Interview with Paul Murray, Sky News, Paul Murray LIVE

PAUL MURRAY: The Deputy Prime Minister is Barnaby Joyce. We had a chance to talk to him a bit earlier in the day, particularly on some earlier comments that he had made – that we’ve done the deals, 70 and 80 per cent is when we have to reopen because – well, I’ll let him explain.

BARNABY JOYCE: The reason that we use statistical modelling, which is what you see with the Doherty Institute, is because it links into the access, amongst other things, to ICU beds, because we know at the end there will be a group of people who won’t get vaccinated. We understand that, that’s their right. But amongst them is where the virus will be obviously most prominent. And from that there will be a group of people who get sick and some will get seriously sick and tragically some will die, a number will need ICU care and if we don’t have the ICU beds, then we have got a real problem. Once we get amongst about 80 per cent double dose in people, we should be able to better manage what’s left over.

PAUL MURRAY: Deputy Prime Minister, you’ve come out in the past couple of days, and that’s why I’ve got you on the show tonight, I couldn’t agree with you more that the states have done their deals and they have to honour them. Seventy and 80 per cent, that’s the mark, not 85, not 90, not 95.

BARNABY JOYCE: Well, that’s precisely what I’ve been saying all along, Paul. I’ve been saying Australia can’t just hang around and wait for you. Once we get to a point, and we’ll be there at around about the end of October, where there will be more vaccines, vastly more vaccines than there are people wanting to get vaccinated, and so if you’re not vaccinated it will be your choice not to be vaccinated. That’s a choice you can make, but Australia can’t hang around and wait. We’ve got an economy, we’ve got to get it going, we’ve got to open the place up. People want their freedoms and their liberties back like they were born with, and that’s the issue. It’s been so divisive this issue, we want to move on from it as quickly as possible, and we do that by opening the place up and we open the place up by getting as many people vaccinated as possible. We know we’ve got as many people as vaccinated as possible when we have got more vaccines than we have arms for them to go into. We have AstraZeneca that way now. We’ve got Moderna coming in. We’ve got Pfizer running out into the millions. I believe that around about the end of October, we will be looking for people to be vaccinated, rather than people looking for vaccines, and then it will be just a choice. You’ve chosen not to get vaccinated. That’s your choice. Accept the risk. But we’re opening the show up and if you get sick, you get sick.

PAUL MURRAY: What did you think about the protests in Melbourne in the past a couple of days?

BARNABY JOYCE: It makes you feel very, very uncertain about how society is actually being held together there at the moment. You can’t just have the middle of town taken over by a marauding group of people. I know those people have got concerns, I understand that completely. I know people have frustrations about being locked up, but we can’t just decide to take the law into our own hands because when you’ve got a large group of people deciding, “Oh, we’ll wander down to the Parliament and we might sort of ransack that or take that over or no, we’ll hang back to this office and throw a few bottles around”, it scares people. And people see it on television, they get an unerring sense of where society is going. Now, as politicians we need to also clearly understand that people want to move on from the lockdown process as quickly as possible. We get that. We’ve got that message, we didn’t need people wandering down the street throwing bottles around to tell us that. We’ve got that loud and clear. Dan Andrews has got to take control back of his state. This is happening on his watch and it’s no good. It’s a very, very, very bad look. The government in Victoria has to accept responsibility for what’s happening on the streets of Victoria and those who have a close association – the CFMEU seems to be split down the middle and it was kind of crazy to start off with. I don’t know; maybe it is a question for Penny Wong, she’s affiliated with them and so is Terry Butler. Ask them what’s going on down there.

PAUL MURRAY: Do you think it’s odd that no‑one from the Labor Party is coming out and supporting the concept of mandatory vaccination? The union movement in some areas is actively fighting it while simultaneously the unions that have agreed to it are now copping the sort of revolt that we’ve seen from the CFMEU and others in the past couple of days.

BARNABY JOYCE: That’s one of the dilemmas of the Labor Party. You’ve got Canberra speak and then you’ve got the views of their constituency. You see it between the green Labor side and the blue Labor side. The blue Labor side are trying to keep their jobs in the Hunter Valley and the green Labor side are trying to save the planet from Annandale. And then you’ve got the issue of what is their position across the board on vaccinations? Are they for it or are they against it? Are they willing to stand up in the Parliament and say, “My colleagues who endorsed me to come down here, I disagree with you. I’ve got a different position and now I clearly state it.” No, you don’t. You get this sort of doublespeak. It’s actually doublespeak about it, and what they have to clearly say is that for those who represent the CFMEU – and they are in Parliament, Penny Wong is one, Terri Butler is one – they’ve got to stand up, just as brave as they are when they stand up to berate us about climate issues and other issues that take their fancy, they should stand up and berate their own party for not standing by the position of getting themselves vaccinated.