MT LAWLEY’s new MP Simon Millman gave his first speech in parliament on Tuesday and said his work representing the victims of asbestos diseases motivated him to run for office.
Mr Millman praised the cultural diversity and the renowned education institutions in his electorate, including the WA Academy of Performing Arts, Carmel School and a number of other bodies.
He thanked former member for Yokine Bob Kucera for his support during the campaign, hailing the “indelible mark” the former minister had left on the community.
Mr Millman thanked the people of Mt Lawley for entrusting him with the honour of representing them, and spoke of a “socially progressive and economically responsible agenda… built around jobs, health, education, and public transport”.
He warned that many people had told him they felt alienated by “the divisiveness, bickering, and pettiness” of politics, leading to disturbing poll results showing a growing lack of faith in democracy.
“Too many of our earlier generations have sacrificed too much… to allow this state of affairs to go unchallenged,” he said.
Mr Millman spoke of his work as a lawyer on behalf of the Asbestos Diseases Society, thanking Robert and Rose Marie Vojakovic.
“There is nothing like sitting down to hear the story of a young woman in her 40s who is dying from mesothelioma because she played with deadly asbestos fibres when she was a little girl in Wittenoom,” he said.
“There is nothing like hearing that because she is a single mum, her kids will be left without a parents… As you watch these victims die… you are astounded by the hard-heartedness of lawyers who obfuscated and delayed, awaiting the death of the plaintiff… To these lawyers I say – through your actions you provide inspiration to people like me, for only this place (Parliament) has the power to introduce industrial manslaughter laws and hold guilty employers to account.”
Mr Millman said the “neoliberal project of the last 40 years” was unravelling, placing the responsibility of building “a new social contract” on the current generation of leaders.
He noted the public had resoundingly rejected the proposed privatisation of Western Power, and thanked his campaign team and volunteers for their efforts.
Mr Millman concluded by thanking his wife Tara and sons Willis and Otis.
“It is my responsibility to pass on to you two boys a better world than the one we have inherited,” he said.