VIDEO-Julio Rosas on Twitter: ".@brianstelter: "When you see entire media companies essentially exist to tear down Joe Biden, is there an equivalent of that on the left, tearing down Trump?" @emarvelous: "There really isn't." https://t.co/JlM
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 20:16
Julio Rosas : .@brianstelter: "When you see entire media companies essentially exist to tear down Joe Biden, is there an equivale'... https://t.co/5GgtN3JVF1
Sun Aug 09 15:43:03 +0000 2020
Anthony Garcia : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous How out of touch? They all chirp the same script every day.
Sun Aug 09 20:15:24 +0000 2020
Bill : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous https://t.co/jfuPlZh0yL
Sun Aug 09 20:14:59 +0000 2020
Michael Hall : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Like my grandmother used to say BLESS HIS HEART.
Sun Aug 09 20:14:18 +0000 2020
Top Cat °º°¸ : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous °
Sun Aug 09 20:13:03 +0000 2020
Michelle : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Her Twitter account @emarvelous and the comments to her are unbelieveable!'... https://t.co/KgihaOF0N7
Sun Aug 09 20:12:55 +0000 2020
Kenny : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous "Have we reached the ultimate stage of absurdity where some people are hel'... https://t.co/UAbuSCXLhJ
Sun Aug 09 20:12:54 +0000 2020
Tet, banned in Australia : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Hey @emarvelous , I'd like to introduce you to @MeidasTouch ,'... https://t.co/llY70lQ0Wg
Sun Aug 09 20:12:54 +0000 2020
Joe Bailey : @Julio_Rosas11 @MZHemingway @brianstelter @emarvelous CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR just to name a few of Biden su'... https://t.co/C8JkbTq6kG
Sun Aug 09 20:12:51 +0000 2020
Michael Wurl : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous And therein lies the problem...The left's self awareness is broken. https://t.co/3BWQ9LQt64
Sun Aug 09 20:12:44 +0000 2020
Turtle Dove : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous just more proof that there are both some blacks and whites with the same'... https://t.co/e0nxfENp6x
Sun Aug 09 20:12:43 +0000 2020
The changeless changer : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous °°°°°
Sun Aug 09 20:12:33 +0000 2020
Jessica (Fletcher) O'Donnell : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous i refuse to believe this is real life
Sun Aug 09 20:12:30 +0000 2020
Turtle Dove : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous just more proof that there are both some blacks and whites with the same'... https://t.co/wxdcl8RIp8
Sun Aug 09 20:12:21 +0000 2020
Tao : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous The Dems have completely lost it. Quite literally.
Sun Aug 09 20:12:16 +0000 2020
Alex Poorhippo : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous 2 + 2 = 5, up is down, bad is good, men are women etc.
Sun Aug 09 20:12:09 +0000 2020
Tired of all of you! : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous The funny thing about this is their blindness to their own hate and non st'... https://t.co/FV81eNjFDh
Sun Aug 09 20:12:00 +0000 2020
Turtle Dove : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous just more proof that there are both some blacks and whites with the same'... https://t.co/bhaCXQHSiu
Sun Aug 09 20:11:54 +0000 2020
TeknoAXE : @Julio_Rosas11 @willchamberlain @brianstelter @emarvelous https://t.co/UaOAuKs6G9
Sun Aug 09 20:11:54 +0000 2020
Nute Gunray : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous These people are completely delusional, lying or a combination of the two.
Sun Aug 09 20:11:43 +0000 2020
YearOfTheRooster : @Julio_Rosas11 @1NatOne @brianstelter @emarvelous °°°°They've been trying to rip Trump since before he took office'... https://t.co/V0QldRgN31
Sun Aug 09 20:10:53 +0000 2020
Ricky D : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Boy, the left really has no sense of irony do they?? Not a fucking clue..'... https://t.co/C5xHH0igfS
Sun Aug 09 20:10:07 +0000 2020
ifc : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous At least media companies are ALSO tearing down Creepy, Touchy Feely, Hair'... https://t.co/UpvRU77XAl
Sun Aug 09 20:09:58 +0000 2020
BrandEcks : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous CNN Chyron: Brian Stelter says there are no left wing media companies tea'... https://t.co/270R9ecvXd
Sun Aug 09 20:09:26 +0000 2020
WilsonFromFlorida : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous The choice ofJoe Biden is really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Tear him down, please.
Sun Aug 09 20:09:03 +0000 2020
°°>> THE CLOWN SHOW : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Stelter is Phucking kidding right ???
Sun Aug 09 20:08:45 +0000 2020
Gary Sielski : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Just switch channels once in a while.
Sun Aug 09 20:08:33 +0000 2020
Joy Paris : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Is this idiot for real
Sun Aug 09 20:08:06 +0000 2020
Michael Earls : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Are they blind and deaf?
Sun Aug 09 20:07:30 +0000 2020
War Machine : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous What is stunning is that they actually believe this. If you call them on i'... https://t.co/gmdTxIJKcs
Sun Aug 09 20:07:27 +0000 2020
All in for the °º°¸ Anti-victimhood culture : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Its called Media Elite Patty Hearst Syndrome.
Sun Aug 09 20:07:27 +0000 2020
Freddy Mac : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous https://t.co/5rti4VbGQg
Sun Aug 09 20:07:20 +0000 2020
MANUEL PIMENTEL : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous The °¤ show. They haven't realized no one watched #FakeNewsCNN °
Sun Aug 09 20:06:55 +0000 2020
Nattydread207 : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Are you serious? You can't be serious... have you checked out @CNNPolitics'... https://t.co/q0G184YfgW
Sun Aug 09 20:06:40 +0000 2020
stitchinggal1967 : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous I don't know what y'all call CNN and MSNBC then.
Sun Aug 09 20:06:39 +0000 2020
David : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous https://t.co/09GGbrGIGu
Sun Aug 09 20:05:33 +0000 2020
LedFammaMFR : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous https://t.co/R6euwT76PA
Sun Aug 09 20:04:54 +0000 2020
Tired of all of you! : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Even every Democrat laughed out loud at this nonsense.
Sun Aug 09 20:04:47 +0000 2020
: @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous °
Sun Aug 09 20:03:26 +0000 2020
sol l : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Its like CNN forgets about it's own existence
Sun Aug 09 20:02:29 +0000 2020
Kev : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous If their was a minimum IQ that could be achieved, this is it.
Sun Aug 09 20:02:23 +0000 2020
Logic : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous https://t.co/jct8WXXpem
Sun Aug 09 20:02:22 +0000 2020
±¸ : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Peak of pure insanity.
Sun Aug 09 20:02:12 +0000 2020
Brian V : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous This is the most hilariously obvious gaslighting I've ever seen.
Sun Aug 09 20:02:00 +0000 2020
Steve Easterling : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Is this a parody comedy sketch? Or are they just in an alternate universe?
