Last week in Parliament I had the great honour and privilege of giving my first speech.
This is a speech that tells of your journey into politics and what drive you.
Below is a small extract:
I am not the usual kind of person you would expect to be in Parliament. In fact, I am only the second ever coal miner to represent the Labor Party in the Federal Parliament. The first was Joseph Cook, who represented the seat of Lithgow and went on to be Prime Minister.
I left school when I was just 15 and was lucky enough to get an apprenticeship as a fitter and turner. This gave me a great start in life.
Representing Australia on the world stage is an incredible honour, and I feel very privileged to have represented Australia since 1998. I have competed in World Championships, World Cups, Oceania Championships, and national championships where I have won over 50 National titles. I have represented Australia at five Olympic Games and four Commonwealth Games. I have won three Commonwealth Games gold medals and three bronze medals.
I started work in the mining industry in 2009. I began working as a line borer, travelling all around the state, before landing a full-time position at Mount Thorley Warkworth. It was an opportunity to drive something that I really could say was bigger than me. In the seven years I spent working at Mount Thorley Warkworth, I was a union delegate, a dispatch officer, a trainer, and an operator.
The Hunter is such a dynamic electorate, stretching from Wyee Point at the southern tip of western Lake Macquarie, Australia's largest coastal saltwater lake, working its way around the back of the Wollombi State Forest, all the way to Sandy Hollow, across to Muswellbrook, and down to Cameron Park, Edgeworth and Glendale taking in major towns such as Morisset, Toronto, Cessnock and Singleton.
The electorate is 10,640 square kilometres and I have 128,832 bosses that reside in the Hunter electorate.
Tourism is a massive part of the Hunter economy. From the regattas and families holidaying around the beautiful Lake Macquarie, to the world-famous golf courses, restaurants and boutique breweries scattered throughout the Hunter, to our world renowned horse studs in the Upper Hunter, home to champions like Winx, Home Affairs and So You Think.
The Hunter has been the powerhouse of the NSW energy and export market for well over a century, and will continue to be for centuries to come. At the moment, our traditional industries such as mining, energy, horse studs, farming and tourism are doing well.
I'm proud to be a former coal miner, I'm bloody proud of my electorate's mining history, and I'm proud to be mates with many people who work in the pits. We need jobs that are well-paid, secure and aren't dominated by dodgy labour hire arrangements.
Wherever you work, if you're doing the same job as the person next to you, you should be paid the same.
The export market for coal is as strong as it has ever been. For as long as that continues, and it will continue for years to come - I will make sure the Hunter remains at the forefront of supplying coal to the world.
My message to every Hunter mining family, and the whole Hunter electorate - in a changing world is, I will always be up front and I will always have your back.
You can read my full speech on my website at www.DanRepacholiMP.com or contact my office for a copy.
Dan Repacholi is the Federal Member for Hunter
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