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Order In The House -

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This program is not subtitled Welcome to Order in the House, in Federal Parliament. a review of the week's business "Well, what about Mr Rob Gerard?" I would have said to him, And, Mr Speaker, I have never seen in all my life. such an enthusiastic response In all my life! should be censured,

should be sacked! and I think this Treasurer ALP BENCHES: Hear, hear! It seems that at least

on that side of the chamber there's only one or two for young people and their families that realise the grave implications piece of legislation. as a result of this ideological they had the opportunity, When the ALP were in government was not taken from 17-year-olds the opportunity to ensure that money and used for political purposes. who was a mature-age student - Or it wasn't taken from my father -

and they did nothing! and used for political purposes, THEME MUSIC The Treasurer began the week sustained Opposition attacks using humour to counter of Liberal Party donor Robert Gerard over his appointment to the Reserve Bank board. By week's end the smile was gone,

were damaged. and his leadership aspirations My question is to the Treasurer, on five occasions in this place and refers to his refusal to deny that he said to Mr Gerard, with the Tax Office, "I know there is a problem with you on the board." "but I don't have a problem use these words or not? Did the Treasurer

The Honourable the Treasurer.

he had an issue with the Tax Office. I never said to Mr Gerard that with the Tax Office. I never knew that he had an issue his tax affairs had to be in order, What I said to Mr Gerard was that a declaration to that effect, and that he would have to sign which he did. that Mr Gerard's business dispute Treasurer, is it the case was on the public record with the Tax Office Supreme Court Registry at the South Australian was appointed to the board? before Mr Gerard there was no privacy constraint Treasurer, does this mean stopping the Tax Commissioner tax dispute involving Mr Gerard? from discussing the public advise the Treasurer, Given this, did the Tax Commissioner on the Treasurer's behalf or his office or anyone acting with Mr Gerard? of the Tax Office's public dispute

The Honourable the Treasurer. did no such thing. The Tax Commissioner South Australian Supreme Court, As to matters in the there were matters on the file as I understand the situation, and, as such, which were never put to court are in fact not on the public record. on the legal question, I would not want to take my chances what I am advised. but that is in fact Seeing as the tax commissioner did not give any advice to the Government, nor did Mr Gerard give any advice "Oh, well, of course, now the Opposition says, at the Registries "you should have been down all of the court cases, "checking through

this particular incident." "because everybody knew all about why wasn't it until last week Let me say if everybody knew, Financial Review' reported it? that the 'Australian Opposition raise it three years ago? If everybody knew, why didn't the I refer the Treasurer to the fact told the ABC program 'Insiders', that the Prime Minister yesterday 'What about Robert Gerard?'" "Peter came to me and said, to the Prime Minister? Did the Treasurer say that The Honourable the Treasurer. Opposition's asked his question. Order, order! The Leader of the

the opportunity to answer it. The Treasurer is now going to have The Treasurer. Minister, how are you today?" I most probably said, "Mr Prime Then, having got on his right side, Mr Speaker, said, said to him, as per normal." "You're looking fit and healthy And, Mr Speaker, I would have said to him, after going through the formalities,

who is a manufacturer, since we were looking for somebody Sydney or Melbourne, preferably from outside "What about Mr Rob Gerard?" I think I would have said to him, enthusiastic response in all my life. And I have never seen such an In all my life! UPROAR Order! Order.

such an enthusiastic response, And, Mr Speaker, having had was to go into Cabinet. the next thing we did "What about Mr Rob Gerard?" We said to the Cabinet, I do not want to gild the lily, Cabinet ministers but all of the South Australian

from the rafters, Mr Speaker, started swinging swinging from the rafters, saying, to have a South Australian "What a wonderful idea it is "on the Reserve Bank board." of those South Australian ministers Let me let you into a secret - some when they swing from the rafters. are very agile And very flexible, Mr Speaker, in the Cabinet. with unanimous support Treasurer's comments yesterday, Is the Minister aware of the Cabinet supported his proposal when asked if other members of Reserve Bank board, when he said, to appoint Mr Gerard to the Cabinet ministers "All of the South Australian from the rafters saying, "started swinging 'What a wonderful idea it is...'" of Gerard Industries Given that the sham tax arrangements in South Australia, were before the courts before Cabinet unanimously agreed with widespread media coverage to the appointment of Mr Gerard, swinging from the rafters in support? can the Minister explain why he was Order! Senator Minchin. Yes, I am aware of those remarks.

