Senate debates

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Statements by Senators

Youth Voice in Parliament Week

1:35 pm

Photo of Nita GreenNita Green (Queensland, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise in the Senate today to deliver an important and powerful message from a young Queenslander, Stephanie. Stephanie has written a speech in her own words as part of the 'Raise Your Voice Australia' initiative. She says: 'My name is Stephanie, I am 17 years old, living in the electorate of Dickson and attending a Catholic all-girls school in Brisbane. In the past few years, monumental steps have been made towards dismantling rape culture through education. However, as a young woman witnessing my friends' experiences I believe that this government needs to not only focus on education but also on reinventing the system supposed to help victims of rape and sexual assault.

It is beyond words of frustration, disgust and sorrow I felt when three of my female friends, with no connection to one another, confided to me that they had been raped or sexually assaulted. I had to watch helplessly as two of them went through the cold and uncaring legal processes, and in the same week both made attempts on their lives.

The fear women and trans, non-binary people face from true and horrific stories we hear all the time is indescribable. It is ongoing and influences every decision we make when we leave the house or have people over. The least we can ask for is assurance that when we try to attain justice, we will be treated compassionately, be always entitled to a support person, regardless of whether they are a secondary witness or not, and to have access to subsidised mental health services.

For the sake of my friends, myself, my little sister, my classmates, my co-workers and for every young person in Australia who has experienced or has to live in the fear of sexual assault, a compassionate justice system should be an absolute priority for this government.'

I say thank you to Stephanie for your words—thank you for letting me read your words in the Senate today. We hear your call and we will ensure that victims of sexual assault do have justice.

1:37 pm

Photo of Janet RiceJanet Rice (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Today, I had the privilege of participating in the Youth Voice in Parliament Week campaign, which asks Australians aged 21 or under to write a speech on what our new parliament should accomplish for their local MP to read. I'm delighted to share the statement of 15-year-old Newport resident, Phoebe Gowan: 'Hello, my name is Phoebe, and I'm a 15-year-old from the electorate of Gellibrand. I'm writing to address the increasing gambling rates in Australia.

Around 6½ million people in Australia above 18 are regular gamblers. Since there are over 20 million people above 18 in all of Australia, it is not hard to see that this is an outrageous number. And still, you allow so many gambling ads on social media and TV. Still, you put more effort into getting rid of other products bad for humans' health while completely ignoring the horrifying gambling rates. For example, more effort is put into abolishing smoking in Australia—however, gambling is just as bad for us in indirect ways.

Homelessness, bankruptcy and so many more consequences can branch from gambling addictions. I believe that we need to ban gambling ads online, to not only show how gamblers can live without the bright lights of casinos but also to prevent young people from falling into the trap of having faith in slim chances.

Ignoring the ever-increasing signs will greatly affect Australia. Please, get rid of gambling ads to help our country get past this hurdle and progress forward.'

Thank you, Phoebe, for giving me the opportunity to share your statement. I can assure you that, as Greens, we are listening. We also agree with you that gambling, and particularly online gambling ads, are massively damaging and that there needs to be much more action taken to address them.