National Stronger Regions Fund

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (18:06): I am always delighted to welcome programs which are aimed at delivering more funding to regional Australia. As a representative from the regional area of Whitlam, I know how important it is to get federal funds supplementing local and state funds for new infrastructure projects into regions like ours. Continue reading

National Affordable Housing Agreement

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:45): Today I am calling on all members of parliament, in particular members of the coalition parties, to back my call to save the National Affordable Housing Agreement, because we know it is under threat. It can be saved if all members of parliament stand together and ensure that affordable housing still has a place in the national political agenda. Continue reading

Unemployment in our region

  Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (10:55): Madam Deputy Speaker Bird, can I say how delighted I am to have you in the chair when I advise the House that next week, on Tuesday, you and I are hosting a jobs forum in the Illawarra at 10.30 at the Illawarra Regional Airport. We will have with us the shadow minister, Brendan O'Connor. I also want to advise the House that shortly thereafter he will be in Nowra for a jobs forum. That is a region recently visited by the Prime Minister to run a political stunt, not a jobs forum, and I think you have there in a nutshell the different priorities of Labor versus the coalition. I am not surprised that the Prime Minister does not have unemployment and jobs on his agenda, because the world he lives in, Deputy Speaker, is very, very different to the world that you and I live in and the places that we represent. Continue reading

Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Amendment Bill 2017 (Second Reading)

  Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (17:46): I note that there are no further government speakers who are willing to get up and defend the legislation that has been put forward in their name, and I can understand full well why. The innocuously named bill, the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Amendment Bill 2017, is designed to induce or coerce employers to break an agreement that was made with them in good faith. I will say that again, because it is absolutely true and it is important that every member on the other side understands this. This is a bill designed to coerce or induce employers to break an agreement which has been made with their workforce in good faith. If an ordinary business, a union or a private individual did that, we would call it a crime or we would call it a tort. But when the government does it we call it lawmaking. It is no less a crime or a tort because it is brought forward in the name of the government. Continue reading

Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (12:40): I would like to make some observations on what I would like to characterise as a well-meaning but ineffective bill. I would like to make a few comments first about how the original bill works. The bill is a bill to amend the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. It arises from recommendations of the O'Farrell review. The O'Farrell review is just the latest in a series of reviews which have inquired into this piece of legislation and the surrounding area of problem gambling in this country. I have been involved in some of them but not all of them. Continue reading

Statute Update (A.C.T. Self-Government (Consequential Provisions) Regulations) Bill 2016 (Second Reading)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:20): Nothing gets the juices of parliament going more on its first day back after the break than the Statute Update (A.C.T. Self-Government (Consequential Provisions) Regulations) Bill 2016! The bill amends the Statute Update Bill 2016 to ensure that relevant Commonwealth legislation continues to apply to the ACT. Presently the applicability of the Commonwealth law in the ACT relies on the A.C.T. Self-Government (Consequential Provisions) Regulations following the establishment of self-government in the ACT in 1988. As you know full well, Deputy Speaker Mitchell, the ASGR made modifications to the application of as many as 47 acts. While some of the modifications made by the ASGR were subsequently incorporated into the relevant Commonwealth acts, 18 others were not. The bill will therefore make some minor technical amendments to those remaining 18 acts, across nine portfolios, to incorporate the modifications made by the ASGR. This has not been an issue before now because, while the text of some Commonwealth law does not refer to the ACT, a court currently reads that the Commonwealth acts apply in the ACT because of the operation of the ASGR. Continue reading

Centrelink Robo-Debt Debacle

  Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:39): Well, it is time for the human services minister and the Prime Minister to admit that their robo-debt system has been an unmitigated disaster. Over 40 per cent of the letters that have been sent out to people around the country have proven to be false. Government MPs know this to be true, because in electorates all over the country they have been in inundated with complaints from their constituents distressed about the Centrelink robo-debt debacle—real people who have done nothing wrong being treated like petty thieves over fake debt through fake leadership. Continue reading

Australia Day Awards, Mr Philip Yeo, OAM

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (17:09): We have built a prosperous and successful multicultural nation in Australia, one of the most successful multicultural nations in the world, and on Australia Day we recognise how the wonderful people in our community have helped to define who we are as Australians. I was very pleased that, on Australia Day this year, I was able to attend ceremonies and functions in Shellharbour, in Wollongong and in the Wingecarribee shire, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Continue reading

Grievance Debate: The Whitlam Electorate

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (19:09): There are many things that my constituents are aggrieved about: the pathetic broadband that is being rolled out through the suburbs relying on rotten and outdated copper technology, the seeming indifference of the government to the creation of full-time and decent jobs, the underfunding of schools in the area or the Prime Minister who seems to have a tin ear to what the needs and aspirations of people in regional Australia are. Continue reading

National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council Conference

*** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY *** Thank you Uncle Alan Madden for the welcome to Country. I acknowledge that we are on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and pay my respect to elected past, present and emerging. Today I'm representing Michelle Rowland, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Communications who is sorry that she can't be here this morning. She sends her best wishes. Continue reading