Speeches to Parliament

First speech to Parliament

The Fraser electorate reflects Australia’s multicultural tradition at its best
August 1, 2019
I have the great honour of being the first member for the new seat of Fraser… Fraser reflects Australia’s multicultural tradition at its best. On Harmony Day earlier this year, I visited a primary school in Sunshine West, with an enrolment of fewer than 200 students, displaying flags from 45 countries, all represented among the student body.

Speeches by topic

Local issues
Climate change
Consumer protection
Social services
The economy
Government services

Local issues

2024 Australia Day honours
14 February, 2024
I congratulate Professor Emerita Cynthia Mitchell, AO, for distinguished service to the environment; and the Reverend Canon Professor Dorothy Lee, AM, for significant service to the Anglican Church of Australia.

Sylvie Wendt – 100th birthday celebrations
December 12, 2023
A true westie, Silvia has spent 96 of her 100 years in Melbourne’s west. She is an avid user of Facebook and FaceTime and uses both to keep in touch with family and relatives overseas.

Lunar New Year
December 12, 2023
For the past month I’ve been celebrating Lunar New Year in all corners of my electorate. The main streets of St Albans, Footscray and Sunshine have been bustling with people enjoying the celebrations, music, rides, family activities and delicious Vietnamese food.

Casa Bonita – Lilian Bravo
November 30, 2023
Casa Bonita is a social enterprise and women’s empowerment hub; a storefront that allows Latin American and Indigenous artisans to sell their products locally; and it holds socially conscious events.

Jacob Thang – Chin Myanmar Community Care
November 28, 2023
Since arriving in Melbourne 11 years ago without speaking a word of English, Jacob has worked tirelessly to support the Chin community in Melbourne’s west and his community in Myanmar.

100 Story Building – Susan Kukucka
November 28, 2023
100 Story Building partners with schools in Melbourne’s west to create story hubs, imaginative spaces where students can take creative risks and teachers can support this creativity, building students’ literacy skills and confidence. 

Victorian Senior of the Year Awards
November 13, 2023
Congratulations Lesley Twidle, who has served as secretary of the Sunshine RSL for more than 16 years, and was recognised with a COTA award.

Youth Voice in Parliament week
November 13, 2023
It is a great opportunity to hear from Australian youth about the issues that are important to them. Thank you to Raise Our Voice Australia, which has created the opportunity for these strong and passionate voices to be heard and amplified.

Congratulations to VMA’s Tammy Nguyen
October 18, 2023
Tammy Nguyen was named Volunteer of the Year at the Victorian Museum and Galleries Awards for her tireless work on the Vietnamese Museum of Australia.

Thank you, Voice volunteers
September 13, 2023
The rates of volunteering may be in decline but in the past few months in Fraser I have seen an extraordinary turnout of people who are committed to seeing the ‘yes’ vote triumph in the referendum to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. 

West Welcome Wagon
September 11, 2023
West Welcome Wagon, helps refugees and asylum seekers rebuild their lives by providing everything needed to create a home, has 700 families on its books and provides each family support for a two-year period. Since 2013 the charity has supported 2,100 families.

Furlong Park School for Deaf Children
August 10, 2023
Furlong Park, which runs an early education program for three- to four-year-olds who have a permanent bilateral hearing loss, and a program for prep to year 6, was awarded a $25,000 grant by the Albanese government to upgrade its ICT equipment.

Books ‘n’ Boots
August 8, 2023
This not-for-profit has, for the past seven years, been collecting preloved children’s books and football boots and sending them to First Nations communities and schools all around the country. Co-founded by John Harding and Tara Newen, Books ‘n’Boots’ vision is to close the health and literacy gap one book at a time.

Footscray’s Foley House: a place to call home
May 25, 2023
After years of long-term homelessness, addiction issues and poor health, 45 men have a safe and welcoming place to call home thanks to the Salvos.

Volunteers of Fraser awards: Thank you to all volunteers
May 22, 2023
Without volunteers, festivals, social events, sports, food banks and more simply would not happen. Thank you again to all the volunteers for Fraser and to the community more broadly.

