Parliamentary speeches

Aged care

August 24, 2020

For those of us who are here from Melbourne, the privilege of being in this place seems particularly important here. The people who have sent us here have got extraordinarily pressing concerns and high expectations of all of us. There are many issues that I know my constituents want me to speak to on their behalf over this fortnight. None at the moment, though, is more important than what has been happening in aged care.

The crisis in aged care in Australia has been most acutely felt in Melbourne's western and northern suburbs, and many—too many—of my constituents have personally felt its impact. I think particularly of Epping Gardens, where, I believe, there are more coronavirus cases than in any other aged-care facility in the country and where 28 people have lost their lives. I stand here thinking of all those families. I stand here, in particular, thinking of the chaos and confusion that took place when it was revealed that there were only six staff available to attend to the needs of 115 residents. I think of question time today too and the ongoing failure of this government and this Prime Minister to take responsibility.

In this contribution, I'm not seeking all the answers. But I am seeking from this government a recognition that more needs to be done and that more needed to be done from the interim report of the royal commission, from the incidents at Earle Haven, from what happened in Sydney earlier this year in the course of the pandemic. What happened today isn't good enough nor is the response.