• Labor activist

  • union activist

  • Community Activist

  • Environment Activist

  • Equality Activist

Sign up to get the latest updates

Senator Louise Pratt - First Week Back

It’s been eight weeks since the election. I have joined Bill Shorten and the Labor team spending time listening to Western Australians about what matters to them – and it’s still Medicare, jobs, schools and standing up to the big banks. It was an honour to return to Parliament last week and be sworn in alongside my fellow Labor Senators from Western Australia. The week saw inspiring first speeches from Senator Pat Dodson, who started his speech in his local Yawuru language, and Tim Hammond. Linda Burney, the first Indigenous woman elected to the House of Representatives gave a moving first speech to Parliament. As always, Labor is leading the way in the representation of women in Parliament. Labor is being constructive in national debates, offering up savings measures for the Government to consider, but instead they are focusing on destroying Medicare, cutting hospitals and schools, and a 50 billion dollar tax give away to multinationals and the big banks. Unlike the Coalition, we won’t compromise on our principles. Malcolm Turnbull has had a disastrous start to the Parliament. He has spent the whole time making excuses for his Government's stuff ups while the Coalition remains hopelessly disorganised and divided. The events of last week show they don’t have the stable parliamentary majority they claim. Marriage Equality Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek have given notice to the Parliament that we intend to introduce a private member's bill to make marriage equality a reality - without an expensive and divisive plebiscite. I wrote an opinion piece for the West Australian last week on why a plebiscite will hurt the LGBTI community. Indigenous children – safe in culture & community In Canberra, I met with SNAICC, the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children, to talk about their Family Matters campaign and their concern about how the Government’s new childcare package will leave vulnerable families behind. SNAICC’s objective is to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are able to grow up safe and cared for in family, culture and community. Attack on racial hatred protections It is extraordinary that all bar one Coalition backbenchers in the Senate are defying the Prime Minister and are supporting Senator Cory Bernadi in watering down protections against hate speech. This is a direct repudiation of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership and he is too weak to stop them. I spoke about this issue after a parliamentary question from Senator Dodson in parliament this week. What is a real Aussie? You may have seen Peter Drew’s street art around Perth. His work has invoked community debate about what it means to be a ‘real’ Australian. Peter visited Parliament house with his artwork of Monga Khan, who was one of thousands of people who applied for exemptions to the White Australia Policy. It’s great to be back at work making a difference on important issues in our Parliament. I look forward to providing you further updates. Continue reading

Marriage Equality - The time to do this is now

The National Rainbow Labor Network is excited to welcome Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek’s Private Member’s Bill for Marriage Equality to be introduced into the House of Representatives next week. We are proud that Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek are doing this together, it builds on Labor’s legacy of ending discrimination against lesbian, gay and transgender Australians in other areas of law. After the overwhelming victory in Ireland in favour of Marriage equality Australia is now the only English speaking developed nation that has failed to implement marriage equality and Australians are tired of waiting for Australia’s parliament to act. Irish born Western Australian Labor MP, Stephen Dawson MLC, who married his partner Dennis Liddelow under the short lived ACT reforms in 2013 and also had a civil ceremony in Ireland under it’s previous laws said, “I have chosen Australia as my home and I am frustrated that in a place that is as inclusive and diverse as Australia that I, my husband and family are still being treated as second class citizens. So I am really happy to see Bill Shorten taking the lead on this issue. I am hopeful we can finally make marriage equality a reality here.”Co-convenor of the National Rainbow Labor Network, former Senator Louise Pratt, said “There is no doubt this is a popular reform and that Parliamentarians should be lending their support to end marriage discrimination. It is well and truly time to for MPs to come on board with recent polls showing about 72 per cent of Australians support marriage equality. “The overwhelming majority of Labor MPs already support this reform, now Rainbow Labor will be working hard to build even more support in the Labor ranks. However, what we also know is that we can’t make marriage equality a reality without the Coalition, who have the majority of MPs in our parliament, giving the many among its ranks in favour of equality an opportunity to vote for it.”Louise Pratt said, “The Coalition said at the last election that their party room would make a decision about whether to allow a conscience vote or not. However, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott has tried to deflect away from the fact that the Coalition will finally have to make a decision on this issue. “It’s completely disingenuous to for the Prime Minister to have said he would prefer to be talking about the budget and jobs. This is a very simple piece of legislation and it will cost the budget nothing to end this discrimination. In fact marriage equality marriage will be a boost for jobs and the economy as same sex couples will no longer have to take their money and their friends and family overseas to get married. “This reform is long overdue and means a lot to a great many people. Let’s just get this done. Australian’s are tired of waiting.”