EXPORT MARKET DEVELOPMENT GRANTS AMENDMENT BILL 2008

I rise to speak in support of the Export Market Development Grants Amendment Bill 2008. This bill forms an important part of the Rudd government’s commitment to a whole-of-government approach to supporting Australian companies in the global economy. This commitment stems from deeper values held by the Australian Labor Party and from its view of Australia and what our nation can be. The Labor Party believes in a prosperous, fair Australia supported by an open, outward-looking economy—an economy where Australian companies that want to invest overseas and export their goods and services are not held back but are instead encouraged and supported.

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HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT AMENDMENT BILL 2008

I rise today to support the Higher Education Support Amendment (Removal of the Higher Education Workplace Relations Requirements and National Governance Protocols Requirements and Other Matters) Bill 2008. This bill is an important step in overturning the regressive and mean-spirited agenda of the previous government. The introduction of the higher education workplace relations requirements and the national governance protocols themselves represented very directly one of the worst elements of the former government’s policies. They represented the ideological commitment to what was, in reality, an unfair workplace relations system. They represented unwarranted interference in the running of important national institutions and they represented very directly the willingness of the former government to use every Commonwealth power to further the government’s ideological attacks on perceived or imagined opponents, which, in this case, were universities and trade unions.

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TAX LAWS AMENDMENT (2008 MEASURES NO. 2) BILL 2008

I rise to support the Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 2) Bill 2008. Like the member for Blair I feel bound to comment on the extraordinary contribution made by the member for Bowman, the previous speaker from the opposition, to this debate. The member for Bowman managed to say nothing about the bill before the House and spent his time railing against imagined faults in the budget announced last night. By contrast, the member for Blair has addressed the bill and I propose to do the same thing.

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FAMILIES, HOUSING, COMMUNITY SERVICES AND INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND OTHER LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (EMERGENCY RESPONSE CONSOLIDATION) BILL 2008

There is no watering down in this legislation. I rise in support of the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Emergency Response Consolidation) Bill 2008, and wish to say straightaway, in response to the repeated suggestions that were made by the member for Murray—suggestions that were also made earlier today and on Monday night in this House by the member for Warringah—that the legislation waters down the Commonwealth response in respect of the present difficulties being faced by Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, that those suggestions are wrong.

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CROSS-BORDER INSOLVENCY BILL 2008

I am pleased to speak in support of the Cross-Border Insolvency Bill 2008. The purpose of this bill is to give effect to the model law of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, UNCITRAL. The enactment of the model law in Australia should encourage other nations, particularly our neighbours and trading partners, to adopt this reform. Enactment of the model law in other countries will enable Australian creditors to pursue more easily corporate miscreants such as the infamous Christopher Skase.

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Isaacs Electorate: Surf-Lifesaving

I rise to speak about some of the unsung heroes in my electorate of Isaacs. These are the fantastic men and women who volunteer as lifesavers on the magnificent beaches in my electorate from Mentone to Carrum, along Port Phillip Bay. Isaacs has seven lifesaving clubs: Mentone LSC, Mordialloc LSC, Aspendale LSC, Edithvale LSC, Chelsea Longbeach SLSC, Bonbeach LSC and Carrum SLSC.

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Isaacs Electorate: Friends of Braeside Park

I want to pay tribute to the work done in my electorate by the Friends of Braeside Park.

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COMMONWEALTH AUTHORITIES AND COMPANIES AMENDMENT BILL 2008

I rise also in support of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Amendment Bill 2008, which is a bill to amend an important piece of Commonwealth legislation, the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997. This act is an act that governs reporting and management requirements that are imposed on a range of statutory authorities and a number of Commonwealth companies in which the Commonwealth has a controlling interest. By way of illustration, among the statutory authorities are important bodies such as the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, the Australian Government Solicitor, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian Industry Development Corporation, the land councils in the Northern Territory and a range of other bodies—the Australian War Memorial too is an authority that is governed as to its reporting and management requirements by the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act.

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Broadband

Late last year, a number of residents of the Epsom estate of Mordialloc in my electorate contacted me about the lack of availability of high-speed broadband in their area. Working with Janice Munt, the member for Mordialloc in the state parliament, I was able to bring this to the attention of Telstra and the then shadow minister for communications, Senator Conroy. The failure to upgrade the local exchange meant that residents in this area were unable to access what hundreds of millions of people in developed countries around the world take for granted. It was with some satisfaction that recently I was able to inform local residents that Telstra had agreed to upgrade the local exchange to make it ADSL2+ enabled.

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Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands

I would like to speak today about the Edithvale-Seaford wetlands, a large part of which are in my electorate of Isaacs, as well as the work of the Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands, a dedicated community group. The wetlands are listed under the Ramsar convention as being of international significance.

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