Browsing articles in "Speeches"
Feb 11, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

RETIREMENT OF HON. WARREN TRUSS AND HON. ANDREW ROBB


RETIREMENT OF HON. WARREN TRUSS AND HON. ANDREW ROBB

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA

 

THURSDAY, 11 FEBRUARY 2016

 

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Thank you Mr Speaker.

It is said about Parliament, that it is hard to get here, but even harder to leave here.

I’d like to add that if you can leave on your own terms,  with the respect of your peers and the love of your family, that’s the hardest accomplishment of them all.

So it’s with the warm wishes of the entire Opposition, that I rise to thank the Deputy Prime Minister and the Member for Goldstein for their service to this Parliament and to our nation.

In preparing words about the Deputy Prime Minister, I found myself drawn back to the speech he gave in tribute to the life of Gough Whitlam in this place in October 2014.

It would have been easy for you, on a day when so many Labor people had so much to say in sadness, to perhaps be impersonal.

To recite the bare biographical facts.

But you were not.

On that day, you reflected on how Gough inspired you to become involved in politics:

“He gave me my first chance to be involved in political activities when he appointed me to the National Rural Advisory Council.

He undoubtedly encouraged me—though he did not wish to do so—to be engaged in the political process.

I joined a political party, but it was not the Labor Party.”

Instead – you joined the mighty Country Party.

You arranged busloads of farmers to come from all over Australia to help educate Gough on the error of his ways!

But the reason why that moment stayed with me is because it spoke for so many of your personal qualities.

Your warmth,  you are dry, you are often self-deprecating.

You’ve got a great sense of humour, and you have an ability to craft a meaningful, empathetic response.

The Prime Minister – and I am sure many of your colleagues – will speak at greater length about your policy and political achievements.

Now we look forward to your successor’s contribution – with some great interest, and no little trepidation.

But in particular I would like to commend you for the dignified way you handled the ongoing, unfolding sadness of MH370.

And I am sure the families of the missing would echo that thanks.

You know, in listening to your words today about your journey I’m reminded of that opening of Heather Ewart’s documentary: A Country Road.

She said:

“There is no other party in the world like the Nationals, its roots are on the land and in the blood.”

You have served that unique tradition – and fulfilled it, with honour.

And I think also you leave this place with a most unique distinction of being the only Australian politician to be mentioned on the US TV show Lost.

There was a character named Sawyer, he is dragged before a detective with an extremely unconvincing Australian accent.

He is told he is being charged with involvement in a bar fight – to which he protests that this is a ‘badge of honour’ in Australia.

At which point the detective leans in to tell him the bad news – and I quote, exactly:

“You head-butted the honourable Warren Truss: Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. One of the most important people…”

Sawyer interrupts: “He head-butted me”.

For some reason, I’m not quite sold on the image of Warren Truss, bar-room brawler.

The man that we know, and pay tribute to today, is a kinder, gentler soul.

Warren, you have been a tireless servant of your constituency, a proud advocate for country people and a strong leader of the party you have always loved.

You have earned a fulfilling, peaceful and healthy retirement with your loving wife Lynn.

We wish you both well for what the future brings you.

Now I turn to the Member for Goldstein.

He leaves this place in the same quietly effective way he has gone about his work.

He has, as has been said, lived a rich and diverse life prior to entering this Parliament.

A proud holder of a diploma in ag science from Dookie – and an economics degree from Latrobe.

He was a distinguished servant to the National Farmers Federation and the Cattle Council – quite the union representative.

And one of the principal architects of John Howard’s 1996 election victory.

Now, not all who rise to such heights within their party, behind the scenes, feel compelled to stand on the national stage in the glare of the unforgiving spotlight of public life.

But you did.

You came to this place, you signed up to the fickle vagaries of electoral fortune, because you believed you had more to offer your party and more importantly your country.

No-one in this place 12 years later can dispute that conclusion.

I want to thank you for be willing to work constructively with Labor on important issues – that will be a skill set perhaps missed when you go.

I am sure many others will pay tribute to the courage you showed in overcoming the ‘cloud’ you fought most mornings.

I would only add that while managing any mental health issue is an act of resilience and resolve and strength, being prepared to discuss it in such a frank and forthright manner, as you did, as a person in elected office, is also incredibly important.

What you did, your example, your honesty has helped break down some of the counterproductive and ill-informed stigma that afflicts so many who suffer in silence.

Because of you, and your honesty, other people will have better lives.

There is not much more that a Member of this Parliament can claim to do.

Now, you’ve flown many miles in the service of your country these past 2 and a half years in particular.

For a strong family man like you, someone who loves his wife Maureen and his children Tom, Joe and Pip very much, I know the time you have spent overseas has not just been hard on you but on them.

We sometimes talk about relationships of people across the political divide.

Perhaps they’re not as frequent as they should be.

But nearly all of us will have experienced the odd glimpse of conversation. A moment of reflection, when in fact we’re not trying to finish each other off but rather just a shared reflection about family.

Moments perhaps when we search for a topic in common, rather than a topic in which we disagree.

I’ve had to opportunity to talk to you at those glimpses here and overseas.

And my wife Chloe who has got to know you, sends you her absolute best.

But one thing I’m not sure families always hear about, is what their parents say. Anyone who knows Andrew Robb, knows how incredibly proud he is of his kids. And they deserve to hear that.

Because in every minute I’m sure that you’ve been away, your love of your children and your wife has been one of the strongest features which have enabled you to be as distinguished as you are.

And they should know how much you love them.

On behalf of my party – and my wife Chloe – I wish you and your family every happiness in the years ahead.

ENDS

 

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053

Feb 11, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Close The Gap – House of Representatives

 

CLOSE THE GAP

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, PARLIAMENT HOUSE

 

WEDNESDAY, 10 FEBRUARY 2016

 

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Thank you Mr Speaker.

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and the continent  we share, and I pay my respects to elders past and present.

This was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

Now many of us in this place use these or similar words of respect.

Words that acknowledge the custodians of our national estate for over 40,000 years.

The keepers of the world’s oldest cultures and traditions.

Our words acknowledge the resilience Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have shown in the face of more than two centuries of indignities and injustice, great and small.

And this acknowledgement, this respect, this recognition belongs in our Constitution.

Including the first members of our Australian family on our national birth certificate, should be the shared goal of all Australians.

It is well past the hour for our Constitution to speak the truth about our past, and to point the way forward for a more equal future.

The Referendum Council led by the collective wisdom of Pat Dodson and Mark Leibler, have begun crafting a question to be shaped by community conventions.

We hear a lot about the risks of rushing this process.

But when justice has been denied and delayed for so long – inaction is far more dangerous than urgency.

