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Monday, 22 July 2019
Page: 456

Mr JOYCE (New England) (13:34): What I'd like to talk about today is that we need regional representation in the Senate. It is beyond a joke now that we have 11 out of 12 senators in Western Australia coming from the city of Perth, 11 out of 12 from South Australia coming from Adelaide, 11 out of 12 in Victoria coming from Melbourne, 11 out of 12 in New South Wales coming from Sydney and Wollongong, and nine out of 12 in Queensland coming from Brisbane. There is now an even greater proportion of representation of major capitals by senators than by members of the House of Representatives.

The thing that is a segue into this debate, of course, is the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the proposed voice to parliament. I'm going to make sure I continue my discussions with senior Indigenous leaders so that not only do we have a voice to parliament but we have a voice in parliament, and senators can do precisely that. If we have six regions per state with two senators per region, with one half of the regions going up at one election and the other half going up at the next election, you can bet your life that from the Kimberley will come Indigenous senators, from the cape will come Indigenous senators and from western districts in New South Wales and Queensland will come Indigenous senators, and not only Indigenous senators but people whose political existence relies on them being able to understand Indigenous issues. I believe this is one of the pressing issues before our nation at the current time.