Other Policies

The state of Australia’s ecosystems continues to deteriorate, with record species extinction and habitat destruction.

Much of this decline is attributable to human activities, from climate change to clearing of land for development.

Conservation of the remaining biodiversity is a complex task requiring coordination across a range of policy areas and governance levels. I will continue to push for better policy to preserve the precious ecosystems of Goldstein and Australia’s environment, at the federal and local levels.

Priorities

Integrity in federal environment policy – As with my priorities on climate, policies must be designed to deliver the best outcomes for the environment and biodiversity, not merely profits for industry, but a pathway to the technologies that promise to power prosperity, productivity and well paying, secure jobs for our children. 

Improving coordination and support for local conservation projects – Ecosystems extend across borders and governance lines, and a coordinated approach recognising the importance of connectivity across local government areas is necessary to delivering the best environmental outcomes.

Achievements

  • Ensured the Albanese government met its election commitment to fund Bayside City Council’s establishment of Yalukit Willam (formerly Elsternwick Park) Nature Reserve.
  • Advocated for increased investment to improve water flowing through Port Phillip Bay through updated state government and local council plans.
  • Initiated discussion with fellow MPs, local government, and stakeholders from Frankston to Williamstown and beyond to improve the management of Port Phillip Bay taking more cohesive ecosystem approach.
  • Sought amendments to the government’s Safeguard Mechanism legislation to ensure that our 200-plus biggest polluters genuinely reduce their emissions rather than use low-integrity carbon credits to account their way to zero.
  • Actively supporting preservation of Australia’s native forests. Under Regional Forest Agreements, the logging of native forests is currently exempt from federal environment laws.
  • Initiated the Village Zero community pilot project in Sandringham to facilitate progress to net zero through community energy use, solar uptake, zero waste and green space in our suburban villages.

Next steps/aims

  • Apply a laser-like focus on Safeguard Mechanism reporting to ensure it does what the government claims it will, that is to ensure that our biggest polluters make a real contribution to the overall budget for carbon emissions.
  • Ensure that the integrity challenges found in the carbon market are not repeated in the government’s proposed Nature Repair Market, intended to encourage voluntary investment in biodiversity conservation.
  • Ensure that updates to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act are fit-for-purpose for the best outcomes for biodiversity, including a recognition of the impacts of climate change on environmental degradation.
  • Continue to work with local councils and the Victorian Government to encourage a
    coordinated approach to conservation projects and improved biodiversity in and around Goldstein, especially improving the state of Port Phillip Bay.
  • Continue to highlight the throughline between in climate action and protection of the environment and biodiversity.

Addressing Australia’s Aged Care Crisis: My Commitment to Urgent Reform

Australia’s aged care sector is widely acknowledged to be in crisis, necessitating immediate change. I am pleased that the May 2023 Budget has included a long overdue pay rise for aged care workers.  I am determined to keep the pressure on the government to enact further urgent reform. 

Legislative change forms a key aspect, with a focus on rewriting the Aged Care Act from a human rights perspective, introducing accountability measures, and establishing an independent Aged Care Commission. Reducing red tape, streamlining paperwork, and modernising communication methods are also priorities.

Ensuring quality of care is paramount. Elder choices of care will be supported, regulated home care programs will be adequately funded, and evidence-based dementia care will be provided. 

Recognising the value of aged care workers.  My policy prioritises adequate compensation, attracting more individuals to the industry, and mandating staffing ratios. Training will be fast-tracked, and government funding will be tied to care and staffing levels that directly impact residents.

I am committed to rectifying the long-standing issues in aged care that have been exacerbated by deregulation and neglect. By reintroducing rules that prioritise dignity and quality of life for elders, I aim to address the unmet needs of the community and bring about meaningful reform.

Supporting Australians with Disabilities: Ensuring Inclusion and Dignity

The full participation of Australians with disabilities in society is vital, and they must be supported and provided access to achieve this. I believe in empowering individuals with lived experience of disability to lead systemic reform, placing their autonomy and dignity at the forefront of decision-making processes impacting their lives.

Aims

  • Push for Government commitment to meet and exceed recommendations outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Systemic reform led by individuals with lived experience of disability, dismantling the marketisation of services that discriminates against the most vulnerable. Prioritising outcomes and genuine service delivery over outcome indicators.
  • Advocate for proper funding and administration of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
  • Implementation of safeguards to protect NDIS participants from predatory, negligent, and profit-driven providers.
  • Action on recommendations arising from the Disability Royal Commission, delivering its final report in September 2023.
  • Adequate funding and staffing of the public health system to ensure accessible and comprehensive services for people with disabilities.
  • Conducting a review to address systemic discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

I am a strong advocate for people with disabilities, recognising their contributions and rejecting any measures or cost-cutting that hinder their ability to contribute to our nation’s well-being. Their worth extends beyond economic considerations, and I am dedicated to upholding their rights and enhancing their quality of life.

You can watch the Goldstein NDIS forum I held in January 2023 with Disability Minister, The Hon Bill Shorten here 

The Jewish people have suffered unimaginable trauma throughout history, from pogroms to blood libels, from antisemitic tropes to the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust – a genocide without parallel.

It is crucial that we learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and never tolerate bigotry or hate speech in any form. To protect the Jewish community and other groups, we must maintain and strengthen legislative frameworks such as 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to stamp out online hate. We must all work to change the culture that allows hate and intolerance to flourish, call out antisemitic tropes whenever they arise, and educate ourselves regarding the risks that they present.

Mischaracterisations of Jewish people must be identified immediately as the starting point for much worse, and there must be zero tolerance for such stereotypes. When the Holocaust is misused and weaponised to score points in an argument, we devalue this horrific event and cause great pain to Holocaust survivors and their descendants. We must always centre the experience of survivors of this great crime against humanity and honour the memory of the victims who perished.

I am committed to standing with the Jewish community and fighting to keep them safe. Hate speech has no place in Australia, and neither does Holocaust denial or the co-opting of the trauma of the Jewish community for political gain.

I will fight to ensure that crucial legislation, like 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, is never repealed or watered down to enable hate speech. Indeed, I will fight to strengthen it.

I firmly believe in the right of the Jewish people to a safe and secure homeland in the State of Israel, and I will always be a strong supporter of Israel as a Jewish State, existing within safe and secure borders.

The people of Israel have a right to live free from terror, and there can never be any justification for attacks that target innocent civilians. The word, ‘Apartheid’, should not be used to describe the situation in Israel, and I do not support the BDS movement, which seeks to delegitimise the Jewish State and deny the Jewish people the right to self-determination.

Together with my Jewish friends, I hope for the day that peace will come to the region, when both Israelis and Palestinians can prosper side by side with peace and security for all, beneficiaries of the Two State Solution that is supported by both major parties and which I support as well. The discourse around Israel is too often polarised and simplistic, and we must take into account the complexity of the situation. 

As a community-backed representative, I deeply empathise with the concerns of the Jewish community, especially as we witness a rise in antisemitism across the world.

As your local, Independent Federal member, I remain a strong advocate for federal laws in line with international definitions of antisemitism and ensure that we have an effective complaints mechanism for acts of antisemitism. I will work to promote education and awareness about the Jewish community and its culture, history, and contributions to Australia. We must stand together as a community and fight against hate, bigotry, and intolerance in all forms.

Jewish Community actions since the terror attacks of October 7th, 2023 

Here is a sample of what I have done to care for the safety and well-being of Goldstein’s Jewish community in the months since October 7th, 2023:

       I was immediately in touch, and remain in regular contact with Zionism Victoria, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. 

       Urgently pressed the Foreign Minister to get extra repatriation flights out of Israel and Gaza.

       Provided regular updates on travel advice to the community.

       Took the parliamentary initiative in getting fast-tracked security grants for faith-based places and pressed for fast release of the funds. Recipients in Goldstein include: 

·       Blake Street Hebrew Congregation, Caulfield South

·       Hebrew Congregation Brighton, Brighton East

·       Yavneh College, Elsternwick 

·       South Caulfield Hebrew Congregation, Caulfield South

       Spoken regularly with the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, community organisations, schools, religious leaders, community members, and colleagues in Parliament.

 

       Met with the Israeli ambassador in Canberra.

 

       Visited synagogues, made regular calls to rabbis and met with Jewish community members in my office and in the community to hear their concerns and to take action on their behalf.

 

       Called on the government to criminalise doxxing and worked with the Arts Minister to protect Jewish creatives from discrimination.

 

       Visited universities and met with university vice-chancellors to express my position that people have the right to peaceful protest but that opposition to Israel’s actions in Gaza is in no way a licence to abuse or ostracise Jewish people.

 

       Took out a full-page ad in the AJN on 24 October, 2023, to make my position clear.

 

       Met with Victorian Premier Jacinta Allen, community leaders, the police commissioner, CSG and others particularly to address what happened in Caulfield over Yom Kippur

 

In relation to universities, I have called upon the government to do three things:

     Appoint a special antisemitism envoy, as has occurred overseas, to engage with faith leaders and other stakeholders to understand the problem’s scope. 

     Conduct a judicial inquiry into antisemitism to depoliticise this incredibly serious issue.

     Support the recommendation of the University Accord report by conducting a study of racism on university campuses including a specific focus on antisemitism. 

 

Updated 27 June 2024

I am a firm believer in equality, and I am dedicated to advocating for the rights and interests of the LGBTQI+ community in Goldstein and across Australia.

Priorities

  • Robust protection of the rights of LGBTQI+ teachers, children, and children of LGBTQI+ parents in religious schools and healthcare settings.
  • Implementation of federal laws to outlaw ‘conversion’ practices, drawing on best practices such as those in Victoria. This includes a legislated ban on conversion therapy.
  • Conducting an audit of all federal laws to ensure comprehensive coverage of LGBTQI+ rights.
  • Recognizing and addressing the specific needs of LGBTQI+ individuals in various areas, including family support, intimate partner violence, emergency and crisis housing, aged care, and mental health. Inclusion in services and research is paramount.
  • Establishment of a federal LGBTIQA+ Commissioner within the Human Rights Commission.

Guiding principles

  • Recognising the diversity within the LGBTQI+ communities and catering to their specific needs.
  • Ensuring that issues affecting a particular community are led by individuals and organisations from that community, with others serving as allies.
  • Striving for progress that benefits all communities, without compromising the rights and well-being of any group.
  • Resolving issues with equality, respect, and consensus for win-win outcomes.
  • Upholding the rights of every Australian to live free from discrimination, establish loving families, exercise bodily autonomy, and thrive authentically in terms of gender and sexual identity.

While marriage equality was an important milestone, there is still work to be done to combat discrimination and harassment faced by the LGBTQI+ community. I am committed to creating an inclusive society where everyone can flourish without fear of prejudice or mistreatment, both in the legal realm and in the workplace.

Australia’s mental health system is in crisis, leaving many Australians without affordable and high-quality mental health care when they need it.

As the Independent Federal representative for Goldstein, I am dedicated to advocating for crucial changes in mental health policy. 

Priorities

  • Prioritising access to affordable and high-quality mental health care while reducing waste. We must ensure that people in need can access the support they require.
  • Expanding the mental health care workforce and implementing effective regional waiting lists across Australia. Reforms to mental health emergency services are also essential.
  • Establishing preventative programs that address the underlying causes of mental illness and improving access to mental health services for young people.
  • Supporting and expanding community-based and geographically focused mental health services, as well as community-based recovery initiatives for individuals with mental illness.
  • Addressing the “missing middle” by establishing a federal coordinating body to collaborate with states in achieving the above goals. This body will conduct a national strategic needs assessment to ensure sufficient inpatient mental health beds.
  • Collaborating with governments to assess additional funding and resources required for non-hospital services, including psychiatrists, psychologists, step-up/step-down services, short-stay units, and hospital-at-home programs.
  • Ensuring seamless provision of mental health care across different levels of government funding and service delivery. Transparent monitoring, reporting, and evaluation will hold providers and governments accountable, with meaningful input from those with lived experience of mental illness and their carers.
  • Improving access to mental health care for those in need, addressing cost barriers that deter individuals from seeking support.
  • Overcoming the “funding paradox” by redirecting resources to areas where affordable care is lacking, rather than increasing services in wealthier regions.