And whilst he’s left the Chamber I wish to say that on the question of timing, we agree with the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

May 2017, the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 referendum, would be an auspicious time for a national vote on recognition, and if elected a Labor Government will deliver a referendum then.

But recognition cannot be a mere poetic sentence or two, stapled to the front of our Constitution.

Platitudes just don’t cut it, do they?

It must be real, it must be substantive change. It must eliminate racism, and signal a declaration of national intent.

Equality in our Constitution must be twinned with a real world of equal opportunity: in housing, health, employment, education and justice.

And perhaps the most basic right of all; empowering our first Australians with the right to grow old.

Today, eight years after Prime Minister Rudd extended a hand of healing, grasped in friendship.

Supported by the then Leader of the Opposition, Brendan Nelson.

We now need to examine our progress in Closing the Gap.

Not in a spirit of self-congratulation, nor trenchant self-criticism.

But with clarity and honesty, with a determination to speak truth about what is working and what is not.

To recognise the progress we have made is uneven, and too slow.

And to redouble our efforts, in an equal, engaged and empowered partnership with the first Australians.

No Closing the Gap must in part, involve closing the political gap.

Mr Speaker,  Senator Peris and the Member for Hasluck are great servants of this Parliament.

Along indeed with Senator Lambie and Lindgren.

But we must strive to attract more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples into politics and into this place.

Not lobbying from outside, but making change inside.

With the ability to not seek to plead with the people who sit in this chamber and the other.

But to walk the carpet of this chamber and the other place, in order to have a voice in their own future.

My party has not done enough to encourage this in the past.

At our National Conference last year we vowed to do better – and we will.

Nowhere in our country though is the picture of diminished opportunity more stark or vivid, than in our justice system.

At the first COAG meeting under a Labor Government, the first item on the agenda will be setting new targets to close the justice gap.

Tackling the appalling incarceration rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

And focusing on preventing crime, reducing violence and victimization and boosting community safety.

Not just in remote communities – but in our cities, suburbs and regional towns.

It is un-Australian that if you are an Aboriginal man, you are 15 times more likely to be imprisoned than a non-Aboriginal man.

Half of all Aboriginal prisoners in custody are under the age of 30.

The re-imprisonment rate for Aboriginal young people is higher than the school retention rate.

In the last decade, imprisonment rates have more than doubled, growing faster than the crime rate.

And for Aboriginal women, there has been a 74 per cent increase in the past 15 years, meaning they make up one-third of our female prison population.

Far too many prisoners have poorly-understood disability, particularly cognitive and mental impairment.

Far too many young people see jail-time as a pre-ordained destination, part of the natural order of things.

It is not natural – these facts are more than uncomfortable, they are not the nation that we wish to see in the mirror.

It cannot be correct that the colour of your skin is a greater predictor of going to prison than any other.

And until we address this problem, we will never Close the Gap.

We cannot tolerate a criminal justice system built on processing people rather than administering justice.

The odds are stacked against people who go to jail young.

The risks of mental health issues, or substance addiction go up.

Their chances of finishing school, learning a trade or finding a good job decline.

So many children growing up with a parent in jail live with the pain of poverty and neglect.

So many end up in out-of-home care, where the Aboriginal population has grown by 440 per cent in the last 19 years.

So many of these children lead such different lives, lives of trauma.

Coming to school with mental health issues and other learning difficulties.

But it is not just these people, and these families who pay the price.

Every Australian pays a price for the failure of our justice system through higher crime rates, increased rates of family violence and reduced safety.

It is a national disgrace, it’s not one which I believe anyone consciously signs up to in this Parliament.

But when we know the problem exists, to walk past the problem makes us part of the problem.

This is why Labor’s new community safety policies will be shaped by the voices of people who truly know the justice gap: law enforcement, legal services, community sector experts.

And – above all – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their representative organisations.

Not the least of which, is the National Congress led by Jackie Huggins and Rod Little.

I look at places like Bourke, Cowra and Katherine, they’re not waiting for Parliament, they’re already engaged in justice reinvestment, to reduce crime and re-offending.

And as part of empowering communities to prevent crime, a Labor Government will support three new launch sites for the justice reinvestment model: in a major city, a regional town and remote Australia.

This is not a question of being soft on crime, far from it.

This is a plan to reduce crime.

Reducing the cost to the taxpayer, but to stop most importantly the waste of so many Australians from a better society.

Mr Speaker, four of the current seven Closing the Gap targets are focused on education.

Education as we know is essential to extending and improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

From properly-funded childcare right through to university and TAFE.

And I record the welcome of the Labor Opposition to the Government’s announcement on supporting the retention and learning of Aboriginal languages.

But above all, future opportunity for Indigenous Australians will be defined in large part by their school experience.

This is why Labor is committed to making extra investments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Already, around Australia there a tens of thousands of Aboriginal students benefitting from the additional classroom attention funded by Labor’s commitment to fund education based on need.

Last week I met with students from LeFevre High School in the western suburbs of Adelaide, where extra resources mean a stronger focus on literacy, mentoring programs and classes taught in Kaurna language.

And Vincentia Public School in NSW, where attendance at their expanded homework centre has increased from 15 students a week to over 50.

This is what extra needs-based funding delivers. Real outcomes for every child in every school.

Only Labor’s Your Child, Our Future policy will allow for the continuation and expansion of success stories such as these.

Labor’s policy will guarantee the individual attention and targeted programs Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students deserve to be at their best.

Your Child, Our Future will do more to close the gap in education than any policy decision in the last two generations.

Not just in some schools, not just for some students.

But every child, in every school, getting every opportunity.

And this opportunity must be extended equally to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

The next generation of young mothers, the generation who will close the gap, must be given the chance to make informed choices about their future.

This is why Labor is supporting the national roll-out of the Stars Program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls.

Stars is already operating successfully operating in seven schools in the Northern Territory using a similar model to the widely respected Clontarf program for young men.

As a matter of gender equality, I invite the Government to join us in funding Stars on the same basis as Clontarf.

In health we are making progress – albeit uneven – towards meeting the Close the Gap targets in health.

Maintaining bipartisan support for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan and the resources to support its Implementation Strategy, will deliver more gains.

Managing chronic disease is imperative, rolling out the NDIS nationwide is important.

And tackling the social determinants of health: from incomes to housing is vital.

But prevention in healthcare must be our priority, to ensure a healthier next generation.

This means:

  • Working for better maternal and child health.
  • Better food security.
  • Promoting healthy lifestyles and nutrition
  • Targeting smoking, alcohol and substance abuse.
  • And a more concentrated effort aimed at preventing suicide and improving mental health more broadly.

