(Image: Private Media/Tom Red)

The federal government's embrace of "early interventions, short, sharp lockdowns" as the most effective response to outbreaks of COVID was more than just hypocrisy, given its earlier attacks on the Andrews and McGowan governments. It was also the conclusion of a large-scale experiment in responding to a pandemic.

The experiment has been conducted with two different approaches, which might be described as "interventionist" and "market-based". As the names suggest, they reflect different ideologies and different political mindsets.

The interventionist approach, exemplified best by the Andrews government in Victoria, relies heavily on locking down communities, suspending a lot of ordinary economic activities and providing government support for those affected until case numbers are low enough to safely reopen. It also relies on closed borders and tight quarantine requirements for the small number of people allowed into the country.