Remembering Tony Harriott's 50-year COMCAR career

REMEMBERING TONY HARRIOTT'S 50-YEAR COMCAR CAREER

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

TUESDAY, 1 JUNE 2021

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In July, COMCAR driver Tony Harriott will retire after 50 years of service, making him the longest-serving driver in COMCAR history. He was 24 years old when he took the wheel of a Ford Galaxie, numberplate C*9. Since 1971, Tony has driven hundreds of politicians, including the fathers of the members for Kennedy and Hunter. Tony remembers picking up Graham Richardson when he first arrived in Canberra, fresh off his Ansett flight. When ministers had their own assigned drivers, Tony was driver to defence minister Kim Beazley. But he especially enjoyed his time driving Anita Keating and Hazel Hawke, who he described as 'just terrific ladies'. COMCAR drivers are famously known for their discretion, so I couldn't get Tony to tell me too much, but he did say 'we had some fun with Hawke' when he was Prime Minister.

As a resident of Ngunnawal, Tony is one of my constituents; yet the irony is that almost all of my parliamentary colleagues are more likely to be getting into COMCARs than I am. But I know the extraordinary professionalism of the COMCAR service and how lucky we are to be looked after by them. Tony Harriott's 50 years is a record that may never be matched. Enjoy your retirement, mate; you've earned it.

Honourable members:  Hear, hear!

 

ENDS

 

Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra

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Time the Liberals faced up to their failings and supported Victorians

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 1 JUNE 2021
 
SUBJECTS: Morrison Government’s failure on quarantine and vaccinations; Morrison Government failing to assist Victorian workers; Christian Porter; Reconciliation Week
 
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Andrew Leigh is a Labor MP. Good morning, Andrew. How are you?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good morning, Marcus. It's great to be with you.

 

PAUL: All right, well, we can bet on a longer lockup. The blame game started. Of course, those conservatives those LNP rusted-on types are blaming Dan Andrews, it's all the Victorian Government's fault. I think perhaps if we had vaccination up to scratch and if we had quarantine facilities away from populations, and of course if we didn't go back on, you know, rules that were in place for government-controlled aged care facilities, we might have avoided this.

 

LEIGH: Absolutely, Marcus. Every outbreak from hotel quarantine is a direct result of Scott Morrison's failure to put in place a safe national quarantine system. We know quarantine is a federal responsibility because it's in the Constitution, which sets out things the federal government should do - Section 51(ix): quarantine. The Federal Government's lax pace of the vaccination rollout - we've had vaccination on slow-mo - has meant that the impact of the outbreak in Victoria has been much worse than it would otherwise have been. Other countries have half their populations fully vaccinated. We have around 2 percent fully vaccinated and only 18 percent have gotten one jab. We are not even in the top 100 countries in the world in terms of the vaccination roll out

 

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A rookery of rorts and a farrago of falsehoods

A ROOKERY OF RORTS AND A FARRAGO OF FALSEHOODS

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

THURSDAY, 27 MAY 2021

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Australia is now on track to head to $1 trillion of debt, and it is incumbent on those of us on this side of the House to look at the quality of that spending. You can't look at the quality of the spending by the Morrison government without looking at the question of scandals. We have seen a government replete with rorts, scandals and handouts to mates. The sheer volume of the scandals can sometimes overwhelm. Each scandal crowds out the previous one.

 

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The war on charities continues

THE WAR ON CHARITIES CONTINUES

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

WEDNESDAY, 26 MAY 2021

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The Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 3) Bill 2021 does a couple of things. It includes a housing measure for sole parents. It is a measure which has been much touted by the government, but its impact is much smaller than their claims would have you believe. It adjusts Medicare levy low-income thresholds, which is something that happens on an annual basis, so there's nothing to write home about there. It changes the tax arrangements for disaster recovery grant payments in such a way as to make them tax free. And it adds a number of charities to the specific listings for deductible gift recipients. Among them is the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas, a really important institute which is broadening the quantity of high-quality journalism available and collaborating with a range of media organisations in order to provide better international and regional coverage, and more investigative journalism. The work that the Judith Nielson Institute does is going to be increasingly important in the future as more pressure comes upon the media industry.

 

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Public service and political party membership

PUBLIC SERVICE AND POLITICAL PARTY MEMBERSHIP

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

TUESDAY, 26 MAY 2021

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In the 1940s and 1950s, US Senator Joseph McCarthy began a regime of attempting to seek out so-called communist sympathisers. Over that period, some 10,000 to 12,000 people lost their jobs. People's lives were ruined. People were unjustly imprisoned. The claims were exaggerated, and did nothing to improve the national security of the United States.

 

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THE MORRISON GOVERNMENT: SOFT ON THE STRONG, MEAN TO THE VULNERABLE

THE MORRISON GOVERNMENT:

SOFT ON THE STRONG, MEAN TO THE VULNERABLE

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

WEDNESDAY, 26 MAY 2021

 

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No contribution from the member for Goldstein is complete without a mention of the 'Wilson first, Australians second' campaign he's been running. Unable to persuade his own parliamentary colleagues, he continues to come in here with fluff and bluster, saying that Australians can't get a government that will actually deal with housing affordability and what they need is to be poorer in retirement. The member for Goldstein wants Australians to rip money out of their retirement savings, to lose the compounding returns and to increase the pressure on the age pension, which of course will be paid by future generations of taxpayers, all because he is part of a government that has overseen the homeownership rate fall to 60-year lows.

