On 8th October, Australia’s peak cycling advocacy group, We Ride Australia, announced the establishment of Parliamentary Friends of Cycling – the culmination of more than a decade of federal advocacy by We Ride. The Friendship group marks a coming of age for bicycle riding in federal Parliamentary circles.
An initiative of We Ride Australia’s Stephen Hodge and Dave Sharma, the Member for Wentworth (Liberal), the group will be Co-Chaired by Dave Sharma, Dr Andrew Leigh, the Member for Fenner (Labor) and Dr Helen Haines, the Member for Indi (independent). A further nineteen Parliamentarians signed up within hours to support the group’s establishment.
At a time when bicycle riding is booming, as Australians re-discover the joys of two wheels for transport and to stay active and healthy during the COVID pandemic, this group demonstrates our Parliamentarians are also clearly very interested in a greater engagement around the benefits of riding bicycles.
The group will provide a non-partisan federal forum for Parliamentarians to meet and interact with riding and active transport.
We Ride Australia’s Stephen Hodge will coordinate the group’s activities.
“I was delighted to get such a positive response to the idea from Dave Sharma when I approached him about championing bicycle riding in Parliament,” said Hodge.
“Andrew Leigh and Helen Haines also very quickly expressed their support and we were on our way,
“An email from Dr Leigh to the entire Parliament resulted in enough support from MPs and Senators within a couple of hours to set up the Friends and I think it showed we had really captured the moment for bike riding in Australia” Mr Hodge said.
“We’ve seen a massive increase in cycling during COVID-19, for both transport and recreation. As an enthusiastic rider myself, I’m keen for the Parliament to get behind this trend and do more to encourage people to lead active lifestyles,” Dave Sharma, the Member for Wentworth said.
“From Mulga Bill to Anna Meares, cycling is intertwined with the Australian story. And no part of Australia loves cycling more than my home city of Canberra. From the 6am bunch ride to mountain biking with my kids, cycling is one of life’s true pleasures, and I’m keen to encourage its uptake nationwide” said Dr Andrew Leigh, the Member for Fenner.
“Like lots of people, I have strong memories of learning to ride a bike. The thrill of finding my balance has lasted a lifetime. The Parliamentary Friends of Cycling is all about the love of cycling and the real benefits it can bring to people and to our environment when we leave the car in the shed and jump on the bike instead,” said the Member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines.
“In regional areas like the one I represent, the economic benefits through cycle tourism are really important and will continue to contribute to our communities as we emerge and recover from the COVID lockdown,” said Dr Haines.
The first event for the Parliamentary Friends of Cycling will be held in an upcoming Parliamentary session and showcase the latest e-mobility trends. The latest electric-assist bicycles, family e-bikes and a range of utilitarian and freight bikes will be featured.
The Co-Chairs will work with Stephen to determine topics of interest to MPs and develop the future program of events. All MPs and Senators in Parliament are invited to attend Friendship Group events and hear from subject experts and network with colleagues and invited guests.
The MPs and Senators who supported the establishment of Parliamentary Friends of Cycling are –
Hon Kevin Andrews MP – Member for Menzies VIC – Liberal
Dr Katie Allen MP – Member for Higgins VIC – Liberal
Hon Terri Butler MP – Member for Griffith QLD – Labour
Mr Milton Dick MP – Member for Oxley QLD – Labour
Hon Mark Dreyfus MP – Member for Isaacs VIC – Labour
Hon Dr David Gillespie MP – Member for Lyne NSW – National
Mr Luke Gosling OAM MP – Member for Solomon NT – Labour
Dr Helen Haines MP – Member for Indi VIC – Independent
Ms Madeline King MP – Member for Brand WA – Labour
Mr Andrew Laming MP – Member for Bowman QLD – LNP
Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP – Member for Fenner ACT – Labour
Ms Gladys Liu MP – Member for Chisolm VIC – Liberal
Dr Fiona Martin MP – Member for Reid NSW – Liberal
Ms Julie Owens MP – Member for Parramatta NSW – Labour
Senator Janet Rice – Senator for Victoria VIC – Greens
Hon Scott Ryan – Senator for Victoria VIC – Liberal
Ms Rebekah Sharkie MP – Member for Mayo SA – Centre Alliance
Mr Dave Sharma MP – Member for Wentworth NSW – Liberal
Hon Warren Snowden MP – Member for Lingiari NT – Labour
Hon Angus Taylor MP – Member for Hume NSW – Liberal
Senator David Van – Senator for Victoria VIC – Liberal
Mr Bert van Manen MP – Member for Forde QLD – LNP
Mr Ross Vasta MP – Member for Bonner QLD – LNP
Mr Andrew Wallace MP – Member for Fisher QLD – Liberal
Mr Tim Watts MP – Member for Gelibrand VIC – Labour
Mr Josh Wilson MP – Member for Fremantle WA – Labour
If your local member of federal parliament is not on this list, please feel free to let them know the Friendship Group will be holding regular events that will cover topics of interest to you and a lot of constituents in the electorate.