Economically Sensible.

Socially Progressive.

Delivering On Promises

 

Climate Change

Climate Change Is Real:

Climate change has been variously described as one of the most pressing moral, social, health and economic challenges of our time.

The government has no real policy for action and the opposition's policy does not go far enough. To be politically and economically viable, climate change policy in Australia must meet three key criteria:

  1. It must take account of social costs, or as economists call them “negative externalities”, associated with the emission of carbon.
  2. It must ensure that energy supply is reliable;
  3. It must also ensure that energy is affordable, especially for low-income Australians.

The average temperature of the earth’s surface has increased by about 0.6C in the last three decades, and global sea levels have risen by around 3mm per year, and scientific consensus is that this is largely due to an increase in carbon dioxide and other human-emitted greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

However, effectively addressing climate change is proving extremely challenging in the current Australian political context.

Renewable Energy: Transition to 100% renewable energy, 50% by 2030.

Oppose Adani: Stop government subsidies of new and existing fossil fuel developments including the proposed Adani coal mine and provide subsidies for investment in renewable energy sources

Fracking: Impose a nation-wide ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking)

Climate Change Authority: Restore a credible science based Climate Change Authority.

Coal: Ban any new thermal coal mine developments.

Economics of Climate Change: The cost of climate change to our economy must be acknowledged and we must account for real action that will actively and responsibly invest in, and achieve, a clean energy future.

Paris Agreement: Meet or exceed our commitments under the Paris International Climate Agreement.

Political Lobbying: Ban political donations by fossil fuel companies and their lobbyists.

 

Environment

Plastics: 

I call for the ban of single use plastic items in Australia by 2021.

Single-use plastic items such as straws, forks and knives as well as cotton buds have been banned in the European Union by 2021 following a vote by EU lawmakers in March of this year as the bloc pushes manufacturers to step up their recycling efforts.

  • Australians consume over 3 million tonnes of plastic products and packaging each year but we recycle less than 10% of the plastics we consume.
  • CSIRO has recently commented that “Australia is probably a net exporter of debris to some neighbouring marine regions and surrounding countries.”
  • The Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2014 has identified marine debris and plastics as a major threat to the health of the reef.

If we fail to clean up the plastic and don’t stop the continued pollution of the oceans, we are facing the potential extinction of many sea life species and the interruption of the entire marine ecosystem as well as a depletion of our precious food stocks.

I also call for new packaging laws.

In Germany a new packaging law will come into effect on 1 January 2019, which aims to improve recycling and reduce packaging waste. It obliges more producers and distributors – including online retailers – to register and participate in a disposal and recycling system. I support this initiative and would like to see it implemented here in Australia. 

 

Vehicle Emissions:

Australia has an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower fuel bills for Australian motorists by making light vehicles more efficient.

Australia currently does not have carbon dioxide emission standards on light vehicles. Australia’s light vehicles or cars are responsible for roughly half of all transport emissions and account for about 8.5% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Motor vehicle emissions are a major source of urban air pollution, and exposure to air pollution is linked to a range of poor health outcomes.

As a signatory to the Paris Agreement, Australia has proposed an economy-wide target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

In order to achieve this, I support Climate Change Authority’s target to reduce the emissions intensity of the Australian light vehicle fleet from its current level of 192 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre to 105 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre by 2025.

The Authority proposes that the first phase of mandatory standards be introduced with effect from 2018, by which time local manufacture of automobiles is expected to have ceased. The standards would progressively reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new light vehicles to 105g/km in 2025, almost half the current level of 192g/km. This 2025 standard would broadly bring Australia into line with the United States, and still trail the tighter European Union targets by several years.

Implementation of a standard to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 105g/km is estimated to increase the average cost of a new car in 2025 by about $1500. This, however, would be offset several times by fuel savings of about $8500 over the life of the vehicle and $830 in fuel in the first year.

The proposed standard is projected to avoid 59 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over the period to 2030, equivalent to the current annual emissions of all light vehicles.

The Australian car manufacturing industry ceased to exist in 2017, so it is an ideal time to ensure that new cars bought into Australia are the most efficient available. This will set us on the path towards lower vehicle emissions while reducing costs for motorists and improving health.

