Welcome to the first edition of my monthly newsletter where I will be keeping you updated on my work in and around NSW and Parliament House and how it impacts you.
I’ve been in my new role now for three and a half months and what a learning curve it’s been. While I am well versed in the political arena, learning the machinations of the Senate and the processes involved has been a huge leap into the deep end but I feel poised now to go forward with strength and fortitude as we come to the last quarter of the year.
Due to the devastating impact of the drought in rural Australia, I’m launching an initiative to support businesses in the country called ‘Go Country For Christmas’. I would like to encourage all Australians to buy at least one present from a business that is based in the country. A dedicated ‘Go Country for Christmas’ site will be launched for consumers to search businesses and get Christmas present ideas. Regional businesses can register via: gocountryforchristmas.com.au Registrations will open on Friday 18 October. Please share this message with your friends, family and community to support those who are struggling. More info about this program will be coming soon.
Just to give you a recap on my first few months in the job, I was sworn in with my new colleagues into the 46th Parliament by His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, on the first of July.
After this momentous occasion, we were off and running! I formed my team of staff and the business of the Senate began.
I was fortunate to join Assistant Minister for Community Housing, the Hon Luke Howarth MP, at the City West developments in Pyrmont. I also represented the Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Veteran Affairs, at the Australian War Memorial to pay tribute to our National Servicemen with the National Servicemen’s Association of Australia.
I had the privilege of representing Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, at the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme awards in Sydney where we came together to celebrate and reward the entrepreneurial aspirations of Australians.
I spoke in the Great Hall at Sydney University as part of the Harry Messel International Science School Gala and awarded the Len Basser Medal for Scientific Leadership to a wonderful high school student. I was delighted to meet Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, Governor of New South Wales, who was also in attendance at the event.
And then my big day arrived, the day of my maiden speech to Parliament on Tuesday 30 July 2019. This was a very special day for me as it was my first opportunity to speak about my aspirations and Liberal Party values and how I came to be in the Chamber that day.
As outlined in my maiden speech, I intend to focus a lot of my attention on the NDIS and autism as well as rural and regional economies and communities. And on both accounts, I can say that I am making some real inroads of which I look forward to sharing with you soon.
I have met with a lot of stakeholders within the autism community and I’m thrilled to be able to tell you that on 17 October we will be launching the inaugural Parliamentary Friends of Autism group. This friendship group aims to promote the importance of autism acceptance and inclusion and will also provide:
- Access to meet adults on the spectrum and hear first-hand experience;
- Provide accurate and up to date information from those working in the area; and
- Discuss key issues that are important to the autism community.
On a completely different note, I was invited by Save the Children to take part in a six day delegation to Papua New Guinea paid for by a grant they had received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The focus of the delegation was of course on the children of PNG and the struggles they are facing with health, education and safety. We are so blessed to live in Australia but we cannot forget our neighbours nor the ways we can support them to create better educational and health outcomes for the next generations. I also had the opportunity to visit the graves of Australian soldiers whilst in PNG, I’m constantly reminded how fortunate we are to live in the lucky country and the sacrifice of our forebears.
19th Seoptember concluded two weeks of sitting in Parliament and what a fortnight it was! I had the pleasure of launching the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writers and announcing the inaugural book for the Parliamentary Book Club, Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu. I also popped into the Press Gallery’s Midwinter Ball.
However, while this was all wonderful, I am there to work for the constituents of NSW and on that front, I delivered a condolence motion for the Honourable Tim Fischer AC where I spoke about his son Harrison who has autism and how that changed the course of Tim, Judy, and Dominic’s lives.
I also gave an address in reply to the Governor-General’s speech where I focused on the NDIS and the areas we can look at expanding or amending to make it easier for families to navigate.
In addition to this, I also outlined the Government’s policy platforms and achievements to the Senate regarding Newstart, family law courts, the new Sports Tribunal, and overseas pensioners.
The next couple of months is going to see me travelling right across Australia as I take part in hearings for the Community Affairs Committee so I look forward to sharing my work with you there as it unfolds.
In the meantime, we celebrated International Day of Sign Languages on September 23 so I thought I’d show you the video I made to contribute to this special day. As you will see, I didn’t quite get it first go but like everything in life, we must remember that we just keep trying!