09 September 2020


SUBJECTS: Victorian lockdowns; COVIDSafe app.
TOM CONNELL, HOST: Let’s go to our pollie panel now, Liberal MP Tim Wilson, from Labor Peta Murphy. Thanks both for your time. I know you’re both there in towns of lockdown so let me ask you this first of all Peta Murphy, do you agree with Bill Shorten that we need a quicker path out of this and he hopes it’s the worst case scenario or do you agree with Richard Marles that the course outlined by Daniel Andrews is the right one?
PETA MURPHY, MEMBER FOR DUNKLEY: I agree that we have to have these decisions based on the best medical evidence. Of course everyone wants to get out earlier and as soon as possible, and the Premier wants us to get out as soon as possible, but he also wants to save lives, and that’s what I want. And overwhelmingly that’s what my constituents want. They want some support for their businesses, they want some support for their income, they want more support from the federal government, they want to get out of lockdown as soon as they can but they’re willing to do what has to be done for the health and wellbeing of not just their own families but of others.
CONNELL: So everything on medical evidence, we’ve learned though that the curfew is nothing to do with health advice, it was a separate decision, a political one. What do you make of that?
MURPHY: I haven’t heard whatever comments you were referring to my understanding is
TIM WILSON, MEMBER FOR GOLDSTEIN: You’ve heard them now. What’s your plan?
MURPHY: Well Tim, if you just stop talking and interrupting me, I can finish my sentence, my view of the curfew has always been that it was to stop people moving around unnecessarily and that’s one of the greatest sources of spreading the virus and we’ve seen that happen in the workplace.
CONNELL: I’m going to clarify that point Tim Wilson, so Brett Sutton said this was not his advice, so this wasn’t health advice, he has said and he believes it was in place to enforce measurements but this was not health advice. What do you make of the curfew as a result Peta Murphy?
MURPHY: I think that people shouldn’t be moving around and should only be leaving home for the essential reasons to leave home. Now there aren’t essential reasons to leave home unless you are working or need medical attention in the evening. I think we just need to do whatever we can to not be going in and out of restrictions. We’ve seen in other countries, we’ve seen in the UK that massive spike that they’ve had in the last few days and now they’re going back into more social restrictions. We want to deal with this and get on with life.
CONNELL: Tim Wilson, should the curfew be lifted?
WILSON: It’s quite clear that its not informed by health advice and you’ve outlined that. (Inaudible). The only measures that need to be in place are those that are necessary to protect public health. (Inaudible). The resource management decision, we’re not here to be slaves of the state, we are free people and I don’t think it’s justified. I’ve been in Canberra Tom for the past month obviously with federal parliament and one of the things that’s very obvious is how much more mental health has deteriorated in the months than when I left. (Inaudible). That’s not just in my community, as I speak to other colleagues, they’re reporting exactly the same thing.
CONNELL: So Brett Sutton said that it wasn’t his advice, he went on to say that on balance he would probably adopt it without being committal to it. You’re saying, let’s just be clear on this, lift the curfew right now? As soon as possible?
WILSON: What I’m saying is if it’s not backed up by medical advice, if it’s not backed up by health advice, it’s not the basis for the decision that was made, it was based on other reasoning. Now we need a very clear explanation of what that reason is because it’s clearly not health. (Inaudible).
CONNELL: If the advice didn’t come from Brett Sutton originally, but he endorses it, would that be good enough for you or not?
WILSON: I want a basis of reason. (Inaudible). When a Premier uses political reasons to make decisions, where it isn’t backed up by science, where it isn’t justified and then you’re needlessly suppressing the freedoms of people to be able to go about their daily lives.
Mental health consequences, delay of elective surgery, un identification of other health conditions. (Inaudible)
MURPHY: Undoubtedly, but I take it then that Tim supports other decisions that have been made on medical advice. What people don’t need at the moment is politicians, including the Prime Minister, using what’s happening in Victoria as an opportunity to make political point scoring. What they want is leaders who are going to say I’m here to help and this is what I’ll do to help you get through it.
So what we need is a Prime Minister that says, I know that Victorians are struggling, I know that businesses need JobKeeper to continue, I know that workers don’t need the rate of JobKeeper to be cut. There’s time for recriminations later but I’m going to show true leadership and instead of having a political go, I’m going to do what I can to help Victorians get through. That’s what people want at the moment.
CONNELL: The decisions right now are having an impact. Let me ask you this then, epidemiologist’s say they were not asked to model different outcomes in terms of when you could lift restrictions and how much that would likely affect further outbreaks in the future, they weren’t asked to model different outcomes if contact tracing actually improved and yet Daniel Andrews made announcements yesterday that it should improve contact tracing. Why not at least have those other outcomes modelled so if the contact tracing improves you can open up the economy earlier?
MURPHY: Well I hope contact tracing does improve, I hope the COVIDSafe app proves to work at some point.
WILSON: It wasn’t used in Victoria, for example by the Labor government, it has been used in New South Wales.
It was used in New South Wales, it wasn’t used in Victorian initially.
MURPHY: Tim, it hasn’t been useful.
WILSON: This kind of misinformation put forward by yourself and other Labor members of parliament are costing lives.
MURPHY: Oh, that’s outrageous.
WILSON: The failure around contact tracing, the failure around hotel quarantine and the fact that you are running interference.
MURPHY: Who’s running interference?
WILSON: For the State Government and their failures. (Inaudible). The Victorian economy, Victorian mental health, Victorian lives is disgraceful.
MURPHY: Ok Tim, you came on here to yell and to carry on (Inaudible). I came here to have a discussion about what needs to be done and how we can help Victorians get through the crisis that we’re in at the moment. That’s what I’m interested in and being constructive and saying that we need the COVIDSafe app to work.
WILSON: It does work Peta.
MURPHY: Everyone hopes the contact tracing means that we can get out sooner and what we need to talk about now is the support that Victorians need. And you pointed to mental health (Inaudible) putting more money into mental health.
CONNELL: Let me just ask you this Tim Wilson, could the COVIDSafe app be working better?
WILSON: Well, every single system within our government, our society can work better. I’m sorry Peta has just misled the public (Inaudible).
The COVIDSafe app does work. Could it work better? Sure. It wasn’t used initially by Victoria and we saw the massive outbreak, it has been used in New South Wales. (Inaudible).
CONNELL: We’ve gone well over. I sense we’ll be picking up this conversation next time. Tim Wilson, Peta Murphy, Thank you.
MURPHY: Thanks

Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.