Browsing articles in "Grayndler Hansard"
Oct 20, 2014

Statements by Members – South Sydney Rabbitohs

Federation Chamber

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (16:27): Two weeks ago, I went with my son to see South Sydney win their 21st premiership—a 30-to-six victory over Canterbury Bankstown. It was a special celebration, particularly for all the people who campaigned for South Sydney’s right to play—the 80,000 people who marched in the streets of Sydney to declare that football was not just about sport; it was about community identity and a sense of belonging. It was a great night. I got to go with my friend, the chairman, Nick Pappas, and former board members. I was on the board during the period in which we were excluded from the competition. There was Andrew Denton, Ray Martin, Nick Hatzistergos and other members of the South Sydney family. I also had a chat with the Burrow—salt of the earth people for whom that victory, particularly for the Indigenous community based in the South Sydney area, was so important. To watch John Sutton’s leadership, Sam Burgess’s courage and Greg Inglis’s skill, capped off with him doing the goanna after the last try, was a great evening indeed. It was great that it was versus Canterbury, also a club based in their local community. The leadership of Michael Maguire, Souths’ coach, and Shane Richardson, the CEO, has made this possible. I am sure that the 22nd premiership is not far away.

Sep 30, 2014

Statement by Member – Rugby League

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (13:54): This Sunday night I will follow in the footsteps of many South Sydney supporters in going to see South Sydney play in the grand final at the ANZ Stadium. This is 43 years after I was taken by my mother in 1971 to see Souths beat St George on the SCG Hill. It is also a tribute to those people in the community who stood together so that Souths could stand alone when they marched for South Sydney’s readmission into the National Rugby League comp. Institutions such as Souths are the fabric that binds a community together, and I pay tribute to all those who fought for their club to be allowed to play in the National Rugby League competition. Go the Rabbitohs!

Sep 24, 2014

Constituency Statement – Councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (09:30): Two weeks ago I opened the annual Dulwich Hill festival in my electorate of Grayndler. It was not the same. As much as it was a joyous occasion, I was deeply saddened by the absence of my friend the former Marrickville Councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias. This gave the day a solemn undertone for me and for many of Emanuel’s friends and colleagues who were also there.

Emanuel Tsardoulias passed away at the youthful age of 38 on Saturday, 16 August this year. He leaves an enormous legacy as a deputy mayor, councillor, Dulwich Hill ALP branch activist, leader of Grayndler FEC and Canterbury SEC of the Labor Party, executive member of the local government association of New South Wales, SES volunteer, Rotary activist and community member.

Local festivals like the Dulwich Hill festival meant a lot to Emanuel. It was more than just part of his job as a councillor. This is because Emanuel was part of his local community. Our festivals in Dulwich Hill and Marrickville were always abuzz with the enthusiasm of hundreds of people. And enthusiasm is what Emanuel Tsardoulias had in spades.

He was a true champion of the inner west who was passionate about improving the lives of local residents. He was particularly proud and committed to Dulwich Hill, attending both Dulwich Hill Public School and Dulwich high school. He campaigned strongly against the high school’s possible closure more than a decade ago. He was proud of the improvements that he instigated to Jack Shanahan skate park and Arlington Oval. He was one of the instigators of the Dulwich Hill street fair.

A small business man, he was active in the Greek-Australian community and was particularly concerned about providing opportunities for young people in the inner west. Emanuel approached every task with enthusiasm, optimism and commitment. This was reflected in his support and passion for the Labor Party, where he was a loyal comrade and exceptionally hard worker. Election time will not be the same without him.

Emanuel showed enormous courage while dealing with cancer and related illness over recent times. My heart goes out to his beloved wife Zoi and his beautiful 18-month-old twin boys, Stephen and Dimitri, who were his pride and joy. I will never forget his pride at their christening just last year.

His funeral at the Greek Orthodox Parish of St Nicholas saw many hundreds of people come to farewell one of Marrickville’s finest citizens. We will miss his infectious laugh, love of life, friendship and loyalty. At 38 years old, Emanuel had so much more to give, and this is a tragic loss for his family and for the community.

May Emanuel rest in peace.

Sep 22, 2014

Private Members’ Business – Mr Peter Greste

Federation Chamber 

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (12:03): I rise to support this important resolution moved by the member for Werriwa—important because it is an opportunity for us to show as a parliament our absolute unity in support of Peter Greste’s release and our support for freedom of the press. Peter Greste, of course, has been detained in Egypt since December of last year. Peter was charged with defaming Egypt and having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. In June of this year he was convicted of these charges and sentenced to seven years in jail. Peter is detained with his colleagues Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who have also been convicted of defaming Egypt and having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Baher Mohamed was also sentenced to an additional three years in prison for possession of ammunition. This referred to a spent bullet casing he found on the ground during a protest in those tumultuous times in Egypt.

