The Premiers | Q+A

These three leaders hold the lives and livelihoods of millions of Australians in their hands They’re deciding how and when to open up and what the new normal might look like They’ve assumed enormous power, expectation and responsibility during this crisis And tonight these premiers are here to talk directly to you You’ve got the questions – now let’s get you some answers Welcome to Q+A Hi there. Welcome to the program Joining me tonight, the Premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, joining the conversation shortly, the Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk And, of course, we’ll continue talking to other state and territory leaders about answering your questions as each state rolls out its own plan Remember, you can stream us on iview, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the Gram #QandA is the hashtag Please do get involved And before we take our first question tonight, let’s just take a look at the national picture Under step one of the national COVIDSafe plan, gatherings of up to 10 people outdoors and five visitors at home are allowed But states are setting their own pace, so here’s how that looks In WA, South Australia and the ACT groups can be larger In the Northern Territory, things are really opening up, with gatherings up to 500 people Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland move to step one in the coming days For Tasmania, it’s next week To the relief of many parents, the PM’s given the green light to playgrounds and skate parks for up to 10 people They’re already reopening across much of the country, but kids in some states may have to wait longer For our state-run schools, again, it’s a mixed picture From today, Queensland and New South Wales students return to the classrooms in stages, as do those in Canberra from next week Schools are open across South Australia, WA, and the Northern Territory, but remote learning is still the go in Victoria and Tasmania for now Nationally, the first step for retail and hospitality will see shops, cafes and restaurants reopen with up to 10 patrons Queensland and New South Wales will adopt this shortly, but South Australians can already dine outdoors in small groups The NT is going further – from this weekend, RSLs, beauty salons and indoor markets can all reopen But in Tasmania and Victoria it’s still takeaway only Alright, well, our first question is from Kirsten Armstrong in NSW We’ve seen images over the weekend of people at shopping centres seemingly unaware that social distancing is still important With significant outbreaks in New South Wales and Victoria, with most states experiencing a re-emergence of new cases this week, it seems almost inevitable that we’ll be having some sort of re-emergence of the disease in the next few months What’s your trigger, what’s your threshold for reintroducing restrictions that you’re lifting this week? Gladys Berejiklian? Kirsten, great question And the answer to that question is, obviously, for us it’s a question of we know every time you ease a restriction you automatically should expect extra cases and that’s the risk you take onboard But in New South Wales, as with the vast majority of states and territories, our cases are just a handful compared to March, when we were having in excess of 200 cases a day, which was not tenable So our strategy moving forward is really to find that healthy balance, the new normal, whereby we have a manageable number of cases but yet we’re able to fire up our economy and keep jobs and get new jobs But this is a question about what’s manageable Yeah I mean, there must be a threshold that you are talking about Can we know what it is? Well, obviously, it also depends on us being able to collect the data in the next couple of weeks, in particular, with schools opening, with the easing of restrictions from Friday Any type of increase in activity does increase the chance of extra cases And to Kirsten’s point, we can manage the disease, or control the spread, to an extent so long as people practise social distancing Before we were telling everybody stay home Now the strong message is stay safe No matter what you’re doing outdoors, you have to assume you have the disease and everybody else you’re coming into contact with has the disease But let’s be clear, though – are you prepared to go back into lockdown if there are significant outbreaks again? Well, obviously, if there are significant outbreaks, but we’re hoping that’s not the case I’m incredibly proud of our citizens They’ve demonstrated in the last month that when we come together and actually follow the rules that are in place we can see those case numbers dramatically reduce So we’ve gone from 200 a day to just a couple Now, that’s an amazing result, which would not have been possible

had not the community pulled together Dan Andrews, you would have seen all of the images of people out in Victoria over the weekend, clearly going beyond what was formally allowed in terms of social distancing Have some Victorians, do you think, seen this federal three-step plan, observed that you’re going to take somewhat longer to deliver on some of the steps and just taken matters into their own hands? Well, we did see some people out at shopping centres on the weekend, and that was not a good outcome But just on the point of are people listening or not, Hamish, I’d say to you that I asked Victorians to come and get tested these last couple of weeks – we had a really big blitz and we had hoped to have 100,000 tests completed We, in fact, tested 161,000 Victorians People are listening People are taking this seriously There’s a sense of frustration, and that’s a perfectly natural thing I think no-one’s enjoying being locked at home And that’s why the announcements that we’ve made will come into effect just before midnight tomorrow night I think we’ve got the timing right Cautious steps – necessary steps, though, I think – to make sure that people stick with us and to make sure that we get through May and then take some further steps in June But is the problem we’ve seen over the weekend is that, yes, maybe they are listening to you as the state premier, they might also be listening to the Prime Minister and ending up quite confused about what they should be able to do? Oh, look, from my point of view, Hamish, when 161,000 people get tested and we had a stretch target of 100,000 This is not a question about I think it’s pretty clear This is not a question about testing – this is about what people did on the weekend, going out in pretty significant numbers It’s a question about listening, though, isn’t it? It’s actually a question about Yeah, and I whether people are following your guidance on whether they should stay at home or not Well, we would not have achieved the outcomes we’ve achieved, which are the envy of the world, if we hadn’t had compliance at between 80% and 90% Now, the time has come now to cautiously ease off some of those rules And compliance with the new rules will be very, very important So, right off the top, I made it clear to you I didn’t enjoy looking at footage of people wandering around shopping centres, potentially buying things that they didn’t need This is not over – there’s a long way to run And that’s why, if we don’t follow the rules over May and into June, we’ll give back all the great progress that we’ve made, progress that sets us apart from so other so many other parts of the world We just have to stay the course on this Be cautious, take appropriate steps, small steps You only get one chance to do this right, Hamish, and I’m determined, and I think all of us around the National Cabinet table are determined, to do this properly and not be like, say, Singapore where you get forced into reintroducing lockdown in just a few weeks’ time Yeah, ’cause that question was about what you’d do if there’s a second wave Are you prepared to reintroduce some of these pretty extreme restrictions we’ve seen? Look, if I got advice from our Chief Health Officer, and if Brendan Murphy, as the Chief Medical Officer of the Commonwealth, felt that we didn’t that we no longer had control, that things had got to a point where we were going to see a really significant spike in cases and our hospital system fundamentally overrun then, of course, we would have to reintroduce some of these sanctions But, look, that’s in our own hands in many ways If people change their behaviour but keep pace with the rule changes that we are making, continue to follow the rules and continue to get tested, we will have many more options in June and we can gradually open up But, ultimately, there are so many