Much of politics and public debate of the pandemic response has centred on communication and its effectiveness. That’s understandable, given the public need for accurate information at a time of life-and-death crisis.

Mixed messages from politicians and health experts in particular have occupied a lot of media bandwidth, mainly in relation to schools. But there’s also been the inevitable problem of inconsistencies created by arbitrary rules around social distancing, such as the inexplicable exemption of hair dressers from the lockdown.

Over the last week, as governments’ success in curbing infection rates has sparked discussion of an end to lockdown, the communication task has shifted from asking Australians to accept a fundamental change in social and economic life, to persisting with what has become the status quo.