All of this depends on constructive, equal opportunity and partnerships – particularly with the Aboriginal Controlled Health Organisations.

Australia, through the work of leaders such as Fred Hollows and organisations like Vision 2020, has led the world in improving eye health.

Yet, shockingly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are six times more likely to suffer from blindness.

94 per cent of this vision loss is either preventable or treatable, with diabetic eye health, cataracts and untreated poor vision among the main causes.

And we are the last, the last developed nation in the world where the infectious and wholly preventable eye disease of trachoma exists.

It exists only among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – where it is endemic in two out of three remote communities.

With increased eye health services at the community level, many cases can be corrected overnight.

And yet 35 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults have never had an eye exam.

Addressing vision loss alone would close 11 per cent of the current gap in health.

And every dollar spent in the area would return $2.50 in economic benefit.

This country is rich enough and generous enough to deal with this issue right now.

So, today, I am pleased to announce that a Labor Government will commit an additional $9 million to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vision loss.

This will deliver

  • Increased visiting optometry and ophthalmology services to address the gap in specialist eye health care service delivery
  • And trachoma prevention strategies based on World Health Organisation recommendations

With this additional funding, we can and we will eliminate trachoma from Australia by 2020.

We can begin to turn the tide on this endemic health problem.

And we don’t mind if the Government takes this policy this afternoon, and implements it tomorrow.

It is as simple as making the decision.

Mr Speaker, it’s easy in the current political discourse to say ‘throwing money at the problem won’t solve it’, and ‘if money was going to solve it, it would have already solved it in the past’.

This is an alibi to justify cutting funding.

Because pretending that money doesn’t matter, pretending empowerment through greater resources just doesn’t make a difference, is an arrogant falsehood.

It is generally used by people for whom a lack of money and power has never been a problem.

When an Aboriginal woman is 34 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of family violence, and 11 times more likely to die.

When family violence is the number one cause of Aboriginal children being removed from their family and their community.

When too many women seeking help from family violence face significant legal, psychological and cultural barriers.

How can repeatedly cutting millions of dollars from Aboriginal legal and specialist support services possibly be part of the solution?

There is no excuse for these cuts.

You cannot cut your way to closing the gap.

Mr Speaker, in September 1842, as part of a five-night public debate on the ‘rights of the Aborigines’.

A Sydney barrister, wealthy landowner and aspiring politician, Richard Windeyer concluded his speech on the glories of colonial settlement with a haunting question:

“How is it that our minds are not satisfied?

What means this whispering at the bottom of our hearts?”

In the 174 years between then and now, that whispering has grown to a full-throated roar.

A cry for justice heard 50 years ago, when 200 Aboriginal stockmen, house servants and their families walked off Wave Hill station, not to return until they received a fair day’s pay.

Or 41 years ago, when a tall stranger poured a handful of sand through Vincent Lingiari’s fingers

31 years ago, when Uluru was formally returned to the people from whom we could never truly take it away.

28 years ago, when the High Court of Australia first learned the name Mabo.

22 years ago, on a sunny December day at a park in Redfern.

19 years ago, when Kim Beazley fought tears at this despatch box.

Or 8 years ago, when elders embraced in the galleries above us and on the lawns outside.

Yet for all this, our minds, our nation – cannot be satisfied.

Because the gap is still not closed.

The gap stands as an affront to our national sense of fairness.

Closing the Gap will demand the best of our collective energies and intellect – but that is what we should aim for, our best.

We can be not just the best multicultural nation in the world – but the nation best at empowering and respecting its first peoples.

One day, we will be able to talk of ‘one country’ – and mean it.

One day, we will be able to say racism is a relic of the past, that the fair go is colour-blind.

One day, we will be able to tell our children, and new arrivals and visitors to this land – that opportunity in Australia truly belongs to everyone.

One day, the Australian people will be able to sing with confidence the unofficial Australian anthem ‘We are One’ and it will be true.

This is not too much to hope for.

It is not too high to aim.

It is, in fact, the very least we must do.

ENDS

 

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053

Feb 10, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Closing The Gap

CLOSE THE GAP – 10TH ANNIVERSARY PARLIAMENTARY BREAKFAST

MURAL HALL, PARLIAMENT HOUSE

 

WEDNESDAY, 10 FEBRUARY 2016

 

Good morning everyone.

 

I would like to thank Aunty Matilda for warm welcome to country.

I’d like to acknowledge the Prime Minister, Richard Di Natale, Leader of the Greens. I would also like to acknowledge Jackie Huggins, she is doing a great job at Congress with Rob Little as well.

 

Also, if I can acknowledge all the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are here and if I might, without fear of triggering controversy, acknowledge Tom Calma and the remarkable President of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs who stands up for all things Australian.

 

This is, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

 

I acknowledge the traditional owners, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, and I pay my respects to elders past and present.

 

And I can tell you that as the leader of the Labor party, those words of respect carry a solemn promise.

 

To do our best, to work our hardest to Close the Gap and deliver true equality in health, housing, education, employment and justice.

I thought about what I would say this morning and I decided to share Sam’s story with you, in his own words:

 

“My name is Sam. I am a 21 year old Aboriginal man.

 

My Nana raised me and my two siblings.

 

Growing up we didn’t have much. As a teenager I was struggling.

 

Between 2008 and 2011, I started stealing to survive.

 

I was arrested and have spent time in custody.

 

When I was in legal trouble I used Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement.

 

I saw family members sitting in prison and then doing the same thing day after day when they were eventually released.

 

I soon realised quickly that isn’t the life I want to live.

 

I didn’t have any role models or supportive people in my life.

 

I eventually gained a Youth Mentor with White Lion.

 

I started making better choices.

 

I haven’t been in trouble for four years. I have been in a stable relationship for the last two years.

 

I am a father, my son David was born in November 2015.

 

I live in my own home, I have my full licence and I have my own car.

 

As of next week I will have a job as a Youth Mentor.

 

I want to be in a position where I can be a positive influence and help better the lives of Aboriginal youth.

 

I want to be a leader in my community and most importantly I want to be a strong Aboriginal role model for my son.”

 

Sam’s story: the story of an individual empowered, seizing an opportunity to fulfil their potential, to transform their life – this is what Closing the Gap means to me.

 

Not simply that conservative cliche saying “if the Aboriginal people would just pull themselves up by their bootstraps”.

