Delivering On Promises
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:
- It must take account of social costs, or as economists call them “negative externalities”, associated with the emission of carbon.
- It must ensure that energy supply is reliable;
- 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Equality and Social Justice
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 co-operatively 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.
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.
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.
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 enrol and teach in faith based schools regardless of their sexuality.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.