Scott Morrison has been accused of "going missing" during the coronavirus pandemic, as the federal opposition continues to question his leadership on issues including state borders and national quarantine.

Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles said the prime minister has failed to unite the states during the crisis.

"When the states have disagreed, the ability of this prime minister to get consistency at a national level, across the states, has been essentially zero," he told the ABC's Insiders program on Sunday.

"He has gone missing when the going has got tough."

Mr Morrison has no legal powers to override state leaders closing their borders for health reasons.

But Mr Marles said the federal government had "relegated itself to the sidelines" and should be part of the decision-making process around closures.

"I think we would have had much greater consistency" he said.

"In crises before, what you've actually seen is national governments which have led within our federation."

Mr Marles made the comments on the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday morning. Picture: ABC
Mr Marles made the comments on the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday morning. Picture: ABC

The deputy Labor leader also called on the government to show greater leadership around possible reform to the federal quarantine system.

He said it needed to "dust off" a report written former senior public servant Jane Halton last year, which recommended facilities including the Learmonth RAAF base be used for "surge" capacity.

"I think one of the really marked aspects of the COVID-19 crisis, which we'll look back on, is the degree to which the government has been prepared to abrogate itself of responsibility when there have been moments of greatest crisis," he said.

"That's particularly the case in relation to quarantine."

Originally published as ScoMo accused of 'going missing'


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