House debates

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Healthcare Workers

2:28 pm

Photo of Gladys LiuGladys Liu (Chisholm, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Health. Will the minister update the House on our national health response to COVID-19 and in particular how the Morrison government recognises and gives thanks for the remarkable work of our medical and healthcare workers, who have kept Australians safe through 2020?

2:29 pm

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health) Share this | | Hansard source

I particularly want to thank the member for Chisholm. Through much of the early part of the COVID pandemic she was one of the great forces of community glue in this country. She stood for Chinese Australians, along with many others, and provided that support, provided that rallying point, and I want to thank her for that.

I want to acknowledge that, around the world, we have now passed 68 million cases of COVID and 1.56 million lives have been lost. In the last 24 hours, 640,000 cases have been detected and over 12,000 lives have been lost. In Australia, in the same time as those 12,000 lives have been lost, we have seen zero cases in an ICU, zero Australians with COVID-19 on ventilation and zero cases detected across the country within the community. On that basis, we owe an enormous debt of gratitude and thanks to our health workers. On behalf of the government, on behalf of the parliament and on behalf of all Australians, I thank our amazing health and medical workers around the country.

In my own electorate, for example, there is Peninsula Health. In particular, I thank Tresna Cuttriss, the nurse unit manager at Frankston Hospital. I choose her because she has been an inspiring leader. Interestingly, it's a very similar role to the one my mother had in the same hospital half a century ago. Tresna received the first COVID patient into her ward in Peninsula Health. She helped train a team. She helped keep that team safe. She helped keep people on the peninsula safe. She led the nurses to, in my view, their highest moment since the Second World War. They have been among the finest of Australians at the greatest time of need. They have been extraordinary—along with our doctors. Dr Peter Kelley leads infectious diseases at Frankston Hospital and across Peninsula Health. He has worked on infection control and safety. And there is the CEO Felicity Topp. There are all the nurses, all the doctors, all the orderlies and attendants within that facility. Across Australia, our pharmacists stayed open. Our pathologists have been on the front line—and or specialists, our physios and our allied health workers. These are the Australians who have helped keep other Australians safe. This has been the hardest of years, but I believe it has been the finest of years. Above all else, we thank our health workers, our medical workers and our nurses. (Time expired)