I really welcome the opportunity to speak on this MPI and to join my other colleagues on what is a very important issue. Child care is a very, very important issue in my electorate of Calwell. Whilst I would like to note that I understand that taxpayers, in the last financial year, have spent some $5.7 billion in supporting some one million families with the cost of child care, I also want to make the point that thousands of those families are my constituents. I cannot emphasise enough the significance and the importance of child care in Calwell, and in particular quality and affordable child care.
Shadow Industry Minister Senator Kim Carr and Member for Calwell Maria Vamvakinou have welcomed commitments from Ford Australia that the firm will continue to invest in Australian R&D and engineering capabilities. In a statement released today, Ford announced it will establish an engineering campus in Broadmeadows as part of its Asia-Pacific Engineering Centre. The success of Australian automotive design and engineering talent was recently showcased on the world stage. In January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, teams from both Ford Australia and GM Holden took out top awards on a highly competitive international stage.
Ford’s GT Supercar, designed in the US by Todd Willing, a Tasmanian who now heads Ford’s Asia-Pacific Design Centre in Broadmeadows, received the EyesOnDesign Award for Best Production Vehicle.Achievements like awards in Detroit and ongoing commitments from the carmakers in Australian design and engineering clearly shows that our auto industry can compete on the world stage. Australia’s auto industry is a great repository of technological capability and design skills that we must strive to retain. Despite the very strenuous efforts of the Abbott Government to destroy the automotive industry, Ford’s announcement highlights that the industry will continue. The future political debate will be around its size and the scope of its capabilities.
Each year the Hume City Council in my electorate, apart from the very successful citizenship ceremony on Australia Day, also awards its Australia Day awards, recognising outstanding individuals in our community who go above and beyond in their call of duty and support of others. At this year's Australia Day ceremony, Mr Samet Istar, a Dallas resident, who has championed cultural understanding and community in our pride was awarded the 2015 Hume Citizen of the Year. Samet Istar, apart from being a good friend of mine, is a 29-year-old young Australian, who was a founding member of the Australian Turkish University Students Association and is the current president of the Australian Turkish Institute. Samet is above all a great ambassador for multiculturalism in our community. He is involved in many events and activities. He is a volunteer presenter with the 3ZZZ radio network, and his work in promoting intercultural understanding and fostering community pride has made a great impact, particularly amongst young people.
I am aware that there are many Australians who were supportive of Van Nguyen’s execution. It is easy for people to be unforgiving and to loathe those who they believe by their actions perpetuate the misery of drug abuse. But we must never allow such feelings to cause us to lose sight of our humanity. I cannot therefore agree with those who support capital punishment. Putting aside all the moral and legal arguments that militate against the use of capital punishment, for me personally it is a simple case of a profound belief that no human being has the right to take the life of another under any circumstances. I particularly derive this conviction from my own Christian faith, which preaches the sanctity and dignity of life and the power of forgiveness and mercy. I know this to be an absolute truth applicable in all circumstances without exception.