live from my office yesterday. Actually, I was able to watch them about our Treasurer of course One of the great things

a colourful turn of phrase. is that he has of the many attributes Indeed, that is one to the Prime Ministership one day he will bring Prime Minister John Howard. when he does succeed movement and light that he will bring I look forward to the colour, as he does. to the House of Representatives, what goes on in the Cabinet Room, I do not normally comment on

that Amanda Vanstone but I can assure you were not swinging from any rafters. and Robert Hill and I at least in the Cabinet Room. I am not aware there are rafters

to dance on the table, Some may have been tempted but I was not conscious of that either. Did the Prime Minister have any discussions with the Treasurer or any other member of the Government or of the Liberal Party regarding who should replace Mr Ron Walker as Treasurer of the Liberal Party? It would obviously have been the case that, as leader of the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party, I would have had discussions about Mr Walker's replacement, he having indicated in his statement today that he said in 2002 that he was going to stand down. Mr Walker also went on in that statement to say

that Mr Gerard was approached and Mr Gerard declined without giving any specific reason. I can certainly repeat what I said through a spokesman last night, that I have no recollection of Mr Gerard declining on account of matters relating to tax. You asked me whether I had any discussions with the Treasurer.

I have actually no specific recollection of a discussion with the Treasurer about this matter, although it is entirely possible in the nature of things, he being the Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party, we would have talked about it. Is the Treasurer aware of Mr Ron Walker's comments, replayed on this morning's ABC 'AM' program, "I'd have to say Peter Costello's a great friend of mine,

"a very personal friend of mine, and I've known him for many years..."

Treasurer, is Mr Walker right about this close friendship and, given that this close friendship exists, does the Treasurer seriously expect the House to believe that Mr Walker did not canvass with him

who should be the Treasurer of the Liberal Party? Order! Order! Oh, yeah! I'm pleased this question's for you, sport. The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. The Member for Mackellar. Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would remind you that Standing Order 98 says that during question time a member may ask a question of a minister for things which he is officially connected to. The questions which the Leader of the Opposition is asking are not matters that meet the description set out in Standing Order 98, and I would ask you to rule him out of order.

Order. I thank the Member for Mackellar. I am listening carefully to the Leader of the Opposition, but he has not completed his question, so I will ask the Leader of the Opposition to continue. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Secondly, that the Treasurer did not know that Mr Gerard was on the list of possible replacements for Mr Walker, and that the Treasurer did not know that Mr Gerard had tax problems

prior to his appointment to the board of the RBA? In calling the Treasurer, the Treasurer is not required to comment on party matters, but I'm calling the Treasurer. The import behind this allegation collapsed today when Mr Walker put out his statement, which the Prime Minister has already read out. Mr Walker said that when he went to Mr Gerard, he declined to be considered for the post and gave no specific reason. So how Mr Walker could pass on to me a reason which wasn't in fact given to him is a bit beyond me. But no doubt the inventive minds of the Opposition, they'll work on that one as well. As for Mr Walker himself, yes,

I believe that Mr Walker is a very fine man. Mr Walker has done a lot for this country.

Does the Treasurer recall stating in the House yesterday, "My chief of staff rang the Tax Commissioner "to ask if the tax commissioner had any material on Mr Gerard..." Why did the Treasurer direct his chief of staff to do the unusual and contact the Commissioner of Taxation about Mr Gerard's tax affairs? Treasurer, has your chief of staff made any similar inquiries about any other Reserve Bank board appointment? The Honourable the Treasurer. I did not say that I had directed him to do that. This again is the way in which the Member for Lilley works. He wilfully misrepresents people's answers and then asserts them, and then asserts them, and then tries to get them reported as fact. But the fact that the assertion is made by the Member for Lilley of course does not make it fact. Again, he has wilfully misrepresented what I said. The chief of staff, as I said to the Parliament, made inquiries. He was making his checks.

