SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
JULIE COLLINS MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE
MEMBER FOR FRANKLIN
NEW RUBY PRINCESS REVELATIONS EXPOSE MORRISON’S PANDEMIC FAILINGS
New revelations about the Federal Department of Agriculture’s shocking failures during the Ruby Princess debacle have again underscored Scott Morrison’s pandemic failures.
The Inspector-General found that officials from the Department of Agriculture failed to administer Traveller with Illness Checklists to ill passengers and did not review the ship’s medical log. These were ‘crucial errors’ – if they had done their job, they would have realised the threat posed by COVID-19 onboard the Ruby Princess and raised concerns with NSW Health.
Instead, they let sick people disembark from the Ruby Princess after an Australian Border Force officer misread medical results and incorrectly reported that COVID-positive passengers were, in fact, healthy.
The Inspector-General also found that the Department ignored recommendations dating back to 2018 that could have prevented the disaster that ultimately resulted in the deaths of 28 people and over 600 cases of COVID-19. The report found that the officers from the Department of Agriculture were ‘committed staff’ but were ‘inadequately trained and supported’.
Ultimately, the Inspector-General told the ABC that ‘…if the Department had done what it agreed to do, then the chances of a Ruby Princess incident happening were significantly reduced’.
The Department of Agriculture was Australia’s last line of defence against COVID-19 that morning, and they failed.
Before Mr Morrison failed at quarantine and rolling-out the vaccine, he failed to stop the one boat that mattered: the Ruby Princess.
At the time, Mr Morrison did what he does best – he blamed someone else.
The New South Wales special commissioner who investigated the Ruby Princess, Bret Walker, told the ABC this new report showed the tragic consequences might have been avoided if the federal department had performed better.
‘There must be a real chance, a sensible possibility, that if the Commonwealth had done a better job on the Ruby Princess, that the state officers may not have made the mistakes they did,’ Mr Walker said.
Mr Morrison prevented officials from appearing before the inquiry, which raises the question, what are they trying to hide?
The borders are a federal responsibility. They always have been and always will be.
The Ruby Princess was a Morrison Government border failure and Australians paid the price.
WEDNESDAY, 25 AUGUST 2021