Royal Commission Promises and Disappointments: Senator Roberts Discusses the Covid Inquiry

Royal Commission Promises and Disappointments: Senator Roberts Discusses the Covid Inquiry
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The following is a transcript of Topher’s interview with Senator Malcolm Roberts on Episode 42 of The Aussie Wire News discussing the Covid Royal Commission, which aired on the 26th of September 2023.

Topher: Cast your mind back to before the last federal election, if you can remember that long ago, and you may recall that promises were made. Specifically Anthony Albanese promised that if he were to win the election that he would hold a royal commission into Covid. Looking into all various aspects of the Covid response. 

Well that was quite some time ago, and well, the royal commission has not been forthcoming. But, good news! We’ve just had the announcement of an inquiry. Surely that means that Anthony Albanese is making good on his word and we will have a full and thorough inquiry into all aspects of the Covid response so that lessons can be learned and we can get it right next time.


Well, my next guest isn’t quite convinced and has released a press release to that effect. It is Senator Malcolm Roberts from the Pauline Hanson One Nation Party, you are a senator for Queensland and I’m very very grateful for you coming on The Aussie Wire.

Sen. Roberts: Thank you very much for the invitation Topher, it’s always a pleasure to have a chat with you.

Topher: Now, your press release caught my eye, but honestly there has been quite a lot of commentary on this already. This is something that a lot of people are very quick to point out. 

The terms of reference are a concern, are they not? Can you take us through your concerns and why you felt the need to release that press release.

Sen. Roberts: Well certainly. I did share huge concerns. 

I’ll make a quote from Dan Andrews. He says “Any inquiry into Covid-19 should be forward focused and not centre on the actions of government during the pandemic”. 

The premiers have rolled the prime minister. Because the premiers did the dirty work for Scot Morrison. And, the media release I pointed out: this is toothless. There’s no power to compel witnesses. It’s compromised because there’s a limited scope. It’s federal only. It’s a white wash to protect Labor premiers as I have said. For example, they raised the topic of international border closures in the terms of reference. But not state. So it’s strictly federal.

He’s running from a royal commission. Yet, the same man albanese, Anthony albanese, had a robodebt royal commission which was far smaller, robo debt  was far smaller in cost impact.

So he’s broken his promise regarding a royal commission on the Covid tragedy, mismanagement, deceit. This Covid. What would you call it? Covid mismanagement was the most invasive and expensive responses in Australia’s history. We’re still suffering from it. We’ve got high inflation, we’ve got excess of 40, 000 excess deaths due to the Covid injections. We’ve got lingering injuries. You know this morning I was at a small business conference back in your old town of Melbourne.

Topher: My old town, yes.

Sen. Roberts: And I went to print out my speech just for practising it, and a lovely lady printed it out for me at the help desk and I saw that she was walking very awkwardly. Sure enough, this is months and months after her 3rd injection, but there’s no doubt. I’ve got people, friends at home, who’ve been paralyzed. Literally woke up in the morning and they’re paralyzed from the neck down. The 3 people they’ve appointed to be their reviewers for this panel, it’s not an investigation, it’s not an inquiry, it’s a review. The 3 reviewers appear to be compromised. They appear to be former public servants. And, one or two of them look as though they’ve had lots of grants in the past and this will be a ticket for a lot more grants in the future.

So what I’m going to do Topher, is before the end of the year, as I said in my media release, I’m going to ask the senate for an enquiry to recommend the royal commission terms of reference. Because we’re going to have one.

Topher: Look. We need to. The powers that were seized by governments, state and federal, and the sorts of things they did. It’s quite extraordinary to think that we’re going to have an inquiry but that inquiry, the terms of reference, correct me if I’ve misunderstood, explicitly excludes unilateral actions taken by a state. And yet during the pandemic, we had, now admittedly at different political part, the liberal party prime minister at the time, Scott Morrison, was sitting there saying “oh well the federal government can’t do so many different things, it’s up to the states” and now that we’re having an inquiry we’re excluding the decisions made by the states. Isn’t that where the response was according to the federal government of the time?

Sen. Roberts: Well I happen to think that the key response was in Soctt Morrison, but the implementation was in the premiers. So the premiers hold the can. They did it. They did it. 