If he had not, no doubt you would have complained that he should have. But he did. Why did the Treasurer's chief of staff contact the Tax Commissioner? And, Treasurer, has your chief of staff made any similar inquiries about any other Reserve Bank board appointment? The Honourable the Treasurer. He did it because he was doing his job as he's required to do. Order! Well, Mr Speaker...

..I was just asked by an interjection did I direct him. In fact, if you'd listened to the answer I gave, I said I hadn't directed him, in the last answer, after that was alleged by the Member for Lilley. So, I know you've got to string out another three questions to get to the end of question time. He was doing his job, he was being thorough in doing his job,

it didn't turn up anything. Treasurer, if the chief of staff did not turn anything up, what was he looking for and why was he looking? I ask you for the third time - has your chief of staff made any similar inquiries about any other Reserve Bank board appointment? The Honourable the Treasurer. As I said earlier, he was doing his job.

If he had not done his job, you would no doubt have complained. As to what he has done on previous occasions, I don't know. If you like, I will ask him. But, Mr Speaker, if you like, I will ask him. But can I make this point - if the chief of staff makes an inquiry, I would have thought he was doing his job. As it turned out, he was not apprised of any information.

Did he have any knowledge that he did not pass on? No. Treasurer, isn't it the case that you knew about Mr Gerard's tax problems and cooked up a cover-up so that you could reward a million dollar Liberal Party donor mate? The Honourable the Treasurer. Absolutely false, Mr Speaker. I am going to answer the question. Absolutely false.

The allegations that the Leader of the Opposition has just put are absolutely false, and the idea... The Treasurer will resume his seat.

The Leader of the Opposition was allowed to ask his question. The Treasurer should be allowed to be heard to give his answer. I call the Treasurer. The allegation that the Leader of the Opposition has just put is absolutely false. The suggestion that either I knew or my office knew or had gone through court records in 2003 is absolutely repudiated. The idea that I knew anything that was in the 'AFR' is absolutely repudiated.

The idea that my chief of staff knew those matters

The idea that there was any conspiracy is absolutely repudiated. Yesterday they were saying that Mr Walker had passed this information onto me.

What transpires today? Mr Walker did not even know this, let alone was he in a position to pass this on. Here we have an Opposition which has made false allegation after false allegation. If this was all known in March 2003,

why didn't somebody in the press gallery report it? If this was all so well known in March 2003, why didn't the Opposition report it? The Leader of the Opposition was asked earlier today, I believe on 3AW, "Why didn't you raise this in March 2003?"

And he said, "Oh, well, the Iraq war was on." The Iraq war was on. This document here is what represents the public knowledge - at least one small aspect of it - that appeared during the course of the... ..around the time of the appointment of Mr Gerard. What does its headline say? - 'The Advertiser', Adelaide - "Gerard takes the taxman to court over bill for $70 million." That is point 1. Point 2, as I know from my experience as a minister, every single piece of paper that is produced in the clippings service goes onto the desk of the relevant minister -

in this case, the Treasurer. The notion that the collected clippings, the notion that the collected clippings in the Treasurer's office that day in March did not include this is an absolute nonsense! When I was Minister for Defence, every day, every day, on the Department of Defence, every day that there was a story in the clippings service, a story on the Department of Defence straight on the desk. and it was seen either by him This was on the Treasurer's desk,

or members of his staff that day. I never saw this clip. Let me also say by the way, this was after the appointment. by the way, you were on notice The whole case was before the appointment. because you'd seen this clip That was after the appointment. One other big problem with your case, that the clip had been saved which I think began by saying

in my office. and must have been known It was not known. than it was known by the Opposition, It was not known by me any more by the 'Financial Review', by the 'Australian', by Channel 9. any more than it was known in the Adelaide 'Advertiser' This idea that there had been an clip everybody knew, is false. on 28 March 2003 and therefore

