Townsville Bulletin

PM puts heat on states

- HELENA BURKE

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has thrown down the gauntlet to state premiers over ongoing border closures, insisting political leaders owe it to Australian­s to allow families to reunite at Christmas.

Mr Morrison said he couldn’t see any reason why people should be kept apart by state borders after the 80 per cent national vaccinatio­n target was reached.

“It’s important that we do move forward. We can’t stay in second gear,” he told Weekend

Sunrise on Sunday. “We’ve got to get to top gear in living with the virus … that’s where we need to be.

“My message is to Australian­s that what I’d like them to have for Christmas is their lives back.”

Mr Morrison slammed Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Western Australia’s Mark Mcgowan for their unwillingn­ess to commit to granting Australian­s that same wish.

“There comes a time when you’ve got to honour the arrangemen­t you’ve made with the Australian people, and that is when you get to 80 per cent vaccinatio­n, it’s very clear that you can start opening up,” the Prime Minister said.

“I think that puts the big challenge on the premiers. I mean, they’ve had the power to do what they’ve been doing. They’re not new powers. They’ve always had them.

“But, you know, there comes a time when you have just got to move on and get on with it.”

The Queensland and WA premiers have held firm in their resistance of the national plan. Ms Palaszczuk has demanded more research into the effects of Covid-19 on children before she says her state will embrace the reopening targets agreed on at national cabinet.

Mr Mcgowan has shown similar defiance, insisting WA is unlikely to reopen its borders until 2022.

But Mr Morrison slapped down both premiers’ claims, insisting the entire country should reopen at the 80 per cent vaccinatio­n target, which is expected to be reached before the end of the year.

“Once you get to 80 per cent of your population that’s vaccinated, it’s very clear. I can’t see any reason why Australian­s should be kept from each other,” he said.

“(Reopening by Christmas) is within the gift of government­s. And that’s a gift I’d like to see us give them.”

The Prime Minister also made it clear that the country would not wait for vaccinehes­itant Aussies to make up their minds, insisting the national plan will go ahead as planned whether people decide to get their jab or not.

“Once we get to 80 per cent … the fact is that everybody has had the chance to get vaccinated by that point,” he said.

“If you've chosen not to get vaccinated, that’s your choice … but we must go into the next chapter.”

 ?? ?? Scott Morrison.
Scott Morrison.

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