Category: Speeches in Parliament

5 MINUTES: Youth Mental Health

As I stand here today, an estimated 2.2 million Australians are living with anxiety, 1.5 million are suffering depression and, on average, nine Australians per day tragically take their own life.

It is sad to see that, according to Beyond Blue, 75 per cent of mental health challenges start before the age of 25.

Youth mental health is one of the most pressing issues of our time.

That is why we’re making sure there are appropriate and relevant supports that are easily accessible for those in need, and that’s become a priority of mine.

To make this happen, we need a youth perspective on youth issues, and I’m partnering with Tom and Wilson from youth mental health organisation You Are Not Alone to deliver my Bonner Youth Mental Health Forum.

As young people themselves, Tom and Wilson have run mental health workshops with over 16 local schools and reached over 50,000 students in South-East Queensland.

Each year, Tom and Wilson also organise the You Are Not Alone Fun Run, and I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in, supporting and attending this event since it started.

Last year it was fantastic to see over 2,000 participants running to raise awareness for youth mental health, with over $37,000 raised for Lifeline Queensland.

This year’s run will be held on 16 June in Brisbane’s CBD.

The Your Are Not Alone Fun Run is a great day to shine a light on mental health and bring young people together for a conversation.

I encourage anyone who lives in or around Brisbane to get behind this great cause by registering through the You Are Not Alone website.

As much as I look forward to attending this year’s You Are Not Alone Fun Run, I would like to talk a little bit more about my Bonner Youth Mental Health Forum.

The Bonner Youth Mental Health Forum is an opportunity for the youth in our community to have their say on how to better support young people struggling with mental health challenges.

It is putting the youth at the centre of decision-making and making sure that we develop solutions for young people by young people.

It will be held on Saturday 4 May at Mount Gravatt High School.

I urge all those in the Bonner community who are aged between 15 and 25 to RSVP for this event.

This is your opportunity to have your voice heard, and I can’t wait to see you there and have you share all your great ideas.

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5 MINUTES: Manufacturing

Google Maps, pacemakers, medical penicillin and wi-fi: what do these life-changing innovations have in common? They were all created by Australians.

It is undeniable that we were once a nation of innovation, betterment and growth.

We were building a reputation around the world as a land of creativity, ingenuity and problem-solving, proudly inventing, making and packaging creations to then export to our friends across the globe.

But today we’re seeing a very different narrative play out. It is disappointing to see Australian businesses and manufacturers feeling left behind and forgotten.

They are at their wits’ end, knowing that they would be better helped and supported by moving their operations overseas, taking Aussie jobs with them.

One of the latest businesses that has shut down their Australian manufacturing hub is Tritium Charging. Tritium is an international company home-grown in my electorate of Bonner.

Until last year, it manufactured hardware and software for electric-vehicle chargers in Brisbane.

I was fortunate enough to show my colleague the Deputy Leader of the Opposition—the member for Farrer—and Brisbane City Councillor Lisa Atwood around Tritium last year.

As the member for Farrer said so eloquently, Tritium represents the very best of Australian innovation and manufacturing.

It is exactly the type of company we should be backing to transition to a low-emission economy.

It is so disappointing to see that, owing to the lack of support from both the federal Labor and Queensland state Labor governments, this proud Aussie business will consolidate its operations in the United States.

Two hundred workers, many of whom live in my electorate, have already lost their livelihoods, with a total of 400 jobs to be lost in advanced manufacturing.

This government claim that they are on the side of people who want to work hard to get ahead, but in reality, instead of supporting home-grown talent, they are forgetting them.

Their policies are just not working. How can mum-and-dad businesses operate with this government’s complex industrial relations laws hanging over their heads? Their disastrous right to disconnect law could lead to fines of more than $18,000.

This law just opens up another level of complexity for businesses at a time when they are doing it very tough. Tritium isn’t the only business in my electorate that is feeling left-behind.

Vuly, located in my electorate, develops and creates trampolines and outdoor-play equipment, and as a multimillion-dollar business, Vuly is proudly Australian-owned and -operated.

For over a decade, they have pushed the limits of innovation and fun while making sure their products are safe for kids around the world.

Like many Australian businesses, Vuly wants to expand and build to have greater manufacturing capabilities in Tingalpa in my electorate, but when it reached out for help and support from both the federal and state governments they were given the cold shoulder.

I want to make it clear: Vuly wasn’t looking for a handout. It wanted reduced bureaucracy—that means it wanted red tape to be cut—and for better incentives to invest in growing its Australian manufacturing capabilities.

After being ignored, Vuly is planning to expand its operations overseas, taking jobs and future growth opportunities for Australia with them.

That is so disappointing. I have had so many local-business owners in the area of hospitality and retail who have said that it is harder for them to operate under this federal Labor government.

