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BUSINESS OF THE MAIN COMMITTEE

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Main Committee meets at 10.30 a.m.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Orders of the day

1   address in reply to the governor-general’s speech: Resumption of debate ( from 18 November 2010 ) on the proposed Address in Reply.

2   GRIEVANCE DEBATE: Question—That grievances be noted—Resumption of debate ( from 15 November 2010 ).

Committee and delegation reports

Orders of the day

1   Education and Employment—Standing Committee—advisory report on the higher education legislation amendment (student services and amenities) bill 2010—MOTION TO TAKE NOTE OF DOCUMENT: Resumption of debate ( from 15 November 2010 ) on the motion of Ms Rishworth—That the House take note of the report. ( Order of the day will be removed from the Notice Paper unless re-accorded priority on any of the next 8 sitting Mondays after 22 November 2010. )

PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS —continued

Orders of the day —continued

1   organ donation: Resumption of debate ( from 15 November 2010 ) on the motion of Ms Brodtmann—That this House:

(1) notes that:

(a) organ donor rates are showing slow and sustained improvement in 2010;

(b) more than 98 per cent of Australians agree that organ and tissue donation have the potential to save and improve lives, yet less than 60 per cent of Australians accept the invitation for their loved ones to become organ donors when asked;

(c) there are more than 1700 Australians on the transplant waiting list at any time;

(d) many more Australians cannot get into waiting lists as they are too sick or unlikely to receive a life saving transplant because there are not enough donors; and

(e) the Government has invested more than $150 million over four years to establish a coordinated approach to organ donation, enabling all jurisdictions to work cooperatively to support sustained improvements in organ donation in Australia; and

(2) acknowledges:

(a) the selfless act of the 228 donor families who h ave already donated organs in 2010 (to 30 September), which has saved or improved the lives of at least 683 Australians;

(b) the work undertaken across jurisdictions led by the National Medical Director of the Australian Organ and Tissue Authority, State and Territory Medical Directors and clinical groups to develop nationally consistent protocols and clinical triggers;

(c) the support of community groups such as Gift of Life, Kidney Health Australia, Transplant Australia, the Organ Donation and Transplant Foundation of Western Australia and the David Hookes Foundation, which are integral in supporting the work of clinicians in improving organ donor rates; and

(d) the importance of a steady and sustained improvement in organ donor rates to support Australia’s quest to become a world leader in organ and tissue donation and transplantation. ( Order of the day will be removed from the Notice Paper unless re-accorded priority on any of the next 8 sitting Mondays after 22 November 2010. )

2   human rights in iran: Resumption of debate ( from 15 November 2010 ) on the motion of Mr Neumann—That this House:

(1)  notes with deep concern the ongoing human rights violations in Iran, including the:

(a)  use of the death penalty, especially the use of stoning as a method of execution;

(b) violations of the rights of women;

(c) repeated violations of due process of law;

(d) use of violence, intimidation and arbitrary arrest to suppress peaceful opposition activity and the impact this has on the ability of Iranians to exercise their freedom of expression, association and assembly;

(e)  reported arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture of opposition protestors;

(f) discrimination against and failure to protect the rights of minorities, including the Bahá’í, Sufi, Baluch, and Kurdish communities; and

(g) trial and reported sentencing of seven Bahá’í leaders—Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm—for insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic; and

(2) calls upon the G overnment of the Islamic Republic of Iran to:

(a)  ensure that the rights of all individuals are fully protected, without discrimination, and that it fulfils its obligations to its own citizens as set out in the Iranian constitution;

(b) abide by its international human rights obligations, including the rights to freedom of religion or belief as set out in Article 18 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights; and

(c) ensure that all trials, including the case of the seven Bahá’í leaders, are fair and transparent and conducted in accordance with Iran's international obligations. ( Order of the day will be removed from the Notice Paper unless re-accorded priority on any of the next 8 sitting Mondays after 22 November 2010. )

