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Australian federal election 2022 live: Morrison rules out future Covid shutdowns; Coalition narrows Labor’s lead in polls | Australian election 2022

Following Anthony Albanese’s press conferences, there is a lot of commentary about what questions he didn’t answer. Yesterday the story after the presser was about how he left the press conference while journalists were still asking questions. Journalists followed him, with commentary about how he was “storming off” or “running” from questions on costings.

Scott Morrison rarely answers questions he doesn’t like. He does not accept interruptions when he strays off topic. He leaves when the questions get too tough to answer. But we have not seen the same level of commentary.

Kind of odd dynamic in this campaign. Lots of noise about Albanese refusing to answer questions and schooling the press pack. Less about the PM not answering questions, choosing who he gives the call to, and talking through follow up questions 🤷‍♀️

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) May 17, 2022

Morrison has also gone from “I need to change, I’ve been a bulldozer” to “how great are bulldozers?”

Today: you say bulldozer like that’s a bad thing #auspol

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) May 17, 2022

Q: Are you saying you won’t go back to governments to manage Covid. Do premiers like Mark McGowan need to stay out of people’s lives?

Scott Morrison:

I believe we need to move on from where we have been, that has always been my view.

I think it is incredibly important that we manage the pandemic and its future carefully, but we don’t go back to those days of shutdowns and lockdowns, and of course, we will monitor carefully any issues that relate to new variants, but when it comes to going forward, Australians want to move ahead, and that’s certainly what I want to do.

We are living with the pandemic, living with the virus and we are ensuring that our economy is coming back to life and people are getting back into jobs, and I am not going to crush their dreams by taking Australia backwards into that environment again. We are moving ahead, we have a big few years ahead of us, we are ready to seize the opportunities of what is ahead of us, we want to see people get to own their own homes, access to their own super so they can realise that dream, just like Sarah has here and we want to see more Australians doing that … and only by voting Liberal and National, and Stephanie here in Corangamite, can you get access to your own superannuation to enable you to buy a home. The Labor party won’t let you do it, I will encourage you to do it so you can get the best possible start in life for you and your family, thanks for your time.

Questions are still being shouted as he leaves.

Q: If you remain prime minister will wages keep up with inflation, even underlying inflation, and what is that?

Scott Morrison:

Wages will rise for all of the reasons that I have said, wages will rise because of unemployment coming down.

The economy will continue to strengthen, and businesses doing well so they can pay their employees more.

Q: Wages are not keeping up with inflation.

Morrison:

Inflation is the challenge when it comes to real wages, rising wages will be driven by the forces I have said, and that’s why the selection is so important the Reserve Bank says 2023, by the end of 23.

What I can tell you is it will take even longer if you have policies as the Labor party propose which means not managing money, not being able to afford the promises they are making, that only puts further pressure on inflation, and more upward pressure on interest rates. (*The debt is so large this doesn’t make a difference)

I have been very candid with Australians about economics challenges we’re facing you are right to highlight the problem with real wages, Labor has no magic pen bullet on this, and that’s exactly right, the only way you get wages is by good sensible economic policies that drive down unemployment, and that support growth in the economy which enables businesses to be able to pay their staff more.

There is no money tree that small businesses and businesses have.

Many of you will know that during the course of the pandemic you work for companies that had to go jobkeeper, you work for companies facing great global threats when it came to the forces of Google and others which meant that many of you were taking pay cuts.

You know that wages can only increase in the private sector if the businesses you work for are actually doing better, and that’s what our policies… I’m saying wages are rising and will rise, and the challenge is inflation, the challenges inflation and global challenge, so so I draw your attention to the facts, let’s focus on the facts in Australia, inflation, 5.1%, in New Zealand, almost seven, in the United States, 8.5.

Let’s talk about interest rates, in Australia, they went up 25 basis points of record lows of 0.1. In New Zealand they went up 125 basis points… (Journalists try to interrupt) Excuse me, I am answering the question.

125 basis points they went up in New Zealand, 90 basis points, 75 basis points, they went up in the United Kingdom and in the United States, and in Canada, so whichever way you look at it, Australia under our policies has put up an economic field to protect Australians from the impact of rising inflation around the world and rising interest rates and that’s what Australians need.

If you risk Australia’s economic management and the management of our budget with the Labor leader in Anthony Albanese who is a loose unit on the economy, didn’t know what the unemployment rate was, didn’t know what the cash rate was, makes up wages policy on the run, with no thought to what it means for inflation or interest rates, Treasurer who thinks he could just have a few billion dollars loosely spreading around and it’s no big deal, well, that is a big risk to you, and that’s why this election is a choice between a stronger economy and a weaker one and a certain one and an uncertain one.

Morrison rules out fourth Covid vaccine for general population

Q: What are you doing to curtail that and will you extend the fourth booster to the whole population to protect them?

