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- 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- 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- 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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House of Representatives- Water

This matter of public importance that the member for Flinders has proposed here today raises the so-called north-south pipeline in my home state of Victoria—and, by that, I take it that the member for Flinders is referring to the Food Bowl Modernisation Project and Sugarloaf pipeline in northern Victoria, which, as the House has heard from a number of members, is a large water project in northern Victoria. It is a state government project, of exactly the kind that was endorsed by the now Leader of the Opposition when he was the parliamentary secretary for water. I will come back to that in a minute. But if the member for Flinders thought that he was making a job application by putting up this matter of public importance, he needed to check what his now leader said when he was the parliamentary secretary for water in 2006 about projects of exactly this kind.

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House of Representatives- Australian Research Council Amendment Bill 2008

I rise today to support the Australian Research Council Amendment Bill 2008. Breakthrough, world-class research is the backbone of the Australian knowledge economy. This bill will create 200 new ‘future fellowships’, providing $140,000 per year to Australian researchers from 2009 to 2012. The researchers will be what are called mid-career researchers. This is going to be a very important program to build on skills that already exist within Australian universities, to build on the human capital that Australia already has.

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House of Representatives- Offshore Petroleum Amendment (Greenhouse Gas Storage) Bill 2008

I rise to speak in support of the Offshore Petroleum Amendment (Greenhouse Gas Storage) Bill 2008, the Offshore Petroleum (Annual Fees) Amendment (Greenhouse Gas Storage) Bill 2008, the Offshore Petroleum (Registration Fees) Amendment (Greenhouse Gas Storage) Bill 2008 and the Offshore Petroleum (Safety Levies) Amendment (Greenhouse Gas Storage) Bill 2008. These bills create a new class of offshore titles that provide for the transportation by pipeline and the injection and storage in geological formations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases such as methane.

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House of Representatives- First Home Saver Accounts (Further Provisions) Amendment Bill 2008

I rise to speak in favour of the First Home Saver Accounts (Further Provisions) Amendment Bill 2008. This is a bill which, among other changes, amends the First Home Saver Accounts Act by, first, establishing a scheme for dealing with unclaimed money; secondly, making amendments to secrecy and information sharing between the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission; and, thirdly, dealing comprehensively with family law situations. These amendments further implement the government’s election commitment to introduce first home saver accounts. This commitment is an innovative response to the housing affordability crisis which is besetting our country. It was a crisis which the previous government was unable or unwilling to respond to. It can be recognised that the solution provided by the First Home Saver Accounts legislation is not a complete solution. There is no single solution to the housing affordability crisis, but as part of a larger package of measures that are being undertaken by the Rudd government this measure will help reduce the impact of the housing affordability crisis on working families.

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House of Representatives- British Pensions

I congratulate the member for Kingston for bringing this matter to the attention of the House. Until it was terminated in 2001, Australia’s social security agreement with the United Kingdom benefited thousands of Australian residents who have lived and worked in the United Kingdom. The agreement honoured significant contributions made by many Australians and Australian residents to the United Kingdom’s national insurance system. Many voluntarily gave up salary throughout their working lives in good faith that their contributions would be protected in retirement.

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