Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 573


Mr WYATT (Hasluck) (15:44): There is no greater privilege than that which is bestowed upon us when we are elected to this place, but it is a greater honour to be returned to this place by the electors of Hasluck. I would like to thank the people of the Hasluck electorate who supported my re-election as their federal representative for another term. It is an honour and a privilege to continue serving them and I look forward to another three years—and, hopefully, a future that is a little bit longer. I remain absolutely committed to working on their behalf both within the electorate and here in Canberra.

I am equally pleased to be joined in the parliament by new members who are outstanding West Australians. It is great to have them join the WA team in the federal parliament, where their contribution will be of immense value to the nation. I would like to acknowledge Mr Christian Porter, the member for Pearce and a former Treasurer in the Barnett government; Ms Melissa Price, the member for Durack; Mr Ian Goodenough, the member for Moore; and Mr Rick Wilson, the member for O'Connor. All have been elected to this place for the first time. The experiences that they went through reminds me of the first day that I walked through the doors into the House of Reps. It was emotional and also a feeling of elation because of the fact that you could contribute to debates in this House that improved the lives and worked for the benefit of the people that we represent as well as the broader community.

You do not win and retain your seat on your own. I would like to acknowledge and pay tribute to the people who assisted me during the campaign. There were many, particularly my staff members, members of the Liberal Party and the many supporters who I have thanked privately. I want to congratulate the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, on the magnificent campaign that he ran and thank him for visiting my electorate to announce the Swan Valley Bypass, which is better known as the Perth to Darwin highway.

I want to make special mention of the number of people who gave so much of their time during the campaign and on the days of the election. They were there always—long hours, the hard yards. Firstly, there is my family: my wife, Anna; and my two sons, Brendyn and Aaron. There is my staff: Jarrod Lomas, Amanda Templeton, Jill Bonanno, Morgan Ralph, Chloe Lim, Karlia Dillon and David Lovelle. There was my campaign team: Barry MacKinnon, Linda Reynolds, Heather Gilmour, Peter Stewart, Jamie Edwards, Danielle Blain, Graeme Harris, Ray Gianoli, Deirdre Willmott, Terry O'Connor, Wayne McIntosh, Bill Munro, Peter Abetz, Nathan Morton, Joanne Pryce, Liam Staltari, Henk Loohuys and Merle Burn.

I particularly want to acknowledge Damien Cole, Jenny Tanner and Emma Tanner for the work they did on election night when we came together; the Hon. Julie Bishop, MP, for all of her support; Ben Morton from Menzies House; and all the 'sea of blue' volunteers and polling day workers, Young Liberals and Liberal students.

I would like to make a few points on the election in Hasluck in Western Australia and on the election generally. I am proud to have been re-elected and I am also proud to have taken the seat from a margin of 0.58 per cent to one that is now 4.3 per cent, and on being the first member to win the seat back to back. I want to congratulate the six candidates who nominated and contested the election for the seat of Hasluck. That is the beauty of our democracy. Adrian Evans, deputy state secretary of the Maritime Union of Western Australia, was a formidable opponent and he was determined to win the seat of Hasluck. I had immense respect for Adrian not only as an opponent but as a person who was an excellent candidate, a family man and respectful of his opponents. Adrian really hit the trail hard with a well-financed campaign. At times it was alleged that my opponent had a war chest of $1.4 million to fight with. To me it does not matter about the quantum of funding. What is more important are the concerns which are important to the people and families of Hasluck. I will continue to emphasise the importance of building stronger local communities within my electorate.

I also want to reflect on some memorable election moments—from the launch at the Advent Park in Maida Vale in July to Prime Minister Tony Abbott's visit to announce the Swan Valley Bypass funding which we had been fighting for. The Hon. Christopher Pyne assisted in marking the third anniversary of my election to the Australian parliament. Former Prime Minister John Howard came to the Midland Gate shopping centre and was mobbed like a rock star. There were young people wanting 'selfies' and people who turned and said: 'We need you back. We want strong leadership.' They enjoyed his company and they enjoyed the interaction.

There was the Midland markets every Sunday morning at 5 am to set up and Kalamunda markets on Saturday mornings. I also want to acknowledge Margie Abbott for spending a half day in the electorate engaging with constituents and spending the time to meet with people—interacting and seeking their views in the way they were progressing their lives and some of the challenges that they were facing. Bronwyn Bishop, our newly elected Speaker, spent a whole day in the electorate and engaged with seniors at a number of forums in which she answered some of the tough questions. The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull met with constituents about the coalition's vision for the NBN and the commitments that he would undertake if he were elected.

