Australian-first twice for Gibson
IN another first for David Gibson, the Gympie MP has been working closely with Australia's first deaf parliamentary intern.
Griffith University student Rachel Missingham is undertaking a research project on renewable energy in Queensland, which is a key aspect in Mr Gibson's Clean Energy Strategy portfolio.
Ms Missingham attended Question Time at Parliament yesterday as part of her internship program with Griffith University, and will work with Mr Gibson until the end of the year on a project to understand Queensland's potential and position it as a renewable energy capital for Australia. Mr Gibson said the Liberal National Party was delighted to have Ms Missingham assist them with this vital research.
"The research that Rachel will undertake will contribute towards the policy development," Mr Gibson said.
"I expect we would see that policy being released before the next election in 2009."
It's not the first time Mr Gibson has used Parliament as a platform to help break down the barriers faced by deaf people.
He was the first MP in Australian Parliamentary history to give his maiden speech in sign language.
Mr Gibson said he was delighted to work with such a capable intern who demonstrated that hearing impairments did not close the door to tertiary study or professional careers.
"Twenty years ago, being deaf at university would have been a huge struggle to try and complete a course," he said. "It just goes to show, these days new technologies assist hearing impaired students in reaching their goals.
"Rachel is doing her honours degree she is an incredibly bright girl who doesn't let her disability stand in her way.
"It has been inspiring to see motivated young people reach for their professional goals regardless of physical impairments."
Mr Gibson commended Griffith University for providing much-needed support and opportunities for deaf students and said he hoped to see more impaired young people given similar intern positions within Parliament.