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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 March 2018) . . Page.. 682 ..


Of course, the other big issue that our media is under-representing is social justice. Australia is getting to be a less equal not more equal society. Members will remember that I have been rabbiting on about housing and housing affordability for a long time. These are the sorts of issues. Newstart has not gone up for, I do not think, about 30 years. This is the sort of issue that we should be talking about. I have been a single mother. I know I am not the only person in this Assembly who has been a single mother. It is tough. We need better social support for all our community. These are the things that our media should be concentrating more of their efforts on, rather than our internal fights about political points.

I totally support Mr Rattenbury’s amendment. Probably the only other thing I should really say, as someone who is over 60 and, I believe, the oldest member of the Assembly, is that older members of our community are vitally important. As Ms Lawder said, they are often the only people who have the time to actually look at what is going on in our community. They have a wealth of knowledge from various parts of their lives and it is vital that they are a continuing part of our community. Yes, it does get harder as you get older. It is not as easy to get out, you find that the fonts of things are impossible to read and your hearing is not as good.

We need to place particular emphasis on making sure that our communication is accessible to all—accessible to older people and to younger people and, of course, to the people, the majority of Canberrans, in between. I regret the comments that have led to this censure motion and Mr Rattenbury’s amendment, but I will be supporting Mr Rattenbury’s amendment.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (11.09): As a member of the ACT Assembly for the Labor Party, I believe strongly that the media and quality journalism are important to the healthy functioning of our democracy. The Chief Minister has quite genuinely apologised for his comments, today and in the media last week.

We respect the role that mainstream media organisations and journalists play in reporting and providing analysis of governments, businesses and organisations. The government and the Chief Minister are not seeking to subvert that role. Instead, we are using a range of new ways of engaging with Canberrans in addition to traditional media. Labor, both ACT and federal, have been very clear in our party platforms that we will engage with young Australians, including through social media and new technology, as well as mainstream media. We must engage the hard-to-reach audiences and include them in our decision-making.

Last sitting week in the Assembly, I brought forward a matter of public importance about the importance of broad engagement with the community where I said that we must find new ways of engaging with young people as well as continuing to engage with older audiences on existing platforms. Those comments seemed unremarkable at the time, but maybe Mr Coe will bring on a censure motion in the chamber against me and censure me for those comments in the next sitting week.

That view should not be seen as offensive to older people, with whom we will continue to engage actively through the channels that they engage with. But it is about


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