Scott Morrison boasts of how he ‘protected’ Australia’s borders, but he now stands accused of caring only about the New South Wales border when it comes to the allocation of COVID-19 doses.
Labor-led states have accused the prime minister of entering into a secret deal with NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian to give her state an unfair advantage in the vaccination rollout.
The row has broken out after data published by the ABC revealed a disproportionate per capita share of Pfizer doses were distributed to NSW late last month.
The figures show that NSW got 45% of the recent doses, while it only has 32% of the nation’s population.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews is livid about it, describing the allocations as totally unfair and against the national plan agreed to between the federal government and all states and territories.
“I signed up to a national plan to vaccinate our nation, not a national plan to vaccinate Sydney,” Andrews said.
“We have seen hundreds of thousands of vaccines that should have come, and now should be in the arms of Victorians, going into Sydney.
“Something like 340,000 doses that have not come to Victoria that ought to have.
“Some don’t like to see this as a race but a race it surely is. What I didn’t know was that Premier Berejiklian is in a sprint while the rest of us are supposed to do some sort of egg and spoon thing. No, we want our fair share.
“These allocations, which are totally unfair and were under the table, need to stop and we need to get a make-good.”
Andrews was supported in his criticism by the premiers of Queensland and Western Australia, who also said there appeared to be an unfair advantage given to the PM’s home state.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Pfizer shots that were supposed to go to her state had been sent to NSW instead. And she called the federal government out on it.
“Please don’t pick a fight when another state is getting more vaccines,” she said.
“We understand that the other state is going through a really tough time, but don’t go then and blame Queensland and Western Australia for getting out the vaccine that we have available.”
WA premier Mark McGowan said his state was being punished over vaccination allocations.
“We’ve done our bit. We’d like our share of Pfizer now in Western Australia,” he said.
But the prime minister has rejected the criticism from the Labor premiers and said no state was caught surprised by the NSW allocation.
“I mean, Victoria had doses brought forward in their case as well on two occasions. In their first crisis that they had and which they were able to come out of. And when they were hit again, we brought forward doses for Victoria,” Morrison told Sky News.
“On top of that, four million doses coming from the United Kingdom, half a million that have come from Singapore, and another half a million that we were able to get from Poland, which was shared right across all the states and territories, excluding New South Wales.
“New South Wales got the 500,000 because I made it very clear … in July. And the argument was being put forward that New South Wales should take doses from other states. Well, I’ll tell you who said no to that. It was me. It wasn’t the states and territories.
“It was me, because I wasn’t going to have doses moved from other states to New South Wales. I went out and got more doses from Poland.”
Federal health minister Greg Hunt also denied any unfair play and said all states and territories were being treated equally in the vaccination rollout.