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- Start of Business
- RUDD GOVERNMENT
- HORSE DISEASE RESPONSE LEVY BILL 2008
- HORSE DISEASE RESPONSE LEVY COLLECTION BILL 2008
- HORSE DISEASE RESPONSE LEVY (CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS) BILL 2008
- FAMILIES, HOUSING, COMMUNITY SERVICES AND INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND OTHER LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (EMERGENCY RESPONSE CONSOLIDATION) BILL 2008
- INFRASTRUCTURE AUSTRALIA BILL 2008
- TRADEX SCHEME AMENDMENT BILL 2008
- GOVERNOR-GENERAL’S SPEECH
- TAX LAWS AMENDMENT (2008 MEASURES NO. 1) BILL 2008
- INDIGENOUS EDUCATION (TARGETED ASSISTANCE) AMENDMENT (2008 MEASURES NO. 1) BILL 2008
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Nelson, Dr Brendan, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
(Cheeseman, Darren, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
(Turnbull, Malcolm, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Neumann, Shayne, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Keenan, Michael, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Sullivan, Jon, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
Murray-Darling River System
(Stone, Dr Sharman, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
Australia-United States Alliance
(Neal, Belinda, MP, Smith, Stephen, MP)
(Hockey, Joe, MP, Roxon, Nicola, MP)
(Jackson, Sharryn, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
Vocational Education and Training
(Southcott, Dr Andrew, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
Regional Partnerships Program
(Marles, Richard, MP, Albanese, Anthony, MP)
Mr Brian Burke
(Pyne, Chris, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
(Irwin, Julia, MP, Tanner, Lindsay, MP)
Australian Labor Party
(Morrison, Scott, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
(Gibbons, Steve, MP, Bowen, Chris, MP)
Australian Labor Party
(Hockey, Joe, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
(Hale, Damian, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
(Ley, Sussan, MP, Plibersek, Tanya, MP)
(Ellis, Annette, MP, Elliot, Justine, MP)
(May, Margaret, MP, Elliot, Justine, MP)
New South Wales and Queensland Floods
(Bidgood, James, MP, McClelland, Robert, MP)
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE: ADDITIONAL ANSWERS
- QUESTIONS TO THE SPEAKER
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- QUESTIONS TO THE SPEAKER
- AUDITOR-GENERAL’S REPORTS
- MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- QUESTIONS TO THE SPEAKER
- Start of Business
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
- Sturt Electorate: Glenside Hospital
- Sustainable Living Challenge
- Climate Change
- Parliamentarians’ Entitlements
- Lunar New Year
- Climate Change
- Hervey Bay
- New South Wales Health
- THERAPEUTIC GOODS AMENDMENT (POISONS STANDARD) BILL 2008
- TRADE PRACTICES AMENDMENT (ACCESS DECLARATIONS) BILL 2008
- Mr Peter James Andren
Special Forces Sergeant Matthew Locke
Trooper David Pearce
Special Forces Commando Luke Worsley
Mr Leonard Joseph Keogh
Dr Kenneth Lionel Fry
Ms Helen Mayer
Hon. Robert Lindsay Collins AO
Mr Matt Price
Mr Bernard Douglas (Bernie) Banton AM
Hon. Sir Charles Walter Michael Court AK, KCMG, OBE
Sir Edmund Percival Hillary KG, ONZ, KBE
- Cowan Electorate: Education
- Mersey Police and Community Youth Club
- Fadden Electorate: Schools
- Workplace Relations
- Mr Don Aldous
- Workplace Relations
- Alcohol Abuse
Thursday, 21 February 2008
Mr SULLIVAN (10:53 AM) —In rising to address this chamber for the first time in this address-in-reply, I pay my respects to the traditional owners of the land where the parliament building stands, the Ngunawal people; I congratulate you, Mr Speaker, on your election to the office of Speaker; I acknowledge the service of my predecessor, Mal Brough, who held the trust of our community for four elections; and I indicate my support for the motion moved by the member for Solomon.
