Hello again from the campaign trail in Warringah. It’s been a hectic few weeks since my last update. Much has been happening in the corridors of the Parliament and on the streets of Warringah.

In the last two weeks of Parliament, we saw the sensible Medivac legislation passed by Labor, the Greens and cross-bench.  Despite the histrionics of the government and sections of the press, very few people I have spoken to in Warringah have expressed concern about the legislation. Those who did comment on it have seen through the blatant scaremongering of the Morrison government and our own local member.

Despite whatever Mr Morrison, Mr Dutton and Mr Abbott might say, we can continue to have secure borders and an orderly approach to immigration without losing our humanity in the process.  By denying people adequate access to medical treatment we will destroy the very things we seek to protect, our National civility, decency and dignity.

Speaking of civility, dignity and decency, there was very little on display from the government benches in parliament this week.  In any normal government just one of the following revelations would have caused a major furore:

  • Senior Ministers Michaelia Cash and Michael Keenan refused to cooperate with the AFP and provide statements to assist an investigation. Leaking of information about planned AFP activities.
  • The Dept of Home Affairs awared a little known company called Paladin a contract worth over $440M for delivery of services to refugees in detained on Manus and Nauru despite having few assets and little evidence of capability to deliver the services required.  The awarding of the contract circumvented the need for a competitive tender process with only Paladin was asked to quote. Then, over $5M was transferred to the company before a contract was even signed.
  • The Helloworld travel “oversight” where Mattias Corman, the Finance Minister phoned his mate, the Helloworld CEO and Liberal Party Federal Treasurer to book flights for himself and his family to Singapore and was not billed for the cost.  This took place just before the Dept of Finance announced Helloworld as the winner of a $1Bn tender for the Department of Finance.
  • It also came to light that Joe Hockey, failed treasurer and current US Ambassador, who holds over $1M in shares in Helloworld and is another mate of the CEO, facilitated a meeting between Helloword executives and consular staff in advance of the contract being awarded. When a Helloworld exec asked the CEO about how the meeting was arranged so quickly, he was told: “Hockey owes me”.
  • The leaking of ASIO advice to The Australian newspaper which was then used to attack Labor by Peter Dutton. According to the Director General of Security, this advice was misrepresented by The Australian and the Minister for Home Affairs.  

Add to that the refusal of the government to hold more sitting weeks to Parliament to consider addressing the urgent recommendations from the Hayne Banking Royal Commission.

To cap the week off, Julie Bishop declared she was so confident of the government being re-elected, that she would not recontest her seat at the next Federal election.

Australia can no longer afford to have a government, run by Ministers whose top priority is their own self-interest and clinging to the power and privileges of office. The challenges before Australia are significant. We need a government that is up to the task of governing and we need it urgently.

Bring on the election now!

Meeting with Labor Parliamentary Leaders

On the 14th of February, I visited several of our Labor leadership team at Parliament house.  I met with Shadow Ministers in key portfolios to discuss the feedback I am receiving from people in Warringah and how Labor’s policies can deliver outcomes for our community.

I discussed education policy in a meeting with Tany Plibersek, Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Education. I spoke with Catherine King, Shadow Minister for Health about the healthcare challenges a Labor government will address and Michelle Rowland, Shadow Minister for Communications about the protection of the ABC and the bungled roll-out of the NBN.  I spoke with Senator Doug Cameron, spokesperson for Skills and Vocational Education and Training about the need for greater investment and support for the Northern Beaches TAFE in Brookvale. I spoke with Senator Kristina Keneally, one of the founders of the Labor Environment Action Network about environmental protection legislation and with Chris Bowen and Andrew Leigh about Labor’s economic policy agenda and how a Labor government will work to support increased business investment and small business in particular.

Despite visiting Parliament at a particularly hectic time, I was warmly received by all of the Labor leaders and was encouraged by their interest in Warringah and our campaign.

Here’s a short video I shot with Tanya Plibersek:

Other Warringah Happenings

I recently attended an excellent event organised by the Voices of Warringah the on Statement from the Heart.

The speakers at the event were Sean Gordon, Tony McAvoy and Teela Reid. All three are indigenous leaders who had involvement in the process that created the Uluru Statement from the heart.  The discussion covered the Uluru Statement, indigenous identity and the future of aboriginal treaties.

I was delighted to attend a potential representative for the people of Warringah in the next Labor government, one that has committed to establishing a Voice for First Nations people and seek the support of the Australian people by referendum for that Voice to be enshrined in the Constitution.

NSW Labor State Campaign Launches

Last week we officially launched the campaigns for Labor’s two NSW State candidates in the seats of Manly and North Shore.

