Each edition I endeavour to share more about MP life, and give some clarity around confusion and complexities!
When recently asked ‘who worked in Parliament for me?’, I realised I had never spoken about the reality of our systems in terms of being an Independent. For Government MPs, there are 227 additional parliamentary staff to supplement Electorate Office staff; Opposition members receive 22. For Crossbenchers – even though classified as ‘Opposition’ there are no parliamentary staff resources at all. Equitable? No. So yes, as an Independent, or ‘Indi’, there is extra workload.
Every Bill has to be researched, consulted on, a position taken and debate speech written. Every Question On Notice (QON), Question Without Notice (QWN) as well as allocated speeches, are taken from prevalent issues that come across our desk. However, the benefits far outweigh the workload, and in those moments of exhaustion, I remind myself that to be beholden only to our community, is gold!
As part of addressing this inequity, over the last year I delved into the impact this has had on our democracy, and the system as a whole. There has been a 30-year history of inactivity to resolve, even though the Fitzgerald Enquiry recommended this be sorted back in 1989. As a result, we put forward a successful Private Members Motion last week (the Crossbench only have one per year ☹) for an amendment to the Queensland and Independent Remuneration Tribunal (QIRT) Act 2013, to give QIRT the function of determining resources for non-Government members. This will lead to greater equity, scrutiny, diversity and democracy. The motion and speech can be viewed here.
L-R: @ Business Mentor launch; GG visit @ Peregian; Paddle in Pink 2019
With over 90% of Noosa constituents, and 80% of Queenslanders, supporting the need for choice at end of life, I made a plea to both the Premier and Leader of the Opposition for a bipartisan approach on this. You can view my Private Member’s Statement here.
You may often hear the ongoing argument in Chamber regarding time allocation for the debating of Bills. In the majority I have supported Government in this to achieve greater efficiency, however on Bills that I see of greater public interest, I do request an extension, or to sit later to ensure everyone has a say. This is a conflicting situation, as there is a valid argument that all 93 members are entitled to speak, however, with so many Bills to get through, there is a need to set timeframes. Is there a way that is efficient, and allows everyone to ‘get up’? I believe there is, and I will continue to work on.
L-R: Blue Sky Thinking Education Forum; Tinbeerwah Firies Thank you; Qld Scouts at Parly
On the home front, the ‘Blue Sky Thinking’ forum I co-hosted with CQU brought 80 education leaders together to address the increasing concerns raised by our students, parents and teachers on the well-being of our youngsters, and the 50% loss of teachers within five years of commencement. Professor Pasi Sahleberg of the Gonski Institute UNSW, and Peter Hutton of the Future Schools Alliance provided some startling statistics and insights, including that our students spend an five extra years being ‘educated’, compared to other countries delivering similar academic results. Just imagine what those five extra years could be utilised for? For anyone who would like to know more, you can view Pasi and Peter’s presentations and my introduction here.
The month also saw many meetings, ‘presentings’ and learnings! It was fabulous to catch up with our Justices of the Peace; Cooloola Teewah Working Group; Noosa Chances; the Dementia Friendly Board; Legal Aid; UQ Futures; Queensland Scouts; and the Sentencing Council of QLD… the brain is full! It was lovely to enjoy a ‘sauso’ and cake at the Tinbeerwah Fires ‘Thank You’, to meet up with residents during the ‘mobile office’ on the Noosa Country Run, and celebrating the life of Noosa Museum legend, Jeanette Alfredson. Updates on the DAF Boatshed, Beckman’s Rd Stage 1 and Six Mile Bridge #7, I have endeavoured to cover via FB and media, as well the wonderful announcement regarding the funding partnership for Katie Rose Cottage Hospice.
And as always, ‘Pinktober’ brought together those united in fighting cancer, with a wonderful walk on the Pink Precinct Trail in Cooroy and Paddle in Pink on the Noosa River. It was lovely to take our rescue pooch Jet and my bestie Shoey, as I get so little time with them, and Jet needs some socialisation!! I know I have missed relaying so much, and my apologies. Trying to always contain these newsletters to a ‘readable’ 4 pages, is not easy! Can I add, in amongst, we had to sell our much-loved home of 27 years (still crying) to accommodate the reality that I am never home – and organise a move in the most chaotic time of the year!!
L-R: with Noosa Chances Founders, Tara and Georgie; Qld Apprentices with Min Fentiman
Jump to our Parliament page here and click on ‘all speeches’ to see the full list.
Non-Government/Crossbench Resources – Private Members Motion – 22 Oct 2019
Protestor Attachment Device Laws – Parliamentary debate speech – 23 Oct 2019
Voluntary Assisted Dying – Private Members Statement – 24 Oct 2019
Recent Questions on Notice (QON’s) can be found here at our Parliament page.
Paramedic Assistance – 15 Oct 2019
Short Term Lets update – 16 Oct 2019
Cannabis for personal use – 17 Oct 2019
Combustible Cladding – 22 Oct 2019
Vehicle removal after accident – 23 Oct 2019
SPER instalment plans – 24 Oct 2019
L-R: With our Pomona Firies; Katie Rose announcement; On the Noosa Country Run!
Have your say
To see all areas open for community consultation click here.
Queensland Freight Action Plan consultation – closes 1 Nov 2019
Royalty Administration Modernisation Program – closes 22 Nov 2019
Queensland’s Tow Truck Scheme – closes 24 Nov 2019
Proposals for strengthening non-urban water measurement – closes 29 Nov 2019
Body Corporate and Community Management Regulations – EXTENDED closes 1 Dec
Path to Treaty – closes 6 Dec 2019
Review of the Land Regulation 2009 – closes 6 Dec 2019
Noosa Electorate Office Reminders
Community Trailer & Marquee: Please call the office to book on 5319 3100.
Our monthly newsletters can be viewed by clicking here, and stay updated by ‘liking’ our Facebook page. Monthly columns are in Noosa News and Noosa Today, Coolum Advertiser and at SandyBolton.com where you will find helpful links, as well current bills and committee reports.
Noosa Civic – Wed Nov 6 – 9am – 9.30am
Boreen Point – Nov 9 – 11am – 12pm
Processes and policies frustrate all of us at times, and understandably so! However, there are reasons that these are put in place as a ‘framework’ for society cohesion – to provide a consistent mechanism for fair decisions to be made, and to provide assurance in a world that may not at times be reassuring?
I mention this, as when contacted by residents asking for intervention or comments on matters that are currently being handled by police or under investigative processes, I explain why it is inappropriate for MP’s to become involved. It is called the ‘separation of powers’, where parliament(including MP’s) make the laws; the executive administers the law; and the judiciary adjudicates the law. This separation is essential, to prevent MP’s influencing where they shouldn’t?
Improvements to our processes and systems are constantly sought and made, and we need to continue to do so in an effective manner. Examples include progress being made by the QLD Sentencing Advisory Council, and I have posted links on FB that you may find interesting as to just how much change there has been.
Until next month and the lead up to the pre-Christmas frenzy….remember… we live in an incredible caring and compassionate community, where the good far outweighs a thousand times over the ‘not so good’. Give voice to this!
Warmest regards, as always,