Men with Heart Exhibition

Last night’s Men with Heart Exhibition featured the stories of men through photography and video. It showed a positive expression of masculinity, and the potential of men to contribute to a safe, strong and resilient community.

It was a pleasure to meet Karadi Aboriginal Corporation’s Mens Program Co-ordinator Michael Paxton, who was featured in the exhibition.

Congratulations to Tasmen- Mens Wellbeing and Project Manager Anthony Burrows on a successful exhibition and thank you for inviting me.

Cuts to Equal Remuneration Orders

Thank you to Lyndon Stevenson from CTST – Community Transport Services Tasmania for coming to visit me to discuss impending cuts to Equal Remuneration Order supplementation.

An Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) can be made to ensure men and women receive equal pay for work of comparable value. In 2012, Fair Work Australia made an ERO in respect of the Social and Community Services award. The Commonwealth, state and territory governments all increased funding to community services to take account of the increased pay rates under the order.

ERO supplementation in Commonwealth grants is due to cease on 1 July 2021. Unless the Government extends this funding, organisations like CTST will be forced to reduce the services that vulnerable Australians rely on.

I asked questions in Senate Estimates about how community services will be impacted by this cut and I am expecting detailed answers to be provided on notice.

International Womens Day

Today is International Women’s Day with the theme “An equal world is an enabled world”. This means gender equality is an issue for everyone, because it helps economies and communities thrive to the benefit of all.

In Australia we still have a long way to go to achieve gender equality. For example, the gender pay gap remains close to 14% and women are disproportionately the victims of domestic and family violence.

It is up to everyone to do what they can to achieve a gender equal world – to fight bias, challenge stereotypes, celebrate women’s achievements and actively work towards equality.

Seafood Industry Australia Pledge

Tonight Senator Carol Brown and I signed the pledge committing to putting the best Australian seafood on our table.

It is important we do this in a way that actively cares for Australia’s oceans and environment and work with others to do the same.

Happy Birthday Medicare

On 1 February 1984, Prime Minister Bob Hawke introduced Medicare, providing basic health care for all Australians.

The Liberals never truly supported Medicare, and it has been under attack by successive Liberal governments. As a result of the current Federal Government’s cuts to health the cost of seeing GPs and specialists has skyrocketed across the country, and so have emergency department and elective surgery waiting times.

Labor created Medicare. We have fought to protect it for the past 36 years and we will continue to do so.

Happy birthday, Medicare.

Australia Day 2020

Every year on Australia Day I like to spend the day acknowledging and celebrating what is great about our country.

This morning I attended Kingborough Council’s citizenship ceremony where I had the honour of reading the oath affirmation and Minister’s message. It gives me a great sense of pride that so many migrants choose to call Australia home, and that in doing so they contribute so much to our already rich cultural diversity.

The rest of the day was spent at A Day on the Beach, Kingston Beach where I held a stall, had great conversations about local issues and judged the sandcastle competition with Alison Standen MP and Helen from First National Real Estate Hobart & Kingston. I am proud to have served as Patron of this event for about 10 years now. A Day on the Beach is a fitting celebration of sport, the community and the Australian way of life and I am pleased to see its continued success.

I wish everyone a happy Australia Day!

With Ukrainian Greetings, a history of the Ukranian Community in Tasmania

Last night I had the honour of launching a new historical publication on the Association of Ukrainians in Tasmania. The coffee table book “With Ukrainian Greetings, a history of the Ukranian Community in Tasmania” is a magnificent celebration of Ukrainian culture.

The launch was a culmination of over 18 months of research, capturing stories and memories, translating, writing and reviewing by a dedicated team of volunteers very ably lead by Association President, Marina Ladaniwskyj.

“With Ukrainian Greetings” captures the history of settlement in Tasmania of a wave of Ukrainian individuals and families displaced by WWII. It’s the story of how these refugees through courage, hard work and determination for a better life, especially for their children, created a new identity and sense of belonging in a country that was peaceful and free, as Australians who were Ukrainian.

The Zahrava Ukrainian Youth Dance Ensemble provided the colour and movement at the launch with a wonderful display of Ukrainian song and dance, while the Association’s own choir sang beautiful traditional Ukrainian songs.

I am humbled by the very warm welcome given to me by all members of the Ukrainian community present last night, a night that will live long in my memory, not only because of the terrific entertainment, but because of the connection, the love and the warmth that community members clearly show for each other.

Shchyro dyakuyu to all involved.

Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum Canberra 2020

The Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) brings together national parliamentarians from across the Asia-Pacific region to encourage and promote regional co-operation on matters of common concern to member countries.

The 28th meeting of the APPF is being held this year at our own National Parliament in Canberra (Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum Canberra 2020).

As part of the Australian delegation, I was pleased to address the conference in support of Australia’s resolution on promoting cultural diversity and tourism.

I have enjoyed meeting other delegates from across the Asia-Pacific, discussing our shared interests, concerns and aspirations for the region, and helping further develop inter-country relations.

Supporting Local Youth Leader

In this job I get many requests for support from community groups and individuals. While I support as many as I can, there are some requests which stand out as being very worthy of support.

Toby’s was one of these.

He’s a volunteer lifesaver, a Scouts Medallion winner, and he’s been selected to be a mentor on the STV Windeward Bound’s upcoming Youth Leadership Challenge.

Over a ten-day voyage he will help mentor 20 young people from diverse backgrounds, including recently settled refugees, to promote inclusiveness, community and understanding.

I was very pleased to be able to present him with a donation to help him reach his fundraising goal of $2,000. I wish him all the best with this exciting journey.