Browsing articles in "Grayndler Media Releases"
Dec 4, 2017

Marriage Equality Speech – House of Representatives

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (13:06):  I’m proud to stand in support of the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 moved by the member for Leichhardt in this parliament today.

In June 1990, my courageous friend Paul O’Grady, a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, came out as a gay man. He was most certainly not the first gay man elected to the New South Wales parliament, but it took until 1990 for someone to have the confidence to declare their sexuality openly. When I discussed this move with Paul, he said very clearly, ‘I am who I am.’ It was an act of courage that made it much easier for other people in the same circumstance as Paul to openly declare their sexuality. In 1993, three years later, he and his partner, Murray, were attacked and harassed on William Street. Paul O’Grady, a member of the Legislative Council, dialled triple 0. He tried to convince the person on the other end of the phone that he was being threatened by a gang of youths in what was known colloquially as ‘poofter bashing’, which occurred then and still occurs today. He was hung up on, a member of the Legislative Council.

When we talk about discrimination and the fear in society created by intolerance and hatred, it is important today to recognise the courage of those gay men and lesbian women over decades in which debate was far different to what it is today. People like Paul, I think, couldn’t have imagined us having a debate in the parliament with such broad support for marriage equality across the political spectrum. So today I begin by paying tribute to people like Paul; to people like Craig Johnston, a Sydney city councillor; to people like Lex Watson, the academic; to people like Julie McCrossin; to all those people who marched in 1978 in the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. They marched not in a parade that was being cheered and shown on national television; they marched in a parade towards a confrontation with police, who locked them up, who assaulted them and who abused them.

Part of the reason that today is so important is that today, in supporting this legislation, we are saying that we are a tolerant nation, that we are a respectful nation and that we are a nation that is stronger because of our diversity. I think it is unfortunate that we will be one of the last advanced industrialised nations to recognise marriage equality when this legislation is passed. Nonetheless, catching up with the rest of the world is a good thing. I pay tribute to all those who did the hard yards—the really hard yards—to get us to this place.

In 1996, in my first speech in this chamber, I mentioned removing discrimination on the basis of sexuality. In my first term of parliament, after consultation with the gay and lesbian community, I moved the Superannuation (Entitlements of same sex couples) Bill in this chamber. It says something about where the debate was then compared with now that we couldn’t even get a debate on that issue; that legislation wasn’t even supported by every member of my own party. But what it did was lay some groundwork for a debate within my party about the need to tackle discrimination. And, of course, eventually, under the first term of the Rudd Labor government, we removed some 84 pieces of discrimination that were in legislation. This was discrimination not just in areas like superannuation, but in social security, immigration and health care.

When I was first elected, there were very real circumstances of partners of loved ones being denied access to their partners when they were in hospital. There were issues whereby couples who shared houses were thrown out of the house that they had lived in with their partner because of non-acceptance by the family of that partner. The scourge, of course, of HIV-AIDS was still having a massive impact—including, of course, taking the life of Paul O’Grady, who showed his courage once again in openly declaring that he was HIV-positive and therefore being able to lead a campaign for the care that was required. Of course, Neal Blewett, as health minister in the Labor government, led the world in responding to the HIV-AIDS epidemic, literally resulting in thousands of lives being saved.

So, today, this is unfinished business on that march towards equality, in the march towards respect for each other. It is a reminder that society does move forward, although not always in a straight line. Opponents of progress do fight for the status quo. Reactionaries do seek to turn back the gains of the past. But here in this parliament progress is moving forward. Human rights are moving forward. Parliament is not leading in this case, of course; we’re following. We are following the voluntary postal ballot that was held.

I am very proud to support this legislation, and I won’t be supporting amendments to this legislation. This has been through the process of a Senate committee. This itself is a compromise to this legislation. It’s one that will not have an impact on religious freedom.