Footscray’s Community Bike Hub: a great story
May 11, 2023
More than 660 bicycles donated, and more than 1,300 bikes saved from going to landfill. And now a Bike Academy program – a two-week workshop – for all Year 9 students at Footscray High. The practical experience fosters interest in STEM subjects and a career in a trade.

Social enterprises: doing good work in Fraser
March 30, 2023
SalamaTea, Green Collect, 100 Story Building. Just some of the thriving social enterprises in my electorate. 

The Polish Rats of Tobruk: a remarkable migration story
March 30, 2023
For eight months in 1941 the Polish Independent Carpathian Brigade helped the Allies hold the port of Tobruk. In 1947-1948, 1500 Polish soldiers migrated to Australia, the first coordinated intake of non-British migrants

Footscray Community Arts: a trailblazer in so many ways
March 22, 2023
The first community arts centre of its kind, it remains the only mainstream arts organisation signed up as a registered provider with the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Maltese community: hardworking and hospitable
March 8, 2023
Close-knit communities of Sunshine and St Albans have been known as ‘Little Malta’ since the 1960s.

Bardee: a home-grown success story
March 7, 2023
It’s start-up that ticks so many boxes: a win for the environment, a win for farmers, a win for high-skilled jobs and a win for women in leadership roles. The agtech company based in Sunshine is tackling the wicked problem of food waste

Congratulations to Fraser’s 2023 Order of Australia recipients
February 7, 2023
Underpinning the longstanding community service are personal stories of resilience, generosity and determination. Many of those honoured are from migrant communities who have repaid many times over the faith that Australia invested in them decades ago.

Katy Barfield, OAM, is tackling food waste through technology
February 6, 2023
Ms Barfield founded the social enterprise Yume, which tackles food waste. Yume is a financial win for food manufacturers; a win for the environment; and, importantly, an obvious win for the community.

First Albanese government’s budget delivers for Fraser
November 7, 2022
The budget has delivered significant wins – $1.5 million for Fronditha Care in St Albans; $100,000 for upgrades at the Quang Minh Buddhist temple; a community battery in Brimbank; and construction of the Vietnamese Museum of Australia.

Community’s resilience in the face of devastating floods
November 7, 2022
It was a confronting experience walking the streets of Maribyrnong, seeing street after street of furniture and people’s possessions out on their front lawns; of the family rescued by helicopter from the roof of their house.

The sad passing of Pater Haffenden
October 27, 2022
Peter was a true polymath, with achievements in photography, journalism, history and museology. The Living Museum is just one of his many achievements.

The newest Daughters of the West
September 26, 2022
The dedicated staff and volunteers of the East African Women’s Foundation, under the leadership of Fartun Farah, have provided amazing support for the women of Fraser for more than 15 years.

On the enormous contribution of migrants
September 5, 2022
On the way back to the office, I stopped at the local shopping strip to buy banh mis for the office, which has become a weekly tradition. As we tucked into the delicious lunch, I was reminded yet again of the enormous contribution of migrants and how they have enriched the lives of all of us.

The trailblazing arts community
September 5, 2022
The arts community in Melbourne’s west is synonymous with the diversity and vibrancy of our multicultural nation. With their strong links between creativity, social justice and inclusion, the arts community are trailblazers. 

Paying tribute to volunteers and community organisations
August 10, 2022
I would like to pay tribute today to the many volunteers and community organisations that do so much to protect the parks, wetlands, rivers and waterways of Fraser. I’ll single out two, but there are many throughout my electorate. The first is the Friends of Kororoit Creek. The Friends of the Maribyrnong Valley is another.

First museum to focus on the journey and contribution of our Vietnamese community
August 1, 2022
One of the highlights of the campaign for me was the now-government’s commitment of $4.7 million in funding for the Vietnamese Museum Australia.

Acknowledging the sacrifices of frontline workers
February 17, 2022
I want to take this moment to acknowledge the remarkable resilience of the Fraser community throughout this long, multiyear pandemic. I would like to thank Western Health and all the frontline workers involved in confronting the enormous health challenges over the past two years.

