Among other things the timing of budgets was changed, procedural requirements bypassed, parliaments not consulted, and information not released.
In a new study comparing 120 countries, Australia was found to be one of only four countries — along with Norway, Peru and the Philippines — whose processes were assessed as having “adequate” accountability.
The International Budget Partnership study found that almost three-quarters of the countries studied (87 out of 120) failed to manage their immediate financial response in a transparent and accountable manner.
Almost two-thirds failed to provide transparency in procurement, half bypassed their parliaments, and only a quarter published expedited audit reports.
No countries were judged as having had “substantive” accountability.
Despite the parliament only meeting intermittently early in the pandemic, the select committee and other parliamentary committees continued to hold public hearings virtually to fill the accountability gap.
Nevertheless, the Senate select committee faced difficulties in gaining access to the government’s underlying modelling of its response packages.
Adequate, if not substantive, accountability
As well, the Australian National Audit Office failed to get an increase in funding to deal with the extra work necessitated by the government’s responses to the pandemic. Instead, its funding was cut in the October budget.
And the Morrison government failed to publish an analysis of the gender impact of its responses, something that became problematic as it emerged women had been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
The global study was completed in January 2021, with Australia’s accountability practices examined by the Australian National University’s Tax and Transfer Policy Institute.
Since then, there have been welcome developments.
The May 2021 budget reversed the budget cuts to the Audit Office by allocating an extra A$61.5 million over four years, enabling it to take on more staff to conduct more post-pandemic performance audits.
This network connects key emotional, cognitive and motor hubs in the brain, and it’s particularly important for higher-order cognitive tasks such as thinking flexibly.
No, people with OCD aren’t ‘quirky’
There are several prevailing stereotypes about what it means to live with OCD, such as a belief people with the disorder are just a bit quirky, overly particular, “neat freaks” or “germ-phobic”.
Such ideas are frequently promulgated in popular culture. For example, in 2018 Khloe Kardashian promoted her “KHLO-C-D” branding for an online miniseries in which she gave tips on home organisation and cleanliness. The campaign was widely criticised.
While contamination fears and an affinity for symmetry are better recognised in the community (perhaps owing to portrayals in TV and film), the “taboo” and “overresponsibility” dimensions of OCD are far less understood and are therefore subject to higher levels of stigma.
Are we all OCD now?
The global response to COVID-19 has blurred the line between pathological behaviours and adaptive health and safety measures.
Behaviours that were previously linked to psychiatric illnesses, such as repetitive washing and sanitising rituals, are now encouraged (at least to some extent) by health authorities.
While infection control directives such as social distancing and hand hygiene play an essential role in our fight against the virus, they take a psychological toll too.
However, recent evidence from well-controlled studies doesn’t find compelling evidence that people with OCD have been affected by COVID-19 to a greater extent than those with other psychological conditions (such as depression or general anxiety).
One study published in January compared OCD severity in a large group before and during the pandemic. It found the stress induced by COVID-19 increased measures of mental distress across all OCD symptom dimensions (not only those directly related to a public health crisis).
The authors suggested the increase in OCD symptom severity was likely a “non-specific stress-related response”. In other words, it’s the general stress of the pandemic that has worsened OCD in some cases; not the increased focus on infection control.
Another recent study found the pandemic didn’t lessen the benefits of treatment in a large outpatient group with OCD in India.
Interestingly, the researchers from this study also found prior incomplete disease remission (cases of OCD that persisted even with treatment) and general stress were the best predictors of OCD relapse during the pandemic, rather than “COVID-specific” stress, per se.
After the pandemic
These findings don’t suggest there’s a specific vulnerability to COVID-related stress for people with OCD.
But it’s worth noting cognitive inflexibility, a symptom often seen in OCD, may make it more difficult for people with the disorder to “unlearn” temporary public health directives.
So it’s important we continue to monitor the effects of COVID-related stress on OCD and similar disorders, particularly as we slowly transition from the pandemic.
There’s much we can learn from the study of OCD during COVID-19. Most notably, it appears an “intuitive” understanding of the disorder doesn’t sufficiently capture the breadth of individual OCD experiences.
A deeper understanding of the variability of OCD presentations, and a move away from stereotyped perceptions, may encourage more people to openly discuss their own OCD experience and seek treatment.
