I was elected to represent the people of Clark in Federal Parliament based on my background, my beliefs and my policies. I do – and will continue to – advocate for these at every opportunity.
Read more about my policies on each of the extensive list of topics below.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
I support the establishment of a First Nations voice enshrined in the Constitution and agree with the establishment of a Makarrata Commission. First Australians should enjoy equal access to government support and services, irrespective of where they live. These services should be developed in a culturally appropriate manner, in full cooperation with local communities.
I support Indigenous ranger programs and Indigenous Protected Areas, for instance because Indigenous people should have the right to care for their land with which they are culturally and spiritually connected.
Older Australians deserve to live with dignity and independence in their home or aged-care facility of their choice. But this is often not the case and fixing the problems highlighted in the Royal Commission will take much greater investment. For example, Tasmanians still wait far too long for Home Care Packages.
Australia needs to have better animal welfare protections at the federal level. I share the horror of many regarding the systemic cruelty of the live export trade and believe that completely banning this abhorrent practice would go some way to improving animal welfare in Australia. To this end, I have introduced legislation many times seeking to ban the live export trade. I am also a strong advocate for the establishment of a national independent office of animal welfare, which would be responsible for the development of animal welfare policy at the Commonwealth level.
The animal welfare crisis can be seen in many industries including, but not limited to, cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, aquaculture, and the breeding of dogs and cats. These problems are particularly evident where the gambling industry intersects with animal welfare, such as in horseracing, steeplechasing, harness racing and greyhound racing.
Australia has a legal and moral obligation to give protection to people claiming to be fleeing persecution, quickly hear their claims and provide permanent refuge if those claims are correct. Mandatory and indefinite detention of asylum seekers must be abolished.
Too often consumer rights are trampled on by unconscionable businesses failing to supply what they promised, or not making amends when things go wrong. For example, travellers were often hung out to dry by the airlines during the COVID-19 pandemic when cash refunds were not forthcoming. I support a rewrite of Australian consumer law to level the playing field.
Tasmania has responded well to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we should all be proud of our health, aged care, police and emergency workers. But the threat remains and we must continue to follow all public health advice.
I support developments that meet sensible social, environmental and economic criteria, and are assessed in a trusted and transparent way.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme needs to be more user-friendly and responsive, and should also expand to allow the entry of Australians aged 65 and older. The shelving of independent assessments is welcome.
Australia needs to better fund education to arrest our decline in global education rankings. We’re a wealthy country and can afford to fully fund education, including a free first university degree.
I share the concerns of many at the rising costs of HECS- HELP debts.
I am a long-term advocate of returning to free first degrees for Australian Citizens, as was the case until the Hawke Government re-introduced fees in the 1980s and 1990s.
If HECS-HELP loans must be generated and indexed, the threshold for repayments should be lifted to a more reasonable level and loans should be indexed against the lower of either wages growth or the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Tasmania’s unemployment rate remains too high, especially among young and mature workers. Governments need to address this, for example by reversing excessive casualisation of the workforce, introducing protections for gig economy workers and cracking down on ageism.
Climate change is Australia’s top environmental threat which must be dealt with by 100% renewables and net zero carbon emissions. Moreover Australia needs a new environmental legal framework, especially if it’s to address the extinction crisis, including an independent Commonwealth Environment Protection Authority. Closer to home in Tasmania, fish farms should be restricted to deep waters and only then as a stepping stone to land-based farms.
Every person is entitled to equality, irrespective of characteristics such as race, gender, sexual orientation, faith, ability and age. Barriers to equality must be addressed with better public policy and laws. Attempts by the Federal Government to water down Tasmania’s strong anti-discrimination legislation must be fiercely resisted.
Foreign investment needs to be much better regulated. Yes, Australia needs it but only on our terms and in the national interest. Assessment criteria must always include a national security test, and strategic assets must never be sold off or leased to foreign investors.
The safety of gamblers must always drive government policy. So harm minimisation measures must always be at the forefront. Poker machines should be removed from pubs and clubs and those in the casinos limited to $1-maximum bets. Online and sports gambling also need reform, for example betting limits need to be linked between apps, in real time, to effectively limit daily losses.
The public health system needs greater government investment, especially in the areas of mental health, allied health (including dental) and primary health care. Preventative health, or wellness, also needs much greater investment. In Tasmania, the State Government needs to accelerate further redevelopment of the Royal Hobart Hospital.
The Hobart housing crisis needs a holistic solution including more public, social, supported and crisis accommodation, increased Commonwealth Rent Assistance and tax reform. New Airbnb should be limited to the original intent of renting out spare spaces. And first home buyers need more support to enter the market.
The Federal Government’s National Anti-Corruption Commission is welcome, but the work is not done. Australia also needs much better whistleblower protections, stronger media freedom laws freedom and truth in political advertising. Political donation reform is also long overdue, for example the disclosure threshold is too high and the publication of donations isn’t fast enough.
Australia must adopt a genuinely independent security posture bolstered by, and not beholden to, strong international partnerships. The decision to go to war should be one for the Parliament and not the Prime Minister. And the gross mismanagement of defence projects must stop because it’s wasteful and leaves Australia vulnerable.
Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and should be given every support, especially as they recover from the pandemic. This includes measures to lower costs, like bolstering the Freight Equalisation Scheme, improve skills with expanded vocational training, and enhance mental health and wellbeing through a Small Business Assistance Program provider.
Government payments and pensions, including unemployment benefits, the Age Pension and Disability Support Pension, are too low and should be raised above the poverty line. Commonwealth Rent Assistance must also be increased.
Hobart is gridlocked. Yes, some people rely on cars and we need better roads. But we also need a comprehensive range of other measures including ferries, buses, light rail, park-and-ride, and improvements for cyclists and pedestrians.
Support for veterans remains inadequate. Legislation needs to be made consistent, the claim process streamlined, and support services, compensation and loss of earnings payments boosted. Hopefully the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicides will give us a blueprint for reform.