 

Water Quality:

Water quality in a city the size of Sydney is always an issue, particularly in a built up area such as Rose Bay, and Wentworth more broadly.

Stormwater is a major cause of beach water pollution in Sydney.  Stormwater can contain many pollutants from many sources including residual fuel and oil from roads, litter, animal excrement from streets, fertiliser from gardens and sediment from building sites, faecal contamination from domestic sewer overflows, illegally dumped pollutants on land and from on water vessels, fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides from golf courses, reserves, parks and gardens’ as sources.

Rose Bay’s beach water is susceptible to stormwater pollution, particularly after heavy rainfall events. Unlike sewage, stormwater in Rose Bay is not treated.

Rose Bay water quality was given a “Poor” Beach Suitability Grade in the latest report from NSW Office of Environment and Heritage under “Beachwatch” meaning that the location is susceptible to high levels of ecoli and is not always suitable for swimming.

The State of the beaches 2017-18: Sydney Region report makes the following comments about health effects of microbial contamination of water to beach users. “Contamination of recreational waters with faecal material from animal and human sources can pose significant health problems to beach users owing to the presence of pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) in the faecal material. The most common groups of pathogens found in recreational waters are bacteria, protozoans and viruses.

Exposure to contaminated water can cause gastroenteritis, with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach-ache, nausea, headache and fever. Eye, ear, skin and upper respiratory tract infections can also be contracted when pathogens come into contact with small breaks and tears in the skin or ruptures of the delicate membranes in the ear or nose.

Certain groups of users may be more vulnerable to the threat of microbial infection than others. Children, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, tourists, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are generally most at risk.”

Increasingly governments need to look at innovative ways to better manage stormwater and greywater to improve Sydney Harbour’s water quality and make use of available water resources, particularly in conditions of sustained periods of drought followed by heavy rainfall incidents.  For example, golf course owners in the Rose Bay catchment should be encouraged to review their irrigation water management practices and potentially consider stormwater harvesting where it is feasible.  The way we use greywater and stormwater run-off in Sydney is something that Government’s need to look at – particularly in times of severe drought.

Further to my and the Rose Bay Working Groups advocacy on the issue, it was great to see that the Office of Environment and Heritage has committed $150,000 to conduct  investigations and tests to identify the sources of pollution at Rose Bay Beach, however more needs to be done at a local level.

We must focus efforts on remedying the failure of dog owners to pick up after their pets, and reduce rubbish being thrown in the water from nearby party boats in addition to advocating for further innovation in greywater and stormwater management.

Sydney Water will also be looking at ways to raise the level of the Ian Street wier to reduce stormwater discharges, which was identified by the Rose Bay Working Group late last year as one of the main reasons for poor water quality at the beach.

We need to keep pushing for further investigation and management of  water quality at Double Bay, Rushcutters Bay, Parsley Bay, Elizabeth Bay,Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte.

 

Marine Parks:

I support Save our Marine Life’s recommendations and urges the Commonwealth Government to fully restore Australia’s marine sanctuaries and make further science-based improvements to restore Australia’s leadership in this area.

Pollution, over fishing, entanglement in nets and destruction of important habitat are just some of the many threats to Australia’s remarkable marine life.

In 2012 Australia created the world’s largest network of marine parks – helping to secure the future of local coastal communities, Australia’s unique marine life and valuable fisheries.

This decision was the result of decades of science, years of consultation, and built on Australia’s proud 40-year legacy, started by Malcolm Fraser and Gough Whitlam, of leading the world in marine protection.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott then suspended the marine parks network, and the Coalition Government has now stripped back half of the sanctuary protection within these parks, equivalent to removing every second national park on land.

Some of Australia’s best-loved and most important marine tourism destinations have had their protection removed. These include cuts to one of Australia’s oldest sanctuaries at the iconic Lord Howe Island, WA holiday mecca Geographe Bay, the waters off Ningaloo, the Kimberley, the Gulf of Carpentaria, and hardest hit – the Coral Sea – critical to the future of the Great Barrier Reef.

Australia lays claim to the third largest area of ocean on Earth and we have an international responsibility to conserve our oceans. The Federal Government is a signatory to the United Nation’s Convention on the Law of the Sea which requires us to manage the oceans surrounding our continent for both economic benefit and conservation.

