not be able to assess accurately some of the different responses to the pandemic like what medical evidence was used for some of the apparently absurd restrictions imposed on citizens, businesses and schools by some governments?
There are many legitimate concerns about Australia's response to the pandemic which ought to be investigated including: the vaccine rollout; the contrary nature of different state chief health officers' advice; border closures and lockdowns; school closures and education impacts; the different testing regimes; loss of civil liberties; and the economic impacts especially on small business.
However, any proper review ought to be done by an open, independent and expert public inquiry with statutory powers of investigation with an ability to call and cross-examine witnesses, public hearings, and supported by all governments. Such an inquiry properly constituted would also provide legal protection to witnesses, employ independent research, have wide ranging terms of reference based on extensive consultation and have expert and independent membership.
This review supported by some philanthropic groups, might be well-meaning, but is less than ideal and should not be accepted as being good enough. It is taking the privatisation of our public policy too far.
By contrast, Sweden has held a multi-tiered, independent inquiry supported by all parties while the British government has announced a genuine independent public inquiry chaired by a former senior judge to "report on preparations and the response to the pandemic" and provide advice on "lessons to be learned" for the future.
Australia deserves the same.
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