RECENTLY elected Member for Penrith Karen McKeown OAM has delivered her inaugural speech in State Parliament.
Mrs Mckeown gave a bare-all account of her less than glamorous childhood and the years that lead to the beginning of her career as a local representative. She was understandably emotional throughout and often spoke through tears and a shaky voice as she outlined her experiences with poverty and abandonment as a young child. She credited her elderly grandmother, who despite facing many challenges including a disability, raised her to be a strong and resilient social warrior.
From humble beginnings that saw her wade through numerous emotional and financial challenges, Mrs McKeown attributed many of the opportunities that came her way to Labor policies and she thanked previous and current Labor Members of Parliament for being role models in her life.
“I am particularly proud of Deputy Premier Prue Car. I don’t think I could be any more proud of her unless my name was Ann or Noel Guillaume (Prue’s parents). I’m under absolutely no illusion that if it wasn’t for the unfailing support and advocacy of Prue Car I wouldn’t be standing here today.”
Mrs McKeown spoke about the support of her family, friends, Labor colleagues, her “extensive union family” and her “rock, biggest supporter and cheerleader” husband Brendan.
Her speech focussed on her pride in being part of a Labor Government and in a team with so many female members.
Mrs McKeown said there was a message in her speech, particularly aimed at women.
“It does take hard work, perseverance and determination; but if a barefoot snotty-nosed kid from the back streets of inner Sydney can win the prized seat of Penrith against all the odds to stand here in the oldest parliament in Australia, then anything is possible.”
“I’m so proud to be elected to represent Penrith. I won’t let you down,” Mrs McKeown said.
You can watch Karen McKeown’s full speech on Youtube or by locating it on the Karen McKeown Member for Penrith or Nepean News facebook pages.