Scott Morrison:

What we will do is continue to follow the medical advice, we will continue to put in place the winter preparedness plan, which we agreed with the states and territories, and/or the chief health officers and medical offices, which has been extending those vaccination boosters, particularly into the most vulnerable population, and you will note also in the New York Times article that one of the things they referred to was the strategic way in which we prioritised vaccines for the most vulnerable and elderly in our population which is exactly our plan. That you got vaccinated first, to ensure that we could minimise the impact on those most vulnerable populations.

That has continued to be the medical advice and the medical advice has not been to extend fourth doses … We speak regularly, as does the health minister, and there has been no change to that advice. We will continue to ensure that we follow that advice and ensure that Australia continues to have one of the most outstanding track records of managing the health impact of this pandemic. But I would stress again, as I know that premiers have on many occasions, what we’re seeing now when people are passing away … that doesn’t mean they have passed away because of Covid, and that is a very different issue from a public health point of view in terms of how you manage it.

You asked me what we have done about it, well we have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

The third dose rate is now just on the temp of 70% and this is one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. The job is never done and that’s why on each and every day the subareas we have seen come forward, these are issues that I have been in dialogue with the chief medical officer and we watch that evidence very carefully, and if there are issues that arise, we will act on them, but the advice we have is consistent with the approach we have continued to take and there has not been a change to that. Australia has been one of the standout performers in managing Covid anywhere in the world.

And I would add this about Covid, we are living with Covid, and not going back to those daily press conferences of people talking about Covid every day, and putting the threat of shutdowns and lockdowns and interfering in people’s lives again, that is not what I’m going to do if I am re-elected on Saturday, I will not drag Australia back to those times again, and I have noticed that Anthony Albanese (*this is not true) is keen to get back into that type of approach, and that is not the approach I have taken.

I will answer every question as I have for the last two years, and convened over 60 meetings of the national cabinet to work with premiers and chief ministers around this country, which has ensured that Australia has had one of the lowest death rates of Covid anywhere in the world. That’s a record that Australians can be very proud of, and I think Australians, particularly health workers, particularly in Indigenous communities for those working in aged care settings for the amazing job they have done. What their work is done is enabled Australia to live with Covid without fear, and that’s where our government will continue to take that issue forward.

Morrison plays down Australia’s Covid deaths

Q: The highest Covid transmission rate, we are approaching 6,000 deaths so far this year, was a decision taken that this is an acceptable number, and if not, what are you doing to stop 50 deaths from Covid a day in Australia?

Scott Morrison:

There has been 7,853 deaths where people have died with COVID in this country. There have been 2,376 in aged care since the pandemic started. There have been 65 deaths in the last 24 hours of people who died with Covid and 15 of those where in aged care.

In every single one of these deaths, from the outset of this pandemic is a terrible loss for the families of those who have been lost, and you will also know that as the number of case numbers has risen and that’s what it was always going to happen, as part of the national plan that we put together with the states and territories, the case numbers would rise, and there were some 53,000 case numbers yesterday, and what you see when you have case numbers of that level is that people when they pass away, from many other causes, they will die with Covid, and their doubts are recorded as Covid’s death but that doesn’t necessarily mean is the premiers themselves have set out, that they passed away because of Covid, that’s a very different proposition.

And is also the position of the chief medical officer and the other health authorities around the country, but let me make this point. You may have seen article in the New York Times, and in the article in the New York Times they said very clearly if the United States had followed the path that Australia had, there would be 900,000 more people alive in the United States today. That is more than the metropolitan population of San Francisco. Australia has one of the lowest death rates from Covid anywhere in the world. That…

Asked if Anthony Albanese saying if he was elected, he and Penny Wong would try to go to the Quad meeting (which is just days after the election).

That is from an Australian newspaper article:

Scott Morrison ignores the context which Albanese was asked specifically and said:

We are not pre-empting the outcome [of the election] but, clearly, we have been asked by Australian officials what our ­intention would be and we have indicated that if we are successful, the intention would be to go,” Albanese said.

Morrison though, takes the question as if Albanese has declared himself the winner:

That’s for him to explain. He seems to be getting a bit presumptuous, he seems to think … we had Bill Shorten now with the Addams family photo before the last election, all pretending they were already in their jobs. We are seeing a lot of that again from the Labor party, and when I was asked about this the other day, when it came to what we were, what the arrangements would be for the Quad meeting after the election, I said I would not be presumptuous about that, there are conventions in place to deal with those issues and I’m sure depending on the outcome of this Saturday’s elected that they will be put in place. But Mr Albanese seems to be getting a bit ahead of himself and Australians will make this decision, you don’t get to make it before the election.

