Thursday, 2 September 2021
Matters of Public Importance
COVID-19: Morrison Government
[by video link] We are an island continent. We have every natural advantage. The only reason we are now talking about living with the virus before Australians are vaccinated is because we also have a Prime Minister who failed to plan and has thus failed to manage the two crucial tasks of the pandemic. It's not just a health crisis. It's not just a disaster of people dying and of people filling up ICU wards. It's not just a mental health crisis. It's also now an economic disaster.
The Australian economy is bleeding hundreds of millions of dollars every day and billions of dollars every week, adding tens of billions of dollars to the national debt that the next generation is being asked to repay because the Prime Minister failed to plan and he failed to manage the pandemic. The Prime Minister is now foisting an economic disaster upon our country. Yesterday, despite all evidence, we had Liberal MPs telling us how well the economy was going and how grateful we should be for 0.7 per cent growth, anaemic growth. Remember, that was three months ago, before the current round of mass lockdowns really started. Compare that to countries that are almost fully vaccinated like the UK, which has been getting four per cent growth in the same period. Australians now have fewer jobs, there's less national wealth, wages are going further backwards, small businesses are getting smashed and household budgets are getting smashed because the PM failed to plan and failed to manage the pandemic.
The election of a Labor government at the next election would fundamentally change our nation for the better. We have a plan to create more opportunities for the working family in Everton Park who are sick and tired of living week to week. We have a plan to create secure, well-paid northside jobs so the baggage handler living in Banyo who lost his job because of COVID can find his feet. We have a plan to revive our Aussie-made manufacturing industry in our industrial suburbs like Geebung, Banyo, Eagle Farm and Pinkenba. We will ease the pressure on the household budget for the family living in Brighton by cutting the cost of child care and reducing their power bills. We will embrace the potential of renewable energy not only to protect our environment but to create good, secure jobs for the young apprentice who's living in Deagon. I know that northsiders have aspirations, and they want a government that invests in them and invests in their future. I know an Albanese Labor government will deliver for northside families.
Last week, the Palaszczuk government announced that, from Wednesday 8 September, the Brisbane Entertainment Centre at Boondall will open a mass vaccination hub for northsiders. It will begin with 1,500 and ramp up to 3,000 vaccines a day, once the Morrison government sort out their supply issues, which they failed to plan for as well. Our Premier is also stepping up and doing the Prime Minister's job, by protecting our borders and by getting cracking on a fit-for-purpose quarantine facility in Queensland. Unlike the Prime Minister, our Premier understands that Queenslanders cannot afford to wait until mid-2023 for a fit-for-purpose quarantine facility. The Palaszczuk government's 1,000-bed regional quarantine facility will be ready to go by the end of the year, in just four months. That is real leadership. On the other hand, the Prime Minister couldn't organise so much as a whip-round at the Trade Coast Hotel in Pinkenba in four months.
Over two weeks ago, I wrote directly to the Deputy Prime Minister, requesting an urgent briefing on the proposed fit-for-purpose quarantine facility in Pinkenba in my electorate of Lilley. To date, the federal government has failed to engage in any community consultation with Pinkenba residents about the 1,000-bed quarantine facility to be built at the Damascus Barracks in Pinkenba—not even a letterbox drop, not even a robocall, like their great ally Clive Palmer. When I doorknocked Pinkenba village back in July, some of the residents I spoke to were hearing about the Morrison government's plans for the very first time, and that's just not good enough. At the very least, the Deputy Prime Minister needs to respond to my letter and organise a briefing with the department so that I can keep my constituents in the loop about what's happening with the national purpose-built quarantine facility and do the job that they elected me to do.
The Prime Minister had two jobs this year: secure enough vaccines to ensure a speedy, effective rollout of the vaccine and quarantine our borders. He has failed in both. And, when he is called out on his failures, the Prime Minister's response is always the same: 'It's not my job;' 'It's a matter for the states;' 'I don't hold a hose.' For the Prime Minister, every problem is someone else's fault and every crisis is someone else's responsibility. We deserve better.