House debates

Monday, 22 May 2023

Private Members' Business


11:47 am

Photo of Zaneta MascarenhasZaneta Mascarenhas (Swan, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

One year and one day ago, Australians voted to change the country, and they did that by changing the government. I thank the member for Riverina for talking about the pandemic and bringing that up, because Western Australians know who held up the bargain of looking after the public, and the truth is that was Premier Mark McGowan. Australia knows what leadership looks like in a crisis, and they saw that, often, from state premiers. The truth is that we brought up the pandemic and there was this question: 'Well, who was responsible for the saving of lives?' I'll say that there is some work that the federal government did, but there were also some decisions that were made by the federal government that absolutely made that harder, which included not ordering enough vaccinations or getting the vaccination rollout right. I'll highlight some of the things that were said: 'I don't hold a hose.' 'It's not my job.' But there were two things that were his job, which related to ordering enough vaccinations and getting the rollout right, and I'm going to say that those opposite didn't get it right.

I'll also take this opportunity to highlight that the former Prime Minister sided with Clive Palmer and was prepared to open up Western Australia, which was at the forefront of making sure that our economy was ticking. Some of the surplus that was handed down in this budget related to royalties from the resource sector, and that happened because what the Labor Party understands is that, when you get health outcomes right, you get economic benefits, so, if you get the health of your citizens right, you get good economic outcomes.

I feel so privileged to stand here before the House and talk to this motion, one year and one day after the Albanese Labor government and I were elected. The people of Swan put their faith and trust in me, and that's why I was elected as the first woman to be the member for Swan in its 101-year history. We're getting on with delivering what we promised to Australians. I've had multiple conversations with constituents in my community, and they were relieved to see the adults back in charge.

When we talk about promises in politics, we should think back to the choice that Australians had at the 2022 election. I and Labor presented a series of policies to build the foundation for a better future. They included strengthening Medicare. Labor built Medicare and we will always protect it. They also included cheaper child care. The Labor Party understands the importance of access to work, and child care is a part of this—and a part of that's because of the number of women that we have in our caucus. The policies included cheaper medicines because, again, we understand the importance of the health of our communities. They included action on climate change. On our side, we accept the science of climate change, and it makes it so much easier to act when we're all on the same page. They included the National Reconstruction Fund. We want to see more things made here in Australia, and we saw, during the pandemic, what happened with broken-down supply chains. We're also in the process of implementing the aged care royal commission recommendations, because we want to restore dignity for our most experienced Australians. We've introduced domestic violence leave, because we want to lower the hurdles for people escaping those relationships. We've expanded paid parental leave and made it more flexible. We also put in a submission to raise the minimum wage, because our lowest-paid workers deserved a decent pay increase. And of course there is the First Nations Voice to Parliament and the future referendum.

In comparison, what was the choice that the Liberals presented to my community? 'I don't hold a hose,' and, 'It's not my job'—no plan; no vision; just disunity, delay and division.

So I say to the member for Forde that the budget we delivered on 9 May lives up to what Australians voted for a year ago. I will say that I know that families are doing it tough, and that, for families in my electorate, we're delivering responsible and targeted cost-of-living measures. It's a delicate calibration and we don't want to feed the inflation dragon. There's so much more work that we need to do, but the thing I'd say is that the federal Labor government does not want to waste a day.


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