 

Telling people that don’t own a pair of boots to pull themselves up by their bootstraps is not help.
In this Parliament we are powerful – the Government a little more powerful than the Opposition – but we are all collectively powerful.
We have the power here to help provide that helping hand, to provide important community-led Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander controlled culturally appropriate services.
Delivering for every one of our first peoples who are currently denied a full and equal share in our nation’s future.
This week, in our Parliament and around our country we ask Australians to face up, to remedy together, the entrenched unfairness that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples confront every day.
This is about facing up to the facts.

 

It is always a dilemma, isn’t it? Do you look at all the good things that are happening and be a bit too blue-sky and try then to overlook the problems. Or do you just simply look at the problems and then somehow you are perhaps not acknowledging the progress.
I don’t think we have to resolve that question, I think we just have to be honest. And if the honesty is uncomfortable listening, well we need to listen even harder.
We need to tell the full truth. What we see in the mirror as a nation, and indeed what we want our kids to see in the mirror of the nation when they grow up.

 

We do have shameful incarceration rates. It is wrong that an Aboriginal man of 18 is more likely to go to jail than to University.
It is wrong that we still have trachoma in our Indigenous communities.
We are a first world nation. We love being the best at something. It would appear amongst the first world nations, we are the worst at dealing with trachoma.

 

But if we are ever tempted to say the gap is too wide…or the mountain is too steep.

 

We should remember Sam’s story, or indeed, the backstories of the people introducing Malcolm, myself or Richard.

 

Because when one life changes, that changes the life of a family.
If we change the life of a family, we can change a community.
If we can change a community, then we can change the nation.
And friends, when we change the nation, we will Close the Gap.
ENDS

 

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053

Feb 9, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

LAUNCH OF RECONCILIATION AUSTRALIA REPORT

 LAUNCH OF RECONCILIATION AUSTRALIA REPORT

 

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA

 

TUESDAY, 9 FEBRUARY 2016

 

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Good morning everyone and I too would like acknowledge the traditional owners of this land on which we meet, and I pay my respects to elders past and present.

For me, those words of respect always carry a promise with them.

It’s a promise to work toward a truly, genuinely, authentically reconciled Australia.

An Australia where the gap is closed.

Where our first peoples enjoy the same opportunities and living standards so many other Australians take for granted as their Australian birthright.

I’m delighted to be here in the presence of so many distinguished guests.

I thank Nigel Scullion for his words, Shayne Neumann, my shadow spokesperson, along with many of my Labor team, including Senator Peris, Warren Snowdon and many others.

I would like to acknowledge the many Liberal Members of Parliament who are here and of course the Greens as well.

I think the launch of this report is worth one’s time. It is worth one’s time.

In parliament you make choices. You have plenty on and a lot of it is just rubbish, really, but it seems important to you when you are doing it.

This is in a different category all together.

 

For a long time, Australia was caught in a sterile and divisive argument about a false choice between ‘symbolic’ and ‘practical’ reconciliation.

That has been largely laid to rest.

I think this report measures our progress, uncomfortably so. It forces us to demand better of ourselves.

Yet there will always be people out there in the community who seek to use the overdue extension of historical justice as an excuse to whip up fear, or to dredge up old arguments about ‘reverse racism’ and ‘black armband’ view of history.

Even now, they are sharpening their arguments against constitutional recognition and the Racial Discrimination Act.

We can take heart from the progress in this report.

We can take heart from what has been accomplished in the past quarter of a century – and of course Labor will continue to push for real and substantive constitutional change.

We also know that recognition is not the end of the story.

We know the real test is actually not what we say – it is what we do when we are in power and have the opportunities to implement what we think is important.

It’s been 240 years since delegates from 13 American colonies signed their names beneath a collection of ‘self-evident truths’ in the Declaration of Independence.

All men,’ – that famous document said – ‘are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’.

Those are beautiful words.

But as we know and as history records, those words did nothing for millions of African-Americans who suffered under slavery and the indignity of segregation.

Who lived a separate, less equal life in the so-called land of opportunity.

Here in the land of the fair go – we pride ourselves on the fair go – constitutional recognition, like the National Apology before it, must always be more than rhetoric or poetry.

Because beautiful words are never enough.

Recognition cannot merely stand as a national acknowledgement of historical injustice – although that is a prerequisite.

Even now there is concern in the debate about constitutional recognition, that it is drifting.

 

We need timely action and I worry that there is now forming a legitimate scepticism. That even if there were some words changed in the constitution, and it is fundamentally important that they are changed, without action to back it up there is genuine scepticism amongst many.

Our constitutional recognition must act as a declaration of intent, a signal of our commitment to meaningful improvements and further progress, not just in the constitution but a post-constitutional recognition settlement with our first Australians.

I’m talking about childcare centres and schools, TAFE and universities, workplaces, the courts and the legal system, housing, hospitals and healthcare.

Historical justice must be twinned with real justice before the law.

Our progress needs to be measured with no-nonsense, uncomfortable indicators.

It is always hard, and it doesn’t matter which political party is in power in this regard, do you talk about the advances or do you talk about the problems?

If you talk too much about the advances, perhaps you are gilding the lily and you’re denying truth about people’s lives.

But if you talk just about the problems, then of course you could create a sense that it is all too hard.

 

The truth has to be both. This is why this report is so important.

 

The truth of the matter is family violence is shamefully high. Suicide, incarceration and preventable disease are shamefully high.

The prospect in Australia, this fantastic country which we all love and are so proud of, that a young Aboriginal man of 18 is more likely to go to jail than university. That is a fact.

 

It is not being too pessimistic – we must talk truth.

The only way through this is the adoption of a partnership of equals.

And this report paints the way forward here.

Building trust and co-operation

Embedding respect for our first peoples in our national institutions

Eliminating racism from our national life – once and for all

 

And embracing and valuing the world’s oldest living culture as part of modern Australian culture.

We need an Australia which recognises that if we have the best relationship between our first Australians and other Australians, if we are are the best in the world at that, that’s something to be proud of.

 

That’s something that makes us hold our head up higher.

 

We will be ambitious in the Olympics to do well, we should be equally and more ambitious to do even better with our relationship between our first Australians and other Australians.

When we can pledge ourselves to being the best, not just making do, but being the best – then we become a nation that we want our children to see.

We become a nation which we can explain to those visitors to our country, this is who we are.

 

We will be able to tell our children that in a modern reconciled Australia, everyone has an equal opportunity to be their best.

Equal opportunity is not a politically correct term. Equal opportunity is what constitutes reconciliation.

This is what we must demand. This is the value of this report. This is the value of reconciliation.

