House debates

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Statements by Members

Sport, Citizenship

1:51 pm

Photo of Lisa ChestersLisa Chesters (Bendigo, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm proud to stand here today to share with the House that Silver Bell Morris, a talented football player in Bendigo, has made the junior Australian women's football team. It's very exciting that she's made the Junior Matildas. She's been invited to join the team for many years, but because of her citizenship, she wasn't able to. See, Silver Bell and her family came to Australia from the Thai-Burma border. She was born as a refugee, had the opportunity to move to Australia and, from day one, everybody knew she was a talented footballer. She continued to get asked to play for the Junior Matildas, but because the previous government was so slow at processing citizenship applications, she didn't get the chance. It just didn't happen. Despite the advocacy of many people from across the electorate, from her school, from Football Australia and from me, the previous government was just so slow that she didn't get the opportunity. It is great news that, at the end of last year, her citizenship was approved, her parents paid to fast-track her passport and she got to play. Last week she got to represent Australia, which is her dream.

There are so many young women and men like Silver Bell wanting that opportunity. I'm proud to be part of a Labor government that is getting on with the job of processing these citizenship applications.