3   joint select committee on broadband: Resumption of debate ( from 25 October 2010 ) on the motion of Mr Turnbull—That this House:

(1)  a Joint Select Committee on Broadband be appointed to inquire into and report on all aspects of the business of the NBN Co. including its construction, operations, financing and any other matters related thereto;

(2) the committee consist of 10 members, 2 Members of the House of Representatives to be nominated by the Government Whip or Whips, 2 Members of the House of Representatives to be nominated by the Opposition Whip or Whips and 1 by any non-aligned Member, 2 Senators to be nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and 2 Senators to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and 1 Senator to be nominated by any minority group or groups or independent Senator or independent Senators;

(3) every nomination of a member of the committee be notified in writing to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives;

(4) the members of the committee hold office as a joint select committee until the House of Representatives is dissolved or expires by effluxion of time;

(5) the committee will elect a chair;

(6) the committee elect a member as its deputy chair who shall act as chair of the committee at any time when the chair is not present at a meeting of the committee , and at any time when the chair and deputy chair are not present at a meeting of the committee the members present shall elect another member to act as chair at that meeting;

(7) the Chair and Deputy chair shall not both be from either the Government, Opposition or Crossbench members;

(8) in the event of an equally divided vote, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote;

(9) 3 members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee provided that in a deliberative meeting the quorum shall include 1 Government member of either House and 1 non-Government member of either House;

(10) the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of 3 or more of its members and to refer to any subcommittee any matter which the committee is empowered to examine;

(11)  the committee appoint the chair of each subcommittee who shall have a casting vote only and at any time when the chair of a subcommittee is not present at a meeting of the subcommittee the members of the subcommittee present shall elect another member of that subcommittee to act as chair at that meeting;

(12) 2 members of a subcommittee constitute the quorum of that subcommittee, provided that in a deliberative meeting the quorum shall include 1 Government member of either House and 1 non-Government member of either House;

(13) members of the committee who are not members of a subcommittee may participate in the proceedings of that subcommittee but shall not vote, move any motion or be counted for the purpose of a quorum;

(14)  the committee or any subcommittee have power to call for witnesses to attend and for documents to be produced;

(15) the committee or any subcommittee may conduct proceedings at any place it sees fit;

(16) the committee or any subcommittee have power to adjourn from time to time and to sit during any adjournment of the Senate and the House of Representatives;

(17) the committee may report from time to time;

(18) the provisions of this resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the standing orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders; and

(19) a message be sent to the Senate acquainting it of this resolution and requesting that it concur and take action accordingly. ( Order of the day will be removed from the Notice Paper unless re-accorded priority on any of the next 8 sitting Mondays after 22 November 2010. )

4   pensions: Resumption of debate ( from 25 October 2010 ) on the motion of Mr Adams—That this House:

(1) notes that pensions must keep pace with the cost of living;

(2) recognises the significance and importance of the Labor Government’s $14 billion reform of the pension system after over 11 years of Coalitio n inaction;

(3) understands that when there is a Commonwealth pension rise, some of it is likely to be absorbed into pensioners’ rising living costs, often as a result of States and Territories lifting housing rents and power costs;

(4) notes the danger that pensioners are at risk of becoming impoverished if State and Territory governments do not allow the benefits of pension increases to flow through to pensioners; and

(5) demands that all State and Territory Governments commit to permanently quarantining last September’s pension rise, in the calculation of pensioners’ public housing rent levels and other State and Territory government controlled costs. ( Order of the day will be removed from the Notice Paper unless re-accorded priority on any of the next 8 sitting Mondays after 22 November 2010. )

5   surf life saving australia: Resumption of debate ( from 25 October 2010 ) on the motion of Mr Lyons—That this House:

(1) acknowledges and congratulates the over 153 000 volunteer members and staff of Surf Life Saving Australia;

(2) notes that:

