I'm a Canberra mum of three who is the former Chief Minister of the ACT and as of March 26 2015 Senator for the Australian Capital Territory.
I would like to acknowledge and pay my respect to the traditional owners, the Ngunnawal people, upon whose ancestral lands this chamber is built. I pay my respect to elders both past and present and acknowledge their enduring connection to these ancient lands.
I thank the people of the ACT for the support they have shown me and to the membership of ACT Labor for giving me the honour of becoming the 8th senator for the ACT.
I take over from a long serving senator – the Hon Kate Lundy. Kate served her community and her party with distinction during her 19 years’ service. She was a senator who broke down barriers and set an exemplary standard that others want to follow. I am lucky to be able to call Kate a friend and to follow in her footsteps - thank you Kate for the support you've shown me and the gentle persuasion used to get me to come into this place.
Mr. President, 104 years ago on the 1 January 1911, nine hundred and ten square miles of land were excised from NSW to become the Federal Capital Territory and the site of the national capital - it was, according to the media reports at the time, an occasion “when a young Australian nation and the community of the limestone plains crossed paths”.
The “bush capital” –with more than half of our jurisdiction dedicated to national park and nature reserves –delivered on the desire to have a modern city that co-existed within the natural beauty of the area that had originally drawn the federation fathers to this place.
Mr. President this is my place.
Tony Abbott's 2015 Budget includes a plan to cut 80,000 families access to Paid Parental Leave scheme.
A government funded Paid Parental Leave scheme was introduced in 2011 and was always intended as a scheme that families could use alongside other workplace entitlements.
It was specifically designed to provide parents/primary care givers with more choices about how long they could stay at home with their baby.
In an attempt to justify yet another broken promise Tony Abbott has outrageously singled out public servants as unworthy recipients of the PPL scheme. What he is not saying is that his changes will reduce access to the entitlement for 50% of families - including the thousands of workers employed in the private sector.
All parents and primary care givers deserve to be supported – by their employers and by their government
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Today I have spoken with my caucus colleagues and Minister Shane Rattenbury MLA to let them know that I will be a candidate for upcoming Senate vacancy created by Senator Kate Lundy who has announced she will not be contesting the next federal election.
Because of my decision and out of respect for the office of Chief Minsiter I have informed my colleagues that I will be resigning as Chief Minister on Wednesday next week.
Since Senator Lundy's announcement the Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten and Senate leader Penny Wong have both contacted me asking me to join the federal Labor team.
Like most Canberrans I’ve been proud of the international recognition our city has been getting lately.
We’re the most liveable city according to the OECD, The New York Times recently celebrated our “big-sky beauty, breezy civic pride and a decidedly hipster underbelly” and last year we entered the QS rankings of Best Student Cities in the world for the first time.
Every Canberran plays a role in this and benefits from living in our great city. Government can play its part, too. Often politicians are criticised for failing to take a long term vision, but we have a long term plan for a booming, lively, liveable city long into the future.
Last week, we called for expressions of interest to build and operate the first stage of our light rail network from Gungahlin, one of Australia’s fastest growing suburbs, to the City. This is one part of a long term vision for a thriving Canberra.
Madam speaker, I take this opportunity to provide a formal update to the Assembly on the government’s response to the issue of Mr Fluffy loose fill asbestos.
Obviously events have moved very quickly in the past few days and it’s important to place on the record the full state of play.
I also recognise the homeowners and residents who have come to the Assembly today.
We are conscious that this week has been extremely tough for many of you – as have the past few months.
I hope that as more information has followed Tuesday’s announcement and the media attention has eased, you have had the chance to look more closely at the framework for the proposed buyback program and what it may mean for you.
I accept that while some people are happy and relieved, some remain anxious. Others are angry.