House of Representatives Speech- Disability Discrimination and Other Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2008

I rise today to speak in favour of the Disability Discrimination and Other Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2008. The amendments contained in this bill reflected Labor’s longstanding commitment to human rights. The enjoyment of full citizenship by all Australians requires the existence of a legislative framework to act as a shield against prejudice, against bigotry and against discrimination. The Disability Discrimination Act, which is one of the acts that are being amended by this legislation, was introduced by the Keating government in 1992 and it is part of this framework of antidiscrimination legislation built by successive Labor governments over the years in all spheres of government. This framework can be said to protect the rights of each and every Australian and help to ensure full participation of every Australian in civic and economic life.

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House of Representatives speech- Defence Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2008

I rise to speak today on the Defence Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2008. As the House has heard from other speakers, this bill does a number of things which include amending the Geneva Conventions Act 1957 and the Criminal Code Act 1995 to recognise the red crystal as the third emblem of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and also providing that the joint facility at Pine Gap is a prohibited area.

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House of Representatives Speech- Victorian Bushfires

It is with great sorrow that I rise to support this motion and offer my deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones, their property, their precious keepsakes or their businesses or who have survived but with injuries. The past four days have brought natural devastation the likes of which neither Victoria nor Australia has ever seen. At last count, 173 people have died and around 800 houses have been destroyed. Thousands of people seeking shelter have left their properties, and either their homes are still in danger or they are a pile of smouldering rubble where their lives used to be.

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House of Representatives Speech- Mr Jack Pompei

I rise today to speak about Jack Pompei OAM—a man who touched many lives and helped shape our local community. Jack was born in Italy and came to Australia with his family at a very young age. They settled in Mordialloc in the 1920s and Jack never left the town until his death on 30 December last year. I feel it is important to talk about Jack today in this place for two reasons: to recognise his hard work in making our area a better place and to discuss why it is important that the campaign to rename Mordialloc Bridge in his honour is successful.

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House of Representatives Speech- Foreign Evidence Amendment Bill 2008

The amendments in the Foreign Evidence Amendment Bill 2008 facilitate the process of adducing business records held overseas as evidence in Australian courts. By changing the Foreign Evidence Act, they will assist in the prosecution of persons who, by hiding money in the world’s shadowy places, seek to defraud the Commonwealth. They will add to the federal government’s arsenal against tax evasion, money laundering and organised crime. The amendments, by changing or making more simple the receipt of foreign business records by Australian courts, will ensure that Australia’s financial intelligence network—which includes the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Federal Police and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions—can continue to vigorously pursue investigations into tax fraud both here and overseas. Under the amendments, as long as the requirements of division 3 are met, foreign material relating to business records will be admissible in Australian courts. The court would not be required to consider any other rules of evidence under Commonwealth, state or territory law in relation to that material.

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House of Representatives- Appropriation (Nation Building and Jobs) Bill (No. 1) 2008-2009

The true measure of a government is not its performance during a time of prosperity but its response in a time of crisis. The Nation Building and Jobs Plan, coming on top of the Economic Security Strategy delivered in December, shows the depths of this government’s commitment to doing all it can to protect Australian jobs and families from the maelstrom that has engulfed the global economic system. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition, as we have just heard in her speech, wants to attack all this. We now know that the opposition wants to oppose this program, and it is clear that at least the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is simply out of her depth.

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House of Representatives Speech- Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2008-2009 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2008-2009

I rise today to speak to Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2008-2009 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2008-2009. These additional estimates bills are presented during a crisis that is unprecedented in our lifetime—not just in scale but due to the global nature of the modern economic system. The macroeconomic imbalances that built up prior to the middle of last year are being painfully corrected around the world, causing disruption to financial markets, export markets and Australian households and businesses. Australia is not immune from this crisis.

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House of Representatives Speech- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I want to take this opportunity to note the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December. I wholeheartedly support the motion moved by the Prime Minister on Tuesday and debated yesterday. Today, I wish to reiterate the significance of the 30 rights enshrined in the universal declaration by the UN General Assembly.

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House of Representatives Speech- Fair Work Bill 2008

I speak in support of the Fair Work Bill 2008. Last November the Australian people gave this government a mandate to tear up Work Choices. The laws which demonstrated the arrogance and the hubris of those opposite ultimately brought about their downfall. The coalition insisted that the laws were acceptable, yet they never gave the Australian public a chance to debate the detail of these laws prior to the 2004 election. They never took these laws to the Australian people. Instead they spent $121 million of taxpayers’ money to attempt to con the Australian people into accepting these laws after they were rushed through this parliament. They even stopped using the name of these laws, Work Choices, in government advertising. Work Choices became the law that dared not speak its name.

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House of Representatives speech- Rudd Government

I want to thank the Leader of the Opposition for giving me the opportunity to talk about the benefits the Rudd government has brought to the whole of our country in its first year of office, and particularly to my constituents. It is ironic that we see in this matter of public importance raised by the Leader of the Opposition the term ‘dismal performance’, because the fact is that the only dismal performance in this House, in this parliament, during this year has been that of the opposition.

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