First official day at work for Eden Monaro member Kristy McBain
The Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Anthony Albanese, was in Narooma today accompanying the Member for Eden-Monaro, Kristy McBain, on her first day as the elected MP. Under a perfect blue winter sky the at the sea wall next to Australia Rock Mr Albanese said: "The by-election was a tough campaign. We started off behind. Kristy McBain showed tenacity, courage and importantly, a capacity to articulate the views and aspirations of the people of Eden-Monaro and to win their support in what was a once in a century by-election, during a once in a century pandemic. The election result is a credit to Kristy, but I also want to thank all those volunteers in the Labor Party, in the trade union movement and just in the community, supporters of Kristy McBain, particularly her family and friends who came out in force during this by-election campaign. This community needs a strong advocate. They suffered from drought, from bushfires, and then, of course, the pandemic. And in Kristy McBain they have someone who will take up these issues in the national Parliament."
Addressing the national media at the press call the new Ms McBain said "It is a great honour and privilege for me to be the next Member of Eden-Monaro. And I am absolutely committed to rolling up my sleeves and getting down to some hard work." "This region has suffered more than many others on the back of droughts, bushfires, and now coronavirus. And now more than ever, our community needs another strong local voice in Canberra to articulate their concerns, their passions and their desires for the future, to make sure that they aren't forgotten by this Government. "Right now, we are hurting right across Eden-Monaro. We've got people that are rightly anxious about their elderly relatives. They're anxious about their kids’ futures. And they're anxious about job security. I'm here to work for them and make sure that their concerns are relayed to the Parliament, that they are relayed to the Federal Labor Party, and that they are most concerned about relaying that information to the Government. "I am here to be a strong advocate for my community. And I will work for them tirelessly until the next election and then hopefully after that, and then after that, and then after that. I'm committed here for the long-term. I'm raising my family here. We run a business here. And it's a place where I want my kids to be able to grow up and have their careers and their families into the future. So, I look forward to working for every single person in Eden-Monaro, regardless of how they voted, on whom they voted for, because I am here for the long-term for everybody."
During the press call the Leader of the Australian Labor Party was asked by a journalist " Eight people were tested positive and were linked to the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club incident. Yesterday, a lot of people were turned away after going to the pop-up clinic in Batemans Bay, due to the Batemans Bay pop-up clinic being at full capacity just after one hour of being opened. Are you concerned about that?" Mr Albanese's response was "Yes it's simply not good enough. We tell people quite rightly that they need to be tested. When they turn up for a test, those tests should be available. The fact that it didn't last past 10 o'clock yesterday is of real concern, and the Government needs to do better, the state government." "Quite clearly, we need to provide whatever resources are necessary to ensure people can be tested." "I visited Mogo this morning as well. Many of those shops have shut down in the main street of Mogo. I visited just after the bushfires with Fiona Phillips and with some of my other colleagues, Jim Chalmers and Chris Bowen. That was a community that was really hurting in the wake of the bushfires and now in the wake of the pandemic, particularly with the local infections, it's suffering again. And these communities really do need assistance. And that's why I stand very much with Fiona and Kristy as two outstanding local members who will stand up for their local communities."
Kristy McBain then responded to another question from the Braidwood Bugle who asked "Just with regard to the vulnerability of the south coast in particular and all the smaller communities here, I realise health is a state issue but there are no respirators on the south coast at all. Just wondering if that's something you will be pushing for as the new Member?"
The Eden Monaro member responded "Thank you for the question. There is rightly some concerns right across coastal communities about the capacity of our local hospitals to undertake some of that ICU work if there is a large-scale outbreak. "Of course, I will happily be speaking to our state counterparts about those issues as I believe Fiona Phillips has already done. And I know the local state Member, Andrew Constance, is already having those discussions within his own Government. So, look, more than happy to keep pushing it along because I think the last thing we need along the south coast after the summer bushfires we've had is any large-scale outbreak which puts further pressure on already strained communities," Ms McBain said.
Above: Anthony Albanese and Kristy McBain at Australia Rock in Narooma today.