Kylea shares her week on the campaign trail

Week 2: MP Orientation and a week in Canberra

We all have pinch me moments in our lives, and for me this past week has been full of them! 

From meeting with the Israeli Ambassador to entering Parliament House for the first time as the newly elected Member for North Sydney, I've been able to begin the conversations necessary for us to play our role as an electorate in shifting the dial on important matters such as faster action on climate, integrity in politics, regearing our economy and fostering greater equality. 

You may have seen reports that I have been in Canberra for most of the week participating in both a two-day "Poli School" (as it was affectionately described) with other new MPs, whilst also meeting other existing Members and their staff to have early discussions about the new Government's priorities and larger agenda.

These discussions ranged from exploring what shape the Government's environment policy may take, meeting the team at the Centre for Policy Development to discuss opportunities in Early Childhood Education and Care, as well as very early discussions on integrity in the House and the importance of a common and abiding general Code of Conduct.

Separately, you may have also seen media this week about the Prime Minister's proposal to significantly reduce the number of Personal Staff a crossbench member has access to from four (under the past government) down to one, so I wanted to take the time to share my thoughts. 

Firstly, ‘Personal Staff' (or as I prefer to call them, my Parliamentary Team) are actually the ones that focus on the work done within the national policy framework, as opposed to our electoral office team of four who are focused on addressing and supporting local constituent matters.

The specific function of the Parliamentary Team is to: 

  1. Manage the Parliamentary processes for a Member: everything from getting the Member of speaking lists, facilitating and coordinating briefings to requesting, reviewing and progressing Library research requests.
  2. Work with Member to review proposed legislation and draft amendments or motions as necessary to ensure anything suggested is in line with the Member's community's expectations. This can involve reviewing thousands of words, hundreds of pages in a tight timeframe.
  3. Work with other advisors across the House to ensure open lines of communication and expedite negotiations where necessary.

All pretty important functions that I am sure you would agree are only done better if supported by effective and efficient teams.

With that said, it is true that as a nation we need to be finding ways to address the significant national debt we now face and, in this context, I can understand the Prime Minister looking critically at the costs associated with running Government. 

Clearly the proposed staff decrease is disappointing for us, as it will impact our ability to review proposed policy, draft our own bills, or respond to other constituent or media enquiries in a timely fashion.  However, I remain hopeful the Prime Minister will be open to further discussions regarding his initial communications once he returns from his current travel commitments.

We've come this far and there will most definitely be further hurdles to overcome. But together we will do what we have set out to do, so let's get on with it and change the climate in Canberra.

Until next time, take care - KT

 

Kylea meeting with other newly elected MPs for MP Orientation this week at Parliament House.

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