Absolutely false. Does the Treasurer stand by his view aside before the next election? that the Prime Minister should stand The Honourable the Treasurer. on a false premise. Mr Speaker, the question's based to the Treasurer. My question is again Will the Treasurer confirm this morning he said, that on the Alan Jones program leadership if there is a vacancy, "I'll be a candidate for the

and I have said so on many occasions "but there is no vacancy, I'm just sick of talking about it." "and, frankly, When was... ..when was the first occasion

his new 'white flag' formula? that the Treasurer stated The Honourable the Treasurer. Members on my right! Order! Order! Order! UPROAR Another false premise, Mr Speaker. And, of course, this has been stated

over and over again so often as being my position as sick of saying this that I am about

from the Leader of the Opposition. as I am of hearing questions in the Senate to cut short debate The Government used its numbers on the Counter-Terror Bill. with Opposition support. It then passed comfortably This legislation is bad law some fundamental human rights and we believe that it undermines and civil liberties. Anti-terrorism Bill (No. 2) 2005 We believe that the of basic human rights attacks a myriad and does so in an unprecedented way. of the legislation before us We are critical not only

it has been introduced and dealt with but the means by which by this government. for adequate analysis and debate We believe that the opportunity has been stifled. on the legislation the committee stage in the chamber I am not just talking about over what will be the next day or so. by the government But indeed the initial proposal a one-day inquiry that would have seen effectively into this legislation. of this legislation Among the strongest critics human rights organisations, are the legal professionals, of the Muslim community, academics, representatives artists and journalists.

Malcolm Fraser, Indeed, former prime minister he is ashamed of the path he has stated that his party and the nation down. that this government is leading "That this is the sort of law He has stated, in tyrannical countries, "you would find

a party of fear and reaction". "implemented by what has become Mr Acting Deputy President, are conscious, acutely conscious, the Australian Democrats is a danger of that fact that terrorism and of the threat that it poses. suggestion that civil libertarians So I'm not sure that Senator Evans's dismiss the terrorist threat. and somewhat offensive suggestion. I think that's a somewhat naive What we believe, though, doesn't have a proportionate response is that this bill to the issue before us. poses to our country. That is, to the threat terrorism build on legislation The laws, of course, in recent years. implemented by this government

had an impact on, Legislation that has also in a derogatory and deleterious way, in this nation. on human rights and civil liberties legislation, Like the industrial relations unprecedented in its extensive powers we believe that this legislation is

impact on the lives of Australians. and in its potentially damaging

supported sensible measures The Australian Labor Party has always protecting Australia and Australians. that will have the effect of On this bill, it is no different. the general thrust of the legislation The Labor Party supports and, indeed, many of the notions for some time which Labor has advocated are present in this bill. every reasonable measure Parliament must take

security agencies to provide Australia's

to fight terrorists in Australia. with the necessary tools and powers the legitimate rights This must be balanced against to natural justice, of Australian citizens and a presumption of innocence. freedom of political communication as it was presented, The original bill, clearly did not meet this test.

operated without adequate supervision The original bill would only have

far too widely. and would have operated In response,

of the concerns of Labor senators, the current bill has taken up many and the federal Labor Party has had. state governments scrutiny of control orders, They include real judicial to put their case. with an opportunity for the subject on the merits Real review of preventative detention and not just on the technicalities. shoot-to-kill provisions. Abandoning the extreme review after five years, And legislating in an independent are the concerns that we had. but not all. And some of those have been met,

will move amendments - The Labor Party to the bill, and I will foreshadow that - recommendations put to the committee ensuring that a greater range of the will be taken up in this bill. access to legal representation, This includes areas such as the reasons for decisions greater rights to access and greater accountability. to ensure biannual reporting The Labor Party will move amendments and ensure a five-year sunset clause and review, as I earlier said. The sedition provisions have not had the benefit of scrutiny by the state and territory governments, and it shows. They are hastily drafted and poorly realised, potentially having a far wider effect than was envisaged. While the current sedition laws appear antiquated and have not been used in half a century, the proper process would have been to conduct an inquiry, assess the need for change and develop legislation in consultation with other parties to ensure that the final product is well drafted and based on sound principles. This is not what has happened here. As Labor's spokesperson for homeland security, Mr Arch Bevis pointed out in the second reading speech in the other place, the current wording of the bill would include persons engaged in an otherwise peaceful protest who happened to breach a traffic law. This section needs to be redrafted to ensure that peaceful protests and legitimate criticism of the government do not fall under the scope of this section. Indeed, the need for a redraft has already been somewhat grudgingly admitted by the government. The Attorney-General, Mr Philip Ruddock, has stated that the sedition provisions will be reviewed immediately after they have been enacted it seems. seems to be that does miss the point somewhat. Why would you introduce and pass legislation knowing that you will immediately have to review it? Why not conduct the review now, hold off on the sections