Sun Aug 09 20:01:46 +0000 2020
Husker Cookie : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Are you edging kidding me https://t.co/14pIGr4zD2
Sun Aug 09 20:00:58 +0000 2020
Murphy : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Says it all..."Traditional °¤£ Legacy Media"......translates into: Same old'... https://t.co/mCD7ko0pWh
Sun Aug 09 20:00:49 +0000 2020
TygerStarr : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous And yet they spread their lies on a massive scale about the best POTUS EVE'... https://t.co/13fQQ7KcQj
Sun Aug 09 20:00:16 +0000 2020
Richard Roland : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous https://t.co/GRzHhhmYeX
Sun Aug 09 20:00:09 +0000 2020
CarolAnne : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Oh my goodness! What lies. They've done nothing but tear down Trump since'... https://t.co/QeAZSzv8hg
Sun Aug 09 19:59:56 +0000 2020
An_American123 : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous @brianstelter you can't be this stupid. Seriously. Try being a real journa'... https://t.co/aCqwoHAABS
Sun Aug 09 19:59:21 +0000 2020
Troy Mell : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous I hat to break it to you, but Biden is tearing down Biden and he isn't eve'... https://t.co/xLrnTT1lz9
Sun Aug 09 19:59:11 +0000 2020
Andre Desoto : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Hahahahaha. Self awareness, how does that work?
Sun Aug 09 19:58:57 +0000 2020
BeautifulSoul°'' : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous That is hysterical. It's the absolute definition of CNN, a network that h'... https://t.co/UgDXaBsKzh
Sun Aug 09 19:58:37 +0000 2020
KGB Barbary Bard (Easter Worshiper) : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Too funny
Sun Aug 09 19:58:37 +0000 2020
cara brown : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Bowling ball head is just one of the most hilarious liars since Joe Isuzu.
Sun Aug 09 19:58:25 +0000 2020
The Royal We : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Pot meet kettle.
Sun Aug 09 19:58:18 +0000 2020
CrimsonPirate : @Julio_Rosas11 @MZHemingway @brianstelter @emarvelous There is nothing more satisfying than beating someone at thei'... https://t.co/oWRIgzA74y
Sun Aug 09 19:57:43 +0000 2020
Marty Weiss : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Did this moron Erin (Who?) really just say that there ''really isn't'' a med'... https://t.co/m7DSgGYwU5
Sun Aug 09 19:57:21 +0000 2020
BanSharia : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous What a joke
Sun Aug 09 19:56:59 +0000 2020
Jack the cat : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Isn't that's what CNN is to trump
Sun Aug 09 19:56:35 +0000 2020
Horse Head : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous To answer your question @brianstelter yes there is an equivalent it's call'... https://t.co/HB3CzW1HmC
Sun Aug 09 19:56:16 +0000 2020
Alfred D. Sullivan : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous This is called damage control when you have a candidate as flawed as Biden'... https://t.co/PWysayvgZU
Sun Aug 09 19:56:03 +0000 2020
T.G. : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous The mainstream media attacks Trump with fake news every minute of every da'... https://t.co/e3hJbyJ7Zz
Sun Aug 09 19:55:59 +0000 2020
Marylee Shrider : @Julio_Rosas11 @brianstelter @emarvelous Stunning. They actually believe their coverage of Trump (and everything el'... https://t.co/DkEk0tLncK
Sun Aug 09 19:55:46 +0000 2020
VIDEO-State of Disaster - Q+A
Wed, 12 Aug 2020 00:37
Infection rates might be stabilising, but news today of another 19 lives lost '' a new daily record. Australian families and our whole community are paying a heavy price for what's gone wrong with Victoria's COVID response. There's huge social and economic impacts, now a surge in demand for mental health support too. It's testing our political leaders like never before, and that bipartisan spirit is showing serious signs of strain. You've got lots of questions tonight, so let's get you some answers. Welcome to Q+A.
A very good evening to you. Welcome to the program. Joining me on the panel tonight: in Melbourne, Michele O'Neil is president of the ACTU, whose affiliate unions represent some of the hardest-hit workers in this pandemic; Victorian Liberal MP Tim Wilson, who's currently self-isolating in Canberra ahead of the next parliamentary sittings, which start in a fortnight; federal Labor MP Senator Kimberley Kitching is in Melbourne, and plans to join the parliament virtually from there; in Brisbane, emergency doctor and disability advocate Dinesh Palipana, who's just come off shift and is still in scrubs, which is pretty impressive; and Paul Waterson runs one of the nation's largest pub groups, as the CEO of Australian Venue Company. Also during the program tonight, we'll talk to psychiatrist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Dr Killian Ashe, who's seeing a surge in first-time patients feeling stressed and overwhelmed by life in isolation. Would you please make all of them feel welcome.
And remember you can stream us or join us...join the conversation as well on iview, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #QandA is the hashtag. And a reminder, if you are getting involved on social media, we ask that you please do so respectfully. We ask our panellists to come here and debate in that spirit, and we do hope that you can too.
Our first question tonight comes from Anne Cahill Lambert, whose partner is a locum doctor in Benalla in Victoria. Anne, just talk us through the predicament that you've now found yourselves in.
ANNE CAHILL LAMBERT, BENALLA, VIC
So, last Friday we drove to Albury-Wodonga to head back home to Canberra after my husband had finished a four-month stint working as a locum doctor in one of the regional hospitals here, helping out with COVID. We had all the right permits '' one from the ACT and one to transit New South Wales. And when we got to the border, we were told that the New South Wales one was no good. I'm an old health services manager myself, and I didn't accept that, of course, and rang various people and was told that, yes, it was valid, but I would have to go to Melbourne, the epicentre of this pandemic, and catch a plane to Sydney, the second epicentre of this pandemic, spend 14 days in quarantine there, and then go home to Canberra.
So, what do you make, then, of the fact that there are politicians here tonight, for example, that have gone from Victoria to the ACT, that there are football players moving around the country, and yet there seems to be around about 100 of you stuck there?
ANNE CAHILL LAMBERT
We're all in this together, Hamish, apparently, but, uh, not so much. You know, the politicians who are there tonight might go and check up on my garden eventually, but, look, honestly, I know the politicians are important and the footballers are important, but, you know, in my family, I'm important.
So, what's your...what's your question for the panel tonight?
ANNE CAHILL LAMBERT
I'm concerned that Dunkirk seemed to be a smoother operation than this one. I wonder, does anyone care about us 100 people who are stuck in the border, some of whom are sleeping in their cars, others who were told that they couldn't stay in a motel because their postcode was Melbourne on the day that their travel was initiated. So, what can we do, other than do stupid things like go to Melbourne and catch a plane, where surely we will become ill, particularly those of us who are vulnerable?
Tim Wilson, let me put that to you. How...how on earth have 100 Australians ended up stranded in a scenario like this?
TIM WILSON, VICTORIAN LIBERAL MP
Well, I can't answer that question, because, of course, these measures have been implemented by the state governments. But I want to stress that health service workers matter too, and I would've thought that this was something that was relatively straightforward to correct. I don't quite understand why that's not the case. The reality is, if you're a health services worker, or anybody else, and you've been issued a permit, if there's an error on the part of the state government and they want to change it, then that should be fixed and it should be fixed swiftly.
