Scott Morrison urges state leaders to justify economic damage from ongoing border restrictions

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison holds a media event in New South Wales, 24 May 2020

In Australia, Scott Morrison has urged several state leaders who are still maintaining domestic border restrictions to justify the potential economic damage.

The prime minister did not go as far as some of his Coalition colleagues in calling for premiers such as Annastacia Palaszczuk in Queensland swiftly lift border restrictions, but he emphasised that the national cabinet had never agreed to internal border closures, and leaders should be accountable to their voters.

Morrison said border restrictions were in place in some form in Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland, but he said this was never part of the national health panel’s advice.

“The states and territories where they’re making those unilateral decisions, they are accountable to the people in their own states for those decisions, and justifying why they need to be there, and the health protection they believe it may offer and indeed the economic damage that it can create.

So it is very much an onus on those premiers to be able to justify those decisions, which was not a decision of the national cabinet, as to why that is the right thing to do for those states.”

Morrison said the focus now needed to be on creating as many jobs as possible and “I’d be urging all premiers to do just that.”