This morning I toured the newly renovated naval maintenance and restoration workshop at the Sydney Heritage Fleet Shipyard.
A grant of $20,000 was awarded through the Federal Government’s Stronger Communities Programme to renew the workshop.
General Manager Ross Muir, and associate Tim Drinkwater, should be enormously proud that the shipyard gives volunteers aged over 65 years a way to remain physically and mentally active by working on the restoration of our heritage maritime vessels.
Currently there are seven operational large ships maintained by the senior voluntary workforce, including the James Craig Tall Ship (1874) and the Lady Hopetoun Steam Launch (1902). There is also a fleet of small boats berthed at the facility.
The funding to upgrade the workshop has provided volunteers with a safe space to continue restoring the enormous John Oxley Steam Ship (1927).
I wish them luck for this ambitious project that is helping renew Rozelle Harbour.
This morning I visited Marrickville High School to congratulate staff and students alike on their successful application to have the next stage of the school’s public art installation funded.
The installation, a continuous rainbow wave that will wrap around the entire school, was designed by local artist Nuha Saad.
The crossed lines and colour represent the lives of Marrickville High School students as they grow and change into adults.
I was pleased to have been able to deliver $20,000 through the Stronger Communities Programme to fund the installation
The artwork has visually transformed the outside of the school, while on the inside the students are working on inspired projects of their own, with visual arts teacher Jemima Hall.
I wish the school all the best for the next stage of the installation.
Today, in conjunction with the Member for Calwell Maria Vamvakinou MP, I had the honour of convening a meeting of the Australia-Cyprus Parliamentary Friends Group for the Journey into Cyprus: East2West initiative.
Two Australian friends, Yalcin Adal and Stavros Protz from Turkish and Greek Cypriot backgrounds respectively, are walking 400 kilometres through the middle of Cyprus over 16 days to inspire reconciliation and support for a united island nation.
Since 1974 the island nation has been divided in contravention of United Nations resolutions and considerable diplomatic effort to resolve the conflict. This is a great example of grassroots action.
The pair plan to walk up to 30 kilometres a day over rugged terrain, promoting the common interest and harmony between all Cypriots.
It was a pleasure hosting Yalcin and Stavros with Ms Vamvakinou and other MPs in attendance in the Federal Parliament and I congratulate them on their initiative.
Photo (Parliament) – http://bit.ly/2FxgLwR
East2West – http://bit.ly/2Dtr1I5
TUESDAY, 27 FEBRUARY, 2018
Last night I spoke in the Parliament about the idea of holding a referendum on January 26, to recognise indigenous Australians in our constitution, along with a second question about the move to being a republic.
I told Parliament:
In recent times, there has been an increasing level of debate about the significance of Australia Day being held on 26 January. There is no doubt that this has the potential to be a divisive debate. Indeed, it looks like some in the commentariat are looking for an argument, not a solution. Finding a way forward is more important than re-running old arguments. Our nation needs to reconcile itself with the past as a precondition of creating a better future, one in which we all embrace a common vision of what it means to be Australian in the 21st century. Instead of emphasising our differences, let us create a platform for unity. Australia Day is a time for acknowledging both the good and the bad about our past, assessing where we are as a nation today and contemplating our vision for the future.
All Australians must acknowledge that this commemoration of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 is a difficult one for the First Australians. The arrival of Europeans disrupted the longest continuous civilisation on Earth and was accompanied by dispossession, violence, disease and trauma which are still felt today with the tragic gap in life expectancy, education and health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. It is understandable that many Indigenous Australians refer to 26 January as ‘Survival Day’. Every Australia Day is a reminder that there is much unfinished business to achieve reconciliation, including recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in our Constitution, but also practical measures to close the gap on living standards, jobs, education and health outcomes.
The story of modern Australia is also one of migration since the 18th century. We are a nation which has welcomed millions of people from all parts of the globe, seeking a better life for themselves, their families and the generations to come. On Australia Day this year, as in other years, tens of thousands of people pledged their allegiance to our country and became citizens. Australia has been enriched by its multiculturalism—people who are loyal to Australia but have contributed their language, music, culture and of course food from their countries of birth. Australia has enormous natural advantages, but it is our people that make us the envy of the world and indeed ‘the lucky country’, and we’re confident enough that it’s only a matter of time before we have an Australian head of state.
One of the tasks of political leadership is to bring people together on the journey of change in a way that promotes unity and isolates division. It seems to me that the purpose of Australia Day—to consider Australia’s past, present and future—provides an opportunity. I’m a strong supporter of constitutional change to recognise the First Australians, and I’m in favour of a republic. A referendum held on 26 January to recognise First Australians in our Constitution, along with a second question about the move to being a republic, would be an exciting opportunity to forge a path forward for Australia’s future. It would mean Australia had a day that recognised our modern history of new arrivals; our continuous history of Indigenous Australians, dating back at least 65,000 years; and our declaration of confidence that we are a modern, independent state with an Australian as its head. I don’t declare that this proposal is the idea, just an idea, to avert a divisive debate about when to celebrate Australia Day.
I note Noel Pearson’s proposition in The Australian two weeks ago about celebrating both 25 January and 26 January. To me it has a certain logic because, increasingly, I witness more discussion about issues confronting the First Australians, past, present and future, around Australia Day. The Uluru Statement from the Heart has advanced a constructive proposal for a voice for first nations after extensive engagement, and that is not a proposal for a third chamber of parliament.
Australians want harmony based on mutual respect. The impasse on advancing reconciliation must be broken, and decision-makers, civil society and, most crucially, First Australians must be engaged in forging a new path forward. A necessary element will be ensuring that the First Australians have a sense of ownership over our national day of celebration.
TUESDAY, 06 FEBRUARY, 2018
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.