House debates

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Matters of Public Importance

Morrison Government

3:20 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

They do, unlike previous prime ministers and Defence ministers, get Defence to roll out the red carpet when the Prime Minister's arriving. They crank out the Top Gun soundtrack when he sits in the cockpit, but, of course, the plane doesn't go anywhere. It's all just about the still—the image—not about actually doing the deal.

Today we saw it again: no responsibility. We have a health minister who, essentially, signalled: 'Wait for the next vaccine. Don't worry. Another one's coming if you don't like this one.' And they wonder why the vaccine rollout numbers have been so bad. We're not in the top 100 of countries, and this government said that we were at the front of the queue. We could have been. If we were prepared to do deals with companies producing mRNA vaccines, we could have not only had them; we could have been making them here. But, again, they were so complacent—too busy patting themselves on the back to worry about delivery.

Then, today, to top it all off—I think this was the highlight of Question Time today—was Stuey. He actually said that they were the best in the world with the COVIDSafe app. This COVIDSafe app which has been an absolute debacle in its rollout.

An opposition member: $70 million.

$70 million, and does anyone know anyone who's used this COVIDSafe app? We have systems throughout the country, because state governments had to step up to fill the void that was left by federal government failure. But, remember, they did run a public info campaign for it. They haven't run one that's effective for the vaccine, they haven't run one that's effective or done anything serious about national quarantine, but they did run one for the app. So, to them, the success of the app is that it's on a phone. Not that it's used, not that it's traced anyone and not that it's been of any effect. That says it all about this government.

This is a government that used to have targets. Everyone in category 1a would be fixed—in aged care and disability care—by Easter. We know that hasn't been delivered, even now. They were going to have 4 million people vaccinated fully by the end of March. They missed that by 3.4 million. Perhaps it's no accident that the day after March is 1 April. They said there'd be 13 pop-up clinics for aged-care workers by May. There are only three, even now, and they're all in Sydney. What was their solution? They abandoned having any targets. Now no-one knows when the vaccination of Australians will be finished, because they've given up setting a target.

This is a government that is defined by inaction until there's an absolute crisis. We saw it today when—finally, belatedly—they announced some assistance for Victoria. We saw it when it comes to vaccination. We've seen it when it comes to a national quarantine system. We saw it with wage subsidies, which they only brought in when the queues lapped around the blocks of Centrelink offices. We saw it when it came to bushfires, when he said, 'I don't hold a hose, mate.' We saw it when it came to women's issues, where a reported sexual assault didn't even result in any action from this government; it took the March4Justice to jolt them out of their complacency. They're not even responsible for their own office. The Prime Minister has had two inquiries into what his office knew. Why doesn't he just ask them and then tell the Australian people?

This is a Prime Minister who won't even accept responsibility for his own words. He does 180-degree turns and hopes his audience are like goldfish and just don't remember. His only concept of a race is the speed in which he runs from his responsibilities. It's not good enough, and Australia deserves better.


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