I can say that I do know that when we came up here '' I drove up here from Victoria over the weekend '' there was cancellation of our permits as well. We were able to get them reissued within time to cross the border. But I do consider this to be completely unacceptable, and the fact that there are vulnerable people and people who could be used '' and I say it with the good spirit '' to control this pandemic and to assist and aid others, and they're stuck in limbo on the border, I think is unacceptable.
Kimberley Kitching, what should be done about these 100 or so people?
KIMBERLEY KITCHING, VICTORIAN LABOR SENATOR
Well, I think, Anne, firstly, this is utterly crazy, and it's not acceptable, and I don't want you to think that any Australian is more important than any other Australian, because that's not right either. So, I think, if...if this is a state matter, if those permits were issued that way, then I think it's time for the federal government to intervene. There should not be people sleeping in cars or, you know, not being able to get a hotel room. I mean, that is utterly ridiculous. And I think, if this...if New South Wales and the ACT can't sort out what is...you know, to get you home, then I think it's up to the federal government to intervene. I mean, this is...it's utterly mad that you're in this position. So, I mean, I'...
Tim Wilson, why doesn't the federal government intervene and get these people home? They've been waiting there for days now. We've heard these accounts of people sleeping in cars. I mean, this is not easy conditions. It's the middle of winter. These are very cold parts of the country.
I don't disagree, and, I mean, the reality is... The first I heard about these stories was today on the radio, and I just think this is a simple administrative process that... I mean, the federal government can intervene, but I simply can't understand why the New South Wales government hasn't sorted it out. But it's one that should be followed up, because Kimberley is fundamentally right '' the situation is mad, it's unjustified. The appropriate measures should be taken to make sure that people are safe in every sense. So, obviously, if people have been exposed to the risk of the virus, and to protect the rest of the community, like I'm doing, quarantine may be required. But the focus should be about resolving it as quickly as possible. So... But it's not actually... And it's not to shirk responsibility. It's not the federal government. We can't override it. The New South Wales government should be sorting this straightaway, and I would have thought that it was a very simple administrative process to do.
Tim Wilson, at this point, do you support border closures?
Well, I've always been wary, frankly, of border closures. But, like everybody else, watching the evolution of the virus and the threats and the risks that exist, and making sure there's proper process in place to make sure we constrain the virus, which includes, certainly, checking at borders, is obviously an important part of that process. But each circumstance is different. I mean, one of the...
But I just wanted to be clear about this, 'cause you've been very strong in...in saying that you don't like border closures.
You said in May that you thought it would be a good thing for the High Court...for this to be tested in the High Court.
You also said that you thought that the states need to let go of control and power in this space. I just wonder whether you acknowledge now that border closures are quite important to ensuring that what's going on in Victoria doesn't spread to other parts of the country.
Well, like many people, my views on these issues have changed depending on the threat of the virus. So, when that was...when I made those statements, that was when the virus was subsiding and there wasn't the risk that there is presented now. I still support a testing of this area of law, because it's a very opaque area of law, and I think it's a good thing for the High Court to consider. Now, how it determines and what it determines will be very much informed by the status of the pandemic at the time. When we were having that earlier discussion, New South Wales was very opposed to border closures. They've now closed the border to Victoria, precisely because of the nature of the threat. And so it's important to make sure that policy responses are proportionate and sustainable to take the community with us and build public confidence.
OK. Our next question tonight is a video from Steve Timmis in Mildura, Victoria.
STEVE TIMMIS, MILDURA, VIC
My question is, do you think it's time to start treating this pandemic on a regional, localised basis? I'm a small distiller here in Mildura, and we've had zero cases up here for the last five months. We've also had zero cases within 250km of this place, yet we are thrown under the bus, our fragile economy is thrown under the bus, the same as the rest of Victoria. My question is, should the state government start treating different regions differently, like you do in metro with the Mitchell Shire, for example?
Paul Waterson, let me put that to you.
PAUL WATERSON, CEO, AUSTRALIAN VENUE CO.
I think these regional areas, where there's limited to no community transmission, absolutely. It's a strong case that if you can quarantine the area, then they should be allowed to continue on as best they are. I think it's different for some of the states, where, as we've seen, virtually no community transmission, and I think those border closures are appropriate so the economies can get...go forward as best they can.
But, I mean, do you see it as feasible, though, to have one part of Victoria entirely in lockdown and yet other parts of it open up? We're already hearing about the problems policing state borders. Presumably, it would be every bit as difficult, if not more, to create borders within a state.
Well, if you look at a location like Mildura, there's a couple of major roads into Mildura, and, of course, there's also going to be people who might try and skirt the border, but I think it absolutely can be managed.
Dinesh, you're in south-eastern Queensland. There's similar issues, or arguments, there around border bubbles. These are communities that live across borders. Do you have some sympathy for that idea of creating bubbles around the borders?
DINESH PALIPANA, EMERGENCY DOCTOR
Yeah, I think it's, a, um, interesting issue, because one thing we have to keep in mind is that some of these regional communities also have limited resources in terms of intensive care units and medical services. So, there are also some vulnerable populations out there as well. So, if the disease were to spread to these areas, they may not have the resources to treat and manage these things properly. So, it is an interesting concept to consider, to protect those communities that are out in those regions.
Michele O'Neil, there's clearly no simple answer to this, but what's your view? Should we be considering opening up some of these areas where there are no COVID infections currently, and haven't been for some time?
MICHELE O'NEIL, PRESIDENT, ACTU
Well, I think that, firstly, we should acknowledge that it's a really tough time. And I'm thinking tonight about all of the people who are doing it hard, including people who are coming home from work as we speak, or going out to work. Some are people really on the front-line, keeping us all going.
But in terms of Tim's question, I think that we've got to follow the very best health advice. And the problem we've got is that we can't all be second-guessing that. And we've got to get through this, and we've got to make this six weeks work for those of us in Melbourne and those of us in Victoria. And the whole purpose of this is to save lives. So, we're prepared to respect the health experts' advice, and if that is the basis of decisions about saying we need to close our borders, we need to make sure there's a consistent approach in terms of Stage 3 over regional Victoria, then we think we've all got to get behind that and make it work.
Our job at the moment is to try and reduce the spread of the virus. That's what's going to mean that businesses like Tim's and people who aren't working at the moment and are worried about their future are going to be able to get back to work if we can actually stop the spread. So, I don't think that I'm in a position to second-guess health advice. I'm prepared to go with what the government is getting on that advice, and say it's the right thing.
Well, I think we all agree that we want people to be getting back to work. That's not in contest. And the capacity to be able to enforce local conditions has got to be...or to create local conditions and local enforcement is dependent on your capacity to enforce the laws. Now, we do have differences in regions in Victoria already '' of course, between border communities and the like. Now, the traffic flows and the people who are moving through parts of places like Mildura, obviously, there are reasons for... Transport and freight can create risks. And so it's about what proportionate, sustainable measures are in place to make sure we can protect those communities and stop the virus getting into those communities, particularly because of the risks not just to the people of Mildura but also to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the near vicinity, to make sure that there isn't another further outbreak. These are the sorts of things that state governments are considering all the time, but I would have thought that where you can loosen up restrictions for a geographic area because it doesn't pose a risk, if you can build confidence, then that's a sustainable way forward.
