The member for McMillan has just suggested that Darren McCubbin has no right to be in this place. Those were his words. He said he had ‘no right to be in this place’. It is an outrageous slur on a well-known Gippsland community leader, who is the current Wellington Shire mayor and who has lived more than half his life in Sale, to suggest that he has no right to be in this place. I hope that comment of the member for McMillan is widely reported in Gippsland, because it is not members of the Liberal Party who decide who sits in this place; it is the people of the seat of Gippsland.Read more
The Protection of the Sea Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 establishes a supplementary fund to provide additional compensation to victims of oil spills. These amendments give effect to the 2003 protocol to the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage. The amendments reflect article 2(2) of the protocol, giving the supplementary fund legal personality in Australia, and article 7, which gives Australian courts jurisdiction to entertain an action against the supplementary fund for compensation. The importance of these amendments lies in their embrace of a multilateral framework for the protection of our seas. They provide certainty to the shipping and oil industries and ensure that our fragile marine environments are provided for in the event of a spill. They continue the strong Labor tradition, from Evatt through to Gareth Evans, of engaging with the United Nations on issues of international significance, such as in this case a consistent approach to compensation in the aftermath of an environmental disaster.Read more
Despite the overtly uncontroversial nature of this legislation, the Statute Law Revision Bill 2008 does make important changes to ensure effective and accessible laws for the Australian public. Like all statute law revision legislation, it amends minor and technical errors in acts, it amends and removes errors within existing acts and it updates acts to remove descriptions of defunct and completed programs.
I congratulate the member for Oxley for moving this motion on urban planning. I am deeply interested in the future of our cities and I am pleased to be able to contribute to debate on this topic. Questions about the appropriate role of government are central to any discussion about our cities. My view is that government must be involved in and must lead with the planning of our cities. In 1965 Gough Whitlam rightly said, ‘Urban planning necessarily means public planning.’ Governments do not merely have a role to play in urban planning; they have a duty to actively plan for the future of our cities. This extends to the federal government as well as to state and local governments.Read more
I rise in support of the Judiciary Amendment Bill 2008, which is an amendment to the Judiciary Act 1903, a very important act of this parliament which regulates aspects of the judicial system of the Commonwealth and, among other things, regulates the manner in which state courts exercise federal jurisdiction. In simple terms, these amendments alter section 79 of the Judiciary Act and restore to the states the protection of limitation periods in state laws which put a time limit on suing state governments to recover taxes paid under a law later found to be invalid. These limitation periods are generally quite tight. In Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia, there is a 12-month limitation period from the date of payment of the tax, and South Australia imposes a six-month restriction, as do the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory governments.Read more
Reforming the Constitution: a roundtable discussion is the first report of the committee for this parliament. Despite dramatic change and growth in Australia as a nation over the last 100 years, Australia’s Constitution remains very much as it was originally drafted. Over that time there have been 44 referenda to amend the Australian Constitution, of which only eight have been successful. It is now over 30 years since there was a successful referendum to amend the Constitution. This is the longest period since Federation without even minor reform to the Constitution. In addition, the present decade may be the first since Federation during which there is no referendum held.Read more
I rise today to support the Military Memorials of National Significance Bill 2008. This bill serves two purposes: it enables the recognition of the Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial in Ballarat as a memorial of national significance and it provides us with a mechanism for recognising other memorials as nationally significant. This bill, as other speakers have commented, is the fulfilment of an election commitment to the Australian ex-prisoners of war community. During a visit to Ballarat on 27 June 2007 the Prime Minister, the then opposition leader, committed to the recognition of the Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial as a nationally significant war memorial.
I rise in support of the Evidence Amendment Bill 2008, which, as you have heard from the member for Blair, is concerned with amendments to the rules of evidence. The rules of evidence applied in Australia regulate the conduct of disputes in courts and tribunals. They determine the evidence which is admitted and the shape of both the form of proceedings and how courts and tribunals go about deciding disputes. The rules of evidence are a very important part of our system of justice.Read more
I am pleased to have the endorsement of the member for O’Connor that the coalition parties’ policies did not provide him with much to say! It was interesting to hear this from him. He said that there had been too much attention paid to money and not enough to outcomes. Well might he say that; for the policies of the previous government in relation to dental care there was—particularly in relation to the Commonwealth dental care program—no outcome, because the primary decision made by the former government immediately on coming to office in 1996 was to scrap the Commonwealth dental program. Well might the member for O’Connor say that not enough attention was paid to outcomes—by the previous government. This government, as part of its commitments to the Australian people made at the last election, said it would take seriously the dental crisis that the country is experiencing. This government is acting, and that is what we see in the legislation before the House. Notably, this legislation will create the Medicare Teen Dental Plan, and that is part of delivering on the commitments made at the last election by our party.Read more
It is extraordinary to hear from the member for Sturt anything about mental health given the very low priority given to that area of government policy by the former government, represented by the fact that the former Minister for Health and Ageing was not prepared to take up ministerial responsibility for mental health but, rather, delegated it to the member for Sturt in his junior capacity as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing.Read more