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- Start of Business
- GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S SPEECH
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- DISTINGUISHED VISITORS
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
Home and Community Care
(Ms MACKLIN, Mrs MOYLAN)
(Mr SINCLAIR, Mr DOWNER)
Workplace Relations Legislation
(Ms ELLIS, Mrs MOYLAN)
Bank Fees and Charges
(Ms GAMBARO, Mr COSTELLO)
Workplace Relations Legislation
(Mr BEAZLEY, Mrs MOYLAN)
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
(Mr BOB BALDWIN, Mr TIM FISCHER)
Diesel Fuel Rebate Scheme
(Mr CREAN, Mr ANDERSON)
DAS Regional Offices
(Mr ENTSCH, Mr JULL)
Research and Development
(Mr MARTYN EVANS, Mr McGAURAN)
(Mr McARTHUR, Mr WARWICK SMITH)
(Mr FILING, Mr PROSSER)
Apprenticeships and Traineeships
(Mr NEVILLE, Dr KEMP)
Logging and Woodchipping
(Dr LAWRENCE, Mr ANDERSON)
Hospital Services for Veterans
(Dr NELSON, Mr BRUCE SCOTT)
(Mr LATHAM, Mr ANDERSON)
- Home and Community Care
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- AUDITOR-GENERAL'S REPORTS
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- SYDNEY 2000 GAMES INDICIA AND IMAGES PROTECTION BILL 1996
- AUSTRALIAN SPORTS DRUG AGENCY AMENDMENT BILL 1996
- EXPORT MARKET DEVELOPMENT GRANTS AMENDMENT (No. 1) BILL 1996
- AUSTRALIAN LAW REFORM COMMISSION BILL 1996
- AUSTRALIAN LAW REFORM COMMISSION (REPEAL, TRANSITIONAL AND MISCELLANEOUS) BILL 1996
- CUSTOMS AND EXCISE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL (No. 1) 1996
- HOUSING ASSISTANCE BILL 1996
- BILLS RETURNED FROM THE SENATE
- TAXATION LAWS AMENDMENT BILL (No. 1) 1996
- WORKPLACE RELATIONS AND OTHER LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 1996
- Start of Business
- SYDNEY 2000 GAMES (INDICIA AND IMAGES) PROTECTION BILL 1996
- AUSTRALIAN SPORTS DRUG AGENCY AMENDMENT BILL 1996
- CRIMES AMENDMENT (CONTROLLED OPERATIONS) BILL 1996
QUESTIONS ON NOTICE
Truck Dock Pty Ltd and National Hearing Aid Systems Pty Ltd: Shareholders
(Mr Rocher, Dr Wooldridge)
(Mr McClelland, Dr Wooldridge)
PAYE and Other Taxpayers
(Mr Eoin Cameron, Mr Costello)
(Mr Rocher, Dr Wooldridge)
The Treasury Staff: Electoral Division of Wills
(Mr Kelvin Thomson, Mr Costello)
Medicare Services: Electoral Division of Wills
(Mr Kelvin Thomson, Dr Wooldridge)
Delayed Payments to Claimants
(Mr Rocher, Dr Wooldridge)
- Mr Filing, Mrs Moylan
Medicare Offices: Staff Numbers
(Mr Price, Dr Wooldridge)
(Mr Pyne , Dr Wooldridge)
Workers' Compensation Claims: Delays
(Mr Cobb, Dr Wooldridge)
- Truck Dock Pty Ltd and National Hearing Aid Systems Pty Ltd: Shareholders
Thursday, 20 June 1996
Ms GAMBARO(9.51 a.m.) —Mr Speaker, may I extend to you and to your deputies my congratulations on your election to the most esteemed position in this parliament.
To take a first step in the Commonwealth parliament is one of inspiration and, faced with the daunting size and magnitude of the occasion, and with the support of the people of Petrie, family and friends, I stand here determined and prepared for whatever challenges might lie ahead. I take my seat in this chamber with no foreseen expectations. I have the strong belief in the mandate to be a true representative and to give clear voice in the decision making of this country.
My first speech marks more than one achievement. I am the first female to represent the seat of Petrie, the first female of Australian-Italian origin to take a seat in the House, and it is indeed a privilege to take a seat in the first Howard government.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank those from all walks of life who have been important in my journey to this present position. In particular, I wish to make mention of the contributions by the Liberal Party team, at both a state and a federal level, and the tireless efforts of my campaign director, Bill Lunney. His dedication and persistence in achieving the goal of success at the federal election were enormous contributions to ensuring my seat here today.