So, in the case of Mildura, what's your view?
Well, I don't have enough information about the specifics of the roads and the networks and who's moving in and out of Mildura. That's ultimately up to the state government to do. But if there's deemed that you can extract that community from broader measures, then of course there needs to be a serious consideration of that. I mean, Mildura is a long way away from Melbourne. It's a long way away from a lot of places in Australia. And if they have the local capacity, and as somebody outlined before, also...not just a capacity to control who's coming in and out, but also, if there's an outbreak, the support measures for the people, then it's got to be considered. But I am mindful that there's a very high population of vulnerable people in Mildura, and we have to take that into account.
Alright. The next question is a video from Les Gillings in Brighton East, Victoria.
LES GILLINGS, BRIGHTON EAST, VIC
Hello. For 20 years, I was involved in clinical trials and drug development. I find that the media and governments are harbouring tremendous optimism about a vaccine for COVID-19, especially given that no medically-proven predecessor exists for any type of human coronavirus. How does Victoria and Australia envisage emerging from the social and economic catastrophe emanating from lockdowns, curfews and other restrictions if this magic panacea refuses to become a reality? Are we to remain totally isolated indefinitely, which would seem absurd?
Kimberley Kitching, what does the future look like if there is no vaccine and if we don't eliminate the virus here?
Mm. Well, I think what we're...I think we may have a new normal going forward, at least for some time. And this pandemic has been terrible, there is no question of that. But I wonder if now is an opportunity to look at what kind of country we want, what, you know...how we see ourselves in a new normal in, you know...in a coronavirus where, you know, there may be clusters that arise periodically.
So, what do we want to look at? So, I think, you know, we need, for example... I think we should play to our strengths. I think one of the questions that Les's question raises is, of course, about research and development investment. You know, why in Australia are we at 1.7% of GDP and yet we see successful countries around the world, like South Korea, Japan, Israel, they're at 4%, 5% of GDP? And I think we need to start looking and thinking about investing back in research and development.
But just to... Can I just...?
I think, also, we need...
Can I pick up on what you said, though...
..about spikes? I mean, are you envisaging a future where Australia has more of these clusters that break out and we shut down again or lock down periodically and then open up? Is that what you envisage here, without a vaccine?
I really... Well...well, I mean, I think...I really '' I really '' hope there is a vaccine, and I'm following some of the research that's occurring in France, particularly, but I think... We don't know. We don't know how this virus is going to behave, and I think that, you know, we may have... You know, look at what we're going through in Victoria now, in Melbourne. So, we've got a situation where, you know, we eased restrictions for a few weeks and there was a sort of a sigh of relief, I think, in Melbourne. And then, of course, we went back into Stage...we went to Stage 4 lockdown a week ago. I think...we don't know how the virus is going to behave and I think that we have to plan for different contingencies.
So, for example, you know, we relied on...on supply chains that perhaps were not as reliable as we thought they were. So, you know, PPE is an example of that. So, I think we need to start looking at what we need to make here, for example. So, in the Victorian economy, it's pretty much a services-based economy. Do we need to start looking at reinvigorating a manufacturing sector again, and what does that look like? How much government intervention should there be to create that?
OK. Let me...
But I do think we need a vision for the future.
Let me just...
And can I just add...? Yes.
Let me bring Paul Westerman in on this. Can businesses survive rolling waves of this? I mean, if we are talking about a scenario in which there is no vaccine and, of course, Australia's stated position is, or target is, not elimination '' it's this aggressive suppression strategy '' can businesses actually survive more lockdowns in scenarios where there are spikes?
Well, I think businesses will survive as best they can. I think it's really challenging in different industries. These are not things that you can just turn the key off and turn the key back on again. You have issues dealing with staff. You have issues dealing with stock, the mental health of the team, and the drain '' emotional drain '' but... But, look, longer term, you can see some states have got this well under control. You know, we haven't at the moment in Victoria, and we're quite appropriately in a big lockdown, but I think what we do need is a pathway out of this where we can understand what the likely future is for our industry in particular.
But can you...can you envisage a future for your industry if there isn't elimination? I suppose that's the question here. Because you've raised this example of other states where there effectively is no COVID-19, compared with Victoria and, obviously, New South Wales.
Yeah, absolutely. I think our industry did a great job when it was open in Victoria, putting in safe socialisation policies. We had mobile ordering. We had hand sanitisation. We had good contact tracing facilities. We had excellent cleaning. And the cause of the second outbreak in Victoria isn't based on what happened in pubs and restaurants, so the pubs and restaurants are ready to manage when we can.
OK. Dinesh, I want to bring you in here, but I just want to share with our audience a bit more of your story. You're an emergency doctor at the Gold Coast University Hospital. We're just going to take a look at what life is like for you right now at work.
It's always been a privilege to be a doctor, because you get to be a part of the journey of some of the most important points in people's lives. We also give back to our community. But right now, to be a part of this profession and to be part of the healthcare workforce is truly a privilege.
Hi, Mitch. Could I get you to sit up just so I can have a listen to your lungs? Great.
I have a spinal cord injury, and a lot of your respiratory muscles are controlled by your spinal cord, so for me to cough and get rid of bad things from my lungs is very, very difficult.
So, that's the reason that me and other people with spinal cord injury and neurological conditions are at more risk from any respiratory infection.
Dinesh, have you spent much time considering what the future might hold if there is no vaccine?
Yeah, it's going to be a difficult situation for people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions, and the elderly. There's a significant amount of risk. And I guess the biggest challenge that we've seen coming from other countries is when this really, really escalates.
So, there was a... I was reading a report from one of the doctors in Texas where they ran out of intensive-care beds and they had to start turning people away. And he was saying that they set up a committee to choose who gets intensive-care beds, and they were picking the people that had the best chance of survival. So, if this situation really, really escalates...we don't want to be in a position where we have to make those kind of decisions when we run out of resources. I mean, that's an extreme example. But I think that's the situation that a lot of people live in the fear of. But also, just getting the disease has a fairly poor prognosis, and it's a lot of risk for someone like me or anyone with a condition like this. So there's a lot of uncertainty.
So, when you hear the talk of the possibility that there may be no vaccine, I mean, can you give us an insight into what that would mean for your life in the future? I mean, you've explained the increased risk. Would you be able to keep doing your job? What would be the implications?
(CHUCKLES) Yeah, I hope I can keep doing my job. I mean, I know the risks when I go to work. If I get a respiratory infection '' even influenza, really '' it's a big risk for me. What I don't want to see is other people suffer and have poor outcomes needlessly. Really, it's a lot of uncertainty and it's a lot of fear if we're not either able to get this under control or come up with a vaccine.
Michele O'Neil, we've obviously got a range of examples here about how people are impacted, but if the question is about the world without a vaccine, do you see what the implications would be for workers?
Well, I think the implications of no vaccine and living with this virus over a long period of time will be incredibly difficult for working people and for our economy. I mean, what we know is that we already have a massive increase in unemployment that's likely to get, even in its official figures, up to 10% by the end of the year. And we all know the real figure is likely to be double that, and every day, we see people losing jobs, so we need a plan for national economic recovery. And if we don't get the virus under control, then the challenges of that will be great.
