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The Peninsula puts in front of us what we must do

"The Peninsula is truly one of the best places on the face of this earth, but it places front and centre what we must do - protect, preserve, and nurture," Member for Robertson Dr Gordon Reid told Federal Parliament in his maiden speech last Monday, August 1.

"In the afternoon, with the sun setting, and an orange glow filling the sky, if you look out from Umina Beach, you see a small island, Lion Island, on it a colony of penguins.

"Surrounding it, and the remaining coast, rolling waves and ocean, teaming with marine life. Truly something to behold.

"Our future generations should be at the heart of each and every decision that we make.

"Therefore, we must provide them with an environment, with a planet, where they can continue to grow, to love and to become whomever they want to be.

"Without them, we are nothing, and this great Australian story ceases to exist.'

In his speech, Dr Reid emphasised health, housing and the environment.

He spoke of the importance to him of family, his local aboriginal community, and accountability and integrity in government.

He defined health broadly, "not simply a state of being free from illness or injury", but also in terms of having a healthy community, including "having a clean, strong, protected and sustainable environment".

"Health is the strength of a society and a community," he said.

"Health is a community having access to affordable and equitable care and services.

"Health is having the freedom to go about your daily lives with the reassurance that those elected to represent us are held to account.

"Health is having a clean, strong, protected and sustainable environment.

"Health is having a sense of belonging through cultural acceptance and representation.

"Health is having the ability to participate in the workforce all while knowing your children are being cared for and educated to the absolute highest standard.

"Health is having a safe and secure place to call home."

Dr Reid spoke of his experiences as an emergency department doctor, with full waiting rooms, where "the stroke and the heart attack need immediate attention, but there are no beds".

"No beds, not enough staff."

Dr Reid said: "Shifts like this formed a turning point for me.

"I stand before you today, not because I no longer want to be a doctor - I love being a doctor, and will always love being a doctor.

"But by undertaking this most important role, my skills and my experience will no longer be limited to the bedside.

"At the bedside I have the opportunity to help one family at a time.

"Here I have the opportunity to be part of something that can change the lives of everyone in our community, for the better.

"I have the opportunity to use my experiences to bring about informed, systemic change."

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