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Thursday, 24 June 2021
Page: 75


Mrs ELLIOT (Richmond) (15:47): I will tell the member a positive thing: it's Labor's plan to fix this pandemic in terms of what we need in this country. That's in terms of rolling out the vaccine and quarantine facilities. That's the only time you'll hear positive things, when they come from our side to fix the problems of this nation.

That's because this government have failed the nation in so many ways. Their sole focus is just upon themselves. In doing so, they show contempt for our nation and contempt for Australians. Here we are, in the middle of the pandemic, and the nation is plunged into another crisis as we speak, and this is all because the government have failed on their two major jobs. Their two main jobs were the vaccine rollout and having quarantine facilities. They have totally failed those. They've had more than 12 months to fix this and they just continue to stuff it up time after time. In doing so, they're putting lives at risk and putting our economy at risk. On both those fronts they're held in absolute contempt for their inaction. In fact, it's a disgrace. As many people say all the time, the government's handling of the pandemic has been a total mess.

Remember all those words that the Prime Minister said? That we were at the front of the queue and all those lines that he would throw away? It's none of them—it's rubbish. We have seen 25 leaks from hotel quarantine, so many lockdowns and families separated. This pandemic has been devastating for the nation and people have been calling out for leadership but they're not getting it. They're not getting it from this Prime Minister and they're not getting it from the Liberals or the Nationals. And the Prime Minister and this government refuse to take responsibility. 'Oh,' he said, 'I don't hold a hose,' and, 'It's not a race,' and, 'I'm not accountable for anything'. Well, you are, and it is a race and this government need to start acting like that. Their arrogance and stubbornness, again, are risking lives and hurting our economy.

Now I'd like to turn to the National Party. This week—my goodness!—totally consumed with themselves. There was massive in-fighting, resulting in a new leader and a new Deputy Prime Minister, the member for New England. Of course, it was an absolute circus as that happened—a total circus. With the new leader, they moved immediately to shred the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. And earlier today we had the bizarre spectacle of the member for Nicholls fighting against his own amendments. That's the National Party for you—total chaos!

A Deputy Prime Minister, and what policy did we see them discussing since they got their new leader? Nuclear power! That's it; they're back talking about it all the time. They're so obsessed with having nuclear power. In my electorate, my community is opposed to it and we'll keep fighting them on that.

Also, this new Deputy Prime Minister says investment in renewables is 'insane'. That's right. That's what he thinks. He thinks it's insane. I'll tell you, it is the way to go. Nuclear power is not. The Deputy Prime Minister has said previously that nuclear power plants should be built in the middle of towns, including in regional Australia. Which towns? Which regions?

An honourable member interjecting

Mrs ELLIOT: Exactly! Well, I can tell you that we won't be having it in my community. We oppose nuclear power.

The fact is, no matter who leads the National Party, it is the party that has walked away from rural and regional Australia time and time again. It has. Whether it's its inaction on climate change or its cuts to Medicare or its cruel plans to force all pensioners onto the cashless welfare card across rural and regional Australia—shame on you!—we will fight you on all of those issues, and many more, right across the country, in every town and in every regional area, because you have left behind country Australia.

As I often say in this House, National Party choices hurt. They really do hurt. They hurt the regions. The fact is the National Party are just as hopeless as the Prime Minister when it comes to their multiple failures. Look at the regions. It's the National Party's fault that we don't have the vaccine rollout. That is their fault. That is their legacy. Every day in the regions we hear people screaming, 'Why can't we get our vaccines here?' They are just too consumed with themselves. That's all they do. They've got no plans for renewables, for the pandemic, for the future, for wages, for health—no matter what it is, they have no plans. They're too busy talking about themselves.

When it comes to the pandemic, when it comes to really repairing our economy and making sure that people are healthy and safe, Labor have that plan. We have the plan to fight the pandemic. We'll build dedicated quarantine facilities. We'll fix the vaccine rollout. We will start a mass public information campaign. Where is the information campaign? There is none at the moment. We will begin manufacturing mRNA vaccines like Pfizer in Australia. That four-point plan that Labor have put forward, that is the positive plan. But all we get from this government, from the Liberal Party and the National Party, are arrogance, stubbornness and a disregard and contempt for the Australian people. It has to end.