Very few people are afforded the privilege of serving in the nation’s parliaments. Fewer still are elected for the first time when a consequence of their election is a change of government and a validation of their values and beliefs. I am astonished and very humbled that in my life I should be given that opportunity twice, firstly in 1989 when the Goss government came to power in Queensland after 32 years of coalition rule, and now with the election of the Rudd government. I am greatly honoured that the people of Longman have placed their trust in me on this occasion, and to them I say this: I am here to put your collective interests first. I am sincerely grateful for your support and I will work tirelessly on your behalf in order to retain that support.
The federal division of Longman was created in 1994 and first contested in 1996. I am just the second person to represent the electorate. Longman is named for Mrs Irene Maud Longman, the first woman elected to the Queensland Legislative Assembly, who represented the electorate of Bulimba from 1929 to 1932. Mrs Longman was nominated to stand for parliament by the Queensland Women’s Electoral League in a seat that was expected to be easily retained by the ALP incumbent. She was then also endorsed by the Country Progressive National Party. Her election came after many years of public advocacy on behalf of women and children, a role she resumed after her unsuccessful election bid in 1932. By all accounts an excellent parliamentarian and local member, Mrs Longman was nevertheless quite poorly treated by her male colleagues, excluded from the parliamentary dining room and kept standing outside the Premier’s home—her own party leader’s home—when she visited to discuss parliamentary business. Her enlightened social views often drew favourable comment from the Labor opposition of the day, which may have contributed to the fact that her prospects for re-election were torpedoed by Premier Moore’s electoral redistribution. A biography of Irene Longman, written in 2002 by Griffith University Master of Philosophy student Patricia Fallon, can be found on the internet and is recommended reading for anyone who would like to know more about this extraordinary Australian woman who has given her name to the electorate I represent.
Exceptional population growth in south-east Queensland has ensured that the Longman of today is quite different to the Longman of 1996. The divisional boundaries have contracted greatly, with virtually all of the rural areas once included in Longman now part of other electorates. Successive redistributions have seen substantial areas of the Lockyer and Brisbane valleys and Sunshine Coast hinterland excised from Longman in the wake of rapid residential development in areas like Moreton Downs, Narangba, Burpengary and North Lakes. Wrapped around Pumicestone Passage and Deception Bay, Longman now covers an area from Caboolture and Bribie Island in the north to Kallangur and Mango Hill in the south. The people there are wonderful; I believe there are none better anywhere, and I am so proud to represent each and every one of them.
My wife, Carryn, and I moved from North Queensland to Bribie Island, in the Longman electorate, nearly a quarter of a century ago. We love it there. It is where we raised our daughters, Casey and Tai, and they attended local schools. It is an area I represented proudly in the Queensland Legislative Assembly from 1989 to 1998. It is also well understood that Carryn has been a member of that same parliament since 2001 and had previously been a councillor on Caboolture Shire Council. We do not think it is unusual that people with a shared interest in politics should marry. We do accept that it is unusual that we should be serving as elected representatives simultaneously, in our case for a second time. It is unusual, but study will show that it is not unique.
Family is everything in any walk of life, and in this profession it is especially so. Carryn and our daughters provide me with a great well of love, encouragement and support, for which I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Our daughters endured a great deal as the children of politicians throughout their childhood and teenage years. They have sacrificed much more than most people could imagine while their parents engaged in this demanding occupation, and despite those trials they have each grown to be wonderful young women of whom we are both very proud. I am delighted that Carryn and Casey are here in the gallery today and I am sorry that Tai’s lecture schedule prevents her from being here also—but I am pleased that she is studying anyway!
