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Giving Substance To The Words

There are thirty-two new members of the 43rd Parliament, elected on August 21st. Three of them are returning after a voluntary or enforced absence. As a group, they constitute one-fifth of the House of Representatives, a significant turnover and renewal of the lower house. Many of them will be there for years to come.

Maiden SpeechesOver the past month, I have made a point of watching the maiden, or first, speeches of these members. On the whole, it is difficult not to be impressed by these fledgling parliamentarians.

There has been much comment on the moving speech from the Western Australian Liberal, Ken Wyatt, the first indigenous member of the House, but others also delivered considered and thoughtful speeches.

Take Andrew Leigh, the member for Fraser in the ACT. His reputation as an economist and thinker preceded his election. In his speech, he spoke of the importance of education for the nation’s future, of “optimistic experimentation” and of rebuilding “a sense of trust between citizens and politicians”. Leigh’s book, “Disconnected”, has just been published. [Read more…]

City-Country Switch For Federal MPs As Roxon And Zahra Swap Seats

Two Victorian Labor MPs are to swap electorates and houses for one week to experience the difference between representing city and country electorates.

Nicola Roxon, the member for Gellibrand, and Christian Zahra, the member for McMillan, say the swap is designed to allow them to gain a practical understanding of the issues confronting their electorates.

McMillan is in south-eastern Victoria and includes the towns of Moe, Warragul, Wonthaggi and Yallourn. Gellibrand is in western Melbourne and includes the suburbs of Footscray, Sunshine and Williamstown.

Text of a statement from Christian Zahra and Nicola Roxon.


Two Victorian Labor MPs, Federal Member for McMillan Christian Zahra and Federal Member for Gellibrand Nicola Roxon, will probably feel a bit like fish out of water this week.

In an Australian political first, the two young MPs – one representing a regional area, the other an inner city area – will ‘swap’ electorates and houses for one week, beginning today. [Read more…]