Education Week 2019
The last week has been a big one for a number of reasons, but I wanted to start this column off on a positive note and talk about the wonderful talent that was on display last Monday at Dubbo College Senior Campus.
Education Week 2019 was launched at the college in a joint simulcast that also featured St Mary's North Public School in Sydney.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian attended the Sydney event while the NSW Education Minister, Sarah Mitchell, joined me in Dubbo.
Across the board it was a wonderful event that showed off our youth in the best way, and I was particularly proud of what our kids showed off to their city counterparts.
The theme of Education Week was Every Student. Every Voice and the live-streamed simulcast showed that off in tremendous fashion.
Well done to everyone involved.
The other big topic during the week was undoubtedly the Reproductive Health Reform Bill 2019, which was debated and voted on over the course of the three sitting days.
I thank everyone who took the time to contact me and my office in relation to the Bill.
There is little doubt this Bill is one of the most emotive that could be brought before the Parliament, and for that reason I spoke to a lot of people and took a lot of different opinions on board.
I considered all those opinions - and they came from friends, family, religious groups and many constituents from all parts of the electorate.
There were a number of amendments put forward from various MPs in relation to the initial Bill, and I voted in favour of some of those which I thought tightened the legislation up a bit from where it was originally.
There was some good debate, and I am grateful for the fact that MPs from both sides of the divide were respectful and accommodating of alternate views put forward.
Abortions already take place in NSW, and as I said from the start this has been about removing terminations from the criminal act and putting them in the health act.
This is not in any way about encouraging abortion, it is about ensuring women have the best support possible if they decide to go ahead with one, and I think the amended Bill does that.
Great people in our community
One of the great things about being a politician is having the opportunity to stand up in the Parliament and recognise some of the great people in our community.
There are a variety of ways to do this - Notices of Motion, Community Recognition Statements and Private Members Statements.
Last week I presented a PMS to the chamber in honour of Molly Croft and the work she is doing through Molly's Mission.
Molly is an amazing youngster from Dubbo who recently celebrated her 13th birthday, one year after being diagnosed with Osteosarcoma.
Molly, her parents John and Angela, and her sister Maddie, have been on one hell of a ride over the past 12 months, and their stay at the Children's Hospital at Westmead was made that little bit easier through the support of Ronald McDonald House, which became their home for 292 nights.
She is now endeavouring to raise enough money to fund 292 nights of stays for other families, which is about $208,000.
The tally sits at around the $175,000 mark at the moment, so if you have a few spare dollars I would encourage you to donate to Molly's Mission.
Unfortunately, none of us know when things could take a turn for the worst and we need to use these kinds of services.
More information can be found by visiting https://help-molly-pay-it-forward.raisely.com/
Until next week, Dugald