Australia politics news live updates: Question time puts the aged care crisis under spotlight, as Australia records at least 56 Covid deaths| Australia news
We’ve had a few different numbers of aged care deaths bandied about in parliament today.
Considering the scrutiny rightly being applied to the Covid situation affecting some of the most vulnerable Australians, it’d be good to get some clarity – here’s what we know.
In Senate estimates from earlier, officials at the department stated that there were 691 aged care deaths in 2022. That’s compared with 282 in the entirety of 2021, and 685 in 2020, showing just how the Omicron wave has ripped through the sector.
Labor claims that there will be 743 deaths by 2022.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese and Labor’s shadow minister for aged care services Clare O’NeilBoth pointed out this figure during Question Time.
Minister for health and elderly care Greg Hunt He claimed that there were 711 elderly care deaths in 2022, but he did not give a different number to question time. Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister, also used this number.
The 743 number of labor claims comes from comparing statistics from the health departments from 31 December 2021, 15 February 2022, and 31 December 2021. Statistics from 31 December showed that there were 915 elderly care deaths, as compared with 1658 deaths on 15 February. That’s a difference of 743, which is where Labor got their number from.
We’ve contacted the health department for an official number, to confirm.
The New Zealand government has said it would be concerned at any moves to ramp up Australia’s deportations policy.
This comes amid Morrison government moves to pass the immigration amendment (strengthening character test) bill.
The proposed bill would lower the bar for the failure of the test so a person convicted of a “designated offence”, such as violence or breaching a court order, is deemed to be of bad character, making visa cancellation more likely, although a discretion not to do so remains.
When contacted for a response, New Zealand’s foreign affairs minister, Nanaia Mahuta, said:
New Zealand has brought up the topic of deportations with Australia a few times. We don’t agree with the policy and would be concerned at any moves to strengthen it. New Zealand recognizes Australia’s right to deport individuals.
We are worried that Australia continues sending people to New Zealand without having ever lived in Australia and with no support networks or family.
While in parliament, another federal MP tested positive for Covid. This was the Nationals MP. Kevin HoganHe announced that he had contracted the virus.
It follows the Labor MP Anika WellsOn Wednesday, she was confirmed positive.
Hogan, who is the assistant minister to deputy prime minister, stated that he had returned a quick test result on Tuesday and was being isolating.
He said he had “very mild” symptoms so far.
Following Wells’ Covid diagnosis, Labor is also asking all their MPs who were in the party’s caucus meeting on Tuesday to get a PCR test by the end of the day.