Australian Conservatives poach DLP seat

The DLP state seat of Western Metropolitan, occupied by Rachel Carling-Jenkins, has been poached by Cory Bernardi and the Australian Conservatives.


Neither Bernardi nor any member of his party have made any contact with the state or federal executives of the DLP. We were recently made aware that Rachel and Cory Bernardi have been ‘in discussion’ for some time but her decision to leave and take the DLP seat with her was only advised on Saturday evening.

The party naturally expects Rachel to vacate the seat to allow the DLP to continue representing the people of Western Metropolitan as per their intention when they voted for the DLP at the last state election.

While the DLP has no way of removing Rachel from the seat we call upon her to do the right thing and step aside. Rachel has every right to leave the DLP to join the Australian Conservatives and to stand for them at the next election. However, what we do not accept is her intention to take a DLP seat to a party that has never stood for election in Victoria and is not even registered.

The DLP acknowledges that Rachel has been an outstanding Member of Parliament and to date has carried out her role as a DLP representative with dignity and integrity. The friendship and support offered and shared with her by the party and its members has been a uniting factor after a previously troubled time. We will always be grateful for Rachel’s time with us, though clearly, we are disappointed to see it end in this manner.

Motion to scrap Safe Schools in Victoria divides Parliament ’18-all’

education2On Wednesday 26 October, Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins brought a motion before the upper house of the Victorian parliament, calling on the government to withdraw the Safe Schools program from schools and to conduct a review of the program which would take into account the views of parents. This was the first motion of its type in any Australian parliament. 

In speaking to this motion, Dr Carling-Jenkins drew attention to a number of issues about Safe Schools that have caused a high degree of concern among parents and experts in the fields of paediatrics, education and child protection. 

From the outset, Dr Carling-Jenkins and the DLP have maintained that the bullying of any child, for any reason, is undesirable and unacceptable. Indeed, our children deserve the very best educational programs we can give them. 

Safe Schools is ideological and less about bullying than furthering the political and social agendas of the LGBTI movement to which it is intimately connected. Instead of being indoctrinated with such theories and agendas, our children deserve a program that builds their emotional intelligence and eradicates all forms of bullying, without controversy, without confusion, without causing concern to parents and without ideological bias. 

Click here to view Rachel’s speech 

Disappointingly, the government’s first speaker on the motion spoke beyond the negotiated time-slots, which prevented other members from contributing on the day. The debate would have been all the poorer for it, but thankfully the coalition and crossbench parties made extra time for debate to be resumed during general business on Wednesday 9 November. 

Click here to view Rachel’s ‘right of reply’ at the conclusion of debate 

The motion divided the house at 18 for and 18 against, which unfortunately meant the motion was defeated. However, the debate allowed many of the issues regarding the Safe Schools program to be brought to light, and it has generated a great deal of momentum within the community. 

Dr Carling-Jenkins and the DLP would like to thank everyone who has voiced their concerns about this issue, and everyone who has signed a petition against the program. Now is not the time to give up but to keep pressing forward. 

The fight continues.

2016 March for the Babies shows growing Support for Prolife Cause

Thousands flocked to the steps of Parliament on Saturday to protest Victoria’s abortion laws, mourn the many lives lost, and advocate for a culture of life that provides women with real choice and real support.

It was encouraging to see people of all ages and backgrounds at the March for the Babies – a testament to the breadth of the pro-life cause. This year’s theme was ‘life equality’.

Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins took the opportunity to announce the new pro-life political movement called Move to Change (formerly the 20 Week Movement) which has started up in Victoria. The formal launch for this movement will be at the Gala dinner on the 25th February 2017.

Move to Change is designed solely to advance pro-life legislation – we must move to change abortion laws, and move to change the make-up of parliament to introduce more pro-life MPs into our parliament. More information on this movement can be found when the website launches in the near future at

MFTB has been taking place at the same time every year since 2008, when Victoria legalised abortion up to birth and took away our health professionals’ fundamental right to conscience.

Watch Rachel’s address to the crowd:

Rally to support the Infant Viability Bill!

Please show your support for the Infant Viability Bill by attending this rally on Saturday 21 May, 2pm outside the front of Victorian Parliament.


