House of Representatives Speech- Urban Planning

As someone who is deeply interested in the future of our cities, and who believes that the forms of our cities play a critical role in the sorts of lives we are able to lead, I am pleased to support this motion. The forms our cities take are important. They have a profound influence on our economic prosperity, on the impact we have on our unique environment, on the level of social exclusion and inequality experienced in our communities and on the quality of life Australians and their families are able to enjoy. Well-thought-out urban planning fosters the free flow of people and goods through major areas of economic activity and service delivery. Good urban planning connects communities with the labour markets, educational institutions and community networks needed in order for them to flourish.

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Access all areas: Report of the inquiry into Draft Disability (Access to Premise—Buildings) Standards

It is my pleasure to present the report Access all areas: Report of the inquiry into Draft Disability (Access to Premise—Buildings) Standards, which is the third report of the committee for this parliament. There are approximately four million people with a disability in Australia, a number which is expected to increase as the population ages. Every day people with a disability face physical barriers in the community, from a doorway too narrow for a wheelchair, to not being able to visit their member of parliament because his or her office is located at the top of a flight of stairs. These physical barriers to the built environment have broader consequences for people with a disability, in restricting their access to the economic and social environment of our community.

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APPROPRIATION (PARLIAMENTARY DEPARTMENTS) BILL (NO. 1) 2009-2010

In these difficult times, the Rudd government is working hard to support jobs and businesses now, and build economic prosperity for the future. The Building the Education Revolution program is a critical part of this plan. The Education Revolution highlights this government’s commitment to the thousands of students and parents around Australia who will benefit from investment in local communities and improved facilities in schools.

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Isaacs Electorate: Charitable Organisations

A couple of weeks ago I was at the Chelsea Church of Christ in Chelsea for the weekly breakfast organised by Chelsea Care Works at the Chelsea Men’s Shed. The breakfast is an opportunity for men and women who are going through tough times to come down and have a lovely, free home-cooked breakfast. It was a pleasure to see at the breakfast Gary Rogers, who runs the Chelsea Men’s Shed; Lorna Stevenson, who manages the Longbeach Place Neighbourhood House; and the Reverend Stephen Rose of the Chelsea Church of Christ to hear how the programs being run through the men’s shed and the neighbourhood house are helping disadvantaged members of our local community.

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House of Representatives Speech- Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009

It is a privilege to be addressing the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009 and related bills. This legislation provides the framework that will allow Australia to shift to a low-carbon economy. It will give businesses and households the certainty that they need, while taking strong action to reduce the impact of dangerous climate change on our future. It is in the national interest to legislate as soon as possible, and no Australian should be in any doubt about the need for action on climate change.

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House of Representatives Speech- Nation Building Program (National Land Transport) Amendment Bill 2009

The Nation Building Program (National Land Transport) Amendment Bill 2009 demonstrates the decisive response of the Rudd Labor government to the global financial crisis. Because of that global financial crisis, the global economy is in recession. It will contract by 1.5 per cent in 2009. And Australia is in recession. Our economy will contract by one-half of one per cent in 2009-10. These are the most serious global economic circumstances which Australia has been confronted with for more than 75 years. The Rudd government is acting now to boost demand, to support jobs through this recession and to build the foundations for our future prosperity through investment in critical national infrastructure, which is what this legislation is directed to.

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House of Representatives Speech-Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP and Providers) Bill 2009

It is a privilege to be able to speak today in support of the Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP and Providers) Bill 2009, which is part of a large range of measures this government is taking in every sector of the education system. I was sorry to hear the previous speaker refer to the ‘so-called’ education revolution, because in truth there is an education revolution led by the Rudd Labor government, which is being felt in every sector of the education system throughout Australia. We have reforms taking place in early childhood, in the primary and secondary systems and in the higher education system. What we see in this bill is assistance directed at the VET system to provide fee help. Of course, VET FEE-HELP at present assists students who are studying diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate or graduate diploma courses by providing a loan for all or part of the tuition costs.

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House of Representatives Speech- Iran: Baha’i Detainees

I rise today to support the motion urging Iran to respect the human rights of its Baha’i community. I acknowledge the members of the Baha’i community in the gallery today, who are part of the Australian Baha’i community, which has flourished here since 1920. The world watches with increasing apprehension the deterioration of religious freedom in Iran. The religious fanaticism of the Iranian regime has led to the execution of untold numbers of journalists, writers, trade unionists, gays and lesbians and other minority groups. Not least among these are the Baha’i, whose progressive traditions, such as the equality of women, do not sit well with authoritarian theocracy.

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House of Representatives Speech- Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2009-2010

I rise to speak on the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2009-2010 and cognate bills and start by setting out some of the key facts about the current economic situation, because those key facts are needed to frame any discussion of the budget and any discussion of the measures in the bills. First, we need to recognise that presently there is the most serious economic crisis that the global economy has faced in many years. Second, we should note that Budget Paper No. 1 outlines this in stark terms and includes facts like every advanced economy is now in recession, with the world economy expected to contract by 1½ per cent in 2009, and that global trade has collapsed. In 2009 it is expected to shrink by 11 per cent, more than in any other postwar period. We have an Australia in recession and we will have an economic contraction of half a per cent in 2009-10. Most importantly in terms of framing this budget there has been a collapse in taxation receipts. There has been a downward revision of $173 billion over the four years to 2011-12, including $90 billion in company taxation and $30 billion in capital gains tax.

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Evidence Amendment (Journalists’ Privilege) Bill 2009

It is a curious position that we are faced with here in that the member for Farrer, representing those opposite, has now indicated—apparently basing her speech on the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, which contains a section written by the Liberal senators who are members of the committee—that there are to be amendments moved in the Senate to the Evidence Amendment (Journalists’ Privilege) Bill 2009. We are told that we have to await those amendments to see what the detail is as to exactly how the Liberal Party proposes that the balance should be differently struck.

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