Scott Morrison and Professor Sharon LewinPrime Minister Scott Morrison

Doherty Institute refuses to deny interference from Prime Minister Scott Morrison regarding their support of Morrison’s failed Covid plan

There is a powerful prima facie case that Prime Minister Scott Morrison pressured the Doherty Institute to publicly support his Covid strategy which if true is very disturbing. The Doherty Institute produced the Doherty Report which has in effect been the road map that Prime Minister Scott Morrison and all the state premiers agreed to use as the basis for managing the Covid crisis. But Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian have been selectively quoting from the Doherty Report to support Morrisons Covid plan and NSW’s failed Covid management.

Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian have been under huge pressure for mishandling Covid and out of nowhere on Monday night (23/8/21) the Doherty Institute issued a press release which read like it had been written by Scott Morrison’s media team. So, I sent some questions to the media manager at the Doherty Institute as per the below email.

To read the Doherty Institute press release on their website (Click here) and to read the press release on a Twitter thread (Click here).

From: Shane Dowling
Sent: Monday, 23 August 2021 10:52 PM
To: Rebecca Elliott
Subject: Media request – journalist Shane Dowling

Hi Rebecca

The Doherty Institute published a media statement on their website and on a Twitter thread on Monday night (23/8/21) and it has received substantial criticism already from other Twitter users in the first hour. I have a few questions:

  1. One part of the statement says “Once we reach 70% vaccine coverage, opening up at tens or hundreds of cases nationally per day is possible, however, we will need vigilant public health interventions with higher caseloads.”
  2. Given we already have over 900 daily cases, mostly in NSW, and the number has been growing isn’t your statement about opening up totally irrelevant?
  3. Why has the Professor not issued a report on what the likely outcome for NSW is given it’s current numbers of daily Covid cases, over 800 per day, and given the NSW government’s poor management?
  4. Did Prime Minister Scott Morrison or anyone from the government ask the Doherty Institute to publish the statement you did on Monday night?
  5. Did Prime Minister Scott Morrison or anyone from the government help draft the statement published by the Doherty Institute on Monday night?
  6. When are you going to inform Australians that the last group to be vaccinated will primarily be children under 12 years old and as children are particularly vulnerable to the Delta variant, opening up early sacrifices Australia’s youngest & most vulnerable?
  7. Is there an optimal number of daily cases, at the time of 70% vaccination, before opening up is allowed? Surely it can’t be 800 cases a day?
  8. What does the Doherty Institute say about long Covid in its calculations? Or is it just ignored?

Can you please respond by 5pm on Tuesday 24/8/21 so I can publish.


Shane Dowling

The Doherty Institute have at this point refused to respond to my questions and have refused to deny any involvement from Scott Morrison or the government in publishing the media statement. The statement started off “There is light at the end of the tunnel” which to me was one giveaway that someone in Morrison’s office helped draft it as Morrison has also recently used that term in relation to Covid management.

Scott Morrison and Professor Sharon Lewin

Scott Morrison and Professor Sharon Lewin

As it turned out Doherty Institute director Professor Sharon Lewin, who wrote the Doherty Report, did some interviews on Monday afternoon (23/8/21) supporting the position of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. And she did at least one interview Tuesday night on the ABC’s 7:30 Report. But the Doherty Institute have refused to answer my questions.

As you can see in the above email, I questioned some of the contradictions in the media release from the Doherty Institute and what is happening in reality in NSW with large and growing Covid case numbers. But I am not the only one to question what the Doherty Report says and how people are interpreting it. In the below recording Dr Swan raises what is in the Doherty Report and suggests Professor Sharon Lewin is misinterpreting her own report.

Below is a recording of the ABC’s Health Report titled “Have we misunderstood the Doherty modelling?” with Dr Norman Swan and Professor Allan Saul on Monday the 23rd of August 2021. They talk about what the Doherty Report really means, and Dr Swan also raised the different interpretation that Professor Sharon Lewin gave on Monday on another ABC program (See 4.30 to 5.00 of the recording below).

It must be remembered that Scott Morrison openly spoke about trying to influence Atagi, who advise the government on Covid vaccines, to change their advice on AstraZeneca. The Guardian reported on the 21st of July 2021:

PM says he has made a ‘constant appeal’ to the advisory group to recommend the vaccine for under-60s.

Scott Morrison has appealed for a change in official health advice for the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying the latest outbreak requires a new risk assessment to get more people vaccinated.

