Press Conference, Parliament House (1)

December 10, 2020





SUBJECT/S: Scott Morrison’s true colours; Morrison’s pay cuts for workers; Emergency Management legislation; bushfire victims needing to hire grants writers.

MURRAY WATT, QUEENSLAND LABOR SENATOR: Well as the parliamentary year ends, we're seeing the Government's true colours come out on a couple of fronts.

After months of the Prime Minister and his team telling us that we're all in this together, their true colours have come out this week, with them revealing that what they want to do as the year ends, just before Christmas, is to cut the average worker's pay. The people who have kept us safe through COVID, the people who have kept us alive through COVID, the people who've kept us fed through COVID, are now being rewarded by Scott Morrison and his team with a big pay cut in the New Year. That's the Christmas present that the average worker has from Scott Morrison and his team, to thank them for all their work this year.

It's also happening in terms of bushfire preparation and how we've recovered from this year's bushfires. The Government likes to get out there, make announcements, say that it's doing things. Today we're going to be debating another piece of legislation which the Government says is going to fix everything, in the form of national emergency declarations, but if you actually have a look at that legislation, all it really does is confirm a whole range of powers that the Government already has. So rather than actually getting out there and doing real things that will really help people recover from last year's bushfires and prepare for the coming disaster season, instead, we've got another announcement from this this Prime Minister, which actually, really, won't do very much on the ground.

What this Prime Minister needs to do is to finally deliver on the bushfire recovery funds that he has promised people. We've read overnight in one of the media outlets that bushfire victims are finding the process of applying for grants so difficult and so complex that they're having to employ professional grants writers to help them actually get government funds. No one who has been through the bushfires that we saw last year should be forced to be hiring professional grants writers just to obtain funding that the Prime Minister promised nearly 12 months ago.

He's got to stop with the announcements. He's actually got to deliver the funding that he's promised to people, he's got to stop leaving (people) behind. We can only hope that we see a very different Government in the new year.