Monday, 14 October 2019
Matters of Public Importance
Girls Takeover Parliament
I rise to add my contribution and the contribution of the young woman who has been spending time in my office today as part of this Girls Takeover Parliament activity and program. Firstly let me just say what a wonderful program I think this is. Of course it is alongside the Day of the Girl, which many of us over the last few days have been celebrating and participating in as well—a wonderful program that is primarily promoted and advocated for by Plan International, a very worthy organisation and one to which, I might just add here, in light of the legal case that I have currently on foot in relation to former senator David Leyonhjelm, I have pledged to give any money awarded. That's how important this organisation is for ensuring that women right across this country and indeed the rest of the world have an opportunity to not only get an education and further their employment prospects but also have a say in the way their communities are run and the way society acts in their interests, not just in the interests of men or corporations around them.
Dougha, the young woman in my office today, came to Australia when she was four years old. She's from Pakistan. Her family migrated to Australia because they wanted her to have a better opportunity. She has diabetes, and they wanted her to have the best possible health care. They wanted her to have an opportunity to get an education, and this young woman has gone on to do just that, now studying politics, international studies and law at the University of Canberra—formidable, of course. When she talks about what she would like for the future of her generation, it is very strongly rooted in the reflection that she wants in this parliament—that is, a reflection of the diversity of the Australian community. She says that, as a young Australian continually frustrated by the lack of government action to advance human rights of refugees, she's resorted to raising money and aid for awareness for refugee programs herself, putting herself at the front of political activism and advocacy. This young woman, alongside her other colleagues, desperately wants this place to represent and reflect what it is: the new diverse face of Australia. (Time expired)