Standing up for Canberra
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Returned and Services League

Last week, I had the great pleasure once again to attend the ACT RSL's annual congress and AGM. I have been going to these meetings since 2011 and it is always a great pleasure to catch up with the vets and those who serve our vets in our community. 

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Omnibus Bill

Before I embark on a discussion on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform) Bill 2017, I want to thank, congratulate and commend the member for Moreton on an incredibly powerful speech on the Parliamentary Joint Committee Report on Human Rights report on free speech. As always, he has given a very eloquent speech, a very moving speech. I worked on the 18C legislation when I first started my career in the Public Service, so it is something very near and dear to me. It was there at the beginning of my career.

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Canberra Finally on NBN Rollout Map

It is official: after 18 months of campaigning, after two petitions to the government and another underway, after numerous letters to the minister, after countless speeches in the parliament and after hundreds of Canberrans taking part in my Send Me Your Speeds campaign, my electorate is finally on the NBN rollout map.

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Remembrance Day

I want to take this opportunity to thank the member for Goldstein for this private member's motion. Not a single community across Australia was spared the tragedy of the First World War. No matter where you go across this great nation, be it Thursday Island, be it Norfolk Island, be it a country town, be it a remote centre or be it a bustling metropolis, there stands an avenue of trees or a memorial remembering those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the many wars that Australia has participated in—the Boer War, the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Iraq or Afghanistan.

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EU-AUS Leadership Forum

The relationship between Australia and the European Union is long, strong and well established. The EU-Australia Leadership Forum will build on the hard work that has already gone into building and sustaining the bilateral relationship that has gone before. One of the first formal bilateral agreements—it is kind of weird calling it a bilateral agreement, given it is between a multilateral outfit and a nation—entered into by the EU and Australia was a joint declaration on relations in 1997.

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National Multicultural Festival 2017

Nearly one in four Canberrans volunteers each year, and it makes a whopping $1.4 billion contribution to the ACT economy on an annual basis. One of the best showcases of our spirit of volunteering is one of Canberra's biggest community ticket items, the Multicultural Festival—or the 'MultiCulti', as we like to call it here.

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NDIS Special Savings Fund Special Account Bill 2016

Before I start my speech, I want to acknowledge and thank the member for Macarthur for that outstanding contribution. He underscored the point that this is a bipartisan initiative that has support from both the major parties. It is vitally important that that is not forgotten today. The attacks by the government on the NDIS, particularly what we have heard in recent days about the funding issue, ignore the fact this extraordinary initiative, this nation-changing initiative, actually has bipartisan support—a point very well made by my colleague the member for Macarthur and one that we should not forget.

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Norfolk Island

Two weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of spending a week on Norfolk Island, which is in my electorate. I held a day of constituent meetings and got an update from a range of Commonwealth service providers on the progress of the reform program. I had a tour of the Commonwealth-funded Cascade Pier upgrade and also Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area. I met with the Norfolk Island Regional Council; the AFP; childcare providers; the accommodation and tourism association; the chamber of commerce; the council of elders; EcoNorfolk; and the health and aged care service.

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Ovarian Cancer

Last night, my fellow ovarian cancer ambassadors the member for Higgins and Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and I hosted our fifth annual Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month drinks for female politicians and media. I want to thank all my colleagues—thank you so much—in both chambers, for attending yet another highly successful event. 

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Closing The Gap

I begin by acknowledging that we meet on Ngunnawal country and pay my respects to the elders past, present and future. I welcome the opportunity to speak once again on the Closing the gap report, despite the fact that his report is a sober reminder that we have a long way to go before we achieve true equality for our First Australians.

 

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Vocational Education and Training

Today I had the great pleasure of joining the Leader of the Opposition at the ACTION Tuggeranong bus depot to discuss Labor's plans for apprentices and building the trade skills of the future. It was the second time that the opposition leader and I had been to the depot. The first was in 2015 with my dear friend and colleague the former shadow minister for vocational education, the member for Cunningham. Back then we discussed how Labor's trade training centres were providing a pathway to apprenticeships.

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NBN

I have petitioned the government to prioritise Canberra on the NBN rollout map. I have written to the minister to prioritise Canberra on the NBN rollout map, and to date, despite the promise by the Prime Minister that every household in Australia would have NBN by 2016, the rollout map for my electorate is just one big blank space. So I am asking Canberrans to send me their speeds to show the parlous internet in our nation's capital.

