Skip navigation

Electrification Expo, Fixing The Housing Crisis, And Julian Assange

Plus, why I left Qantas' Chairman's Lounge.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks.

Since I last wrote to you, I’ve headed to the United States and back — more on that in a second — returning to Kooyong and getting immediately stuck into housing policy, the Voice, and electrification.

On Wednesday I had the privilege of attending a performance by the Melbourne Chinese Opera for the Moon Festival. It was brilliant, though I think next time I should dress up a little more…

I’ll be attending the Moon Festival opening ceremony at Box Hill today. It promises to be an amazing Festival Day — the organisers are expecting 50,000 people to attend!

On Thursday, more than 50 people attended our Kooyong Housing Forum, where our expert panel answered the community’s thoughtful questions about what must be done to tackle housing affordability in this country.

It was a great chance for me to hear what the community wants elected representatives to do. The signal was loud and clear: instead of tinkering around the edges, we want politicians to take bold, decisive action to fix the housing crisis once and for all.

It won’t be easy, and these big picture changes will take commitment from all levels of government — stay tuned for more housing-focused events in the coming weeks and months.

Speaking of bold, decisive action — the other area where the Federal Government needs to get a move on is household electrification.

That’s why I’m so excited to be supporting this Sunday’s (8 October) Electrify Boroondara Expo, a brilliant initiative that will help tell us how to save money and help climate action by electrifying our homes.

It couldn’t come at a better time. Amid a cost of living crisis, it’s a great opportunity to learn about how electrification can help the family budget, while also tackling the climate crisis. The Electrify Boroondara team has put an enormous amount of work into finding the most expert, authoritative people to give advice on improving home energy efficiency, rooftop solar and batteries, induction cooktops and electric hot water, electric vehicles and e-bikes, and how to finance the Big Switch.

The Best Way To Help The Voice

In exactly two weeks, we’ll wake up and vote in our first referendum in over two decades.

Being a good local representative means listening to the community and the experts and doing what’s right, even if it’s not popular.

I made it clear in last year’s election campaign that I was committed to the tenets of the Uluru Statement From The Heart, and that if elected I would advocate for a Voice to Parliament. Together with more than 500 incredible volunteers that’s exactly what my team has done. We have more volunteers than any other electorate; we’ve knocked on more doors than any other community in the country; and we’ve handed out a record number of corflutes to the people of Kooyong and beyond (click here to get yours).

We’ve put heart and soul into this campaign because we believe it goes to the heart and soul of this country. We believe that the Voice would help right wrongs, and that it would help improve outcomes for all Australians.

Rising tides raise all boats. Improving health, education, economic, and social outcomes for Indigenous Australians will benefit us all. We reject the negative politics, disinformation and divisiveness of Peter Dutton’s Liberal Party and its No Campaign.

If you are available on October 14, join the more than 300 people who have already signed up for a polling day shift to show Kooyong what we believe.

Why I Spent Two Days In Washington Last Week

Over many months I’ve been working closely with colleagues in Canberra to see what we can do to help bring Julian Assange home.

Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, is currently in prison in the United Kingdom, where he is awaiting extradition to the United States to face trial on charges of espionage and computer hacking. The charges carry a possible maximum sentence of 175 years, and were laid by the Trump administration.

The situation flies in the face of many of our core democratic principles. We need press freedom — if journalists can’t publish inconvenient truths because they’re afraid of being pursued by foreign governments, that is to all our cost.

The trip to Washington with a delegation of five other Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum was well-received. The American Parliamentarians that we met were really impressed by the fact that us Australians had put aside our political differences to travel (I paid for my own flights, but the Assange campaign covered hotel fees — a gift I’ll disclose on my register of interests), to press the case of a single Australian citizen.

A similar non-partisan coalition of US politicians is now forming to advocate in Congress on Julian Assange’s behalf, ahead of the Prime Minister’s state visit to Washington in October.

If you want to find out more, I appeared on the ABC’s 7:30 (as well as a US breakfast TV show) to discuss the trip.

A Quick Note On Qantas, Lobbying And Transparency

You might have seen reports in the media about me leaving the Chairman’s Lounge — which, for those who don’t know, is an invitation-only airport lounge run by Qantas for politicians, senior public servants, and CEOs of major companies.

The relationship between Qantas and the Morrison and Albanese governments has been too close. The government’s refusal to reveal why it denied additional flight routes to Qatar demonstrated the lack of transparency regarding that relationship — but there’re also broader questions regarding Qantas’ corporate conduct and the support given to it by the Federal Government.

The reality is it’s harder to do the right thing when you’re being wined and dined by expert lobbyists like Qantas. I left because I believed remaining in the lounge was inconsistent with the bill I’m about to introduce that would finally regulate lobbying in Australia.

More than 5,000 lobbyists have access to Parliament. Most are very good at their job: they influence legislation and government policy to advance their clients’ interests and profits. That influence can undermine the democratic process; not all people and groups have equal access to the halls of Parliament.

As things stand, we don’t know who’s meeting with who, when, and why. Every day there seems to be news items about former politicians and senior public servants moving into highly paid jobs in the private sector and cosying up with industry.

Those relationships do not reflect the community’s values.

My Private Member’s Bill will legislate for greater transparency, including registration of all lobbyists active in Parliament House, opening of Ministerial diaries, and ending the revolving door between senior jobs in the government and the industries those jobs subserve. I’ll keep you all posted about its progress.

What’s On With Mon

The Electrify Boroondara Expo is designed to inform our community about electrification and energy efficiency.

To help fix the climate crisis and lower your energy bills, come along to the expo.

You’ll hear from inspiring speakers, including Saul Griffith and Alan Kohler, and have the chance to talk directly with suppliers to learn about practical clean energy solutions.

When you elected me last year, I promised politics done differently.

Town halls like this one are a key part of that commitment: I’m taking seriously my responsibility to hear from the community, listen to your feedback, and represent your values in Canberra.

It’s all part of my vision to put community at the heart of politics again.

As always, my team and I are always here to help where we can.

Have a great long weekend,


Continue Reading

Read More