25 January 2022
In a stunning display of disrespect to those suffering the devastating impacts of Covid in our aged care system, it seems Senator Richard Colbeck has prioritised watching the cricket over actually doing his job as Federal Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services.
Senator Colbeck refused to appear before the Senate Select Committee on Covid-19 on 14 January 2022, stating he was concerned about the impact of the timing of the hearing:
“Diverting time and resources, including that of senior leaders within the Department who are playing a key role in the management of the current Omicron outbreaks, to give evidence before the Committee at this crucial time would impact the urgent and critical work the Department is undertaking with other Government agencies, states and territories to manage these outbreaks.”
The Register of Senators’ Interests reveal that on 14 January 2022 Senator Colbeck was likely attending the Ashes Test Cricket in Hobart.
As stated by Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson:
“Avoiding scrutiny and playing politics with the pandemic has become a hallmark of the Morrison Government.
“Senator Colbeck wants us to believe that his desire to avoid diverting time and resources away from Australia’s Covid response was so great that he was too busy to attend a Senate hearing specifically on this most serious matter – when it appears he was at the cricket.
“Appearing before the Senate Committee would have been an opportunity for the Minister to provide comfort, guidance and reassurance to our most vulnerable communities at this most critical and nervous time.
“Australians were locked down, lonely, anxious and vulnerable, some dying from this virus, and it seems Senator Colbeck prioritised cricket.
“This government will go to any lengths to avoid scrutiny of its mishandling of the pandemic.
“If Senator Colbeck did in fact prioritise the cricket over the Senate Committee, he must make a formal apology to the Senate and the Australian people for this abrogation of his responsibilities”.