Scott Morrison's vaccine failure is costing lives - Transcript, 2SM Mornings


SUBJECTS: Labor’s economic policies; Scott Morrison’s vaccine failures.

MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Let's catch up with one of those inner-city lefty elites, sipping a latte, no doubt, after a major shift in economic policy from his party. Andrew Leigh, good morning to you. 


PAUL: No comment on that intro, I guess? 

LEIGH: No lattes this morning, Marcus, I'm sorry. I went off coffee a couple of years back, so I'm a tea drinker, I'm afraid.

PAUL: Oh, a tea drinker. Tell me, do you take your tea 2SM? You better: two sugars and milk, 2SM.

LEIGH: I love it. I never thought about that before. That's fantastic. A little bit sweet for me, but maybe I'll give it a go later in the day. 

PAUL: Now, the ALP has dumped negative gearing policy. It is a bit of a shift in economic policy. Federal Labor has formally dumped its contentious negative gearing policy and dropped its opposition to the Federal Government's stage three tax cuts for high-income earners. Why?

LEIGH: Marcus, we've made a firm decision that the next election needs to be fought over jobs for Australians and getting the vaccination rollout right. We need to make sure that we're not exposed to a fear campaign from Scott Morrison, but that instead he's held to account for being last in the OECD for the vaccine rollout, for the fact that real wages are forecast to go backwards, for the fact that Australia is not doing enough on climate change. There's enough huge issues in Australia that Scott Morrison needs to be held to account for without giving him the opportunity to distract Australians with issues like taxation.

PAUL: All right, just on that, you talked about the slow vaccination rollout. Word through in the press this morning is that, as you know, we sadly lost a woman in her late 30s, a business school master's student. She died from COVID at the weekend. She had no pre-existing conditions. Her name is Adriana Takara. She died hours after her brother and boyfriend said their goodbyes through a hospital window. She rapidly deteriorated within days of testing positive to the strain she caught from a friend. Now, we're told the 39-year-old tried on numerous occasions to get an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination in the weeks before she fell ill on July 15, but she was informed on the New South Wales health vaccination portal no appointments were available until after October. Didn't this Prime Minister of ours say last year in one of his bloody press conferences in front of all the cameras and, I don't know probably cooking some sort of curry, that we were at the front of the list?

LEIGH: It is, Marcus, 'front of the queue', and the fact is that if Adriana were in many other advanced countries she would have had access to a vaccine. You saw a statement being put out by the Israeli Prime Minister the other day saying that they had prioritised COVID vaccines, that there was plenty of vaccine around and no Israeli had an excuse not to get vaccinated. Scott Morrison can't say that because the fact is we are still badly constrained by the fact that he didn't do what other countries did in the middle of last year: sign up to five or six vaccine deals, make sure there was plenty of Pfizer around. The cost of it was trivial compared to what we're paying now. Around $1 billion would have bought enough Pfizer in July of last year to vaccinate every Australian adult. Scott Morrison penny pinched on that, and now Sydney is suffering an economic costs of $1 billion dollars every few days as a result is of this awful lockdown.

PAUL: Yes, I understand the economic costs, but look, now it's starting to cost lives - young Australian lives. Nobody aged in their 30s should be dying of COVID in this country. We're a developed country. We are well off economically. Where has been the Prime Minister on this? Obviously absent, and it's now costing young Australians their lives.

LEIGH: It is, and what was amazing the other day, Marcus, was Scott Morrison saying, well actually the key to controlling the virus isn’t vaccinations, it's lockdowns. This from a bloke who spent much of last year attacking the Victorian Premier for his lockdown, whose cabinet colleagues have been arguing against lockdowns, and now when people are saying that we need vaccines and that's the Prime Minister's job he looks to blame shift and buck pass, to say that this is the job for the premiers, not a job for the Prime Minister. If we had enough vaccine in Australia that everyone could have gotten vaccinated earlier this year, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in right now.

PAUL: And who knows? Maybe this young, 39-year-old woman would still be alive.

LEIGH: That's right, Marcus. It is just a heart-rending story, knowing that this is so preventable. Now, the Prime Minister needs to get quarantine right, needs to get more vaccine in the arms of Australians. He needs made a better ad campaign. I ran a telephone town hall last week and asked those on the line if they'd seen one of the federal government's vaccine ads, and almost half said they hadn't, so the ad rollout needs to be better. We need domestic mRNA vaccine production. It's not hard to do, but Scott Morrison hasn't stepped up to do the task.

PAUL: Alright, mate, good to have you on. We'll catch up next week. Appreciate it.

LEIGH: Look forward to it. Thanks, Marcus.


Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.

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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.