Part of the reason that today is so important is that today, in supporting this legislation, we are saying that we are a tolerant nation, that we are a respectful nation and that we are a nation that is stronger because of our diversity. I think it is unfortunate that we will be one of the last advanced industrialised nations to recognise marriage equality when this legislation is passed. Nonetheless, catching up with the rest of the world is a good thing. I pay tribute to all those who did the hard yards—the really hard yards—to get us to this place.

In 1996, in my first speech in this chamber, I mentioned removing discrimination on the basis of sexuality. In my first term of parliament, after consultation with the gay and lesbian community, I moved the Superannuation (Entitlements of same sex couples) Bill in this chamber. It says something about where the debate was then compared with now that we couldn’t even get a debate on that issue; that legislation wasn’t even supported by every member of my own party. But what it did was lay some groundwork for a debate within my party about the need to tackle discrimination. And, of course, eventually, under the first term of the Rudd Labor government, we removed some 84 pieces of discrimination that were in legislation. This was discrimination not just in areas like superannuation, but in social security, immigration and health care.

When I was first elected, there were very real circumstances of partners of loved ones being denied access to their partners when they were in hospital. There were issues whereby couples who shared houses were thrown out of the house that they had lived in with their partner because of non-acceptance by the family of that partner. The scourge, of course, of HIV-AIDS was still having a massive impact—including, of course, taking the life of Paul O’Grady, who showed his courage once again in openly declaring that he was HIV-positive and therefore being able to lead a campaign for the care that was required. Of course, Neal Blewett, as health minister in the Labor government, led the world in responding to the HIV-AIDS epidemic, literally resulting in thousands of lives being saved.

So, today, this is unfinished business on that march towards equality, in the march towards respect for each other. It is a reminder that society does move forward, although not always in a straight line. Opponents of progress do fight for the status quo. Reactionaries do seek to turn back the gains of the past. But here in this parliament progress is moving forward. Human rights are moving forward. Parliament is not leading in this case, of course; we’re following. We are following the voluntary postal ballot that was held.

I am very proud to support this legislation, and I won’t be supporting amendments to this legislation. This has been through the process of a Senate committee. This itself is a compromise to this legislation. It’s one that will not have an impact on religious freedom.

In conclusion, can I say that this legislation is a good moment in this parliament. Some of the best moments since I’ve been here, whether I’ve been on the majority or minority side, have been conscience votes. I think we should have more of them, not less, frankly, whereby parliamentarians can make their contribution. I want to say that it’s particularly good to be with people like the member for Sydney, the member for Melbourne Ports and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Penny Wong, in particular, who has shown such courage over a long period of time, in internal and external debates, to get us to the position we’re in today. The member for Leichhardt has also shown great courage in advancing this issue within his party, and I pay tribute to him and others who have been prepared to really push this issue and ensure this reform happens.

It is, however, of course, the Australian people who have led the parliament on this issue. I’ve been convinced for some time that a majority of Australians had shifted their view to favour marriage equality some time ago. I hear many Australians say: ‘I didn’t used to support marriage equality. I do now.’ I don’t know of anyone who has said it to me the other way around—who has changed their mind from ‘yes’ to ‘no’. Australians want us to live and let live. They’ve decided that as individuals we have no right to cast judgements on love as it is felt by others. I commend the bill to the House. (Time expired)

 

Nov 11, 2017

Remembrance Day – Loyalty Square, Balmain

Today I was honoured to speak at Loyalty Square at the foot of the Balmain War Memorial in commemoration of Remembrance Day and the 99th Anniversary of the end of World War One.

It is on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that our entire nation takes pause to recognise the valiant efforts of those who died or were injured serving our country in the line of duty.

This day resonates throughout our nation, as every town in Australia has its own personal connection to the terrible conflicts of war.

Innumerable local lives were lost in Balmain, like that of 37 year old Robert Henry Appleby, a widowed boilermaker from East Balmain, and 24 year old Michael Buchanan born in Rozelle, a butcher’s apprentice with a young wife, Lucy.

These two lost soldiers enlisted in World War One, in 1915 and 1916 respectively.

