Scott Morrison has declared the national cabinet is “no longer a consensus forum” after his hopes of an agreement on definition of hotspots to reopen borders was crushed by Queensland.
News.com.au has confirmed the Prime Minister opened up today’s meeting by telling state premiers that it will no longer be run on a consensus approach.
While states have always been free to go their own way on issues including school closures, the states have interpreted the Prime Minister’s declaration as signalling a new way of doing business at the national cabinet.
Sources in the Morrison Government also confirmed the Prime Minister’s remarks after officials in state premiers’ offices contacted news.com.au.
“He opened up with it so it’s, ‘I am changing the rules so I don’t get rolled’,’’ a state official said.
But federal sources said it was a “very positive meeting” with most states happy to sign up to a national definition of hotspots to move towards reopening borders.
The national cabinet meeting is still continuing and the Prime Minister is expected to hold a press conference shortly.
Declaring the national cabinet will no longer be run on a consensus approach will allow the Prime Minister to publicly confirm which states have agreed to various measures including a definition of national hotspots and effectively ‘name and shame’ those states that won’t budge.
Earlier, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she wouldn’t be bullied into reopening borders.
“It is relentless. It is intimidating. But I will not be intimidated,’’ she said.
“If we all focused our efforts on Victoria and NSW and getting the community transmission under control, right, to the extent that there was no community transmission – and that is the advice of the Deputy Health Officer of the country. That is the aim. They moved from elimination, to suppression, to no community transmission. If we focus on that, there will come a time when everybody could open up.”