Ten of Trev's Significant Speeches

Continuing to Work for Brisbane

Three years ago I made my first speech in this place. I'm humbled to have once again been elected to serve as the member for Brisbane, and I reiterate my thanks to the people of Brisbane for giving me the opportunity to continue representing our wonderful community. I pledge to keep working hard towards a style of representation that is as visible, accessible and responsive as possible and that is deeply thoughtful about the challenges and the opportunities ahead of us.

When it comes to the future, there are compelling reasons for Australians to be so optimistic. The liberal democracy we maintain and the institutions, traditions and values we uphold have delivered Australia through many challenges over the past 118 years since Federation. Our nation scores well on most measures compared to most other countries—prosperity, health, the environment, justice, freedom and security. We're home to the oldest continuing cultures on the planet, of which we can be very proud, and simultaneously we are one of the most successful multicultural and immigration based societies around the globe.

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Veterans - Annual Statement

Federation Chamber on 25/10/2018


It's pleasing to be able to speak for a second year running on the annual ministerial statement on veterans and their families. Representing Brisbane in the federal parliament, with the Enoggera Barracks on the edge of that electorate means I have the absolute privilege of spending a lot of time with serving Defence personnel as well as the many veterans across our community in Brisbane. As I noted last year when the inaugural statement was made, these ministerial statements are opportunities for governments to measure their efforts, their progress and their progress in policy and administration. They're intended, I think, quite deliberately to be a frank, warts-and-all type of assessment of how we're doing here in Australia—the good and the bad—and they should act as a yardstick over time for how government's performance is measured and viewed.

I see this deliberate approach by governments in more and more areas of critical policy. When these critical and complex issues are finally canvassed in the community, when problems are finally brought out from under the carpet, enter the national conversation and get the recognition that important issues deserve, it naturally follows that governments provide more resources, more focus, more efforts and more funding. But it's about more than that. These ministerial statements and the work behind them are about making a really conscious effort to try new things to succeed and to fail fast if some attempts, experiments or initiatives are indeed going to fail, but, when things work, to quickly ramp up on those successes. Further, these ministerial statements can accept and respond to the fact that all people are unique. Their needs and their experiences will be different. There's often no magic bullet or any one-size-fits-all policy. In other words, these annual ministerial statements are a very deliberate commitment to a process that will guide us to keep doing better.

In this year's annual ministerial statement, delivered yesterday, the minister mentioned a number of priorities where the government is addressing some serious DVA service problems, overhauling the systems of the DVA and getting them into the digital age—new online capabilities and services—leading to faster claims processing and also moving to that single point of telephone contact, 1800 VETERAN. The minister also mentioned continuing good work in areas like employment initiatives and transition-to-work programs. The minister also mentioned a number of independent experts and reviewers looking in their work at different ways to make the next round of big improvement. This includes work by the Productivity Commission into rehabilitation and compensation systems, studies into advocacy and support systems, and more.

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Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Federation Chamber on 13/08/2018

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS - Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

I want to speak briefly about the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and why strong economic management matters. Since the election in 2013, there have been about 1,740 new or amended listings on the PBS, representing $9 billion of government support for new medicines. That means that this government is averaging 31 new or amended listings per month, or approximately one per day. The recent federal government budget alone included a $2.4 billion investment in new medicines.

By way of example, at the end of last month the Minister for Health announced the government will invest $250 million to make four life-changing cancer medicines available to thousands of Australian patients from 1 August. These medicines will assist patients suffering from a type of head and neck cancer, lymphoma and leukaemia as well as chemotherapy patients. The health minister also announced a subsidy for new PBS medicines for hepatitis C and diabetes. All these patients will now have access to affordable, life-changing medicines and save thousands of dollars in treatment costs per year.

Governing is all about choices and having the right priorities. Unlike Labor, who lost control of the budget and then lagged in their listing of new medicines, this government's strong economic management ensures all medicines recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee are funded.