We remember Robert and Michael, and we reflect on all of those men and women whose selflessness and sacrifice, secured our future as a democratic nation.

Oct 19, 2017

OktoberWest celebrations

This Sunday in celebration of Sydney Beer Week, the Inner West will gather together at the Factory Theatre in Marrickville for the first ever OktoberWest.

The festival marks the official launch of the Inner West Brewery Association formed earlier this year, and is a triumph of what our community does best: Live music, arts, entertainment, good food and great beer.

I am looking forward to kicking off this sold out event by playing a one hour DJ set on the Beer Garden Stage from 1:00pm.

With over a dozen live acts and eight different breweries represented, there is no shortage of activities on the day.

I am particularly looking forward to checking out The Morrisons and sampling one of the 30 unique craft beers on offer.

I congratulate the Inner West Brewery Association and the Factory Theatre for putting together this fantastic event.

I will continue to represent the interests of craft beer brewers in the Federal Parliament so events like these can continue into the future.

 

Oct 10, 2017

Ashfield Infants Home visit

I am honoured to be joining the staff and children of the Infants’ Home on Thursday October 12th 2017 to present them with three new flags; the Australian, Aboriginal, and Torres Strait Islander flags.

The Infants’ Home has been in Ashfield since 1876, and is a pioneering provider of long day care, family day care, early childhood education, and early intervention and support services for children. Its services are accessed by more than 2600 children from suburbs all across Sydney with more than one third of its resources going to children living in vulnerable circumstances, or with additional needs.

I welcome the Infants’ Home’s establishment of a Reconciliation Action Plan and Working Party. Recognising the significance of the traditional owners is an important step on the path to reconciliation. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are part of our communities and we need to continue on the path towards closing the gap in social and economic outcomes between the First Australians and the rest of the community.

TUESDAY 10th OCTOBER

Oct 9, 2017

Marrickville Public School My Park Rules opening

I am pleased to be joining students and parents at Marrickville Public School this Thursday, the 12th of October to open Marrickville Public School’s successful entry in the My Park Rules competition.

This comp had 100 entries, and more than 30,000 votes were cast across the nation. It is an enormous credit to Marrickville Public School, AILA, the 202020 Vision Initiative and the team at TRACT that Marrickville’s entry was judged to be the best in New South Wales, and the best entry across the entire nation.

This award winning design has become a reality, and is a great example of how we can work with communities across Australia to provide well designed parkland and green spaces.

As our suburbs are increasingly urbanised, providing well designed green spaces makes for communities that are happier and healthier. Every child in Australia should have access to quality green spaces, with all the benefits that flow as a result.

 

MONDAY OCTOBER 9TH 2017

Sep 29, 2017

Time to transfer land to Leichhardt Campus

In February this year I joined with students and parents from Sydney Secondary College Leichhardt Campus to fight the Berejiklian Government’s absurd proposal to use land adjoining the school into a Westconnex construction site.

Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved we forced the NSW Liberal Government to back down from their proposal.

Instead of turning land adjacent to one of the Inner West’s most overcrowded high school campuses into a construction site, the NSW Government now has an opportunity to provide much needed space for educational, creative and recreational use by the students at the Leichhardt Campus.

That’s why today I am calling on the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, and the Education Minister, Rob Stokes, to begin the process of transferring the disused tram sheds to the NSW Department of Education.

This issue was raised earlier this year when Minister Ayres visited the site and refused to rule it out as a dive site.

Making this land available for use of students will relieve overcrowding and improve the learning environment for the whole school community.

Sep 19, 2017

No extension of clearways for King Street Newtown

We have today won a guarantee from the NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey that there will be no extension of clearway periods on King Street Newtown as a consequence of the WestConnex project.

In recent weeks local businesses have become alarmed by suggestions that weekend clearways could be imposed on King Street as a result of overflow traffic caused by Stage 2 of the project.

Following our representations to Minister Pavey on behalf of the Newtown Precinct Business Association, the Minister met yesterday with the Chamber and recommitted the Government to protecting King Street from any extension of clearways.

