Standing up for Canberra
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Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment Bill 2011

I rise today to speak in support of the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment Bill 2011. In doing so, I am reminded of some comments I made at a recent event for Mabo Day. In honouring the life of Eddie Mabo, I stated that this country had come a long way in achieving a true reconciliation between Indigenous and white Australia.

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Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment Bill 2011

I am always bemused when the member for Farrer speaks. I am usually on after her and it is always an apocalyptic vision of what is going to happen as a result of legislation that is introduced by the government. The last time I followed her in a speech I think she was suggesting that public servants were going to be scuba diving in Lake Burley Griffin during their lunch breaks. I find that quite extraordinary, given that the winters in Canberra are not terribly conducive to scuba diving for about seven months of the year. Now I would just like to calm things down a bit and suggest to those here tonight that the world is not going to end and that the apocalypse is not coming.

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Customs Amendment and Drug Detection Bill 2011

That is 15 minutes of my life that I am not going to get back again, and that is 15 minutes of my life that my colleague is not going to get back again. I am reflecting on how much time the member for Indi actually focused on the Customs Amendment (Serious Drugs Detection) Bill 2011, which is the reason we are here today. It was quite an extraordinary little performance that one, but it is pretty indicative of the bile, venom and nay-saying that is typical of the opposition today. Every opportunity that they get they use to kick down everything that we are doing, to nay-say what we are doing, to flip-flop all over the place on climate change. You are just wreckers. Admit it, you are just wreckers.

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Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment Bill 2011

I rise today to speak in favour of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011, but before I go into any detail about that I just want to take issue with the overblown comments that were made by the member for Farrer with regard to her concerns about the off-site recess element of this bill. She suggests that people go scuba diving at lunch and so therefore she had an objection to elements of this bill. She maintained that that element of the bill defies common sense. Her comments defy common sense. I cannot believe that she said that. It shows a complete distrust and a misunderstanding of Australian workers and of Commonwealth employees and people who would be covered under this scheme.

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Electoral Referendum (Provisional Voting) Bill 2011

I rise today to speak in favour of the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Provisional Voting) Bill 2011. I do so because I fundamentally believe that what this bill will achieve is the correct and moral thing, despite the way that the former speaker was outrageously construing it. It is a fact that in the 2007 federal election over 27,000 votes were rejected at a preliminary scrutiny because of issues over the provision of identity. In 2010, more than 28,000 votes were eliminated—hardly the small number that was suggested by those opposite today. What concerns me about this figure is that, in a later examination of the votes, it was found that the name was in fact on the roll in over 12,000 cases.

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Combating the Financing of People Smuggling Bill 2011

The Combating the Financing of People Smuggling and Other Measures Bill 2011 is part of the government’s commitment to tackling the financing of people smuggling and terrorism. Over the last two budget cycles, the government has invested almost $2 billion to fund a strategy to combat people smuggling and to enhance border protection. This bill presents measures to enhance the current provisions relating to money laundering and counter-terrorism financing in the alternative remittance sector. It also introduces measures to enhance the sharing of information between the Australian intelligence community and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre or AUSTRAC.

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Law and Justice Legislation (Identity Crime) Bill 2011

The Law and Justice Legislation Amendment (Identity Crimes and Other Measures) Bill 2010 [2011] is a significant piece of legislation that contains amendments to a raft of measures relating to the administration of justice in Australia. The bill inserts new offences into the Criminal Code on identity crime, it corrects a drafting error in the Criminal Code, it includes the Victorian Office of Police Integrity in the definition of an enforcement body in the Privacy Act, it allows for the delegation of powers and duties to certain persons and provides legal immunity for the director and staff to carry out the functions under the DPP Act, it streamlines the process of alcohol and drug testing under the AFP Act, it expands the range of conduct for which the AFP commissioner may make awards, it improves the operation of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act, it establishes a more consistent approach to the restrictions placed on the disclosure of sensitive AUSTRAC information and it reframes the administration of justice offences in part III of the Crimes Act to bring them in line with the Criminal Code. It is quite an in-depth bill, as that probably outlines, and it covers a vast array of areas.

