Mr Wilson (4:15pm) — I am very fortunate to represent a community that has a tradition of engaging wholeheartedly and constructively in the cause of creating positive change. It's a community that is happy to discuss and debate the issues of the day, large and small.
We have to remember that our aged-care workforce is itself getting older and includes a majority of women. As with so many vocational sectors with high levels of female participation, there is no doubt that the incredible commitment of aged-care staff is too often taken for granted and too often used consciously or unconsciously to hold down wages and conditions. That's wrong.
It is likely that ASEAN will be as important for its member nations and for its regional neighbours, including Australia, in the next 50 years as it has been in the half century just passed. But fulfilling that role will not be a matter of business as usual. There are new risks and opportunities before us.
WA accounts for 11 per cent of the population and 33 per cent of the Australian landmass. Our state manages the costs and the logistical challenges of remoteness on an unprecedented scale. It needs to be supported, especially in a time of sharp economic downturn, but we've not yet received a fair or proportionate investment from the Abbott-Turnbull government.
Let's not kid ourselves about what sharply reduced development assistance means. It means lives lost due to poorer maternal health outcomes. It means children go without an education. It means democratic institutions are weaker and there is greater instability across our region. It means that Australia's role and influence is diminished at a time when we should be showing leadership.