Culture Wars Return: Abbott vs the ABC

January 31

SJ_SH_headshot.jpgThe campaign against the ABC is a Culture War we don’t need. 

It‘s not the role of any journalist or news agency to barrack for a particular team. It is certainly not the role of the ABC.  

Over the 15 years that I’ve been dealing closely with the ABC, I’ve defend its independence and the right to report and broadcast the news as it sees fit – even when I’m the unwilling recipient of an ABC brickbat.



Anna Watson MP: Illawarra Infrastructure Fund could have been better for region

December 05

Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson today welcomed the funding of the Fowlers Road extension at Dapto as part of the $100 million Illawarra Infrastructure Fund but slammed the rejection of the application which could have provided football with a home at West Dapto.

"The success of this Fowlers Road extension project will help to provide much needed improved traffic access throughout the Dapto CBD and West Dapto.

"The funding of the Fowlers Road extension remedies the stupid decision of the former Wollongong City Council Administrators to knock this road project off during the last term of the former Council.


Senator Penny Wong: TPP must not trade away Australia's national interest

December 04

penny_TTP_infpgrpahic.jpgNext week trade ministers will meet in Singapore in an attempt to finalise negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).

The TPP is a critical test for new Trade Minister Andrew Robb and will demonstrate whether he can deliver a deal with real benefits to Australia’s economy.

Labor recognises that reducing barriers to trade can boost our economic growth, create more competitive industries and give consumers access to a wider range of goods and services at lower prices.

The pursuit of these objectives drives Labor’s support for a more open global trading system.

Labor’s achievements in office include the establishment of the Cairns Group as a vehicle to promote our interests in multilateral trade negotiations, and the establishment of the Asia Pacific Co-operation Forum to strengthen our economic and political ties with the region.


Why Chris Pyne's Gonski backflip hurts NSW kids more

November 28

chris_pyne.jpgIs Gonski Gone-ski?

This is what thousands of teachers, parents and students are asking this week.  The announcement by Education Minister Chris Pyne that he would not honour his election promise on school funding has added fuel to a well stoked policy fire.  It’s also throwing school planning into disarray.  As one Principal told me “last week we were planning our classes for next year. What we could do with our high needs kids what intensive programs we could run.  This week we don’t even know how much money we will have.”

As far as broken promises go – this is a whopper.  When wooing voters pre-election, the PM said the Coalition is “on a unity ticket” with Labor on education funding.  His Education Minister Chris Pyne said they would “match Labor’s funding commitment dollar for dollar.”

Apart from the politics - there were good reasons to make these commitments.  Gonski was the most extensive national review of school funding and performance in decades.  It found that our children are slipping behind other schools in the Asia Pacific region.  It found that the funding system was a mess and needed to be reformed.  It recommended that State and Federal Governments cooperate to significantly increase school funding – critically this should be based on student need.

“Gonski” legislation was passed through Parliament.  Agreements were posted on public websites.  Funding arrangement’s were set out in the official Pre-election Financial Outlook. The agreements were up on the Government’s website. It was very much in the public eye.  Claims of “we didn’t know” are risible.

This backflip matters more in NSW.

The Gonski backslide is a double whammy for NSW students.  Here’s why –


Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on carbon tax repeal legislation

November 18

climate_action_illawarra.jpgThis Parliament's response to how we handle climate change will either help or hinder the future of this country.

It will define whether the 44th Parliament of Australia is either willing to look forward or backwards.

We will define, in this Parliament with how we vote on this legislation, the generation of parliamentarians to our children and our grandchildren.

The scientists know that carbon pollution is changing our weather and it is harming our environment.

The Australian public know. They know it when they experience more and more extreme weather events.

Economists know that carbon pollution will hurt our economy. And the public and the Labor Party know it is the responsibility of the Parliament to reduce the amount of carbon pollution that is being emitted and going into our environment.

This is why Labor will always support laws which tackle the issues of the future and which will reduce carbon pollution.

This is why we cannot today or on any day forward support Tony Abbott's laws which would leave Australia with no effective means of cutting carbon pollution.


Kevin Rudd resignation speech to Parliament

November 15

kevin_rudd.jpgMadam Speaker, there comes a time in our lives as parliamentarians when our families finally say enough is enough.

And my family has reached just such a time.

We ask much of our families in this place.

