Scott Morrison has announced his “hope” that Christmas would alleviate the COVID-19 border controls but cautioned Australians that it is impossible that regular travel would be returned by summer without any controls.
The threat might avoid thousands of Australians enjoying Christmas with family and loved ones, and it comes amid fears that the closures of the Queensland border are not founded on sound medical advice, while common with voters.
Only months earlier, in the aftermath of the second wave in Victoria, the Prime Minister had hoped that the border restrictions will be removed by July, a dream which now seems lost.
On the weekend, WA Premier Mark McGowan indicated that the border might be closed until the end of this year or perhaps longer indicating that the border restrictions could stay in place for a year in any way.
The Prime Minister was in agony wondering about the remarks not to condemn the move.
“Well, we have no quarrel with Mr McGowan on these matters,’’ Mr Morrison said on Monday.
“I mean, we think any of these border arrangements, as I’ve written to him, should be done collaboratively.
“We should continue to assess what the medical situation is and make very transparent decisions about those matters and I think that aids its constitutionality. And we’re working with the McGowan government to that end.”
In recent weeks, the Prime Minister has taken a diplomatic strategy especially towards the highly famous border lockout in Western Australia.
With the second wave of cases of coronavirus in Victoria, the Morrison government has moved away from entering a border controls appeal at the High Court and taken a more conciliatory stance.
The Prime Minister said he didn’t jump the gun on what could happen along boundaries later this year or next.
“But I’ve been very careful not to get too far ahead on what might happen in December or March. Of course, we’ve extended JobKeeper out to the end of March, but I think we have to take these issues one step at a time.”
But Mr Morrison said he was still hopeful some restrictions could be lifted by Christmas.
“And if circumstances change and certainly if they change in the way we hoped they would, well, I would welcome it by Christmas, if it were possible,’’ he said.
“But I think it’s unlikely that we were able to move back to a restriction-free society. But I doubt that is going to happen. I doubt the medical position will enable that. And so you’ve just got to follow the medical evidence on all of these, whether it’s borders or whether it’s the restrictions on trade or of local businesses or whatever it happens to be.
“It’s important that we just, you know, look and test, interrogate the medical evidence and make decisions based on that and nothing else and be transparent about it.”