With some 1 in 6 Australians experiencing hearing loss, I think it is really important that we work harder to be more inclusive.
We have been elected to represent all people in our community.
I promised to do politics differently. I promised to be more accountable and more accessible.
That’s why when I was asked whether I would consider having my First Speech live translated in Auslan I was more than happy to agree.
People want a better, more collaborative parliament and that is what I want to help achieve.
For me, that means making our parliament more inclusive. I don’t want some people in our community to feel excluded, or separate.
Auslan translation has become a pretty regular feature of public communication during the pandemic.
I note the ACT legislative assembly is currently conducting an inquiry into access to services and information in Auslan.
While I appreciate the Senate is a place of tradition and convention, I also believe there is a strong case to update practice to better reflect our community’s values.
We want to make everyone in our community feel welcome, valued and included.
Obviously, I am disappointed that the major parties have not supported my request to have an Auslan translator alongside me on the floor of the Senate for my First Speech.
Not only would this have provided a practical solution, it would have also sent a strong message of inclusion.
I continue to work with the Department of Parliamentary Services and the Senate on ways to make my First Speech accessible to anyone watching either remotely or in the public gallery.