JENNY MCALLISTER – TRANSCRIPT - TELEVISION INTERVIEW – SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION WITH PETER STEFANOVIC – THURSDAY, 2 SEPTEMBER 2021
10.04am | September 02, 2021
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER
SHADOW CABINET SECRETARY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES AND THE PREVENTION OF FAMILY VIOLENCE
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION WITH PETER STEFANOVIC
THURSDAY, 2 SEPTEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Lockdowns; COVID-19; Respect@Work.
PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Joining us live is the Labor Senator Jenny McAllister. Senator, thanks for your time this morning. So, let's pick up that conversation. Is the Queensland Premier, Anastasia Palaszczuk right to be concerned about kids under the age of 12, catching COVID and being vulnerable, when the health advice doesn't say that?
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES AND THE PREVENTION OF FAMILY VIOLENCE: Look, I think that we are all concerned to make sure that when we open up, that we do so safely. And everyone wants to open up. I live in Sydney, I have two teenage kids at home. I am very keen for us to move beyond lockdowns. But the national plan needs to be a safe plan. And I think it's important that we do have a conversation about all of the implications of that plan. What are the implications for vulnerable populations? Do we have adequate hospital and health facilities available as we move through that opening up process? Have we got a safe national quarantine system? Do we have effective test, trace and isolate capability? These are the big questions that are embedded into the national plan. And I think what we need is for the Prime Minister to start paying attention to those details rather than dismissing them.
STEFANOVIC: Looking at the science, though, and looking at the facts, Senator at the moment, I have two kids, two young kids, and obviously I don't want them to catch COVID. But the science suggests that I shouldn't be worried about it. There are more than 4000 cases. At last look of those under the age of five, none have died. All of them has recovered. So, is that language that was used yesterday by the Queensland Premier scaremongering?
MCALLISTER: I think that all parents are worrying about this and wondering what the answer is. They're looking for reassurance about the impact on children under the plan. At present, there's been very little information provided by the Australian Government, by the Prime Minister about how this plan is going to affect children. Until very recently, older children 12- to 15-year-olds weren't even eligible for the vaccine. It's not clear what the vaccination pathway is for that cohort, on whether they will all reach that 80% threshold by the time we the general population gets there. I think it's sensible for us to have a conversation about children. And I think that Australian parents are looking for reassurance. They are also Incidentally, really looking forward to a safe opening up so that we can get our kids back to school, back to childcare, keep them safe and keep them happy.
STEFANOVIC: New South Wales has given up on COVID zero, Victoria has now given up on COVID zero, should that be a warning to the other states?
MCALLISTER: I think that each state and territory has managed very well during this pandemic. Don't forget that we are only in this lockdown, because the vaccine rollout by the Commonwealth has been completely botched. If they had stuck to their original targets, we would have been at around about 70 or 80% already. All of the states and territories have worked incredibly hard with their populations to keep themselves safe. If we're moving into a new phase, it's going to be, it's going to be challenging. I think what we're looking for is leadership from the PM. He needs to be leading an inclusive, constructive national conversation. Right now, the national plan is a single piece of paper. People are rightly looking for details and responsible leaders – Premiers and the Prime Minister – should actually look to work through those details in a constructive way, not picking off fights, which is what I see the PM doing constantly.
STEFANOVIC: Do you think you can say though, that there will be economic consequences for keeping borders sharp?
MCALLISTER: Absolutely. I mean, you cannot manage the economy if you are mismanaging the pandemic and that is the circumstance we find ourselves in now. The national accounts came out this week. The June quarter, you know, saw the economy already slowing. We expect the September quarter to go backwards. This is a direct consequence of the PM mismanaging the pandemic. Pandemic management and good health management go hand in hand. That's the way we get a strong economic outcome while protecting our population.
STEFANOVIC: Just finally, the government defeated the Respect@Work legislation. What's your reaction to that?
MCALLISTER: Look, the government said that they would implement all 55 of the recommendations in Kate Jenkins landmark report Respect@Work. Too many Australian women are harassed at work. And yet last night we saw them vote down amendment after amendment after amendment that sought to implement the recommendations. It really shouldn't be up to Labor to amend the government's own legislation to implement that report. The Prime Minister wasn't telling the truth when he said he accepted it. That's now clear.
STEFANOVIC: Jenny McAllister, thanks for your time. Talk to you again soon.
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