Thursday, 6 February 2020
Questions without Notice
No member of this House is perfect—not me, not the Leader of the Opposition. And where there are things that need to be improved, and over the summer, where I could have responded to events in different ways, I've already made those comments public, because I will always seek to do my best, each and every day, for the people of Australia.
But I'll tell you what I don't regret, Mr Speaker. I don't regret, when I returned to Australia with my family, ultimately, who followed me, the fact that we put in place the single biggest call-out of our reservists to go to the aid of Australians who were fighting this bushfire crisis: some 6½ thousand—3,000 called out—reservists. I do not regret establishing the National Bushfire Recovery Agency within days and putting $2 billion into the National Bushfire Recovery Agency. I don't regret pulling together the peak groups of all the organisations—from Indigenous organisations to charitable groups, tourism industry bodies, small business bodies and those looking after wildlife—and getting them together and putting the plan in place that is now in full operation, that is out there supporting local communities. I don't regret that I did not take the actions that those opposite now seek to take, in seeking to politicise a bushfire crisis, as they sought to do all summer. As we sought to communicate how we were helping Australians, as we reached out to Australians, as we coordinated our response and as we got that response out there and got boots on the ground, all the Leader of the Opposition could do was seek political opportunities for himself and his colleagues.
Our government is responding to the crisis of the bushfires. Our government responded to the crisis of the North Queensland floods. Our government is delivering on its response to the devastating drought that is being faced by the Australian people. Our government is responding to the virus that threatens the world today, and we are ensuring that our measures to date are effective in protecting Australian people not just here in this country but overseas.
The Leader of the Opposition is consumed by his political ambition. He is consumed by his political vanity. He has displayed a lack of character in this House today, which only confirms what I suspect is the each-way attitude that he has to everything. That will be confirmed more and more in the eyes of the Australian people.