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Wednesday, 20 June 2018
Page: 5767


Ms SWANSON (Paterson) (13:57): I would like to ask all members in the chamber to imagine waking up tomorrow morning and finding through the front page of your local newspaper, through your news feed or maybe from a news person ringing you that your place has been contaminated. Imagine you have been warned by the EPA not to drink your water and not to eat your eggs or your fruit and vegies from the garden. Your wife then says, 'What about the health implications?' Or your husband says, 'What will that do the value of our property?' Your parents, who live down the road, phone and say, 'This property is our superannuation and now it is worthless.' Your kids ask you: 'What is contamination?' You need answers.

Finally the Defence apparatchiks have some meetings and give you some information but they really don't do a lot. They tell you about a few things being done on the base—mental health programs—but that is really not a lot. The defence minister comes up and she listens but that is pretty much it. And then it gets shuffled through a few departments—Health has a crack at it, the environment minister weighs in, the other health minister has a bit of a go at it. And then, finally, the Prime Minister says, 'Gee, this is big. I'd better get involved.' He puts it to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and puts an assistant minister on it. He comes up, he listens, but not much gets done.

Prime Minister, you do not have the ear of your cabinet. When are you going to lead and do something about this national disgrace? And when are you going to make way for the side that will? (Time expired)