Budget 2021 reaction: Labor challenges Coalition on debt and wages – Australia politics live updates

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, we have seen this a lot from the Labor party over the course of the last 18 months. While we are fighting the virus, Mr Speaker, the Labor party just wants to fight the government, Mr Speaker.

That’s when they’re not fighting each other, Mr Speaker.

Our job is to fight the virus. And in this budget, Mr Speaker, what you see is further commitments, whether it’s to the vaccination program and the securing of vaccines and ensuring that vaccination program is rolling out. What you’ll also notice in those budget papers, Mr Speaker, is that the biggest threat in the short term, Mr Speaker, particularly while the virus is still raging around the world is to ensure that we keep our internal borders open in this country and that is what is noted in the assumptions of Treasury in the budget papers, that we need to keep the broader international borders shut to ensure that we can protect Australia from the Covid-19 pandemic that is raging around the country, and I would have thought, Mr Speaker, that in this place, as we are seeking to vaccinate the country that, there would be bipartisan support for that initiative.

But if those opposite can’t bring themselves in a united national effort to fight this vaccine, then I will let the Australian people judge them for that.

Greater vaccinations at this time compared to comparative countries that are in a situation just like Australia, where we’ve had low rates of cases, let’s go, Mr Speaker. Our vaccination rate is higher than New Zealand, higher than South Korea, it’s higher than Canada, it’s higher than Japan. Those opposite, Mr Speaker, in the middle of a pandemic, seek to undermine and play politics with the health of this nation.

The leader of the opposition, the Labor party may be desperate, they may be desperate, they may have no answers, they may have no plan, they may have no clue, but I can guarantee the leader of the opposition this. He may wish to fight me, Mr Speaker, but I’m fighting this virus on behalf of the Australian people.

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