Thursday, 5 March 2020
Today in question time the Prime Minister repeated a claim he's made outside this House: that there was a refusal to have a briefing from the Chief Medical Officer last Wednesday. That is not true. The facts are these. At 7.25 pm last Wednesday the health minister's office rang the shadow health minister, Chris Bowen, saying that there'd been a mix-up in CMO Brendan Murphy's office, and that he had arrived at parliament to give the opposition a briefing. That briefing went ahead at 7.30 pm with the shadow health minister, my chief of staff and my senior health adviser. At that time, I was with the Prime Minister at the vigil for Hannah Clarke and her children. That's where I was when that phone call was made. I was unaware of any of this until the next day, and I confirmed with Brendan Murphy when I met with the CMO this week that that was the fact of what occurred.
In The Age newspaper on 2 March in the 'Letters to the editor' section, it was represented that my comment, 'The evidence is clear, young Australians are living at time when they are safer from climate disasters than any at any time human history,' was made without any evidence in support of my statement. This is incorrect. My statement is in fact supported by evidence from the emergency events database, known as EM-DAT, from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters located within the School of Public Health at the University of Louvain in Brussels, and my statement is further supported by analysis of that data by Professor Lomborg.