The New Normal: In Focus

The last 12 months will be remembered for years to come. When reports of a strange viral outbreak in Wuhan, China, evolved suddenly into national border closures, widespread lockdowns, and severe shortages of toilet paper, our authors came together to share their expertise on the world’s biggest news story – the global COVID-19 pandemic, and gave a wide range of perspectives on the impacts of the massive event.

In the year since a pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization in March 2020, much has changed. From the Victorian lockdowns here in Australia and the emergence of a hyper-contagious strains of the virus in the United Kingdom and South Africa, to the urgent roll-out of vaccines across the world and to a United States presidential election with huge impact, Policy Forum has covered closely the policy action of the last year. But the world is itching to know: what comes next?

As our first In Focus section of 2021, Policy Forum is rebooting our coronavirus pandemic coverage to meet the changing situation, and interrogating the question that should always be on a policymaker’s mind – where to go from here? As always, we hope you find the discussion valuable, and we invite you to join in the conversation.

Professor Quentin Grafton

Editor-in-Chief and Editor, The New Normal: In Focus section




School’s out – the COVID-19 crisis and school education

Insecure work, unemployment, and Australia after the COVID-19 crisis

Efficacy, equity, and Australia’s vaccine rollout


International students in Australia’s new normal

One step forward, two steps back

Toxic Maskulinity

From vaccine nationalism to vaccine diplomacy



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