SUBJECTS: A national response to hotel quarantine needed; Kyrgios victory in Australian Open; UK hospitals change their language to reflect diversity.


LEILA MCKINNON, HOST: Now it's Groundhog Day with a nightmarish twist. Melbourne on alert yet again as another covid-19 outbreak grows and there are fresh fears that new infections from highly infectious strains of the virus are already in the community. To discuss, I'm joined by Northern Territory Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and Nine new sports presenter Tony Jones. Good morning to you both. I'll start with you, T.J. Some good news and that there have been just two cases in the last 24 hours, ones we already knew about. But it must be so nerve racking each time staring down the barrel of another lockdown. Do you think we are learning quickly enough?

TONY JONES, NINE NEWS: No, not in the slightest, Leila. I mean, if we were learning quickly enough, then we wouldn't be having these bizarre stories coming out of the quarantine hotels like you've been discussing this morning about the nebuliser which got into the quarantine hotel when it was a prohibited item. I mean, how the hell does that happen? You know, we've got a Premier down here, Daniel Andrews, who's forever telling everyone we've got the best quarantine system in the land. But yet again, there's been a major stuff up. So, you know, what we need is for the premiers, i.e., Gladys and Dan, to stop trying to outdo each other and trying to outsmart each other, because I don't think we've got too many points on the board in that department in Victoria. So, no, I don't think we've learnt one iota from the mistakes of last year, unfortunately. 

MCKINNON: Thanks T.J. Malarndirri, I might go to you now. Is it time to move the quarantine program out of the cities, especially cities like Sydney and Melbourne, that are just so busy and not set up for this at all?

MCCARTHY: Yeah, Leila, look, it really is a time for the country to have a look at its having a national plan here. And this is something that the AMA has been asking the Prime Minister and the national cabinet to put together and TJ's right to some extent with Victoria and New South Wales. But there has to be a greater focus nationally as well, doesn't there? I mean, really, unless the Prime Minister and the national cabinet can actually listen to what the AMA's saying, they want to see a national plan. And we've seen here just in Darwin with Howard Springs, and, you know, we are absolutely fortunate, I know and we've got terrific people working on that facility here. We can certainly share our experiences with the rest of the country.

MCKINNON: Let's move on to another story now. Nick Kyrgios pulling off one of the greatest comeback games of his career overnight. Kyrgios climbing a rollercoaster five set victory over Hugo Humbert and the crowd loved every second. Malarndirri, dd you catch it? It was extraordinary.

MCCARTHY: I think everyone loved every second of it, Leila. It's just awesome. I mean, isn't it? You know, we need that lift. Here we are talking about Covid in Victoria, but then we had this amazing event occur with one of our own Australians. So I think all Australians around the country just needed to see that and get behind him. And he's the sort of person that is always in the in the media for some kind of controversy. But we know that he's got the skills. And last night they were on display.

MCKINNON: Yes, well said. T.J, I would argue that his greatest comeback has been from that controversy, that rocky start with the Australian public to hero. Everyone is there getting right behind him.

JONES: Well, that's right, and, you know, I'm probably in the minority and I'm not completely convinced that what we're seeing is the real Nick, you know what I mean? Because his track record hasn't been that great. But look, ever since the Rally for Relief more than 12 months ago now here at Melbourne Park, which was to raise money for those devastated by those bushfires a summer ago, he's been fantastic. I mean, he's been the voice of reason throughout the whole covid. I can't believe I'm saying that. And here at the Melbourne Park at the Australian Open, he's he's just been incredible. He's been doing everything right. Look, I heard you and Karl talking about, you know, the great blow up between him and the umpire. I don't celebrate that. I still think that's one of the parts of the game that I'm mystified by. And it's one of the few sports in the world where we actually celebrate blow ups between players and officials. And it was a little uncomfortable to watch that one last night that I know you'll be showing it again. And I think that's an area of the game that he needs to improve on. But he's not alone there, is he?

MCKINNON: You're a hard man, T.J. I know when you're on side, he will be rehabilitated completely. This one's a beauty. Midwives or maybe we should say mid people in the UK are being told to change their language to reflect diversity. Breastfeeding replaced by chestfeeding. Mothers becomes birthparent. Breast milk change to human milk. I don't know. Look, I'm pretty woke, but I think I'm questioning this one myself. Malarndirri, what do you think? Has it gone too far?

MCCARTHY: Yeah, Leila, yes, I, I actually had to sit with this one for a little while and think about it because, you know, reading into it, I wanted to understand, well, how did the hospital come to this policy? Clearly it had talked with certain sectors of their community. And when I read that it was around 10 per cent of that particular community are transgender. I can understand from a First Nations perspective, we're three per cent of the Australian community, so I understand about being in a minority and the importance of being open to the sensitivity of others. I think I need to understand a bit more of this. And I think in terms of that hospital, I guess they've done the work.

MCKINNON: But Malarndirri, milk only comes from breasts, though, doesn't it?

MCCARTHY: Look, I think I think certainly that the use of the terminology. I mean, we say breast milk. I mean, then we use an Aboriginal language, you know, that's important to us in the feeding of our babies and children. I don't understand enough about this, I think, Leila, I just recognise that clearly there is something important that's happening in that particular community. And I need to say what it is that's going on there.


JONES: Well, I've got to say, you and the Senator are missing the main point here. I can't believe that, given your experience in the media. What about the dads? What about the true victims here? I mean, you know, we're. It's a minefield enough for us knowing what to say and what not to say. And now we've more in the filter. I mean, it is a nightmare for the dads in those labour wards. And now we've got more to worry about. And, you know, it's very, very tough for the dads.

MCCARTHY: We'll come back to you, T.J. when we need that advice I reckon.

MCKINNON: Men just do it so tough when it comes to childbirth.

MCCARTHY: Very tough. We're all so empathetic.

JONES: Oh, it's been terrible. "Would you like some water? Stop talking, give me the gas!" It's terrible.

MCKINNON: OK, T.J. Malarndirri. Thank you for your insights this morning. A good good chat.

MCCARTHY: Thank you