Lockdowns and mandates - clearly not worth it

23 March, 2023

The first thing I'd like to do is associate myself with the words of the member for Calwell in the speech she has just given and associate this side of parliament with them too.

I seek leave, if there is no dissent, to table a document today, an article from the Australian. To explain what it is, it says: 'Australia recorded relatively more "excess deaths" during the COVID-19 pandemic than Sweden.' It is by Adam Creighton in a Washington post.

Leave granted.

Mr BROADBENT: I couldn't be more excited than I am today to read this. Here are some snippets from the article about new OECD analysis:

New OECD analysis comparing excess deaths in 2020 and 2021—the two worst years of the pandemic—for 36 developed nations reveals Australia had the fifth lowest increase in excess deaths, but came in behind Sweden, which attracted global scorn for resisting closing businesses, schools and ordering citizens to stay at home.

Including excess deaths—defined as those over and above what was expected—for 2022 as well puts Australia even further behind Sweden with an 8.2 per cent increase over the three-year period compared with Sweden's 3.1 per cent.

The OECD report, Ready for the Next Crisis? Investing in Health Care Resilience, found half of all Covid-19 deaths occurred among people aged 80 across 22 OECD countries with comparable data, and one third occurred in nursing homes.

Mexico and Colombia, which did impose lockdowns, endured the greatest increases in excess deaths of about 50 per cent. Japan and Sweden, the only two OECD nations to resist them, prompting international condemnation at the time, had among the lowest increases, ranking 4th and 8th, respectively.

Two US public health experts who in 2020 recommended the Swedish approach—Stanford University's Jay Bhattacharya and Harvard's Martin Kulldorff—said they felt vindicated but despaired at the lack of appreciation of the findings and feared the same policies would be followed again.

"The thing to emphasise is that Sweden has had one of the lowest excess mortalities in all Europe during the pandemic no matter how you cut the data," Professor Bhattacharya said. "If lockdowns were necessary to prevent death it should have had one of the worst. Sweden served as a control group for the world in ethical pandemic management and it was a rousing success."

He said the success Australia had in having "little Covid on the island for a full year came at tremendously high cost: 270 days of lockdown in Melbourne, essential imprisonment of the population".

The underlying health of a country's population (including rates of obesity), vaccination levels against Covid-19, and the capacity and quality of the available health care system best explained the widely different rates …

And our economy decreased by 39 per cent and their economy increased by — (Time expired.)

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