Freedom of the press is something that we take for granted here in Australia. Our governments do not always like what they read in newspapers, nor do we as parliamentarians. But we accept that openness is a part of our democracy. I welcome the idea that Egypt has gone down the path of democracy with an independent judiciary. But, when a journalist simply going about his duties finds himself breaking the law, it is very clear that Egypt has much more work to do to adopt all of the institutions that are essential to democracy. I find it unfortunate that the Egyptian government cites one of these institutions, the independence of the judiciary, to justify its failure to protect another: the freedom of the press.

There is no doubt that the work of journalists, particularly in the zones that Peter Greste worked in, is challenging and takes great courage. It is courage based upon the principle that people have a right to know what is going on in the world. Every day journalists place their own safety behind the principle of getting access to information and informing the citizenry of what is occurring. Around the world, many journalists—too many journalists—are killed each year or imprisoned for simply doing their job. The Peter Greste case brings home to Australia that this is the case.

It is a fact that, as Thomas Jefferson said, you cannot limit freedom of the press without destroying it. What we have here is a case where that freedom of the press is being restricted. The press are being intimidated by the fact that not just Peter Greste but also his colleagues from Al Jazeera have gone through what has been described as a farcical trial. The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance report that according to the International Federation of Journalists 88 journalists and media workers have been killed so far this year. That is an extraordinary figure! It is an extraordinary figure which shows the danger that people put themselves in.

Peter Greste is someone who left Australia in the 1990s to pursue his dream of becoming a foreign correspondent. He worked for the BBC and Reuters, where he covered Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. In 2011 he started with Al Jazeera and, in that year, he also won a prestigious Peabody Award for a BBC report on Somalia.

One of the lawyers for the Al Jazeera journalists concluded their final argument by saying:

This is not a trial for these defendants alone—this is a trial of all journalists.

Our entire parliament stands, as well as with Peter Greste, with the Greste family, who have shown such courage. On behalf of the opposition, we give every support to the government in its endeavours to ensure Peter Greste’s early release.

Jul 14, 2014

Private members’ business – Cyprus

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (13:40):

This Sunday, 20 July 2014, marks 40 years since the invasion of Cyprus.

Forty years later we still have no peaceful resolution. Cyprus is still divided, 37 per cent of the landmass is still occupied, over 200,000 people have been displaced and families’ lives have been torn apart.

But the hope of peace and justice lives on: here in this place; in the hearts and homes of 80,000 Cypriot Australians; written in the resolutions of the United Nations. In 1998 I said in this chamber:

What is clear is that the Cypriot people, regardless of their origin, do want a peaceful resolution to this crisis.

Nothing has changed. Peace is possible—I know that because I see it every day in my electorate of Grayndler.

My electorate is a microcosm of our great nation, an example of making multiculturalism work.

In Grayndler I see peace is possible: Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots live in harmony, side by side.

I see it in the actions of people like Michael Christodoulou, a tireless champion of peace and harmony, in the spirit in which the Cyprus Community Club in my electorate brings together our community to celebrate life in our multicultural community; in the sister-city relationship between Marrickville and Larnaca which we have had since 2005.

So today let this be a reminder to us and to the world that we have not forgotten Cyprus.

Let this bipartisan motion, moved by the member for Calwell and seconded by the member for Hindmarsh here in our national parliament, be a call for each of us to renew our hope in the future, to direct our energies to promote peace and justice and to call on the Australian government to support the implementation of United Nations resolutions.

I am proud to have been a longstanding advocate of justice for Cyprus. In 2012 I returned to Cyprus for the second time as a parliamentarian but my first as a minister in the government.

During my visit I had the honour of meeting some of our Australian Federal Police officers serving as part of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus. I was given a tour of the buffer zone by the commander of our force, Superintendent Peter Bond.

Australian police officers have served continuously as part of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus since 1964.

There are currently 15 serving in the force. I am proud that Australia is playing its part in the peace process in Cyprus. I acknowledge and thank them for their work.

I also met the Minister of Communications and Works, Efthemios Flourentzou; the Secretary-General of AKEL, Andros Kyprianou; the Mayor of Limassol, Mr Andreas Christou; the Mayor of Larnaca, Mr Andreas Louroutziatis; and His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Nova Justiniana and All Cyprus.