examples of other countries where they did too much too quickly They’ve now been they’ve fundamentally lost control and they’ve had to reintroduce even tougher lockdowns than what they started with We don’t want to do that here – we want to be cautious, we want to be appropriate in the measures that we measures that we take And that’ll please some, it will displease others, but this is about getting it right and you only get one chance to do that Alright, our next question tonight is from Anna Cullen in Endeavour Hills, Victoria Yesterday, while most of us celebrated Mother’s Day quietly at home, protesters stormed central Melbourne, didn’t practise any social distancing and blatantly blamed the government for the lockdown measures What is your message to those who still don’t get the severity of the COVID-19 climate we currently live in? Thank you Dan Andrews, what’s your message to those protesters? Well, thanks, Anna, for your question They were ugly scenes yesterday, and I’ll always support people’s right to peacefully protest, but there wasn’t much peaceful about it And I think SOME of the protest was about lockdown measures – there were a whole range of other issues, I think, and points that they were trying to make But if it’s not peaceful, then it’s not a it’s not a proper, legitimate protest And we saw police injured That’s something that we can never accept This pandemic is very real If you don’t think the Australian experience is something that you should trust, if you need to look further afield, then turn your TV on, have a look at what’s happening in Europe, what’s happening in America This is very serious And if it gets away from you, thousands of people will die That’s not been our experience, because we moved early, we acted early,

and we’ve seen so many people do the right thing The vast majority of people do the right thing But this is serious, it’s deadly serious if you get it wrong But it’s a great credit, too There’s also cause to be up-beat about this as well People have worked together and we’ve delivered a set of numbers that are by far and away the envy of so many countries right around the world Let’s not give that back, let’s stay the course and be steady and cautious, take these first steps in a careful way, and get this right Gladys Berejiklian, there is, though, clearly a number of Australians that believe these conspiracy theories about 5G being linked to COVID-19 and are willing to take to the streets at a time when most of us are observing the rules How do you deal with that? Well, I think the bottom line is, to Dan’s point, if you’re out protesting, you have to exercise social distancing I have no issue with what people do when they leave the home so long as it’s within the rules And when people break the rules, they’re not only putting their own health in danger, but those of the people around them So, no matter what you’re up to, even if you’re have a picnic with your best friend, you have keep the 1.5m, you have to practise that social distancing We can’t stress that enough, because our success in the next weeks and months will entirely depend on our collective ability to practise social distancing If we don’t do that, unfortunately, we will see a situation, potentially, where we have to go backwards And that’s not anything any of us want to see But I also want to say, Hamish, the secret to our success will not be by having zero case numbers overnight That’s not going to happen When you start easing restrictions, when people increase their activity out of the home, we will see an increase in cases, and that’s a given But that’s OK, because we need to make sure we keep the jobs going, we open up our economy We need to find that healthy state which we’ve not yet found, which has a healthy balance between getting the virus under control, but also sufficient economic activity which allows our citizens not to feel stressed and feel they have a hopeful future, which is where we want to land OK. Well, to that point, this next question is from Tori Hill in Malvern, Victoria This is a question for Dan Andrews I have one teenager who has returned to boarding school in New South Wales and I have two children waiting to return to school in Victoria I’m wondering, how do you justify not opening the schools in Victoria immediately, given the known cases are from those who have returned from overseas and are in quarantine, or in the cluster in the abattoir? And what about the wellbeing of our children? Dan Andrews Look, it’s not an easy decision to have kids being educated at home We’re working on a plan and will have some announcements to make quite soon, Hamish, about face-to-face teaching for all students by the end of term two That’s on a faster timetable than we thought And the reason we’re able to foreshadow those announcements is those tests that I referred to earlier We’ve had a big testing program, a blitz And the questioner’s not not 100% correct Yes, there have been lots of overseas travellers who have brought the virus back with them Yes, we’ve had a number of outbreaks But those 161,000 tests have found the best part of 30 cases where we simply have no idea where they got it from There’s no link back to someone who had travelled overseas They’re not linked to a known cluster So, we’ve got community transmission. It’s out there That’s why testing is so important Why…? But it’s not a question of whether schools are safe It’s a question of whether you should have a million kids moving around the community each and every day And we took the view that that would do nothing but spread the virus But the testing, Hamish, confirms that we can now make a change, and we’ll make some announcements about that very soon Why, though, have you ended up in a situation where the vast majority of the rest of the country is already starting to return to face-to-face classroom teaching but you still haven’t even announced a plan to start doing that other than saying it’ll be next term? Well, Hamish, every state’s in a different position And we took the position and the view that it simply wasn’t a good thing to have a million students going to and from school, hundreds of thousands of teachers and parents going to and from school every day Look, I…we’ve asked So why is it safe to do that in Gladys’s state, New South Wales, but not yours? Well, we’ve asked a lot of Victorian parents We’re very grateful that they have 97.5% of them have had their kids at home Schools have been open, though, for those who are not able to send their…keep their kids at home I’ve got three kids at home myself, including our eldest, Noah, who’s doing Year 12 It’s challenging I’m very grateful to parents We have a pathway back before the end of term two to face-to-face teaching, and we’ll make some announcements very, very soon But we believe Sorry, but, with respect, that didn’t answer that question What’s the difference between your state and Gladys Berejiklian’s, where, as of today, students are starting to return to face-to-face teaching? Well, I would And the parents have had some time to plan for that because announcements were made about a time line Well, I think notice to parents is very important, and I think I’d probably be more focused on perhaps

the weeks toward the end of the term, where I think that most states will finish up in about the same place Everyone’s… We will make announcements very soon about a staged, staggered return back to face-to-face teaching We were very clear with parents that, in order to stop the spread of the virus, plan for the entirety of term two to be from home We think we’re doing better than that We’ve had such success in flattening the curve that we can get kids back into face-to-face learning We’ll make announcements about that very soon I’m just taking the opportunity, Hamish, to say how proud and how grateful I am of parents who’ve done a mighty job in keeping their kids at home, doing that online and flexible learning and playing a big part in stopping the spread of the virus I think that many people moving around every single morning, every single night, would have achieved nothing but the virus moving throughout the Victorian community, and we wouldn’t have the numbers that, as I said before, are not just something that we should be proud of – they are in fact the envy of the world Given how proud and grateful you are of all of these parents in Victoria, could you do them the courtesy of telling them, perhaps, how many weeks it might be before they can start thinking about sending their kids back to school? Well, we’ll have some announcements to make very soon, and I’m sure that your other