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Statement from Justine Keay: resignation

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Thank you Mr Speaker.

The greatest honour of my life was being elected as the member for Braddon in 2016.

In my first speech in this House, I said the people of West Coast and North West of Tasmania, and of course King Island, they’re a resilient lot. Ours is a community that genuinely care for each other. We come together in challenging times, we’re generous of spirit, we’re always willing to pitch in and help one another.

I chose to put up my hand up for my community because the need to stand up for workers, for pensioners and those trying to make ends meet, convinced me that they deserved a progressive voice in Canberra fighting for them.

I’m also here to give my kids, and kids right across my electorate, the decent, secure jobs they deserve in the beautiful part of Tassie they know and love.

I want to make it very clear to every member of my community, and every member of this House, that I am not done working and fighting on behalf of those who sent me here.

This citizenship issue has been a difficult time for my family, friends, supporters and staff and of course, myself. It’s been a character building experience.

But I can hold my head high for being upfront and honest with my electorate. I have nothing to fear or hide, you just need to look at my disclosure for that. I’ve been criticised for being too honest. Bit of an oxymoron for a politician perhaps. People have commented that while I don’t have an allegiance to the United Kingdom, that perhaps I have an allegiance to my family. Well if they are my flaws, then so be it.

I am a seventh generation Tasmanian. A town in the Huon Valley bears my mother’s family’s name. I am proud of my heritage from both my mother and father, as I would expect all Australians are proud of theirs.

I’ve always been upfront about the fact that before nominating for Parliament I acted on the best available legal advice, which indicated that I had satisfied the eligibility requirements under the Constitution as they had been interpreted for 25 years.

Today, the High Court has set a new precedent. This is a new rule, and I respect this new rule without qualification.

As a consequence of today’s decision, I will be resigning my seat as the Federal Member for Braddon. I will be writing to you, Mr Speaker to advise you of my resignation.

I will nominate for preselection to contest the election in the seat of Braddon. The people in my community deserve a representative that cares about them, respects them and listens to them. This is what I have done and I will continue to do.

I am proud of the fact of the first things I was able to achieve after being elected was to successfully advocate on behalf of local farmers for an inquiry to get to the bottom of the floods that devastated the livelihoods and the lives of my local communities.

I am proud of the fact my office has been able to assist hundreds if not thousands of people in Braddon.

I am proud of the fact I have been the first Member of Parliament in my electorate in generations to take mobile offices to our outlying communities in the far North West and West Coasts.

I am proud of the fact I have been able to advocate on behalf of our local fishers, farmers, miners, foresters and industry and of course our pensioners and people who feel they don't have a voice.

But I also know there is much more to be done.

The people of Braddon deserve a government that invests in them and puts them first. This is what a Shorten Government will do.

I have been privileged to be have been given roles and responsibilities within the Shorten Opposition Caucus as Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources and Secretary of Labor’s Caucus on Australian Jobs Taskforce. I want to thank my caucus colleagues for their unwavering support and mentoring, a united and awesome Labor team.

I have been supported by a passionate labour movement in Tasmania, party members, union members and of course, my staff who go beyond what is required and to support me and to help the people of my electorate. This has been hard on them and on my family and has taken a personal toll on all of us.

But we will keep fighting - this is bigger than us, it is about giving a voice to those who feel they don’t have one. It’s about helping people. That's why I'm here. It’s about making our region, as wonderful as it is, better and better.

Thank you Mr Speaker.



Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra