14 September 2010
Appointment as Shadow Minister / Manager of Opposition Business
I am delighted to have today been promoted to the role of Shadow Minister for Disabilities, Carers and the Voluntary Sector having served as a shadow parliamentary secretary for the past 19 months.
Tony Abbott and the Coalition have made a strong statement that people with a disability and carers deserve their own dedicated ministerial portfolio.
This is in contrast to the neglect shown by Julia Gillard’s Labor/Greens Alliance, who failed to allocate the disabilities portfolio in the Prime Minister’s announcement last Saturday before a hasty correction was made with the appointment of a parliamentary secretary yesterday.
It was revealed today that Bill Shorten, the outgoing Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, promised to lobby for the elevation of disabilities to the status of a ministerial portfolio. He either failed to do so or Julia Gillard ignored him. People with a disability have been snubbed by this Government.
The next parliamentary term will require the Government to confront some serious reform challenges for people with a disability and carers, not least of which is the concept of a National Disability Insurance Scheme currently being investigated by the Productivity Commission. The Coalition has strongly supported the inquiry process.
I have no confidence that the same Labor Government that couldn’t manage the delivery of roof insulation will have any chance of delivering a major generational reform for the long-term care and support of people with a disability and their families.
Australia’s system of support for people with a disability and their carers is a broken, frayed patchwork. I am determined to continue working to deliver a better deal for Australians with a disability and their carers.
Furthermore, I am delighted to be able to continue representing Australia’s outstanding voluntary sector. I am particularly looking forward to developing policy to support volunteering in Australia, such as the AUSCORPS student volunteers pilot programme announced by the Coalition during the election.
I am also looking forward to working with my Senate colleagues in the role of Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate. I acknowledge the great work of Senator Stephen Parry and congratulate him on his continuing role as a member of the Senate leadership team as Chief Opposition Whip in the Senate.
Together as a Coalition team we will work to hold the Gillard/Greens Government to account and offer a better alternative to the Australian people.