Transcript - Television Interview - Sunrise - Monday, 31 August 2020

Transcript - Television Interview - Sunrise - Monday, 31 August 2020 Main Image

By Joel Fitzgibbon

01 September 2020

DAVID KOCH, HOST: Now Victorians hoping to have lockdown ended soon have had their hopes dashed after the Premier announced there were no current plans to ease the tough restrictions.
 
NATALIE BARR, HOST: Cases in Victoria did briefly fall into double digits over the weekend. But Daniel Andrews has warned the numbers will explode if restrictions are eased too soon. Let's bring in Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce and Shadow Resources Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon. Good morning to you both.
 
BARNABY JOYCE, MEMBER FOR NEW ENGLAND: Good morning Nat.
 
BARR: Victorians needs some kind of number, something to aim for some kind of hope - or is Daniel Andrews doing the right thing being cautious?
 
JOYCE: Well, the number they're going to aim for is an economy that's going to tank if they don't actually open up. Look all the hurrah at the moment when you've been sponsored by JobKeeper, Jobseeker, is going to finish when you're actually dealing with a debt. And what Mister Andrews has to be asked is, okay, you've caused a lot of this financial burden that the whole nation needs to wear now - how are you, Mr Andrews, going to pay for this? Look if – it might be popular to close the show down, I might be on the wrong side of popularity when I read the polls today, but I can tell you, I'm on the right side of logic as far as economics go. We should be basing lockdowns on epidemiology, not parochialism. And we should bear in mind that ultimately all the subsidies have to stop and reality will set in and if you’ve made your state a basket case, well you're going to have to live in it.
 
KOCH: Joel is this all a case of more to do with politics than the economy or health?
 
JOEL FITZGIBBON, MEMBER FOR HUNTER: I think Kochie what the local community feels and wants, does matter. I think it's important for leaders to listen to the community. I mean, the behaviour of Daniel Andrews to me is the behaviour of a rational person who has made mistakes, he's conceded that and suffered the consequences. But a number of people are suffering the consequences. I talk to people in Melbourne all the time, people who have parents there in aged care facilities, for example. So I think listening to the mood of the electorate is pretty important. The question becomes, is Daniel Andrews being too risk averse? Well, we have a daughter down there. She's both a nurse and a paramedic and she doesn't believe he is overreaching. So we're not well-placed to know, we just hope of course his judgment is the right one because the economy's going to get very, very tough if those restrictions aren’t lifted sometime soon.
 
JOYCE: Okay, Joel I think you’ve had a position on every horse there. But leaders have got to lead and protecting aged care facilities, which you have to do, and other vulnerable people with co-morbidities, which you should do, and personal responsibility for people on the street which they should do, is entirely different to shutting down the whole state. The States, when you think about it, it’s just an arbitrary line on a map. With the epidemiology on one side of the line, and what - why do we believe that it’s so vastly different to, literally, a couple of feet away on the other side of the line? It’s, it’s quite crazy.
 
BARR: But Barnaby he will say he is looking at the epidemiology. He's looking at that - he's following the health advice, and he's still popular 80-something per cent. Queensland, WA, 90-something per cent. These leaders are popular, so what are you and the federal government going to do about it?
 
JOYCE: Well that might be popular and I know that our polling at a federal level has gone down but popularity and responsibility and logic and epidemiology are all in different baskets here. We've got to deal with the epidemiology of the issue which is the capacity of the disease to spread. But if you just want to be popular well go out and say ‘I'm thinking about bringing back the death penalty’ – that’d probably be popular as well. It's not something I do, it’s not something I’d support. But leaders are supposed to lead and leading mean at times you've got to actually do what you believe and what as a well-informed person would say, in the long term, this the better outcome for my nation, better outcome for my state.
 
KOCH: And Joel, the Treasurer is certainly slamming the state premiers to keep - to get those borders open again. And you have a situation like WA and South Australia – both have it all under control. South Australia has an open border to WA but WA says ‘no – even if you come from South Australia you’ve got to quarantine for two weeks.’ It's just crazy, the difference in the policies.
 
FITZGIBBON: I hope, Kochie, that Dan Andrews keeps taking the advice of the health experts, not the advice of Barnaby Joyce. That’s the first point. But I think these border issues come back to the failure of the National Cabinet. We do need a standardised approach. Scott Morrison told us that's what we were going to have under the National Cabinet. More than a week ago they announced some sort of code to make sure we had that standardisation. And we addressed these ridiculous issues happening on a number of the borders but yet, you know, we’re yet to see the detail of that. People need these issues sorted out now, particularly those in the agriculture sector. The Prime Minister is really good on the announcement - very poor on the follow-through.
 
KOCH: Well yes, the premiers are stuffing it up for him, though. He’s got the plan out there and they disagree.
 
JOYCE: Well I mean the Prime Minister’s trying to do his very, very best and look what he's got to deal with. I mean, you know, we've got Annastacia Palaszczuk creating the nation of Queensland. We have the new nation of Western Australia. We've got the basket case of Victoria. I mean, how do you manage that? You might as well manage a bag full of cats.
 
BARR: It’s called state elections, that's what it's called isn’t it?
 
KOCH: All right gents, thanks for that. Have a good week.
 
FITZGIBBON: We can send Barnaby in.
 
KOCH: Yeah, send Barnaby in? Maybe not.