The ABC’s Dr Norman Swan explains why Victoria did so badly with Covid in 2020. Watch his comments here (47sec): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3h8mS-6VUM
Dr Swan says Victoria has
“… 88 different health services which don’t look after the population unlike most other states (the Victorian government)… long ago degraded … the public health capacity, and in 2009 they ran the white flag up … Dan Andrews was the Health Minister.”
This analysis by Dr Swan reinforces why we must proceed to push for the prosecution of the government and responsible individuals (Premier, etc.) over the 801 Hotel Quarantine deaths in 2020. If WorkSafe fails to do its job by prosecuting individuals, the degraded Victorian health system will continue to put people at risk. It’s unsafe.
Running parallel to Dr Swan’s comments is an analysis by a public administration academic who case studied the 2020 Hotel Quarantine program. His report Hiding in plain sight: Vulnerability, public administration, and the case of Covid-19 hotel quarantine sets out a table that shows all the actions and inactions of the government that led to the 801 deaths disaster. The paper says:
“The Covid-19 HQ Inquiry found that a series of actions and inactions surrounding decisions by politicians, practitioners, and policymakers with responsibilities for public administration portfolio areas gave rise to accidents which brought failures and subsequently a crisis into existence.”
“… the leadership and functional expertise at group as well as individual levels was unable to take meaningful action to ensure that the program was fit for purpose.”
However, the paper focuses exclusively on the notion that the disaster should be treated as a learning experience for public health administration. Some people might believe that no individuals need to be held to account to enable ‘learnings’ and change. Such a position would be plain wrong—even dangerous and unsafe in our view.
We see this attitude too often in public administration. The people who make the decisions (politicians and bureaucrats) are rarely held personally accountable for their decisions. The ‘blame’ is isolated and attached to the ‘system.’ But this is not the standard applied to business or the community. Small business people, in particular, are held personally accountable for every action they take. We say the public sector must be held to the same community standard.
This is why we say that Victorian WorkSafe is making things dangerously unsafe in only prosecuting the Department of Health and not the individuals who were the decision makers in the Hotel Quarantine disaster. Community standards of individual responsibility must be applied. No one is above the law.
More developments and news soon.