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Lee’s at Parliament House!

Written by Lee Johnson

Today was a big day with lots of meetings planned for the day. Our first day at Parliament House.Parliament House, Canberra

After arriving and going through security not different to an airport and getting our official unrestricted access passes – we headed up for brekkie and then up to our first meeting of the day, Julie Bishop. To give you all some background – this week is a HUGE week in politics in Canberra. With Parliament sitting this week and 2 massive issues on the agenda – Carbon Tax and Boat People, we were very lucky to have been able to meet with anyone of any importance. The best part is that we have managed to speak to some very important ministers and had some very positive responses and feedback.

Julie Bishop – (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) Our first presentation as a group. The meeting went very well. Whilst under the pump to get through the meeting as quickly as possible due to a vote in the Senate which was about to occur, we went through our collective agendas. The dive industry submission for marine sanctuaries was well received and Julie thanked us for keeping her informed of our progress.

The next meeting was with Laurence Coleman, advisor to Stephen Smith (Minister of Defence),

This meeting went exceptionally well with all of our points going over and Laurence (a Perth resident) agreeing with our concepts and ideas. The proposal for an A Class style marine reserve for the diving industry north of Hillarys was presented and was well received.

The decision on the marine park proposal will be decided within just 4 to 5 weeks. I will post a copy of the proposed marine parks tomorrow.

Our next meeting was with Tony Burke – Minister for the Environment. Once again a fairly rushed meeting but with the offer of a later meeting with one of his advisors to take our proposals down was an offer we were more than happy to accept.

The second round was great with plenty of time to go over all of our ideas and proposals as well as discussing the effects of any or all of these proposals which may or may not have an impact on the electorate. The more I work with the professional team we have over here lobbying for support, the more I am realising that even though we all represent different areas and have our own areas of expertise and agendas, every one of us is here to save our marine environment and create Sanctuaries. Even the most unlikely allies in fishing groups are pushing for a united blanket approach to marine parks and Sanctuaries. It’s great to be associated with these guys. It really is an honour to be here with them.

The meeting ended on a positive note and it will remain to be seen how effective our presentations for today were. We are gaining valuable support and the meetings continue tomorrow.

I will keep you posted.

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