Standing up for Canberra
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One in Ten Women Suffer from Endometriosis

 One in ten women have endometriosis. That is one in ten teenage girls missing classes at-school because of excruciating pain; that is one in ten young women being forced to take time off work for treatment and operations; that is one in ten women living in fear of infertility. Unfortunately, these girls, these young women, these women, largely suffer this insidious disease in stoic silence. 

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Global Gag Rule

As a former diplomat, I do not normally comment on matters internal to a particular country, but I felt compelled to do so today when I saw the motion that was put up by the member for Fenner. I commend him for putting this motion up because it is an issue that I know many Canberrans feel very strongly about, many Canberra women feel very strongly about, so I felt compelled to speak on this matter today. It is a matter I feel very strongly about too. I commend the member for Fenner for putting the motion forward.

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Section 18C Racial Discrimination Act

Multicultural communities around Australia are uncertain and they are anxious. They are uncertain about whether this government cares about them, and they are anxious that their basic human right to freedom from discrimination will not be protected anymore. They are scared about the message that this government is sending to bigots and racists across the country with its changes to 18C.

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Appropriations Bills 3&4

The Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2016-2017 and the Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2016-2017 are required to ensure the ordinary functions of government continue for the remainder of the 2016-17 financial year. As Labor has already stated, we will not block supply—we are still smarting from what happened in the seventies. 

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Last Veterans' Mission to Korea

It is a great honour to welcome the 'Magnificent Eight' to Canberra, my electorate, my home and our nation's beautiful Parliament House and wonderful capital. I would like to thank and commend the minister for this ministerial statement and for the opportunity to speak as well. The minister made this commitment when we were in Korea during the delegation in October last year.

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Australian Federal Police

AFP officers have not received a pay rise for two years and now 280 of them are facing pay cuts of up to 35 per cent of their wage. This from a government that prides itself on being tough on crime; this from a government that maintains it is a friend of law enforcement. This government is cutting $100 million from the AFP's budget, which is more than 10 per cent of the AFP's overall national policing budget.

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Riharna Thomson

Canberra lost a beautiful young woman earlier this month, and today I rise to pay tribute to her. Riharna Thomson was 22 when she passed away from injuries she sustained in a tragic accident: a fall while riding a horse in track work at Thoroughbred Park. I am sorry that I did not get to meet Riharna. 

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International Women's Day 2017

I would like to begin by commending the member for Newcastle for putting forward this motion. It is a very important motion. We still have to have a conversation about the situation facing Australian women, women in the region and women throughout the world. Yes, there have been some achievements made but there is still a lot more work that needs to be done. So I commend the member for putting this motion forward. 

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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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