Thanks to some brilliant tourism branding and Crocodile Dundee, we think of it as rough-n-ready frontier country, Montana with bigger beer cans. The dingo ate my baby!
(This is Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria. Imagine the owner of the hippest coffee shop in town crossbred with a minor Central American despot - a Somoza, maybe - and you get the idea.)
Anyhow, Covid was perfect for Australia, which has a long and ugly history of trying to protect its borders at all costs. For most of its national existence it viewed itself pretty much explicitly as a white outpost against the Asian hordes.
Not all that much has changed. A few years ago the Australian government reopened offshore detention camps to discourage asylum seekers from floating on over. Conditions in the camps are… less than ideal.
So when Covid rolled in, the Australian government (and lots of Aussies) saw it as just another ugly export from China that needed to be beaten back at all costs. To its credit, Australia pushed hard for an independent investigation of the origins of Sars-Cov-2 last year (the Chinese pushed back, going so far as to call for a boycott of Australia’s delicious wine).