Browsing articles in "Grayndler Hansard"
Jun 15, 2015

Constituency statements – Ms Latifa Hekmat

Federation Chamber 

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:35): Recently I had the honour of meeting Latifa Hekmat, her brother Abdul, and local community activists in my electorate office. Latifa asked me to share with you her story, which is as follows: Imagine that on one day you have a beautiful and peaceful life. You live in the countryside of Ghazni province in Afghanistan on a big farm sprawling with different crops, vegetables and animals. Your parents weave carpets and rugs under the trees during spring and you love to eat sweet grapes plucked from the nearby vines. Imagine that on the next day, you go to school. But on this day your school principal reads aloud a letter. It is from the Taliban. It says all girls’ schools must close. You are only seven years old but, because you are female, you cannot go to school. You cannot see a doctor. You cannot leave your home. You become paralysed by fear. And, before you know it, you become a refugee stripped of your identity, passport, and basic rights.

Latifa met with me because she wanted to know how she could bring humanity to the discussion on refugees, an issue many constituents have raised with me. Australia has always done its part as part of the international community, and hundreds of thousands of former refugees have made extraordinary contributions to their new nation. The government should not simplify the discussion needed in our community by using three-word slogans. You can be opposed to people smugglers, which I am, but we need to be very careful about drawing a distinction between them and people themselves. The government must respond to the claims that it used taxpayers’ funds to pay people smugglers. These are extraordinary claims, and the government simply needs to be transparent with the Australian people about these events.

Today Latifa is completing her honours degree in social science at UNSW. She already has a bachelor degree in social research and policy. In her spare time, Latifa helps first-year students transition to uni life by working as a volunteer mentor. She also volunteers at the Auburn Salvation Army as an interpreter and works at UnitingCare Burnside as a casual caseworker. Her brother Abdul came to Australia by boat. Today he works at the Migrant Resource Centre, helping the most vulnerable immigrants and refugees integrate into their local communities.

The story of Latifa and her family, while exceptional, is not the exception. Every day refugees and migrants give back to the nation that they are proud to call home. This week is Refugee Week. The 2015 theme—’With courage let us all combine’—is taken from the Australian national anthem. While this reminds me of the courage shown by refugees like Latifa, it also makes me think that, by coming together as a community, we can bring dignity and compassion to our discussion on refugees.

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Jun 3, 2015

Condolence motion – Ms Joan Elizabeth Kirner, AC

Federation Chamber

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (12:06): I rise to pay tribute to my friend Joan Kirner, a passionate advocate for social justice. Joan was born Joan Elizabeth Hood in 1938. Her father was a fitter and turner, and her mother was a music teacher. Joan took her principles of social justice from her parents. She went on to have opportunities in life, graduating from the University of Melbourne and working as a teacher in state schools. She married Ron Kirner and had three children: Michael, David and Kate. Dave Kirner was a good mate of mine when we were in student politics together. The first time I met Joan was not a great experience, because we had a debate over whether I was leading David astray or he was leading me astray. I think it was probably a bit of both. She was always good fun and great company. She had no malice towards anyone on either side of politics or in society. She uplifted any meeting, group or gathering where she was present. She was an absolute delight to be around.

She came up through the community. She was the President of the Victorian Federation of State School Parents’ Clubs—P&C, basically. When she went into the Victorian parliament in 1982, she was still a pioneer. It was still very much a male dominated sphere. She first entered the Legislative Council, and she went on to move into the lower house. She became the Minister for Conservation, Forests and Lands and was instrumental in forming the first Landcare groups. Landcare is now accepted throughout the nation as an organisation that has done magnificent work to conserve the extraordinary natural environment that we enjoy here in this great land of Australia.

It was as Minister for Education that she then made an even larger mark. Because of her passion as a parent, she brought, I think, a perspective different from some of the technocratic ways in which education had been dealt with. She was passionate about involving the local community in the way schools were run and was very successful in achieving that. That is why she was promoted to Deputy Premier in John Cain’s government and then became, historically, the first woman Premier of Victoria, a position she held from 1990 through to 1992.

She had to cop a fair bit of criticism as the first woman Premier. I went down from New South Wales to work on the 1992 election campaign, assisting the Victorian ALP in what was a difficult campaign after a long-term Labor government. The focus on what Joan wore is something I have never seen, before or since, with any male leader of any political persuasion, but it was very much there. She took it in good humour. In that campaign I remember T-shirts and tea towels being produced—with a bit of irony—that said, ‘Spot on Joan’. I remember going to the show in Melbourne and handing out bags with insignia saying ‘Spot on Joan’ as well. She kept her sense of humour in what were very difficult times and took Labor through to the election knowing that it was highly likely that Labor would not be re-elected.