colleagues in the media wouldn’t think it very fair if I’d made an announcement as significant as that just on one program As important as this program is, Hamish, we’ll make some announcements for all Victorians at the appropriate time We’re very close – there’s just some details that have to be settled about the nature of that staggered return, but we can confirm tonight, as we did this morning, that we will have our kids back to face-to-face learning before the end of term two That’s what our Chief Health Officer advises is safe It can be done, and that’s exactly what we’ll do And we’ll have more to say about the details of that soon What was the medical advice to you, Gladys Berejiklian, that make you feel comfortable, as of now, to have kids already back in classrooms? Well, the health advice to us, which was backed up by a specific report conducted by our New South Wales health experts, that the biggest risk in the school community about spreading the virus is actually amongst adults So, we’ve spent the last few weeks getting extra products, extra hand sanitisers, extra equipment to all of our schools, and also encouraging schools to have a staggered drop-off and pick-up where appropriate, to make sure adults aren’t in close contact, to make sure teachers have a safe place in their staffrooms to exercise social distancing, but also to make sure that all parents and families are aware of the extra precautions we’re taking We’ve actually gone a bit over and above the health advice For example, the health advice doesn’t say you have to take the temperature of every child, but if there is a certain outbreak in a particular community, our schools have that equipment available to them The sick bays have what we call PPE, that extra equipment teachers and others can put on themselves or the students if there’s a risk So, we’ve actually spent the last few weeks getting extra product and supplies to all of our schools across the state, and we feel very confident, moving forward, about that However, I do want to say, Hamish, and I’ve said this very publicly, we do anticipate breakouts, we do anticipate clusters of cases coming out and about, especially in and around schools In fact, last week we had a child in a school in South Western Sydney have the virus, when school when face-to-face teaching hadn’t even come back yet The response to that was to put up a pop-up health clinic, get people tested in the region and control the spread, close the school down for a day, do a deep clean And that’s what we intend to do in the coming weeks and months And just to demonstrate our capacity of preparedness, we actually extended all of our cleaning contracts Every school has extra cleaning during the day, extra provisions in place to mitigate the risk to anybody Alright, the next question tonight is from Olympia Kwitowski in Salisbury, Queensland My question is for the Premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian With the debacle of the Ruby Princess responsible for hundreds of coronavirus cases and over 20 deaths, and now the mounting death toll from the Newmarch House nursing home in Western Sydney, can you give reason as to why the people of New South Wales and Australia should be taking advice from you and your government’s health department? Well, Olympia, you’re welcome to listen to your premier and take her advice! (LAUGHS) But we’ve had But as far… Yeah we’ve actually had lots of people from across the country write to us about this, because – and I think it’s worth pointing out – 1 in 10 Australian cases are linked to that ship Yeah So this is not just a New South Wales issue Yeah, no, no, I appreciate that, Hamish And, look, we’ve got a commission of inquiry, and all of us want to get to the bottom of what happened And I don’t take away from that I don’t take away from that But I also say that on behalf of all the states around Australia we’ve processed 13,000 overseas travellers through hotel quarantine in Sydney that have then moved on to their states So, I appreciate that, and I appreciate the question, but please know that we had 13 cruise ships disembark Australian passengers onto our shores, some of whom were our residents and some of whom live in other parts of the country, and I accept that You’ve got public health officials saying publicly that if they had their time again, it would be done very differently New South Wales health officials, that is At what point is your government going to take political accountability for what happened? Well, from day one, Hamish, I’ve stood up,

as has everybody in my government, and said a number of authorities should have and could have done better, and that’s why we’ve got the commission of inquiry There are a number of authorities, including the cruise ship itself I don’t want to cut across the commission of inquiry that’s happening now The police are actually even undertaking a criminal investigation And… But I have to say that since that time, the entire protocol between federal and state governments has changed in relation to our borders You know, border protection is not something normally the states would be involved in, so for us it’s been a huge step up And I don’t know how many Dan or Annastacia have processed – I’m sure they’ve processed thousands as well – but we’ve processed 13,000 people through our shores But there is a question about political accountability and whether your health minister is willing to stand up and say, “I take responsibility.” Why hasn’t he done that? Because I think it’s fair to let the process take its course Let’s allow the commission of inquiry to complete its work Mr Walker, the commissioner, will be handing down a report to me in August I’ve asked for it in a timely way And, of course, every agency that should’ve been and done things differently will take account at that stage OK After the 2009 swine flu pandemic, the Commonwealth conducted a review of the way the pandemic unfolded in Australia, and one of its findings was that cruise ships were a particular problem – they were then, and they would likely be in the future Did the Commonwealth Health Department talk to you about that advice? I mean, the report is really clear It says, “If infection and spread has occurred onboard “there’s potential for the introduction “of many cases of disease into Australia at one time.” That was published in 2011 It seems unbelievable, given how much evidence there was then, that there weren’t better protocols in place now Hamish, I’ll be the first one to say this pandemic can’t compare to anything we’ve seen I mean, I appreciate those protocols were in place In fact, New South Wales had a pandemic plan in place We started testing from Australia Day because we could tell where the world was heading in terms of the disease But I think it’s fair to say all authorities, all governments are dealing with a situation none of us could have anticipated and none of us could have envisaged, and that brings with it a whole But that’s the thing – it’s there in black and white There was guidance Yeah about the risks of these cruise ships arriving in the midst of a pandemic Yeah It’s there in black and white And on that basis, I say to you, Hamish, 13 out of 14 disembarkments were successful in New South Wales 13 loads of Australian travellers returning back home But all it takes is one ship, right? Exactly. And But the critical thing also is, Hamish Again, I don’t want to get you know, cut across the inquiry that’s going on, but unfortunately we know there are a number of people who were sick on the ship Now we know, looking back, that a number of people were already sick on the ship And there are a whole range of questions which the commissioner and the police and the health authorities are in a better place to answer than I am But what is does demonstrate is you need to be nimble, you need to make sure you increase you’re not afraid to increase protocols when you have to, and that’s exactly what we did The day after, or the week after that occurred, the federal and state governments set new protocols for the nation, and that’s what’s important to do And, Hamish, I’m not going to promise there won’t be further mistakes – there might be in my state, there may be elsewhere – but what we have to do is pick ourselves up and move forward And a mistake-free pandemic is impossible – it’d be miraculous And we take learnings and move forward, but I can’t promise there won’t be other mistakes into the future All we can do is make sure we have the contact tracing, the testing, the social distancing in place to protect our citizens as much as possible Alright, we’re going to