But this is the time we need the federal government to lead. It's an op... It's really the moment where we have to recognise that other levers in the economy are severely damaged and will be for a long period of time. Consumer spending is going to be really depressed for a long period. We know that exports are depressed.
Are you saying that the government's not doing enough?
I am saying that the government's not doing enough, because we can't have piecemeal approaches to saving jobs and creating jobs. This is actually a time where the government has to act in a comprehensive way, has to act fast, it has to think about what are all the elements of different sectors of the economy and how they can be supported. Because you can't rely on private enterprise to be the solution when they themselves are damaged, as you've heard tonight from Paul and others. You need to have government injecting funds, using public money for public good, so we can actually see a way through this that's going to be good for workers, but also for the businesses that they spend the money in, for our whole community and for our economy. And I don't think we are getting that comprehensive response, and there's no time to waste on this. This is the time for government to lead and spend, and spend in a way that does things...
Tim Wilson, the government's not doing enough and is not doing it fast enough, according to Michele.
Well, I think, frankly... Yeah, that's frankly absurd. I mean, this government has introduced huge measures, obviously in the support payments, through the JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments, to support people through the earlier parts of this crisis. The Commonwealth has provided substantially more funding '' $314 billion '' compared to only $45 billion from the states. So, at every point, it's shown leadership.
But the reality of this virus is that it's not going to be a one-off. There's not going to be a single moment. The Commonwealth has continued to roll out measures as this virus has continued to go on. You've seen, only in the past week, support payments to complement the specific measures that are in place for paid pandemic leave in Victoria. And there's absolutely going to be a need for leadership from economic recovery from both the government and from the private sector. This is going to be one that we're going to work in partnership with, least because the government has been responsible to protect public health, responsible for many of the measures that have harmed private enterprise, so it is going to be, obviously, a key feature of the forthcoming budget in October as well as the budget, I suspect, in the new year.
But I do think we all face a very challenging environment where, if a vaccine is not found, that we're going to have to find a sustainable way '' and I've said this consistently throughout every other answer '' a sustainable way to manage supporting people through what could be a very uncertain future, and we have to do it across the board. It can't just be just in the space of the virus. It has to also be in the mental health impacts, the impacts on people who are delaying surgery or delaying access to medical care at the moment because they're concerned about both contraction of the virus, but also not wanting to displace or distract medical professionals. It's got to be in the space of supporting unemployed people to get back to jobs. This is an enormous task.
I think...I mean, can I just say, though, I think you're misunderstanding what I'm saying, or misrepresenting it, actually, Tim, because many of the things you talked about were support measures and, of course, you know we support that. We wanted to see a wage subsidy and...
But you just said that we weren't acting fast enough, and that is downright... (SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY)
Oh, if you'll just let me finish. You campaigned hard to win it, so... But what I'm talking about is what we need to do to stimulate the economy. And you're, in fact, already winding back elements of support, so there'll be less money for people to spend when you cut back the JobKeeper payments. There'll be less money...
..for people to spend when you cut back what's available for those on JobSeeker. And what we need is people to be able to have money to spend in the economy. That's what's going to be good for their local businesses, and...
What's going to be good...what's going to be good...
..these are the elements of the plan that are missing, because...
..for people to be able to spend...
..it's not enough to just support people...
..is the confidence of a job, and what we need to do is get back to focus...
..to be able to have, for example, a new bathroom...
..on employing more people in a growing number of jobs.
..when what we want them to be able to have...
Michele, Tim, if we could just go one at a time.
..is something like public and community housing. So, we need investment in TAFE.
We need investment in infrastructure that will have a legacy for the next generation, because it's the next generation...
..that are going to be seeing the long-term impact of this.
And that's where government investment needs to go.
The impact on young Australians is going to be extraordinary from this pandemic, and that's why we put in very strong measures specifically to support young Australians, not just in the financial position, but also around their mental health, as many people...as many...many young Australians need at this time. And there are going to be so many measures that are going to be taken...that have been taken already, that will be taken in the coming months, and will continue to be taken by the federal government.
What we also need is, frankly, the states to step up. I just went through them before. $314 billion spent by the Commonwealth. $45 billion spent by...combined by the states. This is going to be a partnership that we all need to work on together. And I wasn't misrepresenting anything. You said we weren't rapid in our response. We absolutely were rapid with our response. In fact, some people criticised the rapidness of the response because we focused on how we could support people...
..precisely at the time they needed the help.
We're going to turn to our next question now. There's no doubt this crisis is testing our political leaders, and there was some mention of it there '' the tension between the states and the Commonwealth. The next two questions are examples of a lot of questions we've received this week, and they reflect the spectrum of those questions as well.
BARRY CUMMINGS, CARRARA. QLD
Good evening. Just a simple question '' how can the Victorian Premier Andrews possibly remain in his position? Surely, that is now untenable, exacerbated by the fiasco of private security companies being entrusted with quarantine compliance, and the lack of oversight in the aged-care facilities, not to mention the massive damage to the economy. The buck surely stops with the CEO or chief or leader, and heads should and must roll. When will he and his executive team be held accountable? Thank you.
MATTHEW ESLER, ST KILDA, VIC
Are you all OK with the attempted crucifixion of Daniel Andrews by certain parts of the Australian media recently? And is our fourth estate completely broken?
Kimberley Kitching, let me put that to you. There's been a lot of questions which seem to support Dan Andrews wholeheartedly, others say that the way he's been treated is completely unfair in terms of accountability. What's your view?
Well, I think the first question mentioned, you know, the buck stops with him, and I think that what Daniel said in a press conference last week was exactly that '' the buck stops with him. He said, ''I will be fully accountable for any mistakes that are made,'' and I don't think you can ask for much more from any leader. And that's one of the beauties of the Westminster system, of course, is there is accountability in our system.
But I would also say that Daniel has fronted up to nearly 40 days straight of press conferences, some of those press conferences are marathons, so they're very long. I think you can often hear him say to journalists, ''Look, I don't have the answer here now, but will get back to you with that,'' so they're obviously also answering questions not just in the period at which he's appearing at the press conferences. And I think that, in terms of accountability, the Legislative Assembly in Victoria is planning to sit in September '' I'm sure there will be questions asked there. And, of course, you know, there's the inquiry as well that's being held by Jennifer Coate into the hotel quarantine.
So, I think there is a high level of accountability. Daniel has said he will take full responsibility. And I think, you know, he's been very up-front. And I think what we're also seeing, though, is unhelpfully, often state Liberal opposition '' so the LNP in Queensland, for example, the CLP in the Northern Territory, the state opposition here '' sort of, you know, shooting from the hip and playing political games with some of the issues, when, in fact, what most Victorians want is to get through...
To be fair, isn't that what...
..now the next five weeks.
..isn't that what oppositions are doing in every state and territory in the country? I mean, that's not exclusively the Coalition oppositions.
