House debates

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Statements by Members

COVID-19: Quarantine, COVID-19: Vaccination

1:39 pm

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

The Morrison government had two jobs during this pandemic: quarantine and vaccinations. They bungled both, and today Victorians are paying the price. The new cases and the new restrictions announced in Victoria today are the latest consequences of the Morrison government's failure to do its job.

Australia will continue to be vulnerable to outbreaks like this until the Morrison government fixes quarantine and the vaccine rollout. There have been 17 leaks from hotel quarantine during this pandemic, and it's no surprise—hotels are designed for travellers, not for quarantine. The national cabinet's Halton review recognised this six months ago. The states have recognised this and have been putting forward options for specialised quarantine facilities themselves. But this Prime Minister isn't interested if he's not doing the announcing.

The government's quarantine failures are compounded by their vaccination bungles. Last year, when it mattered, the Morrison government was complacent and failed to get the quantity and diversity of vaccine supply we need. The Victorian government would love to be doing a crash vaccination push in the wake of this outbreak, but it can't because there's not the supply.

The government should have fixed these issues last year. The next best time to fix them is now, but we still see no urgency from the Morrison government. The Prime Minister might as well be in Hawaii again for all the use he has been during this crisis. In these times, Australians need leadership from the Commonwealth, but this Prime Minister is incapable of providing it. He thinks the job is done when he's done the announcement. He thinks being Prime Minister is about playing dress-ups for the cameras and making ridiculous poses for the TV news. It's not good enough. Australians need a Prime Minister that delivers for them. (Time expired)