“Good morning, I’d like to announce that we had a very productive meeting of the women’s task force where we agreed that the time for action has indeed arrived and there was general consensus that we would all read the report which recommends actions which can help to address the issues which we all agreed need addressing. The report is being photocopied as we speak and we expect that by the end of April all members of the task force should have a copy. We intend to meet again after the Budget and I’ll be updated on exactly which page each of the members of the task force is up to. This is an historic day for women and I think that we should all acknowledge that.
“On the matter of vaccines, there’s been a lot of misreporting and I’d just like to put some facts on the table. For a start, when I said that we hoped to have more people vaccinated than is currently the case, I was expressing a hope and not a definite target and what’s the country coming to when people can’t even express a hope any more. I stand for hope… and miracles, and if you want to criticise me for that, well go ahead, but you’d better be careful because I know what some of you have been up to. It’s also been suggested that I was blaming the EU for the slow rollout. That just isn’t so, because we are ahead a schedule and therefore there’s nothing slow about the rollout. How could I be blaming the EU for something that doesn’t exist which is the vaccines we were promised but haven’t arrived due to a holdup. Now some may wish to play politics with this but let me be quite clear. Semantics is not the way to get things done and neither is turning this into a race. By taking our time we can learn from what others are doing and as everyone is taking their time with the Astra Zeneca doses, it’s only reasonable that we will too.
”Finally, on the matter of Christine Holgate, I’d just like to make it clear that this is not a matter for me and I have no intention of commenting, however, I would like to say that she resigned and that was because she chose to and any suggestion that I put pressure on her by demanding that she go, doesn’t take into account that it was nothing to do with me and I had no power to force her to resign so anything I previously said on the matter was just an opinion and nothing to do with her decision to step away from her role.
”Now, I have time for a few questions but make them brief because Chris Uhlmann has one that will take me quite some time to answer.”
Mr Morrison, do you agree that, in hindsight, it would have been better for the Commonwealth to have organised mass vaccinations and been in control of the whole process?
”No, I don’t because you’re assuming that we would have been able to have done mass vaccinations when there was a shortage of vaccines. When we predicted… or rather, hoped, that millions of people would have been vaccinated by the end of March we weren’t expecting them not to be. And they weren’t for a variety of reasons: floods, lack of supply, women marching… and let me point out, any doctor will tell you it’s damn hard to vaccinate someone when they’re marching. So, it really gets down to this. To vaccinate somebody you need a syringe, someone to vaccinate and a vaccine and if you don’t have any single one of those things you can’t vaccinate anyone and anyway, Health is a state responsibility.”
On the subject of the women’s march, do you agree that it would have been better to have gone out to meet them, rather than demand that they come to you?
“Well, I think it’s wrong to suggest that I demanded that they come to me. I simply invited them and to categorise that as a demand is to misrepresent the whole thing. I made myself available which is more than they did, so I think I was prepared to meet them halfway. But the issue is not who met who and when. The issue is that I have two daughters, one wife and one mother and they are everything so how can these women be anything more than a distraction from the very real task of making women safe in all workplaces which, let me tell you, are just as bad or worse than than some of the others and in particular, Parliament is not one that I’d characterise as lacking in this any more than anything else.”
Didn’t you demand that Christine Holgate stand down, so how can you say it was her decision?
“I reject the premise of that question, and not only that, I reject the premise that such a question exists.”
Mr Morrison, can you just…
”I’m sorry but I have an important meeting to attend and Chris hasn’t had a chance to ask his question yet. Chris?”
Thanks, Mr Morrison, would you like to outline your response to Labor’s criticism of the NDIS changes?
”That’s tomorrow’s question, Chris. I haven’t prepared for that one. Well, that’s it then.”
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