16 February 2021

SUBJECTS: Pfizer vaccine arrives in Australia; Vaccine distribution; Calls for changes to hotel quarantine; Political Leader of The Year award; Huntsmans.

KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST:  Welcome back to the show. It certainly feels like the cavalry has arrived, doesn't it? The first Pfizer vaccines touching down in Australia for distribution across the country and it's our frontline health workers who'll be first in line for the jab. Let's discuss with Shadow Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten and from Triple M, Gus Worland. Well, good morning, guys. Nice to see you. Bill, it's hard to criticise this for all that, right? 

BILL SHORTEN, MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG: Oh listen, I'd be pleased to see the vaccines roll out. I mean, parts of the rest of the world are getting on with it and getting it. But I just want to see life get back to normal. And if the vaccine helps get things back to normal, well, this is a good development.  

STEFANOVIC: You'd be just hoping, have you heard anything about whether or not you're going to come out of this lockdown? I mean, it's so debilitating mentally, isn't it?  

SHORTEN: Listen, fellow Victorians have done it hard, but a short, sharp lockdown on Friday when we got the news, I was asking people how they felt about it. And I think the consensus on balance, other than a few groans, was less than five days would be better than 129. So let's just do it, get it done and get on with it.  

STEFANOVIC: OK, let's get back to the vaccine now. Gus, half of the population is still unsure about getting vaccinated, according to a survey. Gus, we've seen this in the UK that some sectors of the community are reluctant. They're resistant. What do you think?

GUS WORLAND, TRIPLE M: Yeah, I mean, I understand people don't want things jabbed into their bodies. I totally get that. But I said last week on the show, the grandma of my children, my mother in law, had it done and so much hope came from that. She was so excited. It was done really well. They've done 15 million people in the time they said they would. It's given that country hope. And I think that's what they'll give us. I'll certainly be having it. My kids will be having it. By the sounds of it, if you don't have it, you won't be able to travel. So, you know, let's just get it done in terms of-  it's a personal opinion. I understand that. But for me, let’s get it done as soon as possible.

STEFANOVIC: I think a lot more are reluctant to get it than are saying at the moment, which is a worry. Adding to the controversy, Gladys Berejiklian says New South Wales should get a greater proportion of the vaccines because her state has taken the lion's share of quarantine arrivals. Bill, obviously, there are a lot in Victoria hoping to get this vaccine in the front line. Is it a fair point she makes?  

SHORTEN: My advice to Gladys is to tell her she's dreaming on this one. Like, it should go to people who are vulnerable and frontline workers. No, I don't know if Gladys is just running up the old state flag, get a few votes, but that's not the way you should allocate medical resources, they should be allocated based on need and also the frontline workforce.

STEFANOVIC: I think what she's saying is because they're taking in the lion's share of overseas passengers, I think 3000 compared to 1000, well it’s paused now in Victoria, that they deserve to have more people vaccinated.  

SHORTEN: Oh, listen, I’d just say to Gladys, it should go to frontline workers, the hotel quarantine workers. If you've got more of them, then you have more of the vaccines. But let's not play state games now. This is a moment for national unity. It should go to need not some sort of state political stuff.  

STEFANOVIC: Do you reckon that we've got any chance of having national unity when the state premiers are pretty much doing their own thing?

SHORTEN: Let’s not totally pay out on the state premiers. The reality is we've seen Lindsay Fox and John Wagner, billionaires, saying they'll do quarantine at regional airports. I mean, the Constitution says section 51, subsection nine, Karl and Gus, - I did some homework this morning - quarantine is a federal responsibility, yet the only person not turning up is, I have to say, Mr Morrison. He's leaving it to the states and the private sector to do the heavy lifting.  

STEFANOVIC: OK, just on that then, Lindsay Fox and John Wagner, their idea seems good. Would you allow them in? Would you allow them to do private quarantine facilities? 

SHORTEN: Well, down at Portsea, which is at the very end of the Mornington Peninsula, at the entrance to the bay leading to Melbourne, there's an old quarantine camp. I mean, back in the 1920s and in the 19th century, when people had yellow fever on the ships, they weren't allowed to come up to Melbourne. They had to go and do their time in a quarantine camp on the edge. So, this is not a new idea. And that's why the Constitution says it's the federal government's responsibility. So, I've said on this show, let's have quarantine, not in the middle of our cities.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, and if Daniel Andrews can't get a grip of hotel quarantine, Gus. Can, do you think, the billionaires can do a better job?  

WORLAND: Absolutely. They've got the cash they want to do it, let them do it - and I mean, they want to do some good, let them. They’ve got plenty.

SHORTEN: I don’t think they’re going to do it for free, mate. That’s not how they get to be a billionaire. 

STEFANOVIC: Well, what they've said is what they've said is they've said that when people come back, there'll be a fee charged with going into a quarantine facility. I don't think people are going to have a problem with it. And it makes it safer.

SHORTEN: No, it makes sense. Listen, put plonking these quarantine facilities in the middle of the cities, I think is probably increasing the risk of an outbreak. So, I mean, our forefathers , our forebears, that used to have quarantine facilities not in the middle of cities, they did it for a reason.  

STEFANOVIC: Amid all this, guess who which state premier has been nominated above all others for Australia's political leader of the year award? Yes, it is Daniel Andrews.

SHORTEN: Did you nominate him, Karl? 


STEFANOVIC: Well, I think all of them have had a tough job. But I would I personally would have thought Annastacia Palaszczuk was at least on the list, Bill? 

SHORTEN: Yeah, I think Annastacia Palaszczuk has done a good job, but Dan Andrews has had a lot of bricks thrown at him. For once. He's getting a bunch of flowers thrown at him. I think he would be the first to say that that's when it's not over yet and until we're back to normal, that that's the job ahead of us. And he would probably say, and I think we'd all probably agree, it's the front line workforce. It's the people who've lost their jobs. It's the small businesses doing it hard now. They're the silent heroes who just want life to get back to normal.  And thank you to all Australians.

STEFANOVIC: Gus, I’m loath to play the sexism card, but Annastacia Palaszczuk is not even on the list. In fact, there are no women on the list. There it is.  

SHORTEN: Oh, that’s no good.

WORLAND: Well, I'm a little bit surprised by that because I reckon the New South Wales Premier has done a pretty good job, but I think they've all done a good job. I'm surprised Daniel Andrews is on that. You said tell him he's dreaming earlier, Bill. Well, I reckon Danny might be dreaming of a chance of winning. He is probably not up for the win, the big fella. Not this one.

STEFANOVIC: OK, now, Leila McKinnon, obviously it's her award. So she's got a lot to answer for in regards to the McKinnon Prize.

SHORTEN: OK, now I get it. All right.

STEFANOVIC: Now, I saw this I saw this on Reddit yesterday. Guys, this is this is the great quandary that is facing everyone around the world this morning. What do you do in this situation?  That's a Huntsman. Did you just swear then Bill? 

SHORTEN: That's a biggie, isn't it? Someone’s pet Huntsman's gone for a walk.

STEFANOVIC: Do you use the toilet paper, and risk the Huntsman coming down, or do you leave the toilet, you know, without having… whatever?

WORLAND: Run for the hills! 

SHORTEN: Words fail me there - that's a monster. 

STEFANOVIC: It's quite a quandary, isn't it?  

SHORTEN: Do you just get out you look around for, I don't know, a newspaper or something?

WORLAND: No way, see ya later!  

STEFANOVIC: (laughing) see ya later.

SHORTEN: You put your phone down, and bolt!

STEFANOVIC: Great to see you guys, great talking to you. Have a great week.