go to Queensland in a moment, but first a couple more questions for these two premiers This one is from Fenella Walter in Westleigh, New South Wales By allowing and even recommending that COVID-positive residents at Newmarch not be hospitalised, 69 people have contracted the virus, 16 residents have died, and all the residents are now living under siege Authorities have relied on residents and advanced care directives to determine how this pandemic is managed How does a sick person’s desire to stay out of hospital override the rights of those who are well and at risk of contracting the virus, and even dying? Gladys Berejiklian? Look, Hamish, they’re very vexed moral and ethical questions, and we have to rely on the health experts for that advice It would be wrong for politicians to make those decisions And the best health advice we have is that it is up to the individual residents and their families on what their preference is for their treatment, what their preference is about their future, and But that decision affects everyone else in the facility Of course. Of course it does Of course it does And this is again an example again of where the regulator has stepped in, the regulator has looked at the situation now, and obviously there are health experts in there as well But during a pandemic it’s really important for us to make the public policy decisions, but there are still some decisions which we rely on the health advice for

And it would be inappropriate for politicians to intervene or cut across that health advice And also, recently, the National Cabinet adopted Australia-wide codes of conduct for our aged care facilities As you know, the federal government regulates the facilities, but state governments, especially during the pandemic, have a role in helping with the clinical decisions or the clinical interventions around that So, the new code of conduct, I think, will guide policy moving forward And the question is completely justified, because we know, overseas, a large proportion, unfortunately, of victims are within aged care facilities We’re making decisions all the time at the moment to benefit communities over the individual in instances where there’s a COVID case Why is it in nursing homes that we don’t do that? Well, I think, again, we have to rely on the health advice and we have to look at what So what’s the advice that you get that says, “Look, just leave them there, and risk all of the other people…”? No, the health advice says assess the person’s condition and…and also assess their choice on what their preference is, given their condition So, it’s not a hard and fast rule for every single person And also, I’ve said this publicly before, so it’s not anything different to what I’ve said, but there is a difference in the people who run these aged care facilities We’ve had a number of instances in New South Wales where there have been examples where things have been handled extremely well and others where things have not been handled well So, we expect all our We expect everybody who runs facilities or That’s not an appropriate word But for anyone who manages homes for the most vulnerable or takes care of people who are the most vulnerable, everybody has to step up and assume they’re going to have a breakout in their…in their home, assume they’re going to have a breakout, and then make sure they’ve got the steps in place to deal with it Will you take a more assertive approach if there’s outbreaks in nursing homes going forward? We already have I mean, the New South Wales Health Department made sure that we had various health experts, clinicians go in and provide support, even though, again And as I say to people, in a pandemic, the roles are blurred Ordinarily, it’s the federal government that regulates the aged care industry Sure but we’ve stepped up and made sure that whatever we can do, we are Alright, the next question tonight is from Catherine Kopec in Burwood, Victoria Given the recent outbreak at Cedar Meats, what will you, as premiers, do to prevent further outbreaks as restrictions ease? What will you do to ensure employees, including teachers, are safe to go to work? And what will you do to guarantee that employers follow strict guidelines? Dan Andrews? Well, look, we are going to see further outbreaks That’s something that… A point the Prime Minister made last Friday, Gladys has just made the point as well, that as we ease off some of these rules, as we see more and more people moving through our communities, we’ll see more cases and we will see some outbreaks The key to this is testing, having more contact traces and having a really dedicated focus on locking down those outbreaks really quickly and making sure that you can minimise the amount of spread, so it’s not getting out of a workplace, out of a given setting If we have more outbreaks – as, I think, is almost inevitable – that doesn’t mean we have to instantly put back all the sanctions or all the rules, all the restrictions that we’ve had in place We have to find that…that medium We have to find a point of balance where there are more cases, but we have control of the overall, so we’re not seeing our health system overrun, that we’re not having so many additional cases and outbreaks that we really don’t have control That But just on I think we can find that place Just on Cedar Meats, though Hamish, I think we can get there Just on Cedar Meats, though, why did it take your government so long to publicly identify the location of this particular outbreak? Well, Hamish, the government doesn’t identify these places of work That’s a matter for the Chief Health Officer It’s a matter for the public health team And some facilities, some locations are appropriate to name Others aren’t Why is that? They’re not judgements that are made by politicians Well, you name a business or a physical location if naming it is proportionate to the risk that that outbreak poses and whether the naming of that business will be of any use to you For instance, we’ve had GP clinics named because, if you didn’t, people would rightly think that perhaps it was the GP clinic that they’d been to, when it was only one GP clinic Again, they’re not judgements that are made by me They’re not judgements that are made by members of parliament, members of the government They’re rightly the province of independent public health experts, the Chief Health Officer, Deputy Chief Health Officers, the public health team within the Department of Human Services, who I want to give a shout out to them They’re doing an outstanding job in very complex, very challenging circumstances They’re working day and night They do fantastic work They do their best, Hamish But And these are…this is fast-moving and very challenging And they make those difficult judgements to name or not name This particular outbreak has been singled out for praise

by Brendan Murphy, by others, and I want to thank the staff involved They’ve done everything they needed to do But that…that balance point between whether you name or not, that’s not a judgement that’s made by me That’s a judgement that the independent public health team make The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, though, found itself in a position where it had staff working in the abattoir and had to act on rumours that they had heard and go to Cedar Meats, I believe on 27 April, to ask them whether there were cases there I mean, that is not the right outcome, is it? Well, as Minister Littleproud from the Commonwealth government has said, look, we’re going to have learnings all the way along We’re going to have opportunities to improve processes, to do better The key point here is that agencies are working together, Hamish, governments are working together and the public health team in Were they, in that instance? Victoria and others, are working very closely together Well, it was not necessarily readily apparent to the public health team that there had been some federal inspectors move through there This is an outbreak in a abattoir We’ve not seen many of those, although they have been a really risky location in other parts of the world There’s no rulebook for this But it wasn’t just inspectors moving through there I mean, there was two permanently placed Commonwealth department workers at that site, including a vet and a food assessor, as I understand it Yeah, and I think there’s no point of argument here I think all of us agree that, in any of these complex circumstances, there will always be things you can improve If we were to pretend that every response is perfect to the point where there’s never anything that can be learnt Again, this is an