18 November 2020

18 NOVEMBER 2020


SUBJECTS: South Australia border closures; State of Origin.
KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Let's get into it with Northern Territory Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and 2GB, 4BC's, Chris Smith. Good morning, guys. Nice to see you. Malarndirri, first of all, to, now, the response to the outbreak in Adelaide, it's a huge response with more than 4000 people already in isolation. Can a second wave be averted?
MALARNDIRRI MCCARTHY, SENATOR FOR THE NORTHERN TERRITORY: Look, it is really disappointing no doubt for people in South Australia, but also for those who have got families in South Australia. And were planning to head there as well. I know here in the Northern Territory, people are quite devastated by what they're seeing down there. But the reality is, Karl, I mean, we only have to look across the seas to the US to know that we do still have a long way to go as a world approach to COVID. And so naturally if anything, we should actually all be trying to assist South Australians to get through their testing as quickly as possible, because those lines that I'm saying there on your screen are just incredible and no doubt quite frustrating for all those people.
STEFANOVIC:  It is it is frustrating. And I get that especially from a business point of view. Chris, some states immediately slammed the border shut, others letting in South Australians, but with checks. Surely at some point, given what Malarndirri is saying, and she's 100 per cent right, we are going to be living with this for a long time. Where's the national coordinated response that we need here?
CHRIS SMITH, 2GB: Well, it's non-existent. The only states and territories on the same page as the Commonwealth Medical Offices are New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT. They haven't closed down borders. They've worked out that they'll identify at the border, whether it's from a plane or crossing a border, they'll work out exactly where you come from and they'll do your test. They'll actually see if you've got a temperature, see whether you're carrying the symptoms. That's all that needs to be done. We've got one cluster in a very small area of Adelaide. Bear in mind, it's a population of 1.3 million only in Adelaide. You don't need to keep opening and shutting borders. I tell you what, I'd hate to be in a war and in a trench with some of these Territory ministers and Premiers that run for the hills.
STEFANOVIC: Look, I have to say this. Look, I got in initially and I still do get it. It's partly because of Queensland and the fact that WA have sealed themselves off, and Malarndirri, I know that you support some of that chief medical advice. But for me, living in New South Wales now and living with the constant, I guess, threats and updates and the way that contact tracing is going here in New South Wales, what happens is it does actually fill you with confidence that the system can work without shutting down. Malarndirri, do we have to now transition, do the states need to kind of grow up a little bit with this and have confidence in the system?
MCCARTHY: Look, I think it's a very it's all about perspective, isn't it? Both of you are talking from Sydney because and you're, you're reflecting on your experiences there. I'm reflecting on my experiences here in the Northern Territory. And we felt incredibly proud of the leadership here in terms of the way COVID has been handled, especially Karl, when we were in particular concerned about our communities - 200 Aboriginal communities right across the Territory - and so there is a natural desire until there is a really safe vaccine here to watch closely just how the Northern Territory does deal with it. So, as I said earlier, we are absolutely disappointed. We've got very close relationships with South Australia. We're sort of, you know, families, you know, intermarriage, all of that sort of stuff and football, everything. So we feel it more so than say if New South Wales and other states were closed off to us, so we feel it but we also know it's the right thing to do for now.
SMITH:] But Karl, this is an elimination strategy. That's what they're doing. This is an elimination strategy. These are single spiking clusters that can be handled with really, really conscientious contact racing in cities and areas. I don't get it.
STEFANOVIC: I think that's true. Let's see how South Australia handles this. I think all eyes on how they how, they've wrapped bubbles around the most vulnerable parts of the community, which is really good. They've sent the army in to handle some of the contact tracing and some of the testing. The ability to to go into these states and to handle things quickly is essential in us all moving forward, because we don't want to see what's happened in the United States. The horse has bolted over there. I mean, did you see last night these terrible scenes from Dodger Stadium?
MCCARTHY: Absolutely.
STEFANOVIC:  The line up for hours upon hours.
SMITH: The comparisons not right, Karl.
STEFANOVIC: I know that's what I'm saying, Chris, that the horse has bolted there. However, we don't want to see huge outbreaks here. And I don't think we are. So this national, Malarndirri, at least this national response needs to be much more coordinated if it's going to be a long time that we're going to have to live with this.
MCCARTHY: Well, I think it's you know, I think you asked a question about confidence, Karl, and I don't think the confidence is there. I mean, I think if you just ask ordinary Australians just how they're feeling they are, we all know that in the back of our minds, this is the kind of country we're living in at the moment. Yes, we are enormously grateful of where Australia has landed compared to places like the US. But the reality is, is that we're still trying to get through this. And I'd like to think that all the energy can actually be put into assisting South Australia to get through this much quicker so that it can we can open up our borders.
STEFANOVIC: Here, here. He's a case in point with my point about that: a confidence issue, Malarndirri, is that my mum was in Yorkeys Knob in far north Queensland, which is a small beach north of Cairns. She didn't want, not want to come to New South Wales at all for six months. She was at pains to point out to me that the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was keeping us safe from COVID. And Annastacia Palaszczuk has been re-elected based on a lot of that. She's now in New South Wales. She's now driving around the place. She's going to the beach in the morning. She's coming to see all her relatives. She's coming to see the grandkids because she now has confidence in the system. Yes. So maybe we'll get there eventually.
MCCARTHY: Can I just, can I add to that Karl, and it's terrific that your mum does feel that sense of confidence, especially our elders need to feel that.
MCCARTHY: But when I've been travelling through our domestic airports to get to Canberra, it is like a ghost town, you know, travelling through Sydney Airport. I mean, if you guys are open, that airport is a ghost town. There is no traffic around it. So where is the confidence?
SMITH: But that's because other states shut their borders. That's because other states are shutting their borders!
MCCARTHY: But those are those states are open to New South Wales.
STEFANOVIC: It's quiet travelling. It is quiet travelling. It's going to be a slow rebuild. OK, let's talk Origin. Much lighter stuff. This is 52,000 man screaming Queenslanders at the cauldron tonight, the biggest COVID crowd event in the world. By the way, if you live in another state, seeing a full and packed stadium at Suncorp Stadium is going to be incredibly damaging to your mental health. On the pitch, expect fireworks. Malarndirri, it's been asked this week, State of Origin, it's been asked this week, should the Biff come back to Origin? And I know it's not a great example to the kiddies out there. We've seen Wayne Bennett dancing. That's probably more damaging to kiddy's health and the biff.  What do think we should do, should we bring back the biff?
MCCARTHY: Aw come on, look, I reckon, Wayne Bennett being, you know, the coach of the century and all and that, Queensland is going to win tonight, Karl. But, you know, whatever he says should go.
SMITH: Listen, your new best friend, Wayne Bennett, I tell you what, here he's saying I'm going to allow my bloke, Te'o, to go to get in there and get stuck into playing Haas. It's a con. It's a total con. He has told Te'o, don't, Te'o, don't touch anyone. Don't you dare. Because I don't want to lose a player. Haas will be the one hearing this publicity who put in the Biff, he'll get ten minutes in the sinbin and Wayne will be sitting up in the box with his arms folded, going mmm mmm mmm.
STEFANOVIC: Job well done.
SMITH:  You can see what's happening. We're being baited.
STEFANOVIC: You know what? You know what? You've been baited.
MCCARTHY: It's all psychological, Karl.
STEFANOVIC: It's like going to the buffet. You say, I'm not going to have any of that pork crackle, but you have it anyway. This is what's going to happen tonight. It's going to happen tonight and only 13 hours and nine minutes till Kick-Off. Everyone, stand by. Thanks, guys.