National "nitpicking" has veiled Australia's success in handling COVID, including a death toll far below those of the United States and Britain, Amanda Vanstone writes in her new column.
The former Howard government minister believes the next election will hinge on the government's management of the pandemic, along with national security.
ACM, the publisher of this masthead, has commissioned Ms Vanstone to write each fortnight on politics as the nation enters the next stage in its handling of the pandemic.
The federal government is under fire over shortages of rapid antigen tests and the rollout of boosters as COVID cases surge across the nation.
In her first column for ACM, Ms Vanstone says critics should keep the nation's handling of COVID in perspective. Among the successes are high vaccination rates and a low death rate compared to the US and UK, she says.
"This result is not a happy accident. It's the result of constant work by our governments, our bureaucrats and academics," she writes.
"Why, with a sudden pandemic spreading the globe, would anyone expect the management of it to be a plain-sailing pushover? Experts were working around the clock to keep abreast of new developments. Experts change their mind, and some disagree. It has been a moving nightmare."
Ms Vanstone said Australia had become a "nation of nitpickers".
"When you look at where we are, we're in a damn good position."
The former Coalition minister said national security would also shape the next election, calling the Indo-Pacific central to global security, similar to Europe in the early 20th century.
Ms Vanstone said readers can expect brutal honesty and independence from her columns. She was attracted to writing for ACM because of its reach into regional communities, which she said were made up of practical people.
Political debate in Australia has been reduced to "gotcha" moments and should return to a discussion of different policy options, she said.
The former senator served in Federal Parliament between 1984 and 2007, holding the immigration, multicultural affairs and employment portfolios, among others, during that time.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.