Maiden speeches

SIMON MILLMAN and JOHN CAREY had their maiden Parliamentary speeches this week. DAVID BELL takes a look at what they had to say.

John Carey

IN his debut speech in parliament, Perth Labor MP John Carey warned against the “cheap, populist” politics of fear, called for a better standard of leadership, and quoted Yoda from Star Wars.

“What we need is the type of political leadership that listens and generates solutions with our local communities to respond to this changing landscape as technology recasts the jobs environment and the global economic climate remains uncertain,” he said.

“Ultimately we all have a choice about the type of political leadership we have to pursue.

“The first is the cheap populist option.

“Those leaders who prey on and perpetuate our worst fears, who exploit division in our community and promote the fear of difference.

“They offer sound bites that do not address the causes of complex policy issues facing our community.

“In this regard we should not be surprised by the rise of the likes of Donald Trump.”

He told parliament the other option is “leadership that seeks to understand people’s concerns and the cause of those fears, has honest, open and upfront conversations about those issues, and works to take people on a journey about potential solutions.

“This type of leadership brings out the best in people and human nature, to provide a positive vision for the future.”

The former Vincent mayor said people have lost trust from broken promises, bickering in parliament, and “when they see politicians using taxpayer funds to fly to polo or sport matches, and wonder how one rule applies to ordinary workers and yet another standard appears set for politicians”.

Mr Carey said parliamentarians needed to do better and trying wasn’t enough, “Or, as the 900-year-old philosopher Yoda once so wisely advised: ‘Do, or do not. There is no try”.

Mr Carey said family tragedy shaped his views on healthcare:

“Every west Australian has the right to receive quality healthcare when they need it, and that is the primary obligation that a state government must deliver to ensure trust and confidence in our hospitals,” he said.

“I know this from first hand experience.

“In seven years I lost my mother, father and sister, with my mum and sister in and our of hospitals due to cancer. I have the utmost respect and admiration for all those who work on a day to day basis in our hospital system. But we must never allow another fiasco such as the failed oversight of the Perth Children’s Hospital.”

As he wound-up his speech, he quoted his dad’s mantra on politics: “One day you’re a rooster, the next day you’re a feather duster.”

Simon Millman

MOUNT LAWLEY Labor MP Simon Millman delivered his inaugural speech in parliament on Tuesday, saying he hoped to be part of a movement that would restore credibility to democracy after years of pettiness in politics.

Mr Millman cited a recent Lowy Institute study that found only 42 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds thought democracy was preferable to any form of government.

“So often, people would tell me that they had been put off politics by the divisiveness, bickering and pettiness of our politicians,” he said.

“They were disappointed by so many broken promises, and by a government that had lost belief in the important role of government in society.”

He said “it was because I felt I could make a difference, advocate on behalf of my community, and restore some of the credibility to our democratic process, that I decided to nominate as the Labor candidate for Mount Lawley”.

Mr Millman worked as a lawyer for Slater and Gordon on discrimination and native title cases, but he said it was the industrial manslaughter cases that stuck in his mind.

“There is nothing quite like sitting down with Rose Marie Vojakovic to hear the story of a young woman in her 40s who is dying from mesothelioma because she played with deadly asbestos dust and fibres when she was a little girl in Wittenoom,” he said.

He says industrial manslaughter “remains prevalent throughout the industry,” citing recent cases of under-trained backpackers dying in workplace accidents in Australia.

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