Labor to launch ‘deep inquiry’ into Australia’s Covid-19 response after winter

The new health minister said that a “deep” inquiry into Australia’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic would be launched during this term.

But despite Labor leading the call during his time in opposition, Mark Butler now says it’s unlikely to happen until the pandemic is over.

Labor to launch 'deep inquiry' into Australia's Covid-19 response after winter

Mr. Butler will not commit to a timetable and says the focus is now on getting through a difficult winter like Covid-19 and the flu cycle at the same time.

“I think we will eventually have to go through the back of this pandemic before we have the best possible picture of what we’ve done well and, quite frankly, what we need to do better in the future,” said Mr. Butler. ABC radio.

“There will be a debate about a royal commission or some other kind of very in-depth inquiry here in Australia into our response to the pandemic.

“I think it would be inconceivable not to have a very deep process of learning the lessons — not just what we did well, but what we need to do better in the future.”

Camera IconThe new cabinet is open to a royal commission. NCA NewsWire/David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia

A select Senate committee earlier this year recommended that a royal commission be needed for the pandemic, including the elder care crisis, quarantine, vaccine rollouts, and the rapid antigen testing debacle.

In its final report in April, the Labor-chaired commission called for greater transparency given the “significant failures” that had caused “catastrophic consequences”, including 6,000 deaths.

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last year there would be “some time in the future” to discuss appropriate assessments.

Mr. Butler said Australians were going through a long winter of illness, especially given the low intake of Covid-19 booster injections and the first flu season since 2019.

“There are still over six million people eligible for a booster at this point who have not yet received it,” said Mr Butler.

“We ….need to get the word out that you’re not fully protected against, especially the Omicron variant unless you’re on three doses.”

He was further urged on the timing for an investigation but could not provide a timetable.

Camera Icon Health Minister Mark Butler said Australia must ‘get through the winter’ before decisions are made on a possible royal commission. NCA NewsWire/Dean Martin Credit: News Corp Australia

“We have to get through the winter, and eventually, at some point, we will discuss the kind of royal commission or inquiry that will ensure we learn the lessons and be better prepared next time,” he said.

“I don’t have a timeline to introduce you today… Once we start to get e of the pandemic where it’s appropriate to look back rather than focus on the challenges of the day, we’ll have them.”

This week, Mr. Butler attends a G20 meeting where world leaders will discuss ways to better prepare for and respond to global pandemics.

Also in attendance is Treasurer Jim Chalmers, who said the global community continues to address the challenges of Covid-19.

“This meeting is about strengthening health systems, strengthening economies, and strengthening friendships,” said Mr Chalmers.

Lori J. Kile
I love to write and create. I love photography, design, travel and art. I am a full time freelance writer and photographer.I am very excited to be creating new content and opportunities for my readers.