The ethics of Australia’s quarantine choices: Health security, COVID-19 and Christmas Island


Outcomes for Australia

Given the central role of health security as part of Australia’s foreign affairs response to COVID-19, understanding what values underpin health security and what values ought to guide our health security response becomes imperative. This project will provide a description of what currently is the case and provide recommendations as to what should be the values of health security for Australia moving forward in the context of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.


The first part of the project will be a critical interpretive synthesis of literature (using established methods) relating to the ethics of quarantine in various contexts. The researchers will then be able to build upon existing literature, and to introduce newly derived constructs generated through the synthesis procedure itself.

The second part of the proposal will use this synthesis together with a philosophical analysis to provide actionable, peer-reviewed guidance for policy makers.


The project seeks to answer the following questions:

  • How does Australia’s quarantining of its citizens and residents during the COVID-19 outbreak cohere with its own policy positions on health security and health security as a public good?
  • How should Australia respond to the need to quarantine during the remainder of the COVID-19 outbreak – and similar events in the future – given its global health leadership role in the Indo-Pacific region?

Related Cross-cutting Themes