On Friday, 17th September, Celia Hammond MP, Federal Senator for the seat of Curtin, visited the Year 6 room to talk politics. She shared many insights into her life, leadership and politics. Here is a short write up by James M, Tom C, Jamie L, Jack E and William A, summarising some of the responses she gave to our questions.
What inspired you to give up your previous job and enter politics?
She was a lawyer but didn’t like working in a law firm then changed to work at a university for 10 years before she felt like she needed a fresh start in politics. She also didn’t like the way politicians spoke to each other and wanted to help try and fix this.
What was your life like growing up?
She grew up in Northam and when she was 10, she moved to Perth and went to JTC. She spoke of life without screens and remembers getting her first TV. Celia got her first email from the guy who works right next to her and after sending the email, the guy came in and said “Isn’t it great?” she replied “Well, you could’ve just walked in here and told me that.” Not realising the potential of email at the time.
What is your biggest priority as the Member for Curtin?
Trying to represent the people of Curtin and their needs, whether they voted for me or not. I am a believer in climate change and trying to work for solutions there. Another priority of mine is economic growth and jobs for the people of Curtin.
What is the favourite aspect of your job?
Helping people. For example, moving home from overseas. I also enjoy working on certain committees, such as those involving the spy agencies.
Do you like our Washminster system of government? Would you change it in any way?
I do like our system of government and would only want to change it if there was a better system out there, which I don’t think there is.
We recently learnt a bit about the Mabo decision in 1992. Can you please give any insights into its impact on the mining industry and how it has impacted the lives of First Nations people in Australia? If at all.
At the time people thought that the Mabo decision was going to radically change their lives. The fear campaigns were a beat up and she doesn’t think the mining industry has been impeded. She thinks it has helped the indigenous peoples with recognition and with long term funding for services. She thinks it is right and proper that mining corporations should speak with and negotiate with indigenous communities.
How often do you fly over to parliament in Canberra?
10 times a year.
Have you met Clive Palmer and what do you think of him?
I have not met him, and I do not want to. I do respect his right to views which don’t align with mine. I do not respect misinformation.
What are your main political views?
My views are values-based. Equality and equal opportunity are strong focal points. People being responsible for their own actions but having the opportunity to do many things. Small government.
Does each seat in Federal parliament have the same population?
Roughly, yes. Around 100000 voters.
Are you friends with people in the Labour party?
Yes. I play crosswords with Senator Wilson of the Labour Party on flights over to Canberra.
What is the difference between Liberal and Labour?
We both want the same thing – for Australians to flourish. How we get there is where the difference comes in. Liberal promotes small government with less intervention; whereas Labour promotes a larger government with more intervention.
What is Scott Morrison like?
He is a good person. Very focussed. He has a very tough job. I personally like him and think he is a firm Prime Minister. We have had laughs and also arguments.
Do you have any life tips for us as we enter high school?
Follow your dreams. Do what you are good at and makes you feel good about yourself. Be kind to others because everybody has issues even if their life appears rosy on the outside.
Besides Covid-19, what are the biggest political issues in Australia right now?
Climate change, defence and security, and the economic recovery of small businesses – particularly over east.
How do you feel about Australia’s relationship with China?
We are going through a challenging time with China. We need them as a trading partner and need to respect their place in the world. On the other hand, Chinese Communist Party needs to respect our sovereignty.
What do you think about our new nuclear submarines?
I believe they are a good thing. They are not nuclear weapons but nuclear-powered. We have had dud submarines and dud submarine contracts for a long time and these will be good.
Year 6 Teacher