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Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011

Tonight I speak in favour of the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011. Earlier this year I had reason to speak on the identity theft provisions of the Law and Justice Legislation Amendment (Identity Crimes and Other Measures) Bill 2010 [2011] and in particular on the growing problem of the online theft of personal information. It is for similar reasons that I speak on this bill tonight. Indeed, I revealed earlier this year that I was a victim of online identity theft when I was planning a trip to a conference in the United States a couple of years ago. I was told by my travel agent— and I do not use this travel agent anymore—that I had to get a visa to go to the States. That surprised me at the time, given that I had worked in Foreign Affairs and was aware of the relationship we had with the US. I thought we had agreements in place so that for short stays we did not have to obtain visas. Being the person I am, I found a site purporting to provide me with such a visa. I applied, paid $60 and got an ID code to show the officials when I arrived at the fabulous Los Angeles airport. However, my initial instincts were correct and when I arrived in the US there was no need for the visa, so it was a completely spurious concept and a completely spurious visa. I was completely scammed and have not seen my money since.

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Defending the Public Service - Adjournment Speech (August 2011)

When I was seeking election in August last year I made a promise to my community that I would be a strong advocate for Canberra and for Canberrans. Today I keep that promise to defend them against the outrageous attacks on their livelihoods from those opposite. I am, of course, referring to the disgraceful and unnecessary attacks by the member for North Sydney on those people employed in the Public Service.

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Defending the Public Service - Constituency Statement (September 2011)

Today, I once again rise to defend the Public Service from irresponsible, unwarranted and ad hominem attacks. Some weeks ago I chastised the opposition for its continued attacks on the independence and integrity of the Public Service. Today I wish to speak about comments made by the Leader of the Australian Greens political party, Senator Bob Brown. Two weeks ago, on 8 September, the ABC reported comments from Senator Brown in which he stated that Immigration staff should be sacked for the content of their advice. Specifically, he was quoted as saying:

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Women and Superannuation 2011

Tonight it was my great pleasure to attend the inaugural oration by the Prime Minister to celebrate 15 years of Emily's List Australia. The Prime Minister's speech tonight inspired me to continue to advocate for one of my very strong passions: ensuring that Australians, especially women, make adequate plans for their retirement.

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International Women's Day 2011

The eighth of March 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. This day is a celebration of the great achievements of women throughout the world and throughout our history, from women's suffrage to reproductive rights. It is because of the work of giants past that I am able to stand in this chamber and speak today. In this place, I carry the dreams, the work and the sacrifice of others and I want to thank them. A century ago, it would have been novel and perhaps inconceivable that women would stand in this great chamber, and it is thanks to many famous and not so famous women that I can.

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Women in the Work Force 2011

Research is increasingly showing that greater gender diversity in organisations can boost performance, yet women remain underrepresented on Australian boards. While women make up 45 per cent of our workforce, they hold only 10.9 per cent of positions on ASX 200 boards, according to Women on Boards, and 87 ASX companies still do not have a woman on their board.

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National Association of Women in Construction Awards 2011

It was my honour recently to attend the National Association of Women in Construction ACT chapter's awards for excellence. The women who won these awards are tenacious, highly skilled and inspiring. They are women who have confronted what is, in a way, the last frontier—and it still is a man's domain. I would like to honour all of the women who received awards that night, in particular Michelle Tifan, who received the future leader award. Michelle works for ActewAGL in Canberra. She started her career as a scientist and moved into a trade at a later stage because she was more interested in pursuing that career. She is an incredibly inspirational woman. These are amazing trail-blazing women, some of whom have had tough fights and struggles to be recognised in the industry. And we need more of them.

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My First Speech

Thank you, Mr Speaker, and congratulations on your recent appointment.

Without Canberra there would be no Australia. To borrow the words of Sir Henry Parkes: ‘The crimson thread of kinship runs through us all.’ 

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Corporations and Other Legislation (Trustees Companies) 2011

I rise today in support of the Corporations and Other Legislation Amendment (Trustee Companies and Other Measures) Bill 2011, which continues this government’s commitment to ensuring that business in this country operates, as much as possible, under one regulatory regime. This bill amends the trustee company provisions in chapter 5D of the Corporations Act to make them more effective by facilitating the consolidation of the industry through voluntary transfers. There are currently 11 such trustee companies in Australia that provide a range of services, such as estate planning, administering deceased estates, managing the financial affairs of people unable to look after their own interests and managing charitable trusts and foundations.

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Business Names Registration I Bill 2011

As a former small business owner I am absolutely delighted today to be able to support the Business Names Registration Bill 2011 and the other associated bills. Over a century ago the colonies that made up this country agreed to join in one federation. There were many reasons for this, but chief amongst them was the need to streamline and make commerce easier between the states and to ensure that businesses from one state were not unduly prevented from trading in another state. It is for this reason that I continue to be amazed that after over a century of Federation we are yet to achieve one national economy and that businesses are discouraged from engaging in trade between the states. In so many ways we continue to operate eight different economies with their own rules and regulations. They are often more at odds with one another than in cohesion with one another.

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After School Program at Curtin Primary School 2010

I would like to congratulate the Curtin Primary School age care program for winning this year’s 2010 ACT Super Site Award. The award is presented each year to schools that take part in the Australian Sports Commissions Active After-school Communities program. Curtin Primary School age care program beat 49 other sites in the ACT to win the award. The Active After-school Communities program is a free Gillard government initiative that gives school-aged children the chance to experience 70 different sports and up to 20 other structured physical activities.

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Tuggeranong Community Festival 2010

I draw the House’s attention to the upcoming Tuggeranong Community Festival, of which I am patron. The festival is one of the many community festivals held in my electorate. The Tuggeranong festival began in 1988 as a small gathering and is the longest running event of its kind in the ACT. The festival is a free event for the community, organised by an army of dedicated volunteers, particularly Michael Lindfield and Jill Faulkner. The festival aims to bring the diverse Tuggeranong community together, recognise local citizens who have made a valuable contribution to the community, develop long-lasting partnerships between the local members of the community and between local groups and businesses and raise awareness of the vast array of sporting, artistic, civic and cultural opportunities open to those who live in the Tuggeranong Valley.

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The Community Contribution of PBS Homes 2010

I recently attended the Master Builders Association of the ACT celebration of its 75th anniversary in Canberra. The evening honoured the significant contribution of the building and construction industry in building our great bush capital and our city. I would like to congratulate John Miller, the MBA and its members in achieving this milestone and to thank them for building Canberra and for being with Canberra during the good times and the tough times.

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ArtSound FM 2010

I would like to acknowledge the significant contribution made by ArtSound FM to Canberra’s cultural life. ArtSound is a community based radio station that operates out of the Manuka Arts Centre in my electorate. The station is highly valued in the Canberra community for its eclectic and local music as well as its community focus. ArtSound’s open studio project gives the community access to workshops and recording sessions on a number of levels, particularly for students at our School of Music. The introduction to radio for seniors program targets the musical talent of older Canberrans.

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Oxi Day and the Contribution of the Greek Community 2010

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the significant contribution of one of the most dynamic and influential groups in my electorate: the Greek community of Canberra. Last month I took part in the annual commemoration of Oxi Day at the Hellenic Memorial on Anzac Parade. ‘Oxi’ is the Greek word for no. Oxi Day commemorates 28 October 1940, the day the then Greek Prime Minister, General Metaxas, rejected Mussolini’s ultimatum that Italy station troops in his country. Italy then invaded Greece through Albania, and Greece found itself at war with Italy. Greece amazed Italy and the rest of the world by successfully rejecting the Italian advance, and won the first victory for the allies in the Second World War. This achievement was all the more significant because, at the time, Greece was a small country of only seven million people, compared with Italy’s 44 million.

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Home and Community Care Services in the ACT 2010

I would like to draw the Committee’s attention to the recent boost of $1.3 million in funding for Home and Community Care services in the ACT. The additional funding will bring the federal government’s contribution to the ACT HACC program to $15.2 million, which represents an increase of 7.9 per cent on the 2009-10 funding.

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Woden Valley Festival 2010

I would like to draw to the attention of the House the Woden Valley Festival that was recently held in Eddison Park in Philip in my electorate. The Woden Valley Festival is fast becoming a signature event for Canberra, from a small beginning a handful of years ago. The festival unites the Woden Valley community and links the people who live there with their local services and businesses. The idea for the festival came from the success of the 35th anniversary celebrations of the Woden Community Service in 2004. The first Woden Valley Festival was held in 2008 and attracted 1,500 people, which doubled to 3,000 in 2009.

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OzHarvest in Weston 2010

I draw the House’s attention to the work being done by OzHarvest Canberra, which is managed and supported by Communities@Work. OzHarvest Canberra is a notfor-profit organisation that collects excess perishable food from local caterers, corporate offices and restaurants. OzHarvest Canberra then provides this food to charities to feed the homeless, aged, refugees, women and youth in crisis and recovering addicts.

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