The National Party released a document today celebrating their top 25 achievements for rural and regional Australia in their first 12 months in Government. Not a single achievement on the list mentioned their pre-election promise to:
“… give full time attention to regional health concerns, and win for regional health a high priority in general health policy.”
[The National Party, Our Plan for Regional Australia, page 43]
Nor does the achievement document detail how the Nationals have come good on their promise to:
“… provide increased financial support for doctors who provide health services in regional and remote communities, through increased Medicare rebates and scheduled fees loaded on top of regular Medicare billings, which will increase according to remoteness.”
[Our Plan for Regional Australia, page 45]
Labor’s Spokesperson for Rural and Regional Health, Stephen Jones says there is not one mention of how National members have stood up for patients in their electorates on a single general health policy.
“Before the election, National members were running from town to town telling regional voters that their health needs would be top priority in Government”, said Jones.
Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (16:17): The legislation before the House today, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Repeal) Bill 2014, is part of the government's dogged campaign to destroy and dismantle the policies and the programs that were put in place by the former government to implement a clean energy future. We have seen it with the legislation to dismantle the price on carbon—something that I will return to during my address; the attempts to kill the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, an organisation to set up and fund on a commercial basis those commercial projects which are very bankable but which, for reasons best known to the banking sector, are not attracting the finance that they should otherwise deserve; and, of course, the bill before the House today, the bill to abolish the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
We knew that we were in a bit of strife with this package of reforms when we heard that devastating admission by the Treasurer himself, who told us that he breaks out in a sweat every time he drives past a wind farm. It must be a terrible trip from North Sydney down to Canberra, as he has to avert his eyes as he drives past the wind farms on Lake George. But never mind; like some latter-day Don Quixote riding his wooden horse, he comes in here waving his wooden sword and says, 'I'm going to do away with all of that'—not tilting at windmills but destroying them. That is what this legislation is designed to do. This legislation—and the whole approach of this government since they were elected—is to dismantle the package of reforms that were put in place to give us a clean energy future.
The campaign to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in our Constitution hit regional Australia today with the Illawarra community turning out in force for a forum hosted by Stephen Jones and Senator Nova Peris.
“Ultimately this is an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate 40,000 years of this nation’s history and add to the last 226”, said Senator Peris.
“The recognise campaign is a great opportunity for two cultures to unite as one. It is about being inclusive, not exclusive and something we should all get behind.”
Stephen Jones says Australians must get behind constitutional recognition and make the most of the opportunity of bi-partisan support from both sides of politics.
“Today is about ensuring we can convert that Parliamentary support into widespread community support”, said Jones.
“In 1967 the Australian Government ran a referendum to change the constitution to make laws for all Australians and include Aboriginal people in the Census. It was overwhelmingly endorsed by Australians, winning 90.77 per cent of votes and carrying in all six states.
“Constitutional recognition will builds on this win and should make further substantive change to remove racism from the Constitution.
“It is a statement of historical truth that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People have lived here for over 40,000 years, and it is long overdue.”
“It is imperative that all Australians are on-board with the journey towards constitutional recognition. That’s part of the reason for my visit to the Illawarra today”, said Senator Peris.
“We will be working hard to engage with communities across the country to demonstrate the importance of Aboriginal Australians to our national history and culture, and showcase what a positive step constitutional recognition will be for all Australians.”