Saturday, 14 March 2020

Interview with Eddie McGuire and Luke Darcy, Triple M Melbourne

Subjects: Coronavirus diagnosis

EDDIE MCGUIRE: Good morning Peter.

PETER DUTTON: Good morning Ed. How are you mate?

EDDIE MCGUIRE: First of all mate, how are you?

PETER DUTTON: I'm doing pretty well. Temperature's down and fever has gone, so I am feeling pretty good. So we will wait and see what the doctors have to say. But there was a bit of a concern because I had asthma since I was a kid that maybe that was a complicating factor, but my lungs seem to be clear and getting fantastic support and attention inside the Royal Brisbane Hospital. So I guess we'll see how the next couple days go, but I feel really good within myself.

LUKE DARCY: Hey Peter. Good to chat to you and good to hear that that is the case. You're fresh back from the United States and big meetings over there. When did you get the suspicion that you needed to be tested?

PETER DUTTON: Yeah thanks Darc. Came back from the US from Washington on Sunday and I didn't show any symptoms until really Thursday night. I woke up in the early hours of Friday morning with a fever and temperature and a sore throat. I contacted Queensland Health straight away and I was tested and obviously the test came back positive early yesterday afternoon. So Queensland Health policy is you're admitted to hospital straight away which obviously I did.

But Queensland Health on their advice – and also I spoke yesterday to the Commonwealth Government's Deputy Chief Medical Officer – they seem to only be worried about contact I've had with people from the 11 March on. So I was over in the US on the 6th or 7th or something like that. So I don't think there's any concern there and they've got they can speak to some of the people.

But some mates I caught up with Kirilly the kids are showing no signs either. So fingers crossed that that that's the case and that they keep well. That's really my main priority at the moment.

EDDIE MCGUIRE: But it is the same since symptoms of a flu? Is it a different type of flu? We're still trying to – we speak to medical experts, but you're the only person we know who's got it. What does it feel like? What people should be looking for if they're feeling a bit unwell?

PETER DUTTON: Well for me it's I think it's been fairly mild. As I say, I'll wait to see what the doctors have to say over the next couple of days. But it's such a broad range and I think the doctors make this point that if you're older and you've got respiratory issues, if you're sick otherwise then it can be a real concern and that's where the death rate, the mortality rate has been highest.

So that's why the Government's been really keen to do as much as we can around protecting people in nursing homes. Obviously concerns about cruise ships where a ship was off the California coast during the week, the average age there was 72. So that's why there's a real concern about people of an older age group.

And I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. Forty-nine at the moment 50 this year, I'd say reluctantly, but I'm not in my 70s yet. So yes I think it hits people differently and just depending on their circumstances. But that's been my experience so far.

But in terms of a question of what to look for, people should go to the websites of you know Victorian health or wherever and just get some detail. But if you've been in contact with somebody that you know has had the virus, then it's important to speak to the health authorities. But generally unless you're showing symptoms the advice seems to be isolate and see whether or not those symptoms present and then contact health authorities from there.

I had a sore throat – nothing different than what you'd get in a normal flu. So not a sort of a phlegmy cough or anything like that just a dry cough. But I might have coughed you know three or four times so not anything more than sort of a tickle in the throat. And then yeah a temperature and a fever was the most obvious thing, but no real joint pain either. So I think a lot like a normal flu.

But we're just got to be careful to you know as we're coming into flu season so a lot of people will get a normal flu and I suppose their first instinct will be to think that they've got coronavirus, but that probably won't be the case for a lot of people.

LUKE DARCY: But I think a lot of people listening now and thinking where to next. You're right involved in all the Cabinet meetings and the Prime Minister spoke about gatherings from 500 above to avoid and we're taking that message share very clearly. Is it going to get to the point Peter, we're you think we're going to isolate at home like the Italians have done? I mean you're uniquely placed to have some thoughts on it and it's a fast moving discussion. What do you think the next month looks like for us here in Australia?