Q: You were attacked on your character for being untrustworthy and a liar, and a week after the election you are saying you are a bulldozer. Are you worried Australians will see this as a political ploy? And also why should Australians trust that in a future crisis, you will consult with them more because you said the reason you didn’t consult was you had to make fast decisions?

Scott Morrison:

I think you misunderstood what I’m trying to say. I have been very conscious about my approach for a very long time, and I have to tell you in the roles I have had it has served the country extremely well.

You could not have been weak and stopped the boats, you could not have been weak and stood up to the Chinese government, you could not have been weak and made the decisions we had to make during the pandemic where there wasn’t time, as you say, and rightly, to be going and consulting on every decision, and in crises, that’s what you do have to do … Australians know that when things really get down to it that I can make those calls, that I can have the confidence to make those calls and that’s what has enabled Australia to come through what has been one of the biggest challenges we faced since the second world war.

What I am talking about is we’re coming out of that period, we are putting the pandemic behind us, and the crisis and urgency of those times gives us the opportunity as a government to move into another gear. I am very optimistic about the next three to five years, Australia has great opportunities that we have worked hard to set up during the course of this pandemic, investing in skills, infrastructure, ensuring we have more apprentices and trade training, 220,000 more than any other time in Australia’s economic history, investing in advanced manufacturing capabilities which we are already seeing the dividends of, investing in our security and defence forces and defence industry. We have big opportunities ahead of us, and I am intending for Australians to realise those and we can move out of the mode where we have been in where decisions have been difficult and tough. There will be many challenges ahead, no doubt about that, and I can assure you the same strength that I have demonstrated as a prime minister over these last three and half years, you can count on that strength in the future, but what you can also count on is shifting into this new gear of realising these opportunities.

Journalists try asking questions about Covid:

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, somebody, someone was asking me a question, we will get to it.

Q: Prime minister, in your own electorate of Cook, surely your constituents have a right to know whether you will serve a full term. Will you rule out today quitting politics in the event you lose?

Scott Morrison:

I am focussed on one thing, and that is the return of the Coalition government, and I have served and I have been so grateful to the people of my own community. Jenny and I are so grateful for people in my own community and I am standing for election in Cook once again and I look forward to their support.

He ignores a reporter who has been trying to ask a question for some time:

I said behind you, I said behind you.

Q: You have been to Geelong five times since December. Given the contest going on in the teal independent seats, can you realistically hold onto government without them?

Scott Morrison:

Before the last election, I remember what everyone was saying before, but Australians are making this choice, pollsters aren’t making this choice, commentators aren’t making this choice, journalists are not making this choice, except in your own vote, and however you choose. Australians are making this choice and at this election I think there is a fundamental difference, and that is in the Liberals, in the Nationals, we believe the answer to securing Australia’s future opportunity is you and that’s why our policies, particularly like what we’re talking about here, enabling you to buy your own home with your own money, it demonstrates our belief, just like jobkeeper and the cash flow boosted, enabling you to get through the tax reductions, small business, it was all about backing Australians and Labor believes the government is the answer, which is why they want the government to own your home, and when it comes to housing policies, their only answers is to put people in government homes or have the government buy your home.

We have a very different view, we believe in Australians, the Labor party believes in government and I believe Australians…

‘The response we are getting from prepoll is really encouraging,’ says Scott Morrison

Q: There has been a massive amount of prepoll votes cast, I think one in five voters, why do you think voters are in such a hurry to vote and youth think they have a ready made their mind up about you and want selection over and done with?

Scott Morrison is very upbeat:

The same thing happened last election, it just a longer time. Pre-poll has gone from three weeks to two weeks, and people will be a lot of different places on polling day and we have seen about a third or thereabouts of people prepoll now before elections, and I would be expecting it to be about the same, it has just been done over a shorter period of time, and I have to tell you the response getting from people is really encouraging, and I thank all of our workers who are out there, having those conversations, and I tell you what, if you want to get access to your superannuation, to help you or your kids buy a home, the only way that will happen is if you vote Liberal National at this election because Labor will never ever let you do it because the unions will never let them do it.

I want you to be in charge of your money, the Labor Party doesn’t think it is your money, they think it belongs to somebody else, and that they can tell you where to spend your money like Labor always does, that’s why they like higher taxes*, because they think your money is better in their pockets than it is in your own.

*This is not true. This government is the second-highest taxing government since the Howard government (which was the highest taxing).

Prime minister Scott Morrison visits a housing site in Geelong, Victoria. Photograph: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

Asked about rental prices, Scott Morrison talks about policies to help people build and buy houses.



Australian federal election 2022 live: Morrison rules out future Covid shutdowns; Coalition narrows Labor’s lead in polls | Australian election 2022 Source link Australian federal election 2022 live: Morrison rules out future Covid shutdowns; Coalition narrows Labor’s lead in polls | Australian election 2022

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