October 19, 2016

Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson was thrown out of the House of Representatives during Question Time today when she called out to Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne: “Who is responsible for Williamtown? Tell the truth!”

 

Mr Pyne had been asked by Labor Shadow Defence Minister Richard Marles: “Who is actually the senior Minister in the Defence portfolio?” a question that had also been asked of Defence Minister Marise Payne during Senate Estimates.

 

Mr Marles was referring to confusion, highlighted by Ms Swanson yesterday, that there are three Turnbull Government ministers with Defence portfolios but the Defence website says their portfolios responsibilities are “to be advised”.

 

Ms Swanson was ejected from the Chamber at 2.59pm for an hour.

 

“If I had to be thrown out over something I am glad it is Williamtown,” Ms Swanson said.

 

“And Christopher Pyne did not answer the question! We still don’t know who is in charge of Defence and who will answer to the people of Williamtown.”

 

Earlier in the day Ms Swanson had slammed the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, over problems with the NDIS rollout in Paterson.

 

Ms Swanson said she had made representations on behalf of clients who had experienced delays, and service providers who had waited for months for payment.

 

The Hansard transcript of the NDIS speech is below.

 

Ms SWANSON (Paterson) (13:48):  This week, Carers Week, we have legislation for an NDIS 'special fund', which is no doubt a euphemism for 'budget cut'. And today we have the social services minister, Christian Porter, seeking to purge the NDIS by sacking the grandfather of it, Bruce Bonyhady. It is a disgrace! Is this government trying to wreck the NDIS? I think so. Labor authored the NDIS and we will not stand by while this mob wreck it.

In my electorate of Paterson there have been massive problems with the NDIS rollout stemming from the government's failure to provide resources to cope with demand and its botching of the IT system, resulting in huge delays in participants being signed up and service providers being paid. I have made representations on behalf of disability service providers who have gone for months without being paid and clients whose list of complaints includes the long wait to be signed up, an inability to use the MyPlace portal and terrible communication between the NDIS and clients' own healthcare providers. For example, Mr Allan McCorquodale, from Medowie, has been waiting for months for his wife, Lesley, to be moved onto the NDIS so they can buy a new van and have it modified for their transport needs. My office has been told there are only two caseworkers assessing people for the NDIS across the entire Paterson Hunter region—two! Clearly, that is not enough. Mr Porter, you need to step up!

 

 

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