The prime minister, who has been on the defensive over the government’s handling of the troubled vaccine rollout, said on Wednesday that his “constant appeal” to the Australian technical advisory group on immunisation (Atagi) was to alter its advice to encourage more people to take the AstraZeneca shot.

“It’s a constant appeal, I can assure you,” Morrison said. “The situation Australia faces should be managed on the balance of risk, as Atagi has said to me in the past. Well, it’s for them to now constantly reconsider how that balance of risk applies and provide their advice accordingly.” (Click here to read more)

If Scott Morrison pressured Atagi “constantly” as he openly said to change their medical advice, I think it is certain Morrison has also pressured the Doherty Institute and Professor Sharon Lewin to make public statements to support Morrison and his Covid strategy. But all Morrison has achieved is he has politicised the Doherty Institute and Professor Sharon Lewin and their credibility will take a nosedive because of it.

Can Australia afford to have a failed marketing executive (Scott Morrison) leaning on medical people to support his political objectives whether or not it is in the best interests of the Australian public? Of course not and it needs to be exposed.

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23 replies »

  1. The giveaway on interference is that the Doherty Report has no scenario for opening up without additional measures. i.e. the return to normal that pollies allude to.
    The scenarios should be balanced around the target to see the consequence of more or less vaccination at a minimum 90% should have been modelled and the percentages should have been absolute labelling 65% of the population as 70% of whatever we are targeting today is political spin

  2. It’s just a game of numbers….
    Initially, it was the case numbers that dominated the Victorian outbreak last year, over which Dan Andrews eventually prevailed.
    Up till now he was still carrying the political stigma of that outbreak.
    Now the wheel has turned and Gladys is in the same position, except that, unlike Dan, the PM has her back. Even with the benefit of the vaccine, the numbers have continued to rise.
    They are now worse than those in Victoria.
    So, a spin had to be concocted to deflect attention away from the case numbers to something that would hide Gladys’s failure to lock down hard, to show her in a more positive way.
    Now it’s all about the vaccine numbers. Dan prevailed without the benefit of the vaccine. Gladys clearly can’t.
    The overall objective is not to eradicate the virus, but to protect Gladys at all costs……and by association…SCOTT MORRISON!

    • All true, except: “The overall objective is not to eradicate the virus, but to protect Gladys at all costs……and by association…SCOTT MORRISON!”. Morrison must go to the polls well before the next NSW state election, and will throw Gladys under the bus at the first opportunity if he can see political mileage in it. Gladys is the association, protecting Morrison the main (only) game in town.

    • The writing is on the wall. This Trump-like wannabe and his colleagues will do whatever they can to retain power, even if it lying to the Australian people because they know how gullible we are. It does not help matters if maggots like Palmer are in bed with the Liberals, and him spending million of dollars on their election campaign is proof.

      There is legislation introduced before Parliament, designed to wipe out smaller parties like The New Liberals. Blind Freddie can see Labor passing it; LibLab would rather maintain their duopoly whether then strengthening our democracy.

  3. While watching tv last night while trying to follow the latest Covid reports I said to my wife the government has interfered with the statements now coming from the Doherty institute.
    My ext statement was I wonder where the Doherty institute gets its funding.
    I never went to uni. I spent 50 years self employed. Instinct says somethings is not right.

  4. Why can’t we aspire to 95% vaccination of the entire population including children?
    Morrison should afford everyone who wants two jabs to have two jabs before putting their lives more at risk.

  5. The Doherty Institute was chosen by the Federal government to provde modelling to a set of parameters developed by the government. Modelling is only a scenario setting exercise. Most of the sheeple miss that point and assume it is true insight into the future. The first question they ask is, “What results do you want from our models”? He who pays the piper calls the tune. We have seen what a mess governmernt medical advisors made of their attempts at modelling. Good on the government for going to and paying professionals.

  6. I have no doubt Morrison pressured the Doherty Institute but little will come of it in the short term. Whatever the vaccination rate the hospitalization numbers will skyrocket on any substantial easing of lockdown. Significant restrictions will prove necessary and Morrison’s failed plan will be his undoing at the next election. Everyone and his dog have figured out that Morrison tells lies and can’t deliver. He’s going down. I also wonder how much support the Libs will lose from Vets cheesed off about his abandonment of Afghan allies.

