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"There's no quick fix on this." The key points from Scott Morrison's A Current Affair interview.

On Thursday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison went live on A Current Affair, where he spoke about Australia’s continued response to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of today, the Prime Minister announced new measures that would effectively give parents access to free child care, with the government committing hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus packages and financial support to individuals and businesses.

So far, the virus has claimed 24 lives, with Australia reporting over 5000 confirmed cases.

Speaking to Tracy Grimshaw, Morrison addressed the expected timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic, the financial impact of the stimulus measures and what the ‘peak’ of the virus would look like in Australia.

Here are the key points from the interview.

‘We are going to be in this new normal for the foreseeable future.’

When asked by Grimshaw whether it was plausible for Australia to tackle the virus in six months, Prime Minister Morrison said our “new normal” would continue for “at least six months, it could be longer”.

“What I am trying to do, is make it very clear that those who think this can all be done in a couple of weeks, with the lockdown, as they call it,” he said. “There is no quick fix.”

He clarified the initial prescribed “six-month period” was based on early modelling and the government’s economic packages have been put in place to ensure they will cover Australians for this period.

“We have to do things that we can keep doing, and when we are doing it, stay positive, stay connected, and we have to stay strong,” he said.

“Our hope is over the next six months, we will be in a different position in terms of the way that the virus is moving through the community.

“I can’t shield people from uncertainties when they are genuine. What we can do, is ensure we put in place the most sustainable set of restrictions, the most generous set of supports we can, that can help people get through day by day, we will get through this together.”

Morrison defended the government’s social restriction measures. 

A key point of the interview was when Grimshaw asked the Prime Minister whether he regrets not shutting our international borders earlier. While he posited that “about three quarters or two thirds” have been from ‘imported transmissions’, these have been from “Australians coming home”.

“That’s where we’ve had the biggest exposure, and we have further ramped up, week after week, the quarantine and other protections, self isolation, for people coming back to Australia,” he said,

“Australians throughout the course of this were always going to make their way back. You can’t close [the borders] to Australians.”

He also defended his government’s social restriction measures, reiterating the need to balance the health of public safety and economic viability.

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“They are having an impact, they have to be sustainable too,” he said.

“We have to keep doing this for the next six months. It’s fine for people to go even further and harder. If you can’t keep that up, you will end up putting the population at greater risk. We have to be careful and keep it sustainable.”

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How the government will pay for its stimulus packages.

When probed about Australia’s financial health in light of the multi-billion dollar stimulus and welfare packages announced by the government, Morrison said his current concern was “getting people through the crisis”.

He also states that prior to the pandemic, Australia had one of the “lowest debt to GDP in the developed world” but are careful not to “over extend” their debt.

“There will be a recovery plan, that will show the way out, and the way we can meet these great commitments in the future,” he clarified.

Morrison stressed the importance of online safety for children.

The Prime Minister also spoke about the importance of safe guarding children against online predators as efforts have been made to move schooling online.

Morrison said that as a parent he was mindful of the “very real risk”.

“I’m a little concerned about, because our kids are doing a lot of schooling online, that means as parents, we have to be mindful that they are now in an online environment,” he said.

“There will be some grubs out there who want to do the wrong thing, we need to protect our families.”

Morrison encouraged worried parents to consult online resources from the government’s eSafety and Australian Institute of Family Studies websites.

Feature Image: Channel Nine.

For more on COVID-19:

To protect yourself and the community from COVID-19, remain in your home unless strictly necessary, keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people, regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face.

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000. 

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

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