We should expect – and accept – nothing less.  Not only from our people, but our Parliament.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053

 

Feb 2, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

STATEMENT ON INDULGENCE: COUNTRY-WIDE BUSHFIRES AND EMERGENCY SERVICES

STATEMENT ON INDULGENCE: COUNTRY-WIDE BUSHFIRES AND EMERGENCY SERVICES

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA

 

TUESDAY, 2 FEBRUARY 2016

 


*** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY ***

 

 

Mr Speaker I rise to support the sentiments of the Prime Minister concerning Australians affected by fire and flood.

Yesterday, 447,000 Western Australian students started the school year.

But 58 students from Yarloop Primary began this year in unfamiliar surroundings and different schools, after bushfires destroyed 162 homes in their town.

Tragically, two lives were also lost in the blaze.

On Christmas Day, along Victoria’s iconic Great Ocean Road – thick smoke filled the skies over Lorne, and flames roared down almost to the water’s edge at Wye River and Separation Creek.

Families and volunteers alike left tables set with Christmas lunch to either flee the fires, or to fight them.

116 homes – many handed down from generation to generation  – would be destroyed.

The floods in the Territory and in the Hunter also caused significant dislocation.
And as we meet in this place, fires are raging in the ancient temperate forests of Tasmania.

Forests we can trace back to the supercontinent of Gondwana and the time of dinosaurs are burning, even now.
Thankfully at this stage, no lives or property are at risk

Mr Speaker these fires – at all points of our continent – were started by lightning strikes.

Random, fickle shafts of fate that set in motion loss of life, the destruction of homes, farms, fences and livestock and the reduction of some of Australia’s most beautiful forests to ash and cinder.

And in the case of every fire – it could have been so much worse.

Had it not been for the foresight, the dedication and the courage of our emergency services personnel, so many of them volunteers.

But for them, far more homes and lives would have been lost.

On behalf of all of us, and all Australians, I thank them for their bravery, their steely resolve and their service.

I extend the condolences of the House to all those who are still mourning the loss of someone they loved due to natural disasters this summer.

I offer our promise as a party, to co-operate and assist wherever we can to cut the red tape, to speed the work of rebuilding, helping families, farmers and local businesses to get back on their feet.

Mr Speaker floods and bushfires are an eternal part of life on our continent.

They are fierce, and fearsome.

But they are no match for the combined spirit of the Australian people.

When floods and fires wreak their devastation, Australians do not surrender to despair.

We rebuild, we reach out, we get on with it, we comfort and care for one another.

We do not just endure, we prevail. And we will do so again.

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053

Feb 2, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

STATEMENT ON INDULGENCE: JOHN BANNON AO

STATEMENT ON INDULGENCE: JOHN BANNON AO

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA

 

TUESDAY, 2 FEBRUARY  2015

 

*** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY ***

On behalf of our Labor family, I pay my respects to a proud son of our movement and a great leader of South Australia.

John Bannon was a man apart.

An introvert, in an industry dominated by extroverts.

A traditionalist, who modernised his state.

A historian focused on the future.

A distance runner who rose to the Premier’s office at a sprinter’s pace.

And a modest man, with so much to be proud of.

When John was just 16, his family were rocked by tragedy, when his ten-year old brother Nicholas got lost on a family bushwalk in the Flinders Ranges.

Despite a massive search effort, his body would not be recovered for two years.

The loss left a deep mark on John.

Many friends believed his famous unstinting determination was drawn in part from a sense of duty to his brother’s memory.

As South Australia’s longest serving Labor Premier, John transformed the state into a competitive economy – and Adelaide into a modern city.

Arguably, he was the father of the submarine industry in Australia when he brought it to South Australia and Bannon cleared the way for mining work at Roxby Downs.

Along with a casino and a Grand Prix, he gave Adelaide a new sense of itself and a new sense of self confidence.

John’s belief in his state as a place worthy of big events did not end when he left office.

It underwrote his 15 years as a member of the South Australian Cricket Association board, just as his passion for progress drove his work on the National Indigenous Cricket Advisory Council and his belief in better engaging remote communities through sport.

As the Prime Minister said, at John’s funeral, his daughter Victoria spoke of her father’s life -long love of running.

Incredibly, between 1969 and 2007 he completed 28 Adelaide marathons – 11 of them under the 3 hour mark.

Victoria asked her father how he kept going, he replied:

“The decision to stop or keep going should never come up, you decide at the start how far you want to go, and that’s how far you go.”

That is at the core, I believe, of the qualities that made John Bannon, a great Premier, a strong reformer, a champion for progress.

It gave him the fortitude and integrity to accept full responsibility for the collapse of the State Bank– when so many other individuals and events owned a share of that crisis.

Mr Speaker

John Bannon has earned his place in the pantheon of Labor heroes.

He has served his state with honour.

And he filled every unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run.

We remember him, we honour him.

May he rest in peace.

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053

Jan 30, 2016
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ADDRESS TO THE FIGHT FOR QUEENSLAND RALLY

ADDRESS TO THE FIGHT FOR QUEENSLAND RALLY

 

BRISBANE EXHIBITION AND CONVENTION CENTRE

 

BRISBANE

 

SATURDAY, 30 JANUARY 2016

 

***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***

Friends, colleagues, true believers one and all.

This great state can change the government – and we are counting on you to make it happen.

I acknowledge the traditional owners of this land on which we meet, I pay my respects to elders past and present.

And alongside those words of respect, we rededicate ourselves to build a better future for our first Australians.

I also want to acknowledge all the women and men of the union movement here today.

Your brave predecessors pioneered Australian unionism – and gave birth to Australia’s oldest political party.

No group of people have done more to build our nation, grow the middle class, and lift the living standards of working families.

And I can promise you this.

The Labor Party I lead will always stand with you.

We will stand with you to protect the penalty rates that millions of people rely on to put food on the table, and petrol in their car.

We stand with you lifting living standards, supporting jobs not thoughtlessly sending them overseas, selling out the jobs of seafarers, undermining Australian jobs like our opponents conspire to do.

We stand with you with plans to revitalise Australian manufacturing, not just chuck it in the too-hard basket or lazily despatch such businesses off-shore.

We stand with you and working people in our shared commitment to build an education system that provides all our children with the opportunities they deserve and need to succeed –regardless of their background or their parents’ income or their parents post code.

We stand with you, in solidarity – always.

Anastacia, I want to thank you for your generous welcome.

I was always proud to call you my friend; these days I’m delighted to call you Premier.

I also want to acknowledge State Secretary Evan Moorhead.

Evan, thank you for everything you and your volunteers are doing to keep Queensland Labor so remarkably strong.

Friends,

Every time I come to Queensland, I’m inspired by what the people in this room achieved last January.

After a shattering defeat in 2012, it would have been easy for Queensland Labor to lose itself in recriminations, finger-pointing and blame-shifting.

