House debates

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Statements by Members


1:39 pm

Photo of Peta MurphyPeta Murphy (Dunkley, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I would like to read from a letter that Cecilia Webster recently wrote to me on behalf of all nurses: 'As everyone knows 2020 is the World Health Organization's Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. It was to be a year of celebration and recognition of the contribution of nurses worldwide over the last 200 years. But this year has overwhelmingly highlighted the courageous work of nurses and other healthcare workers in the face of a once-in-100-years pandemic, a pandemic that has infected more than 51 million people and claimed the lives of more than 1.27 million souls worldwide.'

I agree with Cecilia that it's timely that the Australian government and community recognises all nurses who have been on the frontline and were the final line of defence against the pandemic: nursing patients who were COVID-19 positive, manning testing stations, going into nursing homes under extraordinary circumstances, and even contracting COVID-19 in the course of their duties. They have been, and continue to be, under enormous stress because of their workload under the virus. They wear PPE, work longer shifts, have greater risks, have disrupted holidays and endure the loneliness of quarantine and separation from families.

It is time for an Australian nursing medal in recognition of meritorious nursing service to Australia as part of the Australia Day awards. Cecilia, it's a great idea and I'm going to back you for it. I hope everyone else does too.


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