Senate debates

Monday, 23 March 2020

Questions without Notice

Coronavirus

2:01 pm

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Vice-President of the Executive Council) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator Keneally for that question. Senator Keneally is right. This is an unprecedented health crisis, and it's an unprecedented health crisis with significant economic implications. Indeed, the effects of it are being felt by Australians all around our country as we speak. The Prime Minister has provided significant national leadership in relation to this. As you would be aware, the Prime Minister convenes, on a regular basis now, the national cabinet, made up of the Prime Minister and all premiers and chief ministers from around Australia, and they have made decisions on how best to respond to all of the relevant aspects in responding to this crisis.

From a health point of view, the mission is very simple: we want to slow the spread of this virus, to save lives. We want to slow the spread of this virus—acknowledging that we cannot stop it—because we want to ensure there is a more consistent and more manageable flow, to the extent that is possible, of patients into our health system, to ensure our most vulnerable Australians can be appropriately prioritised. I think the messages have been very, very clear. But, in the face of some apparent reluctance by a sufficient number of Australians to follow the advice and follow the requests in relation to social distancing and the like, the measures have become increasingly stringent. As you would be aware, premiers and chief ministers have agreed to implement, through state and territory laws, new stage 1 restrictions on social gatherings, to be reviewed on a monthly basis. Australians should expect that these measures will be in place for at least six months. As of 23 March 2020, pubs, registered and licensed clubs, excluding bottle shops— (Time expired)

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