Even though she left parliament in 1994, she certainly understood that politics was about more than parliament. She continued to engage in the community and the Australian Labor Party. She was absolutely committed to the promotion and mentoring of young women coming through the Australian Labor Party and more broadly. As one of the driving forces behind EMILY’s List, I know she was particularly proud of the rise of her friend Julia Gillard to become the first female Prime Minister of Australia. But Joan, regardless of where people lined up factionally in the Labor Party or where they stood on particular issues, supported women across the spectrum with consistency and with absolute commitment.

During my leadership campaign, when I was running against Bill Shorten after the 2013 election, I attended an EMILY’s List function organised in Melbourne. Joan Kirner was there sitting at the front—despite the fact that she had serious health issues at the time. She wanted to play her role and she was very supportive of democratisation and giving rank and file members more say in the Australian Labor Party. I continued to have contact with Joan. She would send me messages—indeed I received my last messages from her only last week. She was still emailing me, from hospital, as late as last Friday. She was still putting forward ideas and suggestions in a constructive way. We will miss her. We as a party will miss her, but I think she is also a great loss to the community.

In 2012, when she received the Companion of the Order of Australia, her citation said:

…for eminent service to the Parliament of Victoria and to the community through conservation initiatives, contributions to gender equality, the development of education and training programs and the pursuit of civil rights and social inclusion.

That is an appropriate tribute to the public contribution of Joan Kirner. But today I particularly want to pay tribute to her private contribution as a thoroughly decent, committed human being as well. She will be missed. May she rest in peace.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mrs Griggs ): A lovely contribution.

Jun 2, 2015

Constituency statements – Ella Centre

Federation Chamber 

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (16:01): On Saturday 23 May, it was my pleasure to be at the celebration of 40 years of the existence for the Ella Centre in Haberfield. This centre undertakes extraordinary work on behalf of some of the most disadvantaged people in the inner west. It was my great honour to speak about the Ella Centre’s commitment to taking care of some of the most vulnerable in our community. It was good to welcome the new chief executive officer, Philip Coller, and to be in the presence of the board, including the chair, David Pigott.

The Ella Centre was once the Methodist church in Haberfield. It opened its doors as a community centre in 1974. It received set-up funding from the Whitlam government and later a very generous donation from Henry Ella, which helped create a trust fund. Since then, the Ella Centre’s passion for social justice has ensured support for people with disabilities, dementia, older people and carers—as well as for those simply struggling to get by. The Ella Centre continues to make a significant difference in the everyday lives of people across the inner west. It has played a historic role in our community and is a constant reminder that, when we look out for each other, everyone benefits.

This is a community based organisation that is embedded in the local community of Haberfield. People from all walks of life were at this function in Haberfield in order to pay tribute and make a contribution towards the future activity of the Ella Centre. People made donations for specific purposes, including providing support for people with disabilities. I congratulate the Ella Centre for its tireless work over the last 40 years and I wish those at the centre all the best for the many years to come.

May 28, 2015

Motion – Centenary of Anzac

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (13:14): The Centenary of the Anzac landing at Gallipolli on 25 April provided an opportunity for our nation to reflect upon war, patriotism and the nature of sacrifice. From older Australians whose fathers or grandfathers were veterans of Gallipolli or other conflicts in World War I, to younger Australians who enjoy the freedoms that have been preserved by their sacrifice, our nation stopped to remember. The crowds were huge, not just at the dawn service on the beaches of Gallipolli, and not just at the huge Canberra service, but in cities and towns right across the nation, including in my electorate of Grayndler. They were recognising not just the diggers themselves but the women who served in support roles like nursing, as well as those who toiled on the home front, and the thousands of widows and orphans left after the conflict. On 25 April, Australians reflected on the terrible toll of war. The statistics tell us just how terrible it was. At Gallipoli there were 26,111 Australian casualties, including 8,141 deaths. Across World War I, out of a population of less than five million, 61,522 Australians lost their lives.

The historical facts surrounding the Gallipoli landings are well-known. Australians landed Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915 and established a foothold on the steep slopes above the beach. Concerted but unsuccessful allied attempts to break through in August included the Australian attacks at Lone Pine and the Nek. All attempts ended in failure for both sides, and there was a stalemate for the remainder of 1915. The most successful operation of the campaign was the evacuation of the troops on 19 and 20 December under cover of a comprehensive deception operation.

