Speeches

Biodiversity Conservation Bill 2016

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT ( Prospect ) ( 17:31 ): I oppose the Biodiversity Conservation Bill 2016. The Baird Government, under pressure from the underperforming New South Wales Nationals, is seeking to repeal Labor's environmental legacy. For the entire time that the Labor Government, under the leadership of one of our State's greatest Premiers, Bob Carr, legislated to protect the natural environment of New South Wales—that is the national parks, the coastline, the areas that we cherish—The Nationals reserved their anger and disapproval for the day when they were finally in government. After decades of progressive and positive legislative reform by New South Wales Labor, dedicated to environmental protection, the Hon. Niall Blair, MLC, Minister for Primary Industries, a man who enlists the assistance of magical water diviners in policy development, has introduced the Biodiversity Conservation Bill to destroy environmental protections and threaten the wonderful natural and protected environments in our State.

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State Infrastructure

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT ( Prospect ) ( 16:02 ): I oppose this arrogant and dishonest motion put forward by the Government and the member for Hornsby. This is typical hollow infrastructure that this disgusting Government, the Baird Government and its policies, is pushing. It is all show but no substance. It builds a monolith to this Government's arrogance and ego. It is infrastructure spending on a grandiose scale while building projects vitally needed by people in New South Wales are ignored. Let us look at those vital projects. The Minister loves to get up here and say that he is spending so much money on schools. The reality is there have been cuts and if it was not for Gonski next to nothing would be spent on schools in New South Wales.

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Rock Fishing Safety Bill 2016

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT ( Prospect ) ( 17:37 ): I support the Rock Fishing Safety Bill 2016, with amendments. Rock fishing is Australia's deadliest sport. On average, eight people die each year while rock fishing and it accounts for 26.7 per cent of coastal drownings. According to Surf Life Saving NSW, none of the victims were wearing life jackets. About one-third of rock fishers report having been swept away by waves at some time while they have been rock fishing. A life jacket is a simple way of reducing drowning deaths. Much like the wearing of seatbelts in cars, life jackets offer the possibility of reduced fatalities. Just as seatbelts are compulsory, the wearing of life jackets should be mandatory when rock fishing. Some may suggest that the majority of drowning deaths are due to rock fishers not being able to swim. This is not the case. Some 92 per cent of rock fishermen surveyed by Randwick City Council said that they could swim. But all 27 of the rock fishers who drowned between 2011 and 2014 were not wearing life jackets. Additionally, not one of the 10 victims in the past year wore a life jacket.

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Suicide Prevention

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT ( Prospect ) ( 12:33 ): I address the House on a very serious issue—the high rate of suicide amongst tradesmen and construction industry workers in New South Wales especially among young men in the Prospect electorate and in other areas in Western Sydney. Suicide has been described as a dark plague and is a bigger cause of death than skin cancer, liver disease or even motor vehicle accidents. Men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women. Young men under the age of 25 are twice as likely to commit suicide than older men and the occupation with the worst incidence of people committing suicide is the construction industry.

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Soorasamharam Festival

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT ( Prospect ) ( 16:28 ): On Saturday 5 November I was pleased to attend Soorasamharam at the Saiva Manram—also known as the Sydney Murugan Temple, a place of worship for the Tamil people of Western Sydney—with my good friend the member for Granville, Julia Finn, and Federal member for Greenway, Michelle Rowland. Soorasamharam is a thrilling performance commemorating the defeat of the evil Asura demigods by Lord Murugan, the Hindu god of war. Of course, Lord Murugan wins in the end, restoring natural order—known as Dharma. The festival holds great significance among Hindus in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. Some of the most devoted followers of Soorasamharam fast for six days, commemorating the six days of the war between Murugan and the Asura. I thank the wonderful Tamil community at the Saiva Manram for hosting me for the Soorasamharam festivities and also thank the president, Mr Nadar Ketheson, and the board of the temple for organising such a wonderful event.

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Crown Land Management Bill 2016

Wednesday, 09 November 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT ( Prospect ) ( 18:23 ): I oppose the Crown Land Management Bill 2016. This bill will fundamentally change the way Crown land in New South Wales is managed, owned and controlled. It is quite possibly the most significant rewriting of Crown land legislation in our State's history. Approximately half of the land in New South Wales is Crown land. Beaches, many parks, land that is reserved for the enjoyment of everybody falls under the classification of Crown land. To some extent, this bill threatens the tourism industry by potentially removing public access to these beaches and parks. This legislation also threatens the enjoyment of every person in New South Wales who enjoys access to Crown land.

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Toongabbie Sports Club Junior Sports Stars Awards

Wednesday, 09 November 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT ( Prospect ) ( 13:34 ): I acknowledge the tenth Junior Sports Stars Awards held at Toongabbie Sports Club on Sunday 6 November 2016. The awards are designed to recognise the achievements of local sporting stars within their own fraternity and the broader community, and to encourage and support their development with prizes to ensure their ongoing access to local sports. All children are recognised on the day and many had fantastic stories to share. Toongabbie Sports Club directly supports nearly 2,500 local sporting participants, with no less than 10 different sporting bodies. The club invested $150,000 in sports in 2016.

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Tamil Language Education

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT ( Prospect ) ( 12:32 ): I am proud to represent the electorate of Prospect, which has one of the highest concentrations of Tamil language speakers in Australia. Tamil is one of the world's oldest languages, having been spoken as a primary language for more than 2,800 years. Its longevity has allowed for the preservation of art and literature for millennia. It is the oldest of the Dravidian languages, which are widely spoken in southern India. The Tamil language plays an essential role in the Tamil diaspora, fostering a unified identity and maintaining Tamil culture. The Tamil language has been found inscribed on artefacts found as far away as Egypt and common Tamil words are found even within Indigenous languages in Australia.

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Bathukamma and Dasara Celebrations

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT ( Prospect ) ( 13:35 ): On Saturday 8 October, I was delighted to attend the Bathukamma and Dasara celebrations, organised by Telangana Jagruthi Australia and held at the Sydney Baha'i Centre. In attendance was Indian member of Parliament Mrs Kalvakuntala Kavitha, who is heavily involved with work promoting culture, women, children's welfare and skill development in India. Mrs Kavitha is also President of Telangana Jagruthi India. Those familiar with India will recognise Telangana as a State of India, with Hyderabad as its capital city. Bathukamma is the floral festival, representing cultural spirit and women. Dasheera is a celebration of victory of good over evil. I would like to thank the executive committee of Telangana Jagruthi Australia, Mr Nishidhar Borra, Mr Anil Munagala, Mr Ganesh Bandi, Mrs Samantha Reddy, Mr Kiran Manda and Mr Rajesh Arshanapalli for organising this wonderful event.

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