issue where we’re working with the federal government, they’re working with us We’re going to see more outbreaks, but the no lesser…no lesser source than Brendan Murphy has indicated that this has been handled exactly the right way for an outbreak of its kind And I want to thank the staff They have all No matter who employs them – whether they’re part of the federal public service or the state public health team – they’re all doing their very, very best And this is one outbreak It’s challenging. It’s complex We’re going to see more of them, and that’s why we’re increasing resources, increasing testing – so we can really clamp down quickly on these outbreaks, so that we can have, yes, more cases, but fundamentally maintain control and get that balance between getting back to normal but also doing so in a cautious and safe way, Hamish OK, I want to bring the Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, in at this point We’ve got a question from the web from Marcel Furini Hashimoto for you, Premier I suspect many Australians share this question “When does the Queensland government foresee having borders reopened?” GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN: Good question (BOTH LAUGH) Well, it depends very much on how community transmission goes in Victoria and New South Wales because, unfortunately, there’s more community transmission down there, and we don’t want to see that happening here in Queensland But I’ve said very clearly we’re going to review our borders at the end of each month, and we’ll take it from there and see how it goes But, hopefully, by June and July, we’ll be able to have people travelling around Queensland, but it might be a little bit longer before we see our southerners come back to Queensland Now, we love you We love you dearly We want you to come to Queensland, but just not at the moment, so if you can just bear with us a little bit longer Is it possible that you’ll do it state by state? That, actually, West Australians or Northern Territorians might be able to come visit Queensland before other states? Well, that’s a good idea, but if you talk to the Western Australian premier, I think he’s very happy to have his borders closed But, look, there could be some opportunity for some travel with South Australia, for example, maybe the Northern Territory But, look, we really do want to see our tourism industry thrive into the future We’re really hurting at the moment So, we’ll be reviewing that at the end of each month because there’s, you know, thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs It’s a $20 billion economy to Queensland We’ve lost our international tourists, and, of course, we know how important it is for people to come and enjoy our Sunshine State Alright, our next question tonight is from Callan Oar in Ayr, Queensland My question is for Annastacia How is it fair that, other than a small cluster in Cairns, there have been no known locally acquired infections north of the Fraser Coast, yet we North Queenslanders are subject to the same draconian-type restrictions as the south-east? When will you start listening to us and lifting restrictions completely in areas with no active cases? When can we get back to business? You’re crippling us Yeah, Callan Callan, thank you very much, and that is an excellent question, and it’s one that I’m constantly speaking to my Chief Health Officer about as well But, unfortunately, just because you may not have any COVID cases

in your particular region, it doesn’t mean that people aren’t in quarantine We have 2,000 people still in quarantine throughout Queensland, which means they have the potential to have the virus and to spread that virus So, we need to be very vigilant We need to make sure that we are going to clamp down on it as much as possible And I think you’ll see that, from this weekend, people can start opening up Our retail’s been going very well over the last couple of weeks It’s slowly been growing Apparently, a lot of the shopping centres were busy over the last weekend, so we’re seeing jobs coming back But, of course, we have to be very cautious The Chief Health Officer tells us that, and at the National Cabinet too Can we just be we’ve got the three stages Can we just be clear, though, Premier, because it’s evidently a concern of many Queenslanders – are you giving serious consideration to opening up some regions? It depends on the quaran Most of our regions still have quarantines, so our My chief health officer’s telling me at the moment that all of Queensland can go to this step one The exemption that we have made is for the areas of the entire outback – and there’s a designated area of what’s outback – they can have 20 people from this weekend, enjoy a meal at a cafe or at a pub And I think you’ll find the beer’s going to start heading out west very shortly there But, look, I understand what the regions are saying I’ve got regional MPs, I’ve got people contacting me all the time I’ve sat down with people from cafes and restaurants, but we It’s very complex about people travelling from region to region and the potential to spread the virus, so we’re just asking people to please be a little bit patient, but we do have people in quarantine in the regions So, as those quarantine numbers lift from the regions, of course, we can look at the regions, so everything is in play Gladys Berejiklian, we’ve had similar questions about New South Wales Are you open to that if the situation makes it possible? Look, we prefer to have a one-size policy for the whole state to avoid confusion, but the feedback we’re getting from our regional communities – and I was discussing this with the deputy premier and other colleagues today – is that, whilst they do rely on tourism for economic uplift, they’re very cautious about welcoming people into their communities because they’re conscious that they might be COVID-free, but that may not always be the case, and I think we need to make sure that we build that level of confidence We’re currently reviewing, as we speak, how we can open up our regions and how we can provide those of us in bigger cities to actually go and visit the regions and support their economic growth And so we’re having those conversations now I’m confident we’ll get to a place where there’s a healthy balance, where we do open up our regions to tourism And Dan and I are the two premiers who have not closed our borders, so between the two larger states, there might be opportunities down the road as well for us to consider, so long as we’re each comfortable about what our health experts are saying So, what, you might allow travel between New South Wales and Victoria? Well, technically, the border communities aren’t prevented from going to the other side of the border, and that’s why we kept the decision we did in New South Wales We didn’t want to ‘Cause communities, whether it’s Albury-Wodonga or others, or up north in the Tweed, they don’t see the distinction of a border For them, it’s how do you Where do you go and buy your groceries? Or where do you go to the doctor? So, in our thinking, it was obviously we’re in a different position to the other states, but we thought it was appropriate to leave our borders open But if we end up in a scenario where Queensland is holding out longer because the infection rates are higher in New South Wales and Victoria, might we potentially see tourism allowed between New South Wales and Victoria, but not…? Well, potentially, and that’s a question for Dan and I to look at at the appropriate time And we’re a bit away from that, but certainly, I’m always looking for opportunities where we can have the economic uplift, where we can provide a safe way for us to get jobs and keep jobs And New South Wales and Victoria, between us, represent a large proportion of the nation’s economy And when we’re strong, the nation’s strong And so, I hope we get to a stage where that’s a possibility OK. The next question is from Nick Valentine in Mandurah, Western Australia This time next year, hopefully this virus will have ended A vaccine will have been found, and around 100 Australians would have lost their lives In comparison, between now and this time next year, more than 10 times that figure of Australians will have lost their lives on our roads Do the premiers believe it was worth ruining our economy over COVID-19? Thank you Dan Andrews, I want to put this to you All three of you have made these monumental decisions that are saving lives right now, but you’ve done so knowing that you are going to do damage, create hurt for lives down the track How have you reached the decision that you’ve reached in that context?

