DOORSTOP INTERVIEW: Blue Mountains tourism; March 4 Justice; Labor Party

March 15, 2021

SUSAN TEMPLEMAN, MEMBER FOR MACQUARIE: I'm Susan Templeman, Member for Macquarie. I want to talk about tourism. I represent the Blue Mountains, one of the most visited parts of New South Wales. Yet the package that the government announced has absolutely nothing for the Blue Mountains to help support our attractions, which has suffered 75% losses since bushfires and COVID. There's nothing to bring people to the Mountains. In fact, it's all about pushing people away from the Mountains, and incentivising people to travel elsewhere. My community relies on tourism, it's the second largest industry. And without any support from this government as JobKeeper goes, we are going to see job losses like the Mountains hasn't seen. Our community businesses, the small businesses that are the backbone of our community, need the big attractions to be operating, they need locals to be visiting, but they need people from all around the country to come to try and make up for the massive loss of international tourism. So my question to Michael McCormack is, what are you going to do to support the Blue Mountains? You've got less than two weeks before things come to a grinding halt. And already small businesses are having to make decisions about who stays and who goes. The Blue Mountains needs help. At the moment, they're getting absolutely nothing. 

JOURNALIST: The mountains also missed out on some bushfire funding recently, are you kind of concerned that they keep getting snubbed for these recovery funds?

TEMPLEMAN: We're really concerned at the fact that federal funding, which was distributed by New South Wales, was completely missed out in the Blue Mountains. Not a cent of funding went to the Blue Mountains half of my electorate, while the Hawkesbury half of my electorate, which just happens to have a liberal state MP, got around $5 million. Now that was appropriate that they received fast tracked funding, what wasn't appropriate was that the Blue Mountains was left high and dry. Now we're waiting to see the results of this next round. If there is not sufficient funding to help support these communities recover - remember, not from COVID, but from bushfires - then this government will have a lot to answer for. It keeps passing the blame to New South Wales saying. oh New South Wales makes the decision. Typical, it is outsourcing every decision that might be controversial. We need this government to stand up and make some decisions. And they need to be made to the benefit of the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury. 

JOURNALIST: Is it fair enough for the Prime Minister to only offer to receive a delegation of the March for Justice women to his office?

TEMPLEMAN: I think too much of what's been happening and the terrible allegations of sexual assault, it's all been happening in silence behind closed doors. This is the very day for the Prime Minister to come out, lift the veil on this, make it transparent. I'd urge the Prime Minister to reconsider his decision. Women should not be forced to have conversations behind closed doors. That's what today is about. It's about thousands of women being out in the open saying, we have had enough. 

I'm one of those mothers who's had a phone call from a daughter saying, can you just talk to me at one o'clock in the morning or two o'clock in the morning while I'm walking home? Now these are the phone calls that mothers get all the time. You don't begrudge them at all, you worry, you ask for a text, you wait to hear till they're actually in their front door with the door closed. Now is the time for these behaviours to be brought out into the open. Why should women have to be strong? We should just be allowed to be and go around our daily lives. And for young women now, I'm pleased to say that there's going to be a lot of older women standing up for them. It's our job as MPs to make sure that it's easier for women to be heard than to stay silent. 

JOURNALIST: There are women within the Labor Party threatening to lift the veil of secrecy on certain bad behaviour from people within your party as well. Have they been supported?

TEMPLEMAN: I don't care what party a bloke is from. It's not on. Enough is enough. And the women of Labor, and many men of the Labor Party, are going to be standing up for our young women. We want an environment where women come to Parliament and have a fantastic professional experience. I started off in the Canberra press gallery in the 80s. Yes, it's a challenging environment to work in, especially 35 years ago. But it has to be a safe environment. And that's what every woman in the Labor Party will be working hard to achieve. And I hope every man in the Labor Party will be working hard to achieve that too.
JOURNALIST: Are you concerned that those reports though? Some of those reports in the Facebook group were quite concerning about people's conduct and how people were treated, that kind of thing. Were you aware of any of those reports previously?

TEMPLEMAN: I've read those reports last night and they were horrific, this should not be happening in the Labor Party. None of it should be happening anywhere in this place, nor in our offices. This is time for us to lift the lid, to be transparent, all the more reason for the Prime Minister to come and have a transparent discussion with not just three or four women but with the many women who are going to be here today. Thank you