We are living through the greatest disruption of the post-war era; what is likely to be the defining historical period of our lives. This may be the end of the ‘good times’ for the world, but it has been a long time coming, and Covid-19 is simply an accelerant. Therefore, it is important now to focus on what has to be done, for all that stands between us and disaster is good government.
We can draw confidence and a model from the reconstruction of the world, and especially the reconstruction of Australia, after World War 2. It is possible to reset our economy, institutions, health systems, education and society because we have done it before with fewer resources than we have now. It is possible to do it successfully and democratically. It is possible to come out with a better Australia. As grim as the present looks, there is light at the end of the tunnel if we all start thinking about how we can do things better.
Professor Janet McCalman AC, FAHA, FASSA is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor Melbourne School of Population & Global Health, University of Melbourne. For the past twenty years she has been building longitudinal datasets to study the history of population health in Victoria. Prof McCalman is known for her books Struggletown, Journeyings and her history of the Royal Women’s Hospital, Sex and Suffering.