If you live in Australia, call Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 551 800) or BeyondBlue (1800 512 348). Alternatively, “OCD STOP!” is a free online program designed to help you better understand and manage OCD.
As we enter year two of the pandemic, let’s remind ourselves of some sobering statistics. So far, there have been more than 117.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world; more than 2.6 million people have died. A total of 221 countries and territories have been affected. Some 12 of the 14 countries and territories reporting no cases are small Pacific or Atlantic islands.
Whether the race to end the pandemic will be a sprint or a marathon remains to be seen, as does the extent of the gap between rich and poor contestants. However, as vaccines roll out across the world, it seems we are collectively just out of the starting blocks.
Here are the challenges we face over the next 12 months if we are to ever begin to reduce COVID-19 to a sporadic orendemic disease.
Vaccines are like walking on the Moon
Developing safe and effective vaccines in such a short time frame was a mission as ambitious, and with as many potential pitfalls, as walking on the Moon.
The vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective in preventing symptomatic and severe COVID-19. However, we need to continue to study the vaccines after being rolled out (conducting so-called post-implementation studies) in 2021 and beyond. This is to determine how long protection lasts, whether we need booster doses, how well vaccines work in children and the impact of vaccines on viral transmission.
What should make us feel optimistic is that in countries that rolled out the vaccines early, such as the UK and Israel, there are signs the rate of new infections is in decline.
One of the most salutary lessons we have learnt in the pandemic’s first year is how dangerous it is to let COVID-19 transmission go unchecked. The result is the emergence of more transmissible variants that escape our immune responses, high rates of excess mortality and a stalled economy.
Until we achieve high levels of population immunity via vaccination, in 2021 we must maintain individual and societal measures, such as masks, physical distancing, and hand hygiene; improve indoor ventilation; and strengthen outbreak responses — testing, contact tracing and isolation.
The outcomes of even momentary complacency are evident as global numbers of new cases once again increase after a steady two month decline. This recent uptick reflects surges in many European countries, such as Italy, and Latin American countries like Brazil and Cuba. New infections in Papua New Guinea have also risen alarmingly in the past few weeks.
Some fundamental questions also remain unanswered. We don’t know how long either natural or vaccine-induced immunity will last. However, encouraging news from the US reveals 92-98% of COVID-19 survivors had adequate immune protection six to eight months after infection. In 2021, we will continue to learn more about how long natural and vaccine-induced immunity lasts.
The longer the coronavirus circulates widely, the higher the risk of more variants of concern emerging. We are aware of B.1.1.7 (the variant first detected in the UK), B.1.351 (South Africa), and P.1 (Brazil).
But other variants have been identified. These include B.1.427, which is now the dominant, more infectious, strain in California and one identified recently in New York, named B.1.526.
Variants may transmit more readily than the original Wuhan strain of the virus and may lead to more cases. Some variants may also be resistant to vaccines, as has already been demonstrated with the B.1.351 strain. We will continue to learn more about the impact of variants on disease and vaccines in 2021 and beyond.
Given so many unknowns, how the world will be in March 2022 would be an educated guess. However, what is increasingly clear is there will be no “mission accomplished” moment. We are at a crossroads with two end games.
In the most likely scenario, rich countries will return to their new normal. Businesses and schools will reopen and internal travel will resume. Travel corridors will be established between countries with low transmission and high vaccine coverage. This might be between Singapore and Taiwan, between Australia and Vietnam, and maybe between all four, and more countries.
The second scenario, which sadly is unlikely to occur, is unprecedented global cooperation with a focus on science and solidarity to halt transmission everywhere.
This is a fragile moment in modern world history. But, in record time, we have developed effective tools to eventually control this pandemic. The path to a post-COVID-19 future can perhaps now be characterised as a hurdle race but one that presents severe handicaps to the world’s poorest nations. As an international community, we have the capacity to make it a level playing field.
The federal government has clashed with the Royal Commission into Aged Care, strongly rejecting the claim by senior counsel assisting the inquiry Peter Rozen that it had no specific COVID-19 plan for the sector.
Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck told a news conference: “We have had a plan to deal with COVID-19 in residential aged care, going right back to the beginnings of our preparations.
“We’ve been engaged with the sector since late January, and continuously working with the sector to ensure they have all the information they require and the support that they need in the circumstance that they might have an outbreak of COVID-19.”
