News National PM pleads with premiers to reopen borders as planned

PM pleads with premiers to reopen borders as planned

Minister David Littleproud has branded protesters as scum who need to be locked up indefinitely. Photo: AAP
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Scott Morrison is putting pressure on premiers who are wavering on re-opening borders once their states strike a rate of 80 per cent rate of double-dosed vaccinations.

The premiers of Queensland and Western Australia are showing reluctance to commit to that reopening target, even though it was a key part of the national COVID-19 recovery plan agreed to by the national cabinet.

“There comes a time when you’ve got to honour the arrangement you’ve made with the Australian people, and that is when you get to 80 per cent vaccination, it’s very clear that you can start opening up,” Mr Morrison told the Seven Network in an interview while he was in Washington.

He said at that stage there will still be some common-sense controls, like QR code logins and mask-wearing in certain circumstances.

“But, you know, comes a time when you’ve just got to move on and get on with it,” he said.

Deputy Nationals leader and Queensland MP David Littleproud said the Prime Minister has tried to show leadership by bringing premiers and first ministers together through the national cabinet.

“Then they walk out and go different directions. The question has to be why are you changing your mind,” he told Sky New’s Sunday Agenda program.

“All Queenslanders want, all Australians want, is hope and certainty.”

He also had little time for those involved in the violent protests in Melbourne last week.

Protesters are ‘scum’

“That small element are society scum and quite frankly they should be forced into isolation at her majesty’s pleasure,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Those people do not deserve to live in this society freely.”

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said he agrees with the national plan but some of the restrictions being seen now are the result of the Morrison government’s failures.

“Scott Morrison should accept responsibility for that rather than doing what he always does, which is always to look to blame someone else, always looking for a look-over-there moment,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“No one wants any restrictions to be in place for one day more than necessary. I certainly don’t. It’s very frustrating that it has occurred.”

Meanwhile, federal Heath Minister Greg Hunt said great progress is being made in the vaccination rollout.

He said 75.8 per cent of people aged 16 and over have now had their first dose of a vaccine and 51.5 per cent are fully covered with two jabs.

“We are on track, we are making great progress,” Mr Hunt told reporters.

More than 27 per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds – 340,000 – have also come forward to be vaccinated.

“That program is less than two weeks into its course of action,” he said.

NSW reported 961 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and nine more deaths. None of the deceased, aged from their 40s to their 80s, were double jabbed.

The death toll in the state’s current outbreak now stands at 297.

Victoria recorded another 779 new cases and two further deaths, while their were 25 new infections in the ACT.