TRANSCRIPT - DOORSTOP INTERVIEW - Parliament House, Canberra, Thursday 5 August 2021

  • Media Release


SUBJECTS: Vaccines stolen from Newcastle, Homelessness and a national housing stratergy
SHARON CLAYDON MEMBER FOR NEWCASTLE: Good morning. My name is Sharon Claydon, Member for Newcastle, and I want to discuss two things today. The first one being, just when you thought the national vaccination roll out, couldn't get any worse, it does.

In Newcastle people in the weekend were surprised by the arrival of text messages on their phone to say that their Pfizer vaccination appointment had been cancelled at the newly opened mass vaccination hub in Belmont.
That was met with a deep sense of frustration and disappointment, but I can assure you that waking up to the news today that the Prime Minister has somehow found 165,000 Pfizer vaccines to send to people in need in Sydney - that's turned that anger, that disappointment, and frustration into white hot anger this morning.
People in my electorate have found out that there are high levels of Covid appearing in every sewerage treatment area in our region. They woke up this morning to find out two schools in our neighbouring electorates have closed down, that an employee at Target in a busy shopping centre at Glendale, has tested positive. 

This just reaffirms what Novocastrians have known all along, and that was that they are a vulnerable community. They neighboured all of the hot spots in Greater Sydney. And yet, this Prime Minister allowed Pfizer vaccines to be robbed from Newcastle and the Lake Macquarie Hunter regions to be sent to Sydney when he was sitting on a stockpile, or wherever he got those vaccines from, who knows? He allowed those vaccines to be robbed out of Newcastle, to be sent to Sydney.

So, Novocastrians this morning, I've got a very big question for Mr. Morrison, why do you think it is okay to leave families vulnerable in the regions and allow stupid, short-sighted decisions? Like taking vaccinations out of regions and sent to Sydney. That's a question, you have to ask Mr. Morrison. You don't get to walk away from responsibility here. I know that yesterday you threw Gladys Berejiklian under the bus in question time and said, it's all her fault. But why is she in a position today to have to make those decisions about robbing Pfizer vaccines out of the regions? Because Mr. Morrison - you never ordered enough vaccines to vaccinate this country in the first place! And you refuse to take responsibility.

But I tell you what, Novocastrians have got you clocked, they know that you're the man sitting at the head of decision making in this country. You're the man who can somehow find 165,000 vaccines, when it's needed. And you're the man that let those vaccines be robbed out of the regions, out of places like Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Central Coast, the Hunter region, we're all just like sitting ducks now left unprotected because of your failure to find enough vaccines to vaccinate this nation.
The second issue I want to raise today is that we are in the midst of national homeless week and yesterday I tabled, as deputy chair of the House of Representative’s Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs a final report following an inquiry into homelessness in Australia.

I strongly recommend this report to the government. It's one, of course, in a long line of reports that have been given to the government about just how dire the situation is in Australia. And while the Morrison government has been absolutely tone-deaf to those dire circumstances of Australians who face homelessness or are at risk of homelessness, we know that the need for National leadership has never been greater in my community in Newcastle.

When I've met with my frontline services, particularly those who are working with women and children escaping violent relationships, they tell me they have never seen the situation so bad. And these are frontline workers who have worked in this sector for 30 years, some of them.

So we know just how dire the situation is, the problem is we've got a national government who seems unwilling and unprepared to show national leadership on what is a national housing crisis.

The bipartisan committee made a recommendation that the government develop a national housing strategy, and my message to Mr. Morrison again this morning is a future Labor government has already committed to develop and deliver a national housing and homelessness strategy. You should just take that strategy, indeed, think of it as a gift for the nation. If you don't have something in the bottom drawer, already to deal with what you have known to be a national crisis for some time, then by all means borrow good ideas from the Opposition.

It cannot be that you ignore this report, this recommendation, as you have every other report and recommendation.

Australians deserve so much more from their national leader. Indeed Australians demand so much more from their national leader. It is time that Mr. Morrison stopped flicking responsibility to States and Territories. Every level of government has a role to play in making sure that every Australian has a safe place to call home. But let's not allow the Prime Minister to shy away from his responsibility to show national leadership in order to fix a national housing crisis.

Thank you.


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