Brendan Crabb on ABC Radio Dec 9

Zero-COVID attitude set Australia apart

Burnet Institute Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC has credited Australia’s collective ‘zero-COVID attitude’ for the nation’s success in crushing the coronavirus, and as something that set Australia apart from other countries now struggling to cope with second and third waves.

In a broad-ranging interview with ABC Radio Melbourne Drive host Rafael Epstein, Professor Crabb also:

  • commended the Australian Government for its promotion of COVID-19 vaccines for the region;
  • warned of not allowing the pandemic to distract from the need to address pressing regional health issues including malaria, HIV and tuberculosis;
  • explained the false dichotomy between health and wealth that shaped some pandemic policy and planning; and
  • credited colleagues and like-minded institutions for his Country Hero Award for 2020 from advocacy movement, Global Citizen

Asked whether it was fair to compare Australia’s success in getting rid of coronavirus twice with what’s happening in other countries, Professor Crabb said: “The attitude that we took is what you can compare – attitude is everything.”

“Attitude is what made the difference for the six different countries in our region that have done really well.

“It’s not just Australia and New Zealand, but Taiwan and South Korea, they’ve done really well, and the difference between them and other countries in the world is attitude, the attitude that zero COVID is the only way to live with COVID.

“That’s what’s made all the difference and we can be really proud of that.

“You can line up that attitude of ours versus the others, both of governments and the populations and you can be really proud that we did what we did.”

Professor Crabb commended the Australian Government for stepping up ‘magnificently’ for the Pacific through its promotion of COVID vaccine availability for the region.

“I’ve been critical over the last four or five years of funding dropping away for foreign aid, but it’s really hard to fault them this year,” he said.

“We’ve got to make this work well over the next six to 12 months, and hopefully make these increases in funding for our region sustainable, because the real message is that COVID isn’t over for Australia, we’re not back to normal until it’s over for everybody … and a secure and prosperous region means a secure and prosperous Australia.

“They’re totally linked, and I sense that our Government palpably gets that now.”

Click here to listen to the interview, reproduced with permission from the ABC, in full.

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