Well, look, Hamish, these are not easy decisions to make You’ve got to look at the facts, you’ve got to look at the evidence You’ve got to look at what’s happening in other parts of the world And I’d simply say to you that no-one has entered into the restrictions framework, the sort of rules that we’ve put in place, lightly We know that there’s significant economic damage But the thing about it is this – if this gets away from you, it’s so infectious, it’s so deadly, it moves so fast, it does also very significant economic damage if it runs wild There are very big health and economic challenges throughout Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom This is a health challenge first and foremost and the best economics is to fix the health problem and then move to repair the inevitable damage, damage that saves lives but, yes, it does cost jobs I think we’re equal to that task It’ll take some time I think National Cabinet is a fantastic forum, one of unity It’s completely unique And I think that economic recovery – of course, states will do their own work – but the National Cabinet empowers all of us to do more, to do better You’ve got to get the health response right first That’s what I think we’ve done Not easy Really challenging decisions, but they have saved lives And then hopefully we can get to a point very soon where we can start to focus on…on jobs, employment, investment and repairing the very necessary damage that we made when we chose between a pandemic that overwhelms our health system, where tens and tens of thousands of people die, or the response we’ve put in place, a response that is the envy of so many places right across the world, Hamish Annastacia Palaszczuk, obviously, there’s modelling now available from the University of Sydney which points to a significant increase in suicides over the coming…suicide-related deaths over the coming years I mean, you would have made these decisions knowing that there are adverse health outcomes no matter which way you go Oh, Hamish, absolutely And I think there’s not a day or a night that goes by that we’re not thinking about the repercussions and what’s happening to people People’s lives have been completely turned upside down But the initial modelling we had was if we didn’t flatten the curve, in Queensland, there could have been 37,000 people that lost their lives And thankfully, that has not happened But as Dan said, we know that at any time, we could be susceptible for another outbreak We could have a second wave You only have to look at what’s happening in other countries around the world South Korea is a very clear example You only have to look at what’s happening in the US Thank God we live in Australia Thank God we’ve all worked together at the National Cabinet level If that hadn’t happened, I don’t know where we would be But we’ve worked collectively together We’ve put people first And, of course, there is those extraordinary mental health issues that are happening Domestic violence, we know there’s been an increase in presentations to our emergency departments, and we’re dealing with that as a National Cabinet as well and state by state But we know now that we have to be focused on the economic recovery We have to be focused on getting people back into work There’s dignity in work And that’s what my government is absolutely focused on to make sure that we bring back some normality to people, because it’s something that I never thought we’d have to go through in our lifetime and I think there’s been people struggling with it Getting kids back to school – today, we had over 80% attendance This is fantastic figures for our preps, our Year 12s, our Year 11s and Year 1s who were at 80% You know, it’s coming back to some form of normality And it’s going to take everyone working together And I just thank that we live in Queensland I’m very proud of the work Queenslanders have done But I’m very thankful we live in Australia And you only have to look around the world and see what could have been You mentioned a second wave, Annastacia Palaszczuk The Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy, said tonight that the possibility of that keeps him awake at night Does it for you? Of course it does Of course it does When we first declared this health emergency in Queensland at the end of January, I don’t think I slept for five weeks It…it weighs on your mind every night Waking up in the morning, what are the numbers going to be? Where is there going to be an outbreak? What more can I do? The fact that people have had their lives turned upside down – I’ve got families where mums and dads have lost their jobs and they don’t know what’s going to happen when JobKeeper runs out, they don’t know where they’re going to get the food for their table They don’t know…you know, what they’re going to do to buy things in the future So, these are really complex questions and issues and society has been turned around But how about now we focus on, what are the good things that’s happened? Like, we’ve put together a care army Neighbours are looking after neighbours We had Erika, who fell over and broke her hip,

and if it wasn’t for the care army and the police, she wouldn’t have survived They came through her front door, they saved her, they took her to the hospital and it was because we had put in place a care army OK And Paul rang up and made that call to the police to look after Erika So, there is some good that’s come out of this There’s a lot of bad But I hope we can build a better society, and think about workers as well and having some secure work, more secure work into the future and building our regions and making sure that people get employment as quickly as possible Let’s take our next question, Premier It’s from Merwyn Machado in Durack, Queensland My question to the Queensland Premier is, in view of the Trad resignation issue rocking Queensland, is managing the COVID-19 restrictions going to get sidelined due to the factional fights within the government? Annastacia Palaszczuk, amid all of this, you’ve lost your deputy premier and treasurer It seems clear that a union boss and a faction played a pretty key role in that decision Why, at a time of crisis, is that decision falling to a union and a faction rather than to the premier? Well, first of all, let me make it very clear, I made the decisions No-one else made the decision I made the decision And secondly, Merwyn, great to hear from you I grew up in Durack and I noticed that you live in Durack Well, if you made the decision, why didn’t you make it on Saturday? I think it’s pretty quick to make decisions and have a new cabinet line-up sworn in within about 48 hours I think that’s pretty quick We’re in a pandemic I’ve put the best people into the best jobs, and they’ve hit the ground running and I’m very happy with the team And we’ve only got one thing that we’re focused on, and that’s Queenslanders That’s what Queenslanders want me to be focused on – them, and getting their life back on track Alright. Gladys Berejiklian, how hard is it to find a reliable deputy at the moment? I’ve got a great one and I’m very happy with the Deputy Premier, very happy with my entire team And, Hamish, a question that Nick asked before from WA struck a chord with me, because unlike the other states, the infection rates in New South Wales were particularly high And I’m