It would have been easy for volunteers and supporters to think it was all too hard – a Labor resurrection too far off.

It would have been easy to say to each other “2015 isn’t our time, it’s too early, let’s just try and get back a bit of ground”.

But that didn’t happen.

No one lost faith: you united, you rallied, you organised – and you worked incredibly hard.

You put forward a vision for all Queensland: from the regions and the reef, to the cities and the suburbs.

Millions of Queenslanders liked the sound of that, they trusted you – and now you’re delivering for them.

Creating jobs, building infrastructure, improving communities.

You’re focusing on the good you can do for people, the difference you can make in the lives of your fellow citizens.
That’s what Labor governments have always done; it’s why we’re here today.

Because there is so much to be done and I, and our federal team, are so driven to work with you to achieve good for this country.

You here in this room are the people Labor has always relied on to tell our story.

Your energy, your passion, your good humour and your sincere belief in the power of honesty and authenticity to make politics in our country and indeed, our country a better place.

You volunteer, you organise, you make phone calls, you letterbox, you knock on doors and you handing out leaflets at bus stops and train stations and ferry terminals.

Changing the country, one conversation at a time.

And together we have a vital and positive story to tell Australia.

At this year’s federal election, Australians will make choices that will profoundly shape our nation.

48 hours ago, I announced one of the defining policies of our Labor platform.

Labor’s historic education plan, Your Child, Our Future.

It will deliver:

  • A focus on every child’s needs
  • More individual attention
  • Better supported, resourced and trained teachers
  • More support for students with special learning needs

Every child, every school, every opportunity.

This is how Labor delivers innovation – through education.

Innovation without education is just talk.

Hollow words.

And when the Liberals’ education plan for our children and our schools is accompanied with $30 billion of wilfully destructive cuts, the choice for Australians could not be more stark.

But the choice does not stop there.

There’s a choice between a robust Medicare and properly functioning public hospitals, or the Liberals’ dreadful vandalism in slashing $50 billion from the nation’s health system…so far.

There is a choice between a Labor Party taking real action on climate change, on marriage equality, on support for a Republic.

Or this current Prime Minister of agile, fluid and nimble convictions.

The latest Liberal weathervane, who has sold-out on all three of those issues.

This Liberal Prime Minister thinks that because he failed to deliver a Republic 17 years ago, no-one can.

Because he did a dirty deal with the conservatives in the National Party to delay real action on climate change then the whole nation should wait.

Because he did a backroom deal to kick Marriage Equality into the long grass of a $160 million tax-payer funded opinion poll, our country should have to wait.

Why should all Australians have to wait because he does not have the courage of his convictions?

Who is he, to give up on behalf of Australia?

There’s a very clear choice between a Labor Party focused on creating good, secure jobs, with appropriate certainty of work and a reasonable income, revitalising manufacturing and training Australians.

Investing in new high-skill jobs in growing industries – from renewable energy to defence manufacturing.

Or a Prime Minister who only cares about one job – his own.

A Labor party lifting the living the standards of working and middle class families.

Or a rotten Liberal Party determined to hit families with a 15 per cent GST that will put up the price of everything.

Do not judge Mr Turnbull by what he says – history shows he’ll say anything – judge him by what he does.

Since our Parliament last sat in December,Mr Turnbull has cut two Ministers.

But more importantly he has cut $650 million from Medicare.

He has embraced the Liberals’ eternal campaign to abolish penalty rates.

Only people who have a very high salary can declare the weekend is over.

Who is he to hand away your time with your families for nothing?

And over Christmas, he has axed the government’s commitment to fully funding the Gonski education reforms.

What an exciting time to be Malcolm Turnbull.

Forget all the sweet talk.

Your right to a sound health system, your right to a good education for your children, your rights at work are under attack.

Mr Turnbull’s cuts to Medicare mean Australians with serious conditions and chronic diseases must pay more for vital scans and tests, if they can afford them.

This is an unconscionable attack on some of the most vulnerable Australians.

For a mother seeking a breast cancer check, it means an $85 upfront fee.

For a young couple who should be excitedly expecting a child, it will push the price of an ultrasound up to almost $200.

For our fellow Australians battling skin cancer, the cost of an essential PET scan will rise to almost $1000.

Just how out of touch can you be to be the Liberal Prime Minister of Australia?

Labor will fight these cuts.

We will fight these cuts with every breath in our body. With every capacity of our advocacy.

We will stand up for Medicare.

We believe in an Australia where it is your Medicare card, not your credit card, that guarantees access to quality healthcare.

Just as we believe that Australians who work unsociable hours, away from their friends and families, deserve to be fairly paid for their time.

A vote for Labor is a vote for Medicare.

And a vote for Labor at the next election will be a vote cast for the most significant investment in Australian schools in two generations.

Only Labor will deliver the Gonski education reforms on time and in full.

For the final two years of the Gonski reforms, a Federal Labor Government will deliver $855 million more to Queensland schools alone.

Every parent of every school aged child in this state has a very clear choice.

I speak as one parent to other parents – do not let Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals discount the resources going to your child.

Instead, let Labor make sure your child get the best start in life.

We will work as hard as every family to give their kids the best start in life.

We understand that improving education is the key to unlocking opportunity, tackling inequality and building prosperity.

We all remember our great teachers, I was raised by one.

My Mum taught me that education transforms lives, it opens doors, it gives people a new sense of what they can do and what they might be.

Like all parents, Chloe and I want the best education for our three children.

But what separates Labor from the Liberals is that we have always believed in a great education for every Australian child.

In our cities and suburbs, in country towns and along the coast, in state schools, Catholic schools and private schools.

Every child, in every school, getting every chance to be their best.

Only Labor has a fully-costed, fully-funded plan to deliver on our vision.

Only Labor can be trusted to properly fund Australia’s schools to make them world class.

Only Labor can be trusted to transform opportunities in education for Australians, not just for one year or two years but for good.

For every child, in every school. Forever.

Friends

Education is at the heart of Labor’s positive program for government.

It is central to the modern, competitive economy, and the nation’s prosperity depends on it – and therefore, us.

And we are not just talking about apps.

We are backing our words with actions, with the investment and resources that our schools, teachers and students need.

We understand the powerful, transformative roll that our teachers and staff at each school will have on every child and we are going to back them up all the way to the federal election and when elected, we will deliver.

This is the choice we’re offering Australians:

Labor will grow our economy by investing in education.

It sounds so obvious. But the Liberals are cutting money – they cut money from the schools, they cut from universities, TAFE and the early years.

We will create jobs and advance Australian industries and innovation with broad investments in education.

The Liberals are slashing TAFE and training. Now why would any government in its right mind do this?

