Wed, 17 May 2023 - 13:35

3 Day Community Meetings - HK Post Issue 39 (16 May 2023)

A BIG part of the job of a member of parliament is listening to the community you represent.

That is why I recently held fifteen ‘listening post’ community meetings over three days, right across the electorate of Bradfield. At Castle Cove in the south, at Hornsby in the north, and at many points in between, I was able to meet with and hear from some 200 constituents.

I want to thank everybody who made the effort to come along; I was delighted that so many people thought it was worth taking the time to come and speak to me about issues which they thought were important.

I certainly took away quite a number of follow-up actions! Whether it is raising an immigration matter with the Commonwealth Immigration Minister, or alerting the State Transport Minister to potholes in local roads, or taking up locals’ concerns about proposed 5G base stations with Telstra, I will be working to have constituents’ concerns heard.

Many people gave me their views about current public policy issues in federal government. Quite a few expressed their alarm about the Labor Government’s tax increases (both those already announced, for example on superannuation balances above a certain level, and those which may be coming.) Others spoke to me about the cost of living and rapidly rising energy bills.

Still, others raised concerns about aged care. Several people referred to recent news of several aged care facilities closing because they are unable to comply with the Labor Government’s hard deadline of 1 July 2023 for having a registered nurse on duty in aged care facilities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (a deadline well ahead of what the Royal Commission recommended.)

There was also a fair bit of discussion about the Prime Minister’s plan for a referendum to insert into the Constitution provisions to establish an indigenous ‘Voice’ which will have the right to make representations to the Parliament and across the government. Some were strongly for it; some were strongly against it; quite a few people were uncertain about it and wanting more details about how it would work.

I was able to explain that the Liberal Party supports the recognition of indigenous Australians in our constitution, and we support regional and local bodies to advocate on behalf of indigenous communities. I also made clear that the Bill before the Parliament, to authorise the referendum to proceed, will be supported by the Liberal Party. Our concerns relate to the nature of the Voice as the body proposed to be entrenched in the Constitution.

Thank you to everyone who came along - and to the many others who were prompted to email me their thoughts and ideas. It has been, yet again, an encouraging reminder of just how engaged, informed, and thoughtful the people of Bradfield are.