glad that we got that question today, and not a question as to why thousands of people had died in New South Wales, ’cause that’s where we were heading The cases we had exponentially growing were what Italy was, at the same pace And we knew by looking at places overseas, if we did not take action when we did, we literally would have had thousands of people who would have perished by now already And I’m grateful we’re in this position But given the other questions raised subsequently, I do feel now the pendulum has to shift. We are now New South Wales is in a position where we do want to get our economy going and we’re looking for the pathway that is the safest way to do that But also a way which gives our citizens hope for the future, which they should have, but also gets us out of the economic dire situation we’re in Alright. It has been a tough week or so for you with your leadership team in New South Wales Not really I mean, it’s been a tough time for us because we’ve come off the back of the horrendous bushfires over summer Then we had the storms, and now we’re in a pandemic And to be honest, absolutely honest with you, Hamish, that’s what preoccupies us day and night And similar to my colleagues, no matter which political party we belong to, we’re thrust in a situation where we’re leaders at a time when our state’s and nation’s path has probably never been more difficult And it’s an incredible responsibility but also an enormous privilege And day and night, that’s our preoccupation But, come on, this was the last thing you needed, on top of everything that your state has gone through to have your deputy premier and then your transport minister, Andrew Constance, saying they want another job and then both of them changing their minds Can I be absolutely frank with you? If it’s not life and death, we don’t…I don’t worry about it What matters now, what the pandemic has really put into focus is what’s important And for me, what is important is making decisions which, without being too dramatic, will affect the lives of, in my case, eight million citizens and similarly for Dan and Annastacia in their home states But every decision we take doesn’t just affect all of our citizens today, but the next generation and the next decade Because the structural changes happening in our economy, the changes occurring or likely to occur in a post-COVID environment will mean that all of us have to adjust And that’s my 24/7 priority Alright The next question is Marilyn Lester in Petrie Terrace, Queensland With so many Queenslanders and Australians out of work due to the COVID-19 restrictions, how can the NRL be given a green light to restart, playing a contact sport that goes against all of the restrictions? Several players have already demonstrated they are incapable of obeying the rules Why should their livelihoods be reignited when so many others can’t? In truth, all three of you are effectively asking us

to trust footballers on this Annastacia Palaszczuk, can we? Well, the NRL put together a plan And as, you know, we’re very responsible, we looked at that plan and the Chief Health Officer gave me advice and she was more than satisfied with that plan So, I think as long as the particular code abides by that plan It’s not just the code, is it? It’s the players that belong to that code We’ve already had a list of NRL players in breach of social distancing rules We all know the track record of some of these codes Yeah, well, look, let’s say this – look, everyone loves their footy I love my footy. Dan loves his AFL Gladys, I hope you love your footy too You’re obviously building those stadiums down there, but we want a grand final up here But, look, in all honesty, they’re treated as workplaces but also community sport is going to be coming back in the near future as well So, you know, they’ve got to abide by the conditions that they’ve put forward, and it’s up to the NRL or the respective codes to endorse their plan and to make sure that it’s adhered to Dan Andrews, this is a question that we’ve heard repeatedly from all over the country Why is it that AFL players effectively can resume their livelihoods but so many other professions just can’t? Well, we’re in the process of taking careful steps so that those livelihoods, those sectors that have been closed down can reopen in a safe way Um, we’re not looking I’ll leave it to the AFL to make their own announcements, but I don’t think we’re looking at playing AFL games next week They are going to have a stage process where they go back to playing something approaching a normal home and away season Look, the feedback I get, Hamish, across the board is that people are a bit lost without footy Melbourne is all about football, and right across Victoria, and people are really keen to see it back Our chief health officer thinks it can be done safely There are risks, but they can be managed And I think it will be a very good day when football is back on the TV and people have got the rhythm of that, the kind of emotional power of that, again uniting us, perhaps distracting us from some of the worst elements of the challenges we face It’s a big part of the way our city and state operates, and it’s a big part of the way our country operates too, and the feedback I get is almost universal, that people want to see footy back It needs to be done safely and I’m pretty confident that’s exactly what’s going to happen Alright. Our next question is from Craig Rowley in Seaholme, Victoria Premiers, economic growth in Australia has rested on our population growth The big build in houses and infrastructure and the rollout of services has added to gross state product If immigration tapers off in a post-pandemic world, what are the new drivers of our economy? Gladys Berejiklian? Excellent question And there’s no doubt, for a considerable period, international travel will be extremely limited, and migration across the globe will be extremely limited In New South Wales, I’m confident, and we have actually seen green shoots of this already, that advanced manufacturing can play a role like nothing else, because unlike traditional manufacturing, advanced manufacturing relies on high-tech industries, artificial intelligence, and relies on a highly educated population, which we have So, I’m more confident than I was a month ago because we put out a call to arms in New South Wales for businesses who wanted to re-tool or wanted some level of support to start manufacturing in New South Wales In a short period of time, we had over 2,000 contact us So, whether it’s anything from medical supply to artificial intelligence, I feel that we have capacity to really grow advanced manufacturing in this nation, like never before What about some of the trickier conversations, which I know your treasurer has started to address – payroll tax and stamp duty Are you willing to reform there? Absolutely, and the Treasurer and I and our team are absolutely focused on the opportunities this brings for us to become more efficient You find, during a pandemic, you let go of processes which are cumbersome You forego red tape, which is normally part of our lives as governors So, are you going to get rid of payroll tax? Well, we’re looking at all the opportunities we have as to how we can have a more efficient system post during and post-COVID, and the So, does that mean looking at payroll tax? Well, I think it’s a conversation we need to have, of course, in New South Wales but also with the Commonwealth and with our state colleagues I think the opportunity is here We’ve demonstrated, through the National Cabinet process, our capacity to actually get things done very quickly – not perfectly, but very quickly because you don’t have Time is not on your side during a pandemic So, what does this mean in practice? I mean, these are all lovely words we hear about our great nation I think what it means in practice I think what it means in practice is that we’re going to see major shifts within our economies, major structural change, and what is the best way of dealing with that