It is often said that the Gallipoli campaign established Australia’s sense of identity. It certainly is the case that the diggers showed extraordinary mateship and loyalty towards each other. Through their egalitarianism, the diggers exemplified the values of equality and the fair go that underpin contemporary Australian values. One thing about getting older is that it gives you the opportunity to observe changes in social patterns and values over time. When I was young, the annual Anzac Day marches were always led by Gallipoli and First World War veterans. First they were marching; later they were in jeeps because they were too frail to march. But, as I grew older, there were fewer diggers each year. I often wondered during that period what would happen when all the World War I diggers were gone. I wondered how future generations would view these veterans when they were no longer alive to lead the parade.

Decades later, the level to which successive generations have embraced the Anzac legend is extraordinary. Indeed, Anzac Day continues to thrive. Parents pass the legend down through the generations. Schools give our youngsters the facts of about what happened a century ago. People engage with the Australian War Memorial to learn more about relatives who served. People do not forget. They will not forget.

It was a terrible war, but there is something very positive about the way in which our nation continues to remember the sacrifice of earlier generations. These commemorations are not about flag-waving or jingoism. They are about people honouring sacrifice of others and thinking hard about the necessity to promote peace.

Gallipoli and World War I had an impact on every community in his nation—from the biggest cities to the smallest country towns. In my own community, the roll of honour at Marrickville includes the names of 26 people who died at Gallipoli. About 6,500 people from the Marrickville area alone served in the war.

I am pleased that this year saw the re-establishment of the Winged Victory statue, a 31-foot tall statue of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. The original statue was unveiled in 1919 in front of 15,000 people, to commemorate the sacrifice of 450 Marrickville residents who died in World War I. It was designed by sculptor Gilbert Doble. But the statue was taken down in 2008 due to concerns about its condition and threats to public safety. A new version, by artists Peter Corlett and Darien Pullen, was unveiled on Sunday, 19 April, 2015, outside Marrickville Town Hall. In the original statue, the goddess’s sword was raised, though her eyes were cast downward in a pose that spoke of a mix of sorrow and pride in victory. In the new version, Nike’s sword is at rest, while the original statue is proudly on display at the Australian War Memorial here in Canberra.

Across my electorate of Grayndler, large crowds turned out for the Marrickville Remembers march, which included 25 schools, seven bands and no less than seven military and emergency services groups. Local councils and, of course, the Marrickville, Canterbury-Hurlstone Park, Petersham and Campsie RSL clubs also observed the centenary.

As part of the Centenary of Anzac year, the Commonwealth offered grants to organisations to preserve the Anzac heritage under the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program. Recipients in Grayndler included: Kegworth Public School, which received a grant to create a memorial garden there in Leichardt, and Dulwich High School of Visual Arts and Design, which received a grant for production of artworks commemorating Anzac. The Marrickville Council received a grant to help meet the cost of the plinth for the new Winged Victory statue. The Ashfield Council received a grant to restore an honour board at Haberfield. The Leichhardt council received a grant to restore a memorial board at Leichhardt. The Polish Club at Ashfield also received a small grant to fund a World War I exhibition. Finally, the Addison Road Community Centre received a grant of $30,000 to commemorate the role of war horses that served in World War I with the light horse. I was very proud to attend that event paying tribute to the Walers, as the horses were known, who also of course served their nation; unfortunately, they did not get to return back home

The centre at Addison Road is located in former Army barracks where, during World War I, many diggers and their horses spent their time as they prepared for departure to the Middle East. Australians did themselves proud in the way they recognised the Centenary of Anzac. At the end of last year I attended an extraordinary function at Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL along with Brendan Nelson, the former minister now in charge of the War Memorial. He gave an extraordinary speech that evening. We did our nation proud in the way we celebrated the Anzacs and also remembered and paid tribute to those whose efforts and sacrifice means that we can enjoy the lifestyle we have in Australia today.

I congratulate all those involved around the nation in planning these commemorations. I congratulate the current government and the former government for the way in which they organised the logistics, which must have been extraordinarily difficult—particularly for the widows and veterans travelling to European and Middle Eastern theatres of war. It was an extraordinary effort. I congratulate the government on that. In particular, I congratulate the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for the way in which they handled the event. I am confident that, when the 200th anniversary of Gallipoli comes around, Australians will live up to the sentiments of the famous ode: ‘We will remember them. Lest we forget.’

