Flat White

Lies, damned lies, and Covid statistics

20 March 2022

4:00 AM

20 March 2022

4:00 AM

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet lied. The New South Wales Health Department lied. The question remains, did other state premiers misrepresent Covid health policies?

No, this is not an assumption, unfounded allegation, or exaggeration.

Several weeks ago, Dominic Perrottet openly admitted to deliberately misleading the public in a bizarre rant that exposed recent health orders in New South Wales as nothing more than superficial (and expensive) measures to make the Department of Education ‘feel better’ about children returning to school.

Perrottet referred to the re-installment of QR testing and the state-wide use of RAT testing in schools as having ‘no utility’ and ‘no science’.

‘The most ironic one I thought was we [NSW government] ended up bringing QR codes back when we weren’t even tracking and tracing. There was no science behind it at all. It had zero utility. But there was a massive campaign and when those campaigns get run what it does is that it depletes confidence. And that kind of reporting, as we have seen over this period of time has been depleting confidence in our people. So we actually brought it back for one reason only – to instil confidence so that people would go out using QR codes.’

Yes, our supposed ‘trust the science’ Covid-Safe society was unable to handle the truth, so the government made businesses stand there and watch people check-in to nowhere for weeks, and police fined them if they refused to partake in the theatre of nonsense.

According to an ABC article at the time, Perrottet’s decision came after a National Cabinet meeting (the contents of which are protected after the Prime Minister passed legislation to deter Freedom of Information requests). Perrottet explained the decision to reintroduce QR check-ins was created as part of a range of measures that would ‘assist with contact tracing’.

What is this if not a lie?

The NSW websites still says, ‘From 18 February 2022, QR check-ins will only be required for nightclubs, strip clubs, sex on premises venues and for music festivals with more than 1,000 people. Hospitals, aged and disability facilities may use their existing systems for recording visitors.’

Is anyone using this information? It seems unlikely, and even if they are, what is the scientific value of tracing a virus with 195,000 active cases?

By far the more disturbing insight offered by Perrottet was the abuse of the state’s children to make the Education sector ‘feel better’.

‘When we announced schools going back, the media would rush to find the scariest epidemiologist who was out there saying “every child across New South Wales would die”. And that was a problem, because we had to instil confidence. So what did we do? Together we agreed we would go and get all these Rapid Antigen Tests – which was a massive fee,’ said the Premier.

Instead of standing his ground and defending the much-lauded ‘science’ of NSW Health – something that citizens were told that they could not question when it was destroying their businesses and holding them hostage in their homes – Perrottet implemented measures to keep the media quiet.

With the state in a financial mess, Perrottet authorised the NSW Department of Health to spend over $57 million on Rapid Antigen Tests for school students to make the Department of Education feel better about hypochondriac parents and teachers.

Dubbed the ‘Covid Smart Plan’ to (unnecessarily) assist the return of children to school, it remains proudly advertised on the government’s website – even after the Premier rubbished it as old-fashioned propaganda.

‘Premier Dominic Perrottet said supporting students to return safely to the classroom is vital after two years of disruption to their education. […] New COVID-smart measures will help make this happen, including surveillance testing both students and staff twice weekly with RATS.’

Compare this to the Premier’s candid comments in late February.

‘I mean, we had to procure – we procured millions of these tests and had the plan together and distributed them before schools started to three thousand schools across our state and five thousand childcare and early childcare education centres.

‘And by doing that together and having that plan – and this is another interesting thing about the pandemic – [the Department of] Health completely disagreed with this approach, by the way, they didn’t see the point of having surveillance testing, but [the Department of] Education wanted it because we need to once again instil confidence in our teachers and instil confidence in our parents.’

This is a lie that continues in print and as policy. Why hasn’t it been retracted with an apology?

When these revelations came to light on social media, the majority of the press allowed the embarrassing truth to sink quietly beneath the headlines, probably because they had invested thousands of pages in justifying and congratulating the exposed health measures – and also because Perrottet name-dropped the press as being part of the problem.

There were no repercussions for this deception – not for the Department of Education, the Department of Health, or the media.

At least Perrottet offered an admission to the fabrication of Covid health orders at this late stage of the pandemic, but what about his peers in National Cabinet?

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk ran near-identical RAT programs for school children earlier this year while the Federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, competed for bragging rights.

They have said nothing.

Alexandra Marshall is an independent writer. If you would like to support her work, shout her a coffee over at donor-box.

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