Tuesday 11 August 2020
Home      All news      Contact us     
Australian PM - 1 month ago

Interview on Today

ALLISON LANGDON: A very good morning to you, Prime Minister. PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ally. LANGDON: Now, I want to talk first about these outbreaks in Melbourne. I mean, how is it that we ve got to this point? Is it bad luck or mismanagement? PRIME MINISTER: Well, outbreaks are not surprising. We always said there would be some and no system is perfect and Australia is still far ahead of the rest of the world. And let s remember, seven states and territories have pretty much no community transmission at all. But where outbreaks do occur, you need to move on them, as the Victorian government is and they have our full support to that. We re putting significant resources in to assist them. Other states are helping them as well. For all of those living in those parts of Melbourne who are affected by these lockdowns, you re doing all other Australians a great service by patiently working through those. You re saving lives, you re saving livelihoods. And it s important that we get on top of this and we re moving very quickly to do that and we ll continue to do that to keep all Australians safe, but particularly also those who are living in those parts of Melbourne. LANGDON: These outbreaks go back basically to breaches to do with security at the hotel quarantine. I mean, are you being briefed as to why this is happening or how it s happened? PRIME MINISTER: Yes, there are lessons there and the Victorian Premier Dan Andrews also shared that information with National Cabinet last Friday and so that s an important opportunity for other states to learn the lessons. Let s not forget that it has been Victoria, Melbourne in particular, and Sydney that have been doing the heavy lifting when it has come to returning Australians from overseas. I mean, many of the other states, there are now international flights going into Tasmania, few going into South Australia and less are going into Queensland than are going into New South Wales and Victoria. And both of those states have been running those quarantines, they ve been paying for them themselves, and that means their risks have been greater. And so I thank the New South Wales and Victorian governments for doing that heavy lifting on behalf of all other states and territories. But that means the risks are higher and Victoria has had this outbreak. We always knew there would be outbreaks. The issue is not whether they occur, but how you deal with them, and we are dealing with it in concert with the Victorian government. LANGDON: I mean, they are costly mistakes. Do you think this could derail our national recovery? PRIME MINISTER: Not if we get it right. I mean, that is always the risk. But it s also important to keep it in perspective. We ve got to keep our economy open, because if we don t do that, that will cost jobs. And whether it s in any part of the country, we ve got to keep opening that economy. We deal with the outbreaks. You keep the testing, you keep the tracing, you keep the social distance, you download the COVIDSafe app, you do all of this. They’re the protections against coronavirus and that s what we need to keep being diligent about. LANGDON: Pretty disappointing when we then hear people are refusing to be tested. PRIME MINISTER: It is disappointing. But, you know, we re doing this in an Australian way. We re looking to do it through incentive, through the use of carrot, not stick. But occasionally the stick will have to be put about, whether it s fines or other sanctions that are in place to ensure that we keep everybody safe. LANGDON: Annastacia Palaszczuk has just told me that she is sick of you singling her out on borders. Why are you picking on Queensland? PRIME MINISTER: Well, I haven t. There s an election in Queensland, so I m not surprised that the political rhetoric is amping up. Look, we re keeping all of the country together to focus on this. I made similar comments about the changes in borders in South Australia yesterday. So, look, I think you can file that under a Queensland election. LANGDON: Has it frustrated you that the states haven t followed the federal advice on borders? PRIME MINISTER: Well, on borders there s never been a National Cabinet decision to have internal borders. That was never the medical expert advice that was given to National Cabinet. States have gone their own way and the reason a lot of the other states haven t had the same impact is because they haven t had the same number of returning travellers that have come into Sydney and Melbourne. I mean, if Sydney and Melbourne said, you know what? If people if Queenslanders or South Australians or Tasmanians or Western Australians want to go straight through Sydney or Melbourne and go back to your home states without quarantining, well, I think they would been presented with a lot more risks. And so everyone s been sharing the burden. We ve been bringing the country together through the National Cabinet. My comments have been about keeping the economy and getting the economy open. That s why I commended Michael Gunner up in the Northern Territory yesterday. What they ve done is ensure that people coming out of hotspots where there are outbreaks, certainly they shouldn t be leaving those areas or indeed going to other parts of the country. And I thought that was a very responsible action from Michael and showed great leadership. LANGDON: Prime Minister, you said when you rolled out JobKeeper and JobSeeker so quickly that they would evolve, they would change and that you would keep us informed. So why choose an arbitrary date three weeks from now to tell us the future of these programmes? Why can t you do it now? PRIME MINISTER: Because those decisions haven t even yet been made, Ally. That s why. And these are very complex decisions. There will be further phases of how we support individuals and companies that are under still very heavy restrictions and businesses are being affected. But you ve got to plug that into what s happening in the many other parts of the social security system. We set ourselves the date to prepare an economic statement in late July. That s where we have to, you know, reconcile all of that with the national books and people need to know what it costs. I mean, we re burning on JobKeeper, rightly, at the present over $10 billion a month. We ve already spent on all of these programmes almost $50 billion over just the last couple of months. So the Government hasn t been backward in stepping up to ensure people get the support they need and we will continue to apply that careful discipline. You know, you rush these decisions which involve tens of billions of dollars then you know what happens. We saw that during the last economic crisis where we had money spraying everywhere on all sorts of programmes being ill spent and cheques going off to pets and deceased people. That s not how you run a competent programme and we ve been very careful to get our decisions right and that has been going well and we ll keep doing that. LANGDON: Talking about money, over the next 10 years or we re spending a staggering $270 billion on defence. Is China that great of a threat? PRIME MINISTER: Well, we can t afford not to invest in our defence and the first responsibility of the Federal Government is always our national defence, keeping Australians safe. Because we believe in a peaceful, stable region of the Indo-Pacific. Today is all about recognising the world is changing. The big competition between China and the United States means tensions are much higher. I mean, we haven t seen a time of instability coming out of COVID-19 like this since the 1930s and early 1940s. And so we need to be conscious of that. We need to be prepared. We need to be working with other countries in the region. And all of our defence force and defence strategy is built on the alliance also as a foundation with the United States. So, you know, we re aware of the potential threats and we re taking action to counter those and work with others, because at the end of the day, we want a peaceful, stable region. And I believe all the other countries in our region want the same thing and that s certainly the case when I talk to them and I think we can work together to achieve that goal. But having a credible, focused defence force, we can t afford not to have that, and this is a very carefully thought through plan, 10 years of certainty about where our military can deploy their investments, everything from from satellites to cyber, cyber platforms to additional maritime and air combat systems and long-range missile capabilities, which means that there were threats do emerge, we can take them further away from Australia. LANGDON: That s plenty being thrown at you, Prime Minister, thank you so much for your time this morning. We appreciate it. PRIME MINISTER: Thank you, Ally. Thanks for your time.

Latest News




Most Popular (6 hours)

Most Popular (24 hours)

Most Popular (a week)