House of Representatives Speech- Legal Aid 2014

Before the last election, Senator Brandis told The Australian newspaper:

I do regard access to justice not as an aspect of social welfare but as a necessary implication of the rule of law.

This was certainly heady stuff from the senator—high-minded principle. Unfortunately, Attorney-General Brandis has, in government, revealed a scant regard for access to justice and a contemptuous arrogance towards the organisations and hardworking people tasked with delivering it. Access to justice means more than just the formal ability of individuals to avail themselves of the courts. Real access to justice requires that all Australians are properly informed of their legal rights. Real access to justice requires that all Australians are assisted to resolve their disputes before they escalate and become more costly and disruptive to the whole community. Real access to justice requires in the last resort that all Australians have the benefit of legal advice or representation in a court of law.

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House of Representatives Speech- Isaacs Electorate: Open Water Swims

On 1 March I had the pleasure of competing in the open water swim conducted by the Edithvale Life Saving Club and the Aspendale Life Saving Club, known as the Club2Club Swim.

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House of Representatives Speech -Isaacs Electorate: St Louis de Montfort's Primary School

  I rise to commend St Louis de Montfort's Primary School in Aspendale for the wonderful environmental-learning opportunities they are providing students through their 'sustainability precinct' that includes a vegetable garden, orchard, chicken coop and student kitchen. St Louis de Montfort's Primary School has grown considerably since its first classrooms were constructed in 1964. The school now has an enrolment of around 760 students and has become an integral part of the Aspendale community.

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House of Representatives Speech- Ms Laura John

I rise to congratulate my constituent Laura John on her appointment as the Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations for 2014. Laura was appointed to this position on 12 December 2013 after a competitive selection process undertaken by UN Youth and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Laura's commitment to the community started during her school years at Kilbreda College, where she actively promoted multicultural and multifaith activities, as well as raising money for schools in Timor-Leste. After completing school Laura continue her service to the community while studying arts and law at Monash University. In 2013 she was awarded the City of Kingston Young Citizen of the Year Award for her contribution to a range of youth and multicultural committees and networks. Laura has volunteered as a paralegal with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and has completed an internship with United Nations High Commission for Refugees. She has also completed a placement in New York with the human rights organisation Human Rights First in their refugee protection program. The people of our community have also benefited from Laura's work as a volunteer and, later, as a part-time employee in my electorate office.

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House of Representatives Speech-Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013, Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013

What we are seeing here today is that the party of Work Choices is back in government. They cannot wait to reintroduce the harsh regime of Work Choices, and this is the first taste we are seeing of it. They have put before the parliament a bill which brings back the Australian Building and Construction Commission which, in government, Labor abolished, keeping a commitment to the Australian people from the 2007 election. The history of the building industry since the Australian Building and Construction Commission was abolished has been an increase in productivity and a reduction in days lost in the building industry. That is the important thing to notice.

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House of Representatives Speech- Migration Amendment (Regaining Control Over Australia's Protection Obligations) Bill 2013

This bill is little more than a stunt to further the belligerent rhetoric of this government in the area of asylum seekers. When one looks beyond the Orwellian title of the bill—the Migration Amendment (Regaining Control Over Australia's Protection Obligations) Bill 2013—and examines what in fact it does, one can only say that it is a great shame that this government is not prepared to act on evidence but is prepared to introduce bills like this that simply rip up well thought through processes that were put in place following a decade of consideration of this particular area of government administration. It is something to be very alarmed by.

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House of Representatives Speech- Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2013

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for those congratulations. The Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2013 is one that the government has brought forward in pursuit not of some real, identified social problem that needs to be addressed, but rather of an ideological agenda. It is legislation that has been produced in a great hurry. That is why the position the Australian Labor Party is taking in relation to this bill is that it should be far more carefully considered and should be referred to a Senate committee for proper examination.

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House of Representatives Speech- Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2013

The Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 pulls in two different directions. On the one hand it is taking away part of the legal requirement that applies to environmental approvals processes involving the Commonwealth minister, and on the other it is putting in place what are said to be greater protections for some particular species. I have to say that it is consistent with what we have seen from a range of coalition state governments that have been elected in Australia in recent years. We are seeing here, in this first piece of environmental legislation from the new coalition government at the federal level, a taking away of protections of the environment.

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House of Representatives Speech- Address-in-Reply 2013

Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to rise today to speak. It is an honour to have been re-elected for a third time to represent the people in my electorate of Isaacs. I thank them for their support and their trust. Today I will talk about three things. The first is Labor's economic record. I am proud of Labor's achievements for our nation's prosperity during our two terms of government—a period of ongoing economic growth, low unemployment, low inflation and low interest rates that was accomplished despite the massive upheavals occurring in the global economy. I believe this record should be acknowledged. I also believe that Labor's excellent economic record must be defended against the scurrilous and self-serving rewriting of economic history that is already underway from the new government and its supporters. Today I will also state briefly my objectives as shadow minister for the arts and as shadow Attorney-General.

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House of Representatives Speech- Isaacs Electorate: Emergency Services 2013

Thousands of Country Fire Authority and State Emergency Service volunteers provide tremendous and selfless service to communities across Victoria. On 9 November I attended the Diamond Jubilee of the Chelsea Unit of the Victorian State Emergency Service. Joining with Phil Wall, from the SES, Ron Fitch, the unit controller, and the many volunteers and their family members, we celebrated the success of the unit and the great work that they have been doing in our community for 60 years. As well as responding to local emergencies, our volunteers give their time to assist with emergencies in other locations around Victoria, including at the Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday bushfires, and sometimes interstate.

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