Jan 26, 2020


SUBJECTS: Australia Day; announcement of the National Emergency Medal; Coronavirus.

SUSAN TEMPLEMAN, MEMBER FOR MACQUARIE: G’day. I am Susan Templeman, the Federal Member for Macquarie. And it is wonderful to have the Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese, with us on Australia Day to help the Blue Mountains community mark this day. It has been a really difficult summer. And this is a chance for us to come together and recognise the incredible service that the emergency services have delivered to protect our towns over this terrible time. And also, to celebrate the great achievements of the Australians who’ve lived here for a long time and welcome those who are becoming citizens today. So, I’m very pleased to have you here, Anthony.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Thanks very much, Susan. And thanks for the welcome here in the Blue Mountains today. Today, I’ve had the great honour of giving the Australia Day address here in the community that’s been at the forefront of fighting bushfires in this tragic season that we’ve just been through. It’s a day in which we acknowledge our history, including the trauma that impacted the First Nations people who were here for 65,000 years before this day, in 1788. But it’s also a day in which we celebrate what modern Australia has become. A successful, multicultural, harmonious nation. One in which during this bushfire crisis, we’ve seen the best of Australia at this difficult time. Friend helping friend. Stranger helping stranger. Communities coming together. The extraordinary effort of our volunteers and our emergency service workers who today were acknowledged by this community for what they have done during this extraordinary season. It is also a day in which we recognise that with the announcement of an appropriate medal recognising the service of our emergency service workers and volunteers, Labor welcomes this announcement. It is important that we recognise the effort that they have made literally risking their lives over so many months. Helping out hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month. And the bravery and courage that has been shown is inspirational for all Australians. And it is appropriate that be acknowledged with a medal.

Look, the Coronavirus is a real concern here in Australia and indeed globally. And we need to ensure that we take whatever advice is necessary and every precautionary measure recommended by the health authorities. We should recognise this is a risk and do all we can to prevent the spread of this virus. It’s unfortunate that there’s already been a number of cases found both here in New South Wales and in Victoria, and therefore, it highlights the fact that we need to be vigilant and we need to follow the advice of all the appropriate health authorities and do whatever we can to avoid this risk.