Australian Reading Hour 2019

I was delighted to join Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writers for the launch of Australian Reading Hour 2019.

This Thursday, Australians are encouraged to stop what they are doing and read a book for one hour. Research shows that reading is highly effective at reducing stress in adults, and as a former early childhood educator I am well aware of the enormous benefits it has for learning in children. Reading can develop not only language but self-awareness, reasoning, empathy and imagination.

There are many ways to join in: at home, the local library, or your favourite café or bookshop. Get together with a group of friends or colleagues or give your children an extra-long bedtime story.

And if you don’t have a book to read, why not drop by your local bookstore and pick up one of the limited edition Reading Hour books for only $2.99?

Soul Harvest Gospel Choir

I had an opportunity to listen to the Soul Harvest Gospel Choir Vanuatu singing in Parliament House today.

They have been in Australia for several weeks, performing at the Desert Song Festival in Central Australia.

Exchanges of arts and culture like this brings nations together.

It was quite uplifting to hear the combination of songs written specifically about Australia and Vanuatu’s relationship as well as traditional Vanuatu songs.

Today I met with four of UNICEF Australia’s Young Ambassadors – Ash, Lachlan, Steve and Indi.

They’ve spent the last year talking face-to-face to 1,500 young Australians to find out their concerns.

These young Australians have a real passion for shaping the future of Australia and it was fascinating to listen to their experiences.

From their research, they’ve produced the 2019 Young Ambassador Report.

The report outlines 5 key areas of concern young people raised with them: Wellbeing; Safety; Learning; Equality; and The Environment.

If you would like to find out more, you can read a copy of the report here:…/A-Climate-for-Change-Young-Amba…

R U OK Day – Mates in Construction

This R U OK Day I was pleased to show my support for MATES in Construction.

In Australia around 190 people working in the construction industry take their own lives-that’s one every two days.
Construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than an accident at work.

This organisation is seeking to reduce the high rates of suicide in the building and construction industries.

More information on MATES is available here:

St James Catholic College visited Parliament House

One of the nicest parts of being a Senator is talking to students from local Tasmanian schools that visit Parliament House.

Today Year 6 students from St James Catholic College visited Parliament House as part of their trip to the capital. They’ve already visit Questacon, the War Memorial and the Australian Institute of Sport amongst other places.

It is wonderful to speak to young people eager to learn more about how our political system works.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your time in Canberra before the long trip home.

Warrane Mornington Neighbourhood Centre

Just visited the Warrane Mornington Neighbourhood Centre’s community garden to check on the fruit trees that I and various other sponsors have helped to purchase. Pleased to also meet the garden’s friendly co-ordinator Leah and some of the garden’s volunteers.

The community garden is not just a great way to promote healthy eating and provide food security to local residents – it is also helping the prisoners who volunteer here to gain valuable work skills which will assist them in securing employment on release.

Tasmanian Royal Flying Doctor Service

When we think about the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS), we often think of red dirt and blue skies in the outback.

However, the RFDS has been operating in Tasmania for almost 60 years! And while they make more than 1,200 flights per year between airstrips on King, Flinders and Cape Barren Islands, Queenstown, Wynyard, Burnie, Devonport, Smithton, St Helens, Launceston, Hobart and Melbourne, they also offer a range of ground based services to communities across regional Tasmania.

It was lovely to meet today with John Kirwan, the CEO of the RFDS Tasmania and hear about their emergency and primary health services as well as their award-winning dental outreach program and their mental and physical health programmes that are all provided free of charge.

To find out more about their services, or to make a donation to this fantastic cause, please visit their website.

Aging Wonderfully Well Expo

It was fantastic to attend the Ageing Wonderfully Well Expo at the Kingborough Hub today. There was a wide range of stallholders providing important information to help ageing Tasmanian’s get the best out of life. Thanks to Dementia Friendly Tasmania Inc. for hosting this event!

Palliative Care Tasmania

It was wonderful to catch up again with Colleen Johnstone from Palliative Care Tasmania for an update on the work they are doing, and to meet Rahme, who is doing her student prac placement with the organisation.

As the peak body for palliative care in Tasmania, PCT is doing excellent work educating service providers, carers, volunteers and the community about hospice, palliative care, death, dying, grief and bereavement while running a number of other palliative care projects.

Throughout 2016 and 2017 I lobbied successfully to save PCT when they were at risk of being defunded. I am looking forward to working with them to ensure they have a sustainable future and that their excellent work with the palliative care sector, and the wider community, can continue.