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Ms Kate Thwaites MP, Member for Jagajaga, Vic

Kate Thwaites MP

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Kate has been the Federal Member for Jagajaga since 2019.

In her first term in Parliament Kate championed issues including the need for Australia to take urgent action on climate change, reforms to aged care and the NDIS, and the changes needed to make Parliament and workplaces across Australia safer for women.

She is the co-author of ‘Enough Is Enough’ written with the former Member for Jagajaga, Jenny Macklin and published by Monash University Press.

Prior to entering Parliament Kate’s career spanned a variety of roles across public broadcasting, government and the not for profit sector. She has worked as a TV and radio journalist at the ABC, at Oxfam Australia, as a political adviser, and as a senior public servant.

She has a BA (Journalism) and Masters of International Development, both from RMIT University.

Kate has two young children and is married to Daniel.

Here's an extract of her first speech, which you can read from her First Speech page:

When my daughter, Harriet, was born, I took nine months maternity leave—some paid, some unpaid. My partner then took three months unpaid leave to care for her. He now works three days a week while I work full time. I realised that our arrangement was unusual, but I didn't realise just how different it was until Daniel starting quoting statistics from Annabel Crabb's The Wife Drought to me to prove how much of a unicorn he really is! Only three per cent of Australian families have a part-time working dad and a full-time working mum—three per cent. We can and we must do better than that, because, while this has a host of poor outcomes for women—lost income, missed promotions and a more uncertain retirement—it is also robbing Australian men of the opportunity to reduce their paid work to care for their children and to experience the highs and the lows that come with that. Things have to change.

Mr Aaron Violi MP, Member for Casey, Vic

Aaron Violi MP

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A third-generation resident of Casey, Aaron’s family migrated from Italy and settled in Silvan in the 1950’s. Both Aaron and his wife Rachel grew up in Casey, where they are raising their two children.

Aaron attended Yarra Glen Primary School and Mt Lilydale Mercy College before studying at La Trobe University and at Deakin University. After graduating in 2007, Aaron commenced work at local food manufacturer, Yarra Valley Snack Foods and led the sales team for 7 years before moving to Mars Australia. In 2019, Aaron moved into the digital economy taking up a role at a tech startup, Ritual.

Aaron was elected as the Member for Casey in May 2022, and sworn in to his role in July 2022. He is deeply engaged with the diverse communities of Casey, from the local sports clubs and schools to the resident groups and RSLs. With his local understanding of the Casey community, Aaron is a strong voice in Parliament for his electorate.

Here's an extract of his first speech, which you can read from his First Speech page:

There are moments in your life that define the person you become. For me, that moment was 7 February 2009, Black Saturday. It was the moment I went from being a carefree young man, living as if I would live forever, to understanding that the most precious gifts we have are life and time. The difference between Rachel and me being here today and being victims 174 and 175 was a matter of seconds and metres. Our story of Black Saturday is a story thousands of people who survived that day would understand. Why did we survive and not others? Words cannot do justice to how your view of the world changes when at 24 you stare death in the face and believe your life is over. You realise what is important: time with our loved ones, time to make a difference, time to make an impact. By putting my hand up to serve the communities of Casey and the nation, I am trading time with my loved ones. This knowledge drives me every day in this role to take the tough decisions required to ensure that as a nation and in Casey we prosper, now and into the future.

Dr Sophie Scamps MP, Member for Mackellar, NSW

Dr Sophie Scamps

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Dr Sophie Scamps MP is the Independent Member for the Federal electorate of Mackellar. Sophie made history at the 2022 election by becoming the first Independent to win the Northern Beaches seat since it was first formed in 1949.

Prior to entering politics in 2022, Sophie was a practicing GP in Narrabeen while she also served the community in the Emergency Department of Mona Vale Hospital.

Whilst studying medicine at the University of Sydney and then Oxford University in the UK, Sophie was an elite athlete qualifying for the 1992 Olympics in 800m.  She was also a gold medallist at the World Junior Athletics Championship.

Sophie is also the founder of Our Blue Dot, a community-led NGO that aims to help individuals and community groups reduce their impact on the environment.

Here's an extract of her first speech, which you can read from her First Speech page:

Many people ask me how a GP got mixed up in politics. Well before my journey, I had watched in awe as the Independent movement swept across Indi and then Warringah. I was proud that professional women with no history in politics could take on the political establishment and win. That sense of pride grew when these women changed Australia for the better through their actions, their words and their integrity. In 2019, the election looming, I had my own lightning bolt moment. It came in the form of a 12-year-old boy, Mathias, a friend of my son. I had been troubled about the impact that climate change will have on the health and wellbeing of children and future generations for many years. On that day, my son and his friends were asking me about climate change, and I responded that, yes, one day they would need to act on it. Mathias looked up at me earnestly and said, 'Yes, because you adults have failed us.' He had a smile on his face. His comment found its target. I listened and I decided to act. As Cathy McGowan puts it so frequently, I realised that there was no cavalry coming over the hill to save us; there was only us. I had to do whatever I could to make a difference. If not you, then who? We've already been waiting two decades for action. However, I never imagined that my decision to act that day would end up with me standing here.