JIM CHALMERS MP
MEMBER FOR RANKIN
THURSDAY, 22 JULY 2021
SUBJECTS: Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games; Scott Morrison takes credit but doesn’t take responsibility; Scott Morrison’s failures on vaccines, quarantine and cutting JobKeeper.
ALLISON LANGDON, HOST: Finally my friends we have something to celebrate!
The Games of the 35th Olympiad are awarded to Brisbane, Australia! (APPLAUSE)
ALLISON LANGDON, HOST: Yep, it was an incredible moment last night. It got two thumbs up from the Prime Minister, giving the whole country a lift during these tough times. Let's discuss with Shadow federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers who's in Brisbane, and in Sydney 2GB's Chris Smith. Nice to see you both this morning. Jim, this is huge news for Queensland!
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW TREASURER: Good morning from the Olympic City of Brisbane! This is a huge deal.
LANGDON: Hey, hey, hey! No need to gloat, my friend!
CHRIS SMITH, 2GB Skite!
CHALMERS: It's a huge deal, Ally. It's great news for the whole country. I think it gives people something to look forward to, I think it gives young athletes something to aspire to, and volunteers something to contribute to.
It's really just an outstanding bit of news for the whole country. There'll be jobs and opportunities that come from this but there’ll also be an opportunity to shine in the eyes of the world and I think we'll do the whole country proud.
LANGDON: Hey Chris, I didn't realise I was as excited about this until that announcement was made live on the news last night when I actually jumped out of my chair. I mean this is a game changer, isn't it?
SMITH: I love what they did about 24 hours before, oh it's not certain, you may not win it Brisbane. And that got us all excited because we thought you're kidding, aren't you? And I love the way the boss of the IOC got the name Brisbane right!
SMITH: Like he could have said all sorts of different names, but he didn't. And it's going to be such an experience for those in the Southeast part, and across the coast of Queensland as well, because you become the city of an international festival. Everyone comes from all parts of the world. And what we learnt in Sydney is it becomes an international festival, it's fantastic.
LANGDON: And let's just have a look at the vision. There we go. This was Southbank last night, going off. Jim, there was an itty bitty bit of me last night looking at those scenes, I'm sure it was probably just jealousy, thinking is this a potential super-spreader event?
KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Oh, so negative!
CHALMERS: I can see lots of masks on there, Ally. I think people were complying with the regulations, as far as I can tell.
There'll be doubters and there'll be downers Ally, let's not join their ranks! This is an outstanding outcome and people were rightly pretty pumped about it, not just at Southbank there, I think right around the country. I think people are really excited about this. Most people can remember Sydney, fewer of us who can remember Melbourne, but nobody looks back on those two Olympics and thinks we shouldn't have done it. I think it's going to be terrific.
LANGDON: And Jim, it comes from a place of love because we can't afford for Queensland to go down! We're all looking at you going we wish we were in Queensland right now! Now, we can call off the search party too because the Prime Minister popped his head up yesterday, giving a sombre update on our COVID crisis and for the first time expressing regret for initially declaring the vaccine rollout was not a race. Now Jim, you've accused the Prime Minister of hiding during the crisis. What about this tweet from you yesterday, take a look. "Australians want to know how he'll fix his vaccine debacle, and all he could offer is proof of life. This is a Prime Minister who hides while people hurt". I mean it's a bit rich isn’t it, when your own Leader, Albo, has gone AWOL for like the last month? Where's he been?
CHALMERS: He's been everywhere, Ally. He's been right through regional Queensland, he's been through all kinds of parts of Australia. I think that's what people expect of him. He's certainly very welcome in Queensland, he's here frequently. I think that's a good thing.
But I think that there is a lot of unhappiness in the Australian community. As you said a moment ago, when Scott Morrison popped up yesterday you could call off the search party. He has gone missing. This is the kind of guy who takes credit when things go well but doesn't take responsibility when things are going badly. His vaccines program, quarantine, he's bungled the JobKeeper payments as well. And so he goes missing.
I think yesterday was really sort of Scott Morrison's Prime Ministership in a nutshell - he went missing, then he popped up to try and spread the blame onto others, then he picked a fight with the Premiers, then he got a bit shirty, then he staged a photo op, then he went to bed ready to do it all again the next day.
SMITH: Gee, you're a hard marker! You're a hard marker!
LANGDON: And calling off the search party, they were your words actually. I was quoting you, Jim. Chris, what do you reckon about what Jim just said?
SMITH: Well, we have press conferences every day featuring leaders, Premiers, Health Minister, Chief Health Officers. One less press conference from the feds just does me fine, thank you very much. We're hearing from the Prime Minister twice a week. I think that's about right. And look, the question has always been asked, do you regret saying the fact that this is not a race? Well, they got their pound of flesh yesterday. Hopefully we can move on, not looked back and blame people for not rolling out the right vaccine etc. Look forward, start selling AstraZeneca, because it's an excellent vaccine, and start getting on with this. Move forward and stop looking back.
LANGDON: Jim, is that going to happen?
CHALMERS: Oh look, I think to Chris's credit, I mean he's been saying for months now that the vaccine program's been a debacle, and I think most people will agree. There are issues around the information getting out about AstraZeneca, I think that's pretty clear as well. What we want to see here, is we want to see the vaccine rollout back on track.
I mean, you look at these lockdowns in Sydney, Victoria, South Australia. More than half the country is locked down. You can trace most of that back to the fact that we were lost in the developed world when it comes to rolling out the vaccines, haven't built that purpose-built quarantine that we need.
Looking back now, that decision to end JobKeeper, as we predicted, looks dumber and dumber by the day. We've got Jan from Walma on your show earlier today saying that the ending of JobKeeper was a big mistake. People are crying out for more support. So there's so much that needs to be done here.
I think there is a serious element to the PM going missing, and that is that people genuinely need leadership here and they're not getting it. They need those various debacles fixed. It's one thing to take credit for getting the Olympic Games, it's another thing to take responsibility for the vaccines debacle. That's what we want to see.
LANGDON: The issue you've got is the medical experts, their advice on AstraZeneca, that's what really hamstrung the Prime Minister and the vaccine rollout. Do you think they need to look at that advice and change that advice, Jim?
CHALMERS: It needs to be clear. I think one of the problems with what the Prime Minister did say yesterday, was he seemed to be saying on the one hand he's restricted by the health advice and on the other hand saying that he's somehow kind of kind of trying to bully the experts into changing that advice. You can't have it both ways. I think there are a range of issues around the information about AstraZeneca, but there's broader issues too. We just don't have enough vaccines for people. There's hundreds-of-thousands of people trying to make appointments and are unable to get the vaccines. There's no shortage of arms but there is a shortage of vaccines. And that's the fundamental problem. And that's where I think the Prime Minister has fallen short.
SMITH: The other fundamental problem Ally, is there's so much negativity, from the likes of Jim, from Anthony Albanese, how about we get with the team at this stage. We all should be on the same page. You've got him regretting what he did before. You've got your pound of flesh. Can we just move forward?
LANGDON: Our politicians on the same page. What do you want this morning, Chris?
SMITH: They've got to be on the same page! Well they do it in New South Wales, the Opposition Leader in New South Wales said yesterday on the ABC, I want to be strong behind Gladys Berejiklian, leaders have to be together, urging people to get vaccines that do work, and are the key out of this. Why aren't we hearing that from the Opposition?
LANGDON: Alright, food for thought there Jim, maybe you can go away and think about that. And Jim it looks like a rubbish day behind you there in Brisbane.
CHALMERS: It's going to be horrible!
LANGDON: Thanks Chris, thanks Jim.
CHALMERS: Thank you.