Matter of Public Importance – Covid 19, 9 May, 2023

Senator BABET (Victoria—United Australia Party Whip) (17:45): The UAP obviously support the establishment of a royal commission into our COVID-19 response, but we don’t just support one; we demand one. It’s time. To simply move on from the pandemic as if nothing ever happened—’Don’t worry about it’—is an absolute outrage, maybe an even greater outrage than the multiple outrages perpetrated during the pandemic itself. To not forensically examine how the government and public institutions handled the COVID crisis would represent an epic failure of curiosity, a dereliction of public duty, and would heap insult on top of injury to the millions of Australians whose lives were devastated not only by the virus but, more importantly, by the government’s response to the virus.

University of New South Wales professor of economics Gigi Foster analysed the economic, health and societal impact of government imposed COVID lockdowns and estimated that the cost was 68 times greater than any benefit provided. If she’s even half right, we need to investigate that. If it’s even partly true, decency alone, let alone duty, demands a full and frank inquiry. Real-world evidence comparing Sweden, where lockdowns were not implemented, with nations like ours, where government panic was the order of the day, showed Sweden actually did better on every relevant data point.

Does anyone here remember what happened in my home state of Victoria? Police enforced curfews and rings of steel around Melbourne and arrested a pregnant mother in her home for a Facebook post. To ignore this, to sweep it under the carpet, to insist, ‘Nothing to see here,’ is just disgraceful. That’s what it is; it’s disgraceful. I could go on and on with more examples and more evidence that the state and federal governments, first of all driven by fear, then drunk on power, hurt and harmed citizens with their manic COVID response.

Investigation—we need to have one. That’s to say nothing of vaccine mandates, which threatened free men and women with punitive measures, effectively turning them into second-class citizens, destroying so many livelihoods and breaking up families if they declined a drug that has since proven to be less than effective, let’s put it nicely, and in some cases dangerous. Worse, we’re now seeing overwhelming evidence of the injuries that were caused by these mandates.

Are we not the least bit curious? Do we not care even a little bit? Are we really going to tell Aussies we’re uninterested in finding out any truths? We must investigate. We must learn lessons. We must make sure these mistakes are never repeated. A royal commission into Australia’s COVID-19 response is not something we should just consider; it is something we should begin at the earliest opportunity. It is the least we can do for the people we represent. I was elected largely on the issue of lockdowns and vaccine mandates, due to the heavy-handed, unscientific nature of what the government did both in my home state of Victoria and around the country, and I made a promise to the people who voted for me that I would always push for an investigation and uncover the truth.

I’m here today to call on all of you to have an interest in the truth, to say: ‘Hey, we’re not going to sit back and just push this under the rug.’ We’re going to find out what happened because we want to do better for our constituents. We don’t want to be back in this position one day in the future, especially now that the World Health Organization has come out and said that they want control over our health policy. Let’s not let this happen again.