Carryn’s mother, Ivy Lill, passed away in 1990 but was always there to help us both as our political involvement intensified in the early years. My parents, Keith and Patricia, are both deceased, but it is from them that I learned that public service is an honourable profession. My sisters, Jan and Penelope, and I grew up in a home where politicians were respected no matter which party they represented. As it turns out, that was just as well because the Sullivan household of our childhood was a conservative household. Dad, a bank officer, stood twice for the Country Party in rural seats in New South Wales state elections, beaten by the ALP both times, firstly in Castlereagh in 1953, and then narrowly losing in Dubbo in 1956. Unfortunately he had passed away before I was elected to the Queensland parliament, but my mother was a tremendous sounding board for me the whole time I served in that parliament. I know she was proud of me then, and I know she would be doubly proud of me today.
There are so many people who need to be acknowledged for their part in the campaign to wrest Longman from the former government. I owe a great deal to the candidates who preceded me as Labor candidate in the electorate in earlier campaigns—Pat Bonnice in 1996, Ian Burgett in 1998 and Stephen Beckett in 2001 and 2004—and those who helped and supported them.
Today I want to particularly acknowledge Ian Burgett. Ian had contested the seat of Fisher in 1993, and in 1998 went within a whisker of winning Longman for the ALP. Ian died suddenly last April and his passing has been a great loss to his wife, Michelle, daughters, Ruth and Jane, and their families, for whom he was a loving father, father-in-law and ‘Pappa’. He is missed too by his colleagues at the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union and by the union members he served so diligently. He is missed by his colleagues in the ALP, who looked to him for guidance in all local campaigns. He is missed by his community, where he volunteered his time so generously, and who will, in a little over two weeks time, dedicate a park to his memory. And he is missed by me. I would have enjoyed having him along on this journey and I know he would have taken great satisfaction in the election outcome.
This week is Organ Donor Awareness Week, a time when we particularly urge people to sign up as organ donors and to discuss this important issue with their families so that their wishes are clear. Ian’s family was one that had had those conversations and, as a consequence, organs and tissues donated by Ian have assisted many others in need. As his daughter told those gathered at Ian’s funeral, at the height of our own grief as family members there are those who wait for us to save their lives.
More than 300 local ALP branch members, supporters and friends contributed to my campaign for Longman in one or more ways. Clearly it is impossible, as many other speakers have already indicated, to name them all, and I know that not a single one of them contributed a single minute in the hope that they would get a mention in Hansard. Nevertheless, it would be unforgivable if I did not mention one or two. My sister Jan, who is also in the gallery, has always been one of my heroes, and in 2007 she came through for her brother, big time. For 10 weeks Jan managed my campaign office, juggling, as capable women seem to be able to do with ease, the responsibilities of the campaign office and another major project simultaneously. Without Jan’s input we would not have sailed as smoothly through the final weeks as we did. Carolyn Duncan and Brenton Higgins too spent long hours ensuring that every activity had as many campaign workers as was needed and that they were briefed.
Everybody associated with our Longman campaign was saddened by the passing on 9 February of Richard Swallow. Every campaign has someone like Richard, the bloke who will happily walk many kilometres ensuring election material is delivered, who will spend hours on street stalls, who will ensure that election signs are in place and any vandalism rectified. Despite his previous work as an adviser to the Tasmanian Labor government, Richard nevertheless understood the necessity of these less appealing tasks and was happy to be the one to see that they were done—by doing them himself.
Richard complained of stomach pains shortly after Christmas last year and was diagnosed with an asbestos related illness as a consequence of ingesting the bloody stuff. He died only a matter of weeks after first becoming aware that he was ill. However, in his final weeks he expressed his admiration for Bernie Banton and the countless number of campaigners who over 30 years stood up for what was fair and just for the victims of the asbestos industry, and fought to ensure that it was forthcoming. In Richard’s case, that was within a fortnight of the lodgement of his application. We will miss him and our thoughts are with his wife, Lesley, and their children.
