House debates

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Statements by Members

Victoria: COVID-19

1:58 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme) Share this | | Hansard source

Prime Minister, you do not understand my Victoria, so let me explain what I mean. You see your Victoria and your political dilemma. I have my Victoria and its amazing people and community. Your Victoria is a political calculation; you see it as COVID and political risk management. I see a Victoria where people are stressed; funerals are missed; parties, reunions and weddings are cancelled; events have been delayed; customers have vanished; shops and roads and schools are empty. My fellow Victorians are resigned, angry, depressed and anxious, but my fellow Victorians are also very strong and they are kind in each other's troubles. They know this COVID-19 time will pass. But my Victoria should not have been put in harm's way by you, Prime Minister.

There is a sickness in the government—a pathology of negligence at the heart of the Morrison government which is jeopardising my fellow Victorians. Mr Morrison, in your Victoria, a special quarantine facility has not been built. The vaccine rollout in your Victoria has been dangerously slow, too slow—too slow for the vulnerable, too slow for frontline workers. The federal public health messaging has been at best confusing, at worst negligent. In tough times and times of crisis, my Victorians want the first question a leader asks to be 'How can I help,' not a Prime Minister who only ever asks, 'Who can I blame?' My Victoria will get through this, I have no doubt, but my Victoria will remember who stood with them when they needed it most.