Community pulled together to support our young people
November 29, 2021
I want to thank all the school leaders, teachers and students, and their families, across Fraser for doing so much to support our young people in such difficult circumstances. I’m delighted to recognise winners of the Fraser Primary School Leadership Award and the Fraser Young Leaders Award for year 11 students.

Winners of We are Brimbank Awards
November 22, 2021
These awards acknowledge the extraordinary contribution of so many people and organisations to my community. The Friends of the HV McKay Memorial Gardens; the Utsav Melbourne Association; Cafe Sunshine & Salama Tea; Inspire Hope; the Little Litter Project; and the Inclusion Training team. 

Local business are the backbone of our economy
October 25, 2021
Local business groups such as the Sunshine Business Association, the St Albans Traders and Brimbank Council’s business roundtable have been powerful and effective advocates for Fraser’s small businesses throughout the pandemic. I thank them for their leadership. 

An amazing contribution to football
September 2, 2021
Debbie Lee has become the first woman inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame. I want to especially congratulate Debbie and acknowledge her extraordinary contribution to football, especially across Melbourne’s west.

Fraser has much to be hopeful about
August 9, 2021
The Andrews government has delivered when it comes to health in my electorate and its surrounds over the past six years. This includes the brand-new Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital and substantial investment in Sunshine Hospital. It is also building new general hospitals at Footscray and Melton. 

A tribute to the dedication and hard work of the AVWA
May 24, 2021
The Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association assists with the settlement and welfare needs of Vietnamese-speaking refugees and migrants in Victoria.

Climate change

Taking action is a wicked and complicated problem
March 20, 2023
It is a global challenge in which all of our actions affect everybody else. Taking action also represents an opportunity: to improve our environment, invest in new technologies and invest in our long-term quality of life.

Setting up the framework to tackle the massive transition
February 15, 2023
The Albanese government is acting at warp speed compared to the decade under the Coalition.

Coalition is not really committed to action
October 27, 2021
They say their approach is technologically driven… what it really lacks is any kind of detail when it comes to actually leading to that technology being developed, being adopted or being scaled. 

 On the Coalition’s refusal to commit to zero net emissions
June 16, 2021
This (Coalition) government refuses to commit to zero net emissions by mid-century, when every economy in the G7 has done so. We have seen, because of this government’s failures, investment in renewable energy projects collapse by more than 50 per cent in the run-up to the COVID crisis.

All announcement and no delivery
May 12, 2021
This (Coalition) government’s approach to renewable energy is all announcement and no delivery… The Technology Investment Roadmap reminded me of the Holy Roman Empire, which one historian said was neither holy, Roman nor an empire!

Consumer protection

20th anniversary of the ban on asbestos
December 7, 2023
Today we pay tribute to a momentous anniversary – 20 years this month since the total ban on the manufacture, supply, use, re-use, import, transport, storage and sale of all forms of asbestos.

We need to act on mis- and disinformation
September 11, 2023
Misinformation and disinformation have real-world dangers. These include consequences for public health and safety, for social cohesion and for electoral integrity—and, therefore, for democracy itself. 

Genetic discrimination
September 4, 2023
Many countries have banned the use of genetic test results by insurers to determine cover, but not Australia. A key plank of insurance is risk management: investing more in prevention than cure. But what happens to people who are proactive with their health but whose genetic tests results show they carry a breast cancer gene, for example? They may be denied insurance cover or forced to pay much higher premiums. 

Well-regulated consumer markets for credit products are of vital importance
August 1, 2023
Financial advice is critical to people’s long-term welfare. We know that, since 2019, a large number of financial advisers have left the industry, and this has consequences. Schedule 2 of the bill will ensure that consumers continue to have access to quality of advice by removing a significant disincentive for experienced advisers to stay in the profession.

The Coalition’s bill will deny many access to justice
November 24, 2021
The Coalition’s bill will make it so much harder for people to participate in class actions in practice. If we fundamentally weaken class actions in the way … this bill does, we will be denying many people justice in a most profound and egregious way.

The real cost of the Coalition’s lost decade
August 11, 2021
We support this bill (regarding) offshore banking units. … But we are in this bill bringing ourselves back to the situation we were in in 2011… So much of what this government puts forward as reform is simply cleaning up its own mess.