Infant Viability Bill – Powerful Second Reading Speech calls for Life-Affirming Culture

The DLP’s Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins has delivered a powerful Second Reading Speech for the Infant Viability Bill in the Victorian Parliament.

In what is a very comprehensive speech, Dr Carling-Jenkins makes an appeal for a life-affirming culture as she exposes the flaws of the current system, and explains how the various aspects of the bill will make important reforms to the way mothers and their viable children are treated and cared for.

Click here to view speech 

The bill is receiving widespread support from the community and from both sides of the political spectrum. Over 42,000 signatures have been collected on hard copy petitions in support of the bill, and a Galaxy undertaken in March sows that 64 per cent of Victorians oppose abortion post 20-weeks.

For more information, see 


Show your support for the Infant Viability Bill by joining a peaceful rally on Saturday 21 May, 2pm outside the front of Parliament House.

DLP in 2015: Summary of Rachel Carling-Jenkins’ work in parliament and the community

As 2015 comes to a close, here is a summary of some of the work that the DLP has been doing in the Parliament of Victoria, through our member Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins. Rachel has now spent one year in office, having been elected to the Victorian Legislative Council (upper house) at the 2014 Victorian State Election. The DLP is extremely pleased with Rachel’s high work ethic and unfailing commitment to DLP principles and to workers, families, communities and life. Thank you, Rachel, for the tremendous work you have done so far, and all the very best for 2016!


DLP introduces Infant Viability Bill into Victorian Parliament

Seven years after Victoria introduced the most extreme abortion laws in the world, the DLP, less than a year after being elected, is delivering on its election promise to begin the process of remedying these laws. In October, Rachel introduced the Infant Viability Bill, a “Bill for an Act to ensure the provision of access to holistic care and support to pregnant women and preborn children so as to promote infant viability, to amend the Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 and Crimes Act 1958, to make consequential amendments to certain other Acts and for other purposes.” Under this Bill:

  1. Abortions would no longer be allowed from the 24th week of pregnancy
  2. Infant viability will be promoted and supported (all infants born alive form the 24th week of pregnancy onwards, including as the result of a medical emergency, must be cared for with the intent to save the infant’s life if at all possible)
  3. Mothers who present in distress to their doctor in this later stage of pregnancy, must be offered practical support. For example, a referral to a pregnancy support service offering holistic care (such as counselling, social and practical support)
  4. Penalties will be introduced for physicians who breach the new laws and for medical facilities in which the laws are breached. Mothers will not be criminalised or face any penalties.

Debate on the bill will take place in 2016. Keep a close on this website or for updates.


DLP establishes inquiry to improve perinatal services

In September, Rachel succeeded with her motion to establish an inquiry on the health, care and wellbeing of mothers and babies in Victoria during the perinatal period. Throughout the year, Rachel has visited hospitals, held discussions with doctors, nurses and mothers, and reviewed the academic literature on this matter. It became very clear that an inquiry was needed to address a range of issues, gaps, deficiencies and disparities to ensure that all mothers and their babies in Victoria are able to receive nothing less than world best practice during the perinatal period. The DLP received support for this initiative from the Minister for Health as well as the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.

Read more


DLP succeeds in boosting the level of government procurement from disability enterprises

In June, Rachel succeeded with her motion in parliament to boost the level of procurement from Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs). People with a disability make a significant contribution to Victoria and ADEs supply high quality products and services. However, Many ADEs have been experiencing acute financial pressure due to the challenges of providing tailored employment for people with a disability in a highly competitive environment. Organisations like National Disability Services have been advocating for quite some time for a greater level of Victorian Government procurement from ADEs. This is an important step forward in ensuring that the employment opportunities for people with disabilities are emphasised and expanded.

Read more


DLP fighting for workers against unscrupulous contractors

In May, Rachel called on the Treasurer to examine the current tendering system to ensure that Victoria’s construction companies and contractors are given a fair chance at winning a contract on a level playing field. Unscrupulous operators have not been providing their employees with the correct wage, entitlements and conditions by getting them to set up their own ABNs. This has enabled them to win tenders by putting in much cheaper bids. This has come at a huge economic and social cost for hundreds, if indeed not thousands, of Victorian workers. Pleasingly, the Victorian Government responded positively and has launched an inquiry.

