As Labor Leader Anthony Albanese said this week: there is no rule book showing how to lead a nation through a crisis like the current COVID-19 pandemic. Nothing we have experienced in our lives has presented such a profound challenge to our health, our economy and our way of life.
These are times we never thought we would live through. As a Member of Parliament, I understand the importance and significance of seeing our nation through to the other side.
Like my Labor colleagues, I know that getting through this pandemic is about solutions, not arguments. When the Government makes the right calls, Labor will back them. But when they make the wrong ones, we will call them out for it.
When the increase to the JobSeeker (formerly NewStart) payment was announced, Labor said that the current partner income threshold was not adequate and called for this amount to be raised from $48,000. Last week, the Government took our advice and the new threshold of $79,000 was introduced, which will deliver relief to hundreds of thousands of low-to middle-income earners - nurses, teachers, police and aged-care workers, who would have otherwise missed out.
Labor heard the pleas of renters worried about how to keep a roof over their heads and suggested a moratorium on residential property evictions, as well as measures to give landlords interest relief from banks on properties where their tenants have no income.
Thankfully, the Government embraced these measures. Labor advocated for greater use of telehealth under Medicare after our offices were flooded with calls from older Australians worried about whether it was safe to go to their local GP. They took this advice, too.
Bipartisan ideas, policies, plans and measures are what will get Australians through this time-not playing politics.
Over the past weeks, I've been monitoring the cases of Covid-19 in our community. At the time of writing this, numbers are increasing by no more than three per day. This goes to show that the measures we are taking are working.
By staying home, we are saving lives. Do your bit by working from home when possible, staying home, only shopping when necessary (and alone when possible) and practising good hygiene.
Stay up to date with the most relevant and recent information from trusted, reliable sources like the Australian and New South Wales Government websites, and following your state and federal representatives on social media.
- Meryl Swanson is the Federal MP for Paterson. Contact her office on 02 4983 2401 or via merylswanson.com.au.