House of Representatives Speech- Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment 2013

On 16 October a bushfire started in Lithgow, New South Wales. The next day two more fires began nearby in Mt York and Springwood. These fires led to the loss of at least 210 properties, with over 100 more damaged. By 18 October, two days after the Lithgow fire started, and while the fires were still raging, the present government activated the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment. This assistance is an immediate one-off payment to Australians affected by natural disasters at the time they need it most. It can be used to cover the cost of accommodation, personal items and urgent medications—exactly the kinds of expenses victims of bushfires need to meet when they are isolated from their homes in an emergency situation.

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House of Representatives Speech- Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2013

I rise to speak on the Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 and related bills. The most fundamental duty of the government, above all others, is to act in the national interest. From the time that he knifed the member for Wentworth for the leadership of the Liberal Party some four years ago, the current Prime Minister has worked against the national interest on the vital issue of climate change. He has taken the Liberal Party and The Nationals from their position of support for the pricing of carbon.

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House of Representatives Speech- Vietnam: Human Rights 2013

  I rise today to raise human rights issues in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Australia has worked with Vietnam over the past 30 years to assist in the development of its economy, governance, education, trade, infrastructure and to counter transnational crime. Against this backdrop Australia has continued to hold and convey at the most senior levels its serious concern at the human rights situation in Vietnam. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has directly raised human rights issues and individual cases of concern with his counterpart. Our embassy and Consulate-General are also active on human rights issues by raising individual cases, attending trials of human rights activists and regularly meeting peaceful human rights activists and religious groups.

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House of Representatives Speech- Public Interest Disclosure Bill 2013, Public Interest Disclosure (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2013

The government does not support this set of amendments and, in fact, has moved an amendment similar to amendment (16), which would establish in the bill a requirement for the minister to undertake a review of the operation of the bill two years after it has commenced.

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House of Representatives Speech- Public Interest Disclosure Bill 2013, Public Interest Disclosure (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2013

  I welcome the contributions of all members to the debate on the Public Interest Disclosure Bill 2013 and the Public Interest Disclosure (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2013. The Public Interest Disclosure Bill 2013 has an object of promoting integrity and accountability in the Commonwealth public sector. The bill will achieve this by establishing a single comprehensive scheme to support inquiry into wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector and those who report it. It is the first stand-alone legislation for this purpose at the federal level.

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House of Representatives Speech- Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Bill 2012

I thank the member for Stirling for his contribution to this debate. In 2012, this parliament had 188 bills, totalling 8,203 pages, introduced to this chamber. If it were not for bills such as this, a bill which cuts legal red tape, the number of pages that we would have to consider would be significantly larger. A primary function of the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Bill 2012 is to provide a statutory framework that will reduce the size of legislation by standardising common regulatory powers provisions across Commonwealth legislation.

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House of Representatives Speech- Isaacs Schools 2013

I call on the Victorian Liberal government to sign up to Labor's National Plan for School Improvement. In this year's federal budget, Labor delivered necessary reform to our education funding system. Labor has also delivered the National Disability Insurance Scheme through DisabilityCare Australia—a reform that will go down in history as one of the most notable reforms on record, bringing equality of care to people with a disability, regardless of how they acquired that disability. It is good that Labor's historic DisabilityCare policy has not been opposed by the Liberal Party.

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House of Representatives Speech- Crimes Legislation Amendment (Law Enforcement Integrity, Vulnerable Witness Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2013

I would like to thank members for their contributions to the debate on the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Law Enforcement Integrity, Vulnerable Witness Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2013. This bill delivers on Australian government priorities to combat corruption, protect vulnerable witnesses and victims, and strengthen Australia's response to people smuggling. It contains a range of measures that will improve powers to investigate corruption within Commonwealth law enforcement agencies, support victims and witnesses during criminal proceedings, and contains new measures to deter people smuggling. These measures include removing references to wrist X-rays as a prescribed procedure for determining whether people-smuggling crew are minors and clarifying that the prosecution bears the onus of proof in establishing age where age is contested during a prosecution.

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House of Representatives Speech- Privacy Amendment (Privacy Alerts) Bill 2013

I thank honourable members for their contributions to the second reading debate on the Privacy Amendment (Privacy Alerts) Bill 2013. I thank the member for Stirling, the member for Greenway and the member for Hindmarsh for their support. I also note the support that has been expressed for this bill by Microsoft, OzHub, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, Electronic Frontiers Australia and Choice.

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House of Representatives Speech- Constitution Alteration (Local Government) 2013

I thank honourable members for their contributions to this important debate, and in particular my colleague the Minister for Regional Development and Local Government. The Constitution Alteration (Local Government) 2013 will make a small but important amendment to the Constitution by including an express statement that the Commonwealth can grant financial assistance to local government. This would include assistance for community and other services.

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