Community Newsletter

Final Sitting Fortnight - (Dis)Order in the House

9th December, 2021

The last sitting fortnight of the year was “eventful” to say the least. 
It started with the resignation of the Speaker of the House, Tony Smith, after a respectable innings in the chair. I have appreciated the consistent and informed approach he has taken to the role and, at a personal level, the guidance he offered to us “newcomers” in 2019. I wish him the best in his retirement from office. 
The new Speaker, Andrew Wallace, has certainly had a challenging baptism of fire.
The Prime Minister used these last sitting weeks to prioritise a Religious Discrimination Bill that their own advice called “unnecessary” - tabling this rather than a Bill to create a Federal ICAC that the country has overwhelmingly asked for. The Prime Minister waved around last year’s Commonwealth Integrity Commission legislation before the House during Question Time - but it was all show. The Bill, drafted by then Attorney General Christian Porter, was not tabled.  
The other ICAC Bill presented to the House during these last sitting weeks - the one that would create real accountability - was from the Independent Member for Indi, fellow crossbencher, Dr Helen Haines. I seconded the Bill and the call for urgent debate on this important legislation. We had the numbers in the House but, on a technicality, were unable to debate the legislation. Please click here to watch how this unfolded in parliament.
An ‘absolute majority’ was required (76 votes of the 151 possible) - something that pandemic absences has made difficult to obtain, with members necessarily missing from the House. The vote resulted in a ‘bare majority’: 66 Ayes, 64 Noes - thanks to the courage of the Member for Bass, Bridget Archer, who bravely crossed the floor.

An embarrassed Government therefore avoided debate on this desperately needed Bill. Despite this, I will keep fighting for a Federal ICAC. The Government promised one prior to the last election, more than 1,000 days ago and, given the 2022 sitting calendar, it is doubtful one will be implemented this term. We need this legislation to hold decision makers and Government to account and to ensure integrity and anti-corruption in the spending of public money. Many of you have spoken to me about the need to raise the standards in Parliament. I couldn’t agree more with this call for more robust accountability, especially after the revelations of this last fortnight. 

On that note, the Set the Standard report was released by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, complete with 28 recommendations to ensure that Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces are safe and respectful with measures to prevent and respond to bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault. I stood up to implore the Government to adopt the recommendations in full before the next election - especially a Code of Conduct for MPs and their staff – click here. I subsequently asked the Prime Minister whether he would commit to implementing the recommendations in full – click here. I did not receive the emphatic ‘yes’ I had hoped for after this shocking year for women in Parliament. The fight is not over. 
Finally, we saw Christian Porter MP announce his departure from Parliament, Minister Alan Tudge asked to stand aside amidst fresh allegations from his ex-staffer and Health Minister Greg Hunt also announced his retirement.
Overall, the sitting fortnight did not result in much ground being gained toward the things that matter to many of you, and the Government is running out of time. The Government released the 2022 Sitting Calendar for Parliament and the Budget is scheduled for 29 March, indicating that the Federal Election will likely be held in early May. The schedule leaves us with a paltry 10 sitting days in the next 6 months. Disappointing to say the least, when there are such important matters to discuss and determine.
Nevertheless, it was a busy fortnight representing Warringah on many fronts. 
On the Environmental front…
  • So much for signing the COP26 agreement. The Government approved the gargantuan Scarborough gas project. MarketForces assessment shows the emissions could release as much carbon as 5 coal stations running for 30 years. The threat isn't confined to the climate. It will threaten the WA coastline, our beautiful wildlife including whale populations, and the general marine environment. We don't need new coal and gas. We need to capitalise on Australia's big chance to be a world leader in exporting renewables. 

  • We also saw that the PEP11 drilling project is not “dead in the water”, as Jason Falinski MP, Dave Sharma MP and others claim, with BPH Energy calling for new tenders last week. These Coalition MPs have failed to cross the floor to support the "Stopping PEP11 Bill", so it’s time to stand up for our beaches. The coastal communities from Newcastle to Manly have spoken - we do not want offshore drilling for gas and oil in our pristine marine environment. The Morrison government’s gas obsession is clearly evident here and needs to be stopped. I again call on Minister Pitt to reject the PEP11 proposal.

  • I also called out the Government on Australia’s COP26 award of “Colossal Fossil” – click here
  • I wrote an article for RenewEconomy about the sad fact that we still have Tony Abbott’s 2015 emissions targets for 2030, despite all the scientific evidence urging greater ambition. 