Read more


DLP combatting homelessness

Throughout the year, Rachel has advocated for the establishment of crisis accommodation in the Wyndham local council area within her electorate. Working with members of the H3 Wyndham Alliance (an alliance of organisations committed to addressing homelessness in Wyndham), Rachel called upon the Government to seriously consider and act upon the Alliance’s proposal for a crisis intervention and service hub. We are pleased that the Government has responded (albeit with only a small step forward) to begin the process of funding the Alliance’s proposal. No person should have to experience homelessness because of a lack of emergency accommodation.

Read more


DLP succeeds in fight for fair and unbiased funding for non-government schools

In February, the Victorian Government introduced legislation to guarantee a minimum amount of government funding for non-government schools. However, the Minister for Education would have been able to impose whatever conditions on funding he decided were ‘reasonable conditions’. Thanks to the DLP’s efforts and following intense negotiations with the Minister, the Victorian Government agreed to abide by all the major principles we put forward. Most importantly, the Government put a guarantee on the record that conditions will not be imposed that would intentionally oppose any of the fundamental principles, objectives or governing laws of the non-government schools under consideration for funding. Further, the School Policy and Funding Advisory Council will now comprise representatives from the Catholic Education Commission and Independent Schools Victoria nominated by those organisations, rather than appointed by the Education Minister.


DLP stops push to legalise euthanasia and turns it into important end-of-life inquiry

In May, the DLP worked hard to ensure that motions supporting euthanasia by the Greens and Australian Sex Party either lapsed or were left useless. This was achieved following negotiations with the Government to instead support an inquiry that would look into end-of-life issues more holistically and address pressing issues in palliative care, advanced care directives, and elder abuse. Similar inquiries in other states and jurisdictions, when sufficiently resourced to give proper consideration to all evidence brought before it, have strongly recommended against legalising euthanasia. Click to view Rachel’s contribution to this debate.


DLP speaks out against false narrative behind “Safe Access Zones” bill

In November the Victorian parliament passed a law that essentially criminalises all forms of pro-life activity within 150 metres of any premises at which abortions take place, including GP clinics that dispense RU486. Any activity which causes intimidation or distress to a person in the zone can be reported to the police, and the offenders can be charged as much as 120 penalty units (over $18,000) or up to 12 months imprisonment. Despite many important questions remaining unanswered, including a lack of clarity over whether or not the act of praying in the zone could constitute an offence, the bill was supported by a vast majority of upper house MPs. Only a small handful, included Rachel, voted against the bill. The DLP maintains that the narrative underlying this bill is based largely on a false narrative.

Read more


DLP succeeds in achieving funding for community development

In May, Rachel advocated for the Werribee Football Club’s redevelopment of their home ground facilities. Since 2008 the club has been working with Wyndham City Council, the AFL and AFL Victoria to obtain the funding required to appropriately renovate and upgrade its home facilities at Avalon Airport oval. However, uncertainty about whether or not the government would chip in to support the project left the club in limbo. Rachel lobbied the Minister for Sport to provide a clear commitment on the provision of funding to this project. In October, the Government followed through and provided the funding to see the project realised. The redevelopment will benefit not only the club but also the wider community by bringing facilities up to modern standards, incorporating community spaces and enabling the hosting of first division women’s and girls’ matches and finals. Many community groups are already waiting to use the redeveloped facilities, and no longer will female umpires have to change in the toilets as there will now be female changing rooms. This redevelopment will be a huge boost for the local community.


Some more of the work in parliament:

Safety in the Workplace for Disability Support Workers

Disability Services and Inclusion of People with Disabilities

Transparency and Accountability around funding from Kew Residential Services Redevelopment  and

Advocating for appropriate Police Resources in Wyndham

Improving Access to Services for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Tribute to former DLP MP Frank Scully

Democratic Labour Party’s 60 Year Anniversary

Voicing concerns about the Safe Schools Coalition Program

Debate on the Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Bill 2015

Exposing the lack of consultation in the scrapping of Special Religious Instruction

Social Procurement Strategies for Councils

Men’s Mental Health

Solidarity with West Papuans


Parliamentary Committees

Rachel has served as a member of two parliamentary committees: the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee, and the Economy and Infrastructure Committee. These committees have worked on a number of important inquiries this past year, including the 2015-16 Budget Estimates, the Performance Audit of VAGO 2015-16, and the Inquiry into Infrastructure Projects.


