ABC South East NSW - First Speech

ABC South East NSW - First Speech Main Image

01 September 2020


SUBJECT: First Speech and the issues and ideas raised

SIMON LAUDER, HOST: Well, a pledge to consult local indigenous elders, a call to action on a climate in crisis, a promise to see Eden Monaro recover and thrive after the bushfires, and a call for parliamentarians to work together to implement bushfire Royal Commission recommendations. They're just some of the contents of Kristy McBain's first speech to Parliament as the new member for Eden Monaro yesterday afternoon and she joins us now. Kristy McBain Good morning.


LAUDER: There was a lovely moment in your speech where you paid tribute to your family and your parents who couldn't be there because they were with your Nanny Hobby. And you've also talked about her on social media and the fact she's had to undergo a number of COVID tests. What has she inspired you to do in in terms of public policy and leadership?

MCBAIN: Look, my Nanny Hobby has been in an aged care facility in Traralgon. They've had the largest outbreak of COVID in her facility outside metropolitan Melbourne. That sent her facility into lockdown. Obviously, she's had to have six COVID tests, all of which have been negative but her journey with dementia has meant that loss of routine and the loss of knowing what's happening - being locked in their rooms has really knocked her so she was taken to hospital. But the hospital refused to accept her because of [what was happening at] the aged care facility that she was coming from. [And then] The aged care facility refused to take her back when she was in the ambulance. She's now receiving what they call comfort care in a private hospital. And, you know, obviously that journey for my parents and her other children and grandchildren has been a bit harrowing, because we've all been worried about her.
And we're not the only family going through something like that. And I think it just speaks to that need for better care, better regulation for more funding for aged care.

LAUDER: And apart from, I guess, long term goals to improve aged care, is there something more urgent that should be done that the federal government should be doing now?

MCBAIN: Look we've spoken in Parliament over the last week about the need to make sure that they were infection control plans in place, the need to ensure that there are a better nurse ratios within the facilities. I think what we do have to acknowledge though is that our aged care workers, my mum was one for over 15 years, our aged care workers are fantastic. They do a phenomenal job. And the failings that we've seen in aged care isn't because of our carers it's because of the system that they are working under and the regulations they are working under. I want to say a huge thank you to those workers because it's a low paid profession and they do a fabulous job with our elderly.

LAUDER: Richard Colbeck has been under a lot of pressure as Minister, do you think there has been a failure of leadership in that sector?

MCBAIN: Some of the basic details that he couldn't answer was probably very distressing for a number of families, given he's the minister in charge of that sector. It's not a sector that we want to see people not be across their portfolio in especially in a time of a health crisis.
And I think that the government and Minister Colbeck really need to think carefully about their response to this. I mean, they need to show leadership right now and Minister Colbeck hasn't been across his brief.

LAUDER: [Do] You reckon he should go?

MCBAIN: Well, I think that the number of families at this point in time saying - it's time for him to go.

LAUDER: You also talked about reconciliation and a promise to consult the wisdom of elders and establish a group of elders and endorsed representatives from the Ngunnawal, Wiradjuri, Ngarigo and Yuin Nations across the Eden Monaro electorate. Will you be consulting on matters apart from the recognition of First Australians in the Constitution and the referendum, is this going to go beyond that?

MCBAIN: I'd like to set up a wide ranging panel to have multiple discussions with them about multiple topics. During my time as Mayor, we work with the local Aboriginal Land Council through a Memorandum of Understanding with the council and spoke to them about a range of issues. During the campaign, I spoke to a number of Elders across the region about some of their concerns. And I want to keep that up. I think it's imperative and incumbent upon us to make sure that we're listening to all voices, especially our traditional custodians.

LAUDER: And the Bushfire Royal Commission released an interim report yesterday and one of the things that it highlighted was the need for a new emergency warning system highlighting a bit of confusion over terms such as 'Watch an Act' is that a big priority as we enter a new bushfire season?

MCBAIN: I think for a number of years now, people have been asking for a change to a nationally consistent language, which would be especially beneficial for many of us along the coast where we obviously have Victoria just over the border there and what we saw during this fire was the Border Fire coming from over there, called something different over there and it hits our border and it's renamed and the system changes. You know, the Fires Near Me app is fantastic, but it doesn't talk to the Victorian app. And the language is different and I think what we all want to see, is some consistent language and systems that speak to each other so that we know we can get information on our app, which doesn't show a fire starting at the borderline.

LAUDER: All right, and you also call for, I guess, bipartisan action to implement those recommendations. So we'll see how you go with that. Thanks very much for joining us this morning. Is there something really good that's happened to you in 2020? I guess the result of the by-election for you perhaps?

MCBAIN: 2020 is obviously been a difficult year for many people. But I guess after some of the stresses early on with fires, and then the COVID shutdown, what we have seen is more time with those in our own household and what I really love seeing was over Easter time, the number of people camping in their own backyard and recreating the fun that they normally have somewhere else in their own backyard and hopefully, when these restrictions are lifted a little bit, what we'll say is many more people holidaying locally rather than travelling far and wide so hopefully more people getting out and spending some time in their own backyard will be one of the positives for 2020.

LAUDER: Kristy McBain thanks for your time.