 

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Instead of a race to the bottom, let's have a race to global tax fairness

INSTEAD OF A RACE TO THE BOTTOM, LET'S HAVE A RACE TO GLOBAL TAX FAIRNESS

A few years ago, Scott Morrison was vociferously arguing that Australia was in a race on company taxes. Both Britain and the United States were cutting their company tax rates, and Morrison alleged that if Australia didn’t follow suit, ‘the Labor Party will leave Australian businesses stranded on a tax island — uncompetitive with the United States, with the United Kingdom, with Singapore’.

How things can change. The British Conservatives have now legislated to increase the company tax rate from 19 percent to 25 percent, taking effect from 2023. To pay for his infrastructure plan, President Biden is committed to increasing the US company tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent. A global race to the bottom in company taxes has been replaced with a recognition that firms should pay their fair share of tax. Those elements in the Liberal Party still pushing for Australia to cut company taxes are looking as old-fashioned as the climate change deniers.

 

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Scott Morrison still doesn't get it on sexism and women's safety

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING

TUESDAY, 25 MAY 2021
 
SUBJECTS: Territories’ right to legislate on voluntary assisted dying; Scott Morrison’s failure to address sexism and women’s safety
 
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Good morning, Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: G'day, Marcus. How are you?

 

PAUL: Not bad. Great to have your company this morning. Now, euthanasia - it's just one of those topics that, well, quite often we will ask MPs to vote on their conscience on. It's, as we know, it's controversial. It's very personal. My point earlier in the program was jurisdictions like the ACT and the Northern Territory, should be able to on their conscience vote on these issues without interference from the federal government. I mean after all, locals living in Canberra and surrounds vote people in within their own legislature, that is the local, not MPs, what are they called out there, MLAs. They are the ones who should decide these issues, not the federal government. That's my take anyway, Andrew.

 

LEIGH: That's right, Marcus. People will remember the history of this. In the 1990s, the Northern Territory was the first place in Australia to introduce voluntary assisted dying laws, and the Commonwealth Parliament said 'well, we can't have a territory going first, and so we'll ban the territories from legislating on euthanasia’. A quarter century on, we've now got half the states, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia, having passed euthanasia laws, Queensland is about to begin debating them, so it could well be a majority of the states have euthanasia laws in place, and yet the territories are still banned from legislating on it.

 

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Commonwealth should give back the territories' power to legislate for themselves on euthanasia

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
2CC CANBERRA LIVE WITH LEON DELANEY

MONDAY, 24 MAY 2021
 
SUBJECTS: Territories’ right to legislate on voluntary assisted dying; Upper Hunter by-election; Prime Minister’s focus on photo ops instead of vaccines
 
LEON DELANEY, HOST: The Federal Member for Fenner, Andrew Leigh, is today at some point introducing a motion into the federal parliament to seek the restoration of territory rights in matters of determining assisted dying laws. Andrew Leigh is on the phone now. Good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Good afternoon, Leon. Good to be with you.

 

DELANEY: Thanks for joining us. Have you, in fact, presented your motion as yet?

 

LEIGH: I have. It was debated at 11 o'clock this morning and it's now up to the Government as to whether they'll bring it on for debate. It's high time we got this thing fixed, Leon. It's been a quarter of a century since parliament took away the rights for Canberrans to have euthanasia debated by our local Assembly. Since then we've seen three states go ahead and enact euthanasia laws, and yet 700,000 Territorians aren't able to have their parliaments debate the issue.

 

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It's time parliament gave the territories back their power to legislate on euthanasia

IT’S TIME PARLIAMENT GAVE THE TERRITORIES BACK THEIR POWER TO LEGISLATE ON VOLUNTARY EUTHANASIA

FEDERATION CHAMBER

PARLIAMENT HOUSE

MONDAY, 24 MAY 2021

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I move:

That this House:

(1) notes that:

(a) the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 (known as the Andrews Bill) amended the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 and the Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978 to deprive these two legislative assemblies of the power to make laws relating to euthanasia;

(b) the Government of Prime Minister Howard justified this at the time as a constraint on young jurisdictions that were seen to be moving ahead of the broader public mood;

(c) when the Andrews Bill curtailed the right of territories to make laws relating to euthanasia, no other state or territory legislature had conducted a debate on similar laws;

(d) polls of public attitudes to doctor-led voluntary assisted dying suggest that support was in the high sixties in the 1980s, in the mid to high seventies in the 1990s, and in the low eighties in the past two decades;

(e) in recent years all state legislatures have debated legislation around voluntary assisted dying, with Victoria and Western Australia legalising voluntary assisted dying, and New South Wales and South Australia rejecting legalisation, while Queensland and Tasmania have processes ongoing;

(f) the anachronistic Andrews Bill means that a quarter of a century since it was passed, 700,000 Australians who live in the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory are still unable to participate in a democratic process to resolve community approaches to euthanasia;

(g) repealing the Andrews Bill would return to territories legal powers that are held by other Australian jurisdictions; and

(h) restoring territory rights does not direct that either territory legislature should consider legislating on euthanasia, it merely allows them to do so if their properly elected representatives decide it appropriate;

(2) acknowledges that:

(a) in each of the last two terms of parliament the Government has blocked debate on private Members' bills that would restore territory rights; and

(b) while senators have debated and voted on related legislation, members of the House of Representatives have been prevented from expressing their views on this issue; and

(3) calls on the Government to:

(a) explain why, in 2021, two mature legislative jurisdictions are still singled out as unworthy of legislative self-determination;

(b) commit to introduce legislation into the House of Representatives that would grant territorians legislative equality with Australians in other jurisdictions; and

(c) restore the right of territories to determine their own laws on euthanasia.

 

Yesterday I met with Katarina Knowles, who lost her father, Nebojsa Pavkovic, to Parkinson's disease.

 

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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.