Calls grow for Royal Commission into VIC’s bungled COVID response

Earlier this month, the Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) Victorian president, Julian Rait, provided a submission to the state parliamentary inquiry into the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic whereby he called for a Royal Commission into Victoria’s bungled COVID-19 response, which he says resembles a “slow car crash“, “in order to learn and apply lessons learned from this pandemic”.

Now the Liberal Victorian Opposition leader, Michael O’Brien, has echoed the call:

“We’re the only state to be suffering through a second wave, we’ve lost hundreds of lives, tens of thousands of businesses, hundreds of thousands of jobs, and millions of us are locked down,” he said.

“I think that Victorians deserve the answers, they deserve the truth, and the best way to find the truth is through a royal commission”…

An inquiry, led by former judge Jennifer Coate, is currently investigating failures in the state’s hotel quarantine system.

“We know that the problems in Victoria go well beyond that,” Mr O’Brien said…

“These are lessons that must be learnt, and the best way to get to the bottom of it, the best way to answer those vital life-and-death questions is through a royal commission,” he said…

Victoria has been criticised for its testing and tracing program, with delays prompting some doctors and industries to take things into their own hands

When the AMA first proposed a Royal Commission I thought it might be overkill given there is already a state parliamentary inquiry as well as a COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry underway.

However, the failings go well beyond hotel quarantine to systemic failures with contact tracing, aged care, as well as a general lack of competence within the government and bureaucracy.

Indeed, the Hotel Quarantine Inquiry on Friday revealed that the scheme had no clear operational structure and nobody within the Victorian Government was in charge:

The Inquiry also heard that the Department of Health and Human Services did not want to use the Australian Defence Force for hotel quarantine security because it would be daunting for those arriving back in Australia:

Meanwhile, the Saturday Paper also revealed a leaked call from Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton revealing failures in contact tracing:

“It was totally challenged. No questions there. Even at lower numbers, there were intrinsic challenges with contact tracing”.

Given this is arguably the biggest public health and economic failure in the state’s history, a royal commission into the COVID-19 response is warranted.

We’ve had Royal Commissions into far lesser issues.

Leith van Onselen
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  1. The main problem is that Andrews gave the security contract to a political donor who was also an affrimative action company.

    Are the deaths of hundreds of Victorians is a fair price to pay for giving the contract to w0ke mates?

  2. Personally I think there’d be greater benefit in a Royal Commission into Australia’s entire response to the pandemic. That would help ensure a better response to any future pandemics. I think everyone knows what went wrong in Victoria.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Yes, but this is why I don’t think there will be one. A couple of the problems go directly to the federal government and they’re to be protected at all costs.

    • “Ensure a better response to future pandemics”
      I have no faith that anyone in any position of authority has learned anything. The circle jerk continues and there’s no place for evidence based medicine on our shores.
      So the big question is: What do we do NEXT TIME? Lock down and destroy the economy over and over again.

  3. I was whizzed a Cory Bernardi rant this morning claiming ‘socialists are trying to ruin the economy.

    If that was what Dan the man was trying to do i almost admire the genius of it all. Though the progenitors of the NeoLiberal apogee are mainly LNP with a light twist of ALP flavouring

  4. Definitely a “lockdowns don’t work” (followed soon by a “masks don’t work) narrative being pushed across the Newscorpse platforms. Today saw Bolty pushing the same narrative in the HS.

  5. Personally I can’t see the point of a royal commission into anything.

    It takes huge time cost and effort to achieve then the results and scope are limited to cover the a*ses of those who are guilty, and then it quickly fades in oblivion and it may as well not have happened.

    But hey, it ticks a box!!!!

  6. Totes BeWokeMEMBER

    “would be daunting for those arriving back in Australia”

    Feelings ahead of pragmatism.

    Then they let 5k leave without testing. I haven’t seen that mentioned in MSM.

    Feelings ahead of pragmatism.

    Whether infections occurred at the BLM rallies is irrelevant. It was reckless, again, putting feelings ahead of pragmatism.

    Andrews should have resigned months ago.

  7. The median age of person who died from (? with) COVID in Australia = 82 (very similar to USA white decedents)

    USA has stratified median age of death from (/ with) COVID by ethnic background
    81 (IQR 71-88) for white decedents
    72 (IQR 62-81) for non-white, non-Hispanic decedents
    71 ( IQR 59-81) for Hispanic decedents

    Australian median life expectancy = 83 years (so Australian’s who die from COVID are very slightly older than Australian’s who die from all other causes).
    Average life expectancy of an 85 year old is 6 years – so you have a 75% chance of living another 3 years, a 50% chance of living another 6, and a 25% chance of living another 10.
    Put another way, the for a person aged 85, the average annual risk of death is 10% (12% male and 9% female). Yes the dataset and hence numbers are slightly different, but you get the general idea.

    For comparison, the average mortality for some aged 85 getting COVID is estimated to be about 10% (this figure is a bit rubbery). So about the same risk again as you already had by virtue of being 85. However the risk of dying from COVID is expressed over a couple of weeks, while the annual risk of dying is expressed over 52 weeks.

    So getting COVID aged 85
    a) Likely doubles your risk of dying in the next 12 months (from 10 to 20%)
    b) With most of this increase expressed over the first few weeks

    COVID is not a nothing. And I don’t believe anyone has suggested otherwise.

    But at 85, life (i.e. being 85) is risky. An elderly relative once told me “I don’t buy green bananas anymore.”

    And maybe we have got this out of proportion.

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