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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 3 December 2020) . . Page.. 147 ..


Of course, I was not the first woman to be sexually harassed by this man and I was not the first woman to make a complaint against him. My story has not yet been resolved. Over the past months, several senior staff and executives have resigned, including the individual I made a complaint against. An external independent review into sexual harassment at the university is being conducted by one of New Zealand’s leading QCs and a coalition of hundreds of New Zealand academics is publicly demanding that an independent national body be established to address sexual harassment on campuses in New Zealand.

Ultimately, what has played out in my situation is the norm in a lot of workplaces, including our federal parliament. Men in powerful positions will work to protect each other regardless of the cost to other people and ultimately the enormous reputational cost to their institutions and organisations. Sexual harassment is an abuse of power—a corruption of power—and is largely gender based. My personal wellbeing, my mental health and my career should not suffer because I will not engage with someone sexually.

The reason I chose to tell this story today is that I feel it is important in demonstrating to the community what type of leader I will be. The experiences I have described are some of what I have seen along the way. These experiences form my vision. It has taken me 37 years to learn to stand up for myself. I can do that now, and that means that I can confidently say to the people of Murrumbidgee and Canberra that I can stand up for you; I can fight for you. I will fight very publicly at times and I will do the long, hard yards and have the hard conversations; and I will take the small steps that are needed at other times. From dealing with the streetlight that has stopped working and the shopping centre upgrade to the systemic, structural, cultural change that is required in our society, I will walk with you every step of the way. Thank you.

MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (11.19), by leave: I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people whose lands we meet on. I pay respects to their elders past, present and emerging. I acknowledge them as the true custodians of this land and I will try and learn from our First Nations peoples and care for our land better.

Now that we are in a climate emergency, what are we going to do about it? I am seriously worried about climate change. I have known about it my whole life. Back when I was a kid we called it the greenhouse effect. I thought that by the time I grew up someone else would have fixed it, but no-one has. I grew up in a world of denialism. There were endless, tedious debates about whether the climate was changing and whether it might be a result of human activity. In the late 1990s, when I was at uni, Australia signed the Kyoto Protocol. “Great,” I thought, “that’s settled it. We’ve accepted the problem; now someone else can fix it.” I was wrong.

We have since had two more decades of rising emissions, two more decades of missed opportunities. It is 2020 and I do not need to tell you what that means. The predictions made by Ross Garnaut in his 2008 climate report have come true. Flood, drought, hail, heat and fire—climate change is here, and it is a blazing disaster.


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