What I'm hearing
Enough is enough.
We need genuine leadership to build a truly diverse and inclusive society – one in which everyone is seen, heard, valued and respected. We need real action, not just words, to stop what is a national crisis of violence against women and children, as well as policies that put us on a path to achieving equality. We need to accept the incredibly generous offer contained in the Uluru Statement from the Heart and make actual progress on Closing the Gap. We need a much more humane way of managing refugees and asylum seekers.
National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032
The incidence of men's violence against women and children in Australia is appalling and completely unacceptable. It is also something that particularly impacts women of colour and the LGBTIQ+ community. It is an urgent national crisis that demands priority action, not platitudes. I will hold the government to account for properly consulting on and resourcing the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032. Frontline service providers need adequate, long-term resourcing and support, including here in the ACT. I will also work to ensure the government fully implements all recommendations of the Respect@Work, Set the Standard and Foster reviews. I am devoted to modelling respectful behaviours, amplifying women’s voices and calling out acts of discrimination and disrespect.
Gender-responsive budgeting, closing the gender pay and superannuation gaps
Australia pioneered gender-responsive budgeting, which is a proven, deeply pragmatic way of ensuring better economic outcomes for women. This must be re-introduced in time for the first federal budget in the current term of parliament. I will advocate for superannuation to be added to the government’s paid parental leave scheme and for increased efforts to close the gender pay gap.
Backing the Uluru Statement from the Heart
The longest continuing cultures in the world are right here in Australia. We need that wisdom, leadership and connection to this incredible continent we call home. We know the toll that ongoing discrimination is taking on First Nation communities and we must keep that front and centre. I support Voice, Treaty and Truth, in that order, as proposed in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. It’s time to act on this and ensure First Nations people have a voice in shaping our nation. The Voice to Parliament will allow politicians to consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities before and during the process of developing legislation. This will also help ensure we start making meaningful progress on closing the gap.
A more humane approach to refugees and asylum seekers
No one wants to see a return to the failed border policies of the past, but we also need to end the current inhumane management of refugees and asylum seekers. We need a more humane approach that is consistent with our obligations under international law. We also need to increase our humanitarian intake, accelerate processing times, put an end to indefinite detention and, more broadly, introduce a charter of human rights.
Better support for our multicultural communities
Migration has played a central role in Australia’s development since federation and the ACT is proud to be home to a vibrant multicultural community. Many people who have come from overseas to call Canberra home, like I did, retain strong links to their birth countries. Border closures during the COVID-19 pandemic were especially challenging for these families. Australia’s visa system has not kept pace – processing times and costs are prohibitively long and high. This is especially the case for families wanting to bring elderly parents to Australia for extended visits. The Department of Home Affairs says, “New Parent and Aged Parent visa applications lodged that meet the criteria to be queued are likely to take at least 30 years for final processing.” This is clearly unsustainable and, for that reason, I will push for an inquiry into the processing of visa applications to better support our multicultural communities.