 

Aged Care 

Australian Medical Association (AMA): Resourcing Aged Care 2018 - Overarching principles

Like the AMA I believe that Australia’s ageing population will require an increasing amount of medical support due to an increase in the prevalence of chronic, complex medical disorders.

The aged care system must be adequately resourced so older people are able to access the same level and quality of medical care as other people.

Care for older people in the appropriate environment is a basic human right. The consequences of care in an inappropriate environment have implications for the wider healthcare system, including avoidable hospitalisations and excessive health costs.

Older people should have the same choice of medical care as the rest of the population, including choice in medical practitioner.

 

To Better Meet the Needs of Older Australians and to Create an Aged Care System That Supports Ageing Well, I Support Leading Aged Services Australia's (LASA) 4 Step Policy Guide to:

 

1. Fix the Funding Emergency in Residential Care and Commit to Ensuring Funding Matches the Measured Costs of Delivering High Quality Care.

There needs to be an increase in funding per resident per day with additional funding for the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

There also needs to be a commitment to ensure that aged care funding is reflective of the evidence highlighting the true cost and mix of skills required to deliver high quality care.

A suitable funding model – AMA.

I. The principles underpinning a suitable model are that it:

a) Provides universal access for every Australian to the basic standard of aged care services according to their needs, regardless of their ability to pay;

b) Provides certainty to aged care providers, and is sustainable for future generations.Improved home and community care support is vital to reducing the increasing need for people to access costly acute care and Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF).

II. Funding packages for home support should reflect demand and ensure timely access to care so people can remain in their home for as long as is appropriate.

III. When people are no longer able to live independently within the community due to health and social reasons, it is essential that they can access affordable and appropriately resourced RACFs.

IV. The purpose of RACFs is to provide accommodation and care that cannot otherwise be provided in the conventional community setting.

V. Mental health care needs of older people are a priority and require specialist attention and funding.

VI. There should be no service gap during a person’s transition from National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)-funded services to aged care-funded services. 

 

2. Fix the Unacceptable Impact on Older Australians by Legislating Reasonable Wait Times for Home Care Services - LASA:

According to National Seniors Australia:

- 12 month plus wait – estimated maximum wait time for a Level 2, 3 and 4 home care package (30 September 2018).

- 126,732 – total number of people waiting for a home care package suitable to their needs (30 Sept, 2018)

- 41,937 – number of people waiting for a Level 3 home care package (30 Sept 2018)

- 50,065 – number of people waiting for a Level 4 home care package 930 Sept 2018)

 

Legislation is required to reduce home care package wait times to no more than three months from the time of assessment to the time an older Australian receives support in their home. Introducing maximum wait times in home care packages will provide certainty and stability.

- Like LASA, I recommend a phasing in of gradually smaller maximum wait times, until the maximum wait time for any package is no more than three months.

- This phasing in of maximum wait times should be supplemented by prioritising the queue based on individuals’ means and giving people the option of using their home equity to fund their care needs.

- It would be reasonable to invest around $500 million a year in additional funding until wait times fall to an acceptable level.

 

3. Invest in Workforce Growth and Development - LASA:

We need Government to invest in the growth and development of the aged care workforce.

- A voluntary register for aged care workers is needed so that the sector can be ready for the possible mandatory scheme being recommended by the Royal Commission.

- An increase in pay is required to manage the increased requirements. However, there must be a proportionate increase in funding.

- Research is required to better understand the mix of nursing, care, allied health and other staff that will best meet the individual needs of older Australians.

 

Resourcing appropriate aged care staff - AMA:

I. No matter the location, there should be an appropriate level of well-trained staff to deliver quality personal and health care services to cater for older peoples’ physical, functional and psychosocial needs.

 

II. Sufficient numbers of registered nurses:

a) Sufficient numbers of registered nurses are required to monitor, assess and adequately care for older people, and to liaise with medical practitioners.

b) Accreditation Standards need to specify a minimum acceptable staff ratio between registered nurses and older people in RACFs.

c) RACFs require appropriate numbers of qualified nursing staff to ensure older peoples’ health is properly assessed and monitored, and older people requiring attention from a medical practitioner are quickly identified.

d) Registered nurses should be available 24 hours a day in RACFs to ensure older peoples’ medical needs are adequately met, including that medicines are administered when appropriate. This is critical to avoid unnecessary hospital transfers.

e) Sufficient numbers of registered nurses are required in home and community care settings.

f) Good nursing care under this model can reduce the number of avoidable attendances by medical practitioners and unnecessary hospital transfers.