(a) Surf Life Saving Australia faces many challenges in looking after the nation’s largest and most popular playground, o ur beaches, with over 100 million beach visitations each year; and

(b) in its 103 years of service, Surf Life Saving Australia is defying trends by increasing volunteer numbers, which is a great reflection of an organisation strongly connected to unique Aussie lifestyle, culture and adaptability;

(3) supports Surf Life Saving Australia’s efforts in advocating for nationally consistent standards for coastal safety services, systems and signage;

(4) acknowledges Surf Life Saving Australia’s international aid and development programs in 25 countries, mainly in the Asia Pacific region, playing its part in showcasing the nation’s global goodwill; and

(5) supports the establishment of bi-partisan ‘Friends of Surf Life Saving’ amongst Members of Parliament and Senators, providing the opportunity for Surf Life Saving Australia to keep the country’s leaders informed about the humanitarian, social and economic value of Surf Life Saving Australia to the Australian community. ( Order of the day will be removed from the Notice Paper unless re-accorded priority on any of the next 8 sitting Mondays after 22 November 2010. )

6   national carers week: Resumption of debate ( from 25 October 2010 ) on the motion of Ms Owens—That this House:

(1) recognises:

(a) that the week of 17 to 23 October was National Carers Week;

(b) that there are more than 2.6 million carers in Australia;

(c) the caring role is one of immense social and e conomic value, with carers being the foundation of our health, aged, palliative and community care systems;

(d) as health care increasingly moves away from ‘institutional’ settings into the home and community, family carers shoulder greater responsibility for managing complex conditions and providing the emotional and physical support for the person for whom th ey are caring;

(e) without carers, no future health or community care system will be able to respond to changing demographics and health needs, clinical practices and societal influences, in the long term;

(f) the Government’s practical measures to improve the lives of carers through significant reforms across the disability, health, mental health and aged care service systems, including:

(i) delivering a $60 a fortnight increase to the base pension plus an increase of $5 a fortnight in the new Pension S upplement for carers receiving the maximum single rate of Carer Payment (a total increase of around $100 per fortnight, after indexation increases from 20 March);

(ii) guaranteeing the certainty of an annual ongoing Carers Supplement of $600 for each person cared for, benefiting around 500 000 carers;

(iii) overhauling the complex and restrictive eligibility requirements for Carer Payment (Child);

(iv) significantly boosting funding to the State and Territory governments for specialist disability services including supported accommodation, in-home care and respite; and

(v) commissioning the Productivity Commission to examine the feasibility, costs and benefits of a National Long Term Disability Care and Support Scheme; and

(2) calls on the Government to renew its commitment to carers in this Parliament and to exercise all instruments of policy to support carers in their vital work. ( Order of the day will be removed from the Notice Paper unless re-accorded priority on any of the next 8 sitting Mondays after 22 November 2010. )

7   mental health: Resumption of debate ( from 25 October 2010 ) on the motion of Mr Dutton—That this House:

(1) notes that:

(a) mental illness afflicts more Australians than almost all other health disorders, only ranking behind cancer and heart disease in prevalence;

(b) forty-five per cent of the nation’s population will experience a mental health disorder at some point in life;

(c) younger Australians—those between 16 and 24—bear the brunt of mental illness, with prevalence of problems declining with age;

(d) with early and targeted treatment, many people can overcome mental illness or lower the incidence of progression or relapse;

(e) expansion of the headspace and Early Psychosis Prevention Intervention Centres (EPPIC) models could help an estimated 200 000 young Australians, and in doing so, free-up existing services for others with mental illnesses whilst alleviating pressures on public hospitals and emergency departments; and

(f) the Government has moved to cut services in mental healthcare;

(2) requires the Government to:

(a) expand the number of headspace centres to a minimum of 90 nationally;

(b) establish a national network of 20 EPPIC centres;

(c) provide an additional 800 beds for mental health, associated with the EPPIC centres;

