Equity of access to health services is essential in an egalitarian and multicultural society like Australia.
During a pandemic it is critical.
Last year, Labor launched its inaugural Multicultural Statement to advocate for multicultural communities held back by the Morrison Government. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our multiculturalism, and revealed gaps in our national response - gaps the Morrison Government has refused to address. For this reason, the 2021 Multicultural Statement interrogates the inequities in the Morrison Government’s health response.
The Morrison Government failed its two main jobs - fixing our broken quarantine system and ensuring the timely roll out of vaccinations. These are Australia’s primary and secondary defences against COVID-19; their failure has led to prolonged lockdowns across Australia.
Mr Morrison’s failure to secure a variety of vaccine deals left Australians dangerously exposed.
Mr Morrison said the vaccine rollout wasn’t a race.
It is a race. It always was.
Throughout the pandemic the Morrison Government has consistently failed to support multicultural communities.
They failed to address vaccine misinformation, and they failed to address the rising levels of racism in our community. As a result, multicultural communities have been left overexposed to the detrimental health, economic and social effects of COVID-19.
Evidence for this is all too clear.
Tragically, recently released ABS figures reveal people born outside of Australia have an age-standardised COVID-19 mortality rate of more than double that of people born in Australia.
An Albanese Labor Government will include multicultural communities in the planning and decision making of health policy, and ensure we learn the lessons of the pandemic.
Labor’s 2020 Multicultural Statement stressed the importance of inclusion, participation and settlement. This year’s statement analyses the gaps in the government’s health response. Labor is listening to multicultural communities and responding to their concerns. Labor will look to address these issues of importance to multicultural communities.
In 2022, the Albanese Labor team looks forward to announcing a suite of multicultural policy commitments. Building on our proud legacy of celebrating, defending and harnessing multiculturalism in Australia.
Andrew Giles MP
Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs