With the announcement of his COVID-19 inquiry, the Prime Minister has put political interest over Australia’s national interest.

He has rolled over to Labor Premiers and in doing so, the Prime Minister has broken a key promise that he took to the Australian people at the last election.

He promised that he would hold a royal commission or deep inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic, looking at the response of all governments across Australia.

It is incredibly disappointing that the Prime Minister has walked away from his commitment.

Our response to the pandemic followed a uniquely Australian path, and it allowed us to come out of the pandemic with health and economic outcomes that were world leading.

But there is no denying how critical it is that, now the worst of the pandemic has passed behind us, we learn from the lessons that COVID-19 provided and how we could have improved our response.

This is in our national interest, and it is about our preparedness as a country.

Instead, what we have from the Prime Minister is a quasi-inquiry into the pandemic, concocted with a Terms of Reference that specifically excludes the states and territories, and with an approach that looks like a witch-hunt against the former Coalition Government.

Any inquiry into Australia’s COVID-19 response that does not involve the states and territories should be seen for what it is – purely a protection racket for Dan Andrews and Anastasia Palaszczuk.

In the absence of any powers to compel the involvement of state and territory governments, the Prime Minister’s inquiry is a wasted opportunity to be proactive about Australia’s preparedness for future pandemics should they arise.

Light must be shone in on all of the decisions that were taken following the outbreak of COVID-19 in our country, particularly considering the significant role played by the states and territories, who were often responsible for decisions that most impacted on Australians lives and on their livelihoods.

Actions like lockdowns, testing regimes, state border closures and other restrictions that were placed on the Australian people, which we know are still having ongoing implications.

And despite what the Prime Minister may seem to believe, an inquiry must also recognise that the pandemic did not end on 22 May 2022.

In fact, under the current government, we saw more Covid-related deaths in aged care in 8 months than in the entire first two years of the Pandemic.

And for this inquiry have any integrity and credibility, international comparisons and Australia’s standing relative to other countries must also be considered.

All of these factors must be looked at as part of a proper and thorough investigation that is genuinely aimed at bolstering Australia’s pandemic preparedness.

Otherwise, all we have here is a half-baked inquiry, merely aimed at distracting from Labor’s shambolic handling of today’s issues and expunging Labor Premiers’ past decisions.