Oz: 8th best Covid-19 response; why?

A Lowy Institite study ranked countries according to how they have managed coronavirus risks. NZ ranks 1st, Australia 8th. The Bottom 5 were: USA, Iran, Columbia, Mexico, Brazil. 
Note with all the debates about whether democracies or authoritarian regimes manage public risk better, or whether left or right of the political spectrum guards public health better, one fact stands out in the Lowy 100 List. The more a countries' politics is shaped by populist nationalism and strongman leadership, the worse it has done, regardless of whether the strongman is left or right politically. 
All the bottom 5 fit that description: US under (the far right) Trump, Iran under (fundamentalist, conservative Islam) Khamenei, Columbia under (right wing) Duque, Mexico under (leftist) Obrador, Brazil under (far right) Bolsonaro. The key element of populist strongman regimes is that they don't tolerate any devolution of power, and thus they attack other institutions: experts like health professionals, the media, courts, civic groups, etc, and they deligitimate any opposition as enemies of the state and insult then mercilessly. 
In Australia: ScoMo allowed a devolution of authority to States, who then effectively ran themselves as small population countries with strong border controls and close relations between political leadership and relevant institutions (like health care and medical experts). 
The lesson is? Beware the autocrats who are also populists and nationalists. It's the worst combination. 

SMH article: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/analysis-ranks-the-countries-that-handled-covid-19-best-20210127-p56x3g.html

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  • I think Australia is rather unique in that the states hold a lot of power (left over from colonial times), and anyway they are the ones running the health system. ScoMo probably could have held onto some of that power in the guise of national interests, but he did the right thing and handed over to the states what they do best.

    We saw various degrees on populism (QLD, WA), which ended up with a hardline approach, but luckliy as you say they are not autocrats (that notion is just about impossible here). Interestingly, I do believe our political systems would not have allowed Trump to persist as long as he did. Ultimately the pressure would have been great to do away with him long before the election. The trouble with Trump was that he just didn't listen to his advisers, and that was his downfall, and the downfall of the US with how they reacted to Covid.

    • Longfin, yes, the Aussie political system is better equipped to deal with would-be autocrats like Trump. Our political parties are stronger than the weak US parties (they can't control delegates at primaries), the party that gets the most popular votes wins power (power is formed in the lower house), and we have no power invested in an individual (no independent Presidency). 

      I suspect what we will see once elections in Oz roll around, is that Premiers are more vulnerable than the PM. ScoMo could rightfully take credit for strong borders and Jobkeeper, and Premiers were stuck with any fallout from lockdowns. Palaszczuk in QLD rode the popularity in QLD of no community transmission but Andrew's in VIC is probably in for a rough ride. But we only have to look to the US to see what would have happened if federal (non)leadership hobbled States. 

      • 8487483282?profile=RESIZE_400x

        • I can only think that New Zealand has a woman as a leader and again the superior comes forth.

          There is also no doubt that Gladys has done a wonderful job for New South Wales......what a shame that the Qld premier is actually a man!

          • everyone bagged her at the time but she didnt let anyone in or out until the shit was gone, where we get too comfortable and reopen too soon

            • Jacinda was right. Her critics wrong. She won. They lost. End of story!

              • Imagine only having to manage a country smaller than Sydney ...  people who can compare her task to that of an actual country with hundreds of millions is either very bias or a fool . 

                • You do realize the virus has the same reproduction rate whether it is in a country of hundreds of millions or tens of millions or just millions?

                  The only thing truly small in your comment is your small-mindedness. 

                  • If you can't see how having a eeenie meeenie tiny little small population in a large space would make it substantially easier to manage then it's not worth even having the discussion .  

                    as I said before ,  by your logic our reponse to major earthquakes leaves hers for dead . 

                    • Wiz, are you aware the population density of NZ is 18 people per square kilometer? The pop density of VIC is 28/sqkm, of NSW 10/sqkm. Of course population density is uneven. Melbourne's is 450/sqkm. Auckland's is 300/sqkm. Apparently there is a small zone in inner city Melbourne at 8,000/km. There is probably an area in Auckland like this too. 

                      Your point, in other words, is completely undone by the unevenness of population density but the need to manage a virus with a stable Ro across populations. You have to plan for the most vulnerable. Except if you're the US, or Brazil, or India, or the UK, and you just roll the dice without thinking about you're social network weak points.

                      Honestly, I understand you're point about few people in big areas. But it is fallacious to overlook uneven population density and what that means. The virus, as we have seen in Oz, often enters through your airports and seaports, which are often in zones of high population densities. The story of containment starts there, not out in the boonies as your imagery suggests. 

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