Western Australian Premier Roger Cook says his government has been vindicated after an eight-month review of its response to COVID.

The review by former Liberal Health minister John Day, Emeritus Professor Margaret Seares, and former deputy of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Michael Schaper, was tabled in state parliament last week.

As Sir Humphrey Appleby told us in ‘Yes Minister’, you never set up an inquiry unless you know the outcome.

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The fact is this review, which received 900 submissions, was held behind closed doors, with no public hearings and no publication of submissions.

Its findings are therefore no surprise.

However, put simply, they are not credible.

The D’Argent family, who blamed the hard border as the cause of their daughter Robyn’s suicide after she was denied entry to her home state twice during the pandemic, were one of many aggrieved families who made submissions to the review.

Yet they were given short shrift.

Premier Cook was the Health Minister who banned people coming into the state on compassionate grounds while AFL footballers, and allegedly ALP political donors, could come and go as they pleased.

Cook patted his government on the back for making decisions to keep people safe, saying that was “the key defining role of the government – that government governs in the interests of all Western Australians.” 

The old Jedi mind trick.

Nothing to see here.

It has been shown in numerous studies, a World Health Organisation bulletin being one of them, that COVID has a case fatality rate of less than one per cent, meaning that the vast majority of those who test positive will not die.

It is a virus that poses risks specifically to the elderly and those with existing co-morbidities, and extremely negligible risk to healthy individuals.

The vast majority of those who have died with COVID in Australia were over the age of 80 and had pre-existing illnesses. 

Therefore, there appeared to be little to no justification for not applying the National Pandemic Plan’s “ethical framework”, which includes “ensuring that the rights of the individual are upheld as much as possible” and “that measures taken are proportional to the threat”.

Accordingly, orders barring people from travelling, working, going about their lawful duties, or enjoying a meal with family and friends, especially if they had no pre-existing conditions, or were not in a vulnerable category, were difficult to justify in light of the evidence.

What is more, the narrow-minded focus on COVID-19 led to several other negative consequences, as outlined in this report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

These include adverse impacts on mental health for young people, as well as an increase in family and domestic violence and child abuse and neglect.

Another recommendation of the review was for the government to combat vaccine misinformation and disinformation as the government embarked on its mandatory vaccine rollout.

While Premier Cook said that this justified the imposition of vaccine mandates, let’s have a look at the facts.

First, there was never any proper evidence to demonstrate that people who are unvaccinated present a greater risk of transmission of the virus.

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This was outlined clearly as far back as December 2020 when the WHO’s then-chief scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, said this about COVID vaccine efficacy:

“I don’t believe we have the evidence on any of the vaccines to be confident that it’s going to prevent people from actually getting the infection and therefore being able to pass it on.”

Throughout 2021, this was confirmed via numerous studies.

Indeed, the prestigious Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal reported in October 2021 that COVID vaccines have “minimal” impact on preventing transmission of the virus, which blew a hole in the argument that workers needed to get vaccinated to protect those around them.

The same journal the following month published the results of another study which outlined the futility of vaccine mandates and directly contradicted assertions made repeatedly by politicians and health bureaucrats that the jabs were necessary to prevent transmission.

Relevantly, the study found that triple-vaccinated Israeli doctors and nurses were getting COVID and passing it on to their patients.

The study concluded:

“The demonstration of COVID breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated health-care workers (HCW) in Israel, who in turn may transmit this infection to their patients, requires a reassessment of compulsory vaccination policies leading to the job dismissal of unvaccinated HCW in the USA.”

Maybe this is why ATAGI never recommended vaccine mandates in the first place. 

Second, the WA government’s own Health Department recently published the West Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance (WAVSS) report for 2021.

Its results show an “exponential increase” in adverse events, with hospitals struggling to cope.

As noted on page four of the report:

“The number of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) reported to WAVSS was significantly higher in 2021 than in previous years… due to the introduction of the COVID vaccination program.”

On page one,  the report outlined that almost four million doses of COVID vaccination were administered in WA in 2021, with 10,428 AEFIs reported in the same period; 57 per cent of these AEFIs were treated in hospitals or the emergency department.

In fact, the data suggested that COVID vaccines had caused injuries – the top two were myocarditis and pericarditis – at a rate of 264 per 100,000 – 24 times the rate of other established vac­cines, particularly in the 18-24 and 25-29 age groups.

These, of course, are the age groups least at risk from COVID.

Even so, McGowan was adamant that “the virus will find those who are not vaccinated”.

Mind you, what else would you expect from a Premier whose Emergency Minister wasn’t even reading the health advice before repeatedly extending the “state of emergency” declaration, thus perpetuating a continuous abuse of executive power.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, excess deaths in Australia were 12.2 per cent above the baseline in April 2023, and the state with the highest excess deaths was… WA (14.7 per cent).

Nothing to see here?

Only if you are an incompetent premier and former health minister in desperate need of some good publicity to deflect attention from troubling levels of crime and hospital emergency wait times and your humiliating backdown on the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act.

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The Unlucky Country - Zimmermann & Moens

Dr Rocco Loiacono is a legal academic, writer and translator. Earlier in his career, he spent a decade practicing as a lawyer with Clayton Utz, one of Australia’s top law firms. As well as SkyNews.com.au, he regularly contributes opinion pieces, specialising in politics, freedom and the rule of law, to The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun and The Australian.

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