So I agree with you entirely. We’ve had media criticising, we’ve had opposition which is expecting to, which you’d expect to criticise. We’ve had Drs criticise. I think the front page headlines on The Australian newspaper today, this evening, words to the effect that the medical practitioners have come out against it. 

So we’ve got, as you said, the terms of reference include the following areas are not in scope for the inquiry,

Topher: Yeah

Sen. Roberts: Actions unilaterally by state and territory governments and international programs and activities assisting foreign countries. That’s pretty much everything they did

Topher: Yeah

Sen. Roberts: And then you get infectious disease expert Peter Collington today and I’m reading from these notes I made for you toldl The Australian “A royal commission should examine measures taken to curb Covid infections including those taken by states as utility will no be approaching an enquiry.” He said were lockdowns beneficial? were  border closures, beneficial? This is an infectious disease Dr, stopping people going outside for more than an hour. That is what affected people, personally the most he said. And yet the people that got on this review they’re not the sort of people who understand what everyday people suffered. They won’t understand what you suffered at the hands of that tyrant Dan Andrews. You know, this is ridiculous. It’s just a white wash to protect Dan Andrews, Anastacia Palazeck and the other labor premiers. 

Topher: Some people could be forgiven for asking the question, well Senator Malcolm Roberts,yourself, and I can mention a few names, we’ve had some wonderful work from Senators Alex Antic, Gerard Rennick, Matt Cannavan, Ralph Babet is a recent addition but he’s really making a name for himself and getting stuck in. We’ve got a handful of really fantastic people who are getting stuck in on this issue. There are other great politicians who are getting stuck in on other issues as well, but just singling it down to this issue. We’re seeing a handful standing up, but we’re not seeing a lot of results. And some people get very disillusioned, they say “well you’re a politician. Fix this. Why can’t you fix this for us?” We’re in a situaiton now where yourself and a handful of others are saying well we need a royal commission. The government is saying you’re not going to get one. All you’re going to get is this incredibly prejudiced, white wash inquiry. 

What’s to be done from this point forward. You’re saying you’re going to be calling for a Royal Commission. You’re going to hold the sentare inquiry. What are the mechanisms at your disposal? How do we move forward from here towards what we all want to see?

Sen Roberts: Well I’ll be asking for the senate to approve an inquiry to develop the terms of reference. The senate will give me permission or not give it’s permission for that inquiry. Just as the senate does in every other request. 

So that is one thing. I’ll be doing some work where we’re lining that up at the moment, but doing an inquiry of our own. Much the same as we did in March and August of 2021 I think it was. I can’t remember. 2022. Looking at a multi party cross party inquiry. This time we’ll probably do in house because it’s going to take a lot of getting topics from around the world and particularly from Australia. And a whole variety of people, not just experts, but also vaccine, injection injured people. So, we’re working on those kinds of things. 

But, you might notice every week in the senate I give an update. To do this my staff, team are just wonderful on this issue. And we give an update every week in the senate. We didn’t do it last week because we’re flat out, but we give an update on the latest things unearthed around the world and it is startling what’s coming out. It is absolutely beyond my most wonderful expectations. So we’re really getting there. And we’ll put a lot of pressure on these people to come clean, Topher. So we’ll just keep the pressure up. We will continue this forever until we get the royal commission. Until we get the truth out and until the guilty are punished.

Topher: Well the future is written by those who show up and Senator Malcolm Roberts, I’m grateful that you just keep showing up every day, every week in that senate. Despite overwhelming odds against you at times. And, like I said, there are some other wonderful people in there, but you continue to show up  and you continue to persevere and you continue to chip away. 

I tend to share your optimism. I look at what’s happening around the world. I do think we are making progress. Sometimes it doesn’t look that way. But, I do think the narrative has shifted and the sins of the past are coming home to roost on those who committed them. And I will… can’t come soon enough as far as I’m concerned.

Sen Malcolm Roberts thank you for your press release today. Thank you for continuing to try to hold the federal government accountable. And here’s hoping we will see that royal commission some day. 

Thank you for coming on The Aussie Wire.

Sen. Roberts: You’re welcome Topher and keep going with what you’re doing. The Aussie Wire needs success. For Australia’s sake we need success of the independent new media. Thank you very much for doing what you’re doing.

You can watch this segment of The Aussie Wire News here.

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