 

III. The Role of Nurse Practitioners in aged care

a) The AMA supports appropriate expansion of the role of nurses within a team-based model of care. However, all health care provided to older people must be coordinated by a medical practitioner familiar with the patient, who provides continuity of, and takes ultimate responsibility for, that care.

b) The role of nurses should complement the work of a medical practitioner, and not used as a substitute for the higher quality of care that medical practitioners are trained to provide.

c) Nurse practitioners can only provide care within their scope of practice. Older people require access to medical practitioners to provide comprehensive medical care.

d) Nurse practitioners should only be supported under a medical practitioner-led structure.

 

IV. Education and training in aged care

a) Offering appropriate and accredited medical training places in RACFs would educate the next generation of doctors about caring for older people as part of routine medical practice and improve the quality of care in settings other than a teaching hospital.

b) Personal care attendants should have a mandatory minimum qualification in aged care to ensure staff are appropriately trained in dealing with issues that face older people. Government should work with the sector to develop, and provide funding for, such a qualification.

c) The following fields should be included in aged care staff education and training to improve quality of care for older people:

d) Strategies for addressing common health issues that older people face.

e) Strategies to prevent deterioration in health, such as exercise programs and providing adequate nutritious meals and hydration.

f) Strategies to reduce distress in dementia patients. iv. Intervention and management of elder abuse.

g) Engaging with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) older people.

h) Palliative care skills.

i) Mental health skills.

 

4. Have a Minister for Older Australians and Aged Care in Cabinet and Develop a Comprehensive National ‘Ageing Well’ Strategy.

The position of Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care would be a key advocate and decision maker in the Cabinet on behalf of older Australians. We also need to generate and grow a comprehensive strategy for “ageing well.”  This would include integrating aged care into the health system, an improved focus on preventative measures and reablement and the coordination of care and support systems with retirement income and welfare policy.

 

 

Equality and Social Justice

Asylum seekers:

During my by-election campaign, I said I would get all kids off Nauru and find a more humane solution for those on Nauru and Manus who are in desperate need of proper medical care. I worked with refugee advocates and the community to ensure that we achieved #Kids off Nauru and passed the Medivac Legislation.

My other campaign promise was to build capacity in the region: Australia needs to work more constructively with our neighbours to enhance refugee protection in the region.

In the short term, this would mean Australia working cooperatively with governments in our region to assist them in granting basic rights and protections to refugees in their countries. By improving conditions in the region, we can take away the incentive or need for onward travel to Australia.

In the longer term, we can work towards some form of centralised regional processing system that provides a safe and permanent solution for those seeking asylum.

Live Sheep Exports:  I believe it is our moral and ethical responsibility to bring an end to live sheep exports.

Religious Discrimination: I promise to ensure that all children and teachers have the right to learn, enrol and teach in faith based schools regardless of their sexuality.

Inclusiveness: I support Government creating a sense of community harmony through humane policies that respect and encourage diversity and civil rights.

Aboriginal Reconciliation:  I will continue to be a supporter of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

 

Education

I will promote equitable, accessible education, fair funding for all schools, affordable early child care and restoring funding to universities and TAFE to invest in the future skills that Australia needs.

New Public High School: Wentworth needs a second public high school. Along with concerned parents and education advocates, I will continue to fight for a second high school in Wentworth.

 

Early Learning:

Early Learning is an important step to get children ready for school. This, in turn, promotes children’s chances of achieving better learning outcomes while at school and better education, employment and health after they have finished school.

Early learning is for children and their development.  But access to affordable, quality early learning and care supports their mums too by making it easier for them to participate in the workforce.

For a lot of parents, early learning and care is too expensive.

Despite the Federal Government’s Child Care Subsidy increasing support, for many families in Wentworth, they are receiving less in the new scheme and struggling to afford early learning.

In metro Sydney, the usual weekly cost for those attending long day care in 2018 was around $318 before subsidies, although families in Wentworth typically pay a lot more than that.

