Senate debates

Wednesday, 4 August 2021


COVID-19: Vaccination

1:50 pm

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

[by video link] The Morrison Liberal government has been criticised for the slow and miscommunicated rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine across Tasmania and Australia, and with good reason. Australia's travelling at a snail's pace with this rollout. We are behind 80 other countries in terms of ranking of vaccination rollouts. If you look at the Australian workforce, frontline workers within the retail and transport sectors were not considered to be frontline workers under this tired eight-year-old Morrison Liberal government. But it was the frontline retail staff at our major supermarkets and retail chains who stood at their checkouts fighting the brunt of this pandemic. It was the truck drivers across the country who delivered the goods that kept Australia moving—goods for our homes, our businesses and our Australian way of life. Without these truck drivers, we would have come to a complete standstill. Labor stands side by side with these workers and always will.

If you look at the rollout within the aged-care and the disability sectors, the numbers are distressing to say the very least. People are still dying in this country because of the inactions of not only the Prime Minister but the minister for health, Greg Hunt, through the mishandling of the outbreaks, the slow rollout of vaccines and the lack of having specialised quarantine facilities. We also have a dismal vaccine rate for people in disability homes and disability carers, with only one-third currently having been vaccinated. Why are ministers like Senator Colbeck and Minister Hunt still not being held accountable for their failures? I wish those opposite would treat all Australians fairly, especially Australians who are working on the front line.