Federal Parliament - Matters of Public Importance

May 26, 2021

Dr ALYPeople want certainty, security and safety. That's what people want from their governments. When a government fails to deliver these things—when it fails to deliver certainty, so that people can plan for their future and their children's futures; when it fails to deliver security, so that people know that their jobs are secure, they can put food on the table, if any calamities befall them their government is on their side; when it fails to deliver safety so that people feel safe in their homes, on the streets and in their workplaces—it's not just a failing of policy. It's a failing of leadership, and this Liberal-National government has failed in its leadership. It has presided over a vaccine rollout that is inept and happening at a snail's pace. It is a rollout that has real impacts for the people that they are supposed to represent, for the people for whom they are supposed to deliver certainty, security and safety.

I want to speak about a few people in Cowan, people like Garry. He's 70 years old and he reported to my office earlier this month saying that he's been trying to get a vaccination since Easter. His local medical centre claimed that there is a waitlist—wait for it—of 500-plus people who are waiting to get vaccinated at the centre. The centre is only getting a supply of 50 doses a week. Kerry, whose 89-year-old mother is living in a nursing home, has contacted the office concerned that neither the staff nor the residents have received vaccines, despite being in the priority group 1a. One of the worst ones that I got was from a nurse named Jeanette who wrote to me. She starts her email with this: 'Right now I should be on my way to receive my first Pfizer COVID vaccination as a frontline worker, but instead I'm sitting writing to my federal MP to express my extreme outrage, frustration and disappointment.' I think that just about sums up how people are feeling about this government's handling of the vaccine rollout: outrage, frustration and disappointment.

These are not my words, these are not the words of people on this side of the chamber. This is not us complaining or whingeing or being negative. These are the words of Australians. These are the words of the people you are supposed to be looking after. These are the words of the people that you are supposed to be keeping safe, to give them security and to give them confidence: fail, fail, fail, with real-world consequences. While these are individual cases, the collective impact of this is that we have slower economic recovery. We're behind the rest of the world.

A government member interjecting

Dr ALYWe will have slower economic recovery as the rest of the world opens up its borders and ours stay closed because we have no vaccine and no quarantine facilities. We will have our borders closed to tourists and international students as the rest of the world forges ahead because we are No. 113 on the long list, even though we were promised that we were way ahead, that we were at the front of the line. A lack of certainty and security, people don't know who to believe—

A government member interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The assistant minister is warned.

Dr ALYDo they believe the health minister? Do they believe the Prime Minister? What is the timetable? The government has spent millions of dollars advertising themselves. They haven't allocated a single cent to advertising vaccine uptake, including advertising to ensure that people do not fall for vaccine fraud, to ensure that people do not fall for phishing scams that will lead them to taking false vaccines or to criminal syndicates collecting information from them. Where is the advertising campaign? Instead, we have a government that spends millions of dollars advertising itself. How can Australians trust this government? How can they trust them on security, on confidence, on safety? We've got a Prime Minister who doesn't hold a hose. No, he doesn't hold a hose but, I tell you what, he holds a hammer—doesn't always hit the nail on the head, though! On the vaccine rollout and on quarantine, he's missed the nail completely.