03 February 2022


SUBJECTS: Federal Election; Labor policy agenda, support for small business, Morrison Government failure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

JESS WALSH, LABOR SENATOR FOR VICTORIA: I'm Senator Jess Walsh, and I'm really happy to be here in Box Hill in Chisholm, with Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles, and our fantastic candidate for Chisholm, Karina Garland. We've been talking with Vincent, the owner of Australian Golden Taipei Trading, here in Box Hill. He’s been telling us how tough business is and that what he would really like to see is a long term solid plan from government. And that's why we’re here. The people of Chisholm, the people of Victoria, they want to see a government with a plan, a plan to support jobs and a plan to support business, a plan to get us through this next phase of COVID Stronger Together, and only in Albanese Labour Government will deliver that plan. And the people of Chisholm are really excited at the opportunity to have a new, strong voice in the Federal Parliament representing them in Carina Garland. And I'd now like to introduce Carina.

CARINA GARLAND, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CHISHOLM: Thank you, Senator. And I'd like to thank Vincent and Helen for hosting us here today and for their really kind hospitality, showing us around their wonderful store. And really, it was great to hear from Vincent about his experiences over the last couple of years and how tough it has been for businesses like his now. Vincent established this wonderful business over 30 years ago. And it he's a real testament to his community, as a leader. It’s clear that what we need to do as a nation is to support businesses like Vincent's is to have a government that has a plan for businesses. And it's clear that we have a government that does not. So,  I'm standing for Chisholm because this is an opportunity for us to change the government and ensure that we do have a government that has a plan for the future and has a plan for business, has a plan for people in our community like Vincent, who contribute so much. And I'm really looking forward to continuing to campaign on this platform here in Chisholm. I'd like to now invite Richard to speak.

RICHARD MARLES, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Well, firstly, let me say it's fantastic to be here with the wonderful Senator Jess Walsh. And also great to be here with our fantastic candidate for Chisholm, Carina Garland, who's doing a really magnificent job in putting forward Labour's alternative at this next election, an alternative that we really believe the Australian people are crying out for.

We very much thank Vincent and Helen Liu for hosting us here at Australian Golden Taipei Trading and listening to their stories about what it's been like to run this business for over 30 years, but particularly what it's been like to run the business over the last couple of years through the pandemic which has been really challenging. This is a great business, it wholesales to restaurants, the hospitality trade, which obviously has done it incredibly tough in an environment where there's been so many lockdowns over the last two years as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Now, throughout that period, there has been business support business support that's been provided by the federal government and that's been important to get the country through. But what we learned from today is that what's being experienced right now is a loss of trade of something like 50% against what would normally occur. Businesses, like this are doing really tough right now.

The pandemic is far from over. And yet in this moment, when for many businesses around the country, for Vincent's business here they're doing it almost as difficult as at any point during the pandemic,  and the Morrison government has gone completely missing.

Now we see the Victorian State Government and indeed the New South Wales State government looking at putting packages for businesses right now, given the omicron outbreak, given the the loss of trade that's being experienced right now, given the fact that we are still very much in the pandemic.

But at this moment, it's gotten all too hard for Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg. When we're looking for business support, from all tiers of government, state government is stepping up. But Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg have gone absolutely missing.

And this is because they have failed to plan for the fact that we knew back in October it would be now that would be  at the peak of the the outbreak, the moment that we would be seeing the greatest numbers in the community and the most difficult moment in terms of getting staff into into jobs.

One of the really interesting points that Vincent made today was what he wants to see from Government. There is a long term plan, a plan to steer us out of the pandemic. And it's really the failure of having a plan which has characterised the way Scott Morrison has handled this pandemic from the outset. And so we had a failure to provide business support right now, we had a failure to order rapid antigen tests back last year when we needed them. That we have a crisis now in terms of availability of Rapid Antigen Tests.

It has been a failure in terms of the booster rollout program of the vaccine, its been a failure in terms of getting our kids vaccinated on time before school starts.

Scott Morrison has simply failed to support Australians through this moment in the pandemic and indeed through the pandemic as a whole. This has been simply too hard for Scott Morrison. He is not up to the task. He has failed to plan for this moment. And here's a Prime Minister who has absolutely passed is used by date. Thank you.