From the time I was elected to Parliament in 2010, my ethics and values have remained constant, a strong reflection of my family and upbringing. One of those values is tolerance, which is absolutely central to a harmonious society. In my time in parliament I’ve sought to build respectful relationships across the political divide and recognise that people from different backgrounds, with different political philosophies, come to Canberra for the same reason: to make Australia a better place, today and into the future. There will be areas of agreement and areas of disagreement, but given that we’re all there for the same reason, we need to be respectful of each other and focus less on the politics of personal denigration and more on the battle of policy ideas, trying to win the public’s hearts and minds on the issues of the day.
We are inherently resilient and resourceful as a community, taking with gusto to new technologies and new challenges while not taking ourselves too seriously along the way.
The world is an increasingly uncertain place. I’m old enough to remember growing up during the Cold War, when the threat of nuclear attack was both real and ever-present. When the Berlin Wall came down, people began writing about ‘the end of history’, creating the perception that we were going to live in a period of unchallenged US supremacy. Well, it hasn’t played out that way. Vladimir Putin took the reins in Russia and has sought to play an ever-larger role on the international stage. China’s rapid economic growth is matched by its desire for greater geopolitical and geostrategic influence. Add in North Korea, Iran and the rise of ISIS, and the uncertainty in which we live becomes clear. Islamic extremism can often be an urban, asymmetrical threat. We’ve seen a long list of terrorist attacks in international cities – London, Manchester, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Boston, New York, Sydney – that have caused death and destruction for some, and frightened many more. Tackling violent extremism, in partnership with the Muslim community, needs both a hard and soft edge. It needs education and awareness alongside strong law enforcement and intelligence gathering. Ensuring that Australia is safe and secure is vitally important and is the first responsibility of any government.
…our economic success is the hard-won product of structural change and good policy decisions taken over many years.
In terms of harmony, we have to be eternally vigilant. We have seen in other parts of the world heightened rhetoric combined with fragmenting support for the traditional political parties. Populists have targeted the outer reaches of the left voting bases, like Corbyn in the UK, and the right, like Le Pen in France, to create division and tension, drawing voters away from the mainstream. It’s important that we have a level of stability in our political system because it becomes much more difficult to govern if you’re relying on a coalition of minor parties. Restoring the public’s faith in the major parties will only be accomplished by powerful policies and principled statesmen.
I seek to ensure that the same opportunities that were given to my family are given to future generations.
At a personal level I feel very fortunate that Australia offered my family a safe home in which we’ve prospered. I seek to ensure that the same opportunities that were given to my family are given to future generations. I feel a responsibility as the representative of the electorate of Kooyong to advocate good policies on their behalf, but I also feel a broader responsibility to the next generation of Australians, to give them the opportunities that my generation had. Parenthood has sharpened my outlook because I’m now providing for others and thinking about what type of world my children will grow up in. My vision for the Australia that my children will inherit is one where people feel safe on the streets and as a nation, can find a fulfilling job, are tolerant and respectful of each other, get the best quality education and health services and happily raise a family if they choose to. If we can do all that, we create the very definition of a good and civil Australian society.