The Morrison government is failing to protect the environment
18 February 2021
'Australia's natural environment and iconic places are in an overall state of decline and are under increasing threat. The environment is not sufficiently resilient to withstand current, emerging or future threats, including climate change. The environmental trajectory is currently unsustainable.' Those are the words that start off the 'Key messages' section in the final report of the independent review of Australia's environmental laws. This is a report that was provided to the government in October—the government sat on it until January before releasing it—and it comes at a time of very significant environmental degradation, as the reviewer has said.
National Anniversary of the Apology 2021
12 February 2021
I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we’re meeting, and I pay my respects to elders past and present. We are standing on land for which sovereignty was never ceded.
All Stolen Generations and their families, including anyone connected with the former Cranbrook House, a little to the west of here. I know that today we’re all thinking of the girls and young women who were taken there against their and their family’s will.
Aircraft noise speech to parliament
02 February 2021
Our community and the former member for Griffith, the Hon. Kevin Rudd AC, fought strongly on the issue of aircraft noise. It was hard fought, and Kevin even became personally liable to pay $32,000 after taking the issue to court. The community rallied around him, but ultimately they were not able to stop the second runway at Brisbane Airport. In 2007, one of the last acts of the Howard government was to give the final approval for it. Throughout my time as the member for Griffith, I have made a number of representations to Airservices Australia and to the Brisbane Airport Corporation, and I want to thank them for engaging with me. Ultimately, though, it is the responsibility of the government, not unelected agencies, to call the shots. It is up to them to make sure that aircraft noise is managed well, while also making sure that Australians' domestic and international travel and freight needs are served.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons: Remarks to the event “Celebrate a Nuclear Weapons Free Future with WILPF”.
22 January 2021
Thank you Aunty Sue for an important contribution, and for reminding us of the tests on Australian soil. For my first half decade in the parliament I had hanging on my wall in parliament a photograph from Emu Field. It was important to be reminded that as Australian parliamentarians we must take responsibility not just for defence but also for peace, and that we must remember the impact of those tests.
National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse
01 December 2020
In rising to commemorate the second anniversary of the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, I want to join with the other speakers in acknowledging all of those who suffered as a consequence of that abuse. There are people who lost their lives as a consequence of that abuse. They never recovered from the trauma. They were never able to live with what they had been through, and some of them never even disclosed what they had been through. There were children who tried to report what was happening to them and weren't believed. There were children who weren't able to find the words to report what was happening to them and carried it with them into adulthood. There are adults who made their first disclosure later in life. There are adults who made their first disclosure, having thought about it and lived with it for years and years—decades in some cases.
Family law reform
30 November 2020
There are a few things that families need when there's been a family breakdown and where the parents or, in cases where there are not children, the couple who are dissolving their marriage cannot agree on the resolution of that dissolution. There are a few things that they need and, of course, chief amongst those is a system that is responsive to their needs in which they have access to justice. If someone is in a marriage breakdown, particularly where there are children involved, sometimes the reason that resolution can't be reached between the parties without the need of external assistance can be that people are just unreasonable. But in a lot of cases that's not the source of the lack of private resolution. In a lot of cases there's a difference in power, in status or in financial means. In a lot of cases there are genuine reasons why external assistance through the court system is needed. In a substantial proportion of those cases that are disputed, family and domestic violence is a feature. This is an issue that was raised by the former Chief Justice of the Family Court and has been a hallmark of a number of the inquiries in relation to family law in this country—the fact that a large proportion, not a majority but a large minority, of cases that are disputed, that are unable to be resolved between the parties, have family violence as a feature.
Age pension petition
30 November 2020
I present this certified petition at the request of an organisation based in my electorate, the Australian Pensioners and Superannuants League of Queensland. This group, based in West End, has gathered 1,238 signatures from people who argue that the current single age pension is not enough to cover the basic cost of living. They are arguing for a reduction in the difference between the couple age pension and the single age pension, from 33 per cent to 18 per cent. Pensioners and their families, not just in my electorate but across the country, know the Morrison government cannot be trusted with their pensions or their standard of living after retirement.
Motion to protect koalas
30 November 2020
That this House:
(1) notes that:
(a) the koala is an iconic Australian species;
(b) the Queensland, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory koala populations have been listed as vulnerable under national environment law;
(c) vast numbers of koalas were killed in last summer's national bushfire crisis, including an estimated third of the New South Wales population;
(d) in the wake of the fires the koala is being considered for up-listing (an increased threatened listing status);
(e) habitat loss is among the most significant threats to koalas;
(f) the Government is years overdue in making a Threatened Species Recovery Plan for the koala, which was initially due by 2015; and
(g) the National Koala Conservation Strategy ran until 2014 and has yet to be replaced by this Government; and
(2) therefore calls on the Government to prevent further habitat loss through yet-to-commence development in areas in which the koala is listed as vulnerable, pending the completion of the formal assessment for up listing, the making of a Threatened Species Recovery Plan, and the making of a new National Koala Conservation Strategy.
Koalas: speech to the Federation Chamber
29 October 2020
Ms BUTLER (Griffith) (10:18): Stopping extinctions is crucial to preserving Australians' very special way of life and to make sure that icons like the koala don't disappear forever. National icons like the koala are at risk, as are many, many more species. Australia is a world leader in extinctions. It's not a very good distinction to have. Labor doesn't want to see a future where our children can only read about koalas in the history books, but that's the path we're on as a nation right now.
Scott Morrison has some dodgy mates: speech in the Matter of Public Importance debate
29 October 2020
That was a bizarre contribution from the assistant minister, who seemed to spend more time talk about the member for Shortland than defending his own government's record. But how can he defend his own government's record? They have no record to defend. The Prime Minister spent a week campaigning for the LNP in the Queensland state election, including attending an LNP fundraiser with the Deputy Prime Minister and the Queensland opposition leader, but at the same time he claims he hasn't had time to establish a national integrity commission. The Prime Minister has got time to help his LNP and other mates in Queensland, but he doesn't have time to establish a national integrity commission. He has time to rack up a trillion dollars of debt, but no time to make sure his government leaves no one behind. He's had time to send out 50 press releases in four years since he personally announced, when he was the Treasurer, the establishment of the National Water Infrastructure Loans Facility, and that facility was abolished a couple of weeks ago without having written a single loan. They wrote 50 press releases; they wrote zero loans. This is a government that produces nothing for Australia but media releases, photo ops and announcements.