The first newly elected Federal Member for Berowra to deliver a maiden speech since 1973, Julian Leeser added a painful personal note to his inaugural delivery to Parliament.
Leeser, a Pennant Hills local, laid out his priorities in a personal maiden speech in the House of Representatives on 14 September. After detailing his experience of his father’s suicide, Mr Leeser outlined the importance that taking action on depression and suicide held for him. “I am determined to do my part to help pierce the loneliness, the desperation and the blackness that people who suffer depression feel,” he told the House. “I will be an strong advocate for mental health.”
Elaborating on why he spoke out, he said: “It was important that I spoke publicly about my family’s experience of suicide. One of the most effective preventative actions we can take is to nurture strong communities where people are not afraid to ask ‘Are you OK? Are you feeling suicidal?’ and where we create a community open enough that people feel they can reach out and ask for help. I hope my advocacy in Parliament will help people suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts realise that they are not alone.”
Mr Leeser detailed several other local community priorities for his term in office, including ensuring the NorthConnex project was delivered on time and on budget; improving New Line Road; fixing mobile black spots and delivering an English language program for migrants.
“I intend to be a very accessible member of Parliament, engaged in my electorate and working for outcomes that affect people here. I am very happy to say that I have already been able to deliver results for some of our local residents who have contacted my office seeking assistance. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of the job.”