Having previously won a guarantee from the former Roads Minister, Duncan Gay and senior managers overseeing the WestConnex project, Labor welcomes this assurance.

Comments attributable to Tanya Plibersek:

The guarantee not to extend clearways along King Street is a real win for our community.

It will keep Newtown accessible for local residents, and as an appealing destination for visitors  – so important for the local economy.

Congratulations to the Newtown Business Chamber for their continued hard work on this issue.

Comments attributable to Anthony Albanese:

Newtown is second only to the central business district of Sydney as a tourism destination so the economic viability of King Street is crucial for our whole City.

Extending clearways would deprive Newtown of the on street parking and the protective barrier for pedestrians which cafes, restaurants, music venues and craft breweries depend on to drive their trade.

We have delivered these protections because we are determined to protect Newtown’s unique atmosphere for the people who live and there and for everyone who visits Newtown from across Sydney and around the world.

ENDS

Sep 15, 2017

Football volunteers from the Inner West honoured

Tonight I will join the football community of the Inner West to celebrate the contribution of volunteer coaches, managers and administrators at the annual Canterbury and District Soccer Football Association Volunteer Recognition dinner.

250 volunteers will attend the event, representing more than 3000 volunteers and 16 000 players from the clubs who make up the Association.

Local sports clubs represent the largest network of volunteers in our community, who generously dedicate their time to improve the health and welfare of children and young people.

CDSFA is one of the most effective grassroots sporting associations in the country.

Children and adults from my electorate of Grayndler participate in the majority of soccer clubs that make up the CDSFA including Balmain and District Football Club, Fraser Park, Leichhardt Saints, Leichhardt Tigers, Marrickville Football Club, Stanmore Hawks, Cooks River Titans, Ashfield Pirates and the Hurlstone Park Wanderers.

I am proud to support the work of these clubs and pay tribute to the incredible hard work and dedication of the volunteers who they depend on.

Sep 15, 2017

Metro Assist launches new hospitality training facilities at Pratten Park

On Saturday I will be speaking at the launch of the new hospitality training facilities at Pratten Park Community Sports and Bowling Club with Metro Assist.

The new facilities were purpose built to help enable new migrants and refugees in Australia to become job ready.

Trainees will learn food handling and preparation skills as well as having access to barista courses and accreditation in Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA).

A café will operate within the club as a catering service to local businesses and events, with revenue from sales to be reinvested in club operations.

The funding for this project came from the 2015 Stronger Communities Program grants when the club was still in my electorate of Grayndler.

Congratulations to Gordon Latham from Pratten Park and Lou Bacchiella from Metro Assist.

 

 

Sep 14, 2017

Minister reveals 20,000 incorrect Centrelink debts

20,000 Australians were issued with false or incorrect debts as part of the Centrelink Robo-debt debacle overseen by Department of Human Services Minister Alan Tudge.

In an answer to a question in writing filed by Labor MP Steve Georganas, the Minister for Human Services revealed that as at 31 March, 20,000 income support recipients who had been contacted as part of the failed Robo-debt debacle, had their debts corrected or quashed altogether.

12,524 Australians had their debts corrected or reduced.

7,456 Australians had their debts withdrawn by Centrelink entirely.

100 per cent of the debts that have been brought in to my own office in the Inner West, were either overturned entirely or reduced.

Last year a resident of Marrickville was hit with a Centrelink Robo-debt of more than $4000 during a period of illness. The debt was reduced to $400.

These are astonishing numbers coming from a Government that clearly cares little for its own people.

Minister Tudge along with Social Services Minister Christian Porter have removed the ‘Human’ element from the Department of Human Services.

A Senate Inquiry in June produced 21 recommendations which effectively called for the radical overhaul of the Robo-debt system for it to be even remotely workable.

To this day, the Government has refused to act on these recommendations – an absolute insult to the thousands of decent and vulnerable individuals who are reliant on income support at a difficult and uncertain time in their lives.

 

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Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

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

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