One local business owner, Matt, told me that last year alone, overhead costs for running his automotive dealership have increased by $1 million.

This is owing to spiralling electricity prices, the new ute tax, wage rises and rent increases on top of 13 interest rate rises.

But Matt is not alone.

A local Bonner business cafe owner, Sam, told me the cost-of-living crisis has also resulted in a cost-of-doing-business crisis.

He has now had to look at reducing his team—which is like a family to him—from 14 down to 10 just to keep afloat. Sam said that if things don’t change, that 10 may be reduced to eight.

Australians and Australian business owners deserve better.

They deserve a government that will protect Australia’s sovereign capabilities.

They deserve a government that has an economic plan that will put downward pressure on interests rates.

They deserve a government who will create a strong economic future, one full of innovation, growth and sustainability.

They deserve a government who puts Australian businesses first.

Right now that’s not happening.

Australian businesses have been abandoned by this federal government, and only a coalition government can get the country back on track and support Australian businesses.

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90 SECONDS: Cost of Living Crisis

The cost of everyday essentials is through the roof. Last year, we saw the price of milk increase by 19.4 per cent.

While a couple of cents on the household essentials may not seem so severe, how much more is a healthy lunch box for our kids costing, and what are Aussies having to sacrifice to fill up their cars?

Labor’s ute tax is costing families and tradies as much as an extra $25,000 on vehicles.

We all watched them fork out $240 million on the Voice, only to be met with a resounding ‘no’ from everyday Australians.

Disappointingly, those are the same taxpayers whose hip pockets are hurting.

Aussies have been left high and dry by a disconnected government who cannot seem to devise a plan to tackle the rising cost of living.

Despite promising Aussies $275 off their electricity, we have sadly seen bills rise by 20 per cent.

I’ve had far too many fearful and frustrated Bonner locals and small business owners reach out to my office about the rising costs of their electricity.

They ask: ‘What about the $275 savings we were promised at the last election?’ One business owner in my electorate even said that they will have no choice but to close up shop if electricity goes up in the next quarter.

I’ve been very, very sorry to see that the strong economy left by the coalition has all but evaporated completely.

So, next time you’re at the shops picking up some milk and sugar or paying for your electricity bill, I urge each of you to stop and ask: ‘Why am I paying so much more? Why is the Labor government breaking promises — (Time expired)

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90 SECONDS: Queensland 2024 By-Elections

 I’d like to take this moment to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of the volunteers who came out in support of our LNP candidates in Queensland over the weekend.

We all know that behind every member, senator and councillor stands a team of generous and dedicated volunteers.

This weekend they came out in full force, and I’m incredibly proud of our efforts. We saw a significant swing in Inala, and I commend Trang Yen for her dedication and hard work.

I would also like to extend my special congratulations to the re-elected Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Adrian Schrinner, and the newly elected state member for Ipswich West, Darren Zanow.

They are both stand-up, experienced and hardworking community leaders who will no doubt get the job done.

Lastly, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t acknowledge what a pleasure it has been to work with Alex Givney, the Lord Mayor’s representative for Wynnum Manly Ward, on her campaign to be the next councillor for Wynnum Manly Ward.

For the last 72 years, Wynnum Manly Ward has been taken for granted by Labor.

During this election, locals took a stand.

While we don’t know the official result yet, either way, Alex has reminded Labor not to take Bayside voters for granted.

Alex eagerly listened to locals and energetically stood up against Labor and the Greens, with integrity and positivity the whole way.

Well done, Alex, Adrian, Trang, Darren and all the candidates who stood for the LNP. It was a great weekend and a great result.

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90 SECONDS: Crime in Bonner

Bonner is a great place to live, work and raise a family.

But, unfortunately, our local community has not been left unscathed by the Queensland crime crisis.

This is the result of unsuccessful policy and a broken system created by the state Labor government.

It’s ruining livelihoods, hurting families and tearing communities apart.

Bonner locals reach out daily to tell me about the crime in their homes, neighbourhoods, sporting clubs and small businesses.

Just recently, Marilyn, from St Pete’s Pantry, rang my office to tell me that they had been broken into, not once but twice.

St Pete’s is an extraordinary charity in Wynnum which supports the most vulnerable in our community.

Their mission is to make sure that no-one goes hungry and, during the cost-of-living crisis, their mission is more important than ever.

Whilst, luckily, no-one was hurt, their laptop, which is used by volunteers, and the Bonner Bright Star Award which they won last year for services to our community were stolen.

I have been able to organise a replacement medal for Marilyn and the team at St Pete’s Pantry, but many items are not so easy to replace.

Our community deserves better; Queenslanders deserve better. We need a state government which is going to prioritise our safety and which has a plan to overcome this crime crisis.

