Scott Morrison’s Covid comment that offended Western Australia

Scott Morrison has insulted an entire state after using a bizarre analogy likening Western Australia to cavemen due to the region’s hard-line border restrictions. 

The prime minister was discussing Covid vaccination rates on the Today show on Tuesday when he said it was ‘absurd’ any state could think it could protect itself from the Delta strain forever. 

‘Now it’s like that movie The Croods,’ he told host Karl Stefanovic on Tuesday, in reference to the DreamWorks children’s film about cavemen.

‘Some wanted to stay in the cave and the young girl wanted to deal with the challenges of living in a different world. Covid is a different world and we need to get out and live in it.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Today host Karl Stefanovic states need to ‘get out of the cave’ and open up borders

‘We can’t stay in the cave.’

WA Premier Mark McGowan hit back, telling reporters just hours later Mr Morrison’s comments were ‘an odd thing to say’.

‘We are not in lockdown, we are the freest community anywhere in Australia, perhaps anywhere in the world. We don’t have any restrictions,’ he said.

‘Sometimes people are too focused on where they are and they don’t realise that outside of NSW it’s a very different situation. Australia is bigger than just NSW.

‘We are not living in caves — we are living a normal life.’

Meanwhile, amused Australians fired up their social media accounts to weigh in on Mr Morrison’s peculiar reference.  

‘Our PM can join the rest of the Croods and jump across that chasm, far far away from Australia. Would be fine with me. He fits right in,’ one person wrote.

‘The cave dwellers in The Croods were not modern humans. No wonder Scott Morrison felt a great affinity for this family and their “story”,’ another Tweeted.

The war of words came after Mr Morrison warned ongoing lockdowns will cause more harm than benefit when coronavirus vaccination coverages reaches 70 per cent.

The prime minister insisted high case numbers will not derail a national plan despite some states warning Doherty Institute modelling needs updating.

Under the agreement, lockdowns will be less likely at 70 per cent and become highly targeted at 80 per cent.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan hit back, telling reporters Mr Morrison's reference was 'an odd thing to say'

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan hit back, telling reporters Mr Morrison’s reference was ‘an odd thing to say’

Mr Morrison said negative economic and mental health impacts would outweigh benefits when 70 and 80 per cent immunisation coverage is reached.

‘That’s the advice, that’s the basis for the plan. We’ve all signed up to it, we need to get on with it,’ he told the Seven Network.

Mr McGowan wants new modelling given high levels of virus circulating in NSW which reported 753 new local cases on Tuesday.

Victoria is having a hard time getting on top of an outbreak with another 50 new cases, while the ACT had its worst daily rise since the start of the pandemic with 30 new infections.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk argues the initial research was based on having 30 cases in the community.

The Doherty Institute will provide updated advice to national cabinet on Friday.

In a statement, the Doherty Institute said opening up at hundreds of cases nationally a day would be possible at 70 per cent vaccination coverage.

‘However, we will need vigilant public health interventions with higher case loads,’ it said.

The institute said hitting that vaccination rate would make it easier to live with the virus, similar to the flu.

‘However, it won’t be possible to maintain a situation where there are no cases at all.’

Labor leader Anthony Albanese accused the prime minister of pretending the report ruled out lockdowns at 70 per cent coverage.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said she expects certain restrictions to remain in place even once Australia reaches 70-80percent vaccination rates

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said she expects certain restrictions to remain in place even once Australia reaches 70-80percent vaccination rates

‘Mr Morrison is a barrier to the end of the tunnel, not the light. He’s the gaslight on the hill,’ Mr Albanese told Labor MPs and senators in Canberra.

He said Mr Morrison desperately wanted to argue he was pro-freedom while casting everyone else as being against reopening.

The prime minister insists the opposition leader is undermining the plan and hoping the government fails for political gain.

Mr Morrison remains optimistic the Queensland government won’t keep its border shut with NSW if high case numbers continue.

‘It doesn’t matter whether it’s 30 cases or 800 cases, the conclusions are the same and that’s what the Doherty Institute said last night,’ he told the Nine Network.

He dismissed the federal-state bickering as a ‘bit of noise’ with the vaccination targets still months away from being reached.

‘We can’t stay in the cave and we can get out of it safely.’

The Doherty modelling recommends a staged reopening at 70 and 80 per cent with high-quality preventative measures remaining in place.

Australia has fully vaccinated 30.27 per cent of its population aged 16 and over and 52.78 have received one jab.

What are the four phases of opening up? 

A. Vaccinate, prepare and pilot (from July 14)

Arrival caps cut in half to 3,035 a week; early, stringent and short lockdowns if outbreaks occur; trials of seven-day home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals in South Australia; medicare vaccination certificates available on apps like apple wallet   

B. Post vaccination phase (when 70 per cent are jabbed, expected late this year)

Lockdowns less likely but possible’; vaccinated people face reduced restrictions; caps for unvaccinated arrivals increased; a larger cap for vaccinated arrivals with ‘reduced quarantine requirements’; capped entry for students and economic visa holders  

C. Consolidation phase (when 80 per cent are jabbed, time not announced)

Lifting all restrictions for outbound travel for vaccinated travellers; no caps for vaccinated arrivals; increased caps for students and visa holders; more travel bubbles being set up with countries such as Singapore; booster shots rolled out 

D. Final phase (percentage or time not announced)

Uncapped arrivals for vaccinated people without any quarantine and uncapped arrivals for unvaccinated people with testing before departure and on arrival