The Senate has censured embattled Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck for failing to take responsibility for coronavirus outbreaks across the sector.
Labor’s Senate leader Penny Wong said the minister had lost the confidence of parliament and should be censured.
She said every week 100 older Australians were being raped, assaulted and killed in aged care facilities.
“This is appalling, it is distressing, it is shocking but most of all it is unacceptable,” Senator Wong told parliament.
“This nation must do better, this minister must to better, the Morrison government must do better.”
Senator Colbeck was censured for his embarrassing failure to know the number of nursing home coronavirus deaths during a parliamentary inquiry last month.
The motion also targeted him for failing to take responsibility for causing “death, grief and untold trauma” to residents and loved ones during the crisis.
Government upper house leader Mathias Cormann said the coalition strongly opposed the motion.
“We stand with our colleague, Senator Colbeck, who is doing a very good job, in a very challenging area, in a very difficult context,” he said.
He said the minister had apologised for not having the number of deaths on hand at the committee hearing.
The censure motion also noted Senator Colbeck described his management of aged care as a “high water mark” and called deaths a ‘”function” of aged care.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 474 coronavirus deaths linked to aged care.
The motion passed 25 votes to 21.