Following the national cabinet meeting on Friday Prime Minister Scott Morrison ramped up the heat on state leaders to resolve their differences on border closures, as he announced that Australian health experts are working on a clear definition of what constitutes a hotspot.
“When you have restrictions that are being placed on peoples’ movement in the country, based on what is and what isn’t a hotspot, there needs to be a clear medical and scientific definition of what that [hotspot] is.” He said. “These decisions cannot be made on an arbitrary basis – I’m not suggesting they are – but it was agreed today and we’re going to ask again – for us to get a clear definition of what constitutes a hotspot. So people living in those areas know whether they are in one or not.”
In a carefully worded but direct speech the PM criticised state leaders’ attempts to achieve virus elimination through state border closures. “It will hit economy too hard.” He said “You can’t mortgage off your economy for what would prove to be a very illusory goal.”
In the same week the Business Events Council of Australia, represented by Dr Vanessa Findlay and Andrew Hiebl CEO of the Association of Australian Convention Bureau, appeared before the Senate Select Committee hearing on COVID-19. “It’s critically important to get across how tough the business events industry is doing and to call out the impact internal borders are having on allowing our domestic market to flourish under COVID safe protocols.” Said Hiebl.
Morrison’s comments follow warnings from health experts and almost universal business criticism, over the economic and personal damage being caused by arbitrary closures of state borders, which many believe are politically motivated.