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SENATE COMMITTEE BACKS SENATOR PATRICK'S CALL FOR A ROYAL COMMISSION INTO GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE TO COVID-19

7 April 2022

Independent Senator Rex Patrick has welcomed the recommendation of the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 calling for a Royal Commission be established to examine Australia's response to the COVID-19 pandemic to inform preparedness for future COVID-19 waves and future pandemics.

"I welcome the Committee's recommendation supporting my calls for a Royal Commission into the Government's response to COVID-19," Senator Patrick said.

Senator Patrick first called for the establishment of a Royal Commission in June 2021.

I first called for the establishment of a Royal Commission in June 2021. The need for a comprehensive national investigation was absolutely clear then and it’s equally clear now," Senator Patrick said.

“A Royal Commission inquiry is essential to learn all the lessons we can from the Australia’s COVID-19 response."

“COVID-19 has been the biggest public policy challenge Australia has faced since the Second World War and it’s essential that we review that experience in the most comprehensive way possible; across all Governments – national, state and territory.”

“Only a Royal Commission can take a deep dive into the decisions and actions of the Federal and State governments over the past two years. Scrutiny is essential and we need to get moving on this before memories fade and documents are shredded.”

“My call for a Royal Commission has already been backed by independent MPs and Senators including Helen Haines and Zali Steggall. A number of Coalition and Labor MPs have expressed support for establishment of a Royal Commission. These MPs include Julian Hill, Anika Wells, Patrick Gorman and Anne Aly on the Labor side; and Matt Canavan, Sam McMahon and Gerard Rennick in the Coalition. One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson has also expressed support.”

“On 19 January 2022, I wrote to both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese urging them to give positive consideration to the establishment of a Federal Royal Commission to inquire into and report on Australia’s COVID-19 pandemic response. Both leaders have been silent."

"In light of the Senate Select Committee's recommendation, I am calling on Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese to confirm whether they support this recommendation and whether they will commit to establishing a Royal Commission."

Copies of Senator Patrick's letters to the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader are available here. The Senate Select Committee's report can be found here.