(d) appropriate funds necessary to provide these critical steps to expanding mental health treatment facilities; and

(e) immediately provide additional funds for existing headspace centres; and

(3) sends a message to the Senate acquainting it of this resolution and requesting that it concur. ( Order of the day will be removed from the Notice Paper unless re-accorded priority on any of the next 8 sitting Mondays after 22 November 2010. )

8   cord blood donations: Resumption of debate ( from 25 October 2010 ) on the motion of Mrs D'Ath—That this House:

(1) that many lives have been saved through the research and the use of organ and blood donations throughout Australia;

(2) that one form of donation is cord blood from the umbilical cord and placenta, and that:

(a) research has shown that his blood is a rich source of blood forming stem cells known as haemopoietic stem cells;

(b) the use of these cells for transplantation to a sufferer of leukaemia, lymphoma, and some tumours, provides the best chance for a cure; and

(c) recent research has established that umbilical cord blood stem cells can demonstrate plasticity, suggestin g a role for them in the treatment of diseases such as diabetes, cerebral vascular disease, and Parkinson’s disease;

(3) that the collection of umbilical cord blood cells for research and for processing is a safe and non-invasive procedure, and that this procedure does not involve the destruction of an embryo given that the umbilical cord and placenta are usually discarded as waste;

(4) that the collection of umbilical cord blood is not available in all States and Territories or hospitals throughout Australia, and that:

(a) the collection, processing and storage of umbilical cord blood requires specialised techniques by appropriately trained and accredited professionals; and

(b) based on limitations on the collection centres that currently exist, not all permissions for donations given by women at existing collection centres results in the actual collection of the cord blood;

(5) that the Federal Government already funds the Australian National Cord Blood Collection Network; and

(6) the great work bein g done by the Australian National Cord Blood Collection Network, AusCord, the Australian national network of umbilical cord blood banks and cord blood collection centres. ( Order of the day will be removed from the Notice Paper unless re-accorded priority on any of the next 8 sitting Mondays after 22 November 2010. )

9   telstra’s grafton call centre: Resumption of debate ( from 18 October 2010 ) on the motion of Ms Saffin—That this House:

(1) notes with grave concern:

(a) Telstra’s stated proposal to close its Business Call Centre in Grafton, with the loss of 108 local jobs, and the relocation of some of these jobs to Brisbane and Melbourne;

(b) the damaging flo w on effect to a regional economy from such significant job cuts;

(c) the perception that Telstra is abandoning regional Australia; and

(d) Telstra’s claim that it can improve customer service while carrying out a program of job cuts;

(2) acknowledges the Clarence Valley community’s strong support for the campaign to save local Telstra jobs evidenced by the actions of Mayor Richie Williamson, the Grafton Chamber of Commerce and the 5559 people who signed my petition calling for Telstra to keep the Call Centre open, and not abandon regional Australia; and

(3) calls upon Telstra’s Chief Executive Officer David Thodey to stop the closure of the Grafton Call Centre to demonstrate a commitment by Telstra to Regional Australia. ( Order of the day will be removed from the Notice Paper unless re-accorded priority on any of the next 7 sitting Mondays after 22 November 2010. )

10   special disability trusts: Resumption of debate ( from 18 October 2010 ) on the motion of Mrs Moylan—That this House:

(1) acknowledges the work of carers, and in particular ageing parents caring for profoundly disabled dependents;

(2) recognises that ageing parent carers remain deeply concerne d about the diminishing capacity to care for their dependent children;

(3) appreciates the special challenges faced by families, and in particular ageing parents, who wish to make provision for the needs of their disabled dependents;

(4) notes that:

(a)  disability trusts were established in September 2006 by the Coalition Government to assist families make provision for the future housing and care needs of dependents with severe disabilities;

(b) despite the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs estimating that over four years, 5000 people with severe disability would benefit from Special Disability Trusts, as at 31 March 2010, 423 people have been assessed as eligible, and only 91 trusts have been established; and

