Member for Maroochydore
April 8th, 2021
BEHIND THE MASK – R U OK? TIME FOR KINDNESS AND CARE
A lot has happened in the last week – let alone the last year. As I was writing my parliamentary update last week on hot issues that matter to thousands locally (housing, local infrastructure, access to hospital services, ambulance ramping), that wily disruptor of the last 12 plus months interloped and threw so many lives into disruption again.
As you know, COVID inexplicably escaped from a Brisbane hospital into the community and greater Brisbane was put into lockdown. All of Queensland was mandated to wear masks (which we need to continue to wear until April 15) and anyone who had been in Brisbane in the last 10 days had to home isolate – including myself along with most of the 93 Queensland Parliamentarians as that’s where we were last week – in Brisbane for Parliament.
With today’s gadgets, I am able to video conference or phone constituents and stakeholders so we can keep working fairly seamlessly, that’s not a hardship. However, that’s not true for thousands of our small businesses here on the Sunshine Coast and in Queensland, particularly in the tourism and hospitality sector, who had stocked their shelves and fridges and employed extra staff for the Easter holiday season, which meant so much to their bottom line.
I’m also aware that many people have loved ones in aged and disability care who have been particularly hard hit by lockdowns and restrictions which go beyond everyone else, limiting or banning visitors. While the greater Brisbane lockdown was lifted in time for Easter, some restrictions are still in place until April 15.
But there are more masks in operation than the paper kind which we need to pay attention to probably now more than ever – and those are the human masks of stoicism that hide the inner world which may not match the “I’m okay” phrases we all easily utter.
After the bumpy start, I wish you a happy and safe Easter and let’s share our support with our local small businesses – and call a friend to let them know they’re not alone.
March 11th, 2021
Let’s celebrate women’s achievements every day
It never gets old talking to young people about their hopes, dreams and ideas for the future and today.
I was privileged to meet with a number of young people in the lead-up to Queensland’s Women’s Week 2021 (QWW) at a local school as part of those celebrations.
My job as guest speaker was hopefully to encourage and inspire them to shine as young leaders who can help unlock the potential of others and have the courage and kindness to care for each other and their world – we sure need them!
But it’s also important to speak about their incredible value and self-worth and the importance of overcoming the fear of standing out or self-doubt.
Part of that message was also encouraging them to overcome even the fear of failure – as people with the most amazing success stories almost always can share examples of their failures as well but they wouldn’t have tasted success without first having a go.
This message is as true for good young men as it is for good young women, but on International Women’s Day we particularly need to encourage each other to not only be our best, but celebrate those who paved the way and build upon their legacy.
Whilst I looked around the room of the young females (and one male) that I was speaking to, I wanted them to know that what they may think they want to do now may not be what they end up doing and that’s okay as opportunities aren’t always scripted but need to be grasped.
And making a difference in the world starts with pushing back against cynicism as one person can make a difference in the lives of others. After all, there has never been a cynic who has changed the world for the better.
It is up to us to not only guide the next generation, but encourage them to approach life with enthusiasm and courage. So as QWW ends for another year, we don’t need to have one week a year to celebrate the achievements and contributions that good women have made and continue to make, let’s celebrate everyday!
February 11th, 2021
Although it is now a couple of weeks ago, I felt especially proud and grateful to celebrate Australia Day this year. As I watched record numbers of families and friends gathering around picnics and BBQs in local parks, I was struck by two things – the sheer joy of people sharing each other’s company and, secondly, so many Australian flags flying.
When most formal Australia Day events were cancelled or modified due to COVID-19, Aussies put on their own celebrations and while there is a move among some to change the date of Australia Day, a poll shows only 28 per cent support this. COVID-19 can cancel life as we know it, but we should never cancel our history.
Changing the date won’t change our history. Rather we should tell it all – the good and the bad – while committing to share our nation’s values of freedom, democracy and a fair go with the maturity to celebrate and respect our ancient custodians, the pioneers and more recent settlers and immigrants.
Let me tell you one of those stories. 165 years ago last month, my great great grandfather sailed with “440 souls” from England into Moreton Bay. As the ship attempted to cross the dangerous southern passage between Moreton and Stradbroke Islands, a brave Aboriginal man paddled out, convinced the ship’s captain they were going the wrong way, got onboard, and piloted them safely around Cape Moreton into the Bay. Without his actions, I may not be here today.
So, when I fly the flag, I’m grateful for the bravery of that unknown Aboriginal man, for our ANZACs nearly two generations later, the servicemen and women who defended our freedom and all the unsung heroes whose acts of kindness and courage happen every day. They have made Australia great. We keep it great by honouring their legacy and contributing in every area of our nation’s democratic life. The greatest defence of a fragile freedom and peace is not sitting back, but giving back.
MP Fiona Simpson with Peter Horn from Marcoola Surf Lifesaving Club on Australia Day. Photo: Contributed
January 21st, 2021
What a start it has been to the year!
At my office we are busy as ever catching up with the local community groups and residents in the area. With students going back to school I have provided some gift cards to the Salvation Army “Back to School” program (see their website www.salvationarmy.org.au) to provide assistance. You may be a family in need and I commend their wonderful help or if you are in a position to support families with the expense of children returning to school, this is a great way to do so.
The day before school returns is Australia Day on January 26. Come and say “g’day” at the Marcoola Surf Lifesaving Club’s “Marcoola Rocks” celebration which is a ripper. The party starts the week before with five days of live music from January 22. Join the Thong Throwing and their Pie Eating Competition – all very Australian and a lot of fun! If you are in the area I would suggest dropping in and enjoying the views and the entertainment.
Once again when you are doing your shopping, let’s help support local jobs and businesses. Last year, I launched my #buylocal5 campaign whereby you swap at least five purchases of goods or services you’d normally buy from outside the region for local goods and services instead. When you do this, give the business or service a loud shout out personally or via my Facebook page, our recovery starts with us.
Despite it being a different Christmas/New Year break, I thoroughly enjoyed my “staycation” as I think many more Sunny Coasters have this year. I think my house and backyard have loved the attention, but the best thing has been catching up with family and friends. We really do live in the best place in the world.
Here’s to a brighter 2021 for everyone – knowing that there are many who have done it pretty tough. We are very lucky to reside on the Sunshine Coast and we must remember to keep on being COVID-19 safe and supporting our local businesses and jobs. Happy New Year to you and I look forward to working together in 2021.