Brownstone » Articles for Michael Tomlinson

Michael Tomlinson

Michael Tomlinson is a Higher Education Governance and Quality Consultant. He was formerly Director of the Assurance Group at Australia’s Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, where he led teams to conduct assessments of all registered providers of higher education (including all of Australia’s universities) against the Higher Education Threshold Standards. Before that, for twenty years he held senior positions in Australian universities. He has been an expert panel member for a number of offshore reviews of universities in the Asia-Pacific region. Dr Tomlinson is a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia and of the (international) Chartered Governance Institute.

pandemic response

Retrospectives and Reviews of Pandemic Countermeasures

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In response to this hypothetical scenario, governments panicked, ignored their own pandemic preparedness plans and adopted high-risk strategies that imposed restrictions on individual liberty never seen before. These countermeasures caused major harms and collateral damage, including loss of lives from delayed medical care and the medium-term aftereffects of increased unemployment and increased extreme poverty (for example the World Bank found that  ‘the pandemic led to 97 million more people being in [extreme] poverty in 2020’).  


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In Search of Safety Signals – Let the Light Shine In

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Policy in public health should be only made on the basis of the evidence available. The evidence available indicates that the strategy of universal vaccination of the whole population exposed some groups to unnecessary risk, and that a differentiated risk-based strategy would have led to better outcomes. Some countries are now belatedly moving in this direction at least for boosters.


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The Universities Failed Us During the Pandemic

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Both universities and governments imposed extreme policies, extending to the micro-management of everyday life during lockdowns and gross violations of human rights, including the right to bodily autonomy. These extreme policies were not supported by hard evidence of effectiveness either at the time or since.


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The Age of Deference to Experts Is Over

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There has been a general feeling that in a public health emergency, anything goes. But on the contrary, in a public health emergency, when so much is at stake, the utmost care needs to be taken to find the right path, and not to fall into error, leading to unintended consequences. This involves exploring different paths rather than mandating one path and preventing any possibility of reconsideration.


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The Greatest Failure in the History of Public Health: The Case for the Prosecution

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Governments got it all wrong. They should have chosen the mitigation strategy all along, leaving the management of pathogens to actual medical professionals who deal with individuals and their problems rather than push a central plan hatched by computer scientists, political leaders, and their advisors.. 


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