APPOINTMENT AS SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES

I am honoured and grateful to be appointed Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services.
 
I acknowledge the importance of this appointment and I recognise the significance of the challenges ahead – in developing positive alternative policy, defending vulnerable Australians against the Liberals’ cuts and ensuring the NDIS delivers on its promise.
 
As Shadow Minister for Human Services, I fought against the Government’s contempt for Australians who rely on income support: the cuts to services; the long wait times; the botched and unfair Robodebt debacle.
 
The Government’s treatment of income support recipients as political punching bags has been shameful.
 
I believe in the essential importance of our nation’s social safety net. I believe it should be accessible and available to Australians when they need it.
 
The social safety net benefits us all. Australians know that we owe our prosperity to hard work and good fortune, but we owe our stability to the social safety net.
 
Australians with disability have waited too long for the quality support they need. I will work closely with people with disability, carers, advocates and families to make the NDIS the best it can be.
 
I congratulate my colleagues Ed Husic MP, Terri Butler MP, and Senators Jenny McAllister and Louise Pratt on their new appointments. Their appointments underscore the collective skill, talent and experience of Labor’s team heading into the next election.  
 
I thank our leader Bill Shorten and my colleagues for their confidence and faith in my appointment.
 
In particular, I pay tribute to my colleague, friend and mentor, the Member for Jagajaga, Jenny Macklin for her tireless work in this space.
 
Jenny has been at the centre of many of our nation’s historic social reforms including, the Apology to the Stolen Generations, Closing the Gap, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, the National Redress Scheme, paid parental leave, and delivering the single largest increase in the Aged Pension.
 
She has been generous with her time and wisdom, and I truly have big shoes to fill.  I look forward to continuing Jenny’s incredible work .
 
Along with Bill Shorten and the whole Labor team, I will work for a stronger social safety net, the NDIS, and a fairer Australia.