We need to do more to make early learning accessible and affordable for all Australian families, especially the more disadvantaged who need it most.

The federal government should fund two years of early learning for all Australian children between the ages of 3-5 and make sure that the NSW government passes that on in full to support all children regardless of setting.

 

Public School Funding:

I support the Fair Funding Now campaign and believe that every  child has a right to a quality education and the opportunity to learn and fair funding for public schools is the best way to help them get it. 

I support the following:

  • Reverse the $1.9 billion cut to public schools in 2018 and 2019 ($14 billion over the decade).
  • Agreements should be struck between the Commonwealth and the states and territories to ensure every public school is funded to 100% of the schooling resource standard (SRS) by 2023.
  • Remove the 20% cap on the Commonwealth share of the SRS from the Australian Education Amendment Act.
  • Establish a capital fund for public schools ($300m in 2018 and increase each year in line with enrolment growth and rising costs) to ensure all students are educated in classrooms and learning spaces where their needs can be met.
  • Reverse the cuts to disability funding in five states and territories

 

TAFE Funding:

Australia needs a high quality, well-resourced and trusted TAFE sector. Public vocational education is every person’s right, and TAFE holds a particularly important role in the lives of people throughout their working lives. Successive cuts, underfunding and the student loans debacle have damaged the sector, undermined the teaching workforce, and slashed funding and support where it is needed most.

I support the Stop Tafe Cuts campaign that calls on the Federal Government to:

  • Guarantee a minimum 70% government funding to the public TAFE system. No public funding should go to private for-profit providers, consistent with other education sectors.
  • Restore funding and rebuild the system, which will restore confidence in the quality of the courses and qualifications and the institution.
  • Abandon the failed student loans experiment, and cancel the debts of all students caught up in private for-profit provider scams.
  • Re-invest in the TAFE teaching workforce and develop a future-focused TAFE workforce development strategy in collaboration with the profession and the union, based on degree–level teaching qualifications to augment the industry qualifications required to prepare people for work and for participation in society. This must include investment to address high levels of precarious and casual employment, neglect of professional development and support and workload intensification.
  • Develop a capital investment strategy, in consultation with state governments to address the deplorable state of TAFE facilities around the country. TAFE students should have access to high quality learning facilities, commensurate at least with those enjoyed by their university cousins. This would address the issue of parity of esteem, and rebuild confidence in the sector.
  • Support a comprehensive independent inquiry into TAFE to consider a broad range of issues including: the collapse in confidence and support for competency based training and training packages; the lack of overall investment, and the development of curriculum and courses.

 

Strong Economy

Economic leadership must be bold and plan for a future that acknowledges our rapidly changing environment.

The federal budget must be honest, deliverable and based on real economic facts.

The government must ensure sustainable, fair and responsible sources of revenue for a healthy and confident future economy and tax base must be broadened to achieve this.

Our leaders must encourage, invest in and the support the establishment of new productive future-industries for economic growth and reliable future employment.

 

Superannuation: Legislation should remain constant for five years to allow for investment certainty and improve investor confidence.

Women are retiring with 34% less in superannuation than men.  This needs to be actively addressed in economic policy.

Investment Taxes: I do not support Labor’s proposed changes to franking credits, negative gearing and capital gains tax.

Business: Economic policy must achieve real productivity growth by encouraging entrepreneurship, supporting corporates and small business and promoting productive innovation.

Taxation: I support lowering of company tax and compliance costs along all levels of business to attract higher domestic and global investment while at the same time demanding that all companies pay their fair share of tax.

 

National Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission

I strongly support the establishment of a National Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission with broad jurisdiction and strong investigative powers to restore faith in our public institutions and democratic processes.

 

Better Health for All

As a doctor, I have spent my professional career caring for people, finding solutions to complex health problems and fighting for better health for all Australians.

 

Complementary and Natural Health: 

I have opposed the removal of private health insurance for natural medicines and forced the Government to review its list of complementary medicines allowed under private health insurance as it will have a devastating impact on providers and users.

Australians are continuing to turn to natural therapies for their preventative health and wellbeing management with research revealing over 68% of the population having used at least one complementary medicine in the last 12 months.

The NHS lists yoga and Tai Chi as first line therapies in the management guidelines for low back pain.