Acting chief medical officer Paul Kelly said: “We have been planning for our aged population as a vulnerable group since the beginning of our planning in relation to COVID-19”. And there had been “very strong communication with the sector throughout,” he said.
Rozen, in a Monday statement at the opening of this week’s hearings on COVID in the aged care sector, said while much was done to prepare the health sector more generally for the pandemic, “neither the Commonwealth Department of Health nor the aged care regulator developed a COVID-19 plan specifically for the aged care sector”.
The sector had been underprepared, he said.
Asked whether the government’s plan had failed, Colbeck admitted there had been “some circumstances where things haven’t gone as we would like”, saying “the circumstance at St Basil’s [in Melbourne] is one, where we didn’t get it all right”.
On Wednesday the commission will take evidence from Janet Anderson, head of the Commonwealth regulator, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, which Rozen said “did not have an appropriate aged care sector COVID-19 response plan”.
The government has left Anderson out to dry, after it was belatedly discovered her body was told of an outbreak at St Basil’s two days after a staffer was diagnosed, but it failed to pass on the information.
Quizzed about this, Colbeck said under the protocols, “the Commonwealth should have been advised of the outbreak on 9 July by either the Victorian health department or St Basil’s management or both. Instead it was formally informed on July 14.”
But he was also critical of the Quality and Safety Commission which was informed of the outbreak when it was speaking to the home as part of a survey about preparedness and infection control.
“The disappointing thing, from my perspective, is that the information that was gleaned … about a positive outbreak wasn’t passed on to anyone else,” Colbeck said.
“There was an assumption made … that information had already been passed on. It wasn’t.
“The gap in the supply chain, or the information chain, has now been closed. … There should not have been a hole in our systems. That’s been rectified appropriately, as it should have been.”
Australians have exhibited high levels of trust in federal government during the coronavirus pandemic, a marked shift from most people’s views of government before the crisis began, new research shows.
Australians are also putting their trust in government at far higher rates than people in three other countries badly affected by the virus – the US, Italy and the UK.
The research involved surveys of adults aged between 18 and 75 in all four countries in June to gauge whether public attitudes toward democratic institutions and practices had changed during the pandemic. We also asked about people’s compliance with coronavirus restrictions and their resilience to meet the challenge of the post-pandemic recovery.
The main proposition behind our research is that public trust is critical in times like this. Without it, the changes to public behaviour necessary to contain the spread of infection are slower and more resource-intensive.
Australians are now exhibiting much higher levels of political trust in federal government (from 25% in 2019 to 54% in our survey), and the Australian public service (from 38% in 2018 to 54% in our survey).
Compared to the other three countries in our research, Australia’s trust in government also comes out on top. In the UK, only 41% of participants had high trust in government, while in Italy it was at 40% and the US just 34%.
Confidence in key institutions
Australians also have high levels of confidence in institutions related to defence and law and order, such as the army (78%), police (75%) and the courts (55%). Levels of trust are also high in the health services (77%), cultural institutions (70%) and universities (61%). Notably, Australians exhibit high levels of trust in scientists and experts (77%).
These figures were comparable with the other countries in the survey, with the notable exception of Americans’ confidence in the health services, which stood at just 48%.
Although Australians continue to have low levels of trust in social media (from 20% in 2018 to 19% in our survey), confidence is gaining in other forms of news dissemination, such as TV (from 32% in 2018 to 39%), radio (from 38% in 2018 to 41%) and newspapers (from 29% in 2018 to 37%).
Public trust in various media, scientists and experts
How does Morrison compare with Trump and other leaders?
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is perceived to be performing strongly in his management of the crisis by a significant majority of Australians (69%).
Indeed, he possesses the strongest performance measures in comparison with Italy (52% had high confidence in Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte), the UK (37% for Prime Minister Boris Johnson) and the US (35% for President Donald Trump).
Morrison also scores highly when it comes to listening to experts, with 73% of Australians saying he does, compared to just 33% of Americans believing Trump does.
Public perceptions of leadership
Interestingly, Morrison’s approval numbers are also far higher than the state premiers in Australia. Only 37% of our respondents on average think their state premier or chief minister is “handling the coronavirus situation well”. Tasmanians (52%) and Western Australians (49%) had the highest confidence in their leaders’ handling of the crisis.
