Report on Australian Pandemic Experiences

A new report summarises findings from our ongoing research on how individuals have accessed information, resources, and services over the course of the pandemic. It addresses how Australian residents have navigated various issues, such as public health preventive measures, unexpected financial burdens, working and learning from home, and healthcare services.

This research offers a complementary analysis to our US findings to date, which have been published in the Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems and inThe Conversation. Writing for The Guardian, we reflect on what we can learn from the differences and similarities between Australian and the United States experiences to date.

Authors: Aleks Deejay, Kathryn Henne, and Franz Carneiro Alphonso


The COVID-19 pandemic has become a monumental global disruption. It has required people to adopt new behaviours as circumstances change and adapt to government-enacted measures. Australians have experienced more restrictive pandemic-related mandates than many other countries, as demonstrated by Melbourne becoming the most locked-down city in the world. In addition to limiting mobility, restrictions have prompted individuals, families, and communities to develop new daily routines in public and at home.

Members of the ANU Justice and Technoscience Lab (JusTech), which is based within the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), interviewed 40 Australian residents in 2020 and 2021 to better understand how they have managed the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. The study’s objective was to acquire a more detailed understanding of how people went about trying to obtain critical support during a large-scale health crisis and how they perceived and interpreted the information and resources they obtained. Interviews explored how participants navigated systems in the pursuit of information, resources, and services and how they adapted their everyday activities as public health and regulatory measures changed.

This report presents key findings from interviews to provide a comprehensive overview of how participants have coped during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they have sought out resources during periods of disruption, isolation, and quarantine. It also captures how practices and strategies varied among individuals and groups. Findings offer insights that may enhance service provision and systems design decisions to better support Australian residents as they seek information and services.