Monday, 22 February 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Health. Will the minister please outline how the Morrison government is guaranteeing the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to all Australians and how this approach will help chart an Australian way out of the pandemic?
I want to thank the member for Reid not just for her question but also for her service in supporting Australians with mental health challenges. One of the most significant things during the course of the difficult year that Australia has had, the year of the global pandemic, has been our continued work on containment in Australia. I'm pleased to be able to inform the House that Australia has now had a fifth day, out of the last six, with zero cases of community transmission. That's a collaborative partnership, a national achievement, of the people, the jurisdictions, the Australian government and the medical profession. But we know we won't be fully safe until the world is safe, and that's why a vaccine is so important.
Yesterday I had the privilege of joining the Prime Minister as Jane Malysiak became the first Australian to be given the vaccine. This morning I was privileged to join the ACT, showing the partnership between the Commonwealth and the territories and states. I was with the ACT health minister, Rachel Stephen-Smith, when Maddy, a nurse, was given the vaccine. Tomorrow, I understand, the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Greens will put their shoulders to the cause, and I want to thank them for their contribution and their part. They've been playing an important role. This reaches across all parties. It reaches across all circumstances. I want to thank everybody for being involved.
What we've seen is that Australians are stepping up to the cause, and they will step up to the cause. We had people such as Mila, a disability support worker who started life in the Philippines, who was there yesterday, who said it was one of the great honours of her life to be saying to the Australian people that she was contributing. She supports our disability patients as a carer and she was putting herself forward to be part of this great Australian project. This Australian project, involving people from all corners of the land, begins this week with our elderly Australians in aged care and those in disability care, with their carers and our frontline health workers, and with our border and quarantine workers. We had the privilege of meeting some of those yesterday, some who had been working in the program throughout so much of the last year. All of these people have helped to keep us safe so far. But now it's our turn to help keep them safe, and that's what this vaccination program is about: it's about keeping Australians safe.