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Canberra 2022.....that’s a wrap!

Am just back in Melbourne after a really big week in Canberra, with I suspect more pieces of legislation passed in 5 days than has happened for some years (!). This is probably the last I’ll see of the nation’s capital until next year, although there’s a small chance we’ll all need to go back for some urgent Bills before Christmas. 

A quick update: 

The results of the Victorian state election on Saturday 26 November were disappointing for many in the community who had tirelessly campaigned for Independent candidates Sophie Torney (Kew) and Melissa Lowe (Hawthorn). However, the two candidate preferred vote results of 46.58% and 48.71%, respectively, indicate just how close the candidates came. Clearly, Kew and Hawthorn are seeing the value of Independent representation in parliament. I’ve sent my very best wishes to all those involved in the state Independent campaigns and have extended my congratulations to our new state members, Jess Wilson in Kew, and John Pesutto in Hawthorn.
On Sunday I returned to Canberra for the final sitting week of the year. 

News from Canberra


On Monday morning I supported Zali Steggall’s presentation of her “Stop the Lies” Bill to Parliament. This Bill will prohibit misleading and/or deceptive political advertising, which has potential to undermine our electoral processes. It’s particularly timely in the lead-up to the referendum to the Voice to Parliament, as referenda are particularly vulnerable to misinformation and disinformation.

I had the pleasure of attending the presentation ceremony for the Young Historian of the Year. History was my favourite and best subject at school. As Minister Clare commented (quoting Michael Crichton), “If you don’t know history, you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree”. It was wonderful to see Nektaria Toscas, a year 11 student from Camberwell Girls Grammar, win the Year 11/12 Victoria, Year 11/12 National and Victorian Young Historian awards, then take home the Australian Young Historian of the Year Award. Congratulations Nektaria - it’s an extraordinary effort!

Since the murder of 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini in September, and the subsequent brutal crackdown on nationwide protests in Iran, I’ve been contacted by many concerned constituents and Australians of Iranian background. Over the past few weeks, I have attended vigils and events in support of the ‘Zan Zendegi Azadi’ (Women. Life. Freedom” movement of Iran.
A petition with more than 50 000 signatures was presented in Parliament on Monday, calling on the Australian government to implement targeted sanctions against Iran. I had the honour of speaking to this petition in Parliament in support of the brave people of Iran.

Since taking office, I have been contacted by many constituents, including general practitioners, concerned about the financial and service strain on GP clinics, their doctors and patients. On Monday evening I took the opportunity of the passage of a Health Legislation Amendment relating to Medicare compliance to speak to the importance role of GPs in our community, and the undue stress that has been placed on them by recent unsubstantiated reports of Medicare rorting.

I also spoke on the NDIS in parliament, highlighting the important role that the NDIS plays in our community and the adversarial nature of the current system. Next year I will be introducing a Private Members Bill to improve transition of NDIS participants into disability group homes.

In the afternoon I met with the ‘Bring Julian Assange Home’ Parliamentary Group, in which we received an update from Julian’s lawyer on the current appeals process. We discussed Julian’s wellbeing and the next steps to push the Government for his return to Australia.

On Monday night I attended a dinner hosted by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) for medical professionals elected to the Parliament. The 47th Parliament includes a record number of medical professionals; we discussed how to improve support for primary heath care services.



Tuesday started with breakfast at Westminster House, the official residence of the United Kingdom High Commissioner, with the High Commissioner Her Excellency Vicki Treadell, UK Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Anne-Marie Trevelyan, and other members of the crossbench.  Climate change mitigration in the Pacific region was the main topic of conversation.  

