National Party and the 2018 Federal Budget

The most expensive and elaborate Work for the Dole program in this country is the one that supports the 21 National Party MPs and senators in this place. They turn up, they collect their pay, but they don't do their job. For the last few years, they've been telling everybody who'd listen that they're for the farmer and against the supermarket, for the battler and against the banks, for the worker and against the occupants of the harbour-side mansion. Continue reading

Illawarra Rail

The Prime Minister has visited my electorate twice in the last three weeks, and we welcome the attention. He didn't come by train, and we all know his affection for catching a train. There's a very good reason for that. It's because his party—the government, in fact—have abandoned the rail commuters across the Illawarra and South Coast. Continue reading

Oscar Forman

I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to a great ambassador for the fantastic sport of basketball, NBL great—and one of Wollongong's favourites—Oscar Forman, who announced a week and a half ago that he was stepping down from his professional career as a basketballer. Continue reading

New Nationals Leader

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the member for Riverina as the new Leader of the National Party and I want to reflect on the leaders who've come before him. There was the great Jack McEwen. He was a cattle farmer. There was Doug Anthony. He was a dairy farmer. There was Tim Fischer. He was also a farmer. Was the member for Riverina a farmer? No. In fact, the only muster that the new Deputy Prime Minister has ever done was to round up the numbers against the member for New England. Continue reading


While the Hatfields and the McCoys were slogging it out last week in National Party back rooms to work out who was going to be the next Deputy Prime Minister of this country, the small businesses in their electorates were struggling with substandard broadband from a second-rate NBN.  Continue reading

Communications Legislation Amendment (Deregulation and Other Measures) Bill 2017

With great pleasure, I make a contribution on the Communications Legislation Amendment (Deregulation and Other Measures) Bill 2017, which could be described as an omnibus bill providing what, on the face of it, are a range of administrative and largely sensible amendments to both the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and the National Broadband Network Companies Act 2011. Continue reading

Priorities for 2018

The good people of the electorate of Whitlam, covering the southern Illawarra suburbs and Southern Highlands of New South Wales, send me to this place to represent their interests and to ensure that the government of this place has a vision, a plan, that is going to move their lives forward—that is going to give their children an opportunity to ensure they are not going backwards, deal with the cost of living and the future of their kids' education, and ensure their kids have got jobs. Continue reading

Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation Report

The terms of reference for the Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation include and require the committee to inquire into best practices in regional development, considering both Australian and international examples. They also ask us to inquire into decentralisation of Commonwealth entities or functions, such as departments, parts of departments or specific functions within Commonwealth entities. Thirdly, they ask us to look at the sorts of strategies that the Commonwealth can adopt—and presumably other layers government as well—to encourage corporate entities to decentralise their functions to regional Australia. I'd like to make a few initial observations that go to those terms of reference. I'm going to identify what I see as two particular failures that the committee will be looking into. Continue reading

MPI: Rural and Regional Australia

I enjoyed the minister's contribution. I also have to make the comment that he is the third minister for regional development in three months! So committed are they to regional development that they've had a rotating door of regional development ministers, because they can't make up their minds! While these parlour games have been going on, inequality in regional Australia is growing. Not only is inequality growing between the cities and the bush; it is growing within the bush as well.  Continue reading

Deputy Prime Minister

It's got beyond a joke. The person who fills the second-most senior role in the country is still in his job because 11 National Party MPs can't decide on how, when or where to tap him on the shoulder. We have got the deputy leader of that party who has just told Australia that 100 per cent of the people are behind him. Continue reading