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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1498 ..


MRS JONES: I am not sure that the tone is a matter of order.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, Ms Orr. Mr Hanson, I would reflect that Mrs Jones was powering along well without you here.

MRS JONES: Mr Marles, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, said:

So, when you think about India and the 9000 Australians who are seeking to come back, I don’t question the advice of the need to shut the border now, but it’s obviously not a solution for those Australians. We can’t abandon them.

I agree with that, and they were not abandoned. It was a temporary, two-week travel ban. I could go on. I have quite a few quotes here. Tania Plibersek said:

Look, I think this is the right decision at the moment.

She said, on 28 April, that it was the right decision at the moment. We should not go down the path of pointing fingers at the federal government’s health advice. That is why our country is doing so well on this matter.

What really upsets me is the idea that this motion will be spun out into the Indian diaspora in Canberra, to tell them that somehow everyone has been sticking it up to the federal government to try and tell them to pull their head in. Frankly, they are doing the right thing, as difficult as it is. When every difficult measure has been taken by this government, in this city, we have stood by them, because nobody here thinks that we are the experts on the health matters that are advised to us by the Chief Health Officer of the ACT. In the same way, this decision was made on the advice of the Chief health Officer of Australia. I think it is very disappointing that this motion includes the idea that the federal government is being insensitive. It is absolutely difficult. What is a sensitive way of stopping this virus coming here? It is really difficult. I move the amendment that has been circulated in my name:

Omit part (3).

Ms Cheyne interjecting

MRS JONES: This part of the motion is divisive. I am glad that Minister Cheyne finds it hilarious, but I do not find it hilarious. I find it to be very serious.

MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (4.26): We have all seen on our screens the confronting images and stories that try to record or describe the ravages of COVID as it ripples through South Asian countries. But these confronting images do not capture the trauma, and the impact on members of our ACT community. They are grappling with grief, fear, sadness, anxiety, uncertainty and a feeling of helplessness being so far away from friends, family and loved ones during such a harrowing time. I have spoken to many in our community, tried to support them, tried to empathise with them and tried to share their pain. My efforts are woefully inadequate and a mere speck in the face of a remorseless pandemic.


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