Community Engagement

Throughout the year, Rachel has visited many organisations, industries, services and constituents in her electorate and indeed across Victoria to gain a deeper understanding of the issues they face. Some of these include the Newborn Intensive and Special Care Unit at the Royal Women’s Hospital, the Victorian forestry and timber industry, disability services and enterprises, the Werribee Football Club, the Bus Association and CDC Victoria, the Sunshine branch of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, child and family health services, the Wyndham Community and Education Centre, residential services, conferences, forums, rallies, and many meetings with constituents and lobby groups.


Victorian Parliament passes legislation that bans peaceful pro-life advocates within 150m of abortion clinics

In the very early hours of Friday morning 27th November, the Victorian parliament passed a law that essentially criminalises all forms of pro-life activity within 150 metres of any premises at which abortions take place, including GP clinics that dispense RU486.

Under the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Safe Access Zones) Bill 2015, any activity which causes intimidation or distress to a person in the zone can be reported to the police, and the offenders can be charged as much as 120 penalty units (over $18,000) or up to 12 months imprisonment.

Despite many important questions remaining unanswered, including a lack of clarity over whether or not the act of praying in the zone could consitute an offence, the bill was supported by a vast majority of upper house MPs (30). There is no doubt that this is a blatant attack on fundamental liberties; there is no balance struck between competing rights what-so-ever.

Apart from our very own Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins, only 7 other MPs voted against the bill: four Liberals and three crossbenchers.

DLP Federal Secretary Mr Stephen Campbell has denounced the legislation as “one more step along the road of the abolition of democratic rights”.

“While we would expect this from a socially destructive group like the Greens, I would have hoped that in the last 60 years the ALP would have learned something about the dangers of aligning themselves with extreme left-wing ideologies – obviously, that was a forlorn hope. The DLP will never accept this unjust legislation and will work to overturn it at every opportunity,” Mr Campbell said.

Click here to read the Rachel Carling-Jenkins’ contribution to the debate

If you haven’t already, please sign up to Rachel Carling-Jenkins’ E-Newsletter for the latest news about the work the DLP is doing in the Victorian parliament.

Infant Viability Bill Passes First Reading, while Greens and Sex Party Show their True Colour

DLP member for Western Metropolitan in the Victorian parliament, Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins has successfully introduced the Infant Viability Bill, with the bill’s 1st reading carried this afternoon.

This means the bill’s title is now listed on the Legislative Council’s notice paper, and the following long title was incorporated into hansard:

“A Bill for an Act to ensure the provision of access to holistic care and support to pregnant women and preborn children so as to promote infant viability, to amend the Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 and Crimes Act 1958, to make consequential amendments to certain other Acts and for other purposes.”

The next step in the legislative process is the second reading speech, in which Dr Carling-Jenkins will outline the details of the bill and explain why it is needed. This is then followed by second reading debate, before being put to a vote. All this will take place at a later time.

Interestingly, the Greens and Sex Party called a division to vote against the first reading, something which is completely unconventional, disrespectful and undemocratic. Members of all other political persuasions could be heard jeering at the Greens and Sex Party for what they did.

What this demonstrated was a typical totalitarian attempt to shut down a member of parliament’s entitlement and duty to bring before the parliament an issue for debate, which that MP was elected to do!

The Democratic Labour Party was born out of a movement to combat totalitarianism. In the 1950s, totalitarianism came in the form of communism, with communists vying for power in the trade unions to dictate ALP policy. These days, totalitarianism manifests itself in the form of the Greens and the Sex Party, who apparently only support freedom of speech and protest if it is about something they support.

DLP to introduce Infant Viability Act in the Victorian Parliament

Seven years after Victoria introduced the most extreme abortion laws in the world, Democratic Labour Party MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins has drafted a private member’s bill that will wind back the more extreme elements of the law. This is the first formal attempt to change Victoria’s 2008 abortion reforms.