PETER DUTTON: Well Darc, ironically my visit to the United States was about signing a protocol around trying to counter child exploitation online with Facebook and other companies there. So that was really the main purpose for the visit. But it turned into a lot of briefings and discussions about the virus and obviously the Americans are concerned. They're trying to keep it contained where they can.

It's interesting that it hasn't really struck young people. So the advice is a bit mixed at the moment, but it seems to be that the kids aren't affected in the same way that the elderly might be which is a bit of a difference between the normal flu and COVID-19. So that's important for parents to note. So there might be little utility in closing down schools and isolating people. But parents will naturally be protective of their kids and they'll be worried about contact that they might have with other children. So I think that the respective state education departments will deal with that.

But I think the Prime Minister is right. I think was a very smart move yesterday to bring together that national cabinet. I think the last thing people want to hear about is that you know Victoria health doesn't want to do this or does want to do that and it's inconsistent with what New South Wales health might be doing. And people want a national approach and bringing everybody together I think is the best way to achieve that. So a good tick on that side.

And again I think as you've seen travel bans rollout, as you've seen the announcement in relation to gatherings of more than 500 people – and we have had a relatively low number of presentations compared to the rest of the world – I think we would wait and see what happens next and then respond accordingly. So you're not going to 100 per cent response instantaneously. I think the measured approach is the responsible one, but that's what the Prime Minister has done.

EDDIE MCGUIRE:  We're speaking to Peter Dutton the Home Affairs Minister who is currently in the Brisbane hospital suffering from Coronavirus. At least with coronavirus – it's good news that you know suffering so badly.

Peter, you are the front page lead of the New York Times this morning with a photo of you with Ivanka Trump a couple of days ago. Have you been approached by the White House and what's the situation there, knowing that the Canadian first lady also has the coronavirus and we've also seen the Italian health minister who's actually passed away from the coronavirus in the last couple of days. So at the top level people, pardon the pun, are not immune from it by any stretch of the imagination. What's the White House response been?

PETER DUTTON: Nobody's immune obviously. We've been in contact with the White House overnight just to give them the advice from our medical experts here. But as I say, the tracing effort here, the advice Queensland Health is there they're really worried about people I contact from the 11th. So anybody I met in the United States including the incredible Ivanka Trump has no concern and Bill Barr the Attorney General and others that I met with there. So I'm really pleased about that. I mean the most conscious element for me is just that you know everybody that you've been in contact with is okay. So that's the case to date and I hope that continues as well.

EDDIE MCGUIRE: What's she like Ivanka Trump? You were in pole position, you're right in there so they couldn't crop you out of the photo, very nice position. You'll get a job in show business one day. What's she like?

PETER DUTTON: Mate the only place you've going to saddle up beside good looking men and woman. Look I thought she was fantastic actually. She was really engaged in the issue of protecting kids online. She was upset, I think, to hear the stories – we had what was called the Phoenix 11,  so 11 survivors from child sexual abuse including some who had been sexually abused and raped since they were toddlers tell their story and it was incredibly impactful.

And we've been you know – and I think we've discussed it on the show before – but we've done a lot over the course of the last couple of years to put more money into the problem. To give our police more powers. And there's just been a massive proliferation of all of this sick material online with the use of the Internet.

And encryption is a really important element for us because whether you use internet banking or sending a message you want to know that that's safe and secure. But the problem is that the paedophiles and terrorists and other people are hiding behind the use of encryption, so the police can't see who is sending that video of that child. They can't see who's sending the message about the preparation for a terrorist attack.

So the companies have got to step up and we got them to sign up to a protocol, to a voluntary protocol, which I hope is the first step. It may mean that we have to legislate to just to put in place a proper regime that if a court issues a warrant you've got to comply with it. At the moment companies aren't.

So she was fantastic in that in that sense and I think she's a great ally in this fight as well. I think she was really determined to go away and make sure that she will speak to the other companies who weren't present to see what they could do and I suspect the administration would move with just with legislation if they needed to get well.

EDDIE MCGUIRE: Peter, get well.

PETER DUTTON: Thanks boys, appreciate that the chat. And stay well yourself and all the best to everybody who's listening to a great program.