STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS - Parkes, MS Marguerite, Aged Care

27 August 2020

Ms SWANSON (Paterson) (13:51): I'm honoured to make my first contribution as shadow assistant minister for defence from this magnificent rosewood box that was gifted to us in 1927 by King George. It's made me reflect on the contribution made here in this place and by everyone in our country, including that of Marguerite Parkes, who turned 99 just one month ago. Marguerite served over 600 days in the Women's Land Army. She has made some wonderful friendships, some wonderful memories; most importantly, she served our nation in World War II. I was honoured to present her with the Civilian Service Medal.

It got me thinking about people like Marguerite who live in terrific aged-care facilities in Australia, like the one in my town, but what happens when COVID breaks out and the staff have to be dissolved? What happens when the service isn't there and these people like Marguerite aren't receiving the care that they richly deserve? Why hasn't this government been more prepared? We knew that the aged of Australia were our most vulnerable group. Why wasn't this government more prepared? Why was this Prime Minister asleep at the wheel? He wasn't 'holding a hose'—he wasn't holding a candle to the needs of the aged in Australia. This government needs to do more, because these people have served and they deserve a good life. (Time expired)