May 12, 2020

Today is International Nurses Day, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. To all the nurses out there, I say, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you,' for all that you do for our community. Shortland has thousands of nurses. Australia has 300,000 nurses, and, in fact, I have the privilege of being married to a nurse. So I know how important they are—how every day they get up and look after all their fellow Australians, and how every day they risk their lives to look after Australians. Sadly, we lost 104 nurses in armed conflicts and wars around the world, and they are risking their lives right now with the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the International Council of Nurses, 90,000 healthcare workers have been infected with COVID-19 while treating their fellow human beings and, very sadly, 260 nurses have died around the world due to treating patients who were infected with COVID-19.

Even in this country, we're seeing a lack of PPE. We're seeing nurses and other healthcare workers risk their lives with inadequate PPE. They're risking their lives with homemade PPE. They go to the hardware store to get masks. This is the state of affairs around the world and in some parts of this country. It is unacceptable. Workers should not risk their lives at work. Nurses, sadly, are doing that every day. I want to say to nurses on behalf of the 150,000 people of Shortland: thank you for what you do, thank you for the sacrifice you make, and thank you for making our world a better place.

You can view my speech here.