I wish also to thank Terry Barlow for his support and years of dedication and service and his wife Lois for the hundreds of cups of tea she made. I wish to thank Anne Hobbs, who joined me in door knocking the electorate, and Geoff Green, who kept my finances in order throughout the campaign. Thank you also to branch members across the electorate for their tremendous efforts and support. I wish to thank the many people in the local business community who supported me, particularly Ralph De Pasquale, Hank and Mary Van Lieshout, Kevin Driscoll and Bob Turner.
I wish to acknowledge the support and assistance given to me by the Prime Minister (Mr Howard); the Treasurer (Mr Costello); and my mentor, the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (Senator Herron). Many thanks also to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (Mr Ruddock), the Minister for Defence Industry, Science and Personnel (Mrs Bishop), the Minister for Family Services (Mrs Moylan), the member for O'Connor (Mr Tuckey), Senator Macdonald and Senator MacGibbon, as well as local state member John Goss. Thank you also to the state Minister for Training and Industrial Relations, the Hon. Santo Santoro, for his assistance, guidance and fundraising assistance, and to the former state member for Redcliffe, Terry White.
It would be remiss of me not to make particular mention of the contribution and guidance of a former representative of the people of Petrie, the Hon. John Hodges, and his wonderful wife, Margaret. He is a man of true integrity and a gentleman. He held the seat of Petrie from 1974 to 1983 and from 1984 to 1987. He was the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and made a significant contribution to the House during his time in parliament.
The seat of Petrie stretches from the Moreton Bay shaped edges of Deception Bay and the Redcliffe Peninsula in the north to the residential suburbs of Chermside, Carseldine and McDowall in the south. The electorate includes some of the fastest growing regions in south-east Queensland—namely, Fitzgibbon, Deception Bay and, more recently, Mango Hill. The Petrie electorate is dominated by social and industrial issues. There is a reliance on the efficiency of social security, support for local small business and an emphasis on cost effective transport corridors and education.
The electorate includes Queensland's major specialist cardio-thoracic hospital, Prince Charles Hospital, which services Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Rim. The hospital houses Queensland's only heart transplant unit, which has performed some 129 operations since 1990.
Local government issues and agendas are high in the Petrie electorate and four councils feature—Brisbane city, Redcliffe city, Pine Rivers shire and the Caboolture shire. All four are extremely active with development plans and growth management. The importance of local council contributions to the community can never be underestimated and the services that they provide should always be supported.
The city of Redcliffe, on a peninsula of just 35 square kilometres, supports a thriving fishing industry and a variety of light industry and is a favourite spot for picnics and weekend angling. The fishing industry is important to the local area with Moreton Bay being the feeding ground for sand and mud crabs, fish and prawns. The fact that one of the largest expenditures for the industry is fuel, oil and gas ensures my particular interest in the diesel fuel rebate scheme and its impact.
It must be remembered that it is not just farmers who are affected by rain. The fishing industry is also reliant on rain, and seasonal conditions can determine a year's economic stability. However, the fishing industry in Petrie cannot just be classified under the banner of catching and trawling. It covers a wide chain of economic activity, encompassing processing, transporting, wholesaling and retailing. The planning of transport infrastructure is important to the continued development of the local area and, in particular, public transport facilities and services.
Pine Rivers is another shire on the move and it adjoins the electorate of the member for Dickson (Mr Tony Smith). The population of the shire has increased dramatically and, according to the shire's annual report, building applications worth $184.5 million were processed last financial year. Caboolture shire, as the member for Longman (Mr Brough) would be aware, is growing and considering all options to provide cultural, recreation and social services to residents. A decision to build a community recreation centre at Deception Bay was finalised only last week, giving residents of the area a focus for both recreational and social pursuits.
The seat of Petrie was named after builder and architect Andrew Petrie. An achiever, Petrie has the distinction of being the first white man to climb Mount Beerwah, one of the Glasshouse Mountains in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. On his death in 1872 he left an enormous legacy. His eldest son, John, became the first lord mayor of Brisbane and his second son, Thomas, studied Aboriginal tribes, their customs and languages.
It is with Andrew Petrie that I feel I can draw some similarity. I spent my formative years living in Petrie Terrace and went to school at All Hallows', which houses the historical building of Adderton built by Andrew and John Petrie in the 1850s. The Petries then went on to play a significant role in the construction of Queensland's Parliament House, the general post office and the port office building. My association with Petrie flows through my childhood, my schooling years and now will continue throughout my political life. The spirit of Petrie lives on.
As I looked back into the history of Italians in this country, I found their contributions were significant in Australia's development. After 1947, the demographic pressures in Italy, the industrial expansion of Australia and the restrictive immigration policies adopted by the United States favoured mass immigration to Australia. Within the next 20 years the Australian-Italian community became the second largest community, after the British, in Australia. A common element to which I can relate is the strong social and cultural life within the Italian community. The focus on the family is strong, and support and guidance forever lasting.
