Everyone is sorry, no one is responsible: COVID exposes lack of ministerial accountability

Everyone is sorry, no one is responsible: COVID exposes lack of ministerial accountability

We may not have eradicated the virus but Australia seems to have done a thorough job of eradicating any remaining shred of the accountability of government ministers. Just about everyone is being asked to make sacrifices for the public good. The front-line health workers who risk their own health for the health of the country are the people who bear the heaviest burden.

Millions of other citizens are expected to accept loss of income, loss of personal liberties, loss of wellbeing. And just about everyone is held to account. Those who don’t are admonished, fined and, in the case of the woman who snuck across the border into Western Australia by hiding on a truck, jailed for six months.

Just about everyone, that is, except those at the very top. We have three glaring failures.

One. Who was the NSW Minister for Health before the Ruby Princess plague event? Brad Hazzard. His department made multiple “serious”, “inexplicable” and “basic” errors in handling the disembarkation of passengers from the cruise ship, according to the special commission of inquiry into the event.