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We Need Empathy And Generosity From Our Leaders

There's space to support everyone in this wonderful, multicultural mosiac of a country.

I’ve now returned from a challenging week in Parliament.

It’s a sad time, and one of heightened emotions. Events in Canberra reflected the increased tensions locally and globally — and highlighted the importance of us holding together and supporting all parts of our community.

On Wednesday, the Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton, set an unfortunate tone by repeatedly accusing Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of ignoring antisemitism. I felt those accusations were unwarranted — as did my crossbench colleagues, and much of the media.

I was proud to contribute to a debate alongside my crossbench colleagues on Thursday in response to Mr Dutton’s speech. All speakers in that session — those from the government and those from the crossbench — called for greater social cohesion.

One by one, we stood and spoke to the strength of Australia’s multiculturalism, the importance of all religions and races in contributing to our society, and the need for calm, collected leadership from our politicians.

There is no room for antisemitism or Islamophobia in Australia, but both have been expressed in the streets of this country in recent weeks. Last weekend’s events in Caulfield and Sydney have heightened tensions and uncertainties. This has been a shock to many of us. Communities are divided. People feel unsafe. Social cohesion is at a record low.

We need our leaders to take us forward with empathy and generosity — to hold us together and remind us of our shared values. The language that we use matters. We need respectful, measured leadership, not to foment anger and division.

We must seek to unite our communities and support all people in this wonderful, multicultural mosaic of a country.

It was a shame the week ended as it did, after it began in such high spirits.

The #CleanUpPoliticsAct is a sorely-needed piece of integrity reform that will curb the power of vested interests, increase transparency, and help us hold the major parties to account. In less than a week, we already have an incredible 4,000 petition signatures.

Australia’s peak integrity bodies have supported the #CleanUpPoliticsAct, as have my crossbench colleagues. Independents have a proud history of forcing the major parties to act on integrity policies like these even when they initially don’t want to, and I’m ready to keep pushing this every day until it passes.

For that to happen, we need to show the major parties the community wants this.

I will continue to use both my words and actions in Parliament to raise the standard wherever I can. When my community and I believe the major parties have not acted with integrity, I will call it out. That’s what you elected me to do. I look forward to working with you all on this important contribution.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend and the new week ahead. I’ll be on the road for Health committee meetings for much of next week, but you can look out for me on Q+A on Monday night!

All the best,

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