House debates

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Quarantine

2:14 pm

Photo of Brendan O'ConnorBrendan O'Connor (Gorton, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs (House)) Share this | | Hansard source

R () (): My question is to the Prime Minister. The home affairs minister said today that we do not need purpose-built quarantine because hotel quarantine has worked very effectively. How many state borders have been closed and how many lockdowns have occurred because of the Prime Minister's reliance on hotel quarantine instead of purpose-built quarantine facilities?

2:15 pm

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

The Commonwealth government has established the national resilience facility, and so the questioner is in err to suggest that the Commonwealth has not established those facilities. We indeed have, and they were there to support the broader quarantine arrangements that were put in place necessarily with all the states and territories because of the sheer volume of arrivals that would come back to Australia and need to be accommodated in that way. The Labor Party seems to think that we would have somehow established facilities to accommodate 100,000 people around the country. That's simply absurd. So we came up with a practical, innovative solution, a solution that was actually followed by the New Zealand government, and I don't hear those opposite criticising the Labour government in New Zealand about having hotel quarantine. But they're happy to criticise their own government for doing it. They're happy to criticise the Australian government for taking exactly the same response to the New Zealand government, which tells you everything about this Labor opposition when it comes to the handling of the pandemic.

The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order?

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the Arts) Share this | | Hansard source

On direct relevance, and I put it that we're at the point now where it's quite a deliberate breach of the standing orders from the Prime Minister. He knows there's no reference to alternative policies or alternative approaches, and every single time he has to pivot to an attack on the opposition. The question does not invite that.

The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Prime Minister will remain relevant to the question.

An opposition member interjecting

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

The Leader of the Opposition may wish to reflect on the chair in those comments, but that goes to the nature of the Leader of the Opposition—happy to play political games in here every other day of the week.

The Manager of Opposition Business?

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the Arts) Share this | | Hansard source

Under standing order 91, the Prime Minister is disregarding your ruling.

The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Prime Minister will return to the dispatch box and remain relevant to the question.

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will resist responding to the sneering interjections of the Leader of the Opposition, because what Australians know is, as a result of the response to this pandemic, more than 30,000 lives have been saved by the very arrangements we have put in place with the states and territories. Those opposite might want to sneer at that and not support it, but this country has come through this pandemic and continues to move through this pandemic, particularly in response to new variants, and we are dealing with omicron now in a calm, sensible and balanced way. We'll deal with other governments on these issues, because we know that, when it comes to the pandemic, the Labor Party always plays politics before putting forward the national interest.