Humboldt Journal of Social Relations


The world took a beating from COVID-19, with no nation spared. Australia’s response to the pandemic has been recognized as particularly successful, with the comparatively small total of COVID-19 related fatalities. However, these achievements in controlling the virus and keeping the economy buoyant are contrasted by significant failures, particularly the Federal and state governments’ inability to contain the outbreak within the aged care sector. This commentary forms an understanding of the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia’s aged care sector, drawing from articles published in the ‘The Australian’ newspaper. We focus on priorities, responses and management at different levels, observing subsequent impacts, not only on elders, but also on workers and the wider community. Our findings indicate that neglect of elders is a pre-existing cultural and social tendency that was exacerbated and also made visible through this pandemic. The media articles particularly vilified what they saw to be government inaction, failing to address issues of safety and regulation that already plagued the aged care sector prior to the pandemic, all of which were intensified by COVID-19.