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State border closures weren’t medical advice, reveals Morrison

written by Adam Thorn | May 27, 2020

An aerial look at Brisbane Airport's domestic and international terminals. (Brisbane Airport)
An aerial look at Brisbane Airport’s domestic and international terminals. Queensland is still maintaining its borders could be closed until September. (Brisbane Airport)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison piled more pressure on states and territories to open their borders by saying the closures were “never the medical advice”.

On Tuesday morning, Morrison separately appeared on Channel 9’s Today Show, KIIS FM and Sky News and also reiterated to each that ending free movement within Australia was also never agreed by the national cabinet.

“There is no doubt that those sort of borders do harm the economy, they do harm jobs and it is important that we get those removed as soon as possible,” he said.

The Prime Minister’s continued intervention comes after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her Queensland counterpart Annastacia Palaszczuk have been arguing over when internal borders should open – a decision crucial to restarting interstate flights.

NSW, along with Victoria, never closed, however, last week Palaszczuk suggested her state might wait until September to lift restrictions.


Talking to KIIS FM’s Jase & PJ, the Prime Minister also said he hoped that “common sense” would prevail.

“People need to get back into jobs and they need to get things moving again. We have had great success combating this virus so far, and while we can’t be complacent about it, you’ve got to get out from under the doona sometime,” he said.

Yesterday, Australian Aviation reported how Morrison told the National Press Club in Canberra that he wouldn’t let border closures hinder his ambitions to open up the country – apparently threatening that he would facilitate flights from open states such as Sydney to New Zealand before interstate travel.

“I can assure you I won’t be holding back on expanding the size of our markets for our goods and our services to wait for some other borders to clear,” he said.

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Comments (13)

  • Jack Chomley


    The longer the borders remain closed, the more bankruptcies will occur. Prime Minister, do what ever it takes to open borders to salvage some of what left of our economy, NOW.
    Having some states Premiers as dictators is crazy.

  • Gregory Bradley


    “NSW, along with Victoria, never closed”
    NSW, along with Victoria, are the epicentres of the disease. Connection?

  • Red Cee


    As a resident in one of the states with closed borders, I can assure you that most of us don’t want the borders to other states open until it is safe. It may have to be that we open with the states that didn’t close their borders, as they seem to be the ones with the least number of cases.

    • Hein


      Eh, meaning?

  • mark goldberg


    There is no community transmission for weeks now and we have an efficient and aggressive team leading the quarantining and contact tracing of any out breaks !! There is absolutely no valid reason for border closures , other than political self interest !! The prime minister should take control here right now !!

  • Peter


    Best to let each state make its own decision on this, they are the ones with the best information. Our PM does not have a clue !!

  • Craigy


    @ Gregory, maybe NSW and Victoria had more cases because:
    1. They have larger populations
    2. They are the most used gateways into Australia.

    @Red Cee
    How long are you going to wait until it is safe? What exactly do you mean by safe? Flu season is now upon us. Shall we keep the borders closed in case their is community transmission of the flu (another type of caronavirus)?

    The infection curve has been flattened and that was the objective so the health system could cope with any breakouts. Its time these borders were reopened so the economy can start to recover. If it takes a High Court challenge to the border closures, so be it.

  • Richard


    Pandemic trumps economy .. all this haste to “get things moving again” is how these things come back for a second go and do even more damage .. health wise and economy wise. Very unwise.

  • Mick McLean


    One of the things the federal government has done to restrict the spread of the COVID19 is to close the international borders, i.e. the borders it controls. So for the federal government to turn around and say that there is no medical foundation for the closure of state borders is not true. The federal government has itself proven that restricting travel has significantly reduced the spread of the virus and has no plans to lift those restrictions any time soon. It is the economic concerns of NSW and VIC that seem to be driving this push with little or no concern for other states.

  • Jennifer Power


    If you are frightened to leave your house, neighbourhood, state or country STAY HOME. No one is forcing you to leave home. Let the rest of us get back to work before the economy tanks completely. oh wait…

  • Lets put health and welfare the priority absolutely, before opening, because you only have to look at other countries where they have done opened early….and the COVID has come back to bite them on the bum!
    Yes we need to return to work for sure, but caution should be the key word here.
    Morrison up until now has been a strong PM….but he has been nobbled by self interest groups, profit before health.
    Stay closed a little longer and we will all be better off.

  • Bill O'Really?


    Oh, so much self interest in ‘opening up the economy’. Have a look at Europe and the US as we go into winter and see what is ahead if we do. Chill for a while, buy less ‘stuff’ that you don’t need. Smell the roses. If we were in a war situation, 3 months of inconvenience to our wants and needs would be regarded as small time. Make is so for this which is a worse situation, aka, 100,000+ people in the US for instance. You want that? Open up border. Look at the current situation in Fremantle. ONE ship could mess up the whole state unless drastic action is taken to curtail it. Same in Queensland with one wandering nurse going bush. This is the new threat people, give it the respect it deserves and stop thinking about your pocket for a while.

  • David Singe


    Canberra is not the centre of all wisdom and this Prime Minister is chronically Sydney-centric. Couldn’t even get the terminology correct watching a major AFL match in Melbourne.
    That aside, although it has some bearing on conceptual understanding, the States do have constitutions and powers. Thank goodness.
    Anyone thinking that having NSW especially or Victoria tell the others what to do, has simply not experienced, nor had reason to understand a Federation, and the different players.
    One size solutions always fail but common strategy succeeds.
    The Federation is doing well as those who know their domain best (every state and territory) are acting in the positive interests of their clients.
    The Commonwealth and the PM need to minimise political posturing and simply enable what can be done. Canberra is a bubble. The Premiers are both intelligent and responsible too.

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