Two-time Paralympic gold medallist Liesl Tesch of Australia has delivered her first speech in the Parliament of New South Wales (NSW) as the member for the city of Gosford.
The 47-year-old, who alongside Daniel Fitzgibbon successfully defended the mixed two-person sailing SKUD18 Paralympic title at Rio 2016, delivered what the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) describe as a "powerful, fearless and emotional speech which created history".
She did so with dozens of her family members, friends, colleagues and constituents in attendance.
APC chief executive Lynne Anderson said it was an honour to be present to share Tesch's inaugural address, which was the first delivered by a wheelchair user elected to the NSW Parliament.
"What a great pleasure it was to be there, Liesl was magnificent," she said.
"As an outstanding ambassador for the Australian Paralympic Movement and a fierce advocate for people with a disability, Liesl's address gave the Parliament a strong insight into what she will be fighting for during her term, along with a dose of her infectious passion and humour.
"It really was a moment that gave me goosebumps.
"It really is a sense of pride for the Paralympic Movement to have one of our own elected to Parliament."
Greater education, health, reconciliation and infrastructure were key themes to Tesch's speech, as was increasing the level of accessibility for people with a disability.
"My priority is to be the catalyst for the positive change that the region is crying out for," she told Parliament.
"I believe my life experiences have given me the skills, resilience and vision to achieve this.
"We are a progressive Parliament, and people and change make history.
"People with disabilities do not want to be fighting for access.
"We want to be able to live our lives well and in my case, roll in on day one to be an active and effective member of Australia’s workforce.
"I am so excited to be working with and for a community of people who know what I stand for, know what I believe in, and know that I will fight for justice, fairness, equity and inclusion in our community."
In June of last year, Tesch was robbed at gunpoint while in Rio de Janeiro for a training camp in the build-up to the Paralympic Games.
The now seven-time Paralympian was pushed off her bicycle by a man brandishing a gun close to Flamengo Beach, with her bike and that of Australian Paralympic team physiotherapist Sarah Ross both stolen.
Tesch, who broke her back in a mountain bike accident aged 19, described the incident as "absolutely horrific".