It was a great visit. However, amongst the warmth of the people, I was struck by the tragedy of that divided island.

Let me be clear about where Australia stands on the substance of the motion that is before us today.

Australia supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus. We recognise the republic as the only legitimate authority on the island.

Any solution must ensure that there is a single sovereignty in Cyprus; a single international personality; and a single citizenship, with independence and territorial integrity safeguarded. Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots need to once again live side by side under the government of the Republic of Cyprus.

I am proud to support this motion today. In two weeks’ time I will again gather at the Cyprus Community Club in my electorate to commemorate the invasion.

Importantly, events at the Cyprus Community Club have brought together people of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot backgrounds to recognise the cultural benefit that comes from mutual respect and understanding.

I witnessed when I was in Cyprus the fact—as the member for Calwell has said—that the people of Cyprus as a whole are suffering from the fact that the island remains divided.

I look forward to going back there to a unified island under the circumstances in which that can occur.

I think this parliament as the Australian parliament has an important role to play through measures such as this motion today, but also in support of justice for Cyprus through the multilateral forums, including through the United Nations.

I commend the motion to the House.


Jul 14, 2014

Constituency statements – Ms Beryl Winter

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (11:02): I rise to pay tribute to the late Beryl Winter, who died last Thursday at the age of 94. Beryl was a life member of the Australian Labor Party; a former drama teacher; employee of Film Australia, the ABC and Sydney Festival; volunteer with 2RPH radio for the blind; member of Marrickville Heritage Society; and the wife of the former member of the ACTU executive and Conciliation and Arbitration Commissioner, Terry Winter, who was also a life member of the ALP before his passing.

Beryl brought light and love into the lives of many people in my local community. I celebrate her life, mourn her passing and pay tribute to her today. I wish her family and friends all the best for her send-off, which will be a celebration conducted this coming Thursday.

Jul 14, 2014

Constituency statements – Survivors & Mates Support Network (SAMSN)

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:59): Today I rise to recognise one of the many great community organisations in my electorate of Grayndler, SAMSN, which was started by one of my constituents, Craig Hughes-Cashmore and his mate Shane McNamara in 2011. SAMSN—the Survivors & Mates Support Network—provides critical support for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse and makes a phenomenal difference in the lives of the men who participate. The biblical story of Samson tells of how his strength helped him overcome his demons and oppressors. This is what SAMSN the organisation does. It is Australia’s first NGO committed to helping male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. To date it has run seven, eight-week psychologist-led support groups in Erskineville and a successful first workshop for men and their families in the Hunter region. The organisation hopes to expand their service provision throughout regional Australia.

In January 2013 Labor set up the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. At the same time Labor also recognised that there was a need to ensure those who spoke up about their past had access to the support services they might need. To address this we set aside $45 million for community-based organisations that provide support for those suffering from childhood sexual abuse. This has occurred.

In round two of the funding process under the coalition government, SAMSN’s application for funding was rejected. This is despite the fact that 64 per cent of people presenting to the royal commission are men and 38 per cent of institutions under investigation by the royal commissioner are based in New South Wales. Last year in the November Community Affairs Legislation Committee we were told that the department had left some funding unallocated for later years. Simpson’s eighth eight-week group commenced in May. It is full, with 12 men ranging in age from their late 20s to their early 60s. They have had to put another nine men on a waiting list and over 100 men and their families from around the country have expressed interest in doing one or more of the workshops. If this is not sufficiently indicative of the need for more support services then I don’t know what is. I want to recognise the tremendous work that SAMSN does and call upon the government to ensure that any remaining money is spent on organisations such as SAMSN who deliver this vital service.

Jun 23, 2014

Constituency Statements

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:54): Women’s homelessness services in the electorate of Grayndler are at great risk. The state government’s Going Home Staying Home initiative has changed the tendering for these services. The New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services has released only one tender package for the entire inner city of Sydney to cater to women-only services. These services help more than 2,000 women every year. However, the combination of reduced funding and the release of only one tender package will mean only 505 women and their children will be able to be assisted. The new tender process, apart from reducing funding by $6 million, aims to provide services to men and women in the same facilities. It is vital that women and children escaping domestic violence are assisted in an environment of trust, and the establishment of the necessary trust is impossible in mixed gender environments. There are presently a number of services that can assist women in my electorate of Grayndler, but the changes proposed by the state government will have a huge impact on the ability of these services to continue.

