When it came to our community’s priorities for federal government action, restoring territory rights was right up there at the top.
Yesterday, I received the first draft of the Private Senator’s Bill I committed to introducing in the first weeks of parliament that will do just that.
We have waited too long to right this injustice, and distressingly some in our community simply can’t afford to wait any longer.
I reached out early following the election and have had a number of constructive conversations with government, opposition, and crossbench members of parliament about the urgent need to progress this legislation.
My focus is on getting this done. The announcement from the Members for Canberra and Solomon that they will co-sponsor a private member’s bill this week is promising but I also acknowledge the hefty legislative agenda the House of Representatives will face when parliament resumes. If we can move this forward faster in the Senate, I will be ready to go.
Integrity Commission consultation
Part of that big legislative agenda coming through the Lower House will be a government bill to establish a National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).
Stopping corruption, holding politicians more accountable and restoring integrity to government is something we all know is well overdue.
This new body must have real power, maintain independence and be protected to the greatest extent possible from any potential future attempt to weaken its powers or resources.
These are the type of questions that are front of mind for me heading into a roundtable consultation on Labor’s proposal with the Attorney-General in Sydney today.
I’ve been meeting with a range of key, expert stakeholders to inform the detail around the NACC and I want to know what you think about this too. Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts either on email [email protected] or at our upcoming Town Hall event where this will be a key discussion point ahead of parliament resuming.
You can register for the Town Hall here, it’s being held at Albert Hall on 20 July 2022. Doors open at 6pm for a 6.30pm start and further information about the agenda and format will be shared on this shortly.
Official office opening tomorrow
After the Sydney NACC consultation I will be heading straight back to Canberra ready for our official electorate office opening tomorrow!
Proceedings will kick off at 12.30pm with a special smoking ceremony by Uncle Richie Allan followed by a casual BBQ lunch. Details and RSVP here.
Please come along, say hello and meet the team if you can. The office still looks a bit bare but we’re looking forward to making it much more welcoming in coming weeks.
I am hoping this event will serve as the first of many opportunities to deliver on our promise of a new kind of community-driven politics. So bring your ideas about how you think we can best do that here in Canberra.
I’ve missed many of the incredible Team Pocock faces since the campaign and look forward to catching up with some of you there.
Get up! Stand up! Show Up!
It was great to celebrate NAIDOC week with the ACT Community Sector on Tuesday and I’d like to thank ACTCOSS for their work on this year’s event.
The chance to celebrate the oldest continuing culture on earth is extremely special. Uncle Billy T’s smoking ceremony and welcome to country was incredibly moving and was followed by amazing performances from Yukembruk Dance Group, Tahlianna Soward-Mahanga & Alinta Barlow.
It was a timely reminder that moving forward consultation and a referendum on a First Nations Voice to Parliament needs to happen in this term of government. We can’t ignore the most generous of offers in the Uluru Statement of the Heart any longer.
I am grateful to have already received so many offers of assistance on multiple fronts, especially following the staffing cuts announced by the government. We really cannot bring the vision we shared throughout the campaign to fruition without your help. There are three distinct areas where we are seeking volunteers. If you have the time and willingness to contribute in any or all of these areas, please complete the appropriate form(s) below.
Thank you to those who have already reached out – we will be in touch in coming days.
The team and I are very excited to realise more opportunities for engaging you, the people of the ACT & Norfolk Island that I am here to serve and represent, in the work we are doing on an ongoing basis. One simple way in which we can all continue contributing to our community is by lending a hand to local organisations when they seek it, like Lifeline ACT. They need volunteers to help set up their book fair on Wednesday 13 July. Please see their call for help here and, if you’re available, email [email protected] to sign up.
Out and about
In between ploughing through Odgers (a big book on the Senate) and studying up on Senate procedure it’s been so good to meet up with a range of people and groups since my last email.
Yesterday was all about our next generations with a group of ACM journalism cadets calling into the Parliament House office to give me a grilling. It was great to meet these feisty, sharp and inquisitive young journos. Strong, independent journalism is an essential ingredient in a healthy democracy and regional media plays a vital role in local communities.
I also had the chance to head down to ANU and meet a cohort of the National Youth Science Forum Year 12 students. These young minds will be the scientists of tomorrow, shaping our future and it was so good to be part of encouraging them towards a career in STEM. If you’re not already familiar with the program and have young people in your life I would encourage you to check it out.
I caught up with the Centre for Public Integrity and the Australian College of Nurse Practitioners. And last week I met ACTU chiefs Sally McManus and Michele O’Neil following earlier catch ups with a range of other key union and business groups including Melissa Donnelly and Maddy Northam from the CPSU, whose members make up such a big part of our workforce here in Canberra.
I’ll continue to meet with local community leaders, as well as national organisations to make sure our voice is being heard heading into the big debates that will shape parliament when it resumes at the end of this month.
Before parliament returns I will also be visiting Norfolk Island from 15 to 18 July, with further details to follow shortly. The program for this visit is still being finalised but we are looking to host a community meeting on Saturday afternoon, in addition to a series of one-on-one meetings and getting out and about around the island. If you would like to register to receive more details about this trip, including the community meeting, you can do that here.
A final note to say that we’re thinking of communities up north faced with the worst flooding in seventy years. We know from the bushfires that Canberrans are extraordinarily generous to others in need so I’ll be looking to see what we can help organise in the wake of this latest devastation.
Sorry for the big email but there’s been heaps going on and loads to share. I also don’t want to take up space in your inbox too frequently but I’m keen to keep providing these regular updates.
Senator David Pocock