Tuesday, 27 October 2020
I, indeed, would have been happy to second the motion. I join with the Leader of the Opposition. I believe it is very important that this parliament come together today and express its thanks and gratitude to the people of Victoria for their extraordinary resilience, their determination, their patience and the care that they have shown for each other through what has been an exhausting, difficult and overwhelming time for so many.
There have been many things asked of Australians over the course of what has been probably, in most people's living memory, one of the most difficult times they have ever experienced. Certainly as a nation and in our collective experience it has been many generations since Australians have had to go through a time such as this. But, for Victorians, this has been a time that no other Australians have really had to endure. So it is right for our parliament to congratulate and to thank Victorians for the way that they have conducted themselves over these many, many difficult months. Indeed, yesterday I was pleased to hear of the decision of the Premier and the Victorian government to take this next important step forward. I said at the outset of the Victorian lockdown that Australia will not win unless Victoria wins, and we are now starting to see Victoria win again, and I welcome that. This is a good thing for Australia. It's a good thing for all Australians, and we all welcome it, I am sure, from every corner of this country.
When the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic hit this country, we brought together all state premiers and chief ministers in what was an innovation in the national cabinet, which has now met on 30 occasions. It is unprecedented in our federation history for premiers and chief ministers to come together with the Prime Minister and work in the way that we have. There have been critics of the national cabinet and there have been disagreements amongst the national cabinet from time to time, but I can assure Australians, as I do—