This year is the 40th anniversary of the Leichhardt Women’s Community Health Centre. In the last 40 years not one of the local centres providing specialist services to women has had its funding threatened by governments of either persuasion. As things stand, many of these services will have to start closing their doors as soon as June. I urge the state government to reconsider the tender process that is underway in inner Sydney. It is causing great distress. Just over the weekend I was contacted by people from Blackwattle Bay Secondary School—it is part of Sydney Secondary College—about the threat to funding for the Lillian Powell project. This is causing a great deal of angst and it should be something that is not a party-political issue.

Secondly, in my electorate there are a number of organisations that run Youth Connections programs. Youth Connections helps young people who have not completed or are at risk of not completing year 12 or equivalent qualifications and have barriers that make it difficult to participate in education, training or employment. I have seen firsthand Rosemount, in Marrickville, which is run by the Catholic Church. It provides a fantastic service, taking young people and giving them opportunities. As it stands at the moment, young women who are in year 10 will not be able to go to year 11 and year 12 next year as a result of these funding cuts. Youth Connections provides an alternative education program for young people who are or have been at risk of being alienated from not just education but society as a whole. This is a program that must receive funding. I call upon the government to reconsider these mean-spirited cuts to this essential service.

Jun 16, 2014

Private Members’ Business – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (11:29): I am pleased to support the motion that has been moved by the member for Makin, which brings World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to the attention of the chamber. It is true that we have an ageing population and in these circumstances it is the case that there are tragic reminders from time to time about the isolation in which many elderly people find themselves. There was a time when I was the shadow minister for ageing and seniors—now many years ago— and when I had the opportunity to visit nursing homes and other facilities that look after elderly Australians right across the country. During that period I was heartened by the hard and passionate work of the staff in those aged-care facilities—everyone from the doctors and nurses to the cleaners and those who maintained those facilities. The compassion they showed for elderly Australians was, indeed, inspirational.

We know too that for many elderly people their later years in life are extremely difficult. As the motion indicates, they suffer from physical, mental, emotional, financial and medical neglect from time to time. This is something that occurs throughout the world, and this is why this day is recognised internationally. Abuse of the elderly shocks our community. I certainly come from a culture which respects and puts elderly people up on a pedestal. That is the case throughout Australia, but, unfortunately, we have a circumstance whereby some of our elderly are left very isolated. In my community there are more boarding houses than any other electorate in Australia. These are largely people who do not have family support and do not have friends to call on. That is why it is important that governments continue to play a role in this issue.

The World Health Organisation defines elder abuse as follows:

Elder Abuse is a violation of Human Rights and a significant cause of injury, illness, lost productivity, isolation and despair.

That is why, since the mean spirited budget was handed down in May, the recent debate about carers is of such concern. Those who are carers in our community should receive the gratitude and support, not just of those they are caring for, but also of the community as a whole. That is because they are looking after their loved ones and they are treating them with the respect they deserve. In addition to that, of course, they are also saving the government money through that care, which reduces the pressures on our formal aged-care facilities. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to our carers. I conclude by congratulating the member for Makin on this important initiative and say that World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a day for all of us to re-affirm the respect that we have for older Australians.


May 14, 2014

Condolences – The Hon. Neville Wran, AC, QC

Federation Chamber

Mr Albanese (Grayndler) (11:29): I want to join with the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and other members on this condolence motion to a great Australian and a champion of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Neville Wran. Neville Wran was educated at Nicholson Street Public School and Fort Street High School, in my electorate. He went on to study law at the University of Sydney and became a prominent lawyer prior to entering the upper house of the New South Wales parliament in 1970. In 1973 he moved to the electorate of Bass Hill. He became leader of the Australian Labor Party and was elected premier in 1976. That was just after the very significant defeat of the Whitlam Labor government in 1975. It was a time when the Australian Labor Party was going through considerable difficulties. Neville Wran mobilised public support. Neville Wran understood that it was vital that politicians be aware of issues such as costs of living and the concerns of people in their local communities.

At Neville Wran’s quite extraordinary send-off at Sydney Town Hall just a month ago, the contributions of former Prime Minister Paul Keating, former Premier Bob Carr, Justice Michael Kirby, Labor historian Rodney Cavalier and members of Neville’s family—his wife, Jill, and children, Kim, Harriet and Hugo—were quite remarkable. In addition to those family members, I also give my condolences to Glen Wran, his son, who was the president of the Ashfield branch, in my electorate, of longstanding note, during the time in which I have had the honour of serving in this House as the member for Grayndler. I well recall the extraordinary state conference of the New South Wales ALP at Sydney Town Hall when Neville Wran announced his resignation in June 1986. As I entered the magnificent Sydney Town Hall that morning, the loyal deputy to Neville Wran, Jack Ferguson, pulled me aside and said, ‘Take a seat, son; you’re about to see history.’ I did not know at that time what was coming.

