Tuesday, 11 May 2021
Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers
Danher, Mr Liam
I rise to speak to the motion moved by Senator Kitching to take note of answers to questions on the NDIS. As has been said by Senator Kitching and Senator Reynolds, the death of anyone and the death of any child is a great tragedy and not something that we want to see—particularly if it could have been avoided. We're all touched by this; we're all affected by this—none more so, of course, than his family and friends. I think we just have to acknowledge that it's not something we want; it's not something we'd ever seek; it's something that we're all incredibly saddened by and sorry for.
Having said that, talking down the NDIS is something that Labor does very often, very frequently, and very well. They're very, very happy to go on the attack—over what is, fundamentally, a scheme that this government should be incredibly proud of and a scheme that Australia should be incredibly proud of. There are not many countries around the world that have schemes equivalent to this. It's a very, very good safety net. It provides very, very good care for a lot of Australians.
Yes, it is tragic when someone on the NDIS passes away. It is very tragic and it's something that we want to avoid and not see occur. But I would ask those on the other side: how many lives has this scheme saved? How many lives has it improved the quality of—the lives of not just the people on the scheme but of their families? How much good has it contributed to Australian society? They can't bring themselves to acknowledge that, because it is not their scheme; it is our scheme. They can't bring themselves to acknowledge how well we administer this scheme. Yes, occasionally, something goes wrong—as, occasionally, something can go wrong in anything at all. Occasionally, things go wrong in medicine. Occasionally, things go wrong in aviation. Occasionally, things go wrong on our roads. Sometimes, these things are avoidable; sometimes, they may not be avoidable. But those sitting over there are knocking this whole scheme, for one tragedy. This is a tragedy—an absolute tragedy. But just sitting there and knocking a whole scheme that, overall, this government administers for the benefit of Australians, and, generally, for the great benefit of Australians, is just counterproductive.
Look at how much money this government spends on this scheme, and ask: how much money would they be spending on the scheme? They would be spending unlimited amounts, because they know how to spend; they don't know how to stop spending. So, yes, it would be great: give every person on the NDIS $10 million—fantastic! Who's going to pay for it? They don't have anything that's costed. They have no idea what things actually cost to provide. Well, we on this side do. We actually take all Australian taxpayers and all Australians into account, and we recognise that we have to be fiscally responsible, and we provide a scheme that we can actually afford. We provide a scheme that we can have a budget for. We know what it's going to cost and we recognise this.
And, by the way, we have a budget—not that anyone on the other side would know that we're actually handing down a budget tonight. Do you even realise that we're handing down a budget tonight that Australians are concerned about and which is going to affect Australians? You've not asked one question regarding the budget that we will be handing down—a good budget that we will be handing down, that's going to benefit all Australians—because you don't care. You don't care about Australians. You just care about yourselves. You just care about big-noting yourselves and making claims that you cannot live up to—because that's what Labor does. That's all Labor is capable of. (Time expired)