We have the opportunity to do the right thing on migration legislation (27/06/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (16:01): I earlier observed in this House that I am the great-grandson of a boat person. He was an illegal immigrant who jumped ship in Albany in the late 1890s. Then, as now, the issue of immigration was a very vexed one in the then colonial parliaments of this country. Then, as now, there were great debates about how we manage the issue. It was in the midst of this same vexed debate that a group of backbenchers met in Parliament House this morning to discuss how we could move beyond the impasse that we currently find ourselves in. I participated in that meeting. I welcome the attendance of members from all sides of this House. Continue reading

Stop the opposition's fear campaign: our coal industry has a strong future (26/06/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (22:25): I commend all members of the House who were able to keep a straight face during the contribution of the member for Hughes just now—particularly during the part of his dissertation where he condemned those on this side of the House for 'peddling fear and doom', when what we have seen from those opposite, and particularly from the member for Hughes, is a 12-month campaign of nothing but fear and doom. I will have a few things to say about that during this adjournment address, because on this side of the House jobs and employment are our priority. Continue reading

Resource companies can't afford to become "job snobs" (19/06/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (21:49): Over the last decade we have heard the term 'job snobs' being applied as a pejorative to workers who are apparently able to take on a job but are unwilling to move to a region to take up that job or to take up an employment opportunity that may exist within the place where they live. It implies that somebody is unwilling to do a job that they are more than capable of doing. Today I rise to point to a significant risk for the mining sector: if mining companies are to escape the tag of being job snobs themselves then they must do everything within their power to ensure that Australians workers who are ready, who are willing, who are able to take up employment in the resources sector, in the booming mining developments in Western Australia and Queensland, are given first choice in taking up those jobs. For the last four years the mining industry has well and truly dominated the political and economic landscape. It is the sector which is driving new investment, over $500 billion worth, in the development or expansion of mines. Employment in the sector is growing; while it still makes up only a relatively small proportion of the overall workforce, it is expanding rapidly. For example, in my own region, employment in the coalmining sector has increased at around 12.6 per cent over the same period when, I note, we were being told by the Leader of the Opposition that mines were all going to close down. Coal production has actually increased by 14 per cent in the last 12 months in my own region alone. Continue reading

Tribute to the life of a local legend (12/06/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (13:48): I would like to pay tribute to the life of a local legend William Harvey—better known to all as 'Billy Bunter'. Unfortunately Billy passed away earlier this month following a short battle with cancer, and whilst his death was deeply mourned his memorial service paid tribute to a life well lived. They rarely make men of Billy's quality these days. Continue reading

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