House debates

Monday, 19 October 2020

Statements by Members

COVID-19: Victoria

1:52 pm

Photo of Tim WattsTim Watts (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to say thank you to Victorians. It's been hard to be a Victorian these past few months, and, frankly, if you weren't there, you wouldn't know what it's like—the dozens of members of my electorate who died in aged-care facilities; the social isolation and mental health toll of months of stringent health measures; children remote learning from home, and parents trying to do their day jobs beside them; and the devastating economic costs—jobs lost and businesses closed—that were compounded when the Morrison government cut JobKeeper payments to nearly 28,000 constituents in my electorate. But, as a state, we've achieved an incredible thing together. As Dr Norman Swan said today, 'I'm not aware of any place in the world that has done a second wave better than Victoria.' That's right, Vics do it better.

I don't pretend that the state government hasn't made mistakes along the way. No-one does. And I don't agree with every decision that they've made about the response. When the decisions are this hard, reasonable people can disagree. But, like the overwhelming majority of Victorians, I'm thankful that this government ignored the cranks and the opportunists and listened to the health experts. Like the overwhelming majority of Victorians, I know that no-one wants to retain these stringent healthcare measures for a second longer than they are necessary to protect the health of Victorians and our economy. Victorians have crushed this second wave together, and along the way, they've given the big 'V' to the knockers and the doubters on the sidelines.