From the Desk

Latest news from Senator James McGrath:

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital

Queensland Shark Attacks

Lady Phyllis Cilento

I rise this evening to speak about the legacy of a remarkable woman, Lady Phyllis Cilento. Lady Cilento belonged to one of Australia's most prominent families. She had a long history of public service. She was a household name in Brisbane—indeed, across Queensland—for almost half a century, where she worked as an obstetrician, a paediatrician, an author, a journalist, a columnist, an ABC broadcaster and a women's activist. She travelled widely throughout her life in her youth, heading to Britain and Europe in 1919 shortly after the end of the First World War and the Armistice. While in Europe, she travelled through France, Belgium, Holland and Italy. In France, Lady Cilento trekked through the still untouched battlefields of the Great War, an experience that must have been incredibly, profoundly sobering and heart-wrenchingly sombre for her, but one that must have played an indelible role in shaping Lady Cilento's future endeavours.

Outback Queensland Tourism and Shark Attacks

We are blessed in so many ways in my home state of Queensland. It's a great big state, a vast expanse of a state. It has a cornucopia of marvels across it. We are the Sunshine state. We are where tourists go. I don't believe there is a better state in this great nation—indeed, in this world—for people to spend their holidays. So I was very lucky to be in Roma at the beginning of this month, where we had the Outback Queensland Tourism Awards and the Outback Queensland Tourism annual general meeting. I attended there as a senator for Queensland but also representing Minister Birmingham, the federal minister for tourism. I met some fabulous tourism operators We had a really nice dinner on the tarmac of the Roma Airport, hosted by the Maranoa Regional Council.

Joyce Newton

There is a small town up in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. It's on the slopes and the hills of the Blackall Range. It's guarded to the south by the Glass House Mountains. It's called Maleny. It's one of those changing rural towns. Forty years ago it was full of dairy farmers and now it's full of tourists, and a lot of people retire there. It's a similar community to those small rural communities you see across the state where there are always one or two people who are the drivers of the town and the community. And perhaps one of the tragic injustices of life is that we often speak highly of the people who are the leaders of the community only after they have passed. And for many years, the Maleny community—indeed, the entire hinterland community—benefited from the passion and the dedication of Mrs Joyce Newton OAM. Joyce dedicated much of her life—indeed, probably all of her life—to giving to the community, giving to community groups and giving to make her local neighbourhood and her locality a better place. She was assisted by Greg and the children—Ty, Jennifer, Daniel and Carl—and their families. Joyce made such an incredible mark on the Sunshine Coast and, in particular, the hinterland.

Listening to Young People

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters is holding further public hearings into the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Lowering Voting Age and Increasing Voter Participation) Bill 2018. This Bill as proposed by the Greens would extend the franchise to 16 and 17 year-olds on a voluntary basis, allow enrolment for 14 and 15 year-olds, and permit a provisional vote on election day for unenrolled citizens.

Electoral Legislation Amendment Bill 2017

I present the second advisory report of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters on the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017, and I move:

That the Senate take note of the report.

A Fair and Transparent Democracy for All

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters has released its report on the proposed amendments to the Electoral Funding and Reform Bill, referred to the Committee in September 2018.

Further Consultation on Political Donations Bill

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters will hold a public hearing on 5 October 2018 on the proposed amendments to the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017.

Electoral Matters Committee to Review Electoral Donations Reforms

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters has been asked by the Special Minister of State and the Minister for Finance to examine proposed amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Electoral Funding and Donations Reform) Bill 2017.