I am full of admiration for the community based, ACTU coordinated Your Rights At Work campaign conducted in Longman, and I understand that more than 150 people contributed to that campaign. Although it was clear that I would be the candidate most likely to benefit from their activities, I have to admit that it felt strange in the beginning that this was a campaign into which I had no input and which I could not direct. I want to pay tribute to the indefatigable Wendy Turner, their Longman organiser. Despite suffering bouts of illness herself, Wendy made sure that there was regular activity so that the voters of Longman would never forget that the Howard government’s Work Choices legislation was aimed at them, at their ability to provide for their families, at their aspirations for a better life, and for that reason the Howard government simply had to go.
Individual trade unions were also active in the electorate beyond their Your Rights At Work commitments. I am grateful for the support of them all and would like to mention particularly the Australian Workers Union; the Queensland Nurses Union; the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union; and the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union. The party of which I am a proud member provided assistance and support from both the national and state offices, as well as visits from then opposition leader, now, thankfully, Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd and numerous shadow ministers.
Longman covers four state electorates and boasts four Labor state members of parliament, all of them generous with their guidance, advice and background information. I want to thank those MPs: Ken Hayward; Dean Wells, himself a former member of this parliament; Carolyn Male; and Carryn Sullivan. A good friend, and also a Queensland state MP, Ronan Lee is an invaluable advisor, as is Senator Claire Moore.
Three people have been constant in mentoring my political career since the late 1980s and it would be remiss of me not to place on record my deep gratitude to them for having faith in me initially and continuing to hold that faith today. Treasurer Wayne Swan, AWU Queensland Secretary Bill Ludwig and Senator John Hogg have been major influences in my political career. With people of their calibre in your corner, you know you can take on the world, and win.
For the last nine years I have kept myself busy with involvement in a number of community organisations. Until I was preselected to contest the seat of Longman I had been the Chairman of the Caboolture Business Enterprise Centre, established by the Goss government when I was the state MP. CBEC provides business advice and consultancy services, operates an employment agency, operates a training organisation, provides contract services to government delivering business and employment programs, and operates a small-business incubator. It has been one of the success stories of the introduction of enterprise centres into Queensland in the early 1990s but it has not always been easy. The program of recurrent funding for enterprise centres announced by Minister Emerson during the election campaign will ensure that CBEC is able to expand its services to benefit the local business community.
I have had a longstanding involvement too with the Woodford Folk Festival, involvement which intensified in 1998 when I took on a senior role in the organisation. The festival is among the very best anywhere in the world, achieving all of its original goals and much more. I commend all members to visit it. From small beginnings in 1987 at its original location in Maleny to the internationally acclaimed event it is today, the festival stands as a testament to the leadership of Bill Hauritz, Amanda Jackes and Des Ritchie. It has been a privilege to work with them and the many hundreds of volunteers who make the festival possible. I will continue to watch it grow and will assist where I can.
My third passion has been for sport and in particular the sport of softball, in which my daughters excelled, representing Queensland at age level. Since 2002 I have administered a junior players development organisation, Sunstate Wanderers, which we formed to provide young women athletes with extra tournament opportunities in New Zealand, Sydney and Melbourne, where they have competed with great success. Many have gone on to represent Queensland with distinction, one has represented Australia and seven have taken up college scholarships in the United States.
I listened with great interest to the contribution of the member for Bennelong earlier and in particular her comments regarding the inequalities endured by women in the workforce. This is nowhere more evident than in the area of women’s team sport. Former Australian netball captain Liz Ellis, when giving evidence before the Senate committee that produced the report entitled About time! Women in sport and recreation in Australia, made the point that there are about 3½ thousand full-time equivalent jobs for male athletes in team sports in Australia while there are none for women. This needs to change. Australia’s Lauren Jackson is acknowledged as the best woman basketball player in the world, but in Australia her earning capacity is probably below that of the lowest paid of the contracted male cricketers. To take full advantage of her talent she is forced to play overseas, in America, in Korea and currently I believe in Moscow. Last year the Queensland Firebirds netball team’s already inadequate player payments were further cut, a sure sign that there needs to be some form of intervention into, and assistance for, women’s sport.
