My First Speech To Parliament

For the last 16 years, Bennelong has been my home. It’s where my kids go to school, where I live with my partner, Jo, and where I work.  My connection to Bennelong and its community defines who I am. You’ve heard it all before, but to be here, in this place, representing my home, is something that I’ll forever be thankful for.

Bennelong is a home to modern Australia. We are a vibrant, culturally diverse, entrepreneurial community that strives for success. I want to make decisions that’ll help industry grow, while also ensuring that workers and their wages are not left behind.

Following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini whilst in the custody of morality police, Iranian women—alongside men, the young, the elderly and those fed up with oppressive rules and a battered economy—have faced bullets, tear gas and arrests in the last fortnight, since protests began.

I have received letters, emails and social media messages that are clouded in desperation, many asking for hope, all asking for the stories of Iranians to be told by those who can. Today I say to those in my electorate: I can and will tell those stories in this place.

I stand for my local Iranian community in Bennelong, with their fear, their anger and their dismay. I use my position and my time here today to speak for them, to ensure their message, and that of their people families, is heard.

The cost-of-living crisis is a consequence of years of mismanagement by our predecessors. I’m here today on this side of the House because this government was elected because we have a plan to deal with cost-of-living pressures. We’ve got a plan to deal with it.

This was a night intended to celebrate fun and friendship, but one that we know ended in tragedy. My heart goes out to those mourning the loss of loved ones due to this tragedy and my thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of those impacted during this difficult time. May the victims of Itaewon rest in peace.

We have an unwavering commitment to this free trade agreement. It’s something that, as a former European myself, I am very, very interested in, because we know that the EU is one of Australia’s largest trading partners and enhanced links with Europe will help us here in our own region in the Pacific, but also in terms of energy security.

It will also facilitate huge investment in renewable energy here in Australia, but also in sustainable, critical mineral supply across the world. Here in Australia we dig up every mineral you need to make solar panels and batteries. And we’ve heard from some members here today about the significant improvements we need to make in agriculture to be able to unlock the European market.

As an island nation, Australia has a coastline more than 60,000 kilometres long, with very high wind resources. With that comes so much potential for offshore electricity. Right now there are more than 10 offshore wind proposals in Australia just waiting to be given the green light by this parliament.   

These projects promise enormous generation capacity, with tens of thousands of jobs in the construction phase, thousands of good, ongoing jobs as they become operational, and billions of dollars in investment. Importantly, most of these proposals are sitting alongside our traditional energy regions.

I’m proud to say that this is a budget the people of Bennelong voted for. The budget delivers on the commitments we made to the Australian people and the commitments I made to the people of Bennelong. 

It delivers responsible cost-of-living relief that doesn’t put pressure on inflation. It makes targeted investments to build a stronger and more resilient economy. And it begins the hard yards of budget repair so that we can pay for what’s important.

Early childhood education and care is extremely important – it’s also very expensive.  We introduced legislation today to reduce the cost of child care. This is life changing and will make an absolutely huge difference to family budgets.

We’ve successfully argued for a minimum wage rise. We’ve extended the pandemic leave payment. We’ve introduced legislation that will drive down power prices. We’re fast tracking fee-free TAFE. We’ve got cheaper child care. And we’ve got cheaper medicines. Ten thousand families in my seat of Bennelong will have cheaper child care because of the legislation introduced today by this government.


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