4BC with Scott Emerson - 3 August 2021

SUBJECTS: Southeast Queensland Lockdown, Labor’s Plan to Vaccinate Australians and Support Our Economy, Vaccine Hesitancy
SCOTT EMERSON, HOST: Every time this week, this time of the week-
MILTON DICK, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR OXLEY: Hello, Scott, greetings from Canberra.
­EMERSON: Oh, you got out of Queensland in time to get down to Parliament. I know that some did, some didn't look, the area, your area out- well, the Oxley area there you see that cluster spreading at the moment. There must be a lot of people in your electorate are worried as well.
DICK: Yeah, look, I've been speaking to a number of parents and also older residents today who are particularly worried about what's happening in the southwest of Brisbane, but also a number of businesses. I just heard your comment there about the Sunny Coast businesses. You know, we've got a number of businesses and small to medium sized businesses in the southwest suburbs of Brisbane and Ipswich that are really doing it tough every time there is a lockdown. I'm glad I've come down to Canberra so that I can raise some of these issues, but also support the government's package that has been introduced into the parliament today. And also look at what the Queensland Government's doing as well. We've got to do a lot more to support our businesses, because we know that there's jobs on the line every time there's a lockdown. There is a lot of jobs on the line.
EMERSON: I guess one of the issues being raised about businesses in this lockdown, is that some shut but a lot of businesses still seem to be open at the moment. And that seems to be a worry, people can't work out, why is that particular business open? Is it essential work? We're hearing that painters are at people's houses at the moment? Other shops that seem to be open Sunshine Coast, more shops open than not according to the John, they're from Buderim. What shops you reckon should be open? What shops should be closed at the moment Milton Dick?
DICK: Well, look, I think we need to listen to what the experts are saying, about leaving- we've heard a lot of advice from the Chief Health Officer, Chief Health Officer and Deputy Premier about keeping people inside and making sure you're only going out when absolutely essential obviously for medical support, that's going to be continuing. I just simply say to everyone, unless it is critical, unless you think it is vital, make sure you stay at home. I think we need to apply a bit of common sense. Scott people know right from wrong, and one thing I know about my residents and people in Queensland, they really do follow those health measures really quick. I look what some of those idiots are doing in Sydney and surrounds not staying at home and we're seeing the transmission increase. We'll get on top of this. If everyone stays at home does the right thing, wears the mask. You know, the same old thing, we'll get through this as long as people do the right thing.
EMERSON: Now I'm talking to Federal Labor MP Milton Dick, he’s the member for Oxley. Now Milton Dick I raised in the show a bit earlier, Labor's plan, Anthony Albanese’s plan, a suggestion of a $300 payment to vaccinated Australians. He said that, if he's in power before December 1st that's what he'd propose. Got a lot of mixed reaction to that I have to say, well give me a sales pitch on this. Why should this be done?
DICK: Well, listening to what the chief experts are saying, and we saw the CMA say that we need to look at incentives. And we're looking at what the US has done, what parts of Europe is doing, I mean, getting our numbers up. So we're- we actually reach from the bottom of the 80 OECD countries to get our vaccination levels up so that we don't have these lockdowns. I support the proposal put on the table. You know, I think the government should look at all options that they've considered, they’ve ruled it out today, disappointingly, but it was the same Scott, when we put forward the wage subsidy idea. The government did at the time last year say that wasn't necessary. And then as a result, we saw Job Keeper introduced which was a terrific scheme. We're seeing partial Job Keeper reintroduced to support businesses in lockdown. But I think it does two things. One, it gets those numbers up to around the 70 to 80%. We already know that 12% of Australians have already said they won't or don't want to get vaccinated. But two, it does give a shot in the arm for those businesses. A stimulus package that, you know, and I know a lot of our families could do with, but also a lot of the businesses will see that money circulating. So, you know, I'm hopeful that the government will look at all ideas on the table. I'm glad that elbows come up with positive solutions. Too often in government and opposition, you get criticised for not putting ideas on the table. Well, here's one that the government should be considering to get people vaccinated but also to help our local economy.
EMERSON: I guess most of the feedback I'm getting from this Milton Dick is that we shouldn't have to pay people and give them a bribe to do the right thing. Surely just getting the jab and getting us back to some normality by having most Australians vaccinated should be an incentive enough, rather than just having money thrown at them.
DICK: Well, you would hope that that's the case but given the vaccine hesitancy that we're seeing, given some of the mixed messaging that we've seen around the vaccines, and as I said around 12% of Australians still say they won't get vaccinated. That is down a little bit since May. I believe it's important. We've got to increase those vaccination rates so that we cease those lockdowns and business can reopen, that we can look at it our international borders reopening again. I think any ideas put on the table, and now we've seen other countries give out free tickets we've seen, you know, other countries look at these similar options, if we're trueblue, about getting the vaccine rates through the roof, and that's what we need to do. We've now seen that numbers are going to have to be increased again, because of the student issue again. I think if we're serious about getting the numbers around 70 to 80%, so the economy can stabilise when go back to the new normal. I think this idea should be considering the government instead of just dismissing it, and look if they don't think this incentive is a good idea, Scott, great. What else are they putting on the table? And that's our complaint this week. The government's too complacent. And Morrison had two jobs this year, to get the vaccines in the arms and deal with national quarantine. And sadly, he's failed at both, and we're paying the price for it.
EMERSON: Let's talk about AstraZeneca. And here in Queensland, we seem to see a bit of a backflip from Jeannette Young today on AstraZeneca. For those under the age of 60. Yesterday, she came out very clearly very strongly and said again, she doesn't think anyone under 60 should have been getting AstraZeneca. Now today, she's saying oh, go talk to your doctor about it. So there's a significant shift from yesterday. What did you think about her comments, that seem to be completely out of step with a lot of the other medical authorities in terms of AstraZeneca? Because they're all been out there recommending just get the jab if you can, no matter what it is?
DICK: Well, I know from speaking to families today who are home-schooling in Brisbane and businesses that are really worried about the future. They are focused on one thing, Scott, and that's getting any vaccination into their arms and into their families so that we can protect the health of our residents, but also the health of our economy. Look, I saw the Chief Health Officer’s comments today. I know that she's getting AstraZeneca herself. You know, and obviously, in an emergency outbreak situation instead of waiting for the twelve weeks, they've reduced that down to eight weeks, I saw her announce that today. I'm in the school of thought that all the vaccines that are approved should be widely available. I spoke to GPs last week. And anyone who needs vaccines, there are plenty of AstraZeneca in the southwest suburbs of Brisbane. I'd simply encourage people to talk to their GP. We're seeing more and more people realising that it's no need to wait you can go straight in now and get that supply. AllCare Medical Centre in Inala had hundreds and hundreds of vaccine available when I spoke to the GPs last week, that's AstraZeneca, that I'm encouraging my local residents but all your listeners today. Listen to that ATAGI advice, we have seen some conflicting advice at a national level. But I'm really confident now that people to do the right thing and get vaccinated so we don't see any more lockdowns, but more importantly, we don't see anyone in hospital or tragically lose their life.
EMERSON: Milton Dick, great to speak to you catch you again next week.
DICK: Thanks Scott.