Nation-building Funds Amendment Bill 2009

I rise to support the Nation-building Funds Amendment Bill 2009. I think it is important that the context for this legislation and indeed the context for the budget that the Treasurer delivered last night be considered. We are experiencing the deepest global recession since the Great Depression and there are a few basic facts to be considered. The world economy will contract by 1.5 per cent. Other advanced economies are in deep recession. Australia is in recession. The economy will contract by 0.5 per cent in 2009-10. Unemployment is going to rise and the terms of trade are to fall significantly.

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House of Representatives Speech- Native Title Amendment Bill 2009

Since the 1992 decision of the High Court in the Mabo case, it has been understood that the common law of Australia recognises a form of native title.

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House of Representatives Speech- Akha People

I rise to speak on this motion moved by the member for Mallee which, among other things, calls for assistance in helping the Akha people work towards self-determination and for increased Australian aid for the Akha people. I acknowledge the many difficult issues facing this group, and I would also like to acknowledge the intent of the member for Mallee in moving this motion to seek to draw attention to their plight.

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House of Representatives Speech- Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Political Donations and Other Measures) Bill 2009

This legislation, the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Political Donations and Other Measures) Bill 2009, implements longstanding Australian Labor Party policy to clean up electoral donations and the electoral donations and funding system. It implements longstanding Labor Party policy to reduce the perception of undue influence from private donations to political parties, and it imple-ments longstanding Australian Labor Party policy to introduce electoral laws which protect the integrity of the democratic process.

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House of Representatives Speech- Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Report

Can I thank other members of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, including the deputy chair of the committee, the member for Fisher, and the member for Blair, for speaking to the report and also thank them for their participation in the committee’s deliberations on this important matter. Could I also thank the member for Fremantle for the speech that we have just heard, because it went a long way towards setting the context of accountability, transparency and integrity in public administration, putting it in an international context and drawing on the work that we know that the member for Fremantle has done overseas. It is important to recognise that a scheme of protection for whistleblowers taking legislative form is but one of a range of measures in this area of improving transparency, improving accountability and improving integrity of government.

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House of Representatives Speech- Nation Building and Jobs Plan

I want to speak about the Rudd government’s Nation Building and Jobs Plan, which was rightly passed by the parliament last sitting week, and, in particular, the positive effects on employment thanks to the insulation component of that plan. The plan will see around 2.7 million homes become eligible for free ceiling insulation. This will create and support jobs across many sectors while reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by around 49 million tonnes. So on that score alone it is a very important measure, even before one gets to the economic stimulus effect.

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

I rise in support of the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities, and Other Measures) Bill 2009. I support this bill because it will reverse the destruction of the established fabric of student life that was caused by the former government’s voluntary student unionism legislation. To start off with, it is worth considering what was attacked by that legislation when it was introduced by the former government in 2006.

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House of Representatives speech- Whistleblower protection: a comprehensive scheme for the Commonwealth public sector

It is my pleasure to present the report Whistleblower protection: a comprehensive scheme for the Commonwealth public sector, which is the second report of the legal and constitutional affairs committee for this parliament.

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House of Representatives Speech- Isaacs Electorate: Schools

I rise today to congratulate the terrific children who have been given the responsibility of being a school captain or holding a leadership role at the 49 primary and secondary schools in my electorate. Last week I was privileged to be invited to speak at special assemblies at two of these schools where I presented leadership badges and a certificate to each leader at these schools. On Monday I was at Maralinga Primary School in Noble Park with the principal, Peter Gray. It was a pleasure to meet the two new school captains, Rebecka Taseska and Hayden Bolin, who will no doubt display all the important virtues required of leaders in their final year of primary education.

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House of Representatives Speech- Trade Practices Amendment (Cartel Conduct and Other Measures) Bill 2008

Protecting competition in commercial markets is a matter which improves the welfare of all Australians. That is perhaps a self-evident statement but it is particularly important to remind ourselves of this at a time of global financial crisis, when shaken confidence in commercial markets and shaken confidence in trading practices needs to be bolstered in every possible way. This legislation, the Trade Practices Amendment (Cartel Conduct and Other Measures) Bill 2008, which is very long overdue, will go some way towards ensuring that people can have confidence in the competitiveness of commercial markets, ensuring that Australians and those overseas who trade with our country can have confidence that the kinds of collusive practices, price-fixing practices and cartel behaviour which the bill is directed at and which the bill will criminalise are investigated and prevented by Australian law. There is no doubt that protecting competition ought to be a basic aim of economic policy and trade practices law in this country.

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