House debates

Thursday, 15 February 2024

Matters of Public Importance

Albanese Government

4:13 pm

Photo of Carina GarlandCarina Garland (Chisholm, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

A piercing statement was made by one of the previous speakers, the member for Fisher, which is that we're all worse off for this MPI from the Leader of the Opposition. I must say I tend to agree. Today's topic—honestly, those opposite really are experts on incompetence and breaches of trust. There are so many places to start with this one, but I think my colleagues who have highlighted some of the episodes from Nemesis really did hit the mark, particularly in noting the secret ministries. What an absolutely disgusting breach of trust that really undermined the very fabric of democracy in this country. I must say, though: for people who consistently undermine the national broadcaster, they have delivered some of the highest viewing figures for the ABC in quite some time—so congratulations.

Viewing Nemesis was a really stark reminder of how much of a failure the last 10 years of government have been in this country, and it is a shameful thing. We heard that it wasn't a race to get vaccines when, of course, it was. When issues of public health were treated so flippantly in the way that those opposite have done, it should be little wonder that so many people now say that they've lost faith overall in institutions of government. It is the job of the Albanese Labor government to repair that trust.

I think of a pretty despicable episode in my own community of Chisholm. Those opposite often wax lyrical about the need for improved mental health services. I was horrified to discover that, hidden in budget papers for some years, there was money for a Box Hill headspace in my electorate, which was never, ever delivered. The money was cynically held back so that it could become an election announcement ahead of the 2022 election. That is a disgraceful way to treat young people and real mental health needs in our communities. I'm delighted that that service, under our government, is now up and running. It is delivering much-needed services for young people in my community.

We're talking about incompetence and dishonesty. We come into this place day after day for MPIs. So often, these topics presented to us simply invite us on this side of the House to hold up a mirror to those opposite and to remind them of the failures that have led to a situation where we are now having to spend so much time repairing the damage done to this country.

But we're not letting the disaster of the last decade stand in the way of progress—not at all. Please don't think that that's what I'm suggesting. We are delivering cost-of-living relief for all taxpayers in our country. All 13.6 million Australian taxpayers will receive a tax cut from 1 July this year. But we've done more than just that. We've ensured that medicines are cheaper. By tripling the Medicare rebate, we've ensured that it is easier and cheaper to see a doctor. We've ensured that there is cheaper child care. We've expanded paid parental leave to encourage greater workforce participation, particularly by women, who tend to be carers. We're building more social and affordable homes. We've delivered fee-free TAFE. In a really important achievement for my electorate, 60-day dispensing of scripts has saved so many people money. My electorate is the greatest recipient, with almost 25,000 people receiving 60-day scripts.


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