House of Representatives- Isaacs Electorate: Carrum Downs Primary School

I want to speak about the recent 100th anniversary of the Carrum Downs Primary School in my electorate and the fantastic work that principal Cecilia Stone is doing to best prepare the school for its second century. I was fortunate to be invited to speak last week at the 100th anniversary assembly in front of teachers, parents, nearly 600 of the school’s current students and a number of former students, some of whom still live in the area. It was wonderful to see the school’s hall packed to mark this significant milestone, and it was a great touch that many of the students and teachers were dressed up in period clothing to recall how the very first students of Carrum Downs Primary School would have dressed. The school’s leaders, Adam Calvert, Jacob Dalton and Rathina Srinivasaragavan, spoke about the school’s history, and there was a beautifully prepared display of old photos and news clippings from throughout the school’s existence. One of them dated all the way back to 1914. There is one student who I would particularly like to mention, Amber Simson, who is in grade 6. At the special assembly I presented her with the 2008 Community Spirit and Leadership Award for her leadership qualities, which see her held in high esteem by fellow students, staff and the wider community.

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House of Representatives- National Rental Affordability Scheme Bill 2008

I rise today to speak in favour of the National Rental Affordability Scheme Bill 2008 and cognate bill. The National Rental Affordability Scheme Bill 2008 is part of the government’s response to the housing affordability crisis which is besetting our country. Two-thirds of the private rental market are devoting more than 30 per cent of their income to housing costs and the vacancy rate in most capital cities is below two per cent. This is not a problem that is going to go away. The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute estimate that the total number of households in the private rental market in Australia will increase by 80 per cent in the next 40 years. The number of low-income households in the private rental market is expected to increase by 120 per cent over the same period.

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House of Representatives- Economy Adjournment 2008

Like the member for Hume, I want to speak about the $10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy that the Prime Minister and Treasurer handed down last week in the midst of the global economic crisis. Unlike the member for Hume, I want to applaud the package, not criticise it as so many of those opposite have.

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House of Representatives- Financial System Legislation Amendment (Financial Claims Scheme and Other Measures) Bill 2008

As a nation we sometimes face challenges and crises, the causes of which are beyond our control but the solutions to which lie within our reach. In these present testing times, Australia is exposed to the turbulence in the global financial system. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that Australian families and businesses are protected from this turbulence, and that is exactly what this government is doing. We are acting decisively to safeguard our financial system, to secure the savings and the livelihoods of Australians and to strengthen Australia’s position as we move through this dire financial crisis.

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House of Representatives- Isaacs Electorate: Dandenong Manufacturing Centre

I rise to speak about the recent opening of the Dandenong Manufacturing Centre, which forms part of the Rudd government’s Enterprise Connect network, and the many benefits it will bring to the manufacturing industry in the Dandenong region and, more broadly, across Victoria. The opening of the Dandenong Manufacturing Centre will be a boon for small and medium-sized enterprises in my electorate. The importance of the manufacturing industry is felt in my electorate more keenly than most, in particular in the manufacturing hubs of Dandenong and Braeside.

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House of Representatives- Migration Amendment (Notification Review) Bill 2008

I rise to speak in support of the Migration Amendment (Notification Review) Bill 2008. This is a bill which amends the Migration Act 1958 to provide that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal will no longer have to completely strictly comply with the legislation’s notification requirements. The notification requirements of this act deal with how the department and the tribunals communicate with people who are affected by the immigration regime. The act contains a number of detailed provisions specifying how the department and the tribunals can, and in some circumstances must, communicate with visa applicants and people whose visas have been cancelled.

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House of Representatives- Isaacs Electorate: National Secondary School Computer Fund

I rise today to speak about the National Secondary School Computer Fund and, in particular, the benefits that this policy has provided in my electorate. This is part of the broader education revolution being undertaken by the Rudd Labor government, and it will benefit thousands of children in my electorate by giving them the skills they need to succeed in life. I would like to congratulate the three schools in my electorate that received funding under the National Secondary School Computer Fund in the first round of applications, which was announced earlier this year.

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House of Representatives- Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority Bill 2008

I am very pleased to speak today to the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority Bill 2008. This bill will provide the much-needed national leadership to lift organ donation rates in Australia. This is particularly important given the lack of national leadership on organ donation, an ageing population and the projections of a rise in chronic diseases. Transplanted organs and body tissues can, and do, save lives. These organs include kidneys, lungs, hearts and pancreases. The body tissues would include heart valves, skin, bones and corneas. Australians need these organs and tissues. Over 30,000 Australians have benefited since transplantation became a viable treatment option. Our doctors and medical staff provide some of the best clinical outcomes for transplant patients but they cannot do their work unless there are organs and tissues available.

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House of Representatives- Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—General Law Reform) Bill 2008

The move towards a fair, inclusive and just society is a journey. It is a series of steps that this nation takes together, mostly forward but occasionally backward. The Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—General Law Reform) Bill 2008 is most definitely a step forward. It is a significant piece of human rights legislation, and it is a significant piece of pro-family legislation that will help to overcome the discrimination still faced by tens of thousands of gay and lesbian Australians, their families and their children. This bill will amend 68 Commonwealth statutes to remove discrimination against same-sex couples and their children. These amendments extend across the entire scope of government activities because the discrimination experienced by gay and lesbian Australians has been both unjust and pervasive.

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House of Representatives- Safe Work Australia Bill 2008

I rise today to speak to the Safe Work Australia Bill 2008 and related bill. This bill will establish Safe Work Australia as a new and independent statutory body to improve occupational health and safety outcomes for working Australians. Safe Work Australia will also handle workers compensation arrangements throughout Australia. Occupational health and safety has been, until now, primarily a state responsibility. Following the Work Choices decision of the High Court, there is at least the possibility that it may not remain so, but Labor was elected at the last election with a commitment to do more to ensure that appropriate standards are provided to all Australian workers wherever they work. It is Labor’s policy to work cooperatively with the states and territories to ensure that there are appropriate minimum national standards and to bring about a nationally consistent occupational health and safety framework. That framework will reflect best Australian and best international safety practice. This bill gives effect to the policy that Labor was elected to implement.

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