Arts funding

House of Representatives - 27/06/2018

I've spoken here previously about the fact that Queenslanders receive the lowest per capita arts funding of all of the states and territories. As I've noted, that's not a recent phenomenon. It's a long-term trend that has existed for many, many years. It's an issue and a challenge that I've been keen to take up, along with my colleagues—the Queensland LNP members and senators, including yourself, Deputy Speaker Buchholz, who've collectively come to be known in recent times as 'Team Queensland'. Without in any way wishing to talk down the fantastic and amazing things currently happening in the arts sector in both Brisbane and Queensland, at the same time, it is really necessary to find opportunities to grow and to continue to support our vibrant arts sector. As I've said before, Brisbane and Queensland have some great things happening in their arts sector. There are hundreds of innovative, creative and vibrant artists who represent our diverse and expanding culture economy, from the four major performing arts companies and independent circus groups to cutting-edge digital offerings and Indigenous arts. The history and culture of arts in Brisbane and right across Queensland are an important part of our identity and our local economy.

Late last year, I provided an update on some recent funding wins that had happened around that time. Today I'm back to report on several additional success stories involving arts organisations in Queensland, including Queensland Ballet, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the Gallery of Modern Art and QUT. Two weeks ago, I visited Queensland Ballet to make the very, very important announcement that this government has granted Queensland Ballet $3½ million over three years to help them transform the Thomas Dixon Centre that houses Queensland Ballet. That centre is the core. It's the home of Queensland Ballet, and this significant grant is critical to securing and growing Queensland Ballet's future. They are led by Li Cunxin, who is a force of nature and a huge advocate and ambassador for the arts scene in Brisbane and Queensland. Queensland Ballet has directly contributed to the economic and employment growth in Brisbane and around Queensland, and this funding will ensure that they can continue their excellent work. A new 350- to 400-seat theatre will enable both major and smaller independent artists to showcase their work and their talents. The centre will also feature state-of-the-art new technologies so that Queensland Ballet can better collaborate with other Brisbane arts organisations. It's that sort of collaboration which we really want to see and encourage to make sure that there are always exciting new things happening in our arts sector.

I was also pleased to announce recently that QPAC, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, has been granted $420,000 to deliver Armistice, a theatrical performance reflecting on Australia's wartime history. It opens in November this year, and that's a very important time because we'll be commemorating the Centenary of World War I. This performance, Armistice, will explore the sacrifice of wartime and how this experience has contributed to shaping Australia's national identity. This collaborative project will bring our history to life through materials from the Australian War Memorial and the National Film and Sound Archive.

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Great Barrier Reef

Federation Chamber on 18/06/2018


The Great Barrier Reef is a remarkable natural wonder. It's breathtaking and spectacular. I've been very privileged to visit it before. It makes up in total about 10 per cent of the world's coral reef ecosystems. It stretches almost 3,000 kilometres, almost the distance from Brisbane to Melbourne and back again. It's one of Queensland's greatest landmarks and one of Australia's most beautiful natural environmental treasures.

The long-term protection and conservation of the Great Barrier Reef is critically important, and it is essential that it be preserved for future generations. That's why I and so many people in Brisbane were delighted that this year's federal budget made an additional investment, Australia's largest ever investment in the reef, of more than $500 million. This new funding is on top of the $2 billion that's already been allocated under this government to protect the reef.

In areas like conservation actions speak louder than words, so I'm proud that this government is doing more, investing more, funding more programs, than any other government in Australia's history. This record extends a long track record of support and protection of the Great Barrier Reef by former federal Liberal governments. It was, after all, the Fraser Liberal government that proclaimed the first section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 1979, and it was the Fraser Liberal government again that nominated the Great Barrier Reef for World Heritage listing, leading to the World Heritage Committee placing it on the World Heritage List in 1981. The Howard government brought in the Great Barrier Reef Region (Prohibition of Mining) Regulations 1999 to prohibit mining in areas just outside the Great Barrier Reef region, falling outside the marine park. And it was also the Howard Liberal government that extended the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 2000 to include six new sections right along the coastline of Queensland that were previously missing out on the park's protection status. That added almost 1,300 square kilometres to the park.

When this coalition government took office in 2013, we inherited a situation where, sadly, the Great Barrier Reef was on the UN World Heritage Committee's watch list, basically because Labor was proposing four sites there for the dumping of dredge spoils. The coalition put a stop to the dredge sites, and, happily, the Great Barrier Reef was then taken off the UN's watch list. That's the environmental record of action of which this government is rightly proud.