There were a number of people from the electorate who wanted to assist with campaign signs in the front yard, help out on polling day and assist wherever there was a need to help me be re-elected. To Brian on the Helena Valley booth, who had a heart attack a week before polling day and still rocked up to help out against advice, thank you for your dedication.

I want to respond to particular matters acknowledged in the speech of Her Excellency, the Hon. Quentin Bryce, AC, CVO, Governor-General, on the occasion of the opening of the 44th Commonwealth Parliament. I want to turn to Her Excellency's reflections on key matters that are important for the families and constituents of Hasluck. In her opening address she said:

On September 7, history and people voted for a government that said it would repeal the Carbon Tax, establish a Commission of Audit and improve the Budget, strengthen border protection and build the roads of the 21st century.

I am proud to be a member of a government which is committed to developing such a strong, prosperous economy built on prudent economic management—a government which will focus on a more productive and diverse economy and will guarantee Australia's future prosperity by building on our national strengths. It is a government that will work to deliver more jobs and more opportunities so there is less pressure on the families of Hasluck, enabling them and more Australians to get ahead. It is a vision of a dynamic, confident Australia where we can all, individually and collectively, pursue our hopes and dreams.

Businesses within Hasluck will ultimately benefit through growing a strong economy and creating the best conditions for more jobs, and families will benefit from the growth in all parts of the economy—in manufacturing, agriculture, education, research, services and mining. As the economies of Asia continue to expand, demand for Australian resources and other exports will remain strong and there will be a new demand for Australian education and research, expertise in advanced services, manufacturing and agricultural products. There are already businesses within my electorate that are benefiting from that focus and they are creating the opportunities that build their companies for a strong position within the economy of Western Australia. This creates opportunities for the medium and small businesses within Hasluck and, indeed, for all Australian companies.

I will remain a strong advocate for the people of Hasluck and will work to ensure that the National Disability Insurance Scheme becomes a reality for Australians with disability and their carers, particularly those who live within the electorate. I also welcome the Prime Minister's commitment to provide $200 million to help Australian scientists find a cure for dementia and $35 million to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes. Within the electorate of Hasluck there are 8,070 Australians who experience diabetes, and this research will help assist their quality of life. Equally, I welcome the commitments to provide fairness in superannuation pensions to our veterans and the Defence Force Retirement Benefit and the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefit superannuation pensions being more generously indexed from 1 July next year. This will be welcome news to those who live within my electorate.

I want to ensure that businesses, families and individuals who live and work in the seat of Hasluck are an integral part of a more productive and diverse economy that will guarantee Australia's future prosperity. I am pleased that the following election commitments are secured: $500,000 for CCTV in the city of Swan; Green Army commitments throughout the electorate, for the Friends of Mary Carroll wetland, the Tom Bateman reserve, the Brixton Street Wetlands, Blackadder Creek, Wattle Grove open space and Kings Meadow Reserve; trees for Men of the Trees and the Shire of Kalamunda; $615 million for the Swan Valley bypass, affectionately known as the Perth-Darwin highway stage 1; and commitment to the completion of the Gateway WA project around Perth Airport.

I have now been on this journey for 3½ years and I thank those who have been on the journey the entire way, and that includes all those that I associate with. The local agenda of issues are matters that are close to my heart and it is my intention to act on the priorities for my electorate. One is building a stronger local community that brings together families and people to value, to contribute, to protect and to look after each other. Another priority is education, and in the gallery today I have two young people who are part of the Hasluck Leadership Award. So far we have had six recipients who have shown the quality of their leadership and we will continue building young people's capacity to become leaders of the future. I have worked with a school in which they have established a minerals and energy academy and I am currently working with industry and a number of schools to look at a transport academy and a plumbing academy as two separate entities in which students who want to pursue a career in that area will be able to engage and begin an educational pathway.

For the environment, I will build on Hasluck's green map and work with all the environmental groups to nurture those parts of the electorate that are bushlands forever, the corridors and those regions that are important. Mental health and the work that is yet to be done will become a focus of my activity in this term and I will work again with state and federal governments to look at the way in which we can provide the services to the people who need them.

