Almost 3 in 5 North Sydneysiders voted YES last weekend, joining the vast majority of Indigenous Australians in calling for First Nations communities to have more of a say on issues directly affecting them. While the referendum ultimately did not succeed, I am proud that our community was able to come together for a more inclusive Australia. I hope that we continue listening to one another with empathy and respect as we reflect on the result and determine the way forward as a nation.
News this week has been particularly distressing, and I don’t believe there is a single person in North Sydney who has not been devastated by the horror of what we are seeing in the Middle East. I have always unequivocally condemned Hamas. Unequivocally. At the same time, we cannot ignore the human suffering and innocent lives lost in both Israel and Gaza. Hostages must be immediately and unconditionally released. Humanitarian aid must be allowed to get to those who need it. The hateful violence must stop.
I am grieving with all who have lost loved ones in both Israel and Gaza, and will continue to do all I can to help those in our community who have family and friends still stranded in the region. If you have any concerns at all about North Sydney's position on the conflict, please do not hesitate to contact my office so I can respond to them directly.
Meanwhile, in Canberra, I had the privilege of hosting a briefing with Pink Hope and the Parliamentary Friends of Cancer Care and Cure to mark Breast Cancer awareness month. 1 in 7 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Whilst detection, treatment and support have all come an incredibly long way in the past 20 years, we will not have gone far enough or fast enough until there are zero deaths from this disease in our country.
Later in the week, I contributed to the second reading debate on the Water Amendment (Restoring Our Rivers) Bill 2023, noting that while implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan is a welcome step, the Bill doesn’t adequately address climate change impacts or water justice for First Nations communities. I also had the opportunity to speak at the RCSA Inaugural Recruitment and Staffing Summit, and to join the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Red Cross to talk about the current state of our world and what the Red Cross is doing to help.
As tensions rise, I want to reiterate that there is no place for antisemitism or Islamophobia in North Sydney. We will not condone these behaviours. We will not accept them, and we will not stand aside while others try to stoke them.
As always, thank you for the privilege of representing our community. Again, if there is anything my team and I can support you with, please do not hesitate to get in touch.