Under the proposal, abortion would not be allowed after the 20th week of pregnancy.

“This protects women from the awful physical and mental consequences of late-term abortion and it protects children,” Dr Carling-Jenkins said at the annual March for the Babies rally at Parliament on Saturday. “Women deserve better. Abortions don’t solve problems – they create them.”

Dr Carling-Jenkins said medical advances over the past few years had shown babies were viable at 24 weeks, and sometimes even younger. This proposal, if enacted into law, will protect preborn children from the age of viability.

Further, medical assistance must be provided to infants born alive as the result of a late-term termination. We know that there have been cases in Victoria – and indeed around Australia – where babies born as a result of a failed abortion have been left to die.

Dr Carling-Jenkins plans to introduce her bill – the Infant Viability Act – in the next sitting week of Parliament, which starts on October 20.

The Bill would provide penalties for physicians and clinics who breech the new rules. However, it will not punish women seeking abortions.

“Penalties will be introduced for physicians and clinics who contravene the law, but under no circumstances will I be advocating for the pregnant woman to be held liable,” Dr Carling-Jenkins said.





Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins’ Inaugural Speech


New DLP MP, Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins, delivered her Inaugural Speech to the Victorian Parliament on Thursday, 12 February. Rachel was elected to the Legislative Council (upper house) for the Western Metropolitan Region in the 2014 Victorian State Election.

The complete speech is as follows:


Dr CARLING-JENKINS (Western Metropolitan) — First, I acknowledge and thank, in the tradition established by the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in this house, all those heroic Australians who over the last century have risked or even given their lives in the defence of this country.

I also acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we are meeting. I pay my respects to their elders, past and present, and the elders from other communities who may be present here today.

I wish to acknowledge God, who, to paraphrase the psalmist, will be my guide until the end.

Thank you for this opportunity to address the chamber. It is a privilege to stand here today, to represent the people of Western Metropolitan Region as the sole representative of the Democratic Labour Party in the 58th Parliament and to be the first woman to represent the DLP in any Parliament in Australia.

If you will humour me for just a moment I would like to travel back in time, back to 18th century England, where the economy was supplemented by slaves who were traded, oppressed, and mistreated. Travel now into the halls of the parliament of this era: where one man stands against the slave trade and the laws protecting it. Against the tide of pressure, one man stands up for what he believes in, despite opposition and bouts of poor health. William Wilberforce, after 20 years of campaigning, petitioning and lobbying, brings about the abolition of slavery. He battled. He fought. He argued the whole way. Sometimes he had small victories; many times he had setbacks. Wilberforce stood as a non-conformist, not afraid to be a lone voice when necessary.

Now we come back to the present — today, in this place. I am no William Wilberforce, but he inspires me to value conviction over comfort, tenacity over temporary gain and devotion over indifference. We now look back at slavery and are appalled at the treatment slaves received and horrified at the very idea that one person could own another. In the decades to come, I pray that we will look back at this era, appalled at the babies we killed and horrified at the very idea that we would enslave women in prostitution.

Like Wilberforce, I am a non-conformist. I am not a bystander; I refuse to be a bystander. Under my watch there will not be silence on these issues. And so I stand here today and for the next four years as a voice for the vulnerable, a voice for the enslaved and a voice for the voiceless. It is at this time, if you will permit me a time of indulgence, President, that I would like to share a little of my story to explain what led me to this point.

This may come as a surprise to you as you get to know me, but I was a very challenging child. I talked too much, I was far too opinionated and I was very loud. I was, for a while, a tomboy. I wanted to be a mechanic at eight years old. A highlight of this period of my life was when I went to work with my dad, a train driver at the time, and he let me believe that I had stopped the train.

I received a great many benefits, besides train driving, from growing up in a working-class home. My parents, Stan and Francy Carling, taught me to value God. Mum would brush my unruly hair and take me off to Sunday school where a line from one of my favourite songs was: ‘This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine’. Mum and Dad also instilled in me the value of education and a love for music, both of which I carry to this day.