There is clear evidence that there could be savings in public expenditure if complimentary medicines were better supported by private health insurance.

People who use natural therapies spend $400 less per year on hospitalisation fees, culminating in more than $1 billion per year in savings for the government.

Natural medicine has grown by 3.1 per cent in Australia over the last year. There are over 28,000 small businesses in this sector which employ 36,487 people and contribute $4.7 billion to the economy annually.

The science-trained, evidence-based practitioners of naturopathy and western herbal are currently under-represented on the NH&MRC.

It is imperative that the government enables natural health practitioners to register and be regulated like their Chinese Traditional Medicine colleagues.

Western herbal medicine, yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates and naturopathy should be removed from the banned list.

 

Mental Health:

Mental health should be a national priority. Almost half of the Australian adult population is expected to experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. Yet mental health is grossly underfunded when compared to physical health.

Investing in Australia’s mental health will deliver enhanced economic and social returns, including a reduction in avoidable emergency department admission and presentations, reduced demand on public hospital beds, reduction in homelessness, less absenteeism and improved economic productivity and greater workforce participation.

Like the AMA I believe that the strategy should encompass:

  • Improved service deliver;
  • Significantly increased funding;
  • Improved coordination;
  • Workforce planning and investment;
  • Prevention, education and research; and
  • E-health/telemedicine solutions.

 

Medicare: I am committed to a viable future for Medicare and a more transparent, equitable and user-friendly private health insurance system.

My Health Record: I will continue to advocate better privacy protections for all Australians.

Oral Health: I will champion a dental health scheme and a reassessment of private health rebates for dental work.

Aged Care: Aged care is facing a national crisis, we must urgently reform this sector to improve nurse to patient ratios and the quality of care offered to some of our most vulnerable members of society. As Treasurer, Scott Morrison pulled $1.2 billion out of aged care. As a Doctor I know this is a national crisis and fully support the ongoing Royal Commission into the Aged Care sector.

Pill Testing: I support a pill testing trial. International evidence shows that pill-testing has the potential to prevent hospital admissions and to save lives.

 

ABC and The Arts

ABC:

We must restore funding and transparency to the ABC to ensure our public broadcaster is free from political or commercial interference.

The ABC must be well-resourced to be an independent, comprehensive and innovative broadcaster in order to maintain its high standard of news, current affairs, and quality Australian drama and access for regional and remote Australians.

80% of Australians trust the ABC above all other media. No other media organisation covers issues in depth, in science, religion, education, philosophy, the arts, and rural and regional matters.

Funding for the ABC has halved over the last thirty years making it seriously underfunded. The current uncertainty of ABC funding seriously exposes the public broadcaster to political interference from government. The ABC Alumni estimates that the Coalition has stripped the ABC of around half a billion dollars in five years. ABC funding needs to be restored to its 1985/86 level in real terms and delivered in a manner that upholds the ABC’s independence.

The Government and commercial media owners want to privatise the ABC. Independence from government and business allows the ABC to scrutinise the activities of governments and other powerful forces, to report without fear or favour. Independence enables the ABC to be innovative, and to be a comprehensive broadcaster catering for diverse interests. Unlike commercial broadcasters it is not restricted to providing only what advertisers will pay for. Independence can only be guaranteed if the ABC is fully funded by government.

 

The Arts:

I support a creative Australia and I believe we need to invest in and support our dynamic arts industries.

I support the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG) urgent call for a roadmap for the future of the whole of the Australian Arts. It is imperative that there is focus on arts infrastructure, of touring to regional areas, of direct investment in indigenous performers and of programs to support artist access to new markets.

I, along with an alliance of performing arts peak organisations, believe an industry roadmap should bring together the following priorities:

  • Establish a National Indigenous Arts and Cultural Authority to provide leadership and representation for traditional knowledge and cultural expression and in recognition of the important links between art and culture and Closing the Gap outcomes.
  • Support innovation through strategic seed investment in new ambitious works generating jobs growth and career development for leading creatives, new IP and extending creative skills.
  • Position more multi-year funded companies for growth to deliver a stronger and more diverse performing arts sector.
  • Increase Australia Council project funding to support individual artist and reduce the level of unfunded excellence.
  • Increase investment in regional performing arts engagement and touring.
  • Remove the efficiency dividend on government arts and culture organisations, including the Australia Council, which has had a perverse impact on funds available for investment in arts and culture.