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APVMA

At last some light is to be shone on the shameless and blatant pork barrel that is the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority relocation from Canberra to Armidale. I am absolutely delighted that a Senate references committee will investigate the Turnbull government's corporate Commonwealth entities location policy order, particularly the decision to move the APVMA from this great city —the nation's capital—to the Deputy Prime Minister's electorate.

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Australia Day Honours

Australia's honours system provides us with the opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of outstanding Australians and to thank them for their contribution to our community, our nation and our world. I congratulate the many Canberrans who are honoured this year, particularly our proud servers of democracy and members of the Australian Defence Force. I single out just two, not because they are more exceptional than the others but because of my personal connection to them and their nominations.

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Agriculture and Water Resources Legislation Amendment Bill 2016

I rise tonight to speak in support of Labor's proposed second reading amendment to the Agriculture and Water Resources Legislation Amendment Bill 2016, and the companion bill, the Excise Levies Amendment (Honey) Bill 2016. The broad suite of amendments to the various acts incorporated in the omnibus amendment bill remove unnecessary regulation and improve the operation of existing legislation —a good thing. Given that the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources administer nearly 100 pieces of primary legislation, some of the proposed amendments are also intended to streamline administrative practices, which is again a good thing; and reduce complexity, which is another good thing.

 

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NBN

Here in the nation's capital, just 15 minutes from this very Parliament House, Canberrans are experiencing some of the worst internet speeds in the world. This is having a significant impact on their ability to take part in educational opportunities, on their ability to take part in active citizenry and also on their ability to set up small businesses and to work from home. 

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Commemoration of the Korean War

We have just heard from the member for Canning and I commend him for putting this motion forward. I had the great honour of joining the magnificent eight on that trip to Korea last month for the 65th commemorations of Kapyong and Maryang San. It was a great honour to join those extraordinary men. I spoke at length about them last week. For their years they are still incredibly resilient and still incredibly fit.

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Defence Facilities Chemical Contamination

I want to commend the member for Paterson for this motion. It is a very timely motion and I also want to commend the member for Paterson for her tireless and fierce advocacy on this issue. Since she was campaigning, since she was preselected, she has been on this issue talking with the community, working with the community, to get the best results for that community. I want to commend the member for Paterson for her tireless and fierce efforts on this issue.

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Isaac Delivers

Isaac Peel is a young small-business owner here in Canberra. He runs a service called Isaac Delivers, which delivers light items to businesses around Canberra, including Fyshwick Toyota, the Erindale Centre, Canberra Imaging Group and the Wanniassa National Health Co-op. 

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ACT Bushfires

On the afternoon of Thursday, 10 November, the wind gusts here in Canberra neared 30 kilometres an hour. The wind was bending powerlines into the backyard of one family, and when the lines touched the house a fire broke out. I am grateful that the family had their nephew at home at the time, because it was his quick thinking that prevented a near miss from becoming a tragedy.

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Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Before I start, I would like to acknowledge the community in the gallery from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. They have been very, very patient this afternoon in waiting for me to speak about the fantastic work they do. I want to thank the community here today for being so patient. I do apologise for the divisions—these people have the patience of saints! The fact that they have left school early and left work early to come to listen to this speech makes me feel very honoured and I am very honoured that they are still here. Thank you so much.

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Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2016

Thank you very much to the previous member for those lovely comments. Also, I want to give a shout out to ADSO: I trust you are doing great work, that you are working with our fabulous shadow minister for veterans' affairs to ensure we provide to our veterans—those veterans who have served our country so selflessly—with the conditions and the support they deserve, and that veterans are acknowledged and, most importantly, are cared for as they age.

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Criminal Code Amendment (War Crimes) Bill 2016

We are witnessing a rapid transformation in the nature of armed conflict. The world looks very different to how it looked in 2002, when the existing Criminal Code provisions were enacted. We see it today in the rise of organised armed groups such as ISIS and the way these groups engage in non-international armed conflict. The world looks very different, and so do the laws that govern it. So it is appropriate that Australian law is updated in accordance with updates to international law.

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Response to the Prime Minister's National Security Statement

The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister said in an address yesterday that, “we need to accelerate the implementation of our Cyber Security Strategy.”

Truer words have never been spoken, Deputy Speaker.

Because the pace of implementation has been a crawl.

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Domestic and Family Violence

Last month I had the privilege of attending the Fearless Comedy Gala. It was organised by Juliet Moody to unite some of Australia's funniest people to help address one of our most serious problems.

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