By implementing these policies, we can enhance the mental health of Australians, alleviate the economic burden of mental illness, and guarantee that everyone can access timely and appropriate care. 

Together, we can create a mental health system that supports the wellbeing of all Australians.

For refugees, complexity is not resolved via cruelty. 

Australia must find better solutions. We need to be showing compassion and fairness while still maintaining our strong borders.

I have applied significant pressure to the government on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers, along with others on the crossbench and members of our community. This has supported improvements to permanent protection visa arrangements and granting of access to social benefits available to people. 

Priorities

  • An end to indefinite detention for refugees and people seeking asylum. 
  • Restoration of the Refugee and Humanitarian Program to its previous levels. 
  • Reversal of cuts to humanitarian visa places and restoring the quota to the pre-election levels. 
  • Special attention to Afghan and Myanmar refugees by accepting them above existing quotas and providing temporary and permanent resettlement options.
  • Rebooting the Bali process to establish a regional solution for asylum seekers involving source, transit and destination countries, especially Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand
  • Successfully applied pressure to the Albanese government to step up sanctions against the Myanmar junta and continue to push for further restrictions on their ability to buy weapons to use against their people

Aims

  • Prioritising compassion, fairness, and strong borders in finding humane solutions for refugees and asylum seekers. 
  • Reviewing family reunification policies to find better solutions for asylum seekers and refugees.
  • Expanding protection-oriented community sponsorship programs to enhance refugee protection in Australia
  • Pressuring the government for an independent expert review of Australia’s treatment, detention, and processing of refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Implementing the review’s recommendations, including a cost-benefit analysis of ending offshore detention and developing a multilateral strategy to ensure the safety and dignity of refugees in Southeast Asia.

Achievements

  • Successfully advocated with the Immigration Minister for immediate actions to improve the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in limbo as a result of Australia’s offshore detention policy.
  • Improved visa arrangement for residents of Myanmar fleeing the junta’s military attacks on their communities, both internally displaced and those across the borders of Thailand and Bangladesh.
  • Successfully advocated to the government for sanctions on the Myanmar junta, and continue advocating for further sanctions
  • Facilitated the CRISP program in Goldstein that will shortly welcome families from various nations to be housed and supported in our community. 

One of the reasons I fought to represent the people of Goldstein is to create a better future for our young people.

Meeting so many young people in our community was inspiring, and also gave me a direct insight into their lives and the issues that affect them. I learnt a lot from them – and I still am. 

That’s why I am currently fighting to decrease HECS-HELP indexation, to ease the pressure that young people are under in an economy that was not built to support them. Decreasing indexation will impact not only young people but anyone with a HECS-HELP debt. In Goldstein, there are over 80,000 people with a tertiary qualification. The government stands to profit $2.5 billion from this year’s indexation alone. While I understand the need for and value of taxation, it’s important to question who is being burdened with the cost of a struggling economy. I don’t think our kids should be held responsible for fixing entrenched policy failures and pre-existing, intergenerational inequality. 

Housing affordability is a key and essential policy area that impacts our youth. We, as a government and as a community, have a responsibility to create a better, more sustainable housing market that will assist young Australians, not encumber them. 

Cost of living is also driving our younger community members further into debt. With cost of living increasing and wages trailing behind, young people are being hit the hardest. The biggest priority for me is making sure that our economy is adjusted to reflect the needs of the taxpayers – those who are supporting it. As a country, we are too dependent on income tax and I want to make sure that the government is not taking that out on those who can least afford it – young people, students, welfare recipients, women and single parents. 

Goldstein is home to so many great educational institutions, but some of our schools are struggling. I am fighting for better facilities at Sandringham Secondary College, where the teaching is fantastic but the buildings are just not up to scratch. I am advocating to the state government to improve Sandy Secondary College and give our kids the best start possible to their education.

A few weeks ago, I visited a local primary school to talk to them about what our government does. They had some brilliant questions, and it reminded me who we’re really doing this for. 

Because if not us, who? And if not now, when?