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'Stop Hoarding': Morrison Slams 'Un-Australian' Supermarket Panic-Buying

Scott Morrison has blasted supermarket hoarding during the coronavirus outbreak, calling out "ridiculous" behaviour from people bulk-buying essentials.

In a wide-ranging press conference on Wednesday, where the Prime Minister announced new bans on indoor gatherings of more than 100 people in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, Morrison also called out those emptying supermarket shelves.

Toilet paper panic-buying has been a feature of Australia -- and the world -- in recent weeks as people buy up amidst virus uncertainty, but as stricter measures come into force across the country, shelves nationwide are also now being emptied of essentials like bread, canned food, noodles and rice.

Fights have started in supermarkets over basic goods, and Morrison has had enough.

"Stop hoarding. I can't be more blunt about it. Stop it," the PM said on Wednesday.

"It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis. That is not who we are as a people. It is not necessary."

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It was like a slow-motion fight scene from a Quentin Tarantino film.

Rumours had spread of a widespread national 'lockdown' in recent days, similar to those seen across Europe.

Morrison said this was "misinformation", with he and chief medical officer Brendan Murphy telling the press conference Australian officials did not think the measure was necessary, and there were no plans to institute such measures.

Morrison said, therefore, people should not be stockpiling huge amounts of goods in anticipation of such a lockdown.

"There is no reason for people to be hoarding supplies in fear of a lock down or anything like this," he said.

"It is not something that people should be doing."

"I am seeking Australia's common-sense cooperation with these very clear advisory positions. Stop doing it. It's ridiculous. It's un-Australian. and it must stop."

Coles in Chatswood, on Sydney's Lower North Shore has had its shelves stripped bare. Image: 10 News First

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The PM also asked that shoppers stay calm and not abuse staff in supermarkets. Discount store Aldi called out "violence" against its staff earlier this week.

"We're all in this together. People are doing their jobs. They're doing their best," Morrison said.

"Let's just support each other in the work that they are doing. I encourage you please, if you see someone doing that, just call it out and ask them to just refrain from doing that. That's the right thing to do."

Contact the author: jobutler@networkten.com.au