We need a change in Queensland, which is why I’m backing David Crisafulli and his team to make our homes and communities so much safer.

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90 SECONDS: Financial Literacy in Schools

Last May, I moved a motion to make financial literacy a compulsory part of the national curriculum. This motion is more important today than it has ever been.

Last week, the member for Kennedy was told that cash wasn’t accepted by our staff right here in Parliament House.

The truth is that, since the pandemic, cash use has halved from 32 per cent of in-person transactions to now just 16 per cent.

When I owned a restaurant in 1994, 98 per cent of the transactions were in cash.

Thirty years later, in that same restaurant, 99 per cent of the transactions are cashless.

What a turnaround! While each of us in this room is fortunate enough to understand the implications of a cashless society, much of Australian youth is not, and the problem does not stop here.

Many Australian graduates don’t understand basic topics such as compound interest, negative gearing and taxation.

It is our responsibility to ensure the next generation is set up to make informed personal decisions, especially in finance.

In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, we need to be empowering youth to take charge and better understand their finances.

We simply can’t afford to miss this opportunity. Let’s make financial literacy a compulsory part of the national curriculum to educate and empower our next generation, especially as we move to a cashless society.

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90 SEONDS: Bonner Youth Advisory Council

Today’s students are tomorrow’s teachers, doctors, carpenters and politicians.

As we continue to grow older, it is our shared responsibility to raise quality members of society who will work hard and contribute, and might I say Bonner is a treasure trove of curious minds and dedicated students.

I would like to thank the 13 Bonner students in years 10, 11 and 12 who committed to my Bonner Youth Advisory Council, BYAC, in 2023.

I’ve been so impressed by their passion and hard work and have no doubt that each of them will achieve great things in their future. Congratulations to Abigail and Blanca from Citypointe Christian College; Bailey and Ollie from Iona College; Aimi, Georgia, Sharna and Xavier from Mansfield State High School; Zayden from Queensland Academies Creative Industries; Alice from Redeemer Lutheran College; and Araminta, Heer and Ishita, who are all from Rochedale State High School in my electorate.

Throughout the year we heard from leaders in our community. Last year I was able to partner with You Are Not Alone, the Queensland Koala Society and Ocean Crusaders to speak with BYAC at our meetings.

Throughout our workshops, students from different schools collaborated on research projects aligned with their personal interests.

Last year we had four groups, who investigated the topics of mental health, the cost of living, the impact of technology on young people, and the environment.

Each group worked together to identify specific issues within their topic and proposed problem-solving strategies.

At the end of January, the group submitted their reports, and I would like to share with my parliamentary colleagues some of the interesting findings from BYAC.

The group who investigated mental health found that some young people may be unable to distinguish between online connections and genuine, meaningful relationships in person.

The group on the cost of living found a worthwhile solution would be teaching students about financial independence and money, and this feedback was particularly interesting to me, as I continue to fight for my motion to make financial literacy a compulsory part of our national curriculum.

The students who reported on the impact of technology found that education on cyberbullying should be compulsory in all schools, including what cyberbullying is, what to do if you are being cyberbullied, and how to prevent and report cyberbullying.

When it came to the environment, the team found the establishment of a youth advisory council for environmental planning would be useful, particularly to consult on any trail bike tracks and jumps in Brisbane. Nominations for the 2024 Bonner Youth Advisory Council are filling rapidly but have not yet closed.

I encourage any parents to apply to BYAC on behalf of their keen child, and I look forward to meeting you all.

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90 SECONDS: Immigration Detention

I’m in shock and I’m in disbelief that I have to be standing here today to give this speech. I’m outraged.

Eighty-four hardened criminals, noncitizens, have been released into our community from detention.

Rapists, paedophiles, sex offenders and murderers are now free in our country.

The worst part is that the federal government was told in June this year that this could be a possibility, but, instead of working towards protecting Australians and having a plan if the High Court overturned this 20-year-old precedent, they have put rushed legislation through that hasn’t even been written for 24 hours.

That in itself is unbelievable considering the types of criminals that have now released from detention.

To have a man who brutally shot a pregnant woman and then blew up her body with explosives walking free in this country is disgusting.

As a father of two young boys, to know that a man who raped a 10-year-old boy is no longer in detention is unthinkable.

Australians deserve to be put first.

Australians deserve to be safe and they deserve to be protected. We in the opposition are prepared to stay here in parliament for as long as it takes to get this right.

We are prepared to put Australians first.


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5 MINUTES: Youth Crime in Bonner

Every person has the right to feel safe and secure in their own home.

They have the right to feel at ease when they walk down the street with their family to go to the park or visit a mate’s place.

