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



From crisis to calamity? The UK’s coming COVID-19 and Brexit challenges

Georgina Wright
Ros Taylor
Elizabeth Ames
Martyn Pearce

Economics and finance | Australia


While the coronavirus crisis in the United Kingdom has abated somewhat in recent months, is life in the country going to get tougher if winter brings about a growing risk of transmission and Brexit negotiations falter? With us this week to discuss the challenges facing Britain are Remainiacs and The Bunker host Ros Taylor, pod regular Elizabeth Ames, and Brexit researcher Georgina Wright.

62 minute listen

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The gallery view with Phil Coorey and David Crowe

Phillip Coorey
David Crowe
Mark Kenny

Economics and finance | Australia


The coronavirus crisis is posing new questions and serious challenges to Australia’s political leaders. And those leaders are responding assertively – closing borders, slowing the economy, and working hard to keep infection numbers down. But are they making the right choices? On this Democracy Sausage Extra Mark Kenny talks with the insiders who ask the tough questions of those leaders every day – press gallery veterans David Crowe and Phil Coorey.

57 minute listen

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Democracy Sausage: The crisis in aged care

Helen Sullivan
Meegan Fitzharris
Sharon Bessell
Mark Kenny

Economics and finance | Australia


Has a failure to properly value care led to poor decisions driven by profit, and in doing so entrenched inequality for women? On this Democracy Sausage we take a look at the crisis unfolding in Australia’s aged care sector, the gendered dimensions playing out in the pandemic, and why we need to rethink how we value human beings in society.

61 minute listen

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Podcast: More than just a flesh wound

Ariadne Vromen
Bob Gregory
Matthew C Gray
Martyn Pearce

Economics and finance | Australia


Some 13.9 per cent of Australians aged 20-24 are unemployed, and that’s likely to get worse the longer the coronavirus crisis continues. How will the crisis and the recession to come impact their future careers and prospects? On this week’s Policy Forum Pod we take a look at economic scarring – what it is, how it impacts people, and what policymakers can do about it.

59 minute listen

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