Speeches

Irish Migration to Australia

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [5.21 p.m.]: Tomorrow is St Patrick's Day. It is a great day, not only for the Irish and those of Irish heritage but also for all people who support such a great day. As members would know, the Irish were among the first European settlers in Australia and they have contributed substantially to the development of contemporary Australia. Around six million Australians have Irish ancestry. As the second largest community in Australia, Australians of Irish heritage have a significant influence, not only on the Australian character but also on all aspects of Australian society, historically most notably on the police force, the judiciary, the trade union movement, the Catholic Church, and politics and education. Prominent Australians of Irish ancestry from this House have included 11 New South Wales Premiers: James Dooley, Thomas Wadell, Sir James Martin, Patrick Jennings, Jack Lang, Joseph Cahill, Sir William McKell, James McGirr, John Fahey, Kristina Kenneally and, more recently, Barry O'Farrell.

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Accorded Priority Western Sydney Arts and Culture

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [3.48 p.m.]: I speak on the motion and the amendment. It is incredible that the North Shore member of Parliament who calls himself the Minister for Western Sydney, the Premier, can push a cultural icon like the Powerhouse Museum onto the west. That is typical. The Government wants to impose the eastern suburbs on the western suburbs—that is what it is about. And the member for Parramatta should know better. Perhaps if he were the Minister for Western Sydney he would not put up with such a thing. What we need in Western Sydney is our own museum. We do not need something brought in from the east, the north or somewhere else. We have our own culture, artists and musicians—we can have it there.

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Catholic Association of Sydney Tamils

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [4.59 p.m.]: 4.59. On Saturday 5 March I was pleased to be a guest at the Catholic Association of Sydney Tamils silver jubilee with Bishop Joseph Ponniah of Batticaloa, Sri Lanka. For 25 years the Catholic Association of Sydney Tamils has been a voice for Catholic Tamils, particularly in my Western Sydney electorate of Prospect. Millions of Catholics reside in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. In fact, Catholics comprise 6 per cent of the Sri Lankan population. Thousands are now proud to call Australia home, whether they came to escape persecution, make a new start in life or were born here. I thank the committee of the Catholic Association of Sydney Tamils, comprising Thayaharan, Antonitte Jesuthan, Santhiya Sylvester, John Kennedy, Anton Priris, Arul Sylvester, Charles Pitchai, Dhamayanthy Rajendra, Mercy Sylvester, Jovan Titus, Reverend Father Robert William, Michael Jesuthan, Victor St George and Madonna Gnanapragasam, for organising a great event and for their leadership in our community.

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Government Fiscal Management

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [5.28 p.m.]: I address the House on the Baird Government's ongoing waste of taxpayers' money, especially in the seat of Prospect but also throughout New South Wales. The Baird Government prides itself on good fiscal management, which is a fallacy, but refuses to accept responsibility for its major financial failures. I will refer to some of them, such as the learning management and business reform [LMBR] program, otherwise known as the Department of Education information technology bungle—over budget and three years late. Costs are already $587 million, more than $200 million over budget. Indeed, the cost could go as high as $1 billion. If the Government had not wasted that money, it could probably have upgraded Fairfield Hospital alone some 33 times. Western Sydney schools would have new classrooms, upgraded facilities, extracurricular activities and, in some cases, a constant and reliable power supply. Next is advertising. A total of $6.5 million was spent on the Tomorrow's Sydney campaign, which did not provide any meaningful information. It comprised lots of pretty billboards with pretty people who provided nothing for the people of New South Wales.

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Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW) Amendment (Review) Bill 2016

Tuesday, 08 March 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [5.49 p.m.]: The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW) Amendment (Review) Bill 2016 aims to address the statutory review of the national law in relation to councils for health professionals. It is a "tidying up" bill that will have a minor effect on the healthcare system in New South Wales. It includes items such as changing terminology, increasing the involvement of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and mandating audio-recording of meetings. Those are reasonable changes; however, they do not address the greater issues at stake in the New South Wales health system.

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Limitation Amendment (Child Abuse) Bill 2016

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [10.43 a.m.]: I support the Limitation Amendment (Child Abuse) Bill 2016. However, I express my disappointment that a similar bill put forward by the Opposition last year was opposed by the Government. Playing politics with this matter is offensive. It beggars belief that this Government would vote down a similar bill simply because we put it forward. That would have to be the worst thing this Government has done.

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Motions Accorded Priority - Western Sydney Toll Roads

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [3.31 p.m.]: Once again the Baird Government is attacking people in Western Sydney, but this time it is using tolls. The Carr Government removed the tolls but within a period of five years this Government brought them back. A raft of new tolls will be imposed on the mums, dads, tradies and people travelling to work. It was all settled and decided without public consultation or transparency. The Baird Government has done another backdoor deal that will adversely affect the people of Western Sydney. The M4 is currently free of tolls. Those of us who live in Western Sydney will remember the days of expensive tolls taking so much of our salaries and wages. Each time a tradesman used the M4 on the way to a job he was charged. The Carr Government removed those tolls. I note that the member for Oxley is awake.

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Smithfield Public School

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [1.24 p.m.]: Smithfield Public School is a wonderful school in the electorate of Prospect. It is one of New South Wales' oldest schools, having opened in 1850. On 5 February I was pleased to have attended Smithfield Public School's leadership presentation ceremony. Smithfield's dedication to learning and encouraging leadership is truly commendable, and I congratulate the new leaders on their positions. I also commend the staff of Smithfield Public School, whose tireless efforts make it not only a good school but also a focal point of the community. In particular, I commend the principal, Cheryl McBride, OAM. Ms McBride has been a teacher for 37 years and has gone above the call of duty to speak out against the impact of drugs, domestic violence and abuse. She has even rescued some of her most vulnerable students by taking them to hospital when their parents were drug affected. Her work has been a positive influence on thousands of young lives. Both Smithfield Public School and the Smithfield community are lucky to have Ms McBride and her teaching staff.

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Member for East Hills and Carl Trad

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT: My question is directed to the Premier. Why did the Premier approve grants that were recommended by the member for East Hills totalling $28,000 to a convicted money launderer, Carl Trad?

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Housing Inequality and Affordability

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [5.23 p.m.]: Today I address the House on housing inequality and affordability in the electorate of Prospect. New South Wales has experienced widening income inequality. It is the high earnings of bankers and senior business leaders that stand out as drivers of inequality in New South Wales today, not an elite living off inherited wealth, as was the case in the past. Families confront a vivid example of this inequality. The value of the house they own, and hence the imputed rent they receive from it, has risen by far more than their earnings. This is driving a new form of inequality between the insiders, who are already in the property market, and the outsiders, for whom the barriers to entry are too high.

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