No... No, but I think...and I...but I think, in Queensland and the Northern Territory, on border closures, I think there's been contradictory statements there. I think here, in Victoria, the Liberals are very split. Their state president came out today and said this is not the time for political, you know, game playing. And I'm very conscious that there is a doctor from the Royal Melbourne Hospital who said, ''I'm sick of the question, you know, 'Who's to blame?' What I want to hear is 'What do you need?''' And that's what I think...that's where I think we are. We are at the position where we need...we need to get through this. We are hoping... I can assure... You know, if you're not in Melbourne and you're not in, you know, the area where it's Stage 4 lockdown, I can assure you that everyone wants now the next five weeks to go as well as possible.
Paul, in your view...
Because, if that...if we don't...
Paul, I want to bring you in here. In your view, are these criticisms of Dan Andrews warranted? Do you think he's being treated fairly? What's your view of his handling, and also the level of accountability there in Victoria?
Oh, Hamish, I think now is not the time for post-mortems. We're in the middle of a crisis and I think I sense a real fracturing in the community, and that is not a great place to be in. It sounds like there's going to be the appropriate reviews and people will be held accountable for decisions that were made, but, right now, we need to focus on supporting the business, supporting the teams and getting through this initial lockdown.
But, Paul, isn't there something unique about this crisis, in that you do need to know the answers on some of these questions about mistakes to ensure that they're not being repeated? Isn't that important to know now?
Yeah, absolute... Yeah, absolutely. And I think that would be the case if some of those mistakes were still at risk of being made. So, quarantine '' hotel quarantine '' has been the obvious one. Now, as I understand it, there's very little hotel quarantine going on in Victoria and Melbourne anymore. So, if that was our weakness, that's now been largely been resolved.
OK. Well, let's take our next question now...
Hamish, can I just add also...?
If you could make it brief, because we've got another question.
Yeah, no, I just do want to say, I actually think it's in all of Australia's interest that Dan Andrews and his government succeeds, because if Victoria succeeds and if we learn the lessons of what we're all in the middle of at the moment '' and I'm sitting here in the middle of Melbourne talking to you about this '' then that will be better for every other state and for our whole country. So I think that lessons need to be learnt, but the key thing is getting through this next five weeks, succeeding, and making sure that we then take that success into the future so we don't repeat mistakes in other states and in the rest of the country.
Everybody wants the COVID crisis to be contained '' there's no dispute about that '' but it is important to make sure there's proper accountability on the state government. I just take some issue with the idea that all the accountability is fine. It's not. At a federal level, we have a Senate chaired committee by a Labor member with cross-party representation. In Victoria, we have a Labor Party chaired committee into a Labor government on their COVID-19 measures, and it's dominated by Labor members. I think, if there was a simple act of trying build public confidence, which was what was discussed before around accountability and holding the government to account, then you would enable it to be chaired by an opposition member so that there can be full and frank questioning, including by the Premier. At the federal level, our committee scrutinising the federal government has met 24 times. At the state level, it has only been seven.
Alright. Let's take our next question tonight. It's a video from Hassan Ellhabi in Melbourne.
HASSAN ELLHABI, MELBOURNE, VIC
Good evening. I'm a school teacher of over 20 years and currently a deputy principal of a primary school in Victoria. Personally, I don't feel enough has been done to diagnose, flag or even recognise the magnitude of trauma caused to children who are in isolation. Some may have witnessed family violence, financial hardship and even deaths of family members. My question is to the panel, how is the government prepared to deal with the wave of depression, anxiety and mental anguish caused by these lockdowns to an already vulnerable generation of students?
Alright, at this point, I want to introduce Dr Killian Ashe. He's a psychiatrist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, obviously working at the acute end of all of this. What's your view on that question there about the impact this is having on a very vulnerable generation of students right now?
KILLIAN ASHE, PSYCHIATRIST, ROYAL MELBOURNE HOSPITAL
Well, Hamish, thanks for having me. It's a pleasure to represent mental health front-line workers, but, of course, also the people that we're servicing. And as the gentleman pointed out, this is an unprecedented stress on the entire community, and we in psychiatry don't necessarily have any magic answers to that, but what we want to do is support our medical colleagues and the broader community at large, including teachers, to understand what it is that's occurring and then, I suppose, shape and guide the response to it.
Can you give us the picture of how big the impact is at the moment? I mean, are you seeing these statistics that we're reading about in the newspaper '' 33% rise in the number of young Victorians presenting to emergency departments for self-harm in the past six weeks? I mean, the statistics are shocking, and particularly so for Victoria. Can you describe what that's like in person?
Absolutely. Well, look, I think the Victorian Minister for Mental Health put it very frankly and honestly yesterday when he said that prior to this crisis we had a mental health system in Victoria, but Australia-wide, which was not fit for purpose. Now, notwithstanding that, there's phenomenal work done by the mental health clinicians and the support workers of this country, and I think we need to pay tribute to them tonight '' they're absolutely exhausted, they're burnt out, but they're out there to provide a service for you.
We have seen, year on year, 20%-25% increase in demand across every breadth and aspect of our service. But at this time, we've now seen a 25% increase at the Royal Melbourne, for example, just since March, across this pandemic period. So, it's important to acknowledge that we're seeing, at every age range, high levels of stress response, unprecedented levels of anxiety, and these are... I want people to realise these are very understandable reactions '' you're not weak, you're not less than for having these.
And I also want to reassure people that there are services out here for you, should you get to that point where you're simply not feeling able to cope anymore. For example, in the private clinic where I work, I'm seeing so many people coming who have never had to attend a mental health clinician before and people who have been...you know, a young person I saw who has been through unbelievable adversity and trauma through their lives to come to this point where this isolation, this uncertainty, this instability is what's driven that person to attend, and I don't want people to feel frightened about presenting to their GP, to a therapist or to a psychiatrist.
Like, we're here to talk through this crisis with you, to problem solve. It doesn't mean that you're going to have to take a tablet '' there is no tablet or treatment for isolation, for loneliness. Part of what we need to do here is to instil a message of reconnection in the community and support for each other as far as is practicable within a Stage 4 lockdown.
Killian, that's the subject of our next question '' it's from Alison Sexton-Green in Monga, New South Wales.
ALISON SEXTON-GREEN, MONGA, NSW
My sister lives alone in Melbourne and is currently dealing with the absence of all physical contact. Her experience of this has made me realise how difficult it is to live in complete physical isolation. I am very worried about single people who live alone. How is it fair that those with partners are allowed to visit one another as an exemption under the social distancing rules, while singles are required to remain isolated from everyone? Should single people be allowed to have one friend in their bubble?
Killian, New Zealand had an allowance for one person to be in your bubble during the Stage 4 lockdowns. Should we be considering something like that? Would it be productive?
I think, at a time of crisis, what has been brought to the fore is the importance of listening to the experts. I'm a psychiatrist and I'm certainly happy to comment on psychiatric presentations, the stress on the community and our systems, but, of course, it's really important that we remember we must defer to the specialists, and in this case, it's the public health and the epidemiologist specialists. And if Professor Sutton has stipulated, the chief medical officer in Victoria, that people can't, we have to respect that.
