Independent media regulation - it's in everybody's best interests (30/05/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (21:43): The relationship between government and the media is always close but rarely sycophantic. That is why regulation of Australia's media industry is always a controversial topic; you need only look at the howls of derision that greeted the release of the 468-page Finkelstein report in February this year to get a sense of that. Fairfax Media CEO Greg Hywood, for example, said 'What's the problem?' and others have shouted loudly about the sanctity of the freedom of the press. The CEO of News Limited, Mr Kim Williams, said, 'The spectre of a government-funded overseer of a free press in an open and forward-looking democracy cannot be tolerated.' I would argue that there is no threat to democracy or the freedom of the press in providing some oversight or an avenue of appeal or redress to a citizen who claims that, in some instances, the press have got it wrong. In other circumstances, we might call this government funded overseer a court and there is indeed no threat to democracy or the freedom of the press by the existence of courts in this country. Continue reading

Safeguarding the economic future of Port Kembla (29/05/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (13:28): It is a great pleasure to be speaking on the Shipping Reform (Tax Incentives) Bill 2012 and to have sat in on the last five or ten minutes of the member for Riverina, who was voicing his party's concerns on the introduction of this legislation. I must admit I am not surprised, because, after 11 years in government, their total contribution to shipping policy was a crippling national strike. Their side of politics brought in the dogs—blokes in balaclavas—who drove out the workers and drove our country into industrial mayhem for literally months. I am not surprised at all that their contribution to this debate is as vacuous as their 11 years in government were when it came to lasting reform of the shipping industry. Continue reading

Stricter security standards to protect Australian air travellers (28/05/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (12:26): The Aviation Transport Security Amendment (Screening) Bill 2012 is about safety and confidence, without which we would not have an aviation industry and consequently we would not have a tourism industry in this island nation, because aviation lies at the heart of our economic activity as an island nation. The aviation industry underpins our economic growth and provides a gateway to the wider global economy. The sector directly employs around 50,000 people, and a further half a million people indirectly. It contributes around $7 billion to our gross national product. Australian aviation, despite the protestations that the sky is falling in, has seen solid growth for the ninth year in a row, a fact that has obviously escaped the member for Paterson in his Chicken Little deliverance on this legislation. When I listen to the member for Paterson, I am reminded of the parliamentary cliche that never are so many angry words said as in the course of agreement. Continue reading

Matters of Public Importance: Member for Dobell and the Australian Constitution (23/05/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (16:39): I welcome this matter of public importance that has been brought to us today by the member for Lyne. I think, in an unusual precedent, it is supported by all members of this place. It is a measured and principled approach to matters of current public controversy and it enables members of this place to set out the proper role of parliament when questions are raised about another member of parliament, particularly when those questions go to potential criminal proceedings. Continue reading

Farewell to local Labor stalwart (21/05/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (13:52):  I want to draw the attention of the House to the sad passing of Joyce Elise Wheatley. Joyce died on Tuesday last week at age 74 after a long illness. Joyce was a Labor legend, a lifetime member of the party who moved to Kiama from her birthplace in Yass in 1965. She was a schoolteacher at Warilla High School for many years and bore the title 'mistress in charge of girls'. Continue reading

Improvements to anti-dumping legislation (15/05/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (10:37): I listened with interest to the contributions from the member for Hughes on the Customs Amendment (Anti- dumping Improvements) Bill (No. 2) 2012 and the Customs Tariff (Anti-Dumping Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2012. I welcome many of the things that the honourable member had to say, particularly his observations about geographic price discrimination within the federation. I can only hope that he will have the same enthusiasm as he did in the issue of geographic price discrimination for tradeable goods when it comes to geographic price discrimination for the sale of labour around the federation. Whilst I welcome the comments he has made on the sale of goods I know that his party, at least, has been a vociferous objector to the removal of price discrimination when it comes to the sale of labour around the federation. Indeed, the Liberal Party is a great defender of the rights of the states to have price differentials and even regional differentials for the sale of labour. Maybe that is a conversation I can pursue with the honourable member at another time when a more appropriate bill comes before this House. Continue reading

Matters of Public Importance: Budget supports regional Australians (11/05/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (16:38): After sitting through question time and then listening to the contributions from those on that side of the House on this matter of public importance, I will be heading back home to dust off my old CD collection. I am looking for a particular album from 2004 by an independent rock band known as Modest Mouse. I can see the member for Mayo over there giving me a smile. He is obviously a fan of their work, and particularly a fan of their 2004 album 'Good news for people who hate bad news'. That says it all about the mob over there: good news for people who hate bad news. They are the people who spend their entire time here trawling for misery. Continue reading

Delivering a fair and decent payment to new dads (09/05/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (17:07): I am pleased to speak on the Paid Parental Leave and Other Legislation Amendment (Dad and Partner Pay and Other Measures) Bill, but I must add it is a great shame that the time allotted for this debate could not instead have been allotted for the government to introduce into this House a bill which would have provided much needed assistance for families by helping with schoolkid expenses. Whatever led those opposite to object to our bringing that legislation into the House is probably best known to them, but it does speak very loudly about their priorities. Continue reading

Celebrating Illawarra's art culture (23/03/2012)

Red Point Artists’ Association: Members Exhibition opening speech (10/03/2012)I am pleased to be back here in Port Kembla with the Red Point Artists. The name ‘Red Point’ reminds us that the place existed before it was a port and an industrial hub. Indeed, Red Point was the name given to this place by the first Europeans as they sailed up the coast towards Botany Bay. It reminds us that this place has a rich history, which predates European settlement. A history of the Wadi Wadi people, who are the traditional owners of the land and to whom we pay our respects today. Continue reading

We remember Margaret Whitlam (20/03/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (18:239): Margaret Elaine Whitlam was a giant amongst Australian women, a colossus amongst Australian Labor women, a political leader and a trailblazer in her own right. I can think of no better words to open this contribution than those spoken by another trailblazer, another colossus, for Australian Labor women: Jessie Street. In an ABC radio program, in April 1944, she said: Continue reading