Page 1970 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022

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is not planning to raise the rate and, in fact, will continue the punitive regimes that kick people off their already inadequate payments.

Issues like these have caused the transformative, seismic ripple that has restructured Australian politics at this 2022 election. That seismic ripple is the fact that, for the first time in Australia’s electoral history, a huge number of Australians discovered and harnessed the power of their preferences and chose to support parties and candidates outside of the two-party system. The election was a comprehensive repudiation of the Morrison government and the coalition parties—that is clear—but it was not an embrace of the Labor Party in its place. The Labor Party’s vote, in fact, slumped to an all-time low, as did the coalition’s. Both major parties achieved their lowest votes ever. Instead, people transferred the vote to candidates who championed progressive policies like integrity and climate change. This was the so-called teal wave of progressive independents and the Greens.

The Greens had an excellent result nationally and locally. The Greens’ national primary vote increased. There will be 12 Greens senators and an additional three Greens members in the House, bringing the total on the Greens benches to four. The message should be very clear to the Labor government, with its narrow majority and lowest vote ever, just as it should be clear to the coalition with its resounding eviction from government. People want a government that will act as strongly and quickly as possible on issues like climate change, integrity and equality. There is no guarantee the slim majority government will be delivered next time, and I hope this message is resonating to everybody who will be working in that building on the hill. This fracturing of the political duopoly is a significant and positive outcome from this year’s federal election. I hold hope that, in part due to this message from the Australian people, we will see a change in politics, most clearly in the form of bolder climate change action.

While many people know about the wave of independent candidates that have been elected, like Ms Lee I want to make special note of the fact that there are also now more Indigenous members of parliament than ever before—10 in total. There will now also be 13 MPs from non-Indigenous and non-European backgrounds, and 10 of these are women. It is important that Australians are increasingly seeing themselves reflected in the composition of the parliament. All of this is to be celebrated and built upon. I look forward to seeing not just a more diverse chamber, but one that is more collegiate, more ambitious and more mindful of its responsibility to the Australian people. I hope to see an emboldened Labor Party willing to pursue the progressive policies we need in Australia.

Before I discuss some matters in my own ministerial portfolios, I want to pay a special acknowledgement to our local Greens candidates who stood up to represent the ACT and worked so hard on their campaigns. Tianara, Tim, Natasa, James and Kathryn believe strongly in representing their community, in Greens policies and principles, and in creating a better future for all of us. The federal parliament will be a lesser place without them. Congratulations to them and the admirable results that they achieved.

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