The LNP’s favourite miner, Andrew Twiggy Forest decided to do the country a big favour and bought in $200m worth of Corona virus tests from China (about 10 million tests). The “favour” backfired a little when it was discovered that we had to actually pay him for the gift, and then we didn’t even use them! The tests are now sitting in the national stockpile and are unlikely to be ever used, but we spent $200m on them.
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said the arrangement was “ground breaking” (it certainly was) and said the kits would be installed across the country (they weren’t). Media release here: https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/ground-breaking-partnership-delivers-10-million-covid-19-tests-and-equipment
But wait, it gets better. At a press conference in Melbourne to announce this great deal, our friend Twiggy invites China’s consul-general for Victoria Long Zhou along, without the government’s knowledge, and caught the health minister “off-guard”. Greg was clearly not happy and stomped off the podium without taking questions.
All this came in the same week as Beijing accused Australia of being a bully pushing US interests in the region, and warned that Chinese consumers could refuse to buy Australian products if it continues to pursue a global independent inquiry into the coronavirus.
Assuming we one day get to use the tests the question now becomes – Will they work? As reported here (https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2020/04/do-twiggy-forrests-chinese-testing-kits-work/) multiple other countries such as Spain, England and the US have had problems with Chinese made kits.
One final word on this, the tests only have a shelf life of 6 months so if they’re not used we get to throw them out, along with the $200 million.
On a slight side note – This is not the first money wasted by the government on tests. In May it was reported (here: https://www.smh.com.au/national/federal-government-spent-10m-on-inaccurate-antibody-tests-20200514-p54t34.html) that we spent almost $10 million on 500,000 antibody tests that have been found to be inaccurate at testing for COVID-19. Ya couldn’t made this up!!!
On another side note, Clive Palmer (another mining mate of the LNP) bought 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, to fight the virus. He did this after president Trump talked about how it was a miracle cure. The claims have no scientific backup, in other words, they don’t work. PS, the government didn’t have to buy these drugs but they’re in the national stockpile if we ever have a huge malaria breakout. Story here: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-feed/clive-palmer-has-bought-30-million-doses-of-an-anti-malaria-drug-to-fight-covid-19-but-experts-warn-this-may-not-be-the-cure-all
Further reading on the Twiggy Deal:
Beware of billionaires bearing gifts – https://www.crikey.com.au/2020/04/30/twiggy-forrest-ambush-greg-hunt/
How Australia ended up with 10 million more COVID-19 tests – https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-30/coronavirus-andrew-twiggy-forrest-buys-covid-19-tests-china/12201838
Millions of coronavirus tests on the way – https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-29/millions-of-coronavirus-tests-on-way-after-purchase-by-forrest/12197276
WA Health Department will not use any of 10 million COVID-19 tests – https://thewest.com.au/news/coronavirus/coronavirus-crisis-wa-health-department-will-not-use-any-of-10-million-covid-19-tests-secured-by-andrew-twiggy-forrests-minderoo-foundation-ng-b881546669z
‘Twiggy’ Forrest responds to anger over Chinese diplomat guest – https://7news.com.au/sunrise/on-the-show/coronavirus-australia-billionaire-andrew-twiggy-forrest-responds-to-anger-over-chinese-diplomat-guest-at-press-conference-c-1007615
‘Twiggy’ Forrest ‘blindsided’ Health Minister with Chinese diplomat – https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/health-wellbeing/coronavirus-australia-billionaire-andrew-twiggy-forrest-blindsided-health-minister-with-chinese-diplomat-appearance-c-1007436Tweet