 

Thinking Differently About Gender Equality 

In 2019 women’s voices are becoming stronger and many previously ignored issues are being acknowledged and respected.

It is also true, confirmed by statistics, that women continue to encounter roadblocks to equality in virtually every aspect of our lives.

My “Women and Society Strategy” is based on four fundamental principles as defined by Dr Anne Summers. 

 

Freedom From Violence :

Women and girls have the right to feel safe at home, on the streets, online, on the sporting field, in classrooms, in institutions, or in the workplace - Wherever they happen to be.

Violence against women comes in many forms from the psychological fear of stalking, bullying or harassment, to extreme verbal and physical abuse.

We support all initiatives that keep women and girls of every age safe from rape and other forms of sexual assault, including forced marriage.

We also support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women as they struggle to combat domestic violence and family abuse at levels greater than other groups in the Australian community.

Women must have access to emergency crisis services and refuges, and also legal assistance to better protect themselves and/or their children from further fear in the future.

We encourage a cultural shift that focuses on the prevention of violence and would like to see more government education programs and media campaigns that highlight the dangerous increase in violence in Australian society. We need the abusers and predators to be called out, named and shamed, and punished. The establishment of specialist domestic violence courts in every State would be a positive step in this process.

 

Freedom From Economic Dependency:

Women are often trapped in situations because they simply lack the financial means to leave. Some are completely reliant on their abusive partner for both food and shelter. Some seek help from parents or relatives, the welfare system, or take meagre wages.

All women need to be self-sufficient before they can have self-confidence. They also need to become financially literate.

At present in Australia women do not get equal pay and while this is steadily improving, the gender gap remains at 14.1% (as of February 2019). We need to work through all channels to eliminate this inequity. 

It has been well-documented that such a gap results in women retiring with around half of the superannuation of their male counterparts, resulting in far lower retirement incomes. In some cases this impacts severely on housing affordability, especially for older single women, and can result in the disturbing wave of homelessness we are currently experiencing with women over 50.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and migrant women workers are also often forgotten members of the workforce. There are higher unemployment levels in this sector and many are paid lower wage rates relative to their skills and experience.

We believe that affordable childcare should be available to families in all sectors of the workplace from the factory floor to the executive floor. Childcare is a major drain on financial resources for all women as they try to keep working and keep their career on track while raising a family. We also recognise the need to strengthen families by encouraging flexible work arrangements and access to appropriate after school care and activities.

 

Freedom Of Reproductive Choice

All women should have the right to choose if, and when, they want to have a child.

I believe that all women and teenage girls should have access to effective and affordable contraception. It is their right to manage their own bodies.

Safe and legal termination of pregnancy with access to professional secular counselling should also be available if that is their preferred option. We urge the NSW State Government to decriminalise abortion in line with other States and Territories.

Starting a family is a major step in a woman’s life. Aside from the financial impact on household income, it is a profound personal commitment. Every woman should be confident of obtaining pre-natal and post-natal health care for herself and the child.

Many women face some form of pregnancy discrimination, effectively stunting their career trajectories. As part of that decision-making process, women should also feel secure in the knowledge that they will receive paid parental leave from government where employer-paid parental leave is not available, including their superannuation contributions.

Upon return from maternity leave, women have the right to return to the same job they had before and, where feasible, employers can assist return to work with negotiated flexible work arrangements.

 

Freedom To Fully Participate In All Areas Of Public Life

Women are currently under-represented in public life.  There needs to be a substantial cultural change in attitude towards women, including the damaging impact of stereotypes and objectification of women and their capacity to contribute.

Women need to have a voice to speak freely on all issues that affect our and our children’s future, including major humanitarian issues.

This is why women must have equal representation at every level of government, the public service, the corporate sector, academia, in military and religious institutions, and in cultural and community organisations.

And those women need to be free from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, cultural heritage, or language barriers. Women also need to be able participate safely in the public sphere, including online.

To achieve this I support gender quotas and targets to reach a 50/50 representation in governance and management in the private and public sectors.

 

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them” – Unknown.