Speeches Chris has made in the Australian Federal Parliament.

Private Members’ Business - COVID-19

June 10, 2020

Mr HAYES (Fowler—Chief Opposition Whip) (10:18): During these unprecedented times, I want to take the opportunity to thank our health service workers, including our dedicated doctors, our nurses, cleaners, lab techs, medical waste handlers, support staff and, of course, our paramedics, for the essential work they are undertaking during these tough times.

I also want to acknowledge the tireless efforts of our aged-care workers, teachers, childcare and early childhood educators and shop assistants, who are all doing vital work on the front line under extraordinary circumstances during this pandemic.

Now, more than ever, we should show our appreciation and gratitude for the immense contribution of our frontline workers, putting themselves at significant personal risk to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our families and our communities.

Despite being a devastating time for our nation, unfortunately we've also heard horrifying stories of the mistreatment of many of our frontline workers, whether it be our shop assistants, health workers or other frontline workers. We've heard of them being shunned and abused simply because they are working on the front line in this pandemic. These are extraordinarily difficult and trying conditions—conditions that no-one should have to put up with by virtue of their occupation—and they have been placed in a position where they have had to bear the brunt of this health and economic crisis.

Their great efforts, on behalf of all Australians, have no doubt taken a significant physical and emotional toll on our frontline workers and their families. As a parliament, we should be indebted to them and must never forget their contributions and the sacrifices they have made for our communities, which we have been entrusted to represent.

On that note, I'd like to thank the Liverpool City Council and the Fairfield City Council, which operate in my electorate, for their initiatives during these times. They have extended support to local businesses and individuals in my community to ensure that they are getting the necessary assistance they need to help get them through this pandemic.

On behalf of a very grateful community, I'd like to thank all our frontline workers for their invaluable contribution during these challenging times. It must be difficult for many of them to accept the public debate which is now occurring in New South Wales as to whether they should be subject to a wage freeze or not. The truth of the matter is that our frontline workers are really the unsung heroes during this pandemic. They have made and continue to make a significant difference for the better in our community.