House debates

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Statements by Members

Prime Minister

1:41 pm

Photo of Ed HusicEd Husic (Chifley, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovation) Share this | | Hansard source

I've not been the only MP over the last few months trying to aid constituents attempting to leave the country during a pandemic. These requests are not for the sake of a jaunt or a holiday. In many cases they're heartbreaking: people wanting to care for sick parents or to say goodbye to mum or dad. In other cases they're trying to leave the country entirely to give up their lives to help parents cope elsewhere, and they have to wait an extraordinary amount of time to get the okay to do that. They've been lucky enough to secure a ticket for rare flights out, but then there's an agonising wait for government approval. In some cases the approval comes so late that the person receives word as they're boarding a plane that their parent has passed and that they've missed their funeral entirely. So imagine the disbelief of people upon hearing that the Prime Minister used a recent international trip to do sightseeing tours to pubs and to visit the place of his own family's heritage. I don't begrudge a bloke wanting to reconnect with his family; I have a problem if his government is making it tough for others to do the same in tough circumstances. I just can't believe the Prime Minister's happy to foster the belief that the standards that apply to everyone else don't apply to him. The borders were understandably shut to protect the country, but for how long? Is it until the stalled and failed vaccine rollout is sorted or until the feds build and open fit-for-purpose national quarantine facilities? If we're all supposed to be standing together, shoulder to shoulder during this pandemic, the Prime Minister should lead by example. One rule for everyone, not some, Prime Minister!