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Budget and tax reform

House of Representatives - 21/05/2018

I rise to speak on the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2018-2019 cognate debate with Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 2018-2019, Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2018-2019, Appropriation Bill (No. 5) 2017-2018 and Appropriation Bill (No. 6) 2017-2018, and to state, in case there was any doubt amongst honourable members, that this month's budget has been a great budget for Brisbane. More than 75,000 people across the electorate of Brisbane will be getting tax relief next financial year commencing in 40-something days' time, meaning the hardworking people of Brisbane will be keeping more of their own hard-earned money as reward for their efforts because this government's strong economic plan is starting to pay dividends.

A year ago, talking here on last year's budget, the topic was business tax cuts and we just heard that last year's budget still manages to distract members of the opposition. Last year, we talked about how this government was predicting what would happen if we backed Australian businesses, notably the small and medium family businesses which together make up such a large proportion of Australia's economy and its enterprise. We talked about why supporting those small and medium and family businesses might pay certain dividends. Now we are here seeing the very real evidence that the key planks of this government's strong economic plan are working—the tax relief already delivered for small and medium businesses, our innovation agenda, the new free trade agreements and the growth of our defence industry. We see evidence of these policies working certainly in Brisbane, right across Queensland and indeed across Australia.

Last week, two notable economic milestones were reached. Queensland's population reached five million and the target of one million jobs being created since the coalition government was elected was reached—about half a year earlier than was hoped for originally. The first milestone is a sign of the confidence Australians have in the great state of Queensland, including the 3.5 million who choose to make their homes in the south-east corner, centred on the wonderful place that is the City of Brisbane.

The second milestone, those jobs, is an unambiguous sign that the government's strong economic management is paying the dividends that we were talking about here in this place a year ago. A million jobs means a million livelihoods out there improved, a million more people having the security, dignity and prosperity of work. Record jobs being created, business investment rising, the budget strengthening is the story underpinning the budget.

Nationwide, our policies are coming together to help Australia's small and medium businesses create all of these new jobs faster than jobs have ever been created in the history of this country. Last year, a record 1,100 jobs a day were created, on average. That means, as I said, more Australians are being productive. It also means more Australians are paying taxes, and fewer of them are relying on welfare. That is a powerful outcome economically and morally. And it is enabling, in turn, this government to provide and guarantee the essential services. For instance, in the budget there is a record level of support for seniors and a record investment in the Great Barrier Reef. Finally, with certainty, it is enabling the government to fully fund the NDIS out of consolidated revenue.

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ANZAC Day Address 2018

Anzac Day 2018 – Windsor & Districts Historical Society

9:00 am 25 Apr 2018, Windsor Memorial Park 

May I acknowledge the traditional owners, the Turrbal people, and pay my respects to their elders past and present. Thank you to Uncle Joe Kirk for your welcome to country.

Thank you to Rosalie Raciti and the volunteers of the Windsor & Districts Historical Society for again organising today’s event.

I’m honoured to join you all again here to commemorate Anzac Day, particularly this year, as we mark the Centenary of Armistice – 100 years since the guns fell silent at the end of WWI.

This is an important nationwide event. Yet Anzac Day in practice and in spirit is made up of local commemorations, across countless local communities like ours here, in the same way that generations of our soldiers have been drawn from the communities spread across all corners of our continent.

The original Anzacs were clerks, tradesmen, labourers, professionals, shearers and farmers, the indigenous; young people representing every cohort of Australian society.

More than 50,000 Australians fought in Gallipoli in 1915. They included young Queenslanders from across our state, from local places like Windsor, Wilston, Kelvin Grove, Wooloowin, Clayfield and New Farm.

Their sacrifices have won our freedoms, given us lasting benefits, and helped forge our national identity.

This morning there were a number of dawn services including one at Cameron Rocks nearby Breakfast Creek. That is where, back in 1915, many Anzacs last stood on Australian soil. It is where too many of them last saw the sun rise over the Australian coast.

That memorial, and this one, were built in the years after WWI and were funded almost exclusively by private donations and community subscriptions. It is a fine example of community-led action. This is a spirit that lives on in today’s event here.

These memorials honour those who served their country, many dying a world away from their childhood homes and families. Places like this memorial and events like this allow us to come together as a community to remember, to reflect, to grieve, to acknowledge the sacrifice of others, and to consider our hard-fought freedoms.

