Feb 1, 2020


SUBJECTS: Lunar New Year; Vietnamese community; Coronavirus.

CLARE O’NEIL, MEMBER FOR HOTHAM: Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Clare O’Neil and I’m the Federal Member for Hotham, and we’re right in the heart of my electorate today in Springvale, celebrating TET, the Lunar New Year. It’s wonderful to have Anthony Albanese here in my electorate and of course, Mark Dreyfus, one of my neighbors. And I’ll hand over to Albo to address some of the issues today.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Thanks very much, Clare. It’s been a great celebration here today of 45 years of contribution of the Vietnamese community here in Australia. And to be here with Clare O’Neil the local member, but also Mark Dreyfus and Julian Hill, a strong Labor team showing how connected we are with the Vietnamese community. And indeed, a celebration of multiculturalism and the success that we have as a nation due to our diversity whereby people who have come here escaping persecution and war, but to make new lives for themselves and their families. And what Labor is about is creating opportunity for people and certainly this is a community that have worked very hard to do that.

Just a short while ago, I spoke to the Prime Minister and I thanked him for keeping the Opposition informed about changes that need to be made due to the coronavirus being upgraded, in terms of the threat that it represents. Labor supports the upgraded measures. We believe very clearly that there’s a need for the precautionary principle to apply. That we should be taking all the advice of the medical experts and when upgrades are required, which has been suggested by the Chief Medical Officer, that it is important that that occurr in order to keep the Australian public safe.

There’s no need, in my view, for alarm and the medical advice is that. But we do need to be cautious. And we do need to put in place precautionary issues regarding migration and entry into Australia from people who have visited mainland China in the last recent days. So from tomorrow there will be new regulations put in place. Labor supports those changes. We have asked to be informed on an ongoing basis and I know that Chris Bowen has been receiving briefings on a daily basis as our Shadow Health Minister. Issues like this should not be the subject of partisan politics and Labor will support any precautionary measure which is put in place, which is sensible and which is aimed at taking that medical advice. Thanks.