Scott Morrison rejects idea of national lockdown

Newstalk ZB /,
Publish Date
Thu, 26 Mar 2020, 4:24PM
Scott Morrison. (Photo / AAP)

Scott Morrison rejects idea of national lockdown

Newstalk ZB /,
Publish Date
Thu, 26 Mar 2020, 4:24PM

Senator Jacqui Lambie has begged the prime minister to lock Australia down before the weekend.

But Scott Morrison yesterday dug his heels into the idea, saying he's not going to shut even more businesses when "there's no medical advice that they should".

"For goodness sake, Prime Minister, we don't want anymore 35 minutes of your dribble," Ms Lambie said on Today this morning, appearing via video link from home.

"Please make a decision that a leader would make. Play it safe, mate, and put us into lockdown unless it is for essential services. Please."

The Tasmanian senator said she was “begging” the state’s Premier Peter Gutwein to make the first move.

The Apple Isle has already closed its borders and schools will be student-free from April 6.

“You’ve been one step ahead of the pack the whole way, mate, call it. Please Pete (Gutwein), call it,” Ms Lambie said.

“Put us into lockdown midnight tomorrow night … please.”

She said Tasmania was ready and residents have had enough.

Ms Lambie said the situation could be contained and defeated “in one swift kick”.

“Go into bloody lockdown,” Ms Lambie said.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Morrison was asked whether a lockdown would be a good idea.

“You’re suggesting I should close down businesses where there’s no medical advice that they should,” he replied.

“I don’t understand why we would cause that harm to a business and all their workers and their livelihoods for the sake of some sort of message convenience.

“I think that would be quite reckless.”

The Prime Minister said they were seeking to impose social distancing measures for the community “on a scalable basis”.

“Our advice is not to extend that more broadly within the retail sector,” Mr Morrison said.

“People can still go to car yards, they can still do those things, where it’s necessary for them to do that, and those businesses are expected to put in place the arrangements … which is the four square metres per person, how many people can be in that premise.

“We are not going to do things to a business or someone’s job and livelihood where at this stage that may, and is, not necessary.”

Appearing on ABC this morning, newly appointed Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth said their approach had been “hard and fast”.

“To say that we’ve gone light and slow would be completely inaccurate,” he said.

“The measures that we’ve got in at the moment are unprecedented. The impact they’re going to have on individual families is unprecedented.”

Dr Coatsworth said it’s all a matter of degrees.

“And I have to say that the experts around the table of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee do not think that this will be over in weeks, if you put in harder and faster measures,” he said.

The AHPPC, which guides the emergency medical decisions of National Cabinet, is comprised of all state and territory Chief Health Officers and chaired by Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy.