National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council Conference

*** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY *** Thank you Uncle Alan Madden for the welcome to Country. I acknowledge that we are on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and pay my respect to elected past, present and emerging. Today I'm representing Michelle Rowland, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Communications who is sorry that she can't be here this morning. She sends her best wishes. Continue reading

The NBN - What planet is this guy on?

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:36):  A few moments ago, right there, the Prime Minister was bragging and slapping himself on the back and talking about what an amazing job he has done with rolling out the National Broadband Network. Well, I can tell you, right throughout regional Australia there are a whole bunch of people who were shaking their heads and saying, 'What planet is this guy living on?' Continue reading

Statement on equality

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (12:32): This motion has languished in the basement of parliamentary business for a couple of months—two months does not sound like a lot of time to most Australians but if you look at what has gone on over the last two months, it has been a very long time indeed. Last night I read the Prime Minister's speech on this motion. It was a good speech—a very good speech. There was not a word in there that I could not agree with. Sadly, it was very difficult, looking at the Prime Minister who gave that speech two months ago, who spoke most eloquently and passionately in support of this motion, to recognise the Prime Minister who has done very little in the last couple of days to confront the rising tide of bigotry, including bigotry in this place.   Continue reading


Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2016, Treasury Laws Amendment (Fair and Sustainable Superannuation) Bill 2016, Superannuation (Excess Transfer Balance Tax) Imposition Bill 2016 Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:16): It is my great pleasure to speak on the Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2016 and related bills which concern the provision of superannuation, how it is taxed and how it is managed. I also rise to support the excellent amendment to this bill that has been moved by my friend the member for McMahon and spoken to most eloquently by the member for Rankin, who is in the chamber with us today together with the member for Kingsford Smith, who has spoken passionately about these issues.   Continue reading

The Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing Cohort) Bill 2016

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (11:50): The Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing Cohort) Bill 2016, which would amend our migration laws so that certain asylum seekers would never be allowed to enter Australia, is not about securing our borders. It is not about the integrity of our immigration system. This bill is not about relieving the congestion in our cities. It will not improve our trains or our buses and it will not make the traffic flow. It will not help us to get to work on time. It will not give a pay rise to a low-paid worker, struggling to meet the rising cost of living. It will not make their jobs more secure and it will not help the jobseeker find a job. Continue reading

Medical Cannabis

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (18:20): It is a great pleasure to be speaking on the Narcotic Drugs Legislation Amendment Bill 2016, because the amendments contained within this bill go to a matter that I have campaigned on for quite some time and a matter that I feel very passionate about and that is putting in place a nationally consistent scheme, which facilitates the availability of medicinal cannabis for people who are suffering pain or undergoing a course of treatment for which there is no alternative medicine and access to medicinal cannabis has provided them with relief from the symptoms that they are suffering from. Continue reading

Baird's Shellharbour Hospital Sell-off

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:49): The simple fact of the matter is this: Mike Baird has a plan to privatise hospitals in New South Wales, and Labor's Luke Foley has a plan to stop him. We do not have to wait until 2019, the next New South Wales election, to stop this terrible plan to privatise New South Wales hospitals, because this Saturday in three electorates in New South Wales—Orange, Wollongong and Bankstown—the people of New South Wales have the opportunity to cast their judgement on the Baird government's plans to privatise hospitals in New South Wales. Continue reading

Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Television and Radio Licence Fees) Bill 2016

  Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (12:07): Labor supports the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Television and Radio Licence Fees) Bill 2016. Let us go through some of the context regarding the current state of Australia's media industry. Broadcasting, through radio or television, is regulated to some degree. The spectrum that broadcasting uses is a public resource, and it is sought after for a lot of purposes. The spectrum used to broadcast television and radio programs, if auctioned off today, would yield an enormous financial gain for the people of Australia. Continue reading

Sustainable Economic Growth in Regional Australia

“A NEW DEAL FOR REGIONAL AUSTRALIA.”  ALBANY, WA  THURSDAY, 27 OCTOBER 2016  ***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY*** I’d like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Menang people It’s great to be in the beautiful Great Southern Region of WA. I’d like to acknowledge the terrific work of SEGRA and congratulate you on your 20th anniversary. Thank you to Kate Charters, SEGRA Convenor for the invitation to speak to you today. The issues that you have gathered here to discuss and share are fundamental to our lives, particularly in Regional Australia. While there is much that Australia’s major political parties agree on, in particular, the big goals we aspire to, there is also much on which we differ. That is why our Parliament and our political life is a contest of ideas, a contest of philosophies and a contest of policy proposals. In facing these challenges Labor puts a strong emphasis on the principles of fairness and equality. Continue reading

Consideration in detail: Appropriations Bill No 1 2016-17

  Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (10:36): I thank the minister, but I cannot thank the minister for the actions of his government when it comes to this portfolio. There is no shortage of members in this place who started their political life in local government—no shortage of them. Unfortunately, when it comes to members of the government, once they enter this place they seem to forget the important contribution that local government makes to civic and economic life in this country. Members opposite have supported the decision of their ministers and their government in reducing funding to local government by close to $1 billion since 2014-15. Close to $1 billion—$925 million—has been slashed from local government financial assistance grants since the 2014-15 budget. Continue reading