Stepping up when Morrison steps away

December 02, 2021

As we come to the end of this year it is a time for reflection for many of us. It's been a big year, and Australians have been extraordinary in their willingness to do what they are asked to do, time and time again. This is two years of them stepping up.

What strikes me, though, is that while they have stepped up the Prime Minister has stepped back. He has stepped away from taking responsibility for things—things where he could have made a difference. We all know that he doesn't hold a hose, but we needed him to step up and fight harder to make sure New South Wales delivered effectively on the funding that went to them to be distributed for bushfires. The government failed to do that. It handed over money and said, 'Not our problem anymore.' That's a failure, and that's affected my community.

The government has failed across a broad range of things. If you're someone who has a family member in aged care, you ask yourself, 'What is different now in aged care compared to where we were a year ago?' There's a report and there are recommendations. Very few have been legislated and even fewer have been implemented. The neglect that we have seen in aged-care facilities continues because of the failure of this government to act strongly, urgently and swiftly on the recommendations.

A lot of reports have been delivered, and of course we've had one this week—a report about setting the standards for behaviour to make sure this place recognises the equality that should exist between genders and to reduce the violence that has occurred and will continue to occur until systemic change is made. So far, we've seen a failure to act swiftly on those exceedingly important recommendations.

There's been a failure to actually do anything on climate change. There has been a pamphlet—a two-page pamphlet—which was Australia's contribution to a global discussion about something that affects not just our future but the future of our kids and our grandkids. People will look back and see that as one of the most abject failures of the Morrison government. There are failures in keeping people safe in my electorate. We still have failures of mobile and we still have NBN that doesn't work—total failures. We have failed profoundly to support, with long-term solutions, people who are without housing and are homeless. It was extraordinary to see governments of all levels step up momentarily when there was a health risk, but what we're failing to do is recognise that, every day people are without a secure roof over their heads, we are failing them and their health is at risk. These are things that an Albanese government will not just turn a blind eye to and not just put into the too-hard basket; we will step up, step forward and find a way to improve those situations.

There are so many failures it's hard to know which one is the biggest, but one that really strikes me as we get to the end of this year is the failure to see an anticorruption commission, because what that does is demonstrate that there is no commitment to ensuring that the decisions that are made by ministers in this place are in the very best interests of all Australians—that they are not just something for mates, something to win a marginal seat or something for a quick sugar hit, but that they are done with a view to really improving communities. We see that in my own electorate. The Hawkesbury has no headspace, something that would really improve the mental health outcomes for young people and their families. We don't see any commitment to improving the day-to-day life of people.

Let me talk about the roads in the Hawkesbury. There has been nothing done, except for a couple of little roundabouts, to improve the commute that people face every day through Bligh Park and South Windsor as they head to or from the city. There's nothing to keep pedestrians safer and nothing to improve the traffic flow. There's nothing across the river to make sure people can get to a fire station to tackle fires or an ambulance. They're just failures to keep looking ahead. In the Blue Mountains, they've failed. We have no flight paths. We still don't know where those planes are going to fly.