Feb 11, 2020

Statements by Members – Coronavirus – Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the Opposition) (13:58): Nothing is more important than keeping Australians safe. Labor welcomes the measures to protect the public health and safety of all Australians in response to the coronavirus outbreak. For those affected, both in Australia and overseas, I wish you and your loved ones a speedy recovery and a return home. This is a tough time for many members of our Australian community. It’s also particularly a tough time for members of the Chinese Australian community and Asian Australians more broadly.

The fact is that there has been a rise in racism as a result of the coronavirus. The fact is, any racist language or behaviour must not be tolerated and it must be called out. Chinese Australians helped build this country. They are our teachers and nurses, our neighbours, our business owners, our hairdressers. They are proud Australians. All of us must stand up and speak out against the ugly, divisive and racist behaviour that has been directed to some of our fellow Australians, whether it’s on social media or on the streets, at school or at work.

Labor has always stood against all forms of discrimination and we always will. To our Chinese Australians: Labor stands with you—and I’m sure the whole of this parliament stands with you—in standing up against the increased racism and expresses solidarity with you. I encourage people to support our businesses in places like Ashfield and other places right around the nation.