Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse - 20 March 2013
I rise to congratulate Newcastle Herald journalist Joanne McCarthy on receiving the prestigious Graham Perkin award for journalism in Melbourne last week for her key role in reporting child sexual abuse and institutional cover-up. Her work was pivotal in the establishment of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and for that I thank her.
Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill - 20 March 2013
I rise to speak in support of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013. I am rather pleased to hear the member for Groom say that his advice is to stay out of the built-up areas, go out into the countryside and drill for gas there. Through my speech I want to talk about a built-up area, the built-up area of Newcastle.
School Bullying - 13 March 2013
On 15 March 2013, schools across Australia will celebrate the third annual National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence, an initiative of governments and schools across the country calling on school communities to 'take a stand together' against bullying and violence. Students across Australia will participate in raising the profile of the anti-bullying message, fostering positive and supportive social environments and increasing awareness of local counter-bullying initiatives within their school and school community.
A Life In Labor - International Women's Day - 8 March 2013
I was delighted to be asked to deliver the IWD speech tonight and it is a particular pleasure to follow last year’s speaker Vera Deacon who I admire very much. For me this is a year of reflection - a year when I retire from public life and look back on twelve years representing the people of Newcastle in the Federal Parliament of Australia. Elected in 2001, I am the first woman to win Labor preselection for the federal seat of Newcastle and to go on to win four elections.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme and the Arts - 28 February 2013
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is the single biggest reform in Australian history since Medicare in 1980s. It represents a crossroads in Australian history for people living with a disability, their families, their carers and the broader community. It comes in the great Labor tradition of equity, fairness and social justice – a tradition I am particularly proud to be a part of.
National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill 2012 - 11 February 2013
I rise to speak in support of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill 2012. The billrepresents an historic reform in the great Labor traditions of equity, fairness and socialjustice—traditions and a reform that I am particularly proud to be part of. I say thatbecause, in coming to this place, I left a job as a school principal at a school with manyspecial-needs students. You work hard as a principal, an education leader, with youngpeople with very complex needs. You see the difficulties and you do everything that youcan to assist them in that role. But now, nearly 12 years later, to be able to improve assomeone in this place the lot of all people with complex and special disability needs is avery heartening experience.
UK and Poland delegation - 11 February 2013
It is my pleasure, as a member of the delegation to the UK and Poland, to follow the member for Hume. I would like to second all the comments that the member for Hume made in thanking and acknowledging all the formal contributions to the success of our delegation trip. It is important to always remember that the Prime Minister of this country, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Defence cannot visit all these countries. The Minister for Trade cannot visit all these countries. So delegations have an important role in reinforcing those partnerships and relationships and saying: 'Yes, this is a relationship that is important to Australia and that we value. We value it enough to send our members of parliament to these countries to visit.'
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Bill 2012 - 7 February 2013
I too rise to speak in support of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Bill 2012, which will assist in achieving the ultimate goal of constitutional recognition for Australia's first people. As the Member for Newcastle, it is worth noting that in 1993 it was Newcastle City Council that first signed a statement of commitment recognising prior Aboriginal occupancy of our land—the first agreement of its kind in the nation. The first female Lord Mayor of Newcastle, and of course of Australia, Joy Cummings, in 1977 was the first Lord Mayor in Australia to raise the Aboriginal flag over any city. So I think we have been on that path to reconciliation for a long time.
Maritime Centre Newcastle Welcome Wall stage 2 opening - 26 January 2013
Today is also a special day for many Australians who came “across the seas” and eventually called this country home. Some were fleeing persecution and the ravages of war, some came by chance, some were adventurers who took a chance and others made a definite choice to go to Australia – all in search of a better life. From the decisions of many people from many nations to come to Australia we are regarded as a ‘nation of immigrants’ – and have become the most multicultural nation in the world. We are a welcoming nation, a nation of opportunity. And for those whose names are on the Welcome Wall, that opportunity was right here in Newcastle.