Constituency Statement: Morrison Government

Mr CLARE (16:24): Last time I spoke in this chamber it was to wish everyone a merry Christmas. I think we all hoped, after the last two years that we’ve had, that it was going to be a good summer. Summer is supposed to be a time when Australians get a break, relax and catch up with family and friends—and the Prime Minister promised us that that’s what would happen. But this summer was stuffed up for a lot of people in Australia by this government’s mistakes. I remember driving around my electorate over summer, looking at the massive, sometimes endless, queues of people lining up in the sun, and in the rain, to get a COVID test. People were forced to stand there for hours. I remember going to my local chemist trying to get a RAT, and the chemist just laughing at me. They were almost impossible to find. Instead of being at the beach, a lot of people were forced to drive around from chemist to chemist to chemist—sometimes maybe even from my electorate to yours, Deputy Speaker Wicks—trying to find one of these damn things. If you were lucky enough to get one, then chances were that you had to pay too much for it. I got an email from a constituent, only a couple of weeks ago, who said she had bought a RAT online from a major Australian company, and the postage fee was 90 bucks—90 bucks! If that is not a rip-off, I don’t know what is.

All of this mess meant that people couldn’t go to work. Truck drivers couldn’t go to work. If truck drivers can’t go to work, it means that trucks can’t deliver goods. So we ended up with empty shelves in supermarkets. People didn’t just have to go from chemist to chemist to chemist; people had to go from Woolies to Coles to Aldi, just to get basic things like meat and fruit and veg. Any of us who do the shopping would have seen the empty shelves. No wonder people have had it with this government. No wonder they’re angry. The government talking points use the word ‘frustrated’. People are more than frustrated; they’re really off this government. These are the sorts of things that shouldn’t happen in Australia, and they wouldn’t have happened if this Prime Minister and this government had done their job and just ordered enough tests last year. Incompetence has consequences. It didn’t just stuff up people’s summers; in a lot of aged-care centres, older Aussies have been locked in their rooms, not being showered, not being changed, not being properly cared for. They’re being neglected because staff are off crook. I got a call from someone last week telling me that her mum fell out of her chair at an aged-care centre a few weeks ago. There was no-one there who witnessed it. She had a stroke on the floor of the aged-care centre, was rushed to hospital and, two weeks ago, died. We used to call these places nursing homes, because they had nurses in them. That’s not the case anymore.