Condolence Motion For the Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam, AC, QC, House of Representatives

Gough Whitlam changed Australia for the better. There is no doubt that on any side of politics Gough Whitlam was one of the great leaders of our nation.

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House of Representatives- Freedom of Information Amendment (New Arrangements) Bill 2014

  Freedom of information laws are essential to Australia's democracy because they give the Australian public and media access to information about what the government elected by the Australian people is doing in their name. Labor has long championed freedom of information laws. The establishment of a Commonwealth FOI Act became part of Labor's policy platform in 1972. With characteristic farsightedness, Gough Whitlam first called for an FOI law in a speech as opposition leader. Though these laws were not passed for another decade, it is yet another example of the reforming vision that characterised Gough Whitlam's political work and which reinforces his place in history as one of the great leaders of this nation.

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Adjournment Debate, House of Representative, Australian Human Rights Commission releases its report into workplace discrimination against new parents

On 25 July, the Australian Human Rights Commission released its report into workplace discrimination against new parents: Supporting Working Parents: Pregnancy and Return to Work National Review.

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National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No.1) 2014, House of Representatives

The National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No 1) 2014 stems from work which began under the former Labor Government in 2012. In May 2012 then-Labor Attorney-General the Hon Nicola Roxon MP asked the bipartisan Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (the PJCIS) to conduct a broad inquiry into potential reforms to Australia’s national security laws. The Labor Government released for community debate and consultation a National Security Discussion Paper which formed the basis for the PJCIS’s inquiry. 

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House of Representatives Speech- Automotive Transformation Scheme Amendment Bill 2014

  I rise to condemn the government's Automotive Transformation Scheme Amendment Bill 2014. The Automotive Transformation Scheme is a legislative scheme that encourages investment and innovation in the Australian automotive industry. Since the Automotive Transformation Scheme Act passed through parliament in 2009 the ATS has provided co-investment to companies for the production of motor vehicles and engines, and for investment in eligible research and development and relevant equipment. The ATS was the cornerstone of Labor's New Car Plan for a Greener Future, which was announced in November 2008. This plan provided $5.4 billion of co-investment support from 2010 to 2020, with the ATS accounting for some $3 billion of that investment.

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House of Representatives Speech- National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014

  I rise to speak in relation to amendments (3) to (10) moved by the member for Melbourne. The first group of those amendments is the omission of the first offence, which appears as part of the secrecy provision that is section 3P. The member for Melbourne said that his amendment protects whistleblowing. It does nothing of the kind. I have some knowledge of these matters, because I brought what is now the Public Interest Disclosure Act into this House last year. A scheme of whistleblower protection expressly confers protection on whistleblowers.

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House of Representatives Speech- Iraq and Syria 2014

Australia's involvement in Iraq should be defined and conducted with humanitarian protection as its primary and overwhelming objective. There is no doubt of the depth of the humanitarian crisis that is occurring now in Iraq. In Iraq 1.8 million people have been internally displaced and hundreds of thousands are in need of humanitarian assistance. The situation in Syria is also dire: 6.5 million Syrians are internally displaced and 10 million need humanitarian support.

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House of Representatives Speech- Legal Assistance Services

Over the last year, I have spoken often about the importance of legal assistance services in ensuring access to justice. It is well recognised that the Attorney-General has a special responsibility to uphold the rule of law. Sir Anthony Mason has said that it is 'a responsibility of the first importance' and a responsibility an Attorney-General is obliged to uphold, even against his own colleagues. It is often said, for instance, that an Attorney-General should speak out in defence of the judiciary. Certainly that is true, but the rule of law goes beyond that. As former Federal Court judge the Honourable Kevin Lindgren said, 'The rule of law and a strong independent judiciary are empty ideals if people cannot access the courts.' If the Attorney-General is to truly defend the rule of law, he must foster real access to justice.

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House of Representatives Speech- Isaacs Electorate: Transport 2014

  I recently conducted a public transport survey in my electorate focusing on the needs of residents in Keysborough and Dandenong South. I am often told about the need for new bus services linking residents and businesses with trains, schools, work, sporting venues and places of worship. With an increase in residential development in these areas and a growth in the number of businesses located in the new industrial estates in the City of Greater Dandenong, the need for connectivity of our transport infrastructure is becoming increasingly important.

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House of Representatives Speech- Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Repeal) Bill 2014

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Repeal) Bill 2014 is another shameful part of the government's attack on the renewable energy industry and on the renewable energy policies of the former Labor government. ARENA, which is the subject of this bill, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, was established by the former Labor government in 2012. It was established as an independent agency, designed to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies in Australia and to increase the supply of renewable energy to Australia's electricity market. It was a part of a comprehensive set of policies designed to reduce Australia's carbon emissions, to reduce Australia's reliance on fossil fuels and to make sure that Australia can play its part with the community of nations in tackling what is, of course, a global problem—that being the global problem of reducing carbon emissions so as to reduce the effects of dangerous climate change, the effects which we are already experiencing here in Australia.

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