House debates

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Matters of Public Importance

Prime Minister

3:12 pm

Photo of Tanya PlibersekTanya Plibersek (Sydney, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

That addition to an answer shows you exactly what this year of achievement is about, doesn't it—a year of achievement where the Prime Minister comes in here and says: 'Oh, I've got the answer. I've got a cracker of an answer for you. You're right. I cut the funding. I asked for a little bit of help for a year. I kept them on life support for a year, but wouldn't it be great if someone powerful would step in and save them? Wouldn't it be great if someone who really had some authority, the ability to do something, took this on as a project of their own?'

This is a service in his backyard. I know the Prime Minister knows this service, a service in his backyard that serves the most vulnerable Australians: people who are homeless, people who are drug and alcohol affected, people who have severe mental health issues. They are living on the streets, and they have one place to go where they feel safe, where their health is looked after—a place that stops them ending up in emergency or ending up in psychiatric institutions, because of the primary health care it offers. I say to the Prime Minister, 'Do you really think spending $170 million on a plebiscite is more important than protecting the health of the most vulnerable Australians?' He says: 'Yeah, actually it is. Yeah. Wouldn't it be great if someone somewhere could fix this—not me, never me.' He is happy to take credit but never happy to take responsibility. Wouldn't it be great if we had someone in the highest office of the land who, instead of saying, 'I wish someone would fix it,' would step up to the dispatch box and say: 'I will fix it. I can do this. I can fix it'?

I want to take a moment to reflect on something else in my electorate. I represent an area with a lot of artists, a lot of creative types, and one of the best of them is a fellow called Michael Agzarian. He put together an image that captured the spirit of a nation and the spirit of our time. It is a poster that started popping up here and there a few months ago, almost a year ago. I thought, 'Wow, what is it that is so great about that poster?'

I think you all know the one I mean.


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