Categories ArchivesAugust 2015

CWA National Conference Speech standard

Thank you for your warm welcome and the opportunity to speak for the first time here at the Country Women’s Associations National at beautiful Port Macquarie I thank your organisers, and national President Noela MacLeod for the invitation to speak with you… … and I acknowledge the wonderful work that you continue to do for Australia’s country women. Before I continue, I’d also I acknowledge the traditional owners, past and present of the land on which we meet…. … And the members of our defence force (Army, Navy and RAAF) who over the decades have paid the terrible blood price – so that all Australians may live free. Just like you I’m an average Australian. I’m a single mim of ...

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Adjournment: Vietnam Veterans’ Day, Shipbuilding, illicit drugs standard

Today is the 49th Vietnam Veterans Day, and next year will mark the 50th anniversary. I take this opportunity to remember and honour the 521 Australians who died fighting in that war. Because of Senate duties, I could not attend the official ceremonies in Canberra today, so earlier this morning I went to that beautiful Vietnam veterans memorial in Canberra and laid some flowers and reflected on their and their families’ sacrifices. I was lucky enough to catch up with a few veterans who were out early this morning, and I acknowledge the strong feelings that are stirred up on this day. I thank the families and friends of those 521 Australian Defence Force members for enduring their terrible loss so we can live free and ...

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MPI: Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption standard

I rise to speak to the matter of public importance. As a royal commissioner leading an inquiry examining union governance and corruption, it is clear that Mr Heydon has displayed a form of bias in accepting an invitation to become a keynote speaker at a Liberal Party function. A royal commissioner cannot decide his own impartiality or perception of bias. You do not need a law degree to work that out; you just need to use some common sense. For heaven’s sake—we have a situation where the Australian people know how a royal commissioner will vote at the next election. The royal commissioner has personally admitted that he was the main act at an important Liberal Party event. What next? Will Commissioner Heydon suspend royal commission ...

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Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2014 [No. 2] standard

I rise to once again contribute to a debate on the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2014 [No.2]. Like many speakers I note that a form of this legislation was presented to and voted down by this parliament before. A Parliamentary Library brief on this new version of the legislation says: The Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2014 [No. 2] (the current Bill) is virtually identical to the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2014 (the previous Bill) with the Government amendments, which were agreed to in the House of Representatives. The previous Bill was negatived in the Senate on 2 March 2015. That Bill in turn was similar to the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2013 together with Government amendments which were tabled (the ...

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MPI: Marriage Equality standard

I rise to briefly contribute to the debate on the matter of public importance. It is clear that Mr Abbott is one of the worst prime ministers Australia has ever had. His leadership has failed on many issues, including same-sex marriage. Mr Abbott lacks the ability to unite and inspire ordinary Australians. If he were a leader who was sensitive to the needs and wishes of the Australian people, he would have supported my call and other crossbench senators’ calls to hold a separate vote on same-sex marriage at the next election. Let the people decide what our definition of marriage is, and let’s get into talking about the out-of-control youth unemployment rates; organised criminals making big dollars selling ice to our kids; our pensioners struggling to ...

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Tax Laws Amendment (Small Business Measures No.3) Bill 2015 standard

I rise to contribute to the debate on the Tax Laws Amendment (Small Business Measures No. 3) Bill 2015, and also indicate that I will support this legislation without any reservations. This legislation will benefit all small businesses of Tasmania and other states, and therefore will increase the job security of their employees. It will also increase the profitability and prosperity of those businesses and will increase the likelihood that they will be able to grow, and employ more workers, and that can only be a good thing for Tasmania’s and Australia’s economy. I will briefly outline the purpose of this legislation as summarised in the Bills Digest, and then I will use this opportunity to outline a policy which will also guarantee the profitability ...

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Medical Research Future Fund Bill 2015; Medical Research Future Fund (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2015 standard

I rise very briefly to give in-principle support for the Medical Research Future Fund (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2015. However, I have some reservations and would like the minister to clarify a few matters before I record my vote. I acknowledge that the Medical Research Future Fund provides for initial funding of $1 billion from the uncommitted balance of the Health and Hospitals Fund and for the MRFF to be managed by the Future Fund Board of Guardians. I acknowledge that researchers from Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research also support this legislation. Read more at the link: Medical Research Future Fund Bill

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Questions Without Notice: Building and Construction standard

My question without notice is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Abetz. Can Senator Abetz confirm for the chamber that he has stated in this place that: (a) the construction sector is dominated by the CFMEU and the outlaw bikie gangs with which they associate; (b) there is a sinister veil of silence from witnesses and victims because they fear retribution and reprisal from speaking out against the intimidation that we so often see in this industry, most commonly on the part of the CFMEU; and (c) the courts have said time and time again that the CFMEU continues to ignore the law, despite the imposition of penalties. And could the senator say who was worse in his opinion, the CFMEU ...

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Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, Health Funding standard

If corruption and crime was not having a serious impact on Australia’s political system then Royal Commissioner Heydon would never have described his secret interim report as containing information which is defined as: … a grave threat to the power and the authority of the Australian state … And today the Senate has been shown why this Liberal and National government cannot be trusted to clean-up all the corruption that is stinking up and rotting our state and federal political systems, especially the corruption and crime in our building and construction industry. If the Abbott government was serious about tackling crime and corruption in the building and construction industry and lowering costs, they would have moved very quickly to deregister the CFMEU, and perhaps other unions, ...

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Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 standard

I rise to briefly contribute on the Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2015. In Australia we have legislation which allows people in psychiatric confinement to receive income support payments after they have been charged with a serious offence. These Australians with severe mental health illnesses receive this payment because they have not been convicted of any crime and, as Australian citizens, like all of us they have the right to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty and therefore the same access to income support payments that other Australians with mental health illnesses have. As the Parliamentary Library study on this legislation states: This can happen when they are found unfit to stand trial because of mental impairment or are found not guilty because of mental impairment. People ...

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