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.
From: Shane Dowling
Sent: Monday, 23 August 2021 10:52 PM
To: Rebecca Elliott
Subject: Media request – journalist Shane Dowling
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:
- 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.”
- 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?
- 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?
- Did Prime Minister Scott Morrison or anyone from the government ask the Doherty Institute to publish the statement you did on Monday night?
- Did Prime Minister Scott Morrison or anyone from the government help draft the statement published by the Doherty Institute on Monday night?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
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.
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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Categories: Prime Minister Scott Morrison