I come to this parliament with a community and business background, having worked extensively in the retail, tourism, personnel and franchising industries. The road to this House was never an easy one and I had to weigh up my business commitments and my work as a tutor in the marketing department of the Queensland University of Technology.
I wish to thank my academic colleagues. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at QUT. I would like to make mention of Cathy Neal, Nancy Fredericks, Dr Chad Perry, Su Mon Wong, Catherine Rankin, Evan Price, Max Briggs, Dr Jim Kable, an academic mentor from way back, and all the wonderful staff in the marketing department. Thank you for your support and your encouragement over a very long—16-month—campaign.
I was delighted to achieve a swing of 12.59 per cent in Petrie. Su Mon Wong, your words stay with me always: marketing is giving people what they want. The reason the coalition won by such an overwhelming majority is that we listened to people and their needs and we gave Australians what they wanted. As social analyst Hugh Mackay has said, people are more likely to listen to us if we listen to them.
During a recent visit to Humpybong state primary school children of ages eight to 12 told me their view of politicians. Two significant responses from these valuable members of our community were that politicians argue and call each other names. Children can be very brutally honest and first impressions can taint you for life. I applaud this government's move to bring honour and dignity back to the parliamentary stage.
It is pleasing to see so many females on this side of the chamber and, in essence, to see the influx of females standing for federal parliament. Currently over 78 per cent of the females in this parliament belong to the coalition. I am proud to be one of the new women in parliament and hope to realise the expectations and ideals which have been placed upon us. I believe Australia will one day have a female Prime Minister. The support and role of responsibilities given to women and members will ensure that this `one day' will be a reality.
During the past 15 years of my working life I have come to realise that as we go through various stages of our life cycle our work needs change. A more flexible workplace is what is needed, job sharing and more worker friendly practices. My time in the personnel industry showed me the huge demand for good quality part-time work. Whenever we advertised these positions our phone would run hot and the mailman would deliver our mail not by hand but by the bagful. This is one of the reasons why women are setting up business at three times the rate of men.
Flexibility and control of one's environment are what real quality of life is all about. I welcome the new workplace reforms and their effects on the flexibility of the work system. The award system under the workplace reforms can only benefit employers and employees. If Australia modernises its industrial environment, the rights of women in the workplace must be protected.
Businesses have much to gain from introducing work practices that reflect the family needs of employees. Some benefits automatically include increased productivity, increased work morale, retention of high quality staff, reduction in staff turnover and absenteeism, reduction in stress and a more harmonious workplace. I wish to acknowledge the honourable member for Lalor (Mr Barry Jones) for his contribution in the area of work and technological change. In his book Sleepers, Wake! he says:
The Western world is passing through a period of technological change, more far-reaching—and much faster—than at any other time.
He then goes on to say:
Many people feel reluctant to face up to the issues and would prefer to put off thinking about them, in the hope that either the problems will go away or prove to be exaggerated, or someone else might solve them.
There is a bias today towards the expansion of information systems rather than engineering and related skills. Australian management needs to be more outward looking if we are to embrace this technology and increase our competitiveness overseas. Businesses must carefully consider the concept of combining recruitment and placement of permanent and part-time employees with outsourcing for productivity and performance enhancement.
During the election campaign I made a significant effort to visit the small business sector in the Petrie electorate. In the months leading up to the election I visited some 2,000 small businesses in Aspley, McDowall, Bracken Ridge, Redcliffe, Deception Bay and Rothwell. I listened to their concerns and the hardships they face. Small business is the heart and soul of many families. It is a livelihood, an employment mecca and a strong branch of the community.
The areas of concern are nothing new—labour on-costs, the strength of big business, bureaucratic red tape, government intervention and an employer unfriendly industrial relations environment, especially the unfair dismissal clauses. These have caused hardship not only to the businesses and the people of Petrie but throughout Australia. Many of these areas of concern were once again highlighted in the Yellow Pages small business index report.
It is a fact that small business owners are lacking the confidence and encouragement to employ new staff, especially young people. Instead they are either cutting staff and operating hours or working longer hours themselves. Small business, as the nucleus of the Australian economy, is the single greatest generating source of jobs and opportunities in our economy. We must reward business owners and operators for their hard work, not punish them.
