Weekender Column for 2019 election

23 Jul 2020

Posted May 16, 2019

The following column written by the Federal Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie, was published this week in the Adelaide Hills Weekender Herald.

"Four years ago I put my hand up to stand for Mayo because I decided to be the change I wanted to see in my community.

Mayo was being taken for granted because it was a safe “blue ribbon” seat.

I know that to be true because prior to working in the youth sector I worked for the State Liberals and come election time all their attention was focused on the marginal seats.

I wanted someone who cared about the people of Mayo and would put us first before party politics.

I was also tired of the two parties fighting each other and fighting amongst themselves.

In 2016 the people of Mayo rose to the challenge and voted me in, the first woman and the first non-conservative MP to represent this part of SA since Federation.

It’s been my privilege to be your representative for the past three years and together we have achieved so much for our community, including:

  • A 24-hour doctor service and renal dialysis at the Mount Barker Hospital, and a Medicare-rebateable MRI service in the Hills.
  • $20 million for drug rehabilitation in SA, with dedicated services in Mayo
  • A Medicare Service Centre on the South Coast.
  • The restoration of local road funding to our councils.

With my direct negotiations, more than $400 million in extra funding was secured for SA schools including $60 million for Mayo schools.

With my Centre Alliance Senate colleagues, we negotiated tens of millions dollars for apprentice support and advanced manufacturing and $68 million for a Proton Therapy Unit in Adelaide for rare cancer treatment, a first for the Southern Hemisphere.

But beyond that, I have been your independent voice in Parliament.

With me as your representative, you have someone who votes with the government when they get it right and someone who opposes them when they get it wrong.

Many in the community are not aware that about 80 per cent of all the legislation that goes to the parliament is supported by both parties.

I voted for amended and improved Gonski education reforms, child care legislation, welfare reform, media reform, tax cuts for small businesses and the drought assistance package.

At every single opportunity, I voted for a Banking Royal Commission when this Government fought it every step of the way.

On the last day of this Parliament, I voted for measures that would restore environmental water to the River Murray when the Coalition MPs of this State did not.

In order to get bipartisan action on climate change, I supported the National Energy Guarantee.

Instead, this Government knifed another Prime Minister and exiled us to a climate policy vacuum.

Even then I continued to try and find a way forward on climate action.

I formed a Parliamentary Friends Group on Climate Action to create a neutral space for both sides to talk about this issue.

I will continue to fight to stop oil drilling in the Bight.

I will continue to speak up for the most vulnerable in our community and those who have no voice at all.

My office has individually assisted hundreds of families and older residents with Centrelink, NDIS, MyAgedCare and other issues.

Now you have another chance to decide.

Do you continue to have an independent voice that puts our community first or will you choose a representative that will put major party ideology first?

I’m here for us first and foremost, so I ask for your support."

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