'We Will Get Through This': Scott Morrison's Address To The Nation About Coronavirus
Scott Morrison has made his address to the nation about coronavirus – the first since Kevin Rudd’s speech about the global financial crisis – urging Australians to remain calm in the face of uncertainty.
"We'll get through this together Australia," Morrison said just after 7pm on Thursday night.
"We all have a role to play. Employers, nurses, doctors, teachers, scientists, friends, family, and neighbours, I know we'll all do our bit."
Speaking from his Parliament House office, the PM said the government was working to tackle the global pandemic in Australia.
He outlined the three main steps of the government's strategy including; to first protect Australians from a health perspective, to support jobs and livelihoods through a multi-billion dollar package and to ensure that the country can 'bounce back' after the virus has run its course.
Speaking after the PM's address, Network 10 Political Editor Peter Van Onselen on The Project that while the speech had not revealed anything new about Australia's response, Morrison was likely trying to keep the country calm.
Morrison's speech comes as confirmed cases across the country surpassed 140.
COVID-19 has impacted Australia's tourism, business, education and health sectors, which are all struggling with increased demands and repercussions of the virus.
The address to the nation came hours after Morrison unveiled the government's multi-billion-dollar coronavirus stimulus package.
The $17.6 billion package includes $750 one-off payments for up to 6.5 million eligible Australians, including pensioners and those eligible for family tax benefits.
The government will also offer assistance up to $25,000 to small and medium-sized businesses, and wage assistance payments over the next nine months for those who employ apprentices.
On Thursday night Morrison said while he understood many Australians were anxious about the threat of the virus, he vowed the government was taking proactive steps to protect the country.
"While Australia cannot and is not immune from this virus we are well prepared and we are well-equipped to deal with it and we have a clear plan to see Australia through,” he said.
A Rare Speech
While Morrison has spoken publicly almost every day since coronavirus emerged in Australia, this was his first formal address to the nation as PM.
The short address is one of a few times in recent history an Australian prime minister has addressed the entire country during a crisis.
Kevin Rudd issued a national address regarding the economy in 2009 when he revealed Australia's plan to deal with the global financial crisis.
John Howard addressed the nation in 2005 after the Boxing Day tsunami where he described Australia's aid as one of the nation's largest humanitarian responses since World War II.
He also addressed the nation to announce Australia's decision to send troops to Iraq following the September 11 and Bali bombing attacks and to East Timor for a 'peacekeeping mission' in 1999.