Thursday, 2 September 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Eight days after the New South Wales outbreak began, the Prime Minister said, 'I commend Premier Berejiklian for resisting going into a full lockdown.' Since then, more than 23,000 people in New South Wales have been affected, and there are now almost a thousand people in hospital, including 160 in intensive care. Does the Prime Minister regret this comment?
We've addressed that matter already in this place. I draw the member's attention, I draw the leader of the Labor Party's attention, to the work that has been done on tracking the outbreaks in Victoria versus the outbreak that has occurred in New South Wales. As the delta variant hit, there were hopes that those lockdowns, whether they were implemented—I think it was in seven or eight days in New South Wales, after the commencement of the outbreak in New South Wales, or even earlier by the Victorian government. I remember the Premier of Victoria making those comments at the time. They wanted to avoid the circumstances which had occurred in New South Wales. But we now know that that outbreak in Victoria is going along the same path as it is in New South Wales. That is the nature of the delta variant. The Leader of the Labor Party may seek to ascribe all sorts of blame in these sorts of things—they may seek to do that—but the Australian people know that the delta variant of the COVID-19 pandemic is voracious. The Leader of the Labor Party may seek to score political points off a pandemic, but we will remain focused on our response. We will remain focused on delivering the national plan, which provides the pathway out. The Leader of the Labor Party may want to focus on negativity and blame. We are going to focus on delivering the COVID response, delivering the vaccines—20 million doses have been delivered—which is going to liberate this country, liberate people from lockdowns. We're focused on that positive task. We're focused on the hope. The Labor Party are focused, as usual, on negative politics and pointscoring.