We have a proud history of egalitarianism: let's protect our worker's rights (29/10/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (12:36): I would like to start by commending the member for La Trobe for bringing this important matter to the House. I sat and listened with interest to the member for Hasluck in his contribution to this debate and, if he speaks on behalf of the entire coalition, I have to say that I welcome their sudden affection for the independence of tribunals and courts in general and for the independence of Fair Work Australia in particular. I know that there are at least two members of this House who would welcome that affection for the independence of those courts and tribunals. Continue reading

75th Anniversary of Dapto Greyhound Racing Club (10/10/2012)

I would like to talk about a local, national and indeed an international institution: the Dapto Dogs. Last week I had the great pleasure of attending a dinner to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dapto Greyhound Racing Club in my electorate of Throsby. My electorate office is only about 100 metres down the road from the Dapto Dogs, so I invite any honourable members of this place who visit the Illawarra—and a few of them have visited the region in the last few months—to attend with me on a Thursday night, around 7 pm. Continue reading

Clean Energy Amendment: Linking our scheme internationally (10/10/2012)

It my pleasure to be contributing to the debate on this important package of bills. The Clean Energy Amendment (International Emissions Trading and Other Measures) Bill 2012 and related bills will help modernise our economy and drive us towards a clean energy future. As with every contribution, I will start with a reminder about why we are doing it. We are not doing it out of some folly, as you might have been led to believe if you had listened to the member for Cowper's contribution. He spent a good 15 or 20 minutes, like some modern-day Don Quixote, in search of windmills to tilt at—and he has been doing that for about 2½ years now. Nothing is so sad as a man whose predictions of devastation have not been realised. Continue reading

Local advocacy groups win with Labor's Dental Health Reform Package (09/10/2012)

For over a decade now members of the Illawarra Dental Health Action Group have been campaigning for reform in dental care. The action group is chaired ably by Ms Alice Scott, a constituent of mine, who is a very active member of the community, not only in dental care but in a whole raft of other areas of community life. This group has been agitating not only for an improvement in existing services but in pointing out where local dental providers are not doing the right thing under existing government schemes, advocating on behalf of local community members, particularly members on low incomes who are attempting to get access to the public dental scheme, and, lobbying government, having come here to Canberra on several occasions with a bigger than life-size pair of teeth to draw attention to their cause. Continue reading

Congratulations to local Olympic champ Dave Smith (19/09/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (11:20):  The Illawarra region is a nursery for great sporting champions, including Olympic champions. I would like to take the opportunity today to extend my congratulations to one local champion: local kayaking champion and gold medallist Dave Smith, a member of the Australian men's K4 team that claimed gold in the 1,000-metre final by more than half a boat length. Dave is a resident of Warilla, which is a suburb of my electorate of Throsby in New South Wales, and is now fondly referred to by locals as the Warilla Wonder after a fantastic effort he displayed at the London games. It was a victory that was all the more sweet, I am sure, after narrowly missing out on a medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As Dave says, 'A few years and memories have been erased.' Continue reading

Summing up of debate on Marriage Amendment Bill 2012 (19/09/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (10:53):  I will be summing up the debate on the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012. I will start by thanking the many members who have contributed to this debate, at times a passionate debate and a very personal debate, as it often is in this space. The contribution from the member for Lyne typifies the quality of contributions we have had in this chamber. I listened very carefully to the member for Lyne's contribution. Many of the points that he raised have been raised by other speakers in this debate, and through the course of my summing-up I will reflect upon some of those. Continue reading

Funding for our skilled workforce is an economic priority (18/09/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (20:41): Can I start by thanking the member for Blair for bringing this matter before the House. It is, as the member for Hughes has rightly identified, an important debate. It is a debate that goes to the heart of our economic priorities and to the future of our workforce, because nothing could be more important than ensuring that we have skilled, trained workers to meet the needs of the future—and we know that those needs are going to be large indeed. In the future, less than seven per cent of the jobs will be able to be described as unskilled. That means the balance, the 93 per cent, have to be made up of graduates of either the universities, the TAFEs or other vocational education and training colleges in this country. We know that we will need around 1.7 million more workers with a certificate III or higher qualification between now and 2015, so it is a critical area of economic policy. Continue reading

Understanding Ménière's Disease (11/09/2012)

Although the disease which we discuss today was first discovered by the French physician Prosper Meniere in 1861, I dare say it has been discussed and the name has been used in this chamber more in the last 30 minutes than it has been in the last 30 years. I follow the honourable member in thanking the member for Dunkley for bringing this important issue before the chamber so that we can discuss it and hopefully add to the sum of understanding about a condition which is probably more prevalent on the Australian community than many might think. Continue reading

Commemoration of Mt Kembla mine disaster (16/08/2012)

On 31 July hundreds of people across my region of the Illawarra gathered to honour the 96 men and boys who perished in the Mount Kembla Mine explosion in 1902 and give thanks to the survivors who rebuilt this great community following the tragic disaster. Continue reading

Tribute to Illawarra icon Mick Lord (26/07/2012)

This week we said goodbye to a dear Labor supporter and local swimming legend, Mick Lord. Over recent years as Federal Member for Throsby, I had the pleasure and privilege of knowing Mick, who was a longtime member of the Oak Flats ALP Branch and dedicated supporter of the Labor Party in the Illawarra. Many others knew and loved him from his dedication to the pool. Mick was Shellharbour-Warilla Amateur Swimming Club coach from 1975 to 1990, during which time he steered his beloved daughter Karen to the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Continue reading