This suggests that in Australia, the politics of national unity (the “rally around the flag” phenomenon) is strong in times of crisis, whereas people tend to view the leaders of states or territories as acting in their own self-interest.
Perceptions of the quality of state and territory leadership
Compliance and resilience
Our findings also showed most Australians were complying with the key government measures to combat COVID-19, but were marginally less compliant than their counterparts in the UK. (Australians are relatively equal with Italians and Americans.)
Among the states and territories, Victorians have been the most compliant with anti-COVID-19 measures, while the ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory were the least compliant. This is in line with the low levels of reported cases in these jurisdictions and by the lower public perception of the risk of infection.
When it comes to resilience to meet the challenges of the post-pandemic recovery, we considered confidence in social, economic and political factors.
Although a majority of Australians (60%) expect COVID-19 to have a “high” or “very high” level of financial threat for them and their families, they are less worried than their counterparts in Italy, the UK and US about the threat COVID-19 poses “to the country” (33%), “to them personally” (19%), or “to their job or business” (29%).
Perceptions of the level of threat posed by COVID-19
About half of all Australians believe the economy will get worse in the next year (this is slightly higher than in the US but much lower than in the UK and Italy). In Australia, women, young people, Labor voters and those on lower incomes with lower levels of qualifications are the most pessimistic on all confidence measures.
However, Australians remain highly confident the country will bounce back from COVID-19, with most believing Australia is “more resilient than most other countries” (72%).
Perceptions of Australian resilience
We also assessed whether views about how democracy works should change as a result of the pandemic. An overwhelming majority of people said they wanted politicians to be more honest and fair (87%), be more decisive but accountable for their actions (82%) and be more collaborative and less adversarial (82%).
Australia has been lucky in terms of its relative geographical isolation from international air passenger traffic during the pandemic.
But Australia has also benefited from effective governance – facilitated by strong political bipartisanship from Labor – and by atypical coordination of state and federal governments via the National Cabinet.
The big question now is whether Morrison can sustain strong levels of public trust in the recovery period.
There are two positive lessons to be drawn from the government’s management of COVID-19 in this regard.
First, the Australian people expects their governments to continue to listen to the experts, as reflected in the high regard that Australians have for evidence-based decision-making observed in the survey.
Second, the focus on collaboration and bipartisanship has played well with an Australian public fed up with adversarial politics.
The critical insight then is clear: Australia needs to embrace this new style of politics – one that is cleaner, collaborative and evidence-based – to drive post-COVID-19 recovery and remain a lucky country.
It’s excellent this virus has been found early, and raising the alarm quickly allows virologists to swing into action developing new specific tests for this particular flu virus.
But it’s important to understand that, as yet, there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission of this particular virus. And while antibody tests found swine workers in China have had it in the past, there’s no evidence yet that it’s particularly deadly.
China has a wonderful influenza surveillance system across all its provinces. They keep track of bird, human and swine flus because, as the researchers note in their paper, “systematic surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs is essential for early warning and preparedness for the next potential pandemic.”
In their influenza virus surveillance of pigs from 2011 to 2018, the researchers found what they called “a recently emerged genotype 4 (G4) reassortant Eurasian avian-like (EA) H1N1 virus.” In their paper, they call the virus G4 EA H1N1. It has been ticking over since 2013 and became the majority swine H1N1 virus in China in 2018.
In plain English, they discovered a new flu that’s a mix of our human H1N1 flu and an avian-based flu.
What’s interesting is antibody tests picked up that workers handling swine in these areas have been infected. Among those workers they tested, about 10% (35 people out of 338 tested) showed signs of having had the new G4 EA H1N1 virus in the past. People aged between 18 to 35 years old seemed more likely to have had it.
Of note, though, was that a small percentage of general household blood samples from people who were expected to have had little pig contact were also antibody positive (meaning they had the virus in the past).
Importantly, the researchers found no evidence yet of human-to-human transmission. They did find “efficient infectivity and aerosol transmission in ferrets” – meaning there’s evidence the new virus can spread by aerosol droplets from ferret to ferret (which we often use as surrogates for humans in flu studies). G4-infected ferrets became sick, lost weight and acquired lung damage, just like those infected with one of our seasonal human H1N1 flu strains.
They also found the virus can infect human airway cells. Most humans don’t already have antibodies to the G4 viruses meaning most people’s immune systems don’t have the necessary tools to prevent disease if they get infected by a G4 virus.
