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Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Page: 14186

Mr GOSLING (Solomon) (19:49): It's been a real privilege over the last week to hear the valedictories of people like the member for Adelaide, Kate Ellis; the member for Lilley, Wayne Swan; and then, this afternoon, the member for Jagajaga, Jenny Macklin. It had me reflecting on what they might have thought when they started their careers compared with now, and I heard their reflections on that period of time. I've only been in this place a very short period of time, but I reflected on my maiden speech and what I said my priorities were going to be, and to reflect on those is something very useful.

The people of Solomon—Darwin and Palmerston, the capital of the north—put their trust in me to represent them here. What I said to them as their member of parliament was that I would ensure that no-one gets left behind and that the northern capital of Australia would not get left behind. I would fight to make sure that the federal government was true to the commitments that it made and that we would continue to build for the benefit of our whole country a stronger Darwin, which will always lead to a more secure Australia. I promised to fight for investment in public infrastructure and for jobs for people in my electorate and for those in the broader Territory. I promised to fight for Charles Darwin University and for the Top End to become Australia's base for our government's disaster and emergency medical responses. I promised to keep the coalition government to account for its oft-repeated promises to deliver a PET scanner to help, in particular, Territorians who were affected by cancer. And I promised to hold the government to account to build the Palmerston Regional Hospital. I was very passionate about doing that, because, in fact, as a member of the federal Labor team prior to the 2013 election, I secured an extra $40 million for the delivery of that hospital. So it was very important to me to make sure that a first-class hospital was built, and it has been.

And there were a range of other coalition government promises that, over this period, both as a member of the federal Labor team and as an elected member of this parliament, I have been working to hold the government to account on. Some of these have been delivered, some have not. But I also remember talking about the fact that in 1986—when I was going to school in your electorate, Mr Speaker—my parents took me on a trip through the Northern Territory. One of the big reminders of that for me in recent times was when the Leader of the Opposition committed $220 million to Kakadu, that being something that made a big impression on me. It will make a great impression on all Australians and visitors from overseas for years to come.

One of the other things I've been urging—and I thank the member for Corio, the shadow minister for defence, for his commitment on this—is to work with industry and the NT government to make sure that local businesses get a better go when it comes to defence projects in the north. Something that was also very close to my heart was to make sure that we supported veterans. I want to thank the member for Kingston for the commitment of $4.9 million by federal Labor. When we come to government in the future we can deliver that for veterans and first responders in the Northern Territory.

I haven't stopped working since the day I was elected to earn the trust of the people of Darwin and Palmerston, who depend on very few of us to make sure that issues that are important to them are properly represented down here in Canberra. I'm very proud to be a member of the Bill Shorten Labor team. I'm very thankful for the commitment that I have from my colleagues and I'm very happy that we are well placed to keep delivering for the north, because a strong Darwin will always mean a more secure Australia.