They have the right to feel comfortable when they go to the shops, no matter what time of the day or night. They have the right to know, when they go to sleep at night, that all will be okay in the morning when they wake up.

But, in Queensland, those rights to safety, protection and security have fast been slipping away, including in my electorate of Bonner.

I shouldn’t have to be standing here giving this speech. One of the most important roles of any government is to protect its people no matter what side of politics you are from. This principle is at the very foundation of all nations and states around the world.

Yet there are too many people in Queensland and in my electorate of Bonner who just don’t feel safe, like Lama from Rochedale.

Lama’s house was broken into. Her bag, wallet and car were all stolen. When she went down into her garage to check on her car, she fell, breaking her ankle.

Lama was 12 weeks pregnant. No-one should have to go through the stress and trauma of having their house broken into, especially not when they are pregnant and focusing on their health and the health of their unborn child.

And Yu-Ying from Rochedale told me her young children don’t feel safe and are struggling to sleep at night because of the high number of break-ins in the area.

Yu-Ying said one of the main conversations her children are having at school is about how their classmates’ homes are getting broken into. This is causing them to feel stressed and anxious.

The thought of, ‘What if our house next?’ is running through their minds and making Yu-Ying’s children feel vulnerable. That apprehension is not allowing them to focus on school, which is so important, especially in the early years of learning.

Simply put, this isn’t good enough.

Unfortunately the situation is not unique to Rochedale. John from Mansfield recently had his house broken into at 1.30 pm, in broad daylight. Three teenage boys broke into his house, broke down the door, without concern or fear of repercussions.

And why should they fear? With watered-down Queensland crime laws and a lack of resources and support of our incredibly hardworking police, a slap on the wrist is all these youths will get, and they know it.

It’s not just households who are being targeted. Local sporting clubs and community groups are also in the firing line of the Queensland youth crime crisis.

The Wynnum Wolves Football Club have been rebuilding their clubhouse and grounds after the devastating impacts of the February 2022 floods. Just last week their newly renovated dressing rooms and amenities were vandalised and graffitied.

This deliberate destruction of the club facilities caused $20,000 worth of damage. Volunteers, parents, players and club members are heartbroken and frustrated, as this is not the first time the Wynnum Wolves Football Club has been the victim of youth crime.

Whilst all these stories of youth crime have been horrible, there was one last year that still sticks with me.

A Hemmant man, a father of three and a loving husband, tragically was killed after being hit by a stolen car driven by a 15-year-old teen. When will this end? When will people be able to stop living in fear of being broken into because of youth crime?

When will sporting groups not have to worry about facilities being damaged and destroyed? And when will families never again have to say goodbye to a loved one who has been killed as a result of youth crime?

It’s time for change in Queensland, and we’re coming up to one year until the Queensland state elections, when Queenslanders will have a choice.

They can choose to re-elect a state Labor government who have created this youth crime crisis and who have admitted that they cannot fix it themselves, or they can back a David Crisafulli led government, who will be tough on crime, who will put Queenslanders first and who are determined to make sure that every Queenslander is safe and secure in their own home. It’s safe to say I know who I’ll be backing.

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90 SECONDS: Port of Brisbane

The port of Brisbane in my electorate of Bonner is an economic powerhouse.

Last financial year alone, the port contributed over $7.8 billion to the Queensland economy and supported around 63,000 jobs.

But there’s just one thing missing that would truly make the port of Brisbane and South-East Queensland the logistical capital of Australia, and that’s tunnel vision.

By creating a dedicated tunnel connecting the port of Brisbane to Ebenezer in Ipswich, which would then connect to the inland rail, we would unlock the economic potential of the port and make our roads safer for Brisbane families.

Currently, over 97 per cent of freight leaves the port by truck—that’s right, 97 per cent—causing increased road degradation and traffic congestion, as well as noise and air pollution for Brisbane locals.

My tunnel vision could take 13 million trucks off Brisbane roads by 2050. That would save $195 million in congestion costs each year, meaning less time and money spent on the road and more time with families and loved ones.

It would also add 1,200 new jobs per year between now and 2045 and allow container freight to leave the port of Brisbane and arrive in Melbourne within 24 hours—all of this while saving $250 million in reducing emissions associated with road-to-rail switch.

Four years ago, the Queensland Labor government pocketed $20 million of federal government funding and have still not released the Port of Brisbane Strategic Rail Access Study.

In fact, they have only used around $4.4 million of the $20 million allocated to determine how freight could be sent to the inland rail network from the port of Brisbane.

It’s time for the Queensland Labor government to get serious about connecting the port of Brisbane to inland rail.

They are wasting time, wasting opportunity and disadvantaging Queenslanders for generations to come. I urge the Queensland government to release the study to the public. Let’s make tunnel vision a reality.


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