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

Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Bill 2016 Second Reading

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (17:53): I rise to speak on the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Bill 2016. I agree the challenge is for us to do what is right for the country. We have before the House, we have before the parliament and we have for the people of Australia two propositions. One is to give a $50 billion unaffordable tax cut to Australia's largest companies. The other is to improve school education funding to ensure that our kids have the resources in their schools to grow up, to get the education that will enable them to participate fully in the modern world. I cannot support an unaffordable tax cut to the biggest companies in this world and I challenge the government's proposition that this is going to benefit the Australian economy. Continue reading

Treasury Laws Amendment (Combating Multinational Tax Avoidance) Bill

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:15): The message has to be made loud and clear: if you want a fair society then multinational companies have to pay tax and if you want a strong economy then multinational companies have to pay tax. It sticks in the craw of many hardworking Australians when they pay their tax. They go to work week in and week out, they pay their tax week in and week out and they are happy to make a contribution to society, but what sticks in their craw is when they learn that some of the wealthiest companies in the world and some of the biggest companies operating in Australia are not paying their fair share. Australians are a generous people and they are willing to put their hands in their pockets to pay for the schools, hospitals, roads and ports that make this a great country—a great country in which to do business, to bring up your family in and to run a small business—but what sticks in their craw is when they see that the playing field is skewed so that the biggest companies in the world with some of the largest incomes are not paying their fair share of tax. Frankly, they look at the Turnbull government and they know that the Turnbull government is not doing a good job of reining them in. Continue reading

Health Insurance Amendment (National Rural Health Commissioner) Bill 2017

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (17:35): Today we are debating a bill to establish a rural health commissioner. Government MPs will say it is a great breakthrough in health care for regional Australia. I do not say it is a bad thing, but it falls a long way short of a great breakthrough, for most of the reasons that have been set out very eloquently by the member for Grey in his thoughtful contribution right now. I say, at best, it is an admission of failure. It could be much worse than that, and that is a distraction from a whole heap of issues that really are facing health care in regional and rural Australia. Continue reading