Senate debates

Monday, 23 March 2020

Statement by the President

Coronavirus

10:20 am

Photo of Bridget McKenzieBridget McKenzie (Victoria, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—The Nationals associate ourselves with and support the comments of the Leader of the Government in this place, Senator Mathias Cormann. We won't be seeking to politicise what is absolutely a crisis for our nation, and indeed the globe. For regional Australians, we stand ready to do our bit in responding to the crisis. Keeping food supply chains open at this point in time is incredibly important. Australians will have access to clean, green, fabulous food produced by our farmers right across this nation. Our government stands willing to make sure that those supply chains remain open and that our farmers can produce that food—so, there is no need to panic-buy—to make sure that the very vulnerable in our community can have access to the food they need to keep their families fed in a nutritious way.

We are going to find new ways to exhibit the Australian spirit. Our resilience as a people, our compassion as a people are things that we Australians somehow find very deep within ourselves, in our communities and as individuals, when we're faced with global crises. We're very good at it. Our regional communities have exhibited it through the drought and through the bushfires over summer. I know that we'll do the same through this crisis.

I thank the government for their response in this ever-evolving, ever-changing current space. I think we have to use the best evidence available to us and trust our chief medical officers in what is an ever-evolving incidence. I applaud the Prime Minister's decision to hold a national cabinet where we, as one—Labor, Liberal and Nationals—are sitting around the same table focusing on how we can best support our communities and our nation through this unprecedented time.

From The Nationals' perspective, we look forward to our community supplying fabulous food, but don't rush out and buy it all at once—it'll still be there tomorrow. The trucks are on the road at this time. I know that our government, along with the opposition and the state premiers, will be working towards making sure we're as healthy and safe as possible. I ask us all to stand together to ensure that we get through this as best as we can as a nation.

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