Our area of Brisbane has more significant war-time history than even some locals may realise.

We may never know for certain, but the historian Charles Bean concluded that the first ANZAC ashore at Gallipoli was a Queenslander, Lieutenant Duncan Chapman, of the 9th Battalion. He was born in Maryborough and was a resident working here in Brisbane when WWI began. He survived Gallipoli, but later fell, in action, in France, on 6 August the following year.

Of the 50,000 Australian soldiers at Gallipoli, the Australian War Memorial records that a total of 8,141 Australian souls were lost before the evacuation.

It was a grim and formative moment in Australia’s psyche and in our history.

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Marriage Law Amendment Bill (Marriage Equality)

House of Representatives on 4/12/2017

Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 - Second Reading

It is with pride and joy that I second the motion. I rise to speak on the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017. On 15 November 2017, just past 10 am local time, celebration erupted on the streets of Brisbane as the Australian Statistician announced that the vast majority of Australians had said yes to allowing same-sex couples to marry. At a large gathering in Queen's Park in the CBD, and in cafes and workplaces across Brisbane, people clapped and cheered. They hugged complete strangers, and people cried with a mixture of relief and joy. My partner, Roger, and I shared in that emotion. The 'yes' vote in Brisbane was almost 80 per cent. It was 79.5 per cent, meaning that Brisbane recorded the highest support of any government seat across the country except for the Prime Minister's seat of Wentworth.

When the Statistician was giving his speech that day he also announced in passing that the ABS later that day would be releasing Australia's labour force statistics. Now, it is thought-provoking to imagine a nation tuning in and erupting with the same level of celebration at the release of our employment statistics. They were pretty good job figures after all! But that comparison does reveal the importance of the postal survey results and the significance of marriage equality to so many Australians. It underlines the responsibility that this parliament now has in front of it to respect the clear will of the Australian people by passing this bill this week in a business-like fashion.

That comparison between the postal survey and other statistical releases reveals another serious point: that in the hustle and bustle of life there's possibly too few occasions when Australia stops and pays attention to the operations, the decisions and the news of government. When a national moment like this occurs, there are lessons to be learned for those of us who ponder things like the operation of our democracy, policy-making processes and concepts of good governance.

Why did it take so long for this reform to be achieved when public opinion had shown that the majority of Australians have supported marriage equality for almost a decade?

What precedent did the postal survey set for our parliamentary democracy? And what has the postal survey taught us about how Australians can engage with each other and our parliament?

I wouldn't be the first to observe that reform has been difficult for Australia in this decade. About a year ago, I was on my feet here speaking of my sadness and disappointment that yet another Australian parliament looked set to fail to achieve marriage equality. Despite these years of national debate, this government's plebiscite bill was actually the first time in history there was a government-endorsed bill sitting on that table in front of me. We were the first government ever elected with a mandate containing a path to achieving marriage equality, and we had our Prime Minister—the first in Australia to be consistently in favour of it. And yet, despite all those firsts, that bill was headed for defeat by the usual blockade in the Senate. And those who voted against it had no plan for what would happen next. Essentially, they were content to run the risk that this reform would stall for a long time—possibly, for many years. And of course, that was after some of them had done nothing to achieve marriage equality when they had their chance in government. Now, history, not I, will be the judge of that.

As for me, I'm proud to stand up here today and say that I've played a small role in ending the stalemate on same-sex marriage. It was a path that contained some risks, and, for their strength and their courage on this topic, I want to pay tribute to some of my colleagues: to Senator Dean Smith; to the member for Goldstein, Tim Wilson; to the member for North Sydney, Trent Zimmerman; the member for La Trobe, Jason Wood; and to the irrepressible and legendary member for Leichhardt, fellow Queenslander Warren Entsch.

Those members I just named and I didn't come to this place to focus on same-sex marriage. I came here with a background in small business, with experience in economics and industry, to focus on many of the other important challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us today. But sometimes one could have been forgiven for thinking otherwise. I can't count the number of times that news stories introduced me as 'the gay MP' before even referring to my seat or my party or my achievements or other attributes.