May 26, 2015

Constituency Statements – Marriage equality

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (16:19):  Many of my constituents were overjoyed at the overwhelming vote in support of marriage equality in Ireland at the weekend.

This means at least 20 nations support marriage equality, including the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.

It is now time for Australia to join the nations which have recognised that people should be allowed to marry the person that they love.

Institutions, just like society’s values, evolve over time.

Only 22 years ago, homosexuality was illegal in Ireland.

Now marriage equality is a reality.

When I introduced a Private Members Bill in my first term in Parliament to give same-sex couples equal rights on superannuation, it was seen as a radical proposition.

The Howard Government prevented it going to a vote.

By the time the Rudd Government removed discrimination on the basis of sexual preference in more than 80 pieces of legislation, it carried the Parliament with broad support.

Giving one group of people the rights they have been denied does not, in any way, diminish the rights that currently exist for the rest of us.

I fail to see how the institution of marriage is weakened if more people have the right to participate.

I strongly believe there should be a vote in this Parliament this year.

It should be a conscience vote.

That would enable parliamentarians to have a mature debate in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Whilst I have strong views in support of marriage equality, I respect those who hold a different view.

You cannot promote diversity and tolerance whilst not showing tolerance for those who disagree with you.

I have argued consistently that the Coalition needs to allow a conscience vote on this issue.

It is inconsistent to argue something different within the Labor Party.

In 2002, as a member of the ALP National Executive, I dealt with a report to resolve the issues surrounding the use of conscience votes in a process which included Labor’s pre-eminent authority on our internal history and processes John Faulkner.

There have been conscience votes on a range of issues over the year including the Family Law Bill 1974, euthanasia in 1996 and the Marriage Bill (1961).

The ALP National Executive decided unanimously that “the most appropriate model is the case-by-case, political model, but with consideration and tolerance of other factors relating to religion, the party platform and precedent’’.

As the document says: “These types of questions are not easily resolved in the party room, so conscience votes provide a way in which divisions over contentious social or moral issues carry over into the Parliament without adverse repercussions for those who differ from the majority view.’’

There is also a pragmatic reason to argue for a conscience vote across the Parliament and it is this.

It is my judgement that there are now majorities in favour of marriage equality in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

There is therefore no argument to delay this reform.

Let’s get this done.

May 14, 2015

Condolence Motion – Mr Richard Benaud, OBE

Federation Chamber

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:50): I think it is appropriate that this parliament pay tribute to a great Australian in Richie Benaud. Is there any other sports commentator in the world who is so much of a cult figure that literally hundreds of grown men are prepared to don white wigs and cream-coloured suits in an annual fancy dress party to pay tribute? I doubt it. But, once a year at the test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, hundreds of cricket fans dress up as Richie Benaud. I noticed during this year’s test it was not just men. It does not matter if the temperature is 40 degrees. They are there all day—’The Richies’—paying homage to a man who became a familiar and a very welcome presence in their lives and in the lives of millions of people around the world over a period of more than six decades. I suspect there is something very Australian about The Richies’ presence at the SCG, and I think next year will break the record for the number of Richies, as I am sure even more people will pay tribute to this great Australian.

So much has been said about the death of Richie Benaud that it is hard to break new ground in any tribute to his remarkable life. The key word that comes to mind when I think of this great sportsman and journalist is integrity—integrity as a bowler and batsman; integrity as a captain who led his team with an intense fighting spirit but never forgot to treat his opponents with courtesy; and, later, absolute integrity as a journalist and commentator.

It is often difficult to explain to visitors to our great land how people can sit and watch every ball of a game that goes for five days without, potentially, getting a result. But what cricket is about is not just what is written down. It is what is unwritten: the culture of sportsmanship that someone like Richie Benaud embodied—a man who would never have claimed a catch that he knew had not been taken; and a man who played absolutely within the spirit of the game and embodied it as a sport—a contest, yes—but a sport. It was about relationships and bridging those relationships between all countries who play that great sport.

What made Richie Benaud stand out was his understanding that, while winning was important, what was more important was the way that you played the game. After his death last month, many people described him as the voice of the Australian summer. But the truth is he was the voice of world cricket—a man known as widely in other cricket-playing countries as he was in Australia. He was also the voice of English summer, which is remarkable—broadcasting every year, regardless of whether Australia was playing or not. He loved cricket, but he refused to let that affect his commentary as an Australian. He was above all a cricket enthusiast. He was as generous about the great batting of Tendulkar, or performances by Botham or Viv Richards, as he was about Mark Waugh or Allan Border or Dennis Lillee.

