Bill Shorten: Condolence statement on MH17

July 18

- Parliament House, Canberra, 18 July 2014.

Madam Speaker

I rise to support the words of the Prime Minister – and I thank him for the conversations that we have had this morning.

This news that we woke up to this morning is worse than shocking; it is debilitating, bewildering, with bewildering losses.

Travelling at six miles height, this is unimaginable. This is a violation of the rules of civilisation. It is a tyrannical, wild act.

And I appreciate that when I rang the Prime Minister this morning, he has been most forthcoming and, in a time when international events require one to put aside partisan issues,  I greatly appreciate it.  

I acknowledge too the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and my colleague Tanya Plibersek, who have also been working on this.

As this Parliament convenes, right now and throughout today there will be anxious families having their worst fears confirmed.

3 kilometres from the town of Grabove, near the Russian-Ukranian border, on a patch of disputed ground currently controlled by separatist terrorists, lies the scattered ruin of MH17. 


Abbott Government sends Australia back on climate action

July 18

The only election promise Tony Abbott intends to keep – the repeal of the carbon tax – was passed today by the Senate.

It came after an ordeal of frustration and embarrassment for the Government but will ultimately be an even bigger embarrassment for Australia, which is now the only country in the world to reverse action on climate change.

“History will judge this Government harshly for its refusal to believe that action is needed on climate change”, said Stephen Jones.

“Tony Abbott will do anything to ignore the science of climate change and send Australia backwards. It’s clear that he still thinks it is – in his own words – a “so-called science” and “absolute crap”.

“He has said world leaders shouldn’t bother themselves with tackling climate change. Perhaps the PM should listen to the advice of US President Barack Obama, who said last month:

We have to all shoulder the responsibility for keeping the planet habitable, or we're going to suffer the consequences – together.

-      Barack Obama, June 25, 2014.

“There is no doubt our earth is warming and our seas rising – or that humankind is the cause.


Coalition MPs don't have the guts to speak out on health cuts

July 18

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (16:37): This is an absolute outrage—that the coalition today have gagged debate on the National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Bill 2014, this important bill. I make this point: they had the opportunity to let the people of Australia vote on this proposition, but they did not have the courage to put this proposition to the people of Australia not 12 months ago when we went to a general election. They then ram the bill into the parliament and demand that we vote on it without having a full debate. Well, there is a very good reason they will not let us have a full debate on it: they do not want sunlight on it.

As the shadow minister, the member for Ballarat, has pointed out just now, they could not even fill a speaking list on it. In fact, the shortest queue in the building yesterday was the queue of government MPs who were willing to stand up in this place and defend this atrocious legislation. Only four speakers were willing to stand here in this place yesterday and defend this atrocious legislation. There is a very good reason for that. We know that one of the last reports that the COAG Reform Council published before the government shut it down—because they do not like the message that the COAG Reform Council is giving them—showed that there are already people who are failing to fill the scripts that their health professionals have told them are essential for their health. There are already people who cannot afford to fill those scripts. In fact, in June they found that around 8.5 per cent of people were already delaying or failing to fill their prescriptions.


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