and then pass them only when we know that they are ready, well drafted, appropriate, proportionate and adapted to their purpose. The answer is, of course, this is more about face-saving.

The Attorney-General was trying to play wedge politics with national security, but he ended up dividing his own backbenching truth. The bill in the form in which it ultimately reaches this chamber,

having regard as well to the Government amendments, which I know will be moved in the committee stage, is the outcome. I know from my own personal involvement,

of a very conscientious attempt within the Government to reconcile those two conflicting values.

The real - not the imaginary or fanciful - the real threat of domestic terrorist violence in Australia but the fact that as a liberal democracy we fight with one hand tied behind our backs. Madam Acting Deputy President, too much of this debate has been carried on from the point of view of law enforcement, as if the law enforcement paradigm, the paradigm of the criminal law, was the relevant one. But that's not what this is about. This bill actually creates very few new offences. about law enforcement, This is not a debate and prevention. it is a debate about interdiction criminal law enforcement too often, If we get to the stage of will have been committed. the terrorist outrage about that area of the legislation But I want to finish by saying a word and that is sedition. which is not a matter of consensus, Deputy President, that the debate, May I say, Madam Acting

pitch in the media in recent days, which has taken on such a fevered about very little indeed. is now largely a debate moved in the Senate this afternoon One of the amendments that will be

as Government amendments, to the crime of sedition is to include in the defences this defence.

any report or comment "To publish in good faith "on a matter of public interest." be more widely drawn. Those words could not And when asked about those words last Thursday, on the ABC's 'World Today' program Mr Bret Walker,

with the civil liberties lobby a person who is commonly associated of an experienced silk but brings the expertise had this to say. to bear on the argument, a very significant change. "I think it's has done the right thing." "I think the Government in relation to freedom of speech And addressing the concerns

he went on to say, that had been held by some, the changes will be enough "So, look, I think that probably my concern in that area." "to certainly dampen of the committee now be adopted? The question is should the report MEMBERS: Aye. Those of that opinion say 'aye'.

Against say 'no'. I think the ayes have it. MAN: Oh, sorry. Question is... Those of that opinion say 'aye'. The bill will be read a third time. Against say 'no'. Aye. I think the ayes have it. No. Noes have it? Ring the bells for one minute. The ayes have it. No.

Lock the doors. be now read a third time. The question is the bill to the right of the chair, The ayes will pass the noes to the left of the chair. teller for the ayes. I appoint Senator McGauran for the noes. Senator Bartlett teller Order! Order! there being 53 ayes and 7 noes, The result of division in the affirmative. The matter is resolved Clerk. relating to terrorist acts CLERK: Note to amend the law and for other purposes. in their own ranks, Despite lingering concern

the Welfare to Work plan Government senators pushed through pensioners deemed capable of working where single parents and disabled will be put on the dole. relations legislation We saw in the industrial time and time again the Government voting to oppose amendments to remove fairness,

the industrial relations system. that put fairness into is precisely the same attitude. And what we see in this legislation which is coloured by a view It is an attitude having an American social model. that Australia is better off this legislation does - Because that is what industrial relations legislation. particularly combined with the with American dye. It is recasting Australia redrawing Australia It is the Howard Government into the American social model. junking some core Australian values It is the Howard Government of fairness,

who can't look after themselves of ensuring that those are cared for and properly supported or those who are disadvantaged of dignity in our society. and that they have a modicum supported this as a community, And the reason we have always

has always supported this, the reason Australia is that we do understand. that we as individuals We do understand in our community have a relationship to others struggle, if others are vulnerable, and that if others fail, if others

