Dental Health

I want to speak about two very important election commitments the Rudd government has made to the Australian people in the area of dental health and what this will mean for my electorate of Isaacs. I want to start by recalling the actions of the former Liberal government in this area. In one of its more miserable acts, the Howard government scrapped Labor’s Commonwealth Dental Health Program on taking power in 1996, which ripped more than $100 million from public dental services. This had an enormous impact on the lives of ordinary Australians in need of dental health care. The Howard government followed this act of meanness with more than a decade of blindness to the problems affecting dental health.

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Apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples

I strongly support this apology. It is a decade late but its lateness makes it all the more welcome. State and territory governments apologised following the delivery of the Bringing them home report in 1997. The Australian Labor Party, in opposition in 1997, moved to apologise in this place but the motion was lost. It gives me a particular personal satisfaction to stand in this House and see the fulfilment of a promise made by the Australian Labor Party to offer the apology that was made last Wednesday, 13 February, 2008, which will be a historic day for our country.

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Isaacs Electorate: Hanover Welfare Services

I recently had the privilege of visiting Hanover South East Short Stay Crisis Accommodation Centre in Robinson Street, Dandenong. Hanover Welfare Services provides a range of facilities in Melbourne, including crisis and transitional housing at Hanover Southbank; the Hanover Southern Housing and Support Service, based in Cheltenham; and the Hanover Inner North Support Team and Outreach Team. I was also able to visit Hanover Southern late last year. Both Hanover Southern and Hanover South East serve the people of our electorate. Since opening its new facility in August 2006, Hanover South East has provided crisis accommodation to nearly 400 individuals and families through its 15 rooms and units. People using this service may have found themselves without housing for a range of reasons. What they all share is a need for support, for access to services and for respect at a critical time in their lives.

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Mark Dreyfus maiden speech

Maiden speech in Australia Parliament.

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