You know, there is nuance to the system for a reason, and I guess I'm here to, I guess, comment on what's clinically viable and also socially required. And as that lady very rightly pointed out, this is unbelievably difficult for people living alone, and I've seen a significant increase in presentations in the public hospital and at the private clinics of those who are already marginalised, those who are already traumatised '' thinking about people of colour, thinking about First Nations people, LGBTIQ, the homeless, and people who have experienced trauma in the past, and, of course, people living alone and isolated.
One of the most important things we can do as a community is to reach out to those people '' get on a Zoom call with your friends. If you're the most popular person in a group and you're doing OK, I'm delighted for you, but reach out to those friends you're not connected with anymore. If you're a young person who isn't struggling too much, get on, you know, a call with your grandmother in an aged-care facility. These things sound small, but these will be what sustain us as a community and a society through this time of unacceptably challenging, you know, stress and instability.
Killian, do you think we, as a society, as a community, currently have a handle on the scale of the isolation and the loneliness?
Look, probably not, and I think it's really important that people know that when you're at home, whether it's alone or whatever, your GP is still very much available to you, via telehealth, and they are a phenomenal resource. In Australia, they provide such a huge amount of support to people for their mental health issues and for their stress. And it's important to know that, though your GP, there's now 20 sessions of therapy available via the Better Access Mental Health Care Plans. That's really important for people to know, because I think one may not feel as well as one did before '' you might be tired, you might be more irritable, your partner might have mentioned that, you know, you're not the same '' but you don't necessarily connect that with being mentally ill, and you may not be, but it's important that you maybe come to terms with the fact that the pandemic is impacting on your mental state and your functioning, and it's much better to be proactive than reactive. Doctors, therapists, psychiatrists '' we're not terrifying, we're not here to judge or blame, and we'd much prefer to meet you early in the piece, rather than deal with some of the sequelae down the track.
One of the things I'd just like to say on that, Hamish, is we really need to encourage people to reach out, particularly if they're engaging in more drug and alcohol use, because part of the evolution of the pandemic challenges will be that people are drinking more at home, using drugs, and we want people to feel that they can reach out for support in that too.
Alright. Let's take our next question. It's a video from Emily Roycroft in Lyneham, ACT.
EMILY ROYCROFT, LYNEHAM, ACT
Last week, the federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, announced that a further 10 Medicare-subsidised psychology sessions would be available to those in lockdown-affected areas. Currently, this only applies to Victorians. Many Australians will have used their existing 10 sessions months ago, and have been struggling without support. If the federal government wants to avoid a mental health crisis as a result of the pandemic, why are these additional sessions not being made available to any Australian who needs them?
Well, I want to bring the panel back in on this, and put that to you, Tim Wilson. You just heard Killian Ashe say that the doctors would rather be proactive rather than reactive. Why is this only available to people in Victoria, rather than people right across the country who are suffering?
Well, because we're making sure that measures are swift and appropriate and proportionate where there is greatest need, and, of course, that's why there's been a very specific strategy around Victoria. Now, we're monitoring the situation as it evolves around the country as well, but we want to make sure that people get mental health support, that's why $500 million is being put towards it, as well as specific measures in youth support.
But I think the point that was made before is right, which is, it's not just up to formal outreach, it's actually up to each of us to take measures. One of the things we did at the start of the pandemic is reach out to a local Headspace clinic '' g'day, everybody at Headspace in Bentleigh '' and did online videos talking about why it was approp...why it was necessary for people to talk about their mental health and the pathways to access those services if you need them, particularly for young people, as the first questioner outlined, are some of those who are doing it most tough.
Can I just ask you, though, to speak directly to the question that was put there? And that's about people in the rest of the country. I mean, you acknowledge that there is need beyond Victoria, don't you?
Of course there's need beyond Victoria, but I think we also need to acknowledge the stress, as has just been outlined, about the comparatively extreme consequences that Victorians are going to, where we have many people who have been completely isolated now and will be for the remainder of the next five weeks. Of course, all of these matters and issues are looked at periodically to make sure people are getting assistance and support, but we do know that Victoria is going through something particularly difficult right now, and that's why there have been extra measures put in place to support the people of Victoria and their mental health and, as I said, particularly for younger people to make sure they can get the assistance for the reasons your first questioner outlined.
Hamish, can I...?
Killian Ashe, do you think these services need to be made available beyond Victoria at the scale that's being made available there currently?
Absolutely. And, you know, in fairness to what Tim was saying, Victoria is in the hotspot of crisis at this time. But let's remember we need a crisis response that applies of course to Victoria at their great time of need, but also Australia-wide. Like, there is nobody immune from the mental health impacts of this. And I think it's important to transcend bipartisan, kind of, challenge or squabbling on such a topic. Crisis response is needed for everybody.
But the other really important thing is that the mental health system has needed reform for many decades. And, in fairness, at each level of government, federal and state, they're beginning to understand that now. Sometimes it takes a crisis to really precipitate necessary change. The Victorian context is that we've had the royal commission, and we need all of those stipulations implemented now in real terms to make real impact on the treatment of people. And those reforms need to be Australia-wide. And the crisis response needs to be Australia-wide, and, of course, recognising that Victoria has significant need at this time.
I guess I want to make a point that our mental health clinicians, and our broader workforce in the health service, they're burning out too. They need to be looked after, they need to be supported. And I think we need to be cautious of not using too many of these hero and war analogies. These are people, highly skilled, who are going to work. You know, if 1,000 out of 9,000 active cases are healthcare workers, we need to really have both levels of government examine, how can we keep this irreplaceable and highly valuable group of people safe and allow them to continue this work?
Dr Killian Ashe, we really appreciate you joining the conversation tonight. So grateful to you for your time. And I should also point out...
..that if you or anyone you know needs support, there are a range of support services available to you, some of them have been mentioned. The contacts for Lifeline, The Coronavirus Mental Health Support Line, as well as the Kids Helpline, are now on your screen.
THE CORONAVIRUS MENTAL WELLBEING SERVICE 1800 512 348 CORNAVIRUS.BEYONDBLUE.ORG.AU
KIDS HELPLINE '' 1800 55 1800
Our next question tonight is a video from Kelly Cox in Ballina, NSW.
KELLY COX, BALLINA, NSW
I've been in isolation with my family in northern NSW, with a single support worker, since March, due to being a high risk as a result of COVID-19. It was recently reported that there were 71 cases of coronavirus in disability residential accommodation settings, including group homes in Victoria. Many disabled people are unable to effectively use social distancing, especially if we share support staff with other people in the community. Some people are being locked in their rooms and are unable to leave except to have a shower. Why aren't more people talking about this?
Sorry, that question came across a bit distorted in my sound. Would you mind repeating it?
I can just repeat it for you. Obviously, there's great concern about people living in disability care arrangements, there's been some cases in Victoria already. The questioner, Kelly, has been in isolation with her family in northern New South Wales, with a single support worker, since March. She's at high risk. But she's making the point that many disabled people are unable to effectively use social distancing and that some people are being locked in their rooms and unable to leave except to shower. She wants to know why this isn't being talked about more.
Yeah, this is a really important issue that we need to talk about. I mean, we've talked about aged-care homes, we've talked about the elderly, but people with disabilities are in the same group. And there's such a complex range of issues that they face. Even for me, example, I have help from, you know, my mum and people around me every single day. So social distancing is difficult. And there's a...there's a support structure in place that requires physical assistance.