Over 130 years the Queensland TAFE system, born of technical schools that set out to skill the workforce, has given seven million students an education beyond school they otherwise never would have had.

It has changed this state’s economy like it has changed every state’s, and in doing so liberated the potential of so many Australians who have gone in to more fulfilled, productive lives from which we have all benefited.

Labor promises to extend such opportunities to every child by investing in education. This is non-negotiable.

Why do Liberals always see spending money on your children’s education as a cost to them?

What is it they fail to understand?

Mr Turnbull, education is not a cost – it is an investment in everyone’s child and in our future.

Only Labor has a real economic plan, to support working and middle class families:

We will grow jobs and increase productivity by investing in the early years, in schools, TAFEs and universities.

We will revitalise manufacturing, especially in critical industries like defence and renewable energy.

We will build the infrastructure our regions and suburbs need.

We’ll make fair dinkum Budget savings by making sure multinationals finally pay their fair share – what is so hard about that?

And on the way through, we are going to save some taxpayer money by dumping Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull’s emissions reduction fund which is just a fund to pay big polluters to keep polluting.

We will protect weekend penalty rates that families rely on.

And we will never, never, ever introduce a 15 per cent GST.

Friends

You’re veterans of a very hard campaign last year. It was called an unwinnable election. You’ve been here before.

In this election year, we’ve got a hard fight ahead of us.

 

We are the underdogs, let’s own it, let’s enjoy it. We are not denying it.

 

We are willing to take on Malcolm Turnbull, vested interests and the big end of town because Australia is too important just to leave to these people.

 

We know that millions of Australians are counting on us, on Labor.

 

It is just not about the election.

 

We need on election night to have articulated to Australians that the Labor Party they know and value is the one they are able to vote for with proud.

 

Australians are counting on us to stand up for them.

Now, there’s a new fashion in the conservative newspapers, in the Liberal party.

It is the fashion of the moment to talk about ‘the centre,’ as if by constant repetition, they can make something true.

What the Liberals don’t understand is that while saying they were a far right wing government didn’t go so well, they think:

“We will keep the policies, we will talk about the centre – marketing trumps substance.”

But what we know is that what really counts is not political positioning and your own self-naming, it is people.

In our party, we’ve always known where the centre was because we’ve put people at the centre – of everything.

It is not the name of the political party – it is the people.

The people will always be at the centre of our decisions.

We know that what has always made Australia great is not when the top one per cent are doing well, experience shows they are very good at looking after themselves.

What we know makes Australia great, what is great about our story, Australia at its best is when we put the people first.

And under a Shorten Labor government, after three years of inadequate Liberal leadership, we will put people first again.

With your help, we can make that difference.

If you’re prepared to go one day longer, at the end of the day to have one more conversation, make one more phone call.

If you’re prepared to have the strength because of your belief in putting people first, we will do well at the next election and we will prevail.

Thank you very much.

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053

 

Dec 3, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

90 SECOND STATEMENT

90 SECOND STATEMENT


HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA

 

THURSDAY, 3 DECEMBER 2015

*** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY ***

On the International Day of People with Disability, I offer the deep sorry and sympathy of all of us in this place to the victims of the senseless shooting that has occurred in San Bernardino, California at a centre assisting people with developmental disability.

I rise to  pay tribute to Australians with disability, their carers and the people who love them.

I’m pleased to announce that a Labor Government will provide an additional $2 million in funding a year to peak disability advocacy organisations.

Australians with disabilities and their advocates spent decades seeking an end to the exile of neglect and national indifference, the second-class life imposed on our fellow Australians.

They fought, these advocates, for peace of mind for ageing parents, awake at midnight worrying who would love and care for their child with a disability when they no longer could.

Their courage and their resolve helped make the National Disability Insurance Scheme real.

Independent advocacy for people with disability will only become more important as the NDIS roll-out continues.

Organisations like: Blind Citizens Australia, Brain Injury Australia, Deafness Australia and peak bodies like the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations and Disability Advocacy Australia have dedicated years to protecting the rights and upholding the interests of Australians with disability.

We commend and salute them, today and every day.

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053

Dec 3, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

2015 VALEDICTORY

And thank you, Mr Speaker, for your service and the patience you and all the occupants of the chair, offer this Parliament.

On this final sitting day, a day of tired eyes and, possibly for some, sore heads.

As all of us in this place look forward to returning home, we think of those Australians who will not be home for Christmas.

The men and women of our defence force, serving our nation and the cause of peace around the world.

Our emergency services personnel: firefighters, ambos, nurses and police officers. For their sake, and for the sake of all Australians, we hope those on duty have a quiet Christmas.

And then there are the ordinary hard-working Australians for whom Christmas is another day when they sacrifice time with their family to help provide for their family.

Mr Speaker

Too often all of us in this place leave thanking our families to the end of our remarks.

They give up so much, and take on so much, so we can serve here.

To Chloe, Rupert, Georgette and Clementine, thank you for making it possible for me to do this job.

I love you and I’m looking forward to seeing you soon.

Mr Speaker

When this Parliament rose last year, we all knew of the threat posed by sectarian hatreds in the Middle East and violent extremism here at home.

Since then, two gunmen – one in Martin Place and one in Parramatta – have reminded us of the need for heightened vigilance and stronger cohesion.

Attacks in Paris, Lebanon, Turkey and Mali have only emphasised that this is the world’s problem to confront and to solve.

But just as we did in the face of bushfires in the west and south, and cyclones in the north, Australians have stood strong.

Australians summoned, time and time again, the courage to carry on, and the compassion to care for those in need.

Australia can be proud of this, and much more, in the year that has been.

We celebrated Australia Day with a wonderful new Australian of the year and a somewhat surprising new knight.

Rosie Batty has helped Australians face up to the national crisis of family violence.

And in acknowledging her today, we remember 78 Australian women who have been killed this year.

Let us all vow not to rest until that number is zero – each and every year.

As a Parliament and a nation, we commemorated the centenary of a chilly dawn, when a group of brave young men clambered out of small boats onto an unfamiliar beach and into history.

For our sports-loving country, there was much to cherish:

On home soil, our Netballers and Cricketers both won World Cups.

In England, the Southern Stars reclaimed the Ashes.

At Flemington, Michelle Payne made history by half-a-length – and told every bloke who ever doubted any woman, to get stuffed.

On the hottest Grand Final day on record, the Hawks barely broke a sweat on their way to a three-peat.

And in a script he must have written himself, Jonathan Thurston kicked truly to claim glory for the Cowboys.

There was loss and sadness too.

Richie Benaud and Bart Cummings passed away – the voice of our summer and the embodiment of our spring.

