Senate debates

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Matters of Urgency

COVID-19: Quarantine

4:54 pm

Photo of Tim AyresTim Ayres (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

The last contribution demonstrates that the coalition government doesn't grasp the situation that it is in. It doesn't grasp its responsibilities. The government doesn't understand that, as Senator Patrick just said, with 12 months to prepare it's the federal government's responsibility to deliver quarantine services and vaccine services and a vaccine rollout that would keep Australians safe. You see, in the middle of last year the Prime Minister said that all Australians overseas who wanted to come home would be home by Christmas. There are still 40,000 people waiting. Late last year the Prime Minister said Australia would be at the front of the queue for vaccines. Now, we're last in the queue—100th in the queue for vaccine delivery. This government's abjectly failed. The Prime Minister said four million Australians would be vaccinated by the end of March. There are still less than three million Australians vaccinated now, and we're in May! The Prime Minister thinks this isn't a race. Of course it's a race. It's a race for our economy; it's a race for our public health.

The real human consequences of the government's failure to appreciate the urgency of the situation, to appreciate its responsibilities and to act, is the India ban last week—lock them out, and then threaten to lock them up. That's all that's left to this miserable excuse for a government. Its failure has real-world consequences for ordinary Australians. Ziva Narang is just 19 months old and staying with her grandmother. They couldn't get her and her family on a flight back last year. They are trapped. Here's what her parents told the committee, 'Every time I see her on the video cam I feel like crying, but I can't cry in front of my own parents—it makes them so disheartened.' This miserable excuse for a government is confounded completely. I remember having them all out there, all through last year, bellowing out, 'Open the borders!' 'Open the borders,' they said, confounded by the fact that Australians in the states and territories were rewarding the performance of state premiers who took a tough line on the pandemic. You know what the difference was? The difference is that the state premiers have done their jobs. They have carefully examined their responsibilities, done their jobs and delivered. The economic figures that ministers over there crow about are a result of the delivery of the state governments, not the performance of this joke of a government. (Time expired)


No comments