the whole community suffers. if others do not have enough to eat, and there are moral costs. There are social costs It is a question of values,

is an extreme agenda and what we see in this Government American social model on Australia. that is about imposing an the American social security system We know that security for the jobless, offers virtually no financial of working poor. and there we have an army

this Government is approaching And that is precisely the way its so-called welfare reform. in this legislation - One of the most insidious things that has been applied that due to the guillotine to discuss in detail - we will not be able will force jobless people is the way in which this Government to work for dirt or get nothing. is remove the protection of awards What they have done from the test of suitable employment. is that a job seeker, What that will mean

or a sole parent a person with a disability will have to take a job with the four minimum conditions, provided it complies which are simply inadequate. and no other award conditions, And the minimum hourly rate, or risk having their payments cut. People will have no choice. That's what that means. or you get nothing. You either work for peanuts The simple fact is

people into a spiral of poverty. that this legislation does drive will mean reduced income It does reduce, will reduce, and thousands of Australians for thousands and thousands and their children. if people in the Government, I guess you have to wonder sometimes that draw up these things, certainly those in cabinet what it's like just don't really know $2 can make the difference for you. when $5 can make the difference or for many people out there. But that's what it's like now $30 a week from many people. And this legislation's going to take from many people. It's going to take $80 a week who have extra expenses People with disabilities over and above many of us. of a legislation And that is a consequence are the subject of the amendments and the schedules in particular that before the chamber.

coming from the other side Unfortunately the mantra encourages a job snob mentality. It talks about money but not about those important things of pride and self-esteem. The effect of the amendments

is to shift the focus off the welfare system onto people's capacity to participate in the labour market, not their incapacity. To provide participation requirements with safeguards for people with a capacity to work independently for 15 hours or more. To provide more than $500 million worth of employment services,

more vocational rehabilitation services and other initiatives, such as Wage Assist and an expanded work modification scheme. To provide more money for mobility allowance to people with disabilities, which will be increased from $69 to $100 a fortnight. The Labor Party is opposing support and opportunity.

Not once has the Labor Party admitted their mistakes in shifting hundreds of thousands of Australians who had the capacity to work onto a pension. In May 1991, the Labor Government introduced a social security amendment bill. This bill was a Clayton's attempt at reform - the reform you have when you are not really committed to reform. This included the unemployed having to wait 12 months

for any job search intervention. 12 months wait. There was no date for when an activity agreement had to be signed. Job seekers over the age of 55 did not have to report their job search activities. They were consigned to the unemployment scrap heap. And that is the fair and just Australia that Senator Wong and those opposite seek to justify. It was a social experiment that has failed.

The Government had a tougher time with another major piece of legislation - on voluntary student unionism. It seems that this blue is about the ideologues and their VSU talisman that they have carried next to their hearts from their naive early days as activists in student politics, where ideology far outweighed any practical reality, no matter what the debate. It seems that there are only one or two on that side of the chamber that realise the grave implications for young people and their families as a result of this ideological piece of legislation. The only problem is that the pack of adolescents that felt this way as young student activists never grew up. They are here now and they are still getting their kicks by bullying their colleagues in their own party room, and we end up reading about it. But like spoilt brats beating up on the wets, they want only their way, with no interest in compromise or commonsense

or the harm that VSU will cause normal people

going about their normal business of trying to get a decent university education. And it is all very well, it is all very well and Senator Campbell to say for Senator Lundy

student amenities. money should be spent on the money is fungible. As my friend, Senator Fifield, said, let's say, student services, As soon it can be used for, or educational purposes, or student purposes some student unions say of the education of students it is in the interests against the Government. to fight and campaign INTERJECTIONS SPEAKER: Senator George Campbell.