In summary, this virus has been around a few years, we know it can jump from pigs to humans and it ticks all the boxes to be what infectious disease scholars call a PPP — a potential pandemic pathogen.
If a human does get this new G4 EA H1N1 virus, how severe is it?
We don’t have much evidence to work with yet but it’s likely people who got these infections in the past didn’t find it too memorable. There’s not a huge amount of detail in the new paper but of the people the researchers sampled, none died from this virus.
There’s no sign this new virus has taken off or spread in the regions of China where it was found. China has excellent virus surveillance systems and right now we don’t need to panic.
The World Health Organisation has said it is keeping a close eye on these developments and “it also highlights that we cannot let down our guard on influenza”.
People in my field — infectious disease research — are alert but not alarmed. New strains of flu do pop up from time to time and we need to be ready to respond when they do, watching carefully for signs of human-to-human transmission.
As far as I can tell, the specific tests we use for influenza in humans won’t identify this new G4 EA H1N1 virus, so we should design new tests and have them ready. Our general flu A screening test should work though.
In other words, we can tell if someone has what’s called “Influenza A” (one kind of flu virus we usually see in flu season) but that’s a catch-all term, and there are many strains of flu within that category. We don’t yet have a customised test to detect this new particular strain of flu identified in China. But we can make one quickly.
Being prepared at the laboratory level if we see strange upticks in influenza is essential and underscores the importance of pandemic planning, ongoing virus surveillance and comprehensive public health policies.
And as with all flus, our best defences are meticulous hand washing and keeping physical distance from others if you, or they, are at all unwell.
COVID-19 is being referred to as a “once in a century event” – but the next pandemic is likely to hit sooner than you think.
In the next few decades, we will likely see other pandemics. We can predict that with reasonable confidence because of the recent increased frequency of major epidemics (such as SARS and Ebola), and because of social and environmental changes driven by humans that may have contributed to COVID-19’s emergence.
A COVID-19-type pandemic had long been predicted, but scientists’ warnings weren’t heeded. Right now, while we have the full attention of politicians and other key decision-makers, we need to start rethinking our approaches to future preparedness internationally and within our own nations. That includes countries like New Zealand, where – despite getting its active COVID-19 cases down to zero in June 2020 – big challenges remain.
Less than five years ago, I was one of about 100 global experts invited to a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting in Geneva, prompted by the then ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Then, as now, WHO was criticised for its response to the outbreak. The December 2015 meeting was meant to improve international collaboration and preparation for future epidemics and other infectious disease risks.
The very last presentation was from Dr David Nabarro, then the United Nations Special Envoy on Ebola (and now a Special Envoy on COVID-19).
In the wake of the Ebola outbreak, politicians were more focused on public health than ever before. Nabarro urged us to show greater leadership and capture that interest, before political and public attention moved on. He stressed the importance of trust, respect, transparent communication, and working with nature.
Yet five years later, we’re still talking about inadequate funding for pandemic preparedness; delays in adopting preventive measures; failure to develop surge capacity in health systems, laboratories and supply chain logistics; and reduced infectious disease expertise.
But there are signs that some lessons may have been learned. For example, countries most affected by SARS (such as Taiwan and Singapore) have tended to respond more quickly and decisively to COVID-19 than other countries.
Primed and ready, vaccine developers have progressed at enormous pace, with several COVID-19 vaccine candidates already undergoing clinical trials. The volume and pace of sharing scientific information about COVID-19 has been unprecedented.
We’ve also seen a number of rapid reports urging us to learn from this pandemic and past epidemics to protect us from future events – especially by taking an holistic “One Health” approach. This brings together expertise across human health, animal health and the environment.
For instance, last month the Lancet One Health Commission called for more transdisciplinary collaboration to solve complex health challenges. Similarly, the World Wide Fund for Nature’s March 2020 report on The Loss of Nature and Rise of Pandemics highlighted the likely animal origin of COVID-19, and how intimately connected the health of humans is to animal and environmental health.
As well as working more effectively together internationally, each country will need its own strategy. So what should we be doing to protect New Zealand from future infectious diseases threats?
Our health system has, for the most part, responded well to COVID-19. Our research institutions and universities have engaged quickly and effectively to provide scientific support for the public health response.
