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Safeguard Mechanism 2.0 legislation passed!

I’ve been back in Kooyong this week, after another hectic sitting week in Canberra.  I'm very much looking forward to having a short Easter break, but thought that before that I'd give you a quick update on what we've achieved over the last fortnight. 


Last week, the Safeguard Mechanism 2.0 legislation passed through Parliament, in a really important step towards Net Zero. The first iteration of the revised Bill was disappointing - it failed to put a cap on total emissions or to limit offsetting of emissions by big polluters. Fortunately, the Opposition did not support the Bill (even though it was an improved version of its own previous iteration of this legislation) - true to form, the LNP opposed it entirely, meaning that the government had no choice but to negotiate with the crossbench in the House and Senate in order to pass the Bill. The legislation was ultimately much improved after a number of changes agreed by negotiation with the crossbench. It now includes a cap on emissions, as well as some limits on offsetting and a requirement that new fossil fuel projects be carbon-neutral from entry.  I moved two amendments to the Bill; one aimed at formalising Ministerial responsibility for the offsetting methods, and one around the integrity of decision-making via open standing.  

I also had the opportunity to attend the 'Electrify Parliament' briefing given by the Smart Energy Council, calling for a $12 billion Powering Our Homes package over 10 years, to help electrify Australian homes.  The package would generate energy bill savings of $3,000-$5,000 per household per year in 2030. The focus of the meeting was identifying ways to facilitate the electrification of homes and small businesses to lessen energy costs and improve our health and climate. I'm looking forward to doing this in Kooyong. Keep an eye on the socials for more news on this in the coming weeks.

Solar Citizens were in Canberra during the week showcasing their Electric Ute Roadshow, and I was able to experience a drive in an EV Ute. If you're wondering, they go like the clappers. The Roadshow campaign will be touring Australia in coming months; keep an eye out for it when it's in Melbourne- and I'll try to get it along to our next EV forum, later in the year. 

Many of you have contacted me regarding seismic testing. Last week I received an update from the Otway Climate Emergency Action Network regarding the proposal for seismic blasting in the Otway basin. OCEAN - and a number of other groups who make up the Save Southern Sea Country Alliance- are continuing to oppose new gas projects in the Otway basin. 


Health Care

In Canberra last week I made a statement on prescription medication to the House, urging the current government to take action to reduce medication costs and alleviate pressure on general practitioners.


In 2018, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Committee identified 143 medicines that could be prescribed safely for up to 2 months at a time, for a maximum of 12 months, with one prescription. Despite support from several peak bodies, the last government did not implement this change. I've urged the Albanese government to adopt these changes to the PBS in the forthcoming Budget.  This, and my other comments regarding increasing out-of-pocket healthcare costs and the difficulty accessing paying for GP services, generated a lot of media interest. I was interviewed by ABC Radio Sydney and Melbourne about the issue, as well as making an appearance on Channel Ten’s The Project.


Also last week the Australian Parliamentary Cross-Party Group on Population and Development (APGPD) met with Dr Alvaro Bermejo, the Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. This is the world’s leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) organisation. I'm co-chair of the APGPD, which focuses on breaking down gender discrimination, and advocacy for universal SRHR via Australia’s foreign policy engagement. 

In my ongoing support for the work of CleftPalsVic, I spoke about legislative changes to the Health Insurance Amendment (Prescribed Dental Patients And Other Measures) Bill 2023. these changes will improve access to treatment for adults with cleft and other craniofacial conditions. I also spoke about the importance of better multidisciplinary care, including appropriate allied health support, in order to ensure optimal medical, dental, orthopedic, and speech outcomes for these individuals.  You can watch my speech in full here.

I made a statement in the House of Representatives, speaking to the issue of all Australians’ right to safe, high-quality health care, and the current barrier to this right for vulnerable Australians due to all COVID19 mitigation measures being dropped in healthcare settings. The mortality rate of hospital-acquired COVID is unacceptably high. I urged the government to review its public health measures in respect to COVID19. 


Last week, as a member of the Joint Standing Committee of the NDIS, I was proud to see its first interim report tabled. There is still a lot of work to do improving culture and capacity of the scheme. This report represents an excellent start to the process. 


Last week I co-chaired a meeting of the Parliamentary Friends of Cystic Fibrosis. We were advocating for government funding for Trikafta, a life-altering drug for children with Cystic Fibrosis. It was fantastic to see funding come through today, and a testament to the effectiveness of support groups working with parliamentarians.

I undertook more work in the healthcare space, receiving briefings from the Health Service Union regarding staffing limits in the NDIS, and from the Australian Medical Association. I also attended a crossbench meeting on how we can deal with our communities' concerns regarding the marketing of vaping, gambling, alcohol and junk food products to children. 


Indigenous Affairs and the Voice to Parliament

With the referendum only a few months away, there is still much work to do. If you would like to join the Kooyong Says Yes campaign team, please sign up online

Let's see how far we can spread the message of Kooyong's support for the Voice. From Kooyong...

To Canberra...        

....and Iceland... and beyond! 

If you would like to support the campaign through the purchase of a T-shirt, you can order one online here. We're also keen to receive photos of the Kooyong Voice T-shirt on its travels! 


I’m now back in Kooyong for a month before Parliament resumes and am looking forward to meeting with you in the electorate and hearing what matters to you. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you need any assistance from me or my team.

Out and about last week in Kooyong (and surrounds)

Last Saturday, I took part in the Cancer Council’s Relay For Life event in Hawthorn and attended the Deepdene Tennis Club’s Centenary ceremony.


The following day I attended the Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees in Melbourne, calling on the government to grant permanent visas for all refugees, work rights and income support for all asylum seekers, and an end to offshore processing. I thanked the many groups, including the  Grandmothers For Refugees, who have worked tirelessly for many years o fight for the rights and dignity of refugees and asylum seekers. I call on the Government to allow these inspiring Grandmothers to retire.

This week, I’ve joined local MPs, Councillors and partners for the launch of the Gardiners Creek (KooyongKoot) Regional Collaboration, an alliance of organisations and groups working together to protect and enhance the Gardiners Creek catchment. 

During the week I also attended the Chief Executive Womens’ fundraiser, which is held as part of their advocacy work towards removing the barriers to women’s progression through advocacy, targeted programs and scholarships, which included an inspiring speech by CEW President, Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz.


I was thrilled to receive this letter from Tony Burke MP on Monday confirming the government's ongoing funding for Trove. Many of you have written and spoke to me about this and I've advocated strongly on this issue over the last few months to ensure that this much-loved and valuable resource remains available to all Australians.


I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy Easter, Passover or simply just a great long weekend! I hope that you and your near and dear are able to enjoy a break at this time. For those working through the break, thank you for the sacrifices you make to keep healthcare and the economy running.


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