Speech at the opening of the Eugene Anchugov Chinese art exhibition
Parliament House, Canberra
3 December 2014
I acknowledge Philip Ruddock and other members of parliament, Eugene Anchugov, David Fang and Kevin Lui.
Thank you for bringing this extraordinary exhibition to the Great Hall.
When I was in Beijing recently I took some time to enjoy the street-life.
I found myself looking on as a bystander to an unusual calligraphy lesson.
Using water from a small plastic bucket, two men were taking turns painting characters on the pavement squares with a long handled brush.
The brush was about three feet long, so they could paint directly onto the pavement without crouching or bending.
It was in no way clear who was the master and who was the pupil.
As it becomes increasingly clear that the Abbott Government cannot get some of its most unfair policies through the Senate, I joined GetUp! on the lawns of Parliament to wave farewell to federal budget.
Bon voyage Budget!
Speech to the GetUp! rally - Parliament House, Canberra
I’m sure I speak for the other two politicians here with us – Clive Palmer and Christine Milne – when I say that this is definitely the coolest event we’ll attend today.
Today is the 160th anniversary of the Eureka uprising – a demonstration of how people power can change Australia. Now, I’m not urging you to burn your mining licences – those of you who have them – but it is a reminder that people committed to building a better Australia can ultimately prevail.
Friends, Tony Abbott’s unfair budget needs to go. This Budget represents a shift in the burden from the poor to the rich: Robin Hood in reverse.
Today I tabled the Fluffy Families and Residents First Group Impact Statement in the federal parliament. It was a privilege to share these families' voices and let them know that our community stands behind them.
Constituency statement - Mr Fluffy families
27 November 2014
I seek leave to table the Fluffy Owners and Residents Action Group Impact Statement ‘Hope in grief: confronting Mr Fluffy’s toxic legacy in Canberra and Queanbeyan’.
For people outside the ACT, the name ‘Mr Fluffy’ probably calls to mind something fun and frivolous. But fun and frivolity have been pretty scarce over the last few years for over 1,000 Canberra families who discovered their homes had been pumped full of crushed raw asbestos by a dodgy contractor trading under the name of ‘Mr Fluffy’.
More tax transparency for a more informed debate
House of Representatives, 24 November
In the tax evasion trial of Leona Helmsley, a prominent American businesswoman from the 1970s and 1980s, a former housekeeper testified that she heard her employer say, 'We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.'
These 'little people' are the hardworking men and women of Australia.
For too long, the 'little people' have been forced to pick up the slack left behind by large multinationals with complex accounting arrangements.
For too long, large multinationals have been able to hide behind a veil of secrecy. For too long, Australians have been left in the dark on the issue of multinational profit shifting. Now, for the first time, Australians will know which companies are paying their fair share of tax.
Companies which follow the rules have nothing to fear from opening their books to the Australian public. Once and for all, this bill before the House today will provide a comprehensive set of figures on how much companies are earning and how much tax they are paying. Recent reports pointing to large-scale instances of multinational profit shifting and tax avoidance suggest that
this information is needed now more than ever.
This morning, I spoke to a ‘Save Our ABC’ rally, joining many other Canberrans to speak out against the five per cent cut to our national broadcaster.
One of the extraordinary things about the ABC is the sheer breadth of its programming. In fact, its contributions to Australian public life are so vast that I decided I could give a speech in defence of the ABC based entirely on the titles of ABC programs.Read more
Speech at the launch of 'A new Australia-China Agenda: Experts on the Australia-China Relationship'
28 October 2014
This week and last, federal parliament has been resounding with tributes to the late Gough Whitlam. Many people have noted his bravery – more than four decades ago – in travelling to China to announce that a Labor Government would initiate ties with the mainland.
At the time, Whitlam’s critics said of the visit that his Chinese hosts had ‘played him like a trout’.
I thought of this recently when looking at statistics on our exports to China – now our number one destination for Australian fisheries exports.
There are many ways of summing up the importance of the Australia-China relationship.
Condolence motion for the Hon. Gough Whitlam, AC, QC
House of Representatives
28 October 2014
GK Chesterton once said that "Tradition means giving a vote to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead."
Progressives are at our best when our reforms draw out the golden threads of history.
The notion that society is a contract between the past, the present, and unborn generations is as powerful a guide for progressives as it is for the other side of politics.
No-one better understood the value of tradition than Gough Whitlam.
When Prime Minister McMahon set the date for the 1972 election as December 2, Whitlam noted that it was the anniversary of the 1805 Battle of Austerlitz, when Napoleon defeated the Russian and Austrian armies. It was, he said, "a date on which a crushing defeat was administered to a coalition - another ramshackle, reactionary coalition".
20 October 2014
The Government decision to stop funding the Youth Connections program continues to astound me. Some of the most vulnerable people in our community will have the threads connecting them to school, work, and a stable life completely cut away.Read more
Diwali in Canberra
20 October 2014
Diwali, or Deepavali as it is also known, is one of the most import festivals in the Hindu calendar. Diwali was celebrated this weekend in Canberra at the Albert Hall. A celebration of the victory of light over darkness, Diwali is an important reminder that all of us are strengthened when we celebrate each other and each others festivals.Read more
Political legacies and Abbott's Unfair Budget
House of Representatives
20 October 2014
There are some issues in politics in which party's legacies can tell you a lot about what they intend to do. It was Labor who fought to introduce Medicare and universal superannuation and Labor who has continued to raise the rate of contribution. It's unsurprising to anyone who knows a modicum of political history that the Abbott Government is now freezing it at 9.5% - a level that is inadequate for Australians retiring.
This is an issue that concerns many of my constituents, in a post-budget survey, more than 4,000 people responded to a tell me what they thought about the Budget and 90% of participants in the Fraser electorate told me that they believed the Abbott/Hockey Budget broke promises. Even 53% of self professed Liberal Party voters told me that the Budget broke promises.Read more