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Today I had the pleasure of co-hosting a forum organised by the Pew Environment Group with special guest the world renowned oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle, who in 1970 led the first all-female team of aquanauts to live under the ocean, and who today is the Explorer in Residence of the National Geographic Society among many other titles and achievements. Dr Earle has been called "Her Deepness" by the New Yorker magazine and New York Times, a "Living Legend" by US Library of Congress, and Time Magazine's first "Hero for the Planet".
I heard Dr Earle on BBC Hardtalk earlier this year, where she spoke about the ocean as the great blue engine that keeps us alive, not just the water but all of its living components. She spends much of her time trying to convince the world to take seriously a global threat that is invisible to most of us. She notes that nature is not an option, it is not a luxury, it is our life support system. It was truly a privilege to listen to such a brilliant and fearless pioneer and advocate for the sea.
Dr Earle's visit to Australia is timely given that decisions will be made soon by the federal govt on a comprehensive national network of marine sanctuaries, which will ensure the long-term sustainability of our ocean environment.
I thank the organisers and participants in yesterday's event, including Environment Minister Tony Burke who launched a beautiful book produced by the Govt on Australia's oceans.
Finally, I acknowledge my co-hosts: the Members for Moreton and Moore, and Greens Senators Rachel Siewert and Larissa Waters â€“ so this was a tri-partisan, bi-state event in support of our oceans.