  • I also spoke on fuel security following COP26, noting how dangerously exposed Australia is to price fluctuation and supply chain disruptions. We are highly dependent on imported fuel - more than 90% of our fuel is imported from afar. With a pandemic, climate change and civil unrest affecting countries we import from, we can see this system is not sound and moreover, it is extremely expensive for Australian households. 
  • We saw Tim Wilson launch an extreme and bizarre attack on my Climate Change Bill, labelling a proposed independent expert body on climate change “subversion and treason”. Tell that to the other countries who have implemented similar bodies! I will continue to push the Government for greater action and commitment on Climate Change – it’s what the people of Warringah want and it’s what the planet and the economy need.
On the integrity front…
  • I seconded the motion to urgently debate the Bill introduced by Helen Haines for a Federal ICAC 

  • With the election approaching. We need to prepare ourselves for a torrent of misinformation and lies in this coming election. I asked the Prime Minister if he would support my bill to ‘Stop the Lies’ in political advertising. Spoiler alert: he won’t!
  • I stood up for charities, advocacy groups and the Independent movement who are targeted in the Government’s new Political Campaigners Bill and spoke on the Annual Disclosures Equality Bill - which I support but deplore the double standard placed on Independents - who are already much more transparent with disclosures than the major parties. 
On the business front…
  • moved a motion in Parliament calling for greater support for the businesses and industries experiencing protracted stress, losses and uncertainty from successive lockdowns, particularly here in Warringah. This is especially important as we monitor the situation with Omicron. It’s so important that we are cautious while we determine what this means for our reopening, and so important that we support local businesses through this difficult time.
  • I met with the Federal Treasurer and with the NSW treasurer with concerns about our businesses and industries. 
  • With George Christensen crossing the floor against the Government, my vote and that of Rebekah Sharkie MP were the decider in passing the Government’s class action litigation reform bill to ensure claimants get a greater proportion of settlements from class action lawsuits.  
For women and an equitable society…
  • 2021 has been a landmark year for bringing out in the open issues of respect for women, sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace and more broadly, gender inequity. This week we saw the release of the Set the Standard report by Kate Jenkins. I stood up to back the report’s recommendations being implemented in full and then I asked the PM to do the same as a matter of priority.

  • I was fortunate to be in the audience to hear Sam Mostyn’s visionary National Press Club speech on a post COVID economy that includes women and values care.

On the community front…
  • I raised the issue of road safety ahead of Christmas. With many of us holidaying domestically this year, it’s important to make sure our roads and kids are top of mind while we drive. 
  • spoke in favour of Maeve's Law (Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform) which will enable lifesaving treatment to prevent the birth of hundreds of children born each year with Mitochondrial related diseases. Maeve’s grandfather lives in our community so it was especially important to get the legislation passed after his passionate campaign for hope. 
  • I was a member of the Joint Select Committee on Family Law which tabled its third interim report on child support, and final report on the same day. I rose to speak to the report and the need to get the Family Law System right: 
  • As I mentioned above, the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 was tabled by the Prime Minister on 25 November 2021. After the Bill was tabled it was referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights for further consideration. The Committee process is ongoing and is due to report back to Parliament on 4 February 2022. If you feel strongly about the issue of Religious Discrimination and the provisions contained within this Bill, I would encourage you to participate in the Committee process by making a submission, you can do so here. The deadline for making a submission to the inquiry is 21 December 2021.
  • I was pleased to nominate 16 local projects for grants under the Federal Government’s Stronger Communities Programme. This programme funds small capital projects for non-profit organisations aimed at building and enhancing local participation and vibrant communities. Each electorate has $150,000 to allocate. In Warringah we had over 70 expressions of interest, totalling nearly $600,000 showing how much need there is in the community for this type of funding. My office has a dedicated Grants Officer, Rachael Rogers, who is available to discuss and assist with finding suitable grants for those living in and providing services to the Warringah community. Please contact her at [email protected] for information and advice.
WOMEN LEADING CHANGE FORUM - Friday 10th December, 12pm

Finally, I’d like to invite you all to join me for the “WOMEN LEADING CHANGE FORUM” which I’ll be hosting this Friday 10th December.
Hear from a panel of leading female voices as they reflect on 2021 and discuss their hopes for meaningful change in 2022:
  • Christine Holgate - Group Chief Executive Officer of Toll Global Express
  • Yasmin Poole  - Non-Executive Board Director of OzHarvest
  • Georgie Dent - Journalist, editor, author & passionate advocate for gender equality
Facilitated by Christine Kininmonth, journalist and presenter.
The panellists will cover a range of topics including parental leave, the treatment of women in business and parliament, truth in advertising and the role and importance of women in business.
If you are unable to attend on the day, please still register to receive a link to a recording of the event.
I’m looking forward to spending these next few weeks in the electorate for the end of year catch-ups with local community members, Team Zali volunteers and schools.
A big thank you to my team who have been working tirelessly at Parliament and back home over the last sitting fortnight. They’ve had some big wins for community members, helping with everything from NDIS to Visas and so much more. If you’re in the Warringah electorate and need our office to assist you, call 9977 6411 or email me at [email protected]
Please share this email with your friends and family to keep them in the loop, or encourage them to sign up on my website

Stay safe,