  7. New Era: I do not trust Scott Morrison. I do not listen to Scott Morrison. I do not watch Scott Morrison. I do not believe Scott Morrison. I as an Australian born citizen, I do not have any faith in Scott Morrison. This man continues to lie, cheat, bully, disrespect, corrupt and destroy the very fabric of our society. We are all becoming poorer in every sense of the word, while this thug and his street gang reside in the federal government. There is now absolutely nothing this man could say or do to have me vote for him and his party. Like a virus, he must be obliterated, Go hard, Go fast.

    • Fred, the only difference between SloMo, Palaszczuk and Comrade Andrews is the party they serve. All face weak oppositions in parliament. None of these “leaders” got their job by popular assent. They were selected by Parties behind closed doors. Should their respective electorates see fit to toss any or all out, we would only get another weak, party-loyal politician as repplacement. None of our Constitutions allow the people the right of Parliamentary Recall or for Impeachment of inept, lunatic, or corrupt MPs. We are hamstrung by our Constitutions and the representative MPs they allow us to elect.

  8. The Doherty Institute’s modeling is fine if you read between the lines: you can open up at 70 percent vaccinations with 700 or 900 infections each day without EXTREMELY SERIOUS hospital admission and death consequences IF and only IF you have the effectiveness of NSW’s contract tracing programme in 2020.

    The trouble is you do not. The Delta variant is far more transmissible and NSW contract tracing is already under strain – even though WA’s contract tracing people are now part of the NSW and ACT contract tracing programme operating remotely.

    The contract tracing methodology being used is primitive. It consists essentially of telephone calls to everyone who has been identified as being in particular locations or close contacts with someone at particular times. But how they know who to call depends on them first finding an infected person and manually working forward and back from that person to trace everyone he or she has been in contact with.

    There is a much quicker way: if you have a mobile phone your service provider can provide information about where you were (and the identity of everybody else with a mobile phone who was nearby you) and when you were there, and where you have been and who has been a close contact of you since then (and ditto for each close contact of each of those close contacts) since that time. Your mobile phone service provider can notify each of those people of their exposure and instruct them to stay home and/or get tested.

    The government can get court orders requiring the service providers to disclose the information if they prove reluctant.

    Perhaps you can ask why this is not being used to trace and test in Australia

  9. Odds on Kangaroo Court is 100% correct.
    History of this Government stacking every Board under Cwth Control, every legal jurisdiction etc with LNP cronies, gives strong suspicion as to what is suggested here… pressure on toeing Government line is standard operating procedure now.. credibility factor of Morrison borders zero.

  10. How can the Morrison government on one hand completely vilify & dismiss modelling performed by the world’s leading climate scientists on climate change then on the other hand unconditionally place so much trust & belief in this modelling conducted by the Doherty Institut on covid 19 outcomes? Morrison is ramming this not so easy to understand Doherty modelling down our throats marketing it as our pathway to freedom & 100% gospel (pun intended).
    It’s also very surprising & highly suspicious to see the always secretive Morrison being so openly transparent with the outcome of modelling that he & his government (cough) had requested.

  11. It is my understanding that groups like ATAGI provide advice to Morrison’s so called Government, but the final decision is up to the Government. He pressures experts to modify their advice so the weak bastard has someone to blame when/if the crap hits the fan. He was just following expert advice after all.

    Sadly there are many ‘”experts” who are more interested in their own careers rather than proper science.

  12. Referring to Jonde, looking back to 2019 when a deadly ‘flu’ epidemic hit Australia there wasn’t any ‘modelling’ done by the Doherty Institute to curb that virus.
    Doherty, Morrison and Co. can obviously fool the majority of the gullible people all the time.

  13. One can only imagine how many ugly sociopathic hissy fits, other threats, and and attempts to blackmail over funding, goes on behind the scenes.

  14. From The Guardian comments I got this link to a rebuttal of the Doherty data. It really is quite shocking. Their stats are dodgy and they admit that even with high vaccination rates lockdowns will be necessary.

    “Even taking the assumptions and modeling used at face value, the Doherty Report says that at 50% vaccination rates we would need to go into lockdown harder than NSW is now (25 Aug) 273 days per year, 168 days per year at 60% and 80 days per year at 70%. Harder as in no household visitors, curfew and stay-at home orders. The 60% and 70% numbers are not believable, let alone the 80% because the modeling ends at 180 days.”

    Everything in the Doherty Report is dodgy. Staff and equipment demands are unsustainable, longcovid numbers will be huge, and critically, we will still have ongoing lockdowns. The alternatives are high death numbers or rolling state lockdowns.

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