Brownstone » Brownstone Journal » Policy » Australia’s ‘Covid Honour Roll’ is Absurd
Australia's 'Covid Honour Roll' is Absurd

Australia’s ‘Covid Honour Roll’ is Absurd

Former Victorian premier Daniel Andrews, left, and former West Australian premier Mark McGowan, right.

In Australia, you can preside over human rights abuses, you can run the healthcare system into the ground, you can authorise police violence on citizens, you can blow millions-to-billions on cancelled infrastructure projects, and you can name-call from the bully pulpit…and we’ll give you an award for it. 

Today, Australia’s two most aggressive Covid-era premiers, Daniel Andrews (Victoria) and Mark McGowan (Western Australia), were awarded the nation’s top honour, the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC). 

In the 2024 King’s Birthday honours roll, only six Australians received the award, which signifies “eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or to humanity at large.” 

Andrews received the award for “eminent service to the people and parliament of Victoria, to public health, to policy and regulatory reform, and to infrastructure development.”

McGowan received the same award for “eminent service to the people and parliament of Western Australia, to public health and education, and to international trade relations”.

Awarding the Companion of the Order of Australia to these two former premiers renders the honour system essentially meaningless – no more than a pat on the back for occupying a top position during hard times.

Daniel Andrews, also known as ‘Dictator Dan’ for his strongman style of leadership during the pandemic years, left a legacy of brutality, debt, and corruption after stepping down as Victorian premier in September last year.

Some of Andrews’ greatest hits include:

Image: Michael Gray Griffith @cafelockedout
  • Two people set themselves on fire to protest Andrews’ vaccine mandates/passports.
  • Trapped thousands of low-income Melbourne residents in public housing flats under armed guard for weeks. The Victorian ombudsman found that the government had breached human rights, but Housing Minister Richard Wynne flipped it off, stating, “We make no apology for saving people’s lives.”
Image: BBC

Read more about Dan Andrews’ legacy here.

Mark McGowan, who resigned from the WA premiership in June last year, is often credited with ‘keeping Covid out’ with his prolonged hard border closure, but WA hospitals buckled during this time, concurrent with the vaccine rollout and record-high adverse event reporting.

McGowan’s greatest hits include:

  • A 697-day nightmare border closure, separating families and resulting in suicides of despair.
  • World’s toughest and most punitive segregation rules, excluding the remaining 1-2% unvaccinated from the economy, society, and access to services they paid for with their taxes.
  • Adverse event reporting shot up to 24x the usual rate with the Covid vaccine rollout, with 57% of adverse events requiring treatment in the emergency department or hospital admission.

Image: WAVSS Annual Report 2021, with graphics by Rebekah Barnett
  • Tanking the hospital system. Ambulance ramping doubled in 2021 – at a time when there was almost zero Covid in the state, but there were record-high adverse events reported in relation to the Covid vaccines. In the same year, the tragic and preventable death of seven-year-old Aishwarya Aswath occurred due to understaffing at Perth Children’s Hospital.
  • Schoolyard bully name-calling, labelling his critics “anti-vaxxers,” “misfits,” and “losers”, and telling them to “grow a brain.”
  • Gross mismanagement of pandemic spending, including a budget of $3 million on tests blowing out $580 million (enough to fund two hospital redevelopments). Many tests ended up being binned. 
  • An international scandal of fraudulent gold doping at the Perth Mint (this fell under McGowan’s portfolio as Treasurer).
  • And no one will ever be able to forget this paternalistic campaign featuring an Indigenous woman translating McGowan’s English into…English. 

As expected, WA experienced the pandemic when the borders opened – two years after everyone else. WA’s ‘independent’ pandemic review declared the McGowan government’s pandemic response a great success but provided no empirical evidence to support this conclusion (unless you count forcibly mass-vaccinating the entire population and prolonging the pandemic for years as the sole measures of “success”).

Read more about Mark McGowan’s legacy here.

Another Covid worst-offender honoured on the King’s Birthday is former Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) boss, Professor John Skerritt, who has been appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) on the ‘Covid-19 Honour Roll.’ 

As head of the TGA, Skerritt oversaw the rushed approvals of the Covid vaccines, which are associated with unprecedented rates of adverse event reporting, and which are contaminated with high levels of plasmid DNA (though the TGA has yet to acknowledge this). On Skerritt’s watch, the TGA effectively banned the use of ivermectin at the height of the pandemic until the majority of Australians were vaccinated, after which the ban was lifted.

Moreover, Skerritt denied that the regulator hid post-vaccination child deaths from the Australian public, despite TGA communications clearly stating that the deaths had been hidden from the Freedom of Information disclosure logs because “disclosure of the documents could undermine public confidence.” He also said that cardiac arrest was not a safety signal for Covid vaccines despite TGA records showing that it was (FOI 4032).

Skerritt is named as a respondent in a Covid vaccine injury class action, which was filed in the Federal Court last year. The action alleges that Skerritt’s “negligence” and “misfeasance” led to the approval and use of vaccines that did not meet the critical safety and efficacy requirements, resulting in death, serious illness, and serious injury of Australians, of whom over 1,000 are represented in the action. The action is still taking on members injured by the Covid vaccines (find out more here). 

Former TGA boss, John Skerritt. Image: Courier Mail

After exiting their pandemic-era roles, Andrews, McGowan, and Skerritt have all moved on to cushy private-sector jobs. Andrews has reportedly taken the “billionaire career path,” teaming up with WA mining billionaire Andrew Forrest to sell ‘green’ iron to China. McGowan has branched into consulting on international trade and mining. Skerritt has switched teams from regulator to regulated, taking up a role on the board of Medicines Australia, Australia’s peak body representing the pharmaceutical industry.

Last month, Victoria appointed Australia’s first ‘Parliamentary Secretary for Men’s Behaviour Change’ to address what is widely viewed as a national ‘masculinity crisis’ by “focus[ing] largely on the influence the internet and social media have on boys’ and men’s attitudes towards women and building respectful relationships.”

Yet, this is what our political class teaches Australia’s young men (and women):

The old saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.”

We could have an entire Department of Secretaries for Men’s Behaviour Change, and every former Premier could be awarded with top honours for showing up to work. But unless our political class cleans house, Australians will continue to view them with the contempt and distrust they deserve. 

Republished from the author’s Substack

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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  • Rebekah Barnett

    Rebekah Barnett is a Brownstone Institute fellow, independent journalist and advocate for Australians injured by the Covid vaccines. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of Western Australia, and writes for her Substack, Dystopian Down Under.

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