Senate debates

Tuesday, 17 October 2023


Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee; Reference

7:16 pm

Photo of Ross CadellRoss Cadell (NSW, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

I was not here in this building when this happened. I was at the Port of Newcastle. I was locked down in a very lovely place at Redhead Beach. I think the governments at the time did their very best to keep Australians safe. I got the jab. I was not overly fearful of the jab at the time.

I know that you can't improve what you don't measure, and you can't improve fully what you don't measure fully. The inquiry we have is not a full measure. The inquiry we need to have is a royal commission. I think similarly to Senator Hanson. Why don't we want to know what was done? Why don't we want to know what happened for next time? Why don't we want to know the scope of everything for the future? I have trouble understanding. I think the gentleman sitting next to me, the Hon. Senator Colbeck, was in the room when some of these things were done. I think they did the best with what they had.

Australia came through it reasonably well. It was not a bad situation, but what could we do better? What information was given to the decision-makers that may not have been full? What leaps of faith did they have to take? If we have everything examined and look at it again, we can say: 'That was wrong last time. That's what they did last time. That's where they failed. That's where they succeeded.' We can say these things. I struggle to understand that this government doesn't want to examine more fully the actions of the previous government. If I were you, I'd be getting a microscope and crawling in every nook and cranny I could find. This is part of it.

I fully support what Senator Roberts said. It's just so we can have a look. I don't think there's any reason to blame anyone. Everyone in Australia had good intentions when this happened. There were mistakes made. Was it perfect? No chance in the world. Were there, Senator Roberts, dodgy Chinese videos done? I don't know. I know I had a dodgy Chinese meal during lockdown. I'm not sure about a dodgy Chinese videos.

We just need to know. We need to tick the good things that were done and cross the rubbish things that were done so that we can say, 'Here's what we should do next time.' It's not a big thing. It's what we should all aspire to. We should aim to improve and look at what we can do. A royal commission is the most powerful and ultimate way of doing it. It needs access to documents. It needs access to people. It needs access to the full scope of what happened. Without that it's a band-aid on a open wound.

I support you for bringing this motion here. I can't think of a reason why we shouldn't support it. I can't think of any reason it won't improve us for the future. You're coming from a good place—it's to know what happened and to know what to do in the future. It's not to blame. It's not to criticise. It's not to do anything like that. It's to find who acted honourably, who didn't act honourably, who we can ignore in the future and who we can trust in the future. That's why it should be supported.


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