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Mobile Offices and commitment to representation

Almost every week a constituent runs up to me looking panicked and asks me, 'Is there an election coming up?' There is not, of course. They have just seen me holding my regular mobile offices. 'Mobile office' is a pretty fancy title for what is essentially me on the side of a busy street under a shade sail with the A frames out and some plastic chairs, listening to locals who pass by and stop in. When I was elected last year, I outlined my intention to be as visible, accessible and responsive as I possibly can, and also as thoughtful as I possibly can about the challenges and the opportunities that lie in front of us in Brisbane. My mobile offices are just one of the ways I have been working hard to achieve that.

So I want to formally thank the 500 or so constituents who have come to talk to me so far at my mobile offices. They have helped me to prove the value of listening. Their thoughts, their feedback and their stories have made me a better representative. I am proud to record that, as of this month, I have now held over 100 mobile offices across Brisbane. If the one downside of that is that it causes the occasional moment of panic for people who are worried that they are missing out on an election, then the answer surely is for me to hold even more mobile offices until every last constituent knows that this is how I want to work to represent the people of Brisbane.


Protecting our local environment

Federation Chamber on 23/03/2017

Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2016-2017, Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2016-2017 - Second Reading

I rise to speak on Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2016-2017, and today I want to focus my comments on our environmental commitments, our achievements and future considerations. I find it remarkable, even today, that I was the only candidate in Brisbane in last year's election who made local environmental commitments. There was a Labor candidate; there was a Greens candidate. But I was the only candidate, it seemed, who had thought deeply about the local environment, who had considered local environmental priorities and who had successfully lobbied my party and my minister, seeking resources to make local environmental commitments.

It was my strong belief then and it remains the case now that, while some inner-city Brisbane residents may not immediately be conscious of our significant local environmental concerns, in fact, right there under our noses, is the Brisbane River connecting the Brisbane River catchment, which contains most of the green space in South-East Queensland, with the vitally important Moreton Bay. The Brisbane River, its catchment and Moreton Bay are without doubt our biggest and most significant local environmental assets. The river is also culturally important to our people. It is significant to our traditional owners of the land, and every day, subconsciously or consciously, it forms a backdrop to the lives of local residents going about their business. The Brisbane River and Moreton Bay, incidentally, are also economically important. Some estimates of the economic activity around the Moreton Bay and catchment rival the total economic activity and value of the Great Barrier Reef. But back to its environmental significance.

The Brisbane River catchment obviously contains most of South-East Queensland's fresh water. It links many of our important parks and forests, and it also contains most of our iconic and endemic species. Moreton Bay itself includes a Ramsar site of international significance for dozens of bird species, including some of those famous migratory species that Attenborough documentaries showcase travelling such tremendous distances all around the globe. It supports iconic and threatened species, including three species of large turtles, and it is also one of the top 10 habitats in Queensland for the dugong. I conclude that all of these factors mean that the Brisbane River and its catchment are a logical place for policymakers to start when we consider the priorities for our local environment and when we consider the opportunities and the strategies for protecting and growing the resilience of the local environment right across South-East Queensland.

Following my advocacy, informed as it was then by my work with Seqwater and my tree planting and catchment activities over many years, this government has committed over three-quarters of a million dollars to projects that will protect and improve the environmental condition of the Brisbane River and its catchment. The projects include $80,000 for water-smart street trees, rain gardens and other water-sensitive urban design to reduce stormwater and road run-off into the catchment; $70,000 to tackle sediment run-offs, specifically at Tenerife Park; $360,000—over a third of a million dollars—towards riparian planting and erosion control projects for tributaries into the Brisbane River, including around the Enoggera Creek; and $50,000 to support the waterways clean up program to directly remove litter from the river. The commitments also include a Green Army project, which will enhance the local Brisbane River riparian areas to improve water quality and species retention, to protect and improve habitat, working in conjunction with the other elements of the local plan, and looking at rejuvenating the local environment through the removal and the control of invasive species and replanting with native species. These projects, in conjunction with projects being delivered by others, such as the Brisbane City Council, have been prioritised and chosen in consultation with groups like SEQ Catchments and other catchment groups, and they should help to improve the environmental condition of the Brisbane River, in line with the priorities and the challenges and opportunities outlined in Healthy Waterways' annual report on the condition of our catchment areas all along South-East Queensland.

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