City News

Parliament returns: old and new Sydney MPs sworn into 47th Parliament

47th Parliament

The 47th Parliament of Australia officially commenced this week in Canberra. Photo: aph.gov.au.

By SASHA FOOT

The 47th Parliament of Australia has commenced, marking the swearing in of new MPs and the beginning of power for the new Labor government. 

Following the ceremonial proceedings on Tuesday, the parliament has officially begun proposing and planning legislation. 

The 47th parliament marks the most diverse yet.

The Labor party caucus has more women than men, there is a record number of First Nations politicians, consisting of 11 members across the Senate and the House of Representatives, and the crossbench is the largest seen since federation. 

Here are the inner-city Sydney MPs sworn in this week, and what they plan to bring to Parliament House:

Wentworth: Allegra Spender

Allegra Spender

Allegra Spender was sworn into Parliament this week for the seat of Wentworth. Photo: Allegra Spender.

Teal Independent for Wentworth, Allegra Spender, was sworn into Parliament on Tuesday alongside her fellow teal wave.

Spender’s campaign transformed the Eastern Suburbs seat, previously held by Liberal Dave Sharma, into a blanket of sky blue placards. Though she ran as an Independent – focused on issues of climate, parliamentary integrity, and a transformed economy – she comes from Liberal Party royalty: her father and grandfather were both former Federal MPs. 

Spender supports the proposed climate change bill that will require an emissions reduction target of 43 percent by 2030.

While she expressed on social media that the target “should be going further”, her backing is on the basis of making progress. 

Spender also confirmed her support for Labor’s proposed federal ICAC; however, she has endorsed elements proposed by Independent Helen Haine into Labor’s bill. 

Last month new MPs, including Spender, underwent their inductions to learn about parliamentary proceedings. Of the new intake of 35 people, women surpassed the number of men in a historic first. 

Kingsford Smith: Matt Thistlethwaite

Kingsford Smith

Matt Thistlethwaite, member for Kingsford-Smith. Photo: Facebook.

Matt Thistlethwaite, the Labor member for Kingsford Smith, returns to Canberra for his twelfth year. 

Under the Albanese government, he is the Assistant Minister of Defence, Veterans’ Affairs, and the Republic. 

The role of Assistant minister for the Republic is a parliament first – though he has held this as a shadow posting since 2015. 

In June, Thistlethwaite organised meetings with representatives from the Australian Republic Movement and the Australian Monarchist Leagues. 

Despite meeting with both sides of the republican debate, he declared himself a firm supporter of the republic movement upon his arrival to parliament in 2013. 

Thistlethwaite told ABC’s 7.30 last month that further discussions would come if the government were to have a second or third term.  

The Australian Monarchist League has launched a campaign to “oppose the Albanese Republic”, while the Australian Republic Movement has declared their full support. 

He has also committed himself to the Defence and Veteran Affairs portfolios, having laid a wreath for the Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial this week and meeting with Queensland Defence Force personnel before this. 

Sydney: Tanya Plibersek

Tanya Plibersek, member for Sydney. Photo: Alec Smart.

Tanya Plibersek, the long-serving Labor MP for Sydney, has taken the role of Minister for Environment and Water. 

The release of the State of the Environment Report last week, which outlined the destruction of the nation’s natural habitat and wildlife, led Plibersek to pledge reforms to national environment laws and the introduction of environmental targets. 

The review, conducted by scientists appointed by the Morrison government, was held back from its release until after the election. 

Earlier this week, Plibersek met with the President of COP 26, Alok Sharma, on Ngunnawal land. Ngunnawal Indigenous elders spoke about the impacts of climate change on their land alongside appropriate conservation efforts. 

Grayndler: Anthony Albanese 

Albanese

Anthony Albanese, Australia’s 47th Prime Minister. Photo: Facebook.

Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, teared up in his first speech to parliament as he reflected on living with pride over regret. 

The Labor government introduced new legislation allowing for paid family and domestic violence leave. This bill follows an extensive priority list – including climate change action, aged care, and employment. 

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