Blogs

PRINCES HIGHWAY EAST

HIGHWAY CLOSURE NOT GOOD ENOUGH

June 19, 2012

One of the most concerning situations to arise out of recent storm damage was the closure of the Princes Highway east of Orbost for several days.

The closure could not have come at a worse time for local small businesses with the Queen’s Birthday long-weekend a popular time for visitors to East Gippsland and the heavy transport industry severely disrupted.

As a direct result of the situation there have been major social and economic impacts on our region and the bottom line is that’s it’s not good enough in the 21st century for the major east coast transport link to be shut down for several days because of storm damage.

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PROTESTS

VIOLENT PROTESTS WON’T SOLVE ISSUES OF CONCERN

January 30, 2012

The irony of targeting Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to highlight concerns over the treatment of Aboriginals was undoubtedly lost on the many ‘professional protestors’ who participated in the shameful Australia Day scenes in Canberra.

Mr Abbott is one of the few Federal MPs who has shown a personal commitment to improving the lives of indigenous people and has regularly travelled to remote locations to work alongside community leaders on projects that have made a practical difference.

If the protestors thought they could boost community support for their cause by threatening our nation’s senior political leaders, they were sadly mistaken. Their actions on Australia Day, followed by the burning of the Australian flag, will have disappointed and angered many Australians.

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CABINET UNDERREPRESENTED

CABINET LACKING REGIONAL REPRESENTATION

July 4, 2011

The Gillard Government’s mishandling of the live export issue and the decision to cut childcare funding from small regional areas stand as two compelling pieces of evidence in the case for including more regionally-based MPs in the Cabinet.

Despite the fact that almost one-third of Australians live outside the capital cities, the current Gillard Cabinet does not include a single Member of Parliament who can truly claim to represent the interests of regional people.

Although the Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean talks a lot about ‘localism’ – standing up for the interests of regional Australia is not an academic pursuit. You need to live and work amongst rural and regional people to fully understand their hopes and aspirations for the future.

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COMMUNITY SAFETY

TACKLING UNDER-AGE DRINKING

March 21, 2011

The State Government is proposing new laws which would make it illegal for adults to provide alcohol to anybody else’s child visiting their homes, unless they gained permission from the children’s parents.

It may sound like a tough move but I support the concept as part of a broader strategy to change our drinking culture and reduce street violence.

We need to do more to tackle binge drinking and under-age alcohol abuse as part of a nation-wide approach to improving individual health and community safety.

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GIPPSLAND LAKES

GIPPSLAND LAKES A NATIONAL ICON

May 30, 2011

This week in Federal Parliament I highlighted the need for the Commonwealth Government to provide more funding and take an active role in the future of the Gippsland Lakes.

As an internationally-recognised wetland, there is a clear responsibility for the Federal Government to fund local agencies, including volunteer organisations, which are involved in practical environmental projects to protect and enhance the system.

In the past, I have described the Gippsland Lakes as ‘the Great Barrier Reef of the south’ but there is a stark contrast in terms of the level of funding and support these two natural icons receive.

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GOVERNMENT

DEMOCRATIC SYSTEMS OF GOVERNMENT

January 10, 2011

The tragic shooting of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona will inevitably reignite the gun debate in the United States and force a rethink of security for all elected Members.

While the facts leading up to the shooting are still largely unknown, the alleged gunman used a Glock semi-automatic pistol to fire up to 20 rounds in just 15 seconds, killing six people at the scene.

The crowd was gathered at a ‘Congress on your Corner’ event which had been organised by Ms Giffords to meet with constituents. It is something that many politicians in democratic nations like the US and Australia are doing every day of the week because it allows local residents to have direct access to their local MPs.

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MENTAL HEALTH

MENTAL HEALTH A CHALLENGE IN REGIONS

April 25, 2011

One of the greatest challenges facing East Gippsland is prevention and treatment of people with mental health issues.

The alarming incidence of mental health problems, particularly among younger people, is exacerbated in regional areas where it is more difficult to access specialised assistance.

Too many people suffer without proper diagnosis and treatment while their families and friends do their best to help but lack the experience and professional skills to fully assist their loved ones.

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POLICY PROBLEMS

POLICIES ARE THE PROBLEMS

September 26, 2011

A lot of people are asking me whether Prime Minister Julia Gillard will survive in her job as the opinion polls continue to trend downwards.

I don’t believe it matters who leads the Labor Party at the moment – if they are not prepared to change their policies, they won’t win the next election.

The biggest issue for the government at the moment is the public’s lack of confidence in its ability to make a decision and implement its policies.

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