A few weeks ago, Australians turned on their televisions and, in horror, learnt of allegations of millions of dollars' worth of water that had been stolen out of the Murray-Darling Basin—millions of litres of water that Australian taxpayers have paid for. Continue reading


In a few weeks' time the pensioners in my electorate are going to get three envelopes. The first is going to be an envelope with a power bill in it. It's going to demonstrate that their power bill has gone up by about 20 per cent over the last 12 months—this from a government which promised to bring power prices down. In fact, wholesale prices have almost doubled on their watch. Continue reading


It's with great pleasure that I stand today to pay tribute to those who campaigned and advocated for the constitutional referendum in 1967, and to the team and the community who brought before the High Court, 25 years ago, the matter we now call Mabo. I start with a recollection from a few weeks ago, when I joined many of my parliamentary colleagues to visit the Captain Reg Saunders Gallery and Courtyard, part of the Australian War Memorial here in Canberra. Continue reading


I acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of this place. I also acknowledge Comms Day – the Organisers of this Summit. Continue reading


I acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of this place. I also acknowledge the Comms Day – the Organisers of this Summit. As Labor’s Shadow Minister for Regional Communications, my focus today will be on the impact of communications policy on regional Australia. Continue reading

Gilmore Electorate: Regional Motorsports Complex

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:58): The reputations of governments stand on the commitments and promises they make before an election and their willingness to follow through on those promises and deliver on them. It is not just the big promises like the one not to cut Medicare and the promise not to cut promises, but it is also the local commitments. That is why it is such a disgrace that prior to the last election the coalition promised to deliver $9.7 million to build the Shoalhaven Motorsports Complex near Nowra. Continue reading

Competition and Consumer Amendment (Misuse of Market Power) Bill 2016

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (18:33): The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Misuse of Market Power) Bill 2016 is as confused and incoherent as the government and the Prime Minister himself. Most of the debate within the chamber today has focused on schedule 1 of the bill, which proposes to amend section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act to introduce an effects test that looks at whether conduct engaged in by a firm with a substantial degree of market power has the purpose or effect, or is likely to have the purpose or effect, of substantially lessening competition. Continue reading


Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (10:54): The formality of this speech requires some explanation to those who might be reading it hence and wondering, 'What is thing called an address-in-reply to the Governor-General?' Seven months ago, the Governor-General gave a speech which purported to set out his plan for the next three years of the 45th Parliament. It is a sad indictment of the capacity of the government to manage the business of the House that it is nearly seven months after the opening of the parliament and we are still dealing with the addresses-in-reply to the Governor-General's speech. Continue reading

Illawarra Flash Floods

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:49): For the last two weeks, the Illawarra has battled wild weather. After a week of being hit by hard, heavy-hitting rain we had flash flooding, which resulted in road closures, public transport disruptions and damage to many properties throughout the region. It was a difficult time for our local SES, police and rescue workers. There were over 400 calls for help across the region and at least 30 rescues in the Unanderra area alone, with people in cars getting stuck in floodwaters, damage to property and roads closed, causing lots of traffic disruption. Continue reading

Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2016-2017, Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2016-2017 Second Reading

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (17:18): Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker Wicks, for your protection; I am sure I need it. This government came to power on a promise to fix everything and cut nothing, and they have broken both promises. They have fixed nothing and cut everything. This is the government that came to power—we will never forget that pre-2013 press conference with the then Opposition Leader, then Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, promising that there would be no changes to Medicare, no cuts to pensions, no cuts to the ABC and no cuts to the SBS. Of course, they broke each and every one of those promises in their first budget, and things never got any better from there. Continue reading