Parliament urged to improve collaboration

·2-min read

Labor's newest federal MPs are urging the parliament to work together to secure the best outcomes for the communities that elected them.

Alison Byrnes, representing the Illawarra in NSW, and Carina Garland, the new member for the southeastern suburbs of Melbourne, gave their first speeches to federal parliament on Monday.

Dr Garland, who won the seat of Chisholm from Liberal MP Gladys Liu, used her first speech to remind parliamentarians they carried the hopes and fears of their constituents.

"Everyone has contributions to make and it is our role in government to embrace and support these," she said.

Working as an academic before entering parliament, Dr Garland said the scourge of insecure work was holding many Australians back.

"I feel a real sadness and an anger when I think that precarity may be the experience more commonly felt than security in work for a growing number of people in this country," she said.

Ms Byrnes said there was an opportunity to transform the Illawarra region, which has a long history of steelmaking and heavy industry, into a centre of energy and economic innovation.

"We stand ready to use our skills to produce high-quality steel in a more sustainable way ... a place which attracts, trains and retains the brightest minds," the new MP for Cunningham said.

Ms Byrnes credited former prime minister Julia Gillard as inspiring her career and she called for urgent action on the gender pay gap.

She urged parliament to work together to find common ground.

"Australians don't expect us to agree all the time but they do expect us to get on with the job as being decent people and achieving good outcomes," Ms Byrnes said.

"Together we can provide better opportunities for workers and their families (and) we can do so in a way where economic and environmental sustainability are at the heart of our actions."