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

Australia missing 1.5 million voters (20/03/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (19:29): 2012 is the Year of Enrolment. I find it absolutely breathtaking that the member for Canning chose, in his contribution to this debate on the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Maintaining Address) Bill 2011 and cognate Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Protecting Elector Participation) Bill 2012, to celebrate the Year of Enrolment by seriously proposing that we disenfranchise the poor people who live in caravan parks and the people who fly in and fly out for their work. That is what he is seriously proposing. He stood up just a moment ago and objected to the electoral and referendum amendment bills on the basis that they would provide a vote for people who reside in caravan parks or people whose occupations are as fly-in fly-out workers. What a way to celebrate the Year of Enrolment! Continue reading

More infrastructure for the Illawarra (19/03/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (11:10):  It is my great pleasure to be seconding the motion by my colleague the member for Hunter on this important issue. Today we are engaged in two important arguments. The first is an argument with those opposite about the concept of the minerals resource rent tax. What motivates us is to ensure that we spread the benefit of the mining boom, that we spread the benefit of the resources boom beyond those mining regions and right throughout the country, that we spread it to every person in Australia who has a superannuation account, that we spread it to every small business and every large business around the country in the form of a tax cut, and that we spread it to those mining areas and elsewhere in the form of additional infrastructure—much-needed economic infrastructure—to ensure that we are able to get these commodities out of the mine heads and to the ports of our nation. Continue reading

Reforms to revive our shipping industry (15/03/2012)

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (16:46): A strong economy needs a strong shipping industry. Indeed, an island trading nation like Australia most certainly needs a strong shipping industry and a strong maritime workforce. It has been a part of our history and it is essential that it be a part of our future, but we have some unique challenges. Our geographic location, off the major trading routes and with dispersed trading ports, affects the economics of our shipping industry. We also have an ageing workforce. It is a highly skilled workforce. It cannot be replaced overnight. It is a workforce that cannot be turned on and off like a tap Continue reading

More Illawarra homes to be connected to the NBN (16/02/2012)

CONSTITUENCY STATEMENT TO AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT I would like to talk about the rollout of the National Broadband Network to the Illawarra, in particular to Dapto in my electorate of Throsby. It is about to be boosted with a further 8,100 premises and a new rollout to 8,300 premises in the suburb of Corrimal in the neighbouring electorate of Cunningham. Continue reading

Matter of Public Importance: the Economy and Jobs (16/02/2012)

Over the last hour, this House has been treated to a remarkable spectacle—the opposition drawing upon the learned authorities of Cromwell and Jerry Seinfeld to move a gag motion at question time. The reason they have drawn upon the learned authorities of Cromwell and Jerry Seinfeld to try to gag question time is that they did not want to talk about the economy. Continue reading

Private Member's Bill for an Act to amend the Marriage Act 1961 to establish marriage equality for same sex couples (13/02/2012)

Introduction Mr Speaker, today I introduce a Bill for an Act to amend the Marriage Act 1961 to establish marriage equality for same sex couples, and for related purposes. If enacted this bill will permit: A minister of religion, a person authorised under a state or territory law, or a marriage celebrant authorised under the Marriage Act 1961: To perform a marriage between same sex couples; To have that marriage recognised in Australian law; But will not require a Minister of Religion to solemnise a marriage where that is inconsistent with their religious beliefs. Continue reading