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Labor leader Anthony Albanese is speaking to ABC News breakfast now from Lismore. He has been asked about the death of Labor senator Kimberley Kitching.
It was an enormous shock, James. I was visiting a family in Ballina yesterday, who have lost everything and I got an urgent message and then I took a call and it is something that was just totally unexpected. Kimberley was just 52 years of age. She was just beginning her political career. It was her first term serving in the Senate.
I appointed her to the frontbench and gave her additional responsibilities when I became the leader and Kimberley was someone who lit up a room when she was there. She was so full of life. She was a vivacious character and to lose her so young is just an enormous shock.
Essential workers who were lauded in the pandemic, like those in aged care, child care or supermarkets were already forking out up to three-quarters of their salary on rent. Unless we want a social disaster to follow this natural disaster we need to get serious about giving people on low and modest incomes a decent shot at getting and keeping a house. That means more social and affordable housing is urgently needed.
The problem with temporary housing is the lack of security and the poor quality. If people are in a temporary home but know they will have permanent housing soon, they are safe and warm through winter, and they can keep their job and kids can continue at their school, then they will most likely do well.
But if they are worried about how long they will have a roof over their head, and where they will live in the future, if they feel unsafe, or always have a cold because they can’t warm their home, or if the housing dislocates the family from the community they know, then their mental and physical health will suffer.