Senate debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023


Albanese Government

5:19 pm

Photo of Helen PolleyHelen Polley (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I withdraw that. The reality is that senators come in here and, as in the previous contribution that was made today, accuse us of not delivering on our election commitments when it comes to aged care and nurses in residential homes. As I was saying, they were so bad through all the years that they were in government that a crisis was confronting us in aged care. It was not only the quality of care, not only the abuse that was happening in the residential aged-care homes, but the lack of recruitment and the inability to retain staff because they were being paid some of the lowest wages in this country.

Coincidentally, it happens to be predominantly women who work in aged care. We know that those opposite will not do anything to help anyone who works in the caring economy. Just as they abandoned people who work in aged care and they abandoned the senior citizens of this country, they have done exactly the same when it comes to child care and early education. They have failed over and over again.

In this government we've actually changed the way that we view aged care. During the election campaign the now Prime Minister made a commitment, which he has already delivered on. We are in the process of implementing all the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. We are leading the way in restoring the confidence of the Australian people in their government. After nine years—almost 10—the respect of the Australian people was no longer there, because they were sick and tired of having a government that was only interested in using the government benches to look after its mates. The government was rorting and mismanaging the economy. It was not looking after the people it was elected to represent.

We've implemented so many of the things that we want to do. I heard the good senator talking about manufacturing and making the allegation that we're not really interested in manufacturing. We were not in government when we saw company after company, industry after industry, leaving this country, taking their goods and going offshore. And what did the former government do? Nothing. What did they do they about skills? What did they do to keep people in TAFE so that we have skills for the future? Nothing; we don't. They haven't done anything. All they did was rubbish TAFE.

We're the ones who have invested in 180,000 fee-free TAFE places to make sure that we have the skills of the future. This is what an adult government does. We show by leadership, and I will come into this place every single day and put Mr Albanese's reputation up against Peter Dutton's or Scott Morrison's any day. (Time expired)


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