The Courier-Mail

It won’t all be over by Chrissy

- Politics · Scott Morrison

AUS­TRALIANS should pre­pare for a Christ­mas 1.5m apart, as Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son said some re­stric­tions were likely to re­main in place at the end of the year.

It could mean any­thing from a damp­ener on of­fice Christ­mas par­ties, through to be­ing un­able to fly to an­other state to see fam­ily, de­pend­ing on re­quired re­stric­tions at the time, as the pan­demic seems set to drag into 2021.

Hugs and hand­shakes are all but cer­tain to re­main on the naughty list, while hand­wash­ing and so­cial dis­tanc­ing will be cen­tral to Yule­tide cheer.

Mr Mor­ri­son said it was a quickly chang­ing sit­u­a­tion and it was im­por­tant not to “get too far ahead on what might hap­pen”.

But he in­di­cated med­i­cal ev­i­dence sug­gested that the virus would re­main in play for some time to come.

“If cir­cum­stances change and cer­tainly if they change in the way we hoped they would, well, I would wel­come it if by Christ­mas, if it were pos­si­ble,” he said.

“But I think it’s un­likely that we were able to move back to a re­stric­tion-free so­ci­ety. But I doubt that is go­ing to hap­pen.

“You’ve just got to fol­low the med­i­cal ev­i­dence on all of these, whether it’s bor­ders or whether it’s the re­stric­tions on trade or of lo­cal busi­nesses or what­ever it hap­pens to be.”

But Mr Mor­ri­son also warned that gov­ern­ment’s had to be trans­par­ent about the med­i­cal ad­vice on which they make de­ci­sions.

“It’s im­por­tant that we just, look and test, in­ter­ro­gate the med­i­cal ev­i­dence and make de­ci­sions based on that and noth­ing else and be trans­par­ent about it,” he said.

It is un­known what re­stric­tions may be in place in Queens­land by Christ­mas, given the quickly chang­ing sit­u­a­tion.

Sev­eral states, in­clud­ing Queens­land, are main­tain­ing var­i­ous bor­der re­stric­tions which also re­main un­cer­tain when they will end.

On state bor­der re­stric­tions, Mr Mor­ri­son said pre­miers needed to ex­plain their de­ci­sions and the ad­vice upon which they were act­ing.

“It’s for oth­ers to judge whether they’re do­ing that suf­fi­ciently or not,” he said.

Specif­i­cally not lev­el­ling any crit­i­cism, it is a sharp turn around from June when Mr Mor­ri­son was urg­ing states to re­open their bor­ders.

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