22 October 2020

Frontline workers have been the heroes of this pandemic, especially for us in Victoria. So many people have kept us fed, healthy, connected and alive. But today I want to acknowledge those workers we ask for help when we are in financial stress, and, sadly, there are plenty of people in dire straits. Frontline workers in banks have been stressed all through this awful pandemic and are at heightened risk of infection. FSU members have spoken to me about what they face: people shouting out in anger and anxiety, and sometimes tearful and sobbing, desperate for help. Banking retail outlets have become tension-ridden workplaces, with staff exposed every day. The staff have had their workloads increased inexorably and they are going home with stress etched into their faces. One worker told me her child asks her, when she gets home, did she catch the virus that day? The FSU are asking our incredibly profitable banks for a small financial compensation for their frontline staff. Surely the banks can do this.

But, on a lighter note, my lovely partner, Leigh, is a Geelong Cats supporter, and I am a die-in-the-ditch Richmond Tigers fan, born in the heart of Tiger land. Needless to say, my household is a little tense at the moment because, whilst love technically has no bounds, I'm afraid my love for the Tigers cannot be surpassed. I am proud to have a Dinny Kunoth Kemarre sculpture of the wonderful Dusty Martin in my office, thanks to the APH art collection. So, for Saturday—I'm sorry to say to my partner—Go Tiges!