I wish to acknowledge my older sister. I have never known anyone so patient, kind, talented and beautiful as my sister, Sonya. She was no doubt strengthened by living with a challenging younger sibling. I must also acknowledge my beautiful son, Terry, a very resilient and strong-willed young man, of whom I am exceedingly proud. I look forward to seeing your future unfold. And I acknowledge my husband, Gary, a very tolerant man, who has put up with having a wife devoted to causes. Thanks for your support, for your humour and for walking the dog.

It is because of my family that I stand before each of you today, excited and awed by the task before me. It is also because of my journey, a journey which has included many rough patches: a debilitating car accident, major health scares, years of single motherhood and of course the school drop-offs, pick-ups and supermarket tantrums. It is a journey which has also had a lot of highlights.

I have completed a PhD and presented throughout the world at international conferences, contributing to the fields of disability, dementia and social movements. I have studied and applied best practice principles in welfare here in Victoria, had a book published and had the privilege of working with many amazing people and organisations. This journey I speak of has led me to this time, this place and this point where passion wells inside me.

My desire to contribute to a society which has as its core aim the human flourishing of all its members led me to join and run as a candidate for the DLP — a party which stands for the twin pillars of human dignity and the common good. It is human dignity and the common good which I will pursue here in this place where I will tell the stories of the people I represent — people I will fight for and people I care about.

I care about and will be a voice fighting for Sam, who has Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease, but he cannot find appropriate care and support within the current service system. I care about and will be a voice fighting for Lin, traded to work in a brothel in inner city Melbourne, trapped and unable to find her way home. I care about and will be a voice fighting for the yet unnamed baby girl whose future hangs in the balance while her vulnerable mother feels cultural and familial pressure to end the life of her child simply because she is a girl. I care about and will be a voice fighting for Joe, an elderly man near the end of his life, depressed after the death of his wife, isolated from his children due to the tyranny of distance and struggling to make ends meet.

I commit to advocating for solutions; adoption of best practice principles in disability and aged care; an inquiry into a system of regulation to reduce the incidence of sex trafficking in Victoria; awareness raising about the incidence of gender-selective abortions; and the expansion of support services, including palliative care, to ensure their availability to all Victorians.

I, and my party, consider every human being to be of equal worth. We do not determine whether a human being is worthy of our protection based on their age, their identity, judgements of capacity or capability, or even on their citizenship. Every person has a right to live, whether they are in a prison cell in Indonesia, on a boat in the Timor Sea or in a hospital ward for people who are terminally ill. Every person has a right to self-determination, whether they are working on a factory floor, living with mental illness or struggling to pay their bills. Every child has the same right to protection and opportunities, whether they are born into wealth or poverty.

I refuse to believe that we can determine that one human being has a greater right to live or to be protected simply because they are healthier, more intelligent, richer or better able to survive without the help and support of others. I will be a voice for their right to life, protection and self-determination.

I believe that every person is created for relationship. We share a common humanity which transcends boundaries such as gender, race, generations or various other identities which we use to define ourselves or which others use to define us. A society is only as strong as its relationships, from the relationships within its smallest social unit, such as the family and neighbourhood, to relationships with and between workers and employers, governments and corporations, families and governments, and beyond. I will be a voice for healthy relationships.

I will also defend families who have experienced disruption. I care about and commit to being a voice for families who are burdened by the financial, social and emotional issues which come from problem gambling, a problem which has invaded our regions and our suburbs with the expansion of poker machines into clubs and pubs, where responsible limits, proven to deter problem gambling, have not been adopted or enforced.

I care about and commit to being a voice for families who are torn apart by domestic violence, a tragedy where much has been achieved in recent decades, including mandatory reporting by health and education professionals; a breakdown, at least in part, in the culture of silence; and an expansion of services. But more needs to be done to accommodate all people — men, women and children — who experience and are vulnerable to domestic violence.

I care about and commit to being a voice for families who need flexible schooling options, protection from the rising costs of living and accessibility to sports and cultural activities, which are carrying an ever-increasing price tag. It is important that families are genuinely supported in their role of providing for their own. I support the traditional family as an ideal which we should uphold, support and aspire to. Families are still the most basic social unit, a structure which must be protected and must be respected.

