Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s impatience with questions about how state premiers are dealing with Covid outbreaks is showing after he fired up at Sunrise host David Koch.
The Sunrise host said the popularity of Queenslander Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and West Australian Premier Mark McGowan suggested people in those states supported a tough approach to border restrictions to keep them Covid-free.
‘I’m not going to get drawn into any sort of debate about this with the states,’ Mr Morrison replied.
‘We’ve got a plan, we’ve agreed to a plan, its based on the best medical, health and economic advice and so we’ve got to get on with delivering that plan.’
‘I’m not going to get drawn into any sort of debate about this with the states,’ Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Sunrise host David Koch
Mr Morrison has been defending the plan to re-open Australia and end rolling lockdowns once vaccination rates reach 70-0 percent of the eligible population.
This is despite premiers such as Ms Palaszczuk and Mr McGowan recently saying they expect certain restrictions to remain in place, particularly while states such as NSW and Victoria continue to post high daily case numbers.
‘There’s a lot of noise at the moment,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘There’s lot of hypothetical discussions about what people might and might not do, Let’s see what they actually do.
‘Let’s keep working together to open up the country.’
The prime minister said high rates of vaccination remained the way out lockdowns and Covid restrictions, despite the insistence of some state premiers on tough border restrictions.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said she expects certain restrictions to remain in place even once Australia reaches 70-80percent vaccination rates
Mr Morrison said states need to ‘move into’ the plan out of lockdown instead of ‘backing out’
‘There’s no government, no individual, no set of border protections, that is more powerful than the vaccine,’ he said.
‘Once the vaccine is there at 70 or 80 per cent, you do more harm than good to your people by locking them down and locking them up and keeping them in the cave.
‘Over the next few months I think people will understand that very clearly.’
Mr Morrison said immunity experts at the Doherty Institute have advised the federal government the country can reopen safely when 70 to 80 per cent of those over 16 are vaccinated.
Under that target, he said the nation’s most vulnerable groups will be fully-vaccinated and a portion of the remaining 20 to 30 per cent of the population will have received at least one dose.
Despite high case numbers in NSW, Mr Morrison said expert modelling of the pathway out of the pandemic remained the same and states need to ‘move into the plan’ not ‘back out’.
‘By getting the elderly vaccinated early, that has put an additional layer of protection in, which we are seeing with the Sydney outbreak now,’ he said.
‘Compared to the Melbourne outbreak last year, the fatalities are significantly lower.
‘We need to move into that [the plan] so that families can be reunited.’