2016 has come and nearly gone.
Unfortunately the speed of life seems to be equal to the speed of light, making it difficult to chronicle the year. Instead here is a snapshot of the year in review.
How can we forget the Yarloop fires? Destruction everywhere. Yarloop is my mum’s home town. Her family home remains standing, but the primary school she went to is gone, as is the church she and Dad were married in and the hospital that my eldest sister was born in.
Parliament resumed in February and Labor hit the ground running – well you would expect me to say that wouldn’t you – but it is true. Of course I have to mention that we had a leadership issue on my side, but that was quickly resolved and Mark McGowan has gone from strength to strength, building momentum as we head into the March 2017 election.
Leadership issues have dogged the Premier, Colin Barnett, with some Liberals still contemplating a change to Liza Harvey before the State election. Whether this happens or not is anyone’s guess.
The National Party did change leaders, returning back to the future with Brendan Grylls taking over from Terry Redman.
In late May I organised, with the assistance of Tony Simpson, a bike ride from Margaret River to Perth, to bring attention on the curse of domestic and family violence and raise money for four domestic violence women shelters – Tuart House, South West Refuge, Pat Thomas House and Starick Services. We will be doing the bike ride again next year – bigger and better.
At the local electorate level, I have continued my campaign on behalf of the community for a 24/7 public access police station. Those opposed to such an idea keep raising the straw man – why does the police station need to be open at 3.00am? Forget 3.00am, what about 4.15pm on a weeknight? Dedre Scholtz spoke at a 24/7 public rally on how, after an assault, including an attempted sexual assault, she went to the Armadale Police station on a Thursday afternoon. The time was 4.15pm. She pressed the emergency buzzer at the station. No-one attended her call, so Dedre and her father were forced to drive to Cannington Police Station to report the assault, traumatising her even more.
What we want is a 24/7 public access police station and much more. We want an enhanced police station, with the additional services provided at Cannington Police Station being available at Armadale. Although Police Minister Lisa Harvey keeps responding “we don’t need a 24/7 police station”, two days ago she was reported as saying that after the completion of the new Justice Centre (which won’t be until at least 2021) it “probably will be appropriate at that point in time to have a 24/7 hour station in Armadale to complement the (all-hours) Cannington station.” So my question to the Minister is, if 24/7 public access police station is not needed why did you say that it probably will be appropriate to do so after 2021? Armadale needs a 24/7 public access police station now, not after 2021. If Labor forms government after 11 March 2017, the Armadale Police Station will become 24/7 not long after, without the need to wait until 2021 or beyond.
We had a Federal election mid-year, which saw Matt Keogh elected as the inaugural Member for Burt. Matt has been working very hard since his election to Federal Parliament. I look forward to working with him to deliver for our local community.
A couple of months ago, I mailed to my electors a legal information booklet providing useful information on our legal system, relevant laws, agencies and organisations that people may need to contact. The legal information booklet can also be accessed on-line at http://youandthelaw.antoniobuti.com/. I have also established an on-line legal portal for family law at http://youandfamilylaw.antoniobuti.com/. These two legal information links can be found on my new website which provides an array of information and news. Check it out at http://antoniobuti.com/.
Being the Member for Armadale is a privilege and an honour, particularly as I grew up locally and I still live here. I get genuine pleasure from assisting members of my community – whether it be with a policing issue, housing, health related matter or emergency relief. Helping me in this task are my wonderful electorate officers, Judith Lewis and Tina White. I wish to sincerely thank them, plus Roma who volunteers in my office, and all the wonderful local branch members and other friends and supporters. Of course my greatest thanks go to my three children (and our dog Sophia) and to Mandy, who supports me 24/7 and beyond.
As we head to the festive season, I wish you all a most enjoyable Christmas and best of luck for 2017.