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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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- 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- 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

  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- 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- 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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