Photo: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
PRIME MINISTER: Over the summer, Australians have had some very difficult times. It's been a privilege to be with colleagues, with Australians in the midst of these difficult times. We've had fires in Tasmania, we've had fires in Victoria, we’ve had fires in Western Australia. We've had floods in northern Australia, in particular in Townsville and we are now witnessing a full-scale national disaster - national disaster - of what is happening in Northern Queensland. And I want to particularly commend Linda Reynolds for the way that she has, not only managed and coordinated those efforts and particularly Linda thank you to the Australian Defence Force who have been there not just to do the work but to provide that great encouragement to Australians just by their sheer presence of turning up, but I want to thank you for the work you’ve done with emergency management to prepare. Because we knew it was going to be a difficult season with bushfires and to have the aerial assets ready and in place, I want to commend you for that. And to Michael Keenan and the work that has been done by Human Services to ensure that the payments have been getting out. I mean, just as of last Sunday as I said at the Press Club yesterday, almost $40 million in cash support within a week to get support to those families. That’s government in action, that’s government dealing with issues that the Australian people are facing and Michelle, I know, you have seen the same thing in your electorate.
You know, Australians are strong. Australians are resilient. And under our Government, we’re going to continue to make Australia even stronger. That’s what we’re about. A stronger economy, stronger borders, stronger services. That’s a stronger Australia and that’s what we’re doing. Our opponents have plans that will make Australia weaker. To weaken the economy, to weaken our borders, and you can’t pay for services with money that’s not there, and we all know Labor cannot manage money.
So here we are colleagues, taking up this fight on behalf of a strong Australian people. Backing them in, backing small business, lower taxes, the infrastructure they need. Whether it’s supporting farmers in drought or supporting farmers in flood - we are there and we’ll be there not just in the crisis and the recovery, but we’ll be there for their prosperity in the future. Because those days will come and we believe in that and we believe in them. So that is our charge, that is our mission, and we are united together in doing that.
But before I go any further, there has been one element in our team that has been missing. And his name is Arthur Sinodinos.
And Arty, why don’t you say a few words mate.
SENATOR ARTHUR SINODINOS: Thanks PM. All I’m going to say is, first and foremost, when I have been out there talking to our people as I have come back to work, there is a real fighting spirit out there. A view that we can win this. And as long as we provide a clear alternative, articulate that alternative and work as a team, we will get there. We can win this. The only other plea I’d make is Michael McCormack, no more singing.
PRIME MINISTER: Well, let’s get to work. Thank you very much.