I used a constituency statement speaking slot in parliament to highlight a fantastic new community organization, ‘Boroondara Hard Rubbish Rehome’ which is doing wonderful work to reduce landfill in our local environment; an issue brought to the fore by the recent collapse of the REDCycle recycling program. You too can join the Rehomies by finding them on facebook

Tuesday evening saw us at the crossbench Christmas party, a gathering traditionally held in the courtyard at Parliament House. Each crossbench member provided local electorate food and/or drinks to share – Rambler’s Ale from Hawthorn was ours – and we enjoyed a lovely warm evening sampling the fine fare and listening to my well-curated Christmas playlist! (I will defend Mariah Carey’s inclusion to the end... but yes there were some Australian classics as well.)



It was a serious start to the day, with a Censure Motion successfully moved against the former Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, over his secret appointment to multiple ministries. It was a confronting occasion, but an important one.  I felt the Censure Motion was a necessary step in re-asserting the importance of our conventions of responsible government.  In May, the Australian people told us they want more integrity from their government.  You can see me speaking to this motion here .
I met very briefly with representatives from Children’s Ground before racing back to the chamber to vote on the censure motion. Children’s Ground is a terrific organisation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of Aboriginal children. I want to hear more and will reach out them again this month.

In Question Time, I asked the Prime Minister about the steps that the Government is taking to secure Julian Assange’s release. It was great to hear- for the first time- that this government has been actively advocating on Mr Assange’s behalf with the US administration. Enough is enough- it's time to bring him home. 

I then spoke on the importance of improving treatment options for those living with eating disorders in a Matter of Public Interest debate led by the Member for Goldstein, Zoe Daniel.

In  the evening, I met with a constituent who is now one of two Airbus Interns heading off to the UK to acquire knowledge around critical satellite technologies. Airbus has been selected as the strategic partner for Defence’s Resilient Multi-mission Space STaR Shot – a strategic research program established to develop future space capabilities for the Australian Defence Force. I popped into the 10th anniversary of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) before making my way over to the launch of Sydney WorldPride  where we were treated to an incredible performance from Miss Ellaneous, and closed the day with a dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of the MS Society with the Parliamentary Friends of Multiple Sclerosis. 



On Thursday morning I attended two parliamentary breakfasts – with Parliamentary Friends of Palliative Care, and one for World Aids Day. 

Importantly, I attended a meeting with Senator Patrick Dodson and Ministers Mark Dreyfus and Linda Burney to discuss the Voice to Parliament referendum. I know that many people in Kooyong feel passionately about the Voice. I do, and I'd like Kooyong to register the highest ‘yes’ vote in the country in the referendum in 2023. In the New Year, we’ll be hosting several events and engaging with the community about the Voice. In the meantime, I’d recommend you spend 20 minutes on this online course, which explores the meaning of enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Australian constitution.


Friday marked the passage of the Fair Work Legislation (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill, aimed at increasing wages for workers in feminised industries like childcare, aged care and teaching. Wages have been essentially static in those industries for almost 10 years- the last government deliberately aimed to stifle wage growth -and with inflation and rising cost of living pressure, some Australians are really feeling the pinch. The legislation is not perfect – it’s a really complex omnibus Bill, and the detail of some parts is a bit sketchy - but crossbenchers from the House and Senate negotiated some real improvements, and there are parts to really like; a review of Awards, better protections and faster payment for contractors, more flexible workplace arrangements, limiting rolling fixed-term contracts and an improved “Better Off Overall Test”. The law includes provision for mandatory review within 2 years, which will be important to assess its effectiveness.

And that’s a wrap on the sitting period for 2022!


Kooyong to Canberra

I’d like to thank the ten volunteers who’ve travelled to Canberra this year for our ‘Kooyong to Canberra’ program. I am indebted to Carolyn, Christine, Pippa, Ian, Jenny, Cathie, Phil, Geraldine, Frank and Lawrence who answered phones, attended briefings, helped out with meetings and kept us sane! We’ll be continuing this program in 2023- we're looking forward to opening registrations for those interested in participating. 

There’ll be one more newsletter before Christmas- but I hope to see you before then, at our Christmas party next Friday 9 December. Click here to register.

It’s been a privilege to represent you in Canberra. I’m very looking forward to seeing you all in the streets of Kooyong before the summer break. 

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