And I think we need to be open-minded as to what will government look like, what will businesses look like Where will people be working? How will they be getting to work? Now, these are interesting questions we have to go through And that includes looking at the incentives in our tax system and how we can actually motivate that level of innovation we’ll need to become world leaders Because I think there is also a sense that we should consider what opportunities this brings us to be more self-reliant in some industries We know we’re a country, a nation rich in raw materials We know we have a highly-educated population compared to other parts of the world And these are all things we can and should use to our advantage Dan Andrews, payroll tax, stamp duty, are you going to look at those? Well, I think the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Philip Lowe, made the point very well when he said that we can’t just flick a switch and go back to another 25 years of continuous economic growth There’s going to need to be reform My judgement would be that some of that can be national, but the lion’s share of it will be reform driven by the states And I think things like tax, planning, how we make decisions, the sectors we invest in, skills and training, the big infrastructure agenda that so many of us have got going at the moment – we’re going to have to look at all those things, all of those things, and we need to be less about the ideology and more about getting outcomes And there’s just going to have to be change If we just assume things go back to the way they were, that would be very foolish That’s the view of experts That’s also what common sense tells you There’s been big shifts in the Australian economy There are some opportunities here, but there’s also a big obligation for us to get on and do things differently So, I wouldn’t rule any of that out We need to have, hopefully, for the first time in a long time, a mature debate, where we argue things on their merits, and we don’t get led down these ideological paths which are usually about cheap politics, rather than proper national reform We need international relations reform Is that what the role of National Cabinet might be going forward? PALASZCZUK: Definitely It could be a really important circuit-breaker for that I think that, rather than just the usual old favourites of, “Oh, let’s rack up let’s jack up the GST,” or, “Let’s cut wages by IR reform,” let’s look at IR sensibly The number of people that don’t have secure working hours and conditions has been so…it’s been exposed through this pandemic People who don’t know if they’ve got a shift tomorrow till they get the text message at 11 o’clock tonight, they’re some of the most vulnerable in these, the worst of times On tax, I think there’s a range of state taxes that we should look at There’s lots of partnership opportunities, but it’s got to be about outcomes, not about the ideology It’s got to be a proper debate, not something that gets sidetracked into a, “Well, if he’s for it, “I have to be against it,” type of zero-sum thing That’s a waste of everyone’s time I reckon National Cabinet could be a really important way forward on this Alright. Our next question is from Corey Fuimaono in Auckland Kia ora from Evandale in Auckland, New Zealand Last week, as you would know, Jacinda Ardern, our prime minister, met with Scott Morrison and the Australian National Cabinet One of the things they discussed was a trans-Tasman bubble, and I think people from both nations are really excited about this I know that I really want to go and see my niece, who was born in Sydney on the first day of New Zealand’s lockdown So, I really want to go and see her When’s the right time for such a bubble to spawn? Alright. Annastacia Palaszczuk, we’re going to have to keep it quick because we are running out of time Are you going to be competing with New Zealand for travel, for travellers from the rest of Australia? Look, we’ve got a lot of people from Queensland that go to New Zealand, and vice versa And I’m quite sure that people will not be thinking about Bali or Thailand, but be thinking about coming to Queensland and Cairns and everything that the Whitsundays has to offer, and the Gold Coast, as well, and everything in between Sure including the Outback But to that question, though, I mean, how far off might a trans-Tasman bubble actually be? Well, I think we heard Alan Joyce speaking tonight that he thought that would be the first international market that would open I think, from the National Cabinet perspective, we were very encouraged by what Jacinda Ardern said, and I think we should work towards that It’s just a matter of timing, in terms of how much we can get this virus under control So, it’s definitely on the agenda This year, Gladys Berejiklian? Oh, look, Hamish, I like to have a dig at all my colleagues who have closed their borders, and say I’ll probably get to Auckland before I get to Cairns. (LAUGHS) So, I think we do have to address the issue of our internal borders, as well, in that conversation, and what means But I’m rather more optimistic than ever And today, obviously, New Zealand’s taken a major step forward in terms of easing restrictions So, I’m more optimistic than I was, even a week ago, as to what that might look like Alright. Well, that is almost all we have time for tonight First, thanks to our premiers – Gladys Berejiklian, Daniel Andrews, and Annastacia Palaszczuk It’s been delightful having you all here tonight We hope we can have you back when there’s a big live audience in the studio, as well And thanks, also, to you at home for watching and sharing your questions with us

And thanks to those of you, as well, watching us and streaming us on iview tonight We’ll leave you now in the trans-Tasman bubble that we just referenced there, with the superb sounds of Marlon Williams He’s performing from his home in Christchurch G’day, Hamish. G’day, Q+A It’s Marlon Williams here, coming to you from my lounge in Lyttelton, New Zealand I’m going to sing you a song, a saccharine song of solidarity called Make Way For Love And I’ve dialled in my Twin Peaks keyboard sound So # When by design # You are on your knees # And no wealth of comfort to afford you # And shall the wonder of the ages # Be revealed again # Make way for love # Calling for you # Leading you on # On through the night # Only love # Deep as the ocean # Here is the will # Here is the way # The way into love # Oh, let # The wonder of the ages # Be revealed # As love # Make way for love # Make way for love # Make way for love # Mm-mm-mm-mm-mm. # Captions by Red Bee Media Copyright Australian Broadcasting Corporation