Snapshots: Get Involved
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Snapshots: Get Involved

August 26, 2019

#Music# In a democratic country like Australia, we elect members of parliament to make decisions and laws on our behalf. We can choose who we think will best represent us. We do not want to see young Australians seeking out welfare as a career choice. We do not want to see a shuttle run from the school gate to the Centrelink front door. And this bill is about changing that culture. And the idea that the key response of this government is to take away any income from those young people for a month, I think it absolutely beggars belief. I put the question that this bill be now read a second time. All of that opinion say aye, to the contrary no; I think the ayes have it. Australians don’t just have a say at election time. We are free at any time to express our opinions and speak up about the actions of our representatives and to ask them to act for us. I’m having constituents come to my office complaining about the speed of the broadband that they supposedly have in Griffith, within ten kilometres of the CBD, and every time it rains the internet slows down. In the face of such adversity and tragedy, we saw the rallying spirit of our community. And I particularly want to thank the swift water rescue guys, the SES, the police, the fireys, the ambos, who put their own lives on the line to save others. Imagine the fear and distress that faces a young person who lives in a small country town or on a farm, and who is confused about their gender or sexual identity. Young people tell me of the barriers they face in their homes, schools and the wider community. People power has worked and your voices have been heard, with a win for tolerance and respect. A case reported to me at Birdsville, the family – the mother, at least and the four children – have now had to move into town because they can no longer efficiently access School of the Air. It’s gone, the intermittent services they get from the bandwidth prevents the children from being able to complete lessons. So today on behalf of Tasmanians, I say – enough is enough. Let’s take the first step and introduce clearer labelling for all the foods on our supermarket shelves. Even if you are not old enough to vote, you can still have a say about what the Parliament does. Start by getting informed. What happens in Parliament is reported in the media. Meetings of Parliament are broadcast live and official records are kept of these meetings. Many members of parliament use social media like Twitter and Facebook to keep in touch with the public. To get involved, you could contact the members of parliament who represent you. Tell them what you think about an issue or law the Parliament is considering. Or get in touch with the government minister in charge of that area. For example, if the Parliament was making laws about cyber-safety and you wanted to have your say, you could contact the Minister for Communications. Contact details can be found on the Australian Parliament House website. You can petition the Parliament. A petition is a written request from citizens asking the Parliament to use its powers to act on an issue. For example, it might ask the Parliament to investigate the issue or pass a bill to solve a particular problem. Petitions are usually signed by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people. However, a petition only needs the name and address of one person to be presented to the Parliament. I present the following petitions – from 732 petitioners, requesting the repeal of mandatory detention legislation. I seek leave to table a document. It contains 16 393 signatures, calling for the government to protect the great white shark and opposing culling of the great white shark. Find out how to present a petition to the Senate or the House of Representatives, by searching under Parliamentary Business on the Australian Parliament House website. If a parliamentary committee is investigating something you feel strongly about, you can send them a written statement, called a submission, outlining your views. You might then be asked to appear as a witness before the committee to answer questions. What’s your view about the reasons for this piece of legislation? This legislation will not achieve a positive outcome in terms of lifting employment participation. Committees are made up of six to 12 members of parliament. They allow the Parliament to take a more detailed look at issues or proposed laws, and to hear the opinions of the community, experts and other groups. These students are describing their experience of balancing school and part-time work to a parliamentary committee. I used to be in year 10; I used to work about eight to 10 hours a week, and now I work more, which is probably not the ideal because I have more work now that I am in year 11. So Sundays is an extra pay rate, so you can do less hours but work more on Sunday. So I think it’s just about time management and how you use your time. Find out more about committee hearings at the Getting involved in Parliamentary Committees page on the Australian Parliament House website. There are other ways you can express your opinion. You could contribute to on-line forums, participate in youth parliaments, or attend a community meeting or rally to protest about an issue before the Parliament. To best represent all Australians, members of parliament need to know what Australians think about issues, so it’s important to stand up and be heard. And that means getting involved. #Music#

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