MONDAY 19 JULY, 2021
SUBJECTS: Lockdown, vaccine rollout and the future after COVID.
KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Welcome back to the show. Sydney is waking up to yet more restrictions this morning. Hundreds of thousands of residents in the city's south west effectively sealed off from the outside world. It is tough, isn't it? While Melbourne is facing the prospect of yet another lockdown extension, a key decision expected within hours. Let's discuss with Shadow Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten in Melbourne and in Sydney, Triple Ms Gus Worland. Guys, I just feel a bit depressed.
BILL SHORTEN, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG: Yeah, I think that's the nation's feeling, isn't it?
STEFANOVIC: Yeah. Gus?
GUS WORLAND, TRIPLE M: Yeah, absolutely, I feel depressed, I feel like, you know, we're just going round and round, it's Groundhog Day, isn't it? We just can't live like this. We simply can't. The mental health situation compared to the COVID situation, compared to the lockdown, how people feel, it's absolutely getting to its wits end, and I can't imagine what it's like to be in Victoria.
WORLAND: I'm in a lockdown here in Sydney, like a lot of us are. But at the end of the day, guys, we have to learn to live with this and the only way we can do it is getting the vaccine out. And we're not doing that well enough. And no one wants to apologise. No one wants to say that we haven't done it right. So we can't move ahead.
STEFANOVIC: Ok, I just want to show you these pictures, too, from Bondi yesterday. Bill, you and I were discussing, you know, wearing a mask when exercising and whatnot. That's not happening at Bondi, sizeable crowds out there enjoying the winter sun. Compare that to, say, for example, Liverpool shops closed and the streets almost deserted. Similar story in Bellmore. People there heeding the public health advice, heeding the public health advice to stay at home. I mean, it's this tale of two parts of the city, isn't it? And the messages are pretty mixed, Bill.
SHORTEN: Yeah, listen, I don't understand why you're getting two different messages in Sydney. I know no one wants to hear advice from Victorians at the moment, but just clear up the confusion, Gladys. And nothing will kill morale more than a sense that in some suburbs you're doing it hard. You know, the businesses aren't open, the perishable food's being thrown away and yet in other suburbs, people seem to not be affected at all. You know, this this line that we're all in it together, if we're not all in it together, that will stuff things up unbelievably. I think Gladys just needs to toughen up a bit here. The gold class contact tracing is clearly not gold class at the moment. Despite their best efforts.
STEFANOVIC: Just on her though, Gladys Berejiklian she's been pictured out and about without a mask over the weekend, despite asking everyone else to cover up. Now some of these laws are a little bit patchy. If you're within a certain distance to a coffee shop, then you're supposed to have a mask on. She's defending it, saying she hasn't done the wrong thing. The issue is that she has to be seen to be doing the right thing, right, Bill?
SHORTEN: Yeah, I went for a run yesterday, more like a shuffle, I call it a run. And, you know, I have to I tie my mask around my wrist because you just you get the looks from people saying, well, why does he not do it? On the other hand, when did paparazzi become an essential business? And although I can tell you that when I was at netball a few weeks ago or last year, perhaps it was we had all the parents holding a cup of coffee and we didn't have our masks and someone was going along checking, is there coffee in those cups? So I don't know where the line is. Gladys, Gladys would be smart to just wrap one around her wrist or just something. You know, she's a target.
STEFANOVIC: I feel sorry for the paps. I mean I mean, they've got a job to do. They've got to put food on the, it's an essential service. It could have been outlawed five years ago. Hey, Gussie, what do you make of that with Gladys?
WORLAND: Yeah, I feel for her, but of course, I agree with Bill on this one, you know, she is the leader. She's the person we see every single day. So just even if any sort of doubt at all, just chuck the mask on. But you're right, if there's a line in the sand we'll always put our foot a little bit over it, won't we as Aussies we'll always take the mickey a little bit. So it's probably better for her just to do the right thing over the top.
STEFANOVIC: Well, the thing is, I mean, with this variant, too, it's doing things that the others weren't and it's jumping really easily. And Bill you've said it already on the show today, you've seen how quickly it can spread. So you've got to be trying to do the best you can at all kinds of events. What about the MCG? I mean, it's going to change things there.
SHORTEN: Yeah, well, I know friends who've had to lock down because they're on the same level. It's remarkable. And all over Melbourne, even in my suburb where parts of it don't have any hot spots, people have been to hot spots, they're self isolating. I think the real thing here, if I can cut to what I think's going on in the country at the moment, is 12 million of us are locked down and people are pessimistic and despondent. But I think they're pessimistic and despondent, Karl, because we don't know when this ends. We get that lockdowns work but we don't want to be locking down the rest of our lives whenever this variant turns up. So Gus said it, we need the vaccines and we need it in big numbers. But what I think we need most of all, even beyond quarantine facilities that work, even beyond vaccinations, is we need hope. People can't keep shutting their businesses. We can't keep shutting the schools. We can't keep, you know, doing over the people on welfare and leaving them to starve. What we have to do is we have to be told, when does this finish? What is the, what's the finishing line? Otherwise we are just hamsters in a hamster wheel, which never ends.
STEFANOVIC: Well, it is interesting because, I mean, I don't think we're going to get anywhere near 80 or 90 per cent of vaccinated. And if you look at London and the UK 50,000 cases and they've just decided righto it's Freedom Day. In the US, I've got friends in New York and they've been vaccinated so they're out and about. They reckon it's like a Fourth of July every day because they've just gone righto we're just going to move ahead. We can look at that as a country and go, that's what we will experience at some point in the next few months. So what does that look like day to day Gus?
WORLAND: Yeah, no you're absolutely right, I'm exactly the same as both of you talking there. The world has opened up and we're seeing it more and more in sporting fields. Last night, the Formula One Grand Prix, 140,000 people at Silverstone, the Euros, the whole bit. And we're sitting around here with a few cases compared to the rest of the world and we're all you know, I was talking to construction workers last night, I was talking to a whole lot of people around their mental fitness, their mental health over the last week or so, and these people. This is the problem is that it's happening now, but it's going to be just the trigger effect all the way through and the ripple effect that goes on around what's happening in our melon's at the moment. We're losing way more people to suicide and anxiousness and depression than we ever have to COVID. So at some stage, can we just get this vaccination out and start living with this thing because it's not going away any time soon.
STEFANOVIC: I mean, they're talking about this morning, I mean the rollout's a Monday story. I think it's in News Limited Daily and talking about getting those above the age of 12 vaccinated. Bill I mean we can't even get those in aged care facilities, we can't get health care workers vaccinated, let alone kids over the age of 12.
SHORTEN: Well, listen, leadership starts at the top and Scomo got a kick up the backside in the polls, as he deserves to on this one. But what we've seen is, you know, people bag Dan Andrews, I think he's looking a bit better in the rear vision mirror in terms of going hard, going early. Gladys, I think doesn't quite know, she's sort of trapped in her own rhetoric and some of her base is saying you promised that we wouldn't have to lock down. Can we skip all the political B.S. at the moment? What we need is hope. What we need is to know that the businesses don't have to throw out the food which perishes because of the sudden lockdown. What we need is that uni kids from the country aren't starving because they haven't lost their casual job and the family can't afford to keep them at uni. We need hope and the way we get hope is by leadership. But that's also a little bit on all of us, isn't it? Let's take our kids to go and get vaccinated. Let's make the appointments. Let's put up with the you know, I do actually think we can get up to a decent vaccination rate if we are told that getting up to a decent vaccination rate is the key to freedom.
STEFANOVIC: Yeah, yeah. I don't know. I don't know. I mean, there's always it seems to me that there's going to be restrictions no matter what happens. Just on those polls, the PM's personal approval rating has slumped to its lowest level since his ill fated trip to Hawaii. Gee, that seems like a long time ago, doesn't it, Bill have you left you around a little bit too late?
SHORTEN: Mate it's never about the individual, seriously. It's about what's best for the country. You know, I spew sometimes that the guy got the job and I'd love to have had a crack at doing this, but that didn't happen. The universe doesn't grant reruns. But what I cannot understand for the life of me is in May of 2019 he wanted this job as much as I did, he got the tick. I don't understand why he just didn't every day concentrate on vaccines and quarantine facilities. I don't understand but we are where we are. All I say is, Mr Morrison forget that it's me saying this to you, but a leader must be a dealer in hope, not a dealer in hands off. This guy is not the hope merchant. What we need out of Canberra is a hope factory, not a pessimism factory, not a too hard factory, not a give up factory. People are starving for a better way. You tell Australia where the finishing tape is, every Australian will stand up and they'll reach that finishing tape. But we need the leadership that the Australian sacrifice deserves and we have not had this yet.
STEFANOVIC: I'm standing up, I believe your message Bill.
WORLAND: I'll tell you what.
STEFANOVIC: I believe it, there you go it's never too late.
WORLAND: Karl, Karl, can I say?
STEFANOVIC: Yeah, quickly.
WORLAND: If you spoke like this all those years ago, Bill, I reckon you would be PM.
SHORTEN: Oh Gus, thanks for my mental health.
STEFANOVIC: Thanks, chaps.