(c) since establishing Special Disability Trusts, it has become apparent that the conditions governing eligibility and management, as well as direct and wider taxation implications, have limited the workability and uptake of the trusts;

(5) acknowledges that conditions diminishing the attractiveness of the trusts include the:

(a) complex application of taxation rules;

(b) inflexibility in what trust funds may be used for;

(c) inability for beneficiaries, through Special Disability Tru sts, to claim the first home owners grant and other home saving initiatives;

(d) high initial eligibility threshold requiring a beneficiary to be eligible for at least a Carer Allowance, the regulations of which state, inter alia , that care for a ‘significant period’ must be given, defined as at least 20 hours a week of care;

(e) eligibility requirements disfavouring mental impairment disabilities; and

(f) attribution of Capital Gains Tax to transferors where, in particular, houses are placed into Special Disability Trusts;

(6) condemns the Government for not taking seriously the recommendations outlined in the October 2008 Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs report entitled: Building Trust, Supporting Families through Disability Trusts ; and

(7) calls on the Government to fully examine the viability of implementing the Senate Committee’s recommendations with a view to assisting ageing parents to adequately address the future needs of their profoundly disabled dependents. ( Order of the day will be removed from the Notice Paper unless re-accorded priority on any of the next 7 sitting Mondays after 22 November 2010. )

11   overseas trained doctors: Resumption of debate ( from 18 October 2010—Mr Georganas , in continuation ) on the motion of Mr Scott—That this House:

(1) an inquiry into the role of Australia’s medical and surgical colleges in the registration process of medical graduates and overseas train ed doctors; and

(2)  the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship to delay the revocation of 457 visas for those doctors who have been deregistered due to failure of the Pre Employment Structured Clinical Interview, to allow adequate time for a review of their case and reassessment of their competency. ( Order of the day will be removed from the Notice Paper unless re-accorded priority on any of the next 7 sitting Mondays after 22 November 2010. )

12   forestry industry: Resumption of debate ( from 18 October 2010 ) on the motion of Mr Adams—That this House:

(1) recognises that the forestry industry is an important part of the Australian economy but is currently in crisis;

(2) understands that it is necessary to secure the viability of forestry dependent communities and to create well paid, high skilled jobs by value adding to our natural resource;

(3) supports the process whereby the forestry unions, government, industry, environment and community groups working together will allow a complete restructure of the industry that will determine that any transition is fair and just for workers, their families and communities; and

(4) calls on the House to ensure that interim payments to those facing hardships because of the transition, and those exiting the industry, can be assisted in a timely manner. ( Order of the day will be removed from the Notice Paper unless re-accorded priority on any of the next 7 sitting Mondays after 22 November 2010. )

13   national stroke awareness week: Resumption of debate ( from 18 October 2010—Ms O'Neill , in continuation ) on the motion of Ms Hall—That this House:

(1) notes that:

(a) National Stroke Awareness Week was 13 to 19 September;

(b) sixty thousand people will suffer a stroke this year, that is, one stroke every 10 minutes;

(c) stroke is the second single greatest killer after coronar y and a leading cause of disability in Australia;

(d) one in five people having a first stroke die within one month, and one in three die within one year;

(e) twenty per cent of all strokes occur in people under fifty five years of age;

(f) eighty eight per cent of stroke survivors live at home, and most have a disability;

(g) stroke kills more women than breast cancer;

(h) stroke costs Australia $2.14 billion a year, yet is preventable; and

(i) education plays an important role in reducing the occurrence of stroke; and

(2) acknowledges:

(a) the role played by the families and carers of stroke victims;

(b) the work o f the National Stroke Foundation;

(c) the effectiveness of the FAST campaign; and

(d) that prevention is the best cure. ( Order of the day will be removed from the Notice Paper unless re-accorded priority on any of the next 7 sitting Mondays after 22 November 2010. )