House of Representatives Speech-Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2009-2010

I rise today to speak to Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2009-2010 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2009-2010. These bills appropriate funding for government decisions included in the Mid-Year Economic and Financial Outlook and decisions made since its release. Last Wednesday was the anniversary of the $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs Plan, and I think it is worth reflecting on how our nation has fared over these last 12 months. I think it is also worth reflecting on the very clear delineation of economic policy that the stimulus policy has made stark in Australian politics.

Read more

House of Representatives Speech- Climate Change 2010

Climate change is a diabolical problem, because it requires both national and international action to avoid catastrophic consequences. The Economist in December last year described it as ‘the hardest political problem the world has ever had to deal with’. The bills we are debating which establish the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme are an important part of our national response to the problem. The scheme is a part of our national response, not the whole of it, and will add to the armoury of measures already adopted by the Rudd government. The CPRS established by these bills is also a scheme which until December of last year was supported by both sides of Australian politics, as was so well explained by the former leader of the opposition, the member for Wentworth, in the courageous speech he gave earlier in the day.

Read more

House of Representatives Speech- Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Report 2010

It is my pleasure to present the report A time for change: yes/no? Inquiry into the machinery of referendums. This is the fourth report of the committee for this parliament.

Read more

House of Representatives Speech- Mr Jim Maher AO

I rise today to speak about Jim Maher AO, a man who was a true giant of the trade union movement and one of the most influential figures in building the largest union in Australia—the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, known affectionately as ‘the Shoppies’. Jim was born in East Melbourne in 1927, the eldest child of Irish immigrants Michael Patrick and Bridget Mary, and sadly passed away in December, aged 82. He was a cherished member of the union and Labor Party community.

Read more

House of Representatives Speech- National Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Bill 2009

I support the National Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Bill 2009. It reflects the fulfilment of a longstanding commitment on the part of the Australian Labor Party to ensure the independence of the ABC and SBS, the two national broadcasters. It is a commitment that Labor has been repeating for a very long time and it is a commitment that Labor has expressed many times in the face of attacks on the independence of the ABC and SBS by the former government.

Read more

House of Representatives Speech- Climate Change 2010

The scheme that has been announced today by the new Leader of the Opposition is simply a continuation of the delay and denial that we have become accustomed to in this area from the opposition. To those elements of delay and denial the opposition has now added the element of deception. We had delay for 12 years. There was delay on the part of the former government to even truly engage with the fact that there is dangerous climate change occurring, delay on the part of the former government to ratify the Kyoto protocol, delay on the part of the former government to engage with the serious attempt that is being made worldwide to deal with what is accepted to be a grave problem that faces the entire planet.

Read more

House of Representatives Speech- Bankruptcy Legislation Amendment Bill 2009

The Bankruptcy Legislation Amendment Bill 2009 contains a set of timely and practical reforms. I want to concentrate in particular on the provisions which will increase the minimum debt for a creditor’s petition to $10,000. Before doing so, though, it is worth making some general comments about the nature of the bankruptcy system.

Read more

House of Representatives Speech-Trade Practices Amendment (Infrastructure Access) Bill 2009

I support the Trade Practices Amendment (Infrastructure Access) Bill 2009. This bill is in the great tradition of Labor governments’ concern for infrastructure in this country. It continues on from a substantial number of reforms that have already been made by the Rudd Labor government to infrastructure and to the system of regulation of infrastructure in Australia. This bill demonstrates perhaps better than most how the Rudd Labor government, in its focus on infrastructure reforms, is continuing reforms from the Hawke and Keating Labor governments.

Read more

House of Representatives Speech- Health Insurance Amendment (New Zealand Overseas Trained Doctors) Bill 2009

Since coming to office in November 2007, the Rudd government has paid close attention to reform of the health system and that close attention has taken the form of innovations in relation to primary health care and preventative health care, and a great deal of consultation and listening to the community. Since the release of the national health report by the Minister for Health and Ageing in the middle of the year, we have seen the Prime Minister at very many hospitals throughout the country, sometimes in the company of the health minister and sometimes with other ministers. It is an indication that the Rudd government, from the Prime Minister down, is listening hard to what Australians have to say about the need for reform of the health system.

Read more

House of Representatives Speech- Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2009

The Liberal and National parties have an obsessive hatred of all things union, and that obsessive hatred drove them to inflict major damage on student services in higher education when they abolished compulsory student union fees in 2005. I support the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2009 because it provides a framework for reversing the trail of destruction left by the previous government’s voluntary student unionism legislation—perhaps I should say ‘so-called voluntary student unionism legislation’. In particular, this bill will help reverse what has been noted as the ‘lessening of vibrancy and diversity’ on university campuses and will give essential service delivery back to students. The legislation fulfils the election commitment the Rudd Labor government gave from opposition to rebuild essential services and amenities on university campuses. It is an election commitment which we have already attempted once to honour with legislation that passed through this House in February and was rejected by the Senate in August.

Read more


connect