ADJOURNMENT - House of Representatives

01 August 2023

I rise to speak on my experience as the new member for Aston, the first woman to hold the seat and the second Labor representative for the seat, and to speak to the concerns and experiences of my constituents. Since taking office, I have received much support from the community, praising the good governance of the Albanese Labor government, which has committed time and resources to listening to and improving the lives of Australians with initiatives like the energy relief plan, where the Albanese government has partnered with state and territory governments to provide up to $3 billion in electricity bill relief for eligible households and small businesses, and initiatives like cheaper childcare. Over 5,700 families in Aston alone will benefit from these Albanese government initiatives.

Our government is doing all this whilst ensuring that the previous government is held accountable for its actions and, indeed, inactions. Many in my electorate have commented on how glad they are to have a member of whom they can be proud—a person who shares their values; a person who has experienced the highs and lows of life; someone they can relate to a bit more. But they also have concerns. Those in the community I represent, like those of many other MPs, have had to deal with the fallout from the policy direction that the former Liberal government took. The Albanese Labor government is doing better because it governs with the principles of social justice, fairness and equality. We are playing catch-up on a lost decade of opportunities, with a system that was barely holding itself together worse off than we could have imagined.

The Robodebt disaster has had far-reaching effects on my constituents. The previous member for Aston was one of several former ministers responsible for the implementation of this antisocial, unapologetic policy that lacked empathy and basic human decency at every level. It left frontline workers to pick up the pieces of what was a complete and utter mess. It left people in the saddest, most desperate position ever, feeling they had no way out and no option but to take their own lives. Their families and loved ones were left hurting, forever changed. And this is the legacy those former ministers leave.

The NDIS is one of the many policies that Labor brought in and has tirelessly worked towards making right for the people of Australia. Its vision to provide support to all Australians who need assistance is one that is deeply important to me. Tilly Aston, who my electorate is named after, was a tireless advocate for vision-impaired people. In her day, the NDIS would have been a pipedream, no doubt. But it could never have been built without people like her. People like Tilly are why the federal Labor government is committed to delivering better outcomes for all Australians.

Public housing is also dear to my heart, and, like our prime minister, I also had that experience growing up. That is why it is so crucial that we pass the Housing Australia Future Fund Bill and related housing bills in the lower house next week, which will make it easier to support those who are vulnerable and in need of social housing. How can you build a future when you don't have a roof over your head? We are not going to give up on this bill, and we're not giving up on Australians who need and deserve the security of having a place to call home.

Hansard - House of Representatives 1/08/2023 Parliament of Australia (