Australia's authoritarian Covid-19 lockdowns savaged in televised debate

The mainstream media finally reflected on Australia's contentious Covid era and harsh pandemic response while health officials continue to 'gaslight' the public.

Australia's authoritarian Covid-19 lockdowns savaged in televised debate
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During a heated televised debate, a prominent economist and an infectious diseases expert clashed over Australia’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor Gigi Foster from the UNSW School of Economics openly displayed her frustration with Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanayake’s comments during a 7News Spotlight panel discussion on Sunday night. The panel, which included Sydney GP Kerryn Phelps, infectious diseases paediatrician Professor Robert Booy, and former Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, featured a vocal live audience.

Associate Professor Senanayake, from the ANU School of Medicine and Psychology, advocated for strict lockdown measures, claiming they saved lives.

"When we locked down Australia, we should have ensured that hotel quarantine was impenetrable," he claimed, referencing the initial quarantine policies in March 2020. He stressed the need to learn from these measures to better prepare for future pandemics.

Professor Foster, visibly disapproving, called out the lockdowns as a "mass one size fits all policy" that failed to protect the most vulnerable.

"It was lives against lives," she argued, emphasizing the impact on quality and length of lives. She lamented the bureaucratic management of the outbreaks, saying, "The more we put people in authority... bureaucracies, which are unaccountable and unelected, the worse outcomes we get."

The mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine rule, introduced in late March 2020, was defended by Ms Palaszczuk, who claimed it kept infection rates low during the first 18 months. Despite its unpopularity, she maintained it was necessary to contain the virus.

"I did hotel quarantine myself and it was not good," she conceded, but she then deflected saying it was a consultative decision with chief health officers.

Professor Foster countered, highlighting the mental health toll and delayed healthcare effects caused by the lockdowns.

"We've lost tens of thousands more people since mid-2021 than we should have," attributing this partly to the lockdown's delayed effects.

Professor Booy rejected Foster’s claims, claiming the virus "killed probably over 20 million people worldwide,"

Palaszczuk defended her highly controversial lockdown decisions, acknowledging their difficulty but standing by their results.

"We only had tragically seven deaths during that two-year period before reopening our borders," she said, avoiding comments on potential changes to her past decisions.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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