Payne's Parliamentary Proceedings - August 2023

14 August 2023

The Voice, Housing and the girls in green and gold were all big themes of the August sitting fortnight in Parliament!

It was a busy fortnight with a lot on the Government’s agenda. The Government is laser focused on addressing cost of living pressures and we’re working hard to deliver on the better future that Australians voted for last year.

Over the fortnight I had the chance to speak on several important issues including:

  • Karinya House: An incredible organisation in Canberra who support pregnant women or women with newborns experiencing homelessness.
  • Solar for Apartments: An exciting collaboration between the Albanese and Barr Labor Government’s will help more apartment dwellers to enjoy the benefits of solar power.
  • Treasury Laws Amendment (2024 Measures No.3) Bill: A bill which will enhance the integrity of consumer markets for credit products and removes obstacles to financial advisors (among many other things!)
  • National Student Wellbeing Program: I spoke on a motion about the program (previously the school chaplaincy program) and about the investment the Albanese Government is making into student welfare.
  • Treasury Laws Amendment (Making Multinationals Pay Their Fair Share – Integrity and Transparency) Bill: A bill that holds large multinational corporate groups to account on their taxation arrangements.
  • Landcare Week: I spoke about the fantastic work landcare groups and their volunteers do to protect our environment and how the Government is assisting them!
  • Housing and Homelessness: I spoke about homelessness week, the fantastic services in Canberra that do incredible work for those doing it tough, and the investment the Government is making into housing.

All of these speeches are available to watch online on my YouTube channel here.

I also had the opportunity to speak on Afternoon Briefing on the ABC with Greg Jennet and Liberal MP James Stevens.

We spoke about a number of issues including the Government’s new International Aid and Development Strategy, the disastrous impacts of Robodebt, the Government’s commitment to rebuild capacity in the public service after a decade of outsourcing to consultants, and of course the Matildas!

You can watch the whole segment here.

It was a busy fortnight outside of Parliament as well!

It was great to be able to attend the opening of the National Gallery's new exhibition, ‘Know my Name: Making it Modern’ which celebrates the contribution of Women to the development of art in Australia.

I also had the opportunity to see the hilarious ANU Women’s Revue, ‘Every Gal, Every Pal’. A big thanks to the crew for the laughs and for taking me backstage to meet you all. I continue to be so impressed by the broad range of creative talents around our city.

I was also very pleased to host a number of ministers for visits around the Canberra Electorate.

On Monday the Minister for Health Mark Butler and I visited Garema Place Surgery. It was great to talk to practice principal Dr Felicity Donaghy about the challenges facing General Practice and the policy settings the Government could take to assist them.

Since the election the Government has already improved our Medicare system with the biggest single investment into General Practice since Medicare’s commencement including by tripling the bulk-billing incentive.

This comes on top of our policies to reduce the costs of medicines – since January 1 this year people living in the Canberra Electorate have saved $1.3 million on over 117,000 scripts with more savings to come when 60 day dispensing is introduced in September!

A big thanks to Dr Donaghy and the entire Garema Place team for your hospitality. Thanks also to Dr Donaghy for the blood pressure test - Happy to report everything is fine despite the busy sitting week!

On Tuesday, ACT Senator Katy Gallagher and I attended the sod-turning of the first stage of the new National Security Office Precinct Project.

Stage one is the John Gorton Campus Carpark and child-care centre – an $80 million project which is being developed by Indigenous Construction Company Barpa.

Wednesday saw Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth join me at Doubleshot in Deakin to meet with older Canberrans and chat about the eligibility changes to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

I might use this opportunity to plug my Pensioners and Seniors Kit which Canberrans over 65 can order for free here.

On Thursday Minister for the Environment Tanya Plibersek joined myself and Andrew Leigh at the Jerrabomberra Wetlands to announce that the Government is funding $3.2 million for Landcare ACT and Woodlands and Wetlands Trust to improve the health of Canberra’s urban waterways.

Fittingly, this announcement came during Landcare Week – Landcare is an incredible organisation initially championed by former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke and is now one of the biggest volunteer movements in the nation!

Landcare volunteers work tirelessly around the nation as stewards of our natural environment and I’m very glad that the Government is able to assist them in this way.

We’ve had a lot of committee work happening during the fortnight as well, most notably, hearings have continued for my National Capital and External Territory Committee’s inquiry into fostering and promoting the National Capital.

This fortnight we’ve heard from groups advocating for better public transport connections to our city and others advocating for better arts and convention centre infrastructure. The hearings continue this week!

Finally I wanted to sign off with a quick word about the incredible Matildas.

Like all of Australia I’ve been totally captivated by the performance of these remarkable women during our very own FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Their performance has inspired the nation and the world and I’m so thrilled about the growth in support of women’s sport that this team and this tournament has encouraged. With stadiums sold out around the country and record breaking broadcasts, no one can say anymore that people don’t care about women’s sport!

After their nail biting win on Saturday against France, the Matilidas will now play England in Sydney on Wednesday night. I’ll be cheering them on as I’m sure the rest of the nation will as well.

I also want to send a huge congratulations to the Aussie Diamonds who won the Netball World Cup last week in South Africa. This is now the 12th World Cup the Diamonds have won since the tournament started in 1963. A massive achievement.

Thanks very much for reading and as always, if you have any issues you’d like to raise with me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.