Wednesday, 2 June 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Marion from Carrum Downs called my office furious when she heard the Prime Minister say that the vaccination rollout was not a race. For Marion it's a race. It's a race to see her husband again in aged care. It's a race to protect herself after her battle with breast cancer. Why has the Prime Minister failed Australians like Marion with his vaccine rollout?
I'd be very pleased to receive further details so that we can extend our care and support to the constituent that you've referred to as she particularly is facing these difficult days ahead with her treatment, as cancer sufferers around the country are. This is a very difficult time, no doubt, for them, and as these other issues are impacting the nation I can understand how they can add further distress.
It is very important that we move as quickly as we possibly can and as effectively and as safely as we can to vaccinate as many Australians as possible. Those are the comments that I've made. They're what our health advisers have also said. Today, we received the news that over 700,000 Australians have been vaccinated in the past week and over 130,000 Australians in one day. They are record numbers again. In the course of the past month the rate of vaccination in this country amongst eligible Australians has increased by over 100 per cent. It's doubled. It's doubled in the course of the past month. There were some two million in the first 66 days and a further two million in the next 30 days. The changes that were introduced, as I drew the national cabinet together back in April to put the plan into place that ensured that we increased the vaccination rates in this country, have been effective, because we've seen the vaccination rates double over the course of the past month.
It is important for all Australians to roll up their sleeve on this project. We are seeing more and more Australians roll up their sleeve.
Ms Swanson interjecting—
The member for Paterson will resume her seat. The Prime Minister will resume his seat. I asked the member for Paterson to leave under standing order 94(a). On her way out she interjected yet again. Does she know that that is highly disorderly and usually results in a naming? Does the member for Paterson wish to apologise to the House?
You can now leave under 94(a). That is the last time I will do that. I'm very happy later in question time, if this arises again, to explain the practice and to explain how I've been lenient on that occasion. I've done that so as not to disturb question time for the vast bulk of members who aren't interjecting, but I'll have no choice if members think they can backchat the chair on the way out. It's not going to happen. It's disrespectful to the rest of you and it's unbecoming of an elected member of parliament. The Prime Minister has the call.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. So we must move forward quickly and effectively and safely. The remarks that I made on this matter back in March reflected the remarks made by Queensland Health, when they said on 3 March, 'This is not a race'; the AMA president on 10 April, when he said, 'It is not a race to the finish line'; and Professor Murphy on 10 March. Professor Murphy, with whom I wholeheartedly agree, made further comments yesterday, which I also agree with. So, rather than the opposition getting into arguments about words, perhaps they'd like to support the government—
My point of order is on direct relevance, Mr Speaker. This is about a woman wanting to be able to see her husband again, who is a cancer survivor. For that to be ridiculed as being an objection about words is offensive and irrelevant to the question that was asked.
I reject what the member, in coming to the dispatch box—I was referring to the comments about race. I already extended my great sympathies to the constituent in question, as the member should know. The opposition can continue to play politics with the vaccination program, or they can support the national effort. Over the course of this pandemic, the opposition has sought to play politics with the pandemic, and they should be ashamed of that. We will get on with the job. (Time expired)