We’ve had a lot of floods and natural disasters this year already.
And we’re just about to head into bushfire season. Time and time again we see the Australian Defence Force being brought in to help. They’re equipped to handle anything - we’ve seen them rescue people from flood waters and start with the clean-up. We’ve even seen them running hospitals and aged care homes during covid. But that’s not what the ADF is there to do. By asking them to help out every time a disaster happens, we’re reducing their capacity to protect Australia’s national security.
This is why I think we need a National Guard. It’d be a taskforce with boots on the ground ready to go. They wouldn’t just come in when an event has happened. They could come in beforehand to try and prevent the worst from happening. I’m open to hearing ideas on how we should do this. That’s why I moved a motion this week to establish a Senate Select Committee on Australia’s Disaster Resilience. It’ll be voted on next sitting. But this means a committee would hear from people across Australia about what we should do and how we should do it.
I’m really proud to get this going. It’s clear we’re miles behind. And with severe weather events happening more often, we need to get moving on this now.
You can read a speech I did in the Senate on this here.
The Labor Government handed down their first budget this week. They’ve played it pretty safe - there aren’t really any major surprises. But they haven’t made the hard calls yet. The cost of aged care and the NDIS is in the billions. If they don’t look at scrapping the stage three tax cuts, then how are they going to afford them? There’s going to be some tough decisions ahead.
I know cost of living is a big issue for everyone at the moment. It’s really really tough out there. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Interest rates are still going up, and wages won’t go anywhere for the next two years. I’m hoping that cheaper child care subsidies will make a difference to a lot of you next year. And with the news that power prices are going up, I think the Government needs to consider helping people out a bit more. Looking at the energy supplement paid to people on Centrelink payments would be a good start - it’s a system that’s already in place.
There’s no magic solution, but feel free to shoot your thoughts my way on what you think could be done to help everyday Aussies get through this.