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COVID-19 North-West Outbreak - Ruby Princess and Actions of Border Force

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 30 April 2020

Tags: COVID-19, North West Tasmania

COVID-19 - Ruby Princess and Actions of Border Force: Cassy O'Connor MP, 30 May 2020.



You said in your briefing this morning that nobody should use the report into the north-west outbreak to blame anyone. We agree that neither the Ruby Princess passengers nor health workers should carry blame at all and we are not blaming you or your Government, yet in a Westminster system somebody must be held accountable. You started this morning's briefing pointing your finger directly at the Ruby Princess as the very likely cause of this devastating and deadly outbreak. Do you agree that the decision by Peter Dutton's Border Force to allow the Ruby Princess to dock and disembark passengers after the ban on cruise ships was put in place without testing is in fact very likely to blame for this outbreak and the subsequent deaths of 11 Tasmanians on the north-west coast? Are you going to take this matter up with the responsible minister, Peter Dutton?



Madam Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens for that question. Like her, I do not believe that blame should be ascribed for this. The point I was making this morning was not ascribing blame to the Ruby Princess. It was pointing to a statement of fact that the very likely starting point of this was those two unfortunate Ruby Princess passengers in the north-west who were COVID 19 positive. The circumstance regarding the Ruby Princess is now obviously being considered by an inquiry in New South Wales. I believe it will be best to allow that inquiry to take its course

so that all of the facts are understood and, at the end of the day, findings and recommendations can be made through that inquiry.

It is a leap to immediately be pointing at Peter Dutton, or any particular minister whether it be one in the New South Wales government or one in the federal government. There will be an outcome from that inquiry. We should wait sensibly until we can see what is actually uncovered and, importantly, that we have all the facts to hand.