Natasha Phillips-Mason has a background in small business management in retail and hospitality.  She is a long-standing resident of Manly and has a great understanding of the needs of the Manly community.

Michael Lester is a deeply experienced and published economist who has worked at senior levels in State and Federal governments and as Australia’s representative to the OECD. His life-long passion for evidence-based public policy makes him a formidable candidate for Labor in the seat of North Shore an area where he has spent most of his life.

Both launches were supported by Bob Carr, the longest serving Premier in the history of NSW, who went on to become a Senator in the Australian Parliament and Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Public Meet and Greets

Despite the flurry of activity in preparing our State campaigns, I’ve continued to get out and spend time meeting with and talking to people in Warringah.  Last Saturday, I spent the entire day at the Stockland Centre in Balgowlah. It was a very enjoyable day with many good conversations and encouragement from Balgowlah locals.

I’ve also continued spending time during weekday mornings meeting people at ferry wharves and bus-stops.  I thoroughly enjoy every time I go out and meet people. For me, it is the most enriching part of the experience of being a candidate.

Coming Events

Accelerate: A Community Video Screening and Discussion about Climate Change

We will be holding a screening of a 30-minute video of Accelerate a film created by the world-renowned author, environmentalist and 350.org co-founder, Bill McKibben.

Following the film, we will hear from Professor Lesley Hughes, a Distinguished Professor of Biology and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity & Development) at Macquarie University. Her research has mainly focused on the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems.

She is a former federal Climate Commissioner and former Lead Author in the IPCC’s 4th and 5th Assessment Report. She is also a Director for WWF Australia, a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, the Director of the Biodiversity Node for the NSW Adaptation Hub and a member of the expert advisory committee for Future Earth Australia.

Friday 1st of March,
7:30pm – 9:30pm
Mosman Art Gallery
$15 per ticket to cover venue costs and AV equipment hire

Think Before the Link Public Transport Forum

A community forum on Transport Planning for the Northern Beaches and North Shore. Organised and co-hosted with my State candidate colleagues for the seat of Manly and North Shore.

We have invited experts in transport planning and transport infrastructure to discuss alternative approaches to addressing the transport needs of people in Warringah.

This forum is an opportunity to hear from experts in transport planning, discuss alternative options to the Beaches Link tunnel project that can improve transport without the cost, disruption, health and environmental impacts of the only transport considered by the NSW government.

Prof Peter Newman is an environmental scientist, author and educator based in Perth, Western Australia. He is currently Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University and was awarded an Order of Australia for sustainable transport and urban design in 2014.

Dr Garry Glazebrook is a transport and urban planner, specialising in the evaluation and design of sustainable transport systems and their integration into the urban environment. A/Professor Glazebrook’s key areas of expertise include public transport network planning; integration of transport and land use; transport operations analysis; and accessibility analysis.

Mr Ted Nye is a consulting engineer specialising in underground engineering for transport-related projects. He commenced his career on the Melbourne Underground Rail and after extensive experience gained overseas moved to Sydney as the Design Team Leader of the land tunnels of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel.

Sunday 3rd of March,
3pm – 5pm
Balgowlah Golf Club
There is no charge, but RSVP via Eventbrite so we can anticipate the number of guests

Blue the Film Screenings

As a diver and kayaker, I’ve seen too many examples of how our marine environments are being impacted by the choices we make as individuals and societies.

I met Karina Holden, the producer and Director of Blue the Film at the Labor National Conference in Adelaide last November. Karina’s film was released to great acclaim in 2017.

BLUE is the story our generation need to hear. The industrialization that has occurred in the oceans over the last century, mirrors the events that triggered mass extinctions on land. Industrial-scale fishing, habitat destruction, species loss and pollution have placed the ocean in peril. The very nature of the sea is being irretrievably altered. BLUE is a provocative journey into the ocean realm, witnessing this critical moment in time when the marine world is on a precipice.

As a fellow Warringah resident, has kindly agreed to attend and speak at two screenings I am holding in conjunction with Labor’s State candidates.

Click the Film Poster below to watch the trailer and tell your friends!

Details for the screenings are:

Hoyts Cinema Warringah Mall
Sunday the 10th of March
6pm – 8:30pm

Hayden Orpheum Cinema, Cremorne
Tuesday the 19th of March
6pm – 8:30pm

As you can see, we have a busy schedule ahead of us.  Please get in touch with me via email: dean.harris@warringahlabor if you want to be part of these events or if you wish to lend a hand during the time between now and the election.


Labor Candidate for Warringah