10 May Victorians ‘only ones’ who can’t celebrate with mums
Jennifer Duke – The Age – Sunday 10 May 2020
Some federal Liberal MPs are concerned restrictions in Victoria will not be lifted quickly enough after Prime Minister Scott Morrison laid out a plan to reopen businesses as the spread of coronavirus eases.
The federal government’s threestep plan to open restaurants and allow some public gatherings in stages has started to be put in place across several states and territories but the Victorian government is yet to confirm what shutdowns will be lifted.
Victorians flocked back to shopping malls yesterday, with crowds at major centres. Victoria has been grappling with a virus outbreak at meat-processing facility Cedar Meats, which has become the state’s worst coronavirus cluster.
Member for Higgins Katie Allen said shutting down the economy had been essential to contain the pandemic but the public health safety net in place now enabled the country “to cautiously move forward”. ”
If we don’t move forward now, we risk greater rates of depression, anxiety, domestic violence and suicide as more people lose their jobs and businesses and are isolated from social supports,” Dr Allen said.
Victorian senator James Paterson, who is deputy chair of the COVID-19 Senate select committee, said it was unclear what Premier Daniel Andrews would announce tomorrow but was concerned the Premier would “move far too slowly” in easing restrictions.
“With just over 100 active cases in a population of 6.3 million, surely we can safely move to stage one given all the work done building up our health system capacity,” Senator Paterson said.
“It is sad that Victorians are the only Australians who can’t celebrate Mother’s Day with their mums this weekend,” he said.
“I worry about the impact on people’s mental health as well as the enormous economic cost of delaying the return to normal life any longer than absolutely necessary.”
Member for Goldstein Tim Wilson said on the ABC yesterday morning that he thought there was a narrative building that Mr Andrews was “probably enjoying the clampdown too much in terms of the authority and power it’s given him, and he’s not as enthusiastic to roll it back”.
Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said yesterday that each state needed to make decisions based on their circumstances, and he believed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Mr Andrews were “arm-in-arm” in terms of the measures taken to slow the spread of the disease.
“I don’t think anyone wants to see these restrictions imposed for one day longer than is necessary but they also don’t want to see the health advice … ignored,” Mr Albanese said.
Mr Wilson told The Age that he was not making a judgment about the approach but asking questions about the basis for the different responses to lifting restrictions.