A royal commission the Coalition never wanted
August 4, 2021
This bill expands the role of ASIC’s existing Financial Services and Credit Panel to operate as a single professional disciplinary body for financial advisers, incorporates new penalties for advisers who breach professional obligations and introduces a new two-stage registration process for financial advisers.

The Coalition does not want basic protections put in place
March 15, 2021
This (Coalition) government … has shown over the last two years that it does not want to put into place basic recommendations that the Hayne royal commission made, which are absolutely overdue and which would respond to some absolutely heartbreaking instances of malfeasance, malpractice and abuse of vulnerable people.

Social services

Childcare reform a centrepiece of the government’s agenda
November 28, 2022
Labor has achieved more in six months than the previous government did in a decade. It has legislated key childcare reform and is now responding to the skills and wages challenges.

The importance of the NDIS
November 29, 2021
The NDIS is such an important provider of services to many people who are vulnerable in our community, but in particular to many people who come from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.

The Coalition never wanted a systemic review
August 23, 2021
As a parliament we must take the necessary steps to improve the governance of the NDIS to protect those who are most vulnerable. Right from the start, the government, in responding to the unfortunate circumstances of Ms Smith’s death, never really wanted to undertake a systemic review.

The economy

On artificial intelligence
February 12, 2024
This is an extremely complicated emerging phenomenon. AI has a lot of potential upside and could actually be the next generalised industrial revolution, with the capacity to improve a whole raft of decision-making. But there are potential downsides – around privacy and what does the interpretation of all the data mean for ordinary citizens.

Help to buy – (a home)
November 28, 2023
A home of one’s own provides security and certainty; it is place to raise a family. Tackling the housing issue is complicated and multidimensional. We’ve put in place a number of programs that reflect the challenges under the framework of the National Housing Accord.

Support for small businesses and charities
November 15, 2023
Small business is the engine room of our economy. The major items in this bill relate to easing the tax pressure on small businesses, helping them with cash flow and helping small businesses to electrify and be part of the broader transition to a cleaner future.

Tackling cost of living challenges
February 26, 2024
We’re delivering $23 billion in targeted relief while not adding to inflation. Our cost-of-living package includes a number of measures – wages rising at the fastest rate in a decade, increases in the minimum wage and a significant increase in pay for aged-care workers. 

Closing loopholes, wage theft and casual workers
September 9, 2023
The way to boost productivity in a sophisticated economy is not to worsen people’s conditions; it’s not to make them more insecure. The evidence is clear, and it is the reverse. When people feel more secure, they invest more in highly specialised skills.

Making multinationals pay their fair share of tax
August 8, 2023
Multinational taxation is becoming more of an issue because we’re living in an increasingly globalised world where companies are able to shift their profits to a preferred jurisdiction. This has serious consequences for the ability of countries to maintain taxation at a level that is needed for the provision of services. 

Corporations and Financial Services Joint Committee report into Insolvency
August 1, 2023
Insolvency law is one of the key underpinnings of the economic dynamism of our economy. Australia’s corporate insolvency system is overly complex, difficult to access and creates unnecessary costs and confusion for debtors and creditors.

The aviation industry
July 31, 2023
Flight cancellations and delays are a problem. Their increasing frequency merits very close examination. It is worth examining whether or not slot hoarding is occurring… but we need to dig down into the data and fully understand what’s going on in our network before we jump to any conclusions.

Superannuation is subject to plenty of regulation
February 7, 2023
It is a bit ironic that those opposite huff and puff so sanctimoniously around superannuation when they’ve, basically, over the past 20 years, opposed almost every single increase in the guarantee.

Strong union presence key to job security, living wage
November 29, 2022
I support the continued actions of the SDA and the TWU in representing Amazon workers at all points of the supply chain. It’s time to make Amazon pay what’s fair.

People deserve the opportunities to reach their potential
September 7, 2022
When we talk about fixing the skills shortage and training people, we’re talking about giving people opportunities. There is no bigger issue … than the skills shortage. When the labour market is not working effectively, we aren’t using people’s skills and we aren’t giving people the opportunities they deserve to reach their potential in the best way possible in the workforce and, more broadly, in society.