He was happy to offer criticism where it was warranted. When Greg Chappell ordered his brother Trevor to bowl underarm against New Zealand in 1981, Richie Benaud had no hesitation in condemning the decision. Whoever was playing, you always felt that when Richie was commentating, his key concern was you—the listener. He did not see his job as barracking for any particular team. His concern was to use his special knowledge and experience to help people understand and enjoy cricket. Much-loved ABC commentator Jim Maxwell perhaps put it best when he described Richie as ‘cricket’s pope’.

He was indeed a gentleman who I had the honour of meeting on a number of occasions. His knowledge, his authenticity and his genuineness just shone through. I will miss hearing that voice: he was very much a part of our lives. He played 63 tests for Australia; he was the first player to score 2,000 test runs and take 200 wickets. As Australian captain, he never lost a series; as a commentator, he had no peer.

Recently I was listening to an ABC radio documentary about the 1961 West Indies tour of Australia, which of course featured the famous tied test at the Gabba. Richie was interviewed for the program along with other greats of the era. What impressed me the most was the way that Richie and his opposing captain, the great Sir Frank Worrell, formed an informal pact at the beginning of the series. Of course they were going to try to beat each other, but the most important thing was they were going to play to win, not just to draw, and they played an exciting brand of cricket that re-energised cricket from that 1961 series on. I think that tells you everything that you needed to know about Richie Benaud: just as he put his viewers first when he was in the commentary box, he put those people at the ground watching the game first when he was a player and a captain. He knew that they wanted to be concerned about the style of the game as well as the outcome at the end of a test match. I think that was the secret of his greatness.

Even in his final months, as he fought the melanoma that he linked to sun exposure during his playing career, he was happy to appear publicly to urge children not to make the same mistake. His tribute to Phil Hughes was quite remarkable, even though he himself at the time was going through his illness. He never looked for sympathy. What he wanted though, with his campaign against sun cancer, was to make sure that others benefitted from his experience.

To his family and many friends, particularly his wife, Daphne, whom he spoke about often and so affectionately, I offer my sincere condolences. And to cricket fans here and indeed everywhere throughout the world, I say we are all very lucky to have shared time on this earth with Richie Benaud.

Mar 26, 2015

Member statements – New South Wales State Election

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (13:39): On Saturday the Baird government wants the voters of New South Wales to step into the unknown. They want them to vote them back into government even though there is an ASIC investigation into Mike Baird’s office over the removal of the headline ‘Bad for the budget’ from a report about electricity privatisation. Mike Baird has refused to answer questions about that unprecedented intervention to doctor a report. The people of New South Wales deserve better. The people of Victoria had to wait for the Tories to lose office before they found out that the East West Link had a cost-benefit analysis of 0.45. Infrastructure has to be transparent. What we are seeing is that they are hiding from the people of New South Wales. This morning, Mike Baird reaffirmed that there is no plan B—all of their promises fall over if they cannot get electricity privatisation through the upper house. The upper house members will know it is bad for the budget according to their own independent analysis. Voters will also know that there is a two-for-one deal on Saturday—get rid of Mike Baird and you will get rid of Tony Abbott. If you want Bill Shorten as the next Prime Minister—or Malcolm Turnbull or Julie Bishop—vote Labor this Saturday. (Time Expired)

Mar 26, 2015

Constituency statements – World’s Greatest Shave

Federation Chamber 

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:18): I rise today to pay tribute to the students and staff at my old school, St. Mary’s Cathedral College, in Sydney. On the first day of the new school year, his fellow students learned that Jacques Pacifique had had a relapse of the leukaemia that had been in remission for five years. His fellow students decided, in a great spirit, to show solidarity with their mate. They went to their teachers and decided collectively to engage in the World’s Greatest Shave. Sixty-five year 12 students shaved their heads and five teachers did the same. They have raised $50,000 so far for the Leukaemia Foundation.

They got a lot of support from the community. The Bulldogs—the great supporters of Camp Quality who do such great work in the local community—sent along Josh Reynolds, and the Western Sydney Wanderers sent along Ante Covic and they assisted in shaving these young student’s heads. The wellbeing master, Daniel Khoury, deserves congratulations for overseeing this process. It is such a heartening sign to see such school spirit at my old school. I wish Jacques all the best for his health and with what he is going through. His fellow students are in contact with him in between his treatments. On behalf of everyone in the parliament, I say best wishes to Jacques and well done to all of his mates.