Women’s team sport is easily equal as a spectacle to male team sport. I vividly recall sitting amongst a crowd of 10,000 watching softball during the Sydney Olympics. Many were, like me, fans of the sport. Others were there because of the occasion—because it was, after all, the Olympics. But each and every one of them was enthralled by the quality of the contests shown. We already recognise and give support to individual women athletes. Who did not have a tear in their eye watching Raelene Boyle triumph in the 400 metres at the Brisbane Commonwealth Games or watching Cathy Freeman do the same at the Sydney Olympics? We know the names of women golfers, tennis players, track and field athletes, swimmers, cyclists and tri-athletes whose successes, near misses and even failures are deemed newsworthy and who by comparison to their team sport sisters are well paid but still lag way behind their male counterparts. It is time that changed and I hope I am able to help bring about that change through whatever influence I now have as a member of this parliament.
Census data electorate rankings released last year did not flatter Longman. We rated poorly by comparison on virtually every measure. In particular, I am concerned by the extremely low level of postsecondary education qualifications of those in the electorate aged over 15 years. This is at a time when our country is in the grip of a debilitating skills shortage. I intend to make it a priority of my time in parliament to work with all of the stakeholders to overcome this measure of disadvantage. Left unchecked, our community’s future will indeed be bleak, with our young people in particular affected. Trade training in high schools will be a great start and, as a result of the election commitments of the Rudd government, will soon be a fact.
While universities also cater for mature age students, it is the predicament of our school leavers that is bordering on tragedy. A young person living in my area is confronted by a number of impediments in seeking a university education. Because their parents have not undertaken postsecondary studies, many young people grow up in households where there is no expectation that they will pursue university studies. Our location relative to Brisbane, where major campuses with extensive course offerings are located, means that students are generally unable to obtain living-away-from-home payments on their youth allowance. Access to most of those campuses is difficult, expensive and very time consuming for those reliant on public transport and not much better for those lucky enough to have their own vehicle. As a consequence, far too many of our young people simply decline university opportunities or leave home, as my daughters did, in order to make university attendance possible.
The time has come now to give serious consideration to the need for a comprehensive university campus for our area. The existing small campus of the Queensland University of Technology at Caboolture is great for those seeking qualifications for a career in nursing, primary school teaching or two strands of business, because they can complete their studies locally. The University of the Sunshine Coast has a much wider range of course opportunities, but it too is difficult to access unless students have their own transport. Under Vice-Chancellor Coaldrake the QUT campus at Carseldine appears to be dying a death of a thousand cuts and is widely believed to be destined for residential subdivision. This is simply not good enough. If QUT is to abandon the North Brisbane-Pine Rivers-Caboolture corridor then we must find an alternative—either a start-up, as occurred on the Sunshine Coast, or an existing university prepared to come in and provide the educational opportunities our young people deserve. This will be no easy task, but it is one to which I am committed and which begins in earnest today.
I spoke of the extensive residential development occurring in the Longman electorate and the rapid population growth that goes with it. I am concerned to ensure that health services, in particular those delivered by hospitals, keep pace with that growing population. The $7 million, 12-chair dialysis unit to be funded by the Rudd government as part of Queensland Health’s new North Lakes facility will help, as will the new GP superclinic at Redcliffe in the neighbouring Petrie electorate.
The people of Longman are served by two public and three private hospitals. The sites of the public hospitals at Caboolture and Redcliffe are very nearly at the stage where little more can be added by way of new buildings. In the foreseeable future, population growth will certainly outstrip the capacity of those hospitals to expand to meet the healthcare needs of our community. This is particularly so given that residential development is occurring in areas increasingly more distant from those hospitals. In my view it would be a wise precaution to begin now the work of identifying potential sites for a new hospital to serve our community in the future.
I want to acknowledge the other members of my extended family who are here for this occasion and who have not already been mentioned and those who have been unable to join us today because of work and study commitments, particularly my sister Penelope and my daughter Tai. I want to conclude today by thanking honourable members for their attention and by reiterating my pledge to the people of Longman, who have honoured me so, that I will always be putting their interests first.