I believe in freedoms: freedom from exploitation, freedom to practise religion or to choose not to practise religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom to act according to our beliefs and our conscience. All Victorians deserve to live lives free from fear and persecution. All such freedoms come with privilege and responsibility. Freedoms must be protected, and some must be restored.

A truly free society does not exploit some members for the temporary pleasure of others. Pornography, and the fast-growing sex industry, is a scourge on our society that sells exploitation, breeds violence and disrupts equality of relationships. As such, and in the interests of protecting our community, it must be further restricted. A truly free society enables people to have access to treatment for depression and to palliative care services, which offer true dignity to people who are suffering, before debating assisted suicide, which has time and again been shown to pressure vulnerable people into feeling that this is their only option. A truly free society does not politicise health care and reduce medical practitioners to the status of state apparatchiks, but respects the integrity and conscience of medical and healthcare professionals.

While I am, as you may be able to tell by now, a social justice campaigner, I am able to back up my proposed reforms with sound economic management principles. This is important, because the ability to provide services to the people of Victoria depends on a strong economy. It is time to review how we do business in this state. It is time to revise our economic strategies and the relationships between employers and employees to bring about a paradigm that will work for the future. This revitalisation needs to be based on the cooperation of government, industry and workers — a cooperative system aimed at creating common goals with tangible benefits for all stakeholders. The time has come to move forward to a cooperative rather than adversarial system of employee relations.

This is not a utopian ideal; it is already a reality in many parts of the world. If we go to Spain, generally regarded as an economic basket case, there is one corporation in the Basque region that has defied the trends. Mondragon now has 250 cooperatives which form the Mondragon Corporation and employ 80 000 people. It has its own bank, welfare system and university. Despite its success in Spain as well as in areas such as Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region and of course Germany, which showcases quality manufacturing on a larger scale, the idea has not gained traction in Australia, but the time has come to think outside the economic box. It is not a matter of capital versus labour. It is about a third way, with government, business and employees working towards a common good: economic prosperity for all. I will be a voice for such prosperity here in Victoria.

One of the most important assets of any society is its infrastructure, and infrastructure is an issue which has been at the fore of political debate in Victoria. Everyone in this chamber would agree on the need for improved infrastructure. Underinvestment in roads and public transport is a constant concern, not just in my electorate of Western Metropolitan Region but throughout the state. Improving our infrastructure requires long-term investment and funding. This is why the DLP supports the establishment of a state development bank to build the ongoing capital we desperately need for long-term infrastructure projects and for regional development. Not only would this relieve budgetary restraints but the bank’s positive development and stabilising effect on the Victorian economy could be significant. I will be a voice for independence in decision-making and genuine development, both of which would be delivered by a state development bank model.

Over the last few decades successive governments have sought to alleviate their economic woes by taking short-term, quick-fix approaches, with public utilities and assets being sold off for temporary gains. The usual arguments for selling off an asset owned by the Victorian people are that efficiency will improve, costs will be lowered and the economy will generally benefit. These arguments fall flat in the face of lowering service standards, higher prices and increasing job losses. Money that once flowed from Victorian pockets through these publicly owned utilities into state revenue and was then used to grow and prosper our state, contributing to the construction and maintenance of schools, hospitals, roads and so on, now flows out of Victoria, often out of Australia and into the pockets of overseas shareholders and the grateful treasuries of overseas economies.

Is it these private corporations, then, that are the problem? Are the overseas profiting shareholders our nemesis? Do growing foreign economies threaten our future development and economic survival? No. Our problems, our enemies and the threats to our economic survival and future development are not the fault of overseas corporate despots or expansionist foreign economies. Our problems are closer to home and are of our own creation. Instead of basing our decisions on the common good, we have been distracted by quick-fix approaches. Short-sightedness and self-interest have been our downfall.

In a similar way the family farm, once a prized, valued commodity, has been sold off. Foreign ownership of our agricultural land is, again, a quick fix, but it is far too permanent. It is an issue which my colleague James Purcell addressed on Tuesday night. If we continue to do this, I will despair of what we are leaving for our children and grandchildren to inherit.

