Speeches Chris has made in the Australian Federal Parliament.

Constituency Statements - International Nurses Day

May 13, 2020

Mr HAYES (Fowler—Chief Opposition Whip) (10:30): Yesterday we commemorated International Nurses Day, and it's appropriate we take time to show our appreciation and our gratitude for the extraordinary contribution nursing makes in our community to the wellbeing of people, families and indeed communities as a whole. Now more than ever we should show our appreciation and gratitude for the tireless effort of our nurses and indeed all our health workers during these unprecedented times.

The reality is that, every time they start their shift, they are putting themselves at significant personal risk, and it doesn't end when they leave work, given fears of possible exposures to their families. I think we should show our appreciation for all those involved in our health community as a consequence, particularly this year when we acknowledge that there are many nurses and health workers around the world who have lost their lives treating and caring for patients affected by the coronavirus. Nurses are an integral part of our health service, and we must acknowledge the multifaceted role they provide as caregivers, patient advocates and educators.

What is readily apparent is that our health system only works effectively through the cooperation of all those involved. I therefore take the opportunity to reflect broadly on the invaluable contribution provided by our health workers, including of course not only our nurses but our dedicated doctors, cleaners, lab techs, hospital caterers, support staff, paramedics and the list goes on. Our health workers are doing a tremendous job, and our lives and the lives of those we love are depending on them.

They are working on the frontline to help our community stop the spread of coronavirus under enormous pressure in the most trying of circumstances, and incredibly we've heard stories of health workers being spat upon or abused in the streets simply because they are working on the frontline of this pandemic. Clearly, these are extremely difficult and trying times, which I have no doubt has taken a significant personal and emotional toll on many of our health workers and others on the frontline.

On behalf of a very grateful community, I thank our nurses and all our health workers for their dedication and commitment, particularly during the times of this pandemic. They are making an extraordinary contribution and making a difference for the better of our community. On this 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, best regards to all our nurses and all those who are helping us throughout our health system.