Cost of living crisis created by the Coalition
July 28, 2022
We are facing a gigantic (cost of living) mess created by those opposite after a decade of inaction, and then they snipe at a government that has undertaken more in two months than they did in a decade.

A lost decade under the Coalition
February 16, 2022
Our living standards have stalled. We are experiencing one of the worst periods of living standard change since the Great Depression … When it comes to things that actually matter for people’s quality of life — their real wages, their security in work and whether they’re getting enough hours — it’s clear that this last decade has been a lost decade.

Unions across the world are seeking to end appalling working conditions
November 25, 2021
I want to highlight the outstanding work being done by the SDA and the TWU and unions across the world which are seeking to end some of the appalling working conditions and unacceptably low wages of many Amazon workers.

The Coalition has no economic plan
October 26, 2021
Listening to the Treasurer in recent weeks, it’s become painfully obvious that this government has absolutely no economic plan and no reform agenda for the Australian economy.

A crisis the Coalition is not heeding
October 25, 2021
This is a workforce crisis that has been evolving over a long period of time and that is not receiving sufficient attention or funding from the Coalition.

Too many people are experiencing poor wages and conditions
October 18, 2021
This bill is a missed opportunity to examine the way legislation and regulation more broadly deals with the gig economy.

The Coalition did not heed the warnings
August 11, 2021
The Prime Minister (Scott Morrison) had two jobs: a robust quarantine system and a rapid vaccine rollout. He has failed at both.

Statistics and yet more meaningless statistics
March 15, 2021
Let’s not get caught up in all of the statistics that this (Coalition) government can cite. It’s only population growth that’s keeping many of our numbers at any respectable level. But population growth … doesn’t put food on the table (or) lead to more dollars in your pocket. Once population growth is stripped away this government’s performance is appalling.

Government services

Investing in Services Australia
November 27, 2023
Services Australia has done so much in recent times to provide support for those experiencing hardship as a result of natural disasters. In 2023-24, this government invested more than $230 million to establish a cost-effective emergency capability. This government is investing in Services Australia so it can do even more after 10 years of being gutted.

The upsides and downsides of the use of data
March 30, 2022
There is a significant potential upside if governments can better use data… But I want to talk explicitly about potential downsides. The use of algorithms is particularly dangerous. It can lead to perverse, unexpected and unintended outcomes. One example is the fracturing of people’s access to media and information — for example, on social media platforms. Another one is algorithms that just get wrong outcomes, and Robodebt is a good example.


Litany of failures by Coalition and Country Liberal NT governments
June 23, 2021
The decision in 2015 to lease the port of Darwin is one of the most significant errors. This is a litany of failure by both the Country Liberal Northern Territory government and the federal Liberal-National coalition government.

The importance of the resources sector
March 22, 2021
The resources sector is … the largest sector of the economy — 10.4 per cent… (with more than) $264 billion in exports. So it should come as no surprise that so many communities around this country rely upon the resources sector for jobs.

Trade diversification a priority
March 17, 2021
Trade diversification (must) become more of a national priority. This is not about weakening our economic relationship with China. This is about a China-plus strategy. It is about … expanding our economic relationships with other major… But what we need is a practical plan for implementing that diversification.


The authentic and vibrant Peta Murphy
December 6, 2023
Peta Murphy inspired all who met her and worked with her, with her passion for the community, for public policy and for advocacy. She was always driven by justice and fairness.

The Voice to Parliament referendum
August 7, 2023
At a community forum on the Voice referendum, we heard from three eloquent speakers. Yorta Yorta man Ian Hamm argued that at its heart, the Voice is about two questions. Should Aboriginal people be able to speak; and should we allow Aboriginal people to speak about the things that are directly about them?

On the death of Her Majesty the Queen
September 23, 2022
I’m a republican, but, regardless of where one stands on that issue, it’s been very noticeable to me how the Queen’s extended service to community resonated across the many different and varied elements of the Fraser community.

A passion for policy
March 3, 2022
I pay tribute today to Kimberley Kitching and to pass on my condolences to her family. Kimberley was a friend and colleague of mine over a long period of time.

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