We allow scientists to work in silos, despite obvious overlapping interests and skill sets. Of particular importance for tackling infectious diseases is the need to break down artificial barriers between human, animal and environmental health.
This approach makes particular sense in New Zealand. We are an island nation vulnerable to introduced infectious diseases, and economically dependent on agriculture and the physical environment. But we’re also home to an existing indigenous Māori worldview and knowledge system that emphasises interconnectivity between humans, animals and the environment.
University-led efforts, such as One Health Aotearoa, have brought together professionals and researchers from different disciplines. But more investment is needed to get even better value from such collaborations.
We need to strengthen capability in such areas as epidemiology, modelling and outbreak management, and build pandemic plans that are flexible enough to respond to all eventualities. New Zealand has a Centre of Research Excellence in plant biosecurity – but not in animal biosecurity or infectious diseases.
We also need to better integrate science and research into the health system, a key feature of the New Zealand Health Research Strategy 2017-2027. This requires a culture change so research is regarded as business as usual for district health boards, providing the science needed to inform policy, preparedness and best practice.
The law on what we can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak is changing on an almost hourly basis. Some of what is written now might be overtaken by the shifts in the pandemic powers of control.
But we need to make sure people have trust in any new powers given to authorities. These need to be clear to all, and applied consistently and transparently, which is not the case at the moment.
For example, over the weekend a Victorian teenager was fined A$1,652 for leaving home to go for a driving lesson with her mother. Police said their activities were “non-essential travel”.
The inquiry identified widespread systemic corruption in police, politics and civil society. This inquiry represented a change in police accountability.
There is another, lesser-known or appreciated aspect of the Fitzgerald inquiry. It emphasised that police must have the consent of the community: police have to ensure their practices generate trust that people will be treated fairly and police discretion will be used appropriately.
These are standard issues in the policing scholarship.
Pandemic policing raises many issues that cut to the core of policing by consent.
How policing resources are mobilised and the decision-making processes and practices on the ground are vital. Just look at the confused circumstances of the disembarkation of the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney, which has been a key cause of the spread of COVID-19 in NSW and beyond.
The Australian Border Force, NSW health authorities and NSW police were variously blamed, so surely there needs to be a major investigation into network failure and specific responsibilities.
Police discretion needs to be fair
Everyday street policing is central to pandemic policing: when do police decide to intervene and ask someone their purpose for being out and about?
Vague legislative provisions are often the source of poor use of discretion by police. But the answer is not to be found in taking away any discretion, the hallmark of “zero-tolerance policing”.
There are many things that might be done, but a few simple ones come to mind.
Any legislation or regulation must be precisely drafted. This has not been happening and is causing confusion. Just look at the level of uncertainty in NSW, Queensland and Victoria.
We need clearly stated offences, clear lines of reasoning and a clear demarcation between preferred practice or guidance and regulated conduct.
For instance, what does staying in your own “area” for permitted out-of-home travel mean?
A discussion on ABC radio in Melbourne recently descended into callers chastising a man who thought he would like to travel to the beach for exercise well away from his residence. Live on air, he asked Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton if that was okay.
The chief commissioner didn’t say yes or no, he just called for “common sense”. But what would be reasonable and common sense – 1km, 2km, 5km or 10km, etc? Is driving to exercise allowed?
More than common sense
Common sense is not the way to ensure police discretion is going to be used appropriately, nor does it give the community confidence in the law. It might only be the odd case here and there at the moment causing confusion or consternation but it is changing daily.
Data on the use of this discretion must be recorded and made publicly available in close to real time. Equally important is the need to have data on policing activities.
Most jurisdictions have a crime statistics agency and these agencies should be given responsibility to collate data to identify who is being stopped, where, for what offence and with what outcomes. Report this every day as we do health data.
It does not need to be data on the final outcome that determines whether the fine is paid or challenged in the courts some months later. But it needs to reflect the immediate policing activities and it needs to be made public and in a timely manner.
As the pandemic continues, and it may get worse, pandemic policing might head in directions the broader population has never experienced.
So 30 years on from Fitzgerald, we need to reinforce the notion that policing by consent, with transparency and accountability, is vital.
If public support is to be maintained over the course of the pandemic we need to make sure we have legal clarity and a detailed understanding of what is being done in the name of the exception. Pandemic policing must have very real limits and robust, real-time accountability.