We farwelled Labor giants Tom Uren and Peter Walsh.

In March, the towering presence of Malcolm Fraser left us.

His legacy, particularly his contribution to the multicultural society we all celebrate, will live long after him.

In this place, we offered our condolences to Don Randall’s family. Don Randall, an unstinting, unashamedly parochial advocate for his electorate.

We bid farewell to Joan Kirner, a trail-blazer and a fearless champion for women, for education and for Victoria.

And to Faith Bandler: an activist, a fighter and a warrior who only ever wielded the weapons of compassion, respect and intelligence.

Mr Speaker

All of us who speak in this chamber and in the other place are merely visitors here, for some 20 weeks a year.

We rely on the hard work, good humour and boundless patience of the people who come to work here every day.

The smooth running of this place depends upon the calm civility of the Clerks, the Sergeant-at-Arms and their office, the Tabling Office, the Parliamentary Library, Hansard and all the attendants in this chamber.

The kilometres of corridors around us house hundreds more people without whom there would not be a Parliament: security guards, plumbers, printers, switchboard operators, carters, physios, nurses and IT support.

Dom and the cheerful crew at Aussies, who can always be counted on for a bacon and egg roll and a coffee at a critical moment.

And in a place and a profession that creates a lot of mess, I want to pay a special tribute to all the Parliament House cleaners.

Joy, Maria, Anna and Lucia, you and your colleagues are stars – and you deserve a much better deal.

The Australian Federal Police are expert at fading into the background, but we are all grateful for the work they do to keep MPs and Senators safe – and can I give a special mention to those who work in the Melbourne CPO.

I also want to thank my Comcar drivers – Steve Smith and Peter Taylor.

I know my youngest daughter appreciates your high standard of ‘I-spy’ work.

Just as I’m sure you appreciate my navigation skill and helpful driving tips.

And on the subject of low-profile people, working quietly behind the scenes to make a much-appreciated contribution – I want to thank all the members of the press gallery.

Your advice is always…available.

Mr Speaker

All of us called to serve in the Labor Caucus are only the tip of the spear.

We stand here as the proud representatives of Australia’s oldest continuous political movement.

Proud of our past but as ever, always looking forward.

We are a great, generous, sprawling, diverse, feuding and loving family.

I am grateful, every day, to every member of every branch of the Labor Party – for their dedication, their energy and their passion.

And I want to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution of our National Secretary George Wright, and our National President Mark Butler – particularly for all their work in preparing our highly successful National Conference.

To my Deputy Leader, the Member for Sydney, Tanya you are a formidable advocate and firm friend – and I thank you for your steadfast support.

To our leadership team in the other place, Penny Wong and Stephen Conroy – thank you for the way you have worked with the cross-bench, through committees and in estimates to stand up for Labor values and to hold the government to account.

To our Shadow Treasurer, the Member for McMahon and to our Shadow Finance Minister, the Member for Watson – thank you for your counsel and your friendship.

In fact, Mr Speaker, I could name the whole Caucus.

All of you can be proud of the year we have had.

A year defined by unity of purpose – and by more positive plans and policies than any Opposition has released in a generation.

All of you own a share of this, and I thank you for everything you have done to make it possible.

Mr Speaker

To make sure my staff are still listening, I have decided to thank them last.

They know, better than anyone, how hard they work and how much their hard work means to me.

Unfortunately I can’t read the rest of their handwriting, so I will leave it there.

Mr Speaker

Predictions and assumptions in politics can be a fraught business.

If you have told me in January, that by December we would have a new speaker, a new Treasurer and a new Prime Minister, I would have been rapt…but I had an election in mind.

There is a long way to go and a lot more to happen in the months ahead of us.

So with that in mind I want to wish the Prime Minister a restful and happy Christmas break with Lucy and the family.

As long as the truffles are up to standard, there’s never been a more exciting time to be Malcolm Turnbull.

I want to extend those well-wishes to all the members of the government, the cross-bench, their families and their staff for a safe and restorative break.

Serving in this place is an honour known to very few.

Regardless of allegiance or ideals, it is this privilege of service that binds us all.

The greatest loyalty we owe is not to ourselves, or to our party – but to the people and the nation we have the honour to represent.

Let us remember this and live up to it – next year and always.

Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year.

I thank the house.

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053

Nov 27, 2015
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

 LABOR COMMITS TO NET ZERO POLLUTION BY 2050

Ahead of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, Labor has set a long term goal of net zero pollution by 2050.

 

This will ensure Australia is in line with the global, bipartisan goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius on pre-industrial levels.

 

If we do not act, Australia will continue to experience an increase in extreme weather events, more severe droughts and rising sea levels.

 

All of which will come at an incredibly high cost to our economy, our environment and our way of life.

 

Labor accepts the science that limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius is necessary to avert dangerous climate change.

 

That commitment requires Australia to be a net zero pollution economy by the middle of the century.

 

Transitioning Australia to a net zero emissions economy by 2050 requires a decarbonisation pathway.

 

Under Labor, this pathway will have a number of milestone targets to ensure that Australia is on-track.

 

Experts, the environment sector and vulnerable nations strongly advocate for five year pledge and review arrangements and the UK, US, China and France have also proposed this.

 

A Shorten Labor Government will implement a five yearly pledge and review mechanism to assess progress and to adjust commitments over time.

 

To achieve the target of net zero pollution by 2050, Labor will consult on the Climate Change Authority’s 2030 baseline target of a 45 per cent reduction in carbon pollution on 2005 levels.

 

And within a year of coming to Government we will also put in place a 2025 target.

 

Labor will use the Climate Change Authority’s recommendation of a 45 per cent reduction as the basis for our consultations with industry, employers, unions and the community.

 

We will undertake this process mindful of the consequences for jobs, for regions and for any impacts on households.

 

Labor’s Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Mark Butler will lead this process and will report to Shadow Cabinet by the end of March next year.

 

Australians expect their leaders to take climate change seriously, and rely on the best science when developing their policies.

 

Australians know that the longer we delay action on climate change, the more severe the cost.

 

Malcolm Turnbull may be leader of the Liberal Party but his policies are Tony Abbott’s.

 

Australia goes to the Paris Climate Change conference as the only nation that has gone backwards on climate action in the past two years – with a policy that cannot and will not work.

 

Under the Liberals’ policy, it is taxpayers, not polluters, who pay to reduce emissions at a significant cost to the budget.

 

Australia deserves a stronger policy and a real plan.

 

For more details on Labor’s plan visit: www.alp.org.au/climatechangeactionplan

 

FRIDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2015

 

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

                                    KAREN GROGAN (BUTLER) 0407 970 835

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