Thursday, 6 February 2020
Matters of Public Importance
As we have this matter of public importance today about the government's supposed failure to front up with Australia's people on issues they feel are most important, I think it's worth noting what we've done in this week of parliament. We spent the first full day devoted to the bushfires: to setting forward the criteria, acknowledging our firefighters and acknowledging the loss and desperate plight of so many people who have been caught in the bushfires. We've put in place a lot of the criteria, making sure that everyone understands the delineation of the federal and state governments, giving the people out there who had been affected the criteria they need so they can move forward. We had another two days of discussion in the Federation Chamber as well, giving every member of parliament the opportunity they've craved so that they can inform their own electorates what they're doing in relation to the bushfires this summer.
We then spent considerable time on the coronavirus. Again, we've been criticised because we're not fronting up with the issues that most affect Australians, but we've devoted so much of this time to the coronavirus, talking about how it's affecting our people and what steps we're putting in place to protect our people, talking about what we're doing with Christmas Island, understanding the relationship we have with our scientists, understanding the conversations we're having with China and talking about the spread of this disease and how we're doing our utmost to look after and protect our people. We are also talking about how we are trying to protect and boost our trade in the face of coronavirus. There are also the impacts and, again, the steps we are taking to protect our reputation agriculturally. So, again, people will be saying, 'I hope the coalition government comes back and lets us know exactly what they're doing in relation to coronavirus.'
We've also devoted so much time to talking about what we're going to do to protect our veterans. We are putting in place a commissioner who not just in the now but into the future will make sure that we do everything we can to look after the mental health of our serving military personnel and who will also look into and look after the mental health of our veterans. The commissioner will make sure that we do everything we possibly can to assist them while they are serving in the armed forces and also when helping them transition back to civilian life.
We have worked on a strong economy. We have worked on some of the other issues associated with the things that are most important to the people of Australia.