14 September 2023

It is an absolute privilege to have an opportunity to speak about the competency of this government—those of us who sit on this side of the House and do the things we said we'd do. It's been not much more than a year, and in that time the Albanese government has delivered on so many of the things we committed to. I'm not going to be able to touch on all of them during this short speech, but I just want those opposite to think about how different the world is, how different Australia is and how different the opportunity is for people because we've been able to competently deliver things like fee-free TAFE places. We set a target of 180,000 places. We've already exceeded that target, and 214,000 enrolments have taken place. That's 214,000 people who have an opportunity for a totally different career and life. We've created opportunities. We've delivered more university places along with more TAFE places.

We've also made life easier for a whole group of people who have chronic illnesses. We've delivered cheaper
medicines in multiple tranches, including the most recent where people can get two lots of their script in one go. That might not seem a lot for those opposite, but, for people who have a long-term ongoing chronic illness and require sometimes multiple medications, that's a huge saving. We've also delivered funds to support GPs. In my electorate, there are 14 GPs who have received additional support to be able to expand and build up their practices, but I'll have more to say about that in coming days.

Really significantly, we have delivered action on climate change. Have we fixed it? Well, no. The sorts of things those opposite want to see are instant fixes. They were too scared to even try. They had no belief in the need for transition. We know that the journey is not necessarily going to be smooth every step of the way, but we are acting and starting to deliver those changes. I think the action that we're taking on climate change has given many people a huge sense of relief that Australia is not back in the Dark Ages but part of a world that recognises how urgent and necessary action on climate change is.

We've also delivered aged-care reforms that were recommended to the previous government, which they failed to even contemplate. They were the incompetent ones, the ones unable to look at an issue, determine the problems and move forward with solutions. But we've been able to deliver a whole raft of aged-care changes, like 24/7 nurses, which are operating in almost every aged-care facility now; extra minutes of care for each resident of aged care; and a pay rise for aged-care workers. There's an incredible difference between before we were elected and now, a bit more than a year on.

Today, of course, we delivered on a commitment to more housing. The legislation that we passed through this
place today will have a tangible benefit to Macquarie, where there will be more accommodation for women
fleeing domestic violence. At a local level, we're a government that's delivering on improvements to mental
health, like the headspace and the Head to Health that will open in my electorate before the end of the year. It took those opposite nine years to do what? Absolutely nothing to improve mental health access for people in the Hawkesbury. We've also made improvements to and delivered on disaster assistance and preparation. I'm very proud to say that, at the start of what could be a very challenging fire season, I go into that knowing that, at a federal level, we have listened and we have taken action to be better prepared.

I want finish by talking about why we hope that on 14 October we will see the Australian people support recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution and a voice to parliament. It's because what no parliament has done is deliver on closing the gap—not effectively. The gaps are still too wide. There are too many people experiencing disadvantage, shorter life expectancy and poorer educational outcomes. What 14 October gives us is an opportunity to change that trajectory. It's an opportunity to say yes.