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How Should We Manage the Next Pandemic?

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The pandemic might or might not be over, but it is definitely time for an honest, forthright, forward-looking discussion about what happened - what was done well and what was not - moving on to how we can do better next time. 

Deep fault lines in our society, policy and economy were exposed in 2020-21 - not only within the health sector, but among states, between levels of government, between authoritarians and those more concerned with human rights or civil liberties, and between those who benefited from accelerated digitisation and those who lost out from it, to name a few. And of course, we racked up huge public debt and for many, private debt and loss of equity.

As it stands, there is no official process of review of Australia's preparedness or response to Covid-19. Sweden completed its official inquiry in February. The Prime Minister has reportedly promised one. There is a non-government, philanthropy-funded inquiry which reported on 20 October (and which two of our speakers served on).

One discussion on one night in Brisbane will not be enough, but it could be the start of an informal national series of productive discussions in the Big Dialogue format or similar, complementing other processes, which just might make a difference.

Following on from this event, the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences (QAAS) will host a series of Round Tables early in 2023 on the same topic. The Round Tables are to be multidisciplinary, multisectoral, evidence-based and future-focussed. QAAS will also lead the development and dissemination of a substantial report arising from the Big Dialogue and the Round Tables.




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