Next week the 47th Parliament will hold its first sitting and I will have the honour of being sworn in as your new Member for Kooyong.
My ‘first speech’ has been scheduled for Thursday 28 July, with an indicative time slot of 10:30 am to 1 pm.
You will be able to watch the speech live on Parliament House TV by clicking this link or by going to the ‘News and Events’ section of the Australian Parliament House website.
If you are keen to go to Canberra for this historic moment, please fill in this form so that we can advise the Serjeant-At-Arms of the expected numbers.
Please note that you will be required to make your own travel and accommodation arrangements.
Labor’s Climate Change Bill
The Albanese government intends to take its new climate change bill to Parliament next week. The Climate Change and Energy Minister, Chris Bowen, has consulted with the members of the crossbench and I have provided some initial feedback on the bill, including the need for:
- a preamble which states that we face a climate emergency which requires urgent and immediate action and commits the Australian government to action consistent with the Paris Agreement objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius
- the articulation of the 43% emissions reduction target for 2030 as a floor, not a ceiling
- a ratcheting mechanism to lock in reductions and to ensure that future targets can only be more ambitious over time.
I will support the bill but this is only the beginning point of my legislative agenda for urgent climate action. In keeping with my campaign pledge to the Kooyong community, I remain strongly committed to introducing legislation on vehicle emissions, which would have a significant impact on reducing emissions from the transport sector. Legislating fuel efficiency and emissions standards is a crucial measure that will ensure that Australia achieves emissions reductions much greater than 43% by 2030.
The State of the Environment Report, released this week by Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, is deeply alarming. Climate change is affecting every aspect of our environment, with extreme weather events, increased fire risk, rising sea levels and changing rainfall patterns. The number one concern of our Kooyong community is climate change – with good reason. The science is clear that we should not support the opening of new gas fields and coal mines.
The government’s climate bill is just the beginning. There is much more work to do. I will be back in touch with regular updates and information on how you can all be involved in seeking climate change action consistent with the scientific expert advice. Next month we will commence a range of regular community consultation activities, including town hall style events and advisory groups, to ensure that the Kooyong community can have its say in informing my vote on important legislation.
News From The Electorate Office
I continue to be impressed by how well our team has moved from campaign mode to serving our constituency. In just three weeks, our office has already responded to more than 250 requests for assistance from constituents, and more than 250 invitations for community events, meetings and expert briefings.
I’ve been meeting with people from across the Kooyong community – individual constituents, local advocacy groups and community organisations. We’ve instituted a monthly meeting with the Boroondara Mayor and CEO, and I attended a very happy and moving Citizenship Ceremony at Whitehorse Council. I’ve caught up with most of our ‘neighbouring’ MPs – Kooyong has five contiguous federal electorates, with MPs from the ALP, Liberal and Greens parties.
It was also a thrill to meet NZ Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, at a recent event in Melbourne.
We also have some fond farewells and happy arrivals to share with you. This week we say good-bye to Ann Capling, who led my campaign team and who stayed on to oversee the transition. Ann will be taking a much-deserved break to visit her family in Canada but we hope that, on her return, she’ll remain an invaluable member of Team Mon, providing policy advice, assisting with newsletters, and remaining the font of political wisdom and experience which she has been during the last eight months.
Mon and Ann, waiting for the draw of the ballot, 22 April (above).
I am delighted to announce the appointment of Sally Rugg as my new Chief of Staff. Sally has come to us from her current role as National Director of Australians for a Murdoch Royal Commission. She was previously Executive Director of Change.org Australia and has extensive experience as a political strategist supporting national campaigns including Home to Bilo, marriage equality, safety for women at Parliament House, ABC funding, the royal commission into veterans suicide, and local council climate emergency declarations. In addition, Sally has good relations with members of the major parties on both sides of the chamber.
Sally is an outstanding all-rounder with excellent leadership experience, a proven track record of effective policy advocacy, and high level strategic communications skills. We are thrilled to welcome her to Team Mon.
As you all know, the success of Monique’s campaign depended so much on the work of our amazing 2000 volunteers. At the bottom of this newsletter, we share feedback from our volunteers about their experiences.
And next month, we will have some exciting news about our new volunteer program. There will be plenty of opportunities to volunteer in the electorate and parliamentary offices, working alongside Monique and her team, in a wide variety of interesting and fun roles!
Taking Care Of Each Other
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, with a surge in new cases, reinfections and hospital admissions associated with the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants.
Last week, we reinstated masks indoors for my workplaces in Kooyong and Canberra, for situations where staff members, volunteers and visitors cannot maintain social distancing. It’s a small gesture with a big public health impact.
To protect yourself, your family, colleagues and community, please make sure you are up to date with your vaccinations, wear a good quality face mask in indoor and crowded settings, and get a COVID-19 test if you are feeling unwell.
Thank you all for your ongoing support, and stay well.
Volunteer Survey Results
Thank you to everyone who participated in our volunteer survey. We received nearly 350 responses and have been genuinely moved by the thought and care you put into your written feedback. Your responses are invaluable in shaping our ongoing volunteer involvement (and Monique’s re-election campaign in 2025!).
Satisfaction with your volunteer experience: an eye-popping majority (99%) were satisfied with their experience with Monique’s campaign, with 89% very satisfied and 10% satisfied.
In your written responses, so many of you spoke of the ‘warmth’, ‘enthusiasm’, ‘inclusiveness’, ‘diversity’,‘camaraderie’, ‘positivity’ and ‘fun’ of the campaign. This is a testament to the power of community, the huge attraction of ‘doing politics differently’, and to the values and motivations of our brilliant volunteers.
You praised the ‘flat structures/lack of hierarchy’, ‘excellent communications’, and the ‘professionalism’ of the campaign team – not bad for a band of rank amateurs!
We also received some useful feedback about things we can do better next time round, including more debriefing after activities such as door-knocking and flyer stalls, and more assistance with technology.
Some of you were disappointed that the volunteer activities did not continue on in the weeks after the election. We understand that disappointment and we felt it too. To be honest, the campaign team was absolutely exhausted in the days immediately after the campaign. And then we found ourselves on an extremely steep learning curve all over again, in relation to establishing the electorate and parliamentary offices. When you are an Independent and not part of a political party machine, there is no one to tell you what to do and how to do it. It’s only now that we have set up the offices, recruited staff, and learned the ropes that we are ready and able to re-engage Team Mon.
Valued as a volunteer: a huge majority (91%) felt valued as a volunteer, with 50% feeling extremely valued, and 41% feeling very valued.
And a whopping 93% of you said that you would definitely volunteer for Monique again!
Engagement with campaign/community: again, almost everyone (99%) felt engaged with the campaign and the Kooyong community, with 48% extremely engaged, 40% very engaged, and 11% somewhat engaged.
Future engagement in the electorate: our volunteers are also very keen to remain actively involved in the electorate through focus groups (76%), Town Hall meetings (72%), community events (72%), advisory groups (60%) and social activities (57%).
As our volunteer and community action plans take shape, we will be in touch with you soon about opportunities to be involved.
Save the date – Tree Planting to Support the Environment
One of our first social events will be a day trip to Avenel to plant native trees to support biodiversity on land previously cleared for grazing. In addition to capturing carbon emissions, the trees will help restore habitat for the critically-endangered Southern Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby and other native wildlife.
Date: Saturday 10 September
Location: Near Avenel, approximately 1 hour 40 mins drive north of Melbourne
Places will be limited and registrations will open soon!