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Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Page: 7192


Ms BURKE (ChisholmSpeaker) (10:06): It is a rarity for a Speaker to be on their feet, but the one thing you do not give up on becoming Speaker is being the member for your electorate. I am incredibly proud to be the federal member for Chisholm, which I have been over the last 15 years. So I was rather surprised when a senator in the other place took a shot at the independence of the Speaker and took a shot at my ability to still continue to represent my area.

I grew up in my area. I lived in my area. I went to school in my area. I went to university in my area. I live in the area with my family, as does all my extended family. You can walk from my house to my mother's, to my two sisters' and to my brother's. Actually, one of my largest voting blocs in Chisholm is the extended Burke clan! I am fairly confident that they all vote for me—at least, they all hand out for me quite vigorously.

I am very intimately connected to my seat. I am incredibly proud of my seat. I do not think we sing the praises of suburbia enough. That is where the majority of people live. People in my eastern suburbs put up with congestion. They put up with traffic. They put up with noise. They put up now with the loss of open space. I have been championing these causes for them for the last 15 years. So to give any impression that I am not out there working on behalf of them because I became Speaker is an insult to my constituency.

I have been to 101 events. I cannot even name them all. I have been at my mobile offices around the electorate, where people raise with me everything under the sun: Telstra bills, postal boxes, gold passes for an engineer who served his time but in two different states—he just wants his gold pass; could someone give it to him—planning issues, trees being inappropriately planted, and kerb sides at the appropriate level for scooters to go up. I have an ageing electorate; it is a very big issue for disability access and people going around on scooters. All these things are raised with me.

But the No. 1 issue we have all had through our emails, phones and faxes is live animal exports. When I say that the No. 1 issue that comes from my electorate is live animal exports, it does not demean in any way, shape or form all the issues of concern to my local constituents or their individual problems. But the No. 1 issue people have raised with me over this term is live animal exports, and I support them. I support their call for banning live animal exports, for bringing in a chilled meat industry which will create more jobs. It will actually create more jobs; it would not lose more jobs. It will sustain the industry going forward, and it will support Indonesia in becoming a sustainable producer of its own food processing.

I do not resile from that, but I do not think that demeans me talking on behalf of my constituents. I think it recognises that I am in touch with them. I know that they are concerned about gambling. I know that they are concerned about same-sex marriage. I know that they are concerned about climate change. And I am going to advocate for them in the upcoming election. (Time expired)