We all know in this place that there are very few secrets in politics. It is indeed remarkable that Neville Wran was able to resign from that high office after serving for a decade as premier of the largest state in Australia and it was kept a secret. The gasps from delegates at that conference were an emotional reaction that will stay with me for as long as I live. It was fitting that Neville Wran chose the floor of a New South Wales ALP conference to announce his resignation. He was of the view that no individual is greater than the movement of which they are a part. From time to time you hear that individuals might like to think that they get here on their own. They do not; they get here because of the support of their family, their community and the political party they represent.

Neville Wran, a giant of the labour movement, never put himself above that movement. His achievements were quite remarkable: the economic transformation of New South Wales into a modern economy, the new railway infrastructure out to the Eastern Suburbs, the electrification of the rail lines to Wollongong and Newcastle, new infrastructure in Sydney’s western suburbs and support in regional New South Wales. Those achievements led to the remarkable ‘Wran slides’ in 1978 and in 1981. This was a time when Labor won seats like Manly and Willoughby, and many seats in regional New South Wales. A two-party preferred vote of higher than 60 per cent is something I suspect might never be seen again.

It was a remarkable performance, which did not come about by doing nothing. It was an endorsement of a reforming, forward-thinking government. It was reforming in terms of the great achievements in infrastructure and economic development and also in the environment whereby, thanks to Neville Wran, the great national parks of the North Coast of New South Wales were saved and protected. He created the Land and Environment Court. He understood that development needed to be balanced with appropriate outcomes in environmental protection. He rebuilt the inner areas of Sydney through the Darling Harbour project and the Sydney Entertainment Centre. The Darling Harbour project on the old Pyrmont sites was very controversial. It was a dilapidated area, which he subjected to urban renewal. As someone who was born during and lived through Neville Wran’s premiership, living on Pyrmont Bridge Road, Camperdown, I am very familiar with that area.

Neville Wran established the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and the most significant land rights legislation anywhere in Australia up to that point. He introduced the Anti-Discrimination Act. He removed the criminalisation of homosexuality. In our time, when there is a modern debate about marriage equality, it is remarkable that just those few years ago to be gay was to risk being jailed because of your sexuality. Neville Wran had the courage to take that on and to lead the nation, to make a real difference to people’s lives.

Neville Wran was ahead of the nation on women’s rights when he introduced legislation concerning the appointment of women. Before Neville Wran’s government, the idea of a woman being appointed to a court was seen to be remarkable and not really appropriate. Neville Wran made sure that women were appointed to all of the highest offices in the New South Wales regime.

Before Neville Wran, the Legislative Council of New South Wales was a bit like the House of Lords in the UK, where the Lords were not elected by the people; they were appointed by each other. Neville Wran went to a referendum and won it to transform, more than a century after the New South Wales parliament was formed, the legislative council into a democratic body. Neville Wran introduced public funding and disclosure laws. Pecuniary interest registers for members of parliament did not exist before Neville Wran in New South Wales.

Regarding some of the laws that were still present in New South Wales before his premiership, the death penalty was still in place in New South Wales prior to it being abolished. The Summary Offences Act, whereby people were picked up and put into jail for the crime of being homeless or for other issues of poverty, essentially, was removed. He was, of course, the longest serving Premier of New South Wales until Bob Carr broke that record.

Neville Wran was someone whom I had the honour of having contact with as the president of Young Labor. At the time, Young Labor was not always compliant with the government of the day. Neville Wran had a wit but also a very sharp way of taking a young fellow, as I was in the Labor Party in those days, and giving him the benefits of his wisdom in a very direct fashion about the need to support his government. He was someone who was larger than life. He was someone who went on to have an extraordinary career in business. He was someone who was prepared to take a young fellow like me aside and give him good advice about the Labor Party.

I am very honoured to be a member of the Australian Labor Party like Neville Wran. Because of my membership of the Labor Party I have enjoyed a better life and privileges that I could not have dreamed of when I was growing up just a few kilometres from where Neville Wran grew up and went to school in our local community. I pay tribute to him and I honour him in this parliament today. I conclude by once again giving my condolences to Jill, who gave such as remarkable eulogy at his farewell, and to his children and all of his friends, colleagues and comrades.


Contact Anthony

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