By Stephen Bates
Member for Brisbane
It has been over a year since I had the privilege of being elected as the Member for Brisbane and what a year it has been.
I want to begin by saying a huge thank you to everyone who works with me in our electorate office. I am incredibly lucky to work with such dedicated and passionate people who have dedicated their lives to serving our community. This shared passion has shone through the work our team has carried out over the past year and resulted in the Brisbane community seeing just how politics can be done differently.
Electorate Office & Advocacy
Since being sworn in to Parliament last year, the Brisbane electorate office has directly advocated for just under 1,000 community members who have been struggling with immigration, Centrelink, housing, aged care, health, education, development issues, and more. We have also personally responded to more than 7,000 constituent queries, held dozens of pop-up offices across the electorate, and engaged with the community through various local issue campaigns.
We are very fortunate in the Brisbane electorate to have countless organisations dedicating their time and resources to improving the lives of locals. At the end of June, I was pleased to donate a portion of my salary to establish a grants program. Grants of between $100 and $1,500 were allocated to local groups and organisations to assist them in providing a range of services to our community from Welcome to Country, through to new classroom equipment, and support for young trans people.
Local Issues Campaigns
Our office has been running numerous local campaigns to address issues of concern for the community.
- Fighting for a better deal on the 2032 Games and associated infrastructure for our local communities
- Advocating for more green space and affordable housing in Newstead.
- Fighting against the expansion of the gambling industry in our electorate, campaigning to stop the Stafford Bowls Club from being turned into a racing club venue.
- Working with locals and community groups to address unsustainable flight noise pollution.
- Empowering local communities with the ability to fight back against poor local government planning and decision-making.
It is a turbulent time for queer people in our country and across the world right now. We are witnessing countries wind back hard won rights and seeing political leaders publicly denounce the LGBTIQA+ community. When times are tough, we have even more of an obligation to fight for human rights and that is exactly what The Greens will continue to do.
Since coming into office, my team and I have run campaigns on counting LGBTIQA+ people in the census, establishing an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner, allowing gay men to donate blood, and fixing legislation to allow queer couples to access IVF treatments through Medicare.
Young people continue to provide hope for me and I am very lucky to hold the Youth portfolio for The Greens. In February of this year, I introduced a private members bill to expand voting rights to 16 and 17 year olds.
Since then, the grassroots campaign ‘MakeIt16AU’ has been established with branches and members in every State and Territory across the country. MakeIt16AU is a movement of young people who are organising because they want to have a say in their own future and in the society they will be spending the rest of their lives in. The Greens will be with them every step of the way.
Thank you to everyone who has supported my office and myself since the 2022 election. It has been an honour to represent our movement in Parliament and I am very excited to see what the future holds.