June 01, 2021

I rise to make a very brief contribution about the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2021-22 and particularly to go to the aspects of this bill that deal with the impact of COVID, because that has been the main focus of parliamentary debate. As a non-Victorian in the House, I want to say that I stand in solidarity with every single Victorian at this moment. They are going through a horrible period through no fault of their own, a period created because of the failures of this federal government. Let's be clear about it: they are dealing with issues created by this government's failure on two fronts—(1) to have an effective national quarantine system; and (2) to have a vaccine rollout worth its name.

On the national quarantine system, the fact that we had reports today of another outbreak of COVID—an internal hotel infection in Perth—just demonstrates that the states are doing their best but this is a responsibility solely of the federal government. If we had a federal government worth its own name, it would be doing something about it. Secondly, these community outbreaks, which are inevitable because of this government's incompetence, would be dealt with so much better if we had a proper vaccine rollout. We saw utter mendacity from the Prime Minister and the minister for health today, where they got it wrong yet again about the facts and figures. Minister Hunt has had to correct himself many times, but the fact remains that a significant portion of aged-care residents still have not received two jabs, most aged-care workers haven't received two jabs and, quite disgracefully, the vast majority of disability care residents have not received two jabs. These outbreaks will continue while this government's incompetence continues. That's why we urgently need for this government to do its job, implement an effective national quarantine strategy and implement a national vaccine rollout worth its name.

Until those two things are fixed this government will preside over a COVID pandemic that will get worse and worse. Its attempts to blame the states will not succeed, because the Australian public understand who's responsible for this mess, and that is the federal government.