Australia and COVID-19: Cracks in the Commonwealth

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Pandemic, States and Societies in the Asia-Pacific, 2020-2021: Responding to COVID


In the chapter on COVID in Australia, Charles Hawksley (University of Wollongong) and Nichole Georgeou (Western Sydney University) explore the problems that eventuated in a wealthy developed state when the federal government did not actually have the emergency powers to manage the pandemic and where individual state and territory governments of Australia led the response to COVID. The Commonwealth government sought to project an image that it was indeed managing events; however, it mismanaged key aspects of the response, in particular the vaccine rollout and the administration of elder care in nursing homes. The chapter also explores the economic response and the unequal enforcement of restrictions in lower-socio-economic status suburbs that were policed more rigorously than in wealthier suburbs.

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