Update from the Member for Canberra
It has been a strange few weeks up here in Parliament. The Government doesn’t seem to have much of a legislative agenda, with only three bills introduced into the House of Representatives this week and 37 closure motions (preventing an MP from speaking) dominating proceedings over the fortnight. There are so many things we can and should be doing to make Australia better – acting on climate change, increasing Newstart, addressing our floundering economy – but the Government is doing little more than tinkering around the edges and hindering debate in the Parliament.
With Sharon Claydon, Member for Newcastle at the climate protest outside Parliament House.
Labor Leader Anthony Albanese announced in the last fortnight Labor’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. I am hearing from my electorate that action on climate change is the top priority for Canberrans and have been relaying these views in the Parliament. So I was very pleased when Anthony made this commitment.
I want action in the life of this Parliament and many Canberrans have written to me in the last few weeks, urging me to support Zali Steggal’s climate change bill. I think the Member for Warringah has proposed some really positive actions the Government can take to improve Australia’s response to climate change. Unfortunately, as the Government controls what is debated in Parliament it is most likely we won’t get a chance to debate let alone vote on the bill. Also in order to be legislated, any bill with financial implications needs to be moved by a Government minister. While I support what Zali Steggal is doing, to get real action on climate change we will need a Labor Government. The net zero by 2050 commitment is a positive step that signals Labor’s intentions in this area. I will be pushing hard for a comprehensive climate strategy that includes assisting coal workers across the country to get well-paying jobs in other sectors, including a world-leading renewables sector that Anthony has signalled is a priority for a Government he leads.
Tanya Plibersek is a giant of the Labor party and certainly an inspiration for me. Tanya gave a great speech to ACT Labor members at Parliament this week at an event hosted by Andrew Leigh MP and myself. Reflecting on the whiff of corruption that is building around Morrison, Tanya told members that “We’re in the fight for the soul of our democracy.”
I couldn’t agree more. I’ll be holding other events for all Canberrans with Labor representatives throughout this year but talks like this one from Tanya are yet another great reason to join the Labor party as we gear up to beat Scott Morrison at the next election.
Tanya speaking to ACT Labor members at Parliament House.
This fortnight I spoke on Paid Parental Leave, focusing on the need for a system that supports both parents to take an active role in parenting - we can do more in this area.
I also talked about the importance of the ABC this week, with a quick 90 second statement on the great work done in the ACT by both the ABC journalists in the Press Gallery, as well as the staff at ABC Canberra. Apart from a quick shout out in my condolence speech on the bushfires, a longer speech on the ABC has been languishing in a folder on my desk as the Government continues to delay some legislation on the ABC from being discussed and moving through the Parliament. The importance of the ABC was at the front of Australians minds during the summer bushfires, but I also wanted to talk about the innovative work of ABC Canberra, in particular Dan Bourchier’s nightly acknowledgment that the broadcast is beamed from Ngunnawal land and his use of Ngunnawal greetings at the start and end of his bulletins.
Talking about the importance of a well-funded ABC is as important as ever, particularly as the Government continues to promote the blatant lie that they haven’t cut funding to the national broadcaster. In questioning from my colleague Senator Marielle Smith, the ABC bravely disputed these lies from Senator Linda Reynolds in Senate Estimates this week and you can watch that video here.
My colleague David Smith, Member for Bean (South Canberra) has continued his great advocacy for women’s sport in the ACT, inviting the Canberra Capitals to Parliament to celebrate their win this week. This follows Dave’s celebration of the Brumbies Women rugby team earlier in the year. It was great to meet the Caps and congratulate them on their brilliant win the night before!
Celebrating the Canberra Capitals at Parliament House.
I also wanted to give a shout out to Senator Katy Gallagher who really led the charge this week in Senate Estimates, including a forensic unveiling of the Prime Minister’s involvement in the sports rorts scandal.
Sports rorts is a perfect example of this Government’s disregard for due process, conventions of good government, taxpayer money and most importantly, the law for which they are responsible.
Finally a quick note on Coronavirus. Please follow the information on the Department of Health website and the ACT Health website - there is some misinformation around at the moment and it is important to keep updated from a reliable source.
Thanks for taking an interest in my newsletter. Feedback is truly welcomed and please forward on to your friends. And don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It is the best way to keep up to date with what I have been doing.
Member for Canberra
PS I’ll be holding a coffee catch up at Beess and Co in Yarralumla on Thursday 12 March at 9:30am, love to see you there!