Opposition leaders and shadow ministries not getting enough air-time in traditional media, means that they’re unable to do their job keeping governments, ministers, and portfolios to account. We aren’t a democracy without their contributions. A prime example of this is NSW Opposition leader Chris Minns. Last week when NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, made the shock announcement about the daily Covid pressers, Minns announced his own presser for the vacated timeslot. Despite Berejiklian saying that Sunday was her last presser she held another one yesterday.
Minns held his short presser yesterday at 11am via Facebook with his Shadow Health Minister, Ryan Park. The lack of dead corporate language used as well as their to-the-point communication style was refreshing. Key points made were about the need for the NSW government to do daily pressers with clear communication, and the need for the opportunity to scrutinise decisions that they make. Other points made were about our healthcare system being in crisis, for Berejiklian to be accountable, and for other people in her Covid management team to do the pressers if she can not.
For today’s presser Minns was joined by his Shadow Minister for IR, Work, Health & Safety, Sophie Cotsis, and Dr Jamal Rifi at Belmore Park, the home of the Western Bulldogs. Cotsis explained how the community-led response there has boosted their vaccination rate from 20 percent to closer to 90 percent, for the first vaccine dose in 2 months.
Minns then thanked Dr Rifi for his “amazing work on behalf of the people of NSW, his care for his community and the innovative way that he approaches medicine and community care. Putting up a tent in your front yard in order to make sure that vaccinations were distributed to so many people is an example of Australian ingenuity and world class care.”
Next on the agenda was Minns calling for NSW Parliament to be brought back so that the government can explain the reasons for their policies, and how they impact millions of people in NSW. Minns also reasoned that daily pressers were needed not for “gotchas” or “politicking” but to clear up confusion about local health orders.
Dr Rifi then relayed the good news about his drive-through vaccination clinic at the Bulldogs sports ground being approved by the Commonwealth Department of Health, for the next 6-weeks. It will operate 3-days a week as of this week on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Dr Rifi explained that people were safer being vaccinated in their cars rather than indoors where exposure to Covid is higher. As well as the benefits of vaccinating kids with their families, and whole families being immunised at once.
Dr Rifi also said that if NSW Health gave them more vaccines on top of what the federal government has given them, they could operate 7-days a week because demand there far outweighs supply. The problem is a lot of workers there work long hours and can’t get their second jabs on weekends, but if they lift the curfew hours it will make it easier for workers to use the drive-through after hours at night. Kudos to Canterbury-Bankstown Council, Bulldogs League Club and the SES volunteers for helping to make all of this happen, heroes really don’t wear capes.
The presser wraps up with Minns reiterating that we need daily pressers from the NSW government because “you can’t make up rules that affect 7 million people, and then not explain the application of these rules over the coming weeks.”
The NSW Labor leader also had this to say about the NSW Parliament sitting idle: “If we’re sending 15 and 16-year old kids off to Coles and Woolworths to work to keep supermarkets open, then politicians should be going back to work.”
After watching these illuminating pressers it’s clear South West Sydney and Western Sydney are not being treated fairly. Curfews do need to be assessed and a clear explanation provided for why they still need to be in place in all areas especially those with low case numbers. Every effort should be made to help communities there to get their second dose without losing their income. It’s clearly not a case of people in these postcodes not wanting to be vaccinated, Delta made that call for them and many of us months ago. They don’t need more ‘get the jab’ messaging they just need more vaccines.
YouTube link for Monday’s presser with Chris Minns and Ryan Park: https://youtu.be/GLsv2qGVKQY
YouTube link for Tuesday’s presser with Chris Minns, and Shadow Minister for IR, Work, Health & Safety, Sophie Cotsis, and Dr Jamal Rifi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBDtW6rAwCQ
Link for Australian Story about Dr Rifi last night.