Mar 25, 2015

Constituency statements – Multiculturalism

Federation Chamber

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:20): I am pleased that the community-based Red Rattler Theatre in Marrickville, in my electorate, has apologised for refusing to allow the Jewish student group Hillel to use its space on the basis that it was pro-Israel. I was disturbed to read newspaper reports about this earlier this week. They said that after Hillel sought permission to use the space for a cultural event the Red Rattler had informed Hillel via email:

Our policy does not support colonialism/Zionism. Therefore we do not host groups that support the colonisation and occupation of Palestine.

Australia is a multicultural community. Multiculturalism is our strength. In the inner-west of Sydney, we live in harmony. Different people of different beliefs live side by side. We are enriched by our diversity. Many people came to Australia from strife-torn regions where people do not enjoy the same level of safety and harmony that we enjoy in this country. There is no place, in Australia, for the lack of tolerance shown by that email to this Jewish student group. This should not be confused with a proper debate about solutions for the Middle East. Like many people, I was deeply concerned by television images of Israeli bombs levelling schools on the Gaza Strip last July and August, in the latest manifestation of this conflict. I stated then that that was wrong. I believe that is the case today. I believe there needs to a Palestinian state, but I also believe that Israel has a right to exist in peace and security. A two-state solution is the way forward.

From what I can see, the Hillel group is an international organisation that seeks to bring together Jewish university students for social events, leadership training and cultural events. From what I can see, it is a group promoting friendship and celebrating cultural traditions. The Red Rattler is a community-based theatre in my electorate. It has been used by a range of communities and some political parties. It is important that tolerance be celebrated, and that where intolerance is shown people are prepared to speak out about it. I am pleased that the statement from Red Rattler’s directors says that they welcome organisations from all cultures, and they have invited Hillel to hold a forum there. Former US President John F Kennedy once made a critical point about tolerance that is worth reflecting on today. He said:

Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.

Mar 5, 2015

Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL-Community and Environment

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (12:26): Next Wednesday I will have the honour of cutting the ribbon at the launch of a new trigeneration energy system at Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL Club. This was funded with a grant of over $580,000 from the former Australian Labor government. Trigeneration is the simultaneous production of three forms of energy—electricity, heating and cooling—from a single system. It is nearly three times more energy efficient than a coal fired power station. This will cut the energy costs for this local community based club by up to $185,000 every year. It will have significant benefits for the environment. It will reduce carbon emissions by 1,590 tons per annum. This is the equivalent, this one plant, of taking more than 350 cars a year off the road. 

The expected return on investment for the trigeneration system is 35 per cent per annum. This is good investment —good investment in our environment and good investment in improving the economic capacity of Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL Club. This is a club, like many other RSLs, that makes an enormous contribution to the local community, whether it be hosting schools, such as Ashbury Public School—I attended the presentation day there last year—whether it be sponsoring local sporting organisations such as Hurlstone Park Wanderers Football Club or Summer Hill Cricket Club, or whether it be putting money back into the community for junior sport.

 This club also was the venue, appropriately, given the impact on climate change and reducing omissions of this trigeneration energy system, of a climate change forum that I hosted last year with Labor’s climate change spokesperson, Mark Butler, and with Amanda McKenzie, the CEO of the Climate Council. It was attended by about 300 people who participated in a discussion about how we could have an impact locally, as well as about the broader implications of climate change for our way of life into the future. The club itself anticipates complete cost recovery from the trigeneration system within four years.

 One of the best functions it has been my honour to attend was held last year as part of the lead-in for the Anzac Centenary commemorations. The main speaker was Brendan Nelson, who is now, of course, in charge of the Australian War Memorial. There were representatives of local schools and local community based organisations, as well as veterans and families themselves.

 It was a great example of the role that a club can play in harnessing community capacity, in making sure that we recognise our history. In particular, this year we are recognising the sacrifice made by those brave men and women in our Defence Force who defended our nation and suffered such dreadful losses during World War I and during engagements ever since. Our thoughts are also with our Defence Force members who continue to serve us, at risk to themselves, in theatres such as Afghanistan today.

 This is a great project. It is great management by the Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL Club. I pay tribute to them for their vision and I look forward to participating in this event next Wednesday.

Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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