And in the case of my family, well above and way beyond the call of duty.

The truth is the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, which regrettably have become the stock and trade for so many in public life, hit home to our families as well.

This applies particularly to the families of our parliamentary leaders.

For our family, recent statements since the September election have been particularly hurtful.

As parliamentarians, we might say we become inured to all of this, although I doubt it.


Statement on the appointment of the Shadow Ministry

October 18

I’m very pleased to be appointed to the role of Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development and Infrastructure and thank Opposition Leader Bill Shorten for this great opportunity.

Coming from the Illawarra, I understand the challenges facing regional Australia and the important role that the government plays in investing in crucial infrastructure projects – especially those which the private sector cannot or will not build.

Prime Minister Abbott has stated that he wants to be known as the ‘Infrastructure Prime Minister’ and I’m looking forward to holding him to account on that commitment throughout my term in this role.  

I would also like to congratulate my local colleague, the Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird on her appointment as Shadow Minister for Vocational Education and the rest of the Shadow Ministry team. 


Party Reform and the Importance of Hope

October 15

SJ_no_tie__outdoors__head_only.jpg- Essay to the Southern Highlands Newsletter 200th Edition

Rodney Cavalier is the force of nature who ensures the publication of this journal to its wide readership. A gifted writer, who weaves together fact, story and image, to engage and entertain the reader from the first sentence to the last. Drawing on a deep knowledge of Australian politics, Labour history and cricket he produces this eclectic journal which is unfortunately unique. Rodney is also one of the Party’s more powerful speakers. His orations are fired with stories of 45 years in Labor’s trenches and, it must be said, a passion for the performance. His writings and orations have much to offer – except hope. It need not be so.

In the 199th edition of this journal we read that the Federal Labor Government has just lost office. We were told it was the worst in our history. There was no achievement to celebrate. Not school education reform, not the national broadband network, not re-civilising the laws of our workplace, not national shipping reform, or equal pay for community workers, not the apology to a stolen generation, the apology for forced adoption or the establishment of a Royal Commission into institutional child sex abuse. The introduction of paid maternity leave and our record investment in higher education, skills and infrastructure received no mention. While Nobel Laureate and former World Bank chief economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz recently wrote that Labor had done “a fantastic job of saving your country”  from the global financial crisis, the Newsletter’s editor dismissed actions like insuring our banks to stave off a credit crisis, and targeting stimulus spending towards retail and then infrastructure as unworthy. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (funded in part by an increase in the Medicare Levy) received but a sneering reference. 


Thank you to the voters of Throsby

September 09

election_victory.jpgI want to thank the people of Throsby for re-electing me as your representative in the Federal Parliament for the next 3 years.  It is a great honour that I do not take lightly.

I congratulate Tony Abbott on his success as Prime Minister, and to all the other candidates who stood in Throsby. It was a tough campaign but I’m proud to say that it was also a clean and friendly campaign, focused strongly on bettering our region. Not on petty politics.

Over the next 3 years I have two roles. The first, as your local representative, is to ensure that I advance the interests of the region and the electors to the best of my ability.

The second, as a member of the opposition, is to faithfully and constructively hold the new Government to account.

Finally, I would like to thank all of the people who staffed the polling booths and worked for the AEC during the campaign.  It is a thankless but important task which keeps our democracy in action.


PM address to the National Press Club

September 06

K_Rudd_press_club.jpgPM: Thank you very much. It's good to be back in the nation's capital, a capital which celebrates its centenary this year, 2013. Much of this election campaign, like many that have preceded it, has, to paraphrase the greatest master of the English language, been full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. But above the noise of gaffes and gotcha moments from both sides of politics, there are some phrases which somehow manage to penetrate. Often these are said in private moments, in the thousands of conversations we have with people who would simply describe themselves as ordinary Australians. Like the high school kids who have said to me right across the country that they wouldn't know where they'd be without laptops in their classrooms, because of our computers in schools plan. The first year apprentice at one of our Trades Training Centres, with delight in his eyes as he tells me how he has used his tools for his trade grant to buy his first set of drills, or the kidney recipient thankful for the work of the new National Transplant Authority, or the middle aged nurse with tears in her eyes, describing the vital work she does in supporting cancer patients at home through our new network of Medicare Locals, but fearful for the future of her job.


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Stephen Jones MP
Stephen Jones MP For Throsby