Visit to Tasmanian Distillery

Just visited the fantastic Old Kempton Distillery – one of 40 distilleries in Tasmania. Tasmanian whisky is gaining a global reputation for its quality and is attracting new visitors to our state. This is great for our regional economy. Old Kempton Distillery on its own employs 16 locals.

Thanks to James and the crew for their hospitality. If you’re a fan of whisky (or other spirits) and you’re traveling down the Midland Highway why not drop in and pay them a visit? And if you’re not a fan of whisky the scones and coffee are pretty good too.

Senate Committees

Committee work is a big part of the job of a Senator. These are the three public hearings I have participated in this week – all for different inquiries.

This work is not highly visible to the public, but the process of inviting submissions, speaking to witnesses and using that evidence to draw conclusions and make recommendations can have a huge impact on public policy.

Public hearings are an example of Parliament at its best, even if they don’t receive the media coverage of the combative exchanges and theatre of question time.

I would strongly encourage any member of the public who is interested in the topic of a particular inquiry to follow the public hearings. Sound recordings are taken of all proceedings and some are also video-recorded. These can be watched/listened to live online at or if you miss a live broadcast you can watch the recording later.

The Brisbane public hearing of the Stillbirth Research and Education inquiry is live now.

Childhood Educators Fight for Fair Pay

Early childhood educators walked off the job today and rallied for equal pay. Workers in early childhood education, a female-dominated industry, receive around 30% less pay than male dominated industries with similar skills.

As a former early childhood educator, former union official and now a Senator I have campaigned for better pay and conditions for early childhood educators for about thirty years.

I congratulate United Voice for continuing the fight for equal pay with this campaign. A Labor Government will make sure our industrial relations system has the power to fix the pay gap and ensure women are able to participate in the workforce on equal terms with men.

Meeting with RESULTS AU

While Tuberculosis (TB) infections are at low levels in Australia, around 10.4 million people are still diagnosed with the disease worldwide each year.

Tragically, 200 people die every hour from TB around the world. That’s one every 18 seconds.

These deaths are avoidable and unacceptable.

We need to invest in preventing and treating TB, and this is the time to do so.

Better research and treatment options need to become available, particularly for those with drug resistant TB which need to take up to 14,600 toxic pills over 18 months to successfully treat the disease. If you laid these pills end to end they will stretch to almost twice the height of the Sydney Harbour bridge.

It was great to meet with members of @RESULTSAU who are working to eradicate TB and poverty more generally.

Congratulations Justine Keay!

Congratulations Justine Keay – Labor Candidate for Braddon on your victory!

Braddon voters sent the Turnbull Government a clear message that they want more funding for schools and hospitals not a tax cut for the big banks. It was also an endorsement of Justine’s hard work in standing up for, supporting and representing her constituents.

I look forward to seeing Justine back in Parliament again as the Member for Braddon.

Walk4BrainCancer Tasmania 2018

It’s on again!

The 5th annual Walk4BrainCancer Tasmania will start at Dru Point Bicentennial Park at midday on Sunday, 4 November 2018.

Get your walking shoes on for an inspirational 2km walk along the shores of North West Bay and raise vital funds for Cure Brain Cancer.

There will be merchandise for sale, musical entertainment, a sausage sizzle and a raffle.

Register online at…/129/w4bc-tasmania-2018 and encourage your friends and family to sponsor you. Every dollar counts!

Help us to improve the survival rates of a disease which kills more Australian children than any other.

ADJOURNMENT;EX-MED Cancer – 20 Jun 2018

Senator BILYK (Tasmania) (19:41): As many in this place know, I’m a passionate advocate for cancer patients and their families. We need to find better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancers of all kinds. I want to speak tonight just quickly about EX-MED Cancer, a best-practice exercise program for people with cancer.

As you can imagine, cancer has a serious impact on the health and wellbeing of cancer patients. The impacts include fatigue, cognitive impairment, accelerated bone loss, incontinence, dysfunction of other sorts and many others. For example, I personally have developed a bit of a hearing disability since my brain cancers. Years of scientific research has established that exercise is an invaluable medicine in the management of cancer, and evidence shows that exercise helps cancer patients counteract their cancer related fatigue and tolerate their treatments. Exercise minimises functional impairments, relieves stress and mental distress and is safe during and after treatment. Continue reading

Today, on World TAFE Day, I reiterate my pledge…

Today, on World TAFE Day, I reiterate my pledge to support the AEU‘s Stop TAFE Cuts Campaign.

A Shorten Labor Government will:
– Guarantee two out of three public vocational education dollars go to TAFE.
– Waive upfront fees for 100,000 students to attend TAFE.
– Invest $100 million in modernising TAFE facilities around the country.
– Ensure one in every ten jobs on Commonwealth priority projects are filled by Australian apprentices.
– Provide 10,000 pre-apprentice programs for young people who want to learn a trade.
– Provide 20,000 adult apprentice programs for older workers who want or need to retrain.
– Establish a National Commission of Review into Post-secondary education within the first 100 days of government.