The double digit figure of unemployed people between the ages of 15 and 19 living in the electorate is a further source of concern to me. Father John McKeown, a Catholic priest in Redcliffe City and a broadcaster on a metropolitan radio station, has stated that employment is one of the key components that make a city livable. We must not forget our youth, their dreams, their ambitions and their self-esteem. Bert Weir, a personal friend and teacher of mental strength to the staff of businesses and government organisations all over Australia, in his book What happened?, said:
Kindness, generosity, ability to cooperate, inquisitiveness, confidence, sense of humour, creativity and calmness are only some of the . . . important qualities of human worth. How often are these praised? For a child to have a strong, balanced sense of self-esteem, it must be anchored in many different aspects of human beauty and worth.
One must not forget our more senior citizens. Australia is an ageing population. It is estimated that the average number of people aged 65 and older will grow at twice the rate of the total population from now until 2011 and three times this rate thereafter. With an ageing population Australia faces a major challenge now and in the years to come.
Mr Deputy Speaker, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful psychologist and philosopher recently, Dr Hilda des Artes. We discussed the housing of the aged. She spoke of a wonderful vision where single people, families and the aged could live in harmony. Young people could balance intellectual expansion with the experiences of the older members. Her vision was not to isolate people but to resurrect community based values on the extended family concept, therefore ensuring that the experience and memories of the elders are appreciated.
As a government I believe we need to market ourselves. A lack of information can cause problems. The technology is available to inform and educate constituents, and we must continue to utilise these options. By being steadfast in its approach, I am sure that this government will provide for the demand of services required for the people of Petrie.
Mr Deputy Speaker, I come from a working background. My grandfather, Giovanbaptista Gambaro, at 17 years of age, in 1905, worked in the Pennsylvanian coal mines. It was hard, arduous work digging coal by shovel. In 1915 war started, and he returned to Italy and joined the Italian army voluntarily. While a soldier of the allied forces, he was captured, became a prisoner of war and was put to work in a sugar factory in Czechoslovakia for four years. This was the first time he was to be a prisoner of war. Meanwhile, back in Italy, my grandmother ran a tobacconist shop and raised six children.
In 1938 Giovanbaptista came to Australia and worked in North Queensland managing a farm. Sadly, with the arrival of 1940, he was to experience his second stint as a prisoner of war when he was transported to South Australia as a civilian POW. He spent four years as a prisoner of the Australian government. Mr Deputy Speaker, this was an unnecessary and regrettable period in Australia's history.
My father, Dominic, arrived in Australia in 1944. Working in North Queensland, he raised the money to buy a retail fish store in Petrie Terrace where he worked with my grandfather. In 1950 my grandmother and my Uncle Michael came to Australia and also worked in the business.
My family's business is now one of Australia's best known seafood restaurants. We have a thriving wholesale business and seafood processing facility and export plant, and we export to Asia and the United States.
I wish to thank my parents, Dominic and Rosetta, for exposing me to the wonderful experiences of my youth. As a student they encouraged me to work in the business and, as I peered over my economics books, I observed the rich spectacle and the passing parade of clients in the restaurant. They came from all walks of life and from all countries to dine on Queensland's finest seafood.
I thank my parents for all they have taught me—my father, Dominic, for his determination, single-mindedness, perseverance and, dare I say it, relentlessness. Many of his qualities have been passed on to me, though at times he probably wished they had not. Thank you for your love and support during my campaign.
My mother has been the driving force in my life. Not only did she raise four children but also she worked seven days a week for many years to ensure that we had economic stability. Her kindness to others is legendary. I am proud to be the daughter of Rosetta Gambaro and will admire her always. The love and kindness she gives to others will live on forever.
To my brother John: thank you for the wonderful letterbox delivery and folding skills. I wish you success in your further career path and admire you for the courage of your convictions. My sister Elisa, the philosopher and intellectual of the family and her husband Glen: thank you for the encouragement and strength you gave me during the campaign. My baby sister Ida and Robert: welcome home, we missed you. But Robert, the space program is far richer for your research and work in Germany over the past three years. Ida, I have missed your black and white approach to life.
To my own family: thank you, Chris, for your assistance. To my children, Rachelle and Benjamin: you are the most precious things in my life; thank you for the joy you bring to me each day. My two children have influenced my life, and I intend to make a contribution which will lay the foundation for their future lives in this country.
I also wish to acknowledge Ugo Sirianni and Josie and the whole Sirianni family for encouraging me to go into politics. Your strength and faith in me never faltered. Michael and Josie Gambaro and family: thank you for your support. To all my friends and fellow Rotarians, many of whom are listening: thank you for your help and involvement in my life and my campaign.
When I look at my journey to here and the steps to come, the words of Robert Frost in his poem The Road Not Taken inspire me greatly. With your indulgence, Mr Deputy Speaker, I will read it in part:
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I take my seat in this parliament at a time of tremendous opportunity, and I thank the people of Petrie for giving me the opportunity.