Wednesday, 2 December 2020
Yesterday, in response to a question from the Leader of the Opposition, the Minister for Government Services said, about our concerns on disability during COVID:
At no point at all did the opposition raise any issues with the government's response—at no time at all.
But I've checked the records. On nine occasions we raised these issues with the minister. We raised them in correspondence with him on 19 March 2020. We raised them again with him and Senator Ruston on 9 April. We again raised our concerns about disability being neglected by the government on 15 July 2020, and again we raised them on 27 July. We also issued media statements on four occasions, including on 20 March. We also did interviews on television and radio—and I include those—on 29 July, 14 July, 9 August and 16 August. Even more remarkably, in the minister's misrepresentation of Labor and what we've done he said he'd had no correspondence from us, but in fact he has written back to us about our correspondence on two occasions. On 14 May he wrote a four-page letter to me which said that there were no problems. Of course, that was before the royal commission revealed them. Again, the forgetful minister, who didn't realise that we'd raised it with him, has now got to the point where he has forgotten the letter that he sent to us on 15 September. We raised the problems of disability care in COVID. The government and the minister fundamentally misrepresented our position, and he should come into the House and withdraw.