9 April 2020
"Whilst the Government does deserve some credit for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the reality is that successive Australian Governments have led to us being caught short in dealing with the risk of pandemics," Senator Patrick has said in a speech to the Senate last night. "This has meant the Coalition has to improvise in dealing with the issue."
"Governments didn't properly manage the risk, nor adequately plan for something that numerous health experts and even the likes of Bill Gates warned was inevitable. Broad plans had been drawn up following the SARS outbreak of 2002-04, but we failed to flesh out those plans. They were left as very high-level frameworks. We failed repeatedly to test them and we failed to develop our understanding of the likely economic impacts of the measures that would be required to slow and reduce the human toll of a pandemic."
"Had the Government engaged properly, had the Government planned in greater depth an exercise to explore all aspects of potential scenarios, then we might not have been forced into the extraordinary improvisation of the past two months."
"Some people, including me, have compared the current challenges to those of a war. The problem is that, if this is the equivalent of a war, then the government had no real mobilisation plan. It's all been improvisation—vast improvisation certainly, but improvisation nonetheless. Had the Government engaged in proper preparation and planning, it would not be scrambling now, as it is, to gather information on the ability of Australian companies to supply personal protective equipment and the ingredients for a COVID-19 testing kit."