I want to develop within my electorate a 'lean on me' strategy. In doorknocking, which I do regularly, I meet people who are lonely, who do not have people in their lives and who rely on the local bank or post office or the occasional interaction with somebody to overcome that loneliness. I have often thought that the degree of loneliness was not across the age continuum, but I am finding that there are young people who are lonely. I find people who have lost a partner after death who for the first nine months are visited by family members but then the visits drop off and they are on their own. Everyone needs compassion and needs to be connected to others within their community, so I am working with a number of organisations to bring a 'lean on me' strategy to a reality.

I also want to focus on senior and aged-care needs and those of self-funded retirees and be an advocate in many areas that are important to them in their lives. And I want to focus on aircraft noise, which will span the political horizon for the next three years and remains a priority in the focus of the work that I will undertake with my local parliamentary colleagues. I will continue to doorknock—I doorknock two days a month—and go out to meet people, hear what the issues are and connect at park meetings, coffee shop programs and in many other ways so I can hear their concerns and then represent them to various ministers or within the forums that are available.

I enjoy the opportunity of being a member of a number of parliamentary committees—the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, where I can bring into play my experience within the bureaucracy of health, and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights—and I have the privilege of chairing the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Something I want to focus on for the future is changing our planning mindset. Often, all of us think of today, tomorrow, the next event, but we never push beyond into the future, to 2015, 2020, 2030. The world has changed in many ways, and we can see that from what has occurred within the last two decades. I enjoyed reading the works of James Canton, who is the CEO and Chairman of the Institute for Global Futures; of Patrick Dixon, author of Futurewise: The Six Faces of Global Change; and of Bernard Salt. They challenge the way in which we should consider the future of our society. How are we planning for a world that continues to change at a more rapid pace in all aspects of our culture, business, technology, medicine, security, terrorism, population and environment? It is happening: today, tomorrow and into the future. The world continues to change in every way. It changes at a rapid pace and increases the challenges for legislators.

I want us to think about being future wise, planning to change future thinking at every level to adapt to the global change which is fast, urban, tribal, universal, radical and ethical. We saw that with the work that the Treasurer, the honourable Joe Hockey, undertook in leading the discussions and debates at the G20. A global economy impacts on all of us—we are not isolated. The whole concept of globalisation, global corporatisation and the flat-earth model in which sovereign boundaries are no longer barriers to global companies are bringing about great changes.

Similar practices applied by commercial companies which develop a strong business case that has an embedded futuristic projection of the benefits and the potential to have a return for investment should be the focus of this parliament into the future. Our legacy should not be political and personal gains, but a legacy that positions Australia for our children and future generations. We need to look to the future not for the term of a parliament or to pursue policies of expedience based on political philosophies but on what is best for the future. We position ourselves through our free trade agreements to optimise our balance of payments, our trade, but also our interactions with other nations that are within the region. I want to see the future for those who live within my electorate to be given the opportunity to become part of the global society and not be restricted or constrained by the lack of educational opportunity or training opportunities. It is about creating pathways through engagement and through informing. I will continue always to focus on those that need levels of intervention. But in policy directions it is my intention over the next terms of my time here to use the opportunities to generate debates and thinking about how we move into a dynamic future role. I would also compliment the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the way in which she has certainly engaged Australia in the global forums that are an integral part of our economy, our wealth and our opportunities to create jobs for those within our country.

One of the pleasures I had—and it was a nice touch—was when one of my staff, Jill Bonanno, came and saw me and said, 'You have to swear on a Bible.' She said she had been given a Bible when she was baptised at the age of 19 and she asked me if I would—as a personal gesture and to help reflect her value of that—use it when I was sworn in this time. It gave me great pleasure to be able to say to Jill that I would do that for her. It is the little things that we as members do in this House not only for our staff but also within our electorates that make the difference. I reflected on a couple of comments made by the member for Oxley, who talked about the need for us to engage locally within each of our electorates. It is the little things that become the big memories for people who acknowledge the way in which we reach out, listen with respect, and then engage them and act on their behalf.

To conclude, I look forward to this term in parliament. It is easier being on the government benches because you are able to do some things you cannot do from opposition. It is always hard to convince a minister to invest in your electorate when you are in opposition. Often people view us as members in this House as being in conflict, but I have made some tremendous friendships across all spheres of the House. I value the colleagues who make a contribution on behalf of their electorates in the way that they advocate and work in committees and on the way that we deliver what is required for the decisions that occur.