New independent Senator David Pocock wants to use his balance of power to be a “peace broker” in the Senate and advocate for Canberra and push for a smart energy transition.
Senator Pocock, who became the first independent ACT Senator at the May election, delivered his maiden speech to Parliament on Tuesday, focused on combating climate change and representing Canberrans.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made a rare appearance in the Senate to watch the speech, hours after he had played touch rugby with the former ACT Brumbies and Australian player.
While some have referred to Senator Pocock as a “king maker” due to his influential vote in the Senate, he said he wanted to be a “peace broker”.
“The challenges facing us are so important. I want to be part of making sure we don’t just end the climate wars but we win them – we win them and we start to lead as a country on climate action and biodiversity conservation,” Senator Pocock said.
“I’m not here to stand in the way. I’m here to offer my perspective as a representative of Canberra, Jervis Bay and Norfolk Island in the hopes that we can make politics about people. For me, part of doing that is making sure this place and the business we do in it better lives the values of the people who we’ve been sent here to represent.”
The new Parliament has an opportunity to strengthen and restore trust in democracy, Senator Pocock said.
“With trust in political institutions at worrying lows, this Parliament has the opportunity to begin to restore the faith of Australians in both government and governance,” he said.
“From increasing transparency to the implementation of a robust integrity commission, to reforming political donations and truth in political advertising laws, we have a real chance to strengthen our democracy and ensure Australians can trust in the decisions that are being made in their name.”
Senator Pocock is the first independent to be elected to the Senate from the ACT.
“Not only is it the first time the ACT has had an independent Senator; it’s the first time we’ve had someone on the crossbench with the balance of power,” he said.
“I intend to use that power in the interests of the people of the ACT to achieve practical outcomes…no longer are we a safe seat. We need to continue our legacy of leadership on everything from marriage equality to the smart energy transition, which we so desperately need to accelerate across the country.”
Australia needs to transform the climate change imperative into an opportunity, he said.
“In the midst of this doom and gloom is an invitation to begin to turn things around. Thanks to ancient Indigenous wisdom and the latest in science and technology, we have never known more about these life support systems, what we’re doing to them and what can and must be done to halt this catastrophic decline and begin to reverse,” Senator Pocock.
“Some of our failure has been a failure of imagination, a failure to imagine how great our future can be. Our future can be great if we actually focus on the things that matter – the long-term health and wellbeing of our families, our communities and our land. That takes courage and leadership.”
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