40th Anniversary of 1978 Mardi Gras

I am pleased to discuss as the matter of public importance the fortieth anniversary of the 1978 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

In the past couple of years parliaments at a State and Federal level have taken significant steps on the pathway to progress and justice for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning [LGBTIQ] community.

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Housing Stress and Homelessness

As many members of this House know, housing stress and homelessness are currently the issues that present most frequently in our electorate offices. Every week several constituents, who often are in a state of quiet desperation as they face eviction and struggle to find a suitable new home they can afford, attend my electorate office.

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Tribute to Helen Walker

On 14 September 2017 Helen Walker passed away, leaving the Blue Mountains community, her friends, colleagues and family too soon.

Helen was one of those people who restored your faith in the inherent goodness of humankind.

 

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Blue Mountains Australia Day Awards

I acknowledge the Australia Day Award recipients in my electorate of the Blue Mountains and our newest Australian citizens.

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Tribute to Anne Gabrielides

Tonight I reflect on the life of Anne Louise Gabrielides. I also pay tribute to her life partner, Paul. Together they championed the rights of others, demonstrating a lived commitment to improving the quality of life of so many. Sadly, Anne left this world on 6 January 2018, surrounded by family and friends. She suffered from motor neurone disease and, although she was determined to make the best of her life, she eventually succumbed to her condition.

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Teaching and Education Legislation Amendment (Employment)

I make a brief contribution today on the Teaching and Education Legislation Amendment (Employment) Bill 2017. I do so as a teacher who worked for 25 years as a casual on rolling temporary contracts across Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury region in the years before I was elected to this place.

It is this particular aspect of the bill that I wish to address.

While I note that most of the measures in this bill are simple, practical ones, some changes are made to the manner in which casual teachers may be employed in schools in New South Wales.

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New Intercity Fleet Petition Debate

It gives me enormous pleasure to lead in debate for the Labor Opposition today on the petition of more than 12,000 signatures against this Government's ham-fisted New Intercity Fleet project on which billions of dollars of taxpayers' money has been spent buying new trains from South Korea which are not fit for purpose and, absurdly, do not fit the tracks.

Blue Mountains, Newcastle and Illawarra commuters desperately need new trains to replace the ageing V sets, but we should not be forced to settle for whatever cut-price carriages this cheapskate Government seeks to foist upon us.

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Dying with Dignity

I acknowledge three of my incredible constituents—Anne and Paul Gabrielides and Coralie Richmond.

Each of those people has the most compelling stories to tell of their lives and about debate last week on the recent assisted dying bill that regrettably did not become law in New South Wales.

 

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Teaching

On behalf of some of my former teaching colleagues, I share some of their stories to give a voice to those at the coalface. Kerrie says:

I feel that the work of a teacher is underestimated and undervalued by the community, and government. I have been teaching for a long while and the changes and increasing workload have been phenomenal. I no longer encourage young people to choose teaching as a career. The personal rewards are few nowadays and the cost is great.

 

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Children and Young Persons Out-of-Home-Care

 

I support the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment (Auditing of Out-of-Home Care Providers) Bill 2017. I thank the member for Bankstown, the shadow Minister for Family and Community Services, for introducing such an important bill into this place. When the New South Wales Treasurer paraded the 2017-18 budget as the envy of the Western world earlier this year, quarterly statistics showed that fewer than one in three of the record nearly 86,000 children reported to Family and Community Services [FACS] as being at rick of significant harm were receiving a face-to-face assessment from a case worker—sobering statistics. 

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