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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called on Australians to stop hoarding supermarket items in a blunt rebuke of those seen stripping supermarket shelves in recent weeks.
In an address announcing new public measures on Wednesday morning, the PM slammed those engaged in bulk purchasing of food and toilet paper as “unAustralian”.
“On bulk purchasing of supplies. Stop hoarding,” he said. “I can't be more blunt about it. Stop it.
“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.”
As supermarket stores have implored customers not to bulk buy unnecessarily, Mr Morrison joined the chorus of critics saying there is enough supply to go around.
“It is not necessary. It is not something that people should be doing. What it does is it is distracting attention and efforts that need to be going into other measures, to be focusing on how we maintain supply chains into these shopping centres,” he said.
“There is no reason for people to be hoarding supplies in fear of a lock down or anything like this.
“I am seeking Australia's common-sense cooperation with these very clear advisory positions.
“Stop doing it. It's ridiculous. It's unAustralian, and it must stop.”
‘Do not abuse staff’
Mr Morrison also condemned anyone who had been rude or aggressive to workers, telling people not to abuse staff. It comes after a string of in-store altercations have been reported between shoppers and staff.
“Do not abuse staff. We’re all in this together.”
“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.”
This week both Woolworths and Coles introduced new measures to allow elderly and disabled shoppers to get early entry to supermarkets to ensure they have access to the groceries they need. On Tuesday, huge lines of elderly and vulnerable citizens could be seen queuing up at dawn to get inside stores.
Mr Morrison this morning stopped short of ruling out the need for the government to get involved with supermarket provisioning, saying he hoped Australians were better than that.
“What I want to welcome is the practical responses that have been put in place by the supermarkets themselves. I think that's sensible,” he said.
“That's just good common-sense and I would encourage them to continue to do those sorts of things. I would at first appeal to Australians to do the right thing. Obviously, there are measures that could be moved towards if we had to do that, but to be honest, I'd be very disappointed if we had to do something like that. I think Australians are better than that.”
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