18 March 2020

Stop the hoarding, it's un-Australian, PM tells the nation

| Ian Bushnell
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Coles at Woden

Not today: Coles at Woden and it’s empty toilet paper stand. Photos: Ian Bushnell.

As Canberra supermarkets shelves continue to be emptied of toilet paper, hand sanitisers, and dry and canned foods, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has bluntly told Australians to stop hoarding and panic buying.

While not waving a big stick yet, Mr Morrison called it un-Australian and a distraction from other measures and efforts to maintain supply chains into shopping centres.

“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,” he said at a morning press conference updating the nation on measures to contain coronavirus.

“That is not who we are as a people. It is not necessary. It is not something that people should be doing.”

Mr Morrison said there was no reason for people to be hoarding supplies in fear of anything like a lockdown.

“As I have said, we’re putting in place scalable and sustainable measures. I am seeking Australia’s common-sense cooperation with these very clear advisory positions,” he said.

Woolworths Woden

Woolworths Woden was no better if you needed toilet paper.

The Prime Minister was emphatic.

“Stop doing it! It’s ridiculous! It’s un-Australian, and it must stop, and I would ask people to do the right thing by each other in getting a handle on these sorts of practices.”

He also warned people about taking out their frustrations on staff, wherever they may be, and urged people to support each other.

“Also: do not abuse staff. We’re all in this together,” he said. “People are doing their jobs. They’re doing their best. Whether they’re at a testing clinic this morning. Whether they’re at a shopping centre. Whether they’re at a bank, a train station, everybody is doing their best. So let’s just support each other in the work that they are doing.”

But Mr Morrison did not mention any measures the Government may take to crack down on hoarders if the empty shelves continue.

Later, Chief Minister Andrew Barr endorsed ”100 per cent” the Prime Minister’s comments, but also would not canvass any particular measures to stop panic buying and keep the shelves stocked.

Mr Barr said he expected that as supplies were replenished the panic buying would start to dissipate over time.

“I guess the good news is that those people probably have several years supply of these products, and won’t need to go to the supermarket again for those products for some time,” he said.

“We will reach the point when people run out of storage space in their homes.”

But Mr Barr said the government would keep a close eye on the situation.

“It is certainly an agenda item every time we meet locally and at the National Cabinet, around what we can do to get supplies into the market place,” he said.

The Prime Minister’s call came as the country’s major supermarkets issued a joint message to Australians reassuring them that they, their suppliers and their teams were doing all they can to get as many products on to shelves as soon as possible, ”often under very difficult circumstances”.

Coles Woden hand sanitiser shelves

At Coles Woden the hand sanitiser shelves were cleaned out.

They also are urging shoppers to stick to the product limits and be considerate to each other and to staff.

“We understand your concerns, but if you buy only what you need and stick to the product limits it helps everyone, especially the elderly and people with a disability,” the statement from Aldi, Coles IGA and Woolworths said.

“There are thousands of your fellow Australians working tirelessly across our stores every day.

“We ask that you treat these dedicated people with the courtesy and respect they deserve. No one working or shopping on any of our stores should experience abusive or aggressive behaviour

“Thank you for your patience and support as we rise to the challenges of these extraordinary times together.”

For coronavirus updates on product limits and opening hours visit the supermarkets’ websites.

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I blame Julia Gillard for this. That Labor aberration disrupted the social order and harmonic dynamic in this country and now we have this. That government planted a lot of booby traps and time bombs which have been going off in the years since they were voted out and Caronavirus is the legacy. Donald Trump called it the China virus, perhaps in this country we should call it the Gillard virus.

Last time I checked the result of the RIOTACT poll, 12% of respondents are being honest by choosing ‘better to be safe than caught short’. A good portion of the other 88% are liars to themselves and a burden upon others because there is definitely more than 12% of the population stripping supermarket shelves!

Capital Retro3:26 pm 19 Mar 20

“Goodness. There are some haters in Canberra”

Some of then studied hate at university and graduated with honours.

perpetuallyoutraged2:09 pm 19 Mar 20

Hilarious reading all the comments bagging the PM “well he went on holidays so an FU i’m going to hoard toilet paper”. Amazing how uneducated the every day Aussie has become, blame the government for anything and everything. Our government has been on the front foot with this pandemic yet they were roasted for isolating ppl on Manus, now people are whinging that they aren’t doing enough. ScoMo could cure CV on his own and the left would still find a way to paint him as the bad guy, probably blame him for being selfish and putting the toilet paper companies out of business. I’m just thankful the left isn’t in power otherwise their cure would be Kombucha and kale sandwiches

HiddenDragon9:35 pm 18 Mar 20

Hopefully this will settle down – even before all the garages, man-caves, granny flats etc. are turned into chock-a-block grocery mini-warehouses.

Equally hopefully, the comments from at least two of the major grocery chains about recruiting extra staff, and increasing hours for existing staff, will see more re-stocking throughout the day – so that people who do not have the relevant welfare cards can also have a chance of getting currently precious grocery items.

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