Australia News & Commentary

Premier Says Mandatory QR Check-Ins and School RAT Programs Were Only a Media Stunt to Counter the Fear Campaign: “No Science Behind It at All”

"There was no science behind it at all... We actually brought it back for one reason only, to instil confidence so that people would go out using QR codes."

New South Wales Premier, Dominic Perrottet, has said mandatory QR code check-ins and compulsory schools Rapid Antigen Tests were a media stunt designed to counter the media’s fear campaign.

The Premier made the admission earlier this month while speaking at the NSW State of the State 2022 meeting, held by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

Perrottet told the audience he worked together with Victorian Premier Dan Andrews to formulate an approach that would combat the media’s fear campaign and avoid their criticism, even if “there was no science behind it at all.”

I get criticized for being the ‘Open Up Guy,’ he [Daniel Andrews] gets critized for being the ‘Lockdown Guy.’ So, if we could some how work together and have similar settling in place, the ability for the media to criticize and instil fear in the community based on the approach we were taking, we would take that off the table.

So, it was a strategic plan for both of us to mirror our settings where possible, and that has proven to be incredibly successful. Because, I think, when you’ve got, particularly the media, on any decision the government makes–you know, the most ironic on I thought was that we ended up bringing QR codes back when we weren’t even tracking and tracing. There was no science behind it at all. It had zero utility.

But there was a massive campaign, and when those massive campaigns get run, what it does is it depletes confidence, and that kind of reporting as we’ve seen over this period of time, has depleted confidence in our people. So we actually brought it back for one reason only, to instil confidence so that people would go out using QR codes.

Perrottet went on to say mandatory RAT testing for school children was introduced contrary to the Health Department’s advice in an effort to make teachers and parents feel safe.

When we announced schools going back, the media would rush to find the scariest epidemiologist who was out there saying every child across New South Wales would die.

That was a problem because we have to instil confidence. So, what did we do together? We agreed that we’d go and get all these rapid antigen tests, which was a massive feat. I mean, we procured million of these tests, and had the plan together, and distributed them before school started to 3,000 schools across our state and 5,000 child care and early childhood education centres.

By doing that together, and have that plan–and there’s another interesting thing about the pandemic–Health completely disagreed with this approach, by the way. They didn’t see the point of having surveillance testing, but education wanted it because we needed to, once again, instil confidence in our teachers and instil confidence in our parents that children would be safe at school.

And New South Wales and Victoria, once again, a Liberal state and a Labor state, having exactly the same policy, really built that confidence in, so when those reports came in, those concerns came into parents, there was that sense that well, if it’s good enough for New South Wales, and it’s good enough for Victoria, I have greater confidence, I have greater confidence in the approach.

The full speech can be viewed here: