December 4, 2020

Scott Morrison says national cabinet endorses national vaccination policy – live news

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During his 2GB interview, Scott Morrison was also asked about state borders and the push to open up by Christmas. Morrison said he hoped the states would move as quickly as possible.

Borders are not a sign that you’ve got it under control. Borders are a sign that you don’t think you can control it.

(He was talking about the state borders here, not Australia’s international border, which remains subject to strict caps on arrivals and Australians have to seek permission to leave the country.)

Prime minister Scott Morrison.

Prime minister Scott Morrison. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Morrison said he had always been pushing the states to get their issues like contract tracing, hotel quarantine and Covid-safe arrangements to a high standard.

Jim Wilson, the 2GB host, asked Morrison whether he was frustrated that he couldn’t “force the borders open earlier”.

Morrison said:

That’s the constitution. States have the powers regarding public health management in their states.

He elaborated “for listeners who haven’t spent time around the constitution” about what was assigned to whom at federation.

Asked whether young adults should be vaccinated first, as some epidemiologists have suggested, he said he would rely on advice from his expert team including Prof Brendan Murphy.

Morrison explained his pre-political background:

I’m a geographer with a science degree so I’m going to rely on the medical doctors and experts.

And given the political situation in Papua New Guinea, was he still planning to travel there on the way home from Japan next week?

Morrison said it remained his plan but “with all of these sorts of things you monitor events as they unfold”. But he said “it wasn’t planned as a very big visit to PNG.”

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Scott Morrison has popped up on 2GB and has been asked about the national aerial firefighting fleet.

The prime minister said the states held the firefighting aircraft assets and each year the fire chiefs made recommendations.

What all the premiers and chief ministers and myself agree is the firefighters and the fire chiefs are the best people to tell us what we need … We’re basically going to continue to be guided by the fire chiefs on these things and they’re not calling for that.

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End of WA border tonight

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