The COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly evolving, with concern growing as the global infection count and death toll climb. The virus has put health systems under pressure, first in China, and now in a growing list of countries. In our globalised world, the virus is a reminder that we all have an interest in ensuring health systems around the world are strong.

While the emergence of COVID-19 is a public health issue, the flow-on effects are being felt far beyond the world’s hospitals. The virus has had a relatively small impact on the health of Australians so far, but the country’s economy is taking a hit. From large sectors like tourism and higher education, to small family businesses, many are struggling to deal with the fallout from the virus.

In this new Policy Forum In Focus section, experts from Australia and its region examine the impact of the virus on public health systems, the economy, international relations, domestic politics, and beyond. We hope you find the pieces valuable, and we invite you to join the conversation.



Coping in isolation – Mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Strategic shifts, polarised policy, and mixed messages

Andrew Leigh on coronanomics


Public messaging, trust and COVID-19: some pointers for policymakers

Simple steps to reduce the odds of a global catastrophe



Democracy Sausage: How to miss an open goal

Helen Sullivan
Robert Breunig
Marija Taflaga
Mark Kenny

Economics and finance | Australia


The COVID-19 pandemic has given the government the chance to reshape the economy. But by slipping on the hi-vis of infrastructure spending and ‘real jobs’, has the government missed a golden opportunity? Mark Kenny talks tax, ‘credible’ women, and class-based values and priorities with Helen Sullivan, Robert Breunig, and Marija Taflaga.

49 minute listen

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