SKY NEWS “SHARRI”
SUNDAY, 11 APRIL 2021
SUBJECTS: Vaccines, domestic violence, China Embassy press conference.
SHARRI MARKSON, HOST: Catherine, Australia is safe, we’re COVID free. Many of the issues the Morrison Government is facing when it comes to the delays over the vaccinations are completely, entirely beyond its control, the export controls from the EU to for one, and of course the latest issue with the AstraZeneca vaccine, the blood clotting. So why is Labor targeting the Morrison government so heavily on this issue?
CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Because our way back to COVID normal and the way we open our economy back up and the way we protect the health of Australians is through vaccination. You know, it’s the government themselves that set the target of 4 million by the end of March. It’s the government that’s been going out there saying how important it is and how well its vaccine programs been going. A year ago Labor’s shadow health spokesperson was saying, look, we’re a bit worried here, we don’t think the government has got enough deals. Comparable countries are doing deals with six to seven companies and we are worried that there’s just no contingency being built into the system here. We were told off about even raising those issues and the problem is we’re now paying the price for that. if we are going to open up in our borders to international tourists again or to international visitors, we’re going to have to have our population vaccinated. If we’re going to make sure that we don’t, you know, if there is another outbreak, if we’re going to make sure our population is protected, vaccination is critically important. Unfortunately, the government has just not built any contingency into the vaccine program and we’ve got the shambles that we saw where you’ve got Dan Tehan, a cabinet minister saying one thing and the Prime Minister completely contradicting him hours later on Facebook saying, no, we’re not going to have everybody with a single dose by the end of this year, that’s an aspiration, but we’re not prepared to say that. People want to know when they’re going to get vaccinated and they want the government just to be straight with them about that.
MARKSON: Andrew, you know, it is true that some of the issues that government is facing is entirely beyond its control, the EU exports and the issue with the AstraZeneca blood clots, but evidence did emerge at Senate hearings from Pfizer, that it had to approach the Morrison government, to see if it wanted to do a deal over the vaccinations. By the time they signed the deal in November last year, vaccinations were already being rolled out in the United States and elsewhere. Why has the government been so slow on this front?
ANDREW WALLACE, MEMBER FOR FISHER: Firstly I don’t accept that premise, Sharri. I mean, the Australian Government has secured initially 20 million Pfizer vaccines and then on Friday morning secured another 20 million. But can I just take you back to the issue. Really, what Labor is doing here is very, very unfortunate. When they are weaponising this issue and causing a whole lot of deep, deep concern from Australians about the vaccine and I think that that is entirely regrettable. I think that Australians are seeing through this. No one’s pretending for a second that this isn’t a difficult thing, that there’s always going to be, there’s always going to be issues and problems in the rollout of this magnitude. We’re experiencing the same sort of issues that the United Kingdom, the United States experienced when they first started out. So I would just call upon people to be calm. People will be vaccinated in accordance with the rollout, in accordance with the government’s plan. The announcement that was made last Thursday night is really testament to the fact that this government, the Australian Government has been very upfront with the Australian people, taking medical advice from ATAGI. And, you know, there was no attempt to try and hide the issues around blood clotting from AstraZeneca. So, I think that’s very important, I think that people should take comfort from that fact that it’s not going to impact on phase 1 of the role out, there will have to be a recalibration for people who are under 50, we accept that, but as we saw on Friday morning, the government responded very quickly and organised another 20 million doses.
MARKSON: Just on this issue, there’s a fascinating piece on the Australian’s website by Ticky Fullerton, where she argues the entitlement on everyone expecting to be vaccinated yesterday, when we’re you know, safe and COVID free in Australia and in effect the vaccinations at the moment would be for a return to overseas holiday. So if you haven’t read that yet, I recommend you go to the website…
WALLACE: I’ve read it.
MARKSON: Very thought provoking piece. Look, I want to ask you both about the press conference, this bizarre press conference that the Chinese Embassy in Canberra held this week. The Chinese Ambassador insisted Uighurs we’re not subject to oppression. It was highly choreographed, it was trying to blame the media for misrepresenting the situation In Xinjiang. Catherine, what did you make of this? I mean who would possibly believe that? It was the most unusual piece of propaganda.
KING: Well it was certainly a bizarre press conference and I don’t think it’s anything anyone in our press gallery would ever have experienced or seen before, it was quite bizarre. I think it’s not the actions, and what we’re seeing in Xinjiang province with the Uighurs, it’s not the actions of a responsible, mature global power and I think that press conference reflected that. I think it’s incredibly important that China be called out on these issues, that we ensure that there is truth and transparency about these issues and it’s in China’s long term interests, as a mature, global superpower that it actually behaves as a good international citizen and I don’t think that press conference reflected that at all.
MARKSON: Andrew, the committee that your chair released a report on domestic violence and family violence during the week or a week ago, it had very little media coverage, you know, despite the focus on these issues in Canberra. One of the fascinating recommendations in your report was that there could be a database, a public database of perpetrators of domestic violence. Why do you think this would be a good idea?
WALLACE: Well Sharri, there were 88 recommendations of the committee. There was a bipartisan report, which was very heartening to see both sides of the political fence come together on this very important issue of family, domestic and sexual violence. The issue of a publicly searchable database is certainly something that is going to be up for debate as to whether it is a good thing or not. The committee felt if we just keep doing what we’ve always been doing we’re going to get the same results. We need to be trying new things, and the committee was of the view that…
MARKSON: This would be a database of people who’ve been charged though not just allegations?
WALLACE: People who have been breached domestic violence orders repeatedly, so recidivist offenders. We feel that victims should have a right to be able to go to a database and check a database as to what they’re getting into, into a relationship with someone. What we’re seeing through the community is that domestic violence doesn’t just happened in isolation, it generally happens over a long period of time with multiple partners. So it’s important for subsequent partners to be able to be prepared, prewarned about what a offender has been up to in a previous relationship.
MARKSON: And this definitely would have helped him in the case of John Edwards who, of course, shot dead his two children. A terrible, terrible case. Andrew Wallace, Catherine King, thank you both very much for your time tonight.
KING: Thanks for having us.
CATHERINE KING – TRANSCRIPT – TELEVISION INTERVIEW – SKY NEWS – SUNDAY, 11 APRIL 2021