I represent a labour party in this place. As a labour party we believe that society benefits most when the three pillars of families, workers and community are put first. Every decision made by this state and this nation, every trade deal made, every project commenced, every inch of our farmland sowed, every ounce of our natural resources used and every cent expended from the public purse must ultimately have the good of our families, our workers and our communities as the primary focus or they are done in vain.

I acknowledge that in the past decades there has been progress in Victoria. Civil rights movements stood up as a single voice and have impacted on the way Indigenous people are treated, women’s movements fought at times as a single voice and have influenced the role of women in the workplace, and people with disabilities have had their voices heard and are no longer routinely institutionalised. We have, however, so much further to go. Economic rationalism and global capitalism have risen and the age of terror is upon us, which both horrifies and should unite us. Meanwhile the synagogues in Melbourne are guarded for fear of attack, glass ceilings still exist for many women and many people with disabilities continue to live on the margins of society, prevented from full participation and inclusion.

I will bring the value of, and the diversity within, life to the forefront of our minds while I am in this place. I will make the three pillars of family, worker and community the primary focus of my decision-making.

I will be a voice for human dignity and the common good. I am only one person, and the DLP is only a small party, but it is a determined one. During my four years here I hope to hold this government to account, just as I would any government. I am not here to get the DLP or myself re-elected, something I am sure many of you do not see as a major concern either. Every time I speak or raise a question in this place I want to make sure that everyone knows I do so with the ultimate good of families, workers and community in mind, especially the families, workers and communities of Western Metropolitan Region. That is my goal. This is the job I have been elected to do, even if I have to battle, fight and argue as a lone voice the whole way.

But I did not get elected alone. I wish to thank the people who supported my election and added their voices and efforts to ensure that at least one voice on the issues they care about was represented in this place. First, I thank my state executive team, significantly Michael Murphy, my biggest supporter during the campaign, and also Vince Stefano, Clara Geoghegan, Pat Shea and Michael Deverala, who all played a role. I thank DLP members throughout the country who have spoken loud and clear, such as Paul Funnell, Michael Byrne, Daniel Hanna, John Quinn and Rosemary Lorrimar, as well as countless others. I thank them for their support. I thank members closer to home who want their voices heard for the sake of others, particularly my running mate, Michael Freeman, and all those who stood on booths for me. I thank my staff — who jokingly wanted me to use the adjective ‘superb’ in front of their names — John McBride, Steve Campbell and Vince Stefano, for all their support during my campaign and for lending their voices to this cause.

I thank Vickie Janson and her team at Australian Christians and Pastor Daniel Nalliah and his team at Rise Up Australia for their alliance and for their support. I wish each of them held a seat in this Parliament with me, and I promise to hold true to our shared values. I thank people who shared the vision of electing representatives with the right values and who spoke loud and clear to make it happen, people like Rabbi Shimon Cowen, Gabrielle Walsh and Terri Kelleher. I will do my best to honour these values while I am in this place.

I thank the strategists and the parties with whom I did preference deals, including Glenn Druery, for making introductions to many parties, and Andrew Ronalds from the Liberal Party. I enjoyed our exchanges and I appreciated your advice. I thank each person for using their voice and being a part of my journey to this place — this place where I will be a voice for the vulnerable, a voice for the enslaved and a voice for the voiceless; this place where I will continue the work started by Peter Kavanagh in the 56th Parliament in advocating for sound economic management and on social justice issues.

Now, just as I gained inspiration from the historical figure of William Wilberforce, I wish to pay one more visit to the past, to one of the greatest known warriors for those who could not stand and fight for themselves — Martin Luther King Jr. Of course his dreams have been immortalised, but it is what he said about silence that really struck me. He said that our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. If you like things packaged in a safe, familiar, predictable way, then I apologise in advance. That is not me. If you enjoy your comfort zone and hope to sit here comfortably for the next four years, then again I apologise. I will not stand silent on issues that matter.

I thank you for your time today, and today I make this commitment. I will not be silent about the things that matter, even if I have to be a single, lone voice. And whether secretly, or openly, many people sitting in this chamber today and many sitting in the other place will be glad that I have.