The seven months of Kerryn

May 20, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Dr Kerryn Phelps has spoken of her seven months in parliament as the Independent MP for the Sydney seat of Wentworth and received words of praise from her Liberal successor Dave Sharma and her predecessor former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Dr Kerryn Phelps talks to media

At a media conference after conceding defeat in Saturday’s election Dr Kerryn Phelps said: “During the by-election campaign, I said I would work with refugee advocates and the community to get all kids off Nauru and find a more humane solution for those on Nauru and Manus Island who are in desperate need of proper medical care.

Pressure from the #KidsOffNauru campaign forced the Government to act and we should all be proud that there are now no children on Nauru.

I am also immensely proud of the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures), which came to be known as the “Medevac Bill”.

Since that Bill was passed, our public hospitals have not been overrun and none of the other dire predictions about the consequences of compassionate treatment of sick refugees came to pass.

What we do have is appropriate medical care for people under Australia’s watch.

My hope is that Scott Morrison’s newly elected government will continue to ensure the remaining refugees and people seeking asylum on Manus Island and Nauru receive the medical attention they need promptly and without unnecessary legal delays.

The other key part of my campaign platform was real action on climate change and the environment.

I would like the Morrison government to act with urgency to address the many environmental challenges facing our country, particularly the need for definitive policies to guide the transition to a clean energy future.

We also need a solution to the growing problem of single use plastics and waste management in general.

This is a global challenge but much like climate change, Australia should play a leading role on the world stage.

The future of the ABC is under threat. It is now more important than ever that we have a properly funded, independent national broadcaster.

A National Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission should be a major focus of the next Parliament and a failure to enact one will reflect poorly on the Parliament with public confidence in politics at an all-time low.

I think that over time, many Australians will miss the constructive role played by the lower house crossbench in the final six months of the previous Parliament.

That’s because the sensible centre isn’t defined by right vs left; it’s right vs wrong.

A functioning crossbench curbs the excesses of the Government of the day.

It isn’t about the balance of power so much as the power of balance.

It is politics done differently, driven by the needs of our electorate and our nation, not major party ideology.

I believe the people of Wentworth want real action on climate change and protecting the environment, but they reject unfair taxes, government waste and favours for mates.

I may have only been in Parliament for a short time but I am proud of my record and what we have achieved.”

Malcolm Turnbull resigned from parliament after losing his prime ministership effecting the October 2018 by-election which ended 74 years of Liberal representation. He tweeted: “And thank you for the great courage and character you showed as our MP.”

Newly-elected Dave Sharma added: “Dr Kerryn Phelps raised the profile of national issues which deserved more attention in our political debate.”

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