So... And some people require 24-hour care as well. I have a friend who needs someone around 24 hours a day, so that has implications with PPE, for example. And I've heard stories about people that have disability support organisations attending their homes, but if they develop a cough or a fever, they stop attending, so now suddenly these people are left at home without any support, which is a significant issue. If I was left in that situation, I would be in some serious trouble. So I think these are things that we do need to have a conversation about, and at least have a plan for how we're going to support people and manage people in these situations. But it's a conversation that's ongoing.
We've heard a lot about breakouts of COVID-19 in aged-care facilities. Would it be a similar situation, do you think, if there was an outbreak in a disability care facility?
Yeah, absolutely. And I did read somewhere that there have been some outbreaks in disability care facilities. It's really a similar situation as aged-care facilities. And there have been a lot of concerns, even before COVID, about how people were treated in those facilities. And they're a really physiologically vulnerable group as well. So we definitely need to think about that.
Yeah, I just want to pick up on Dinesh's point there. This is a very real risk for disabled people, and many of the workers in that disability services have been raising this, because we've seen an outbreak in a number of facilities here in Victoria. And we've got the same profile in terms of workers that are working as disability support workers as well as workers that were working in aged care. So we've got a large number of people who are in insecure jobs, casual workers, workers who are low paid and who aren't recognised for the incredibly important work that they're doing. These are people's lives that they're caring for. And the situation that Kelly is in is a terribly difficult one for her and her family, but also for the people working with her. So we need to recognise that we may all be in this together, but the virus does not treat us all the same way.
So the fundamental flaw that's been exposed about insecure work and how that has led to greater vulnerability in terms of spreading of the virus, people not having the support they need to be able to stop, get tested and then get'...be able to isolate, proper paid pandemic leave being in place, has been a huge flaw in our defence, a hole in our defence against COVID-19. And we know that if we're going to build back out of this and come back, we have to address those inequalities that have led to the flaws that we're now seeing in our defence. And that means thinking about, do we really want to have those two classes of workers? Do we want to rely on the care for our elderly, for disabled people, for our children to be also people that are in insecure work, paid some of the lowest wages in the country, and not recognised for what they do? This is something that needs to change for the long term.
On that note, I understand you're drawing the comparison with the aged-care sector, but, to be clear, the Health Department did produce a plan for disability care, in April, in relation to COVID. It's called Management Operations Plan for People with Disability. There's a great deal of detail there about some of the issues that you've just raised. Tim Wilson, it was referenced at the Royal Commission, today, into Aged Care that there was no plan'...or alleged at least, that there was no Commonwealth plan for aged care. Why was there for disability but not for aged care?
Well, this is... You got right to the point, which is this is an allegation. In fact, you can go back to March, and you can find guidelines by the Department of Health to assist aged-care providers in managing these challenges. So there clearly were measures in place. Now, the person wanting to make that allegation is free to do so. The facts simply don't support them. The point of the Commonwealth is to work directly with the providers to make sure they do have the assistance and support they need. And, in fact, we've implemented measures every step of the way and given any support and assistance every step of the way. These providers...
But if there was a plan about what to do when there was an outbreak in a nursing home, for example, then you wouldn't have state governments making decisions on the fly about whether to take those people out of the nursing home or to leave them there. I mean, these are the sorts of details that should have been in place early on, shouldn't they?
Well, there were clear guidelines about how aged care should manage it. Now, one of the things the federal government has had to do is work with the state government, had to push it very strongly in Victoria to defer elective surgery to make it possible for people who had conditions in aged care the support they needed in public hospitals. So, at every point there has been an option, the federal government has intervened to support and assist aged-care providers, but it's a combination of factors that address it. And the problem that we've had...
Sorry, are you saying there was an equivalent of this COVID plan for disability services in the aged-care sector? Are you claiming that there was?
What I'm saying is that, back in March, there were guidelines that were clearly put out by the Department of Health to assist aged-care providers. The problem that we've had in...
But that's clearly failed.
..outbreaks in aged care... Well, the guidelines have been clearly there. So the assertion is false. And what we've had is a problem of outbreaks that have come from patients who've been leaving public hospitals, as well as community transmission, that has led to the situation in aged care. And so we've got to look at the cause of the problem, not just simply see the symptoms, to see how to stop it, to address it, and to make sure it's fixed.
Now, we could just throw everything at the state government, because they run the state hospitals, which is where there have also been outbreaks, but to go through each measure and identify where we can provide support and assist people in aged care... I have spoken to local aged-care providers in my electorate, and many of them operate, and many of them, through luck, have been able to avoid this community transmission coming into their home '' but, sadly, some of them haven't. And the focus has to be on how to get those measures in place to support those who have.
OK. Let's take our next question tonight. It's a video from Marion Lofthouse in Highett, Victoria.
MARION LOFTHOUSE, HIGHETT, VIC
Hi, Hamish and the panel. I'm in Melbourne and work in a small grooming business. Due to the lockdown, we've now closed, which means no income for six weeks. Meanwhile, at least one of the big operators is still advertising grooming services. This seems unfair, and as an industry we're looking for clarity but not really receiving any. ''We're all in this together'' seems to apply unevenly to the small mum-and-dad businesses and the big corporate businesses. How is this fair?
Paul, let me put that to you. Is there one set of rules for the big businesses like yours and another set for the small businesses?
Absolutely not, Hamish. The guidelines are really clear, and they need to be followed. I mean, our industry is going through its 15th week of shutdown this week. We've been'...our venues have been closed for over 100 days. We've got a great collegial relationship with the big providers and the small providers. I'm here today to talk on behalf of some of the small restauranteurs, some of those small publicans who are really struggling. But in answer to your question, the rules are the rules, and they need to be followed by everybody.
Kimberley Kitching, do you think that...do you acknowledge that there's been problems with the rollout of all of this, that there is still confusion, that there's a lot of businesses that can't see the reason why someone that does something quite similar to them is still operating but they're not allowed to?
Look, I think, Hamish, that what we've seen is Stage 4 came in, I think that there have been...certainly, you know, there's been some rapidity in terms of getting rules in place '' we've seen that, certainly, with childcare as well '' but I think that, you know, those rules are in place in order to try to have as little community transmission as possible. So what we're trying to do and what the state government is trying to do, what the federal government is trying to do is actually reduce the number of cases. And partly that is about ensuring that our health system isn't overwhelmed.
And the rules are there... Yes, there have been, I think, clarifications as'...you know, as cases have gone along, but I think that they are there and I think we just have to hope that we're able to get through, certainly in Melbourne, the next five weeks. And I think that it may seem unfair, but, you know, there is a reason for the rules that have been put in place.
Alright. On that note, that's all we've got time for tonight. Would you please thank our panel '' Michele O'Neil, Tim Wilson, Kimberley Kitching, Dinesh Palipana and Paul Waterson. Would you please thank them all. And thanks to those of you here in the studio as well as those of you at home for sharing your stories and video questions. Next week, two very different Australias emerging right now '' one that's opening up, the other that's locking down. We'll look forward to hearing your questions from wherever you are. Goodnight.