Tuesday, 1 September 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has failed to listen to aged-care residents, providers and even the royal commission he established. Isn't counsel assisting the royal commission right to say, in direct response to the Commonwealth's evidence, 'It's difficult to learn a lesson if you don't think there's one to learn'? Why is the Prime Minister focused on a list of announcements instead of taking action to protect aged-care residents? Is it the case that, if actions speak louder than words, the Prime Minister truly is the quietest Australian?
Opposition members interjecting—
The Prime Minister will pause for a second. The Prime Minister will just take his seat. The level of interjections is far too loud, and I will start ejecting as fast as you're interjecting. The Manager of Opposition Business was seeking the call.
That is fairly general. I am going to repeat the point ad nauseam: it is very hard for me to hear these when there is a wall of interjections coming over the shoulder of the Manager of Opposition Business. All I can say is: if anyone used an unparliamentary term, I would like them to withdraw it. The Prime Minister has the call.
What the government will do is respond to issues and questions that are raised by the royal commission by simply presenting to the royal commission the information and the facts, as the government has presented here in this place as well. The $1.5 billion that we've already made in response to the COVID crisis that has impacted on this country—
The Leader of the Opposition interjects again. Aged-care funding in Australia increases by more than $1 billion every year, and on top of that a further $1.5 billion has specifically been provided to aid in support of the response to the COVID pandemic. Now, the Leader of the Opposition can assert many things. He can make many claims but that doesn't make them true—as the Australian people have learnt about the Labor Party, when it comes to financial management and the truth.
Mr Conroy interjecting—
These are two things that seem to elude them on these matters. The issue of responding to the coronavirus challenge with aged care is incredibly significant and incredibly important. We are applying ourselves to those challenges with the resources that are necessary and have been called upon in particular by the aged-care sector, in particular with the extension of measures already put in place by this government and extended again earlier this week in response to requests from the aged-care sector, as we've carefully considered where the state of the pandemic is up to, and we have made the decision to extend that support further because of the nature of the challenge that we face. The Minister for Health may wish to add to my answer.
Adding to the Prime Minister's answer to the question the Leader of the Opposition asked about actions: there are four principal actions we have taken over recent years to significantly and dramatically improve the quality. We recognise the statements made by the commission, which did, I would note, refer to actions over decades, not just over one short period, specifically: firstly, a massive injection of funding from $13 billion to $22 billion, $23 billion, $24 billion and $25 billion and then the additional $1.5 billion for COVID the Prime Minister mentioned; secondly, the calling of the royal commission and the extension of it; thirdly, the creation of the quality indicator program; fourthly, the creation of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, which so far this year has conducted 1,180 visits to different aged-care facilities to help protect, to help save and to help improve quality.