The last month has been an absolute rollercoaster. In this short space of time I’ve sat through 3 sitting weeks, I’ve been to the Australian Greens National Conference in Hobart, I’ve attended committee hearings for the Future of Work in Australia and for the National Broadband Network – both of which I am now a member – and delivered speeches in the chamber on Australia’s housing crisis, on youth disengagement, on climate change and on disability rights, just to name a few.
In the second sitting week I had the opportunity to ask my first parliamentary question – on the unemployment rates of people with a disability in Australia and what the federal government is doing about it (the answer: not much) – and together with Rachel, moved my first motion calling for a Royal Commission into the abuse, violence and neglect of people with a disability, which was passed by the Senate.
On Wednesday, 29th November I delivered my inaugural speech to the Senate. Instead of a traditional ‘thank you’ speech, I took a different approach by asking Australia-at-large what would be the one thing they could say to a politician if they had the chance. The response was overwhelming! We had almost 3,000 comments on social media, as well as numerous phone calls, emails and messages. It was an incredible privilege to be able to incorporate people’s genuine concerns, issues and ideas into my first speech, and what I hope is symbolic of the way I will approach everything that I do in Parliament.
Amongst all the firsts I was also honoured to have played a part in the debate on Marriage Equality, which historically passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives with flying colours, and to have spoken to important pieces of legislation concerning the NDIS and welfare reform.
After taking a short break over the holidays, I’m looking forward to focusing on what we can achieve together in 2018 in WA and in my portfolio areas – Youth Affairs, Disability Services. Digital Rights & IT, NBN and Sustainable Cities – and long-term!!! I can’t wait to get stuck into it.
Header photo: Jordon and team, left to right: Elliot,Trish, Penny, Jordon, Tim and Aimee. Tracey Steele-John