money from 17-year-olds, And they use compulsorily acquired vote for the Coalition, most of whom these days and they think that is OK. to campaign against the Coalition, Mr Deputy President, That is the problem, of the Australian Labor Party with the fraud

in the 21st century. "You're misrepresenting the case." To come into this place and say, Labor Party were in government, In 13 years, when the Australian to ensure they had the opportunity from 17-year-olds that money was not taken and used for political purposes. who was a mature age student, Or it wasn't taken from my father and they did nothing. and used for political purposes, Why? their political purposes. Because it served and it must never happen again. It is time that was stopped do not agree with the Government I do not believe and I with the bath water that we should throw the baby out on this particular issue. I listened intently in this chamber to some of the National Party members when they delivered their speeches. that they believe in this either. I do not believe I am very pleased that Senator Joyce

on this matter in the Senate, has taken a solid stance to stand up for regional people and I would encourage him

and maintain his stance. will be defeated in the Senate. I am confident that this legislation of people who, in their own minds, It has been promoted by a number still have not left university. they grew up on this issue I think it is about time impacts this measure will have and started to look at the damaging on cafeterias, on help for students on sporting and cultural facilities, and on a whole range of activities. the Labor Party has an amendment, I am aware that

which I will be supportive of. than my amendment. It is more far-reaching to preserve My amendment is solely and remove the offensive activity all of the so-called good activities a dozen zealots in the Liberal Party, from the point of view of the half to fund political activities that of using people's funds,

that money be used for that purpose. when some students would not prefer compromise amendment does Overall, what Labor's very sensible compulsory student union membership. is not allow It allows universities and amenities fee, to charge a compulsory services of amenities, facilities, and it specifies a range

on which moneys can be spent. activities and services sports facilities, advocacy, That includes child care, for example, particularly when students, with the university, come into dispute and cultural activities. counselling, orientation information have seen the full page ad I am sure members of the government that was in the 'Australian' today.

A huge number of artists and sports heroes from around Australia have spent their money, not the Government's money, people like Cate Blanchett, Kevan Gosper, Stuart MacGill, some of our great Australian heroes, saying to the Government, "Think again and make sure that these amenities "and cultural services can continue on our university campuses." We do know there should be tough accountability in reporting arrangements. This is a sensible way to protect vital campus services. Mr Acting Deputy Speaker, what a facade, what a fraud. The amendment that has been put up in the name of the member for Jagajaga is modelled on the Victorian version of so-called VSU,

but it is worse than that. We have been told that students will not be forced to join a union

but they will be forced to pay money to support the services of their union. Essentially it is taxation without representation, and that is a fraud.

To say that no-one will be forced to join a union but that they still have to give their money across is even worse. What we've seen in the Victorian so-called compromise legislation, which is not as extreme as the member for Jagajaga's, we have seen some extraordinary use of students' money.

If we have seen disgraceful examples and waste of student money on nutty causes and partisan political campaigns what can we expect under the amendment from the member for Jagajaga? Well, Mr Speaker, in terms of what that money is currently used for, in the state of Victoria, under the Labor Party's plan, this money, for example, is reported in 'The Herald Sun' on the 23rd of November this year - "Money from Victorian students has been used "by the Monash University student union "to pay an Iraqi oil worker with links to anti-coalition forces.

"Minutes from a Monash student association meeting in May "show the union gave $1,000 to Farooq Ismail "as part of an Australian speaking tour for a union activist." Now, Mr Speaker, let's make it absolutely clear, under Labor's plan, under the existing model in the state of Victoria, for those who support so-called amenities fees, we have student union fees forcibly appropriated from students who have no interest in this at all funding a speaking tour by a Southern Iraqi oil worker. It's the revenge of the nerds. It is Minister Nelson still fighting his old campus battles.

What about his performance in this place yesterday? I honestly thought that honourable members would witness Australia's first case of spontaneous combustion. Pieces of animated racoon would have been flying everywhere. The animated racoon would have given the appearance of a fruit bat in those circumstances, had he finally blown up. I want to give him a bit of advice on the VSU matter - back off, give up your old obsession and turn your attention to the real problem facing Australia, your failure to train and educate young Australians so that they have a start in life and can help our country.

Why won't he focus on the skills shortage that is crippling our economy? The truth is that he has no solutions. All he has is nasty ideology and old vendettas.

Minister Nelson, my advice for the Christmas break is this - lay off the nasty pills, none of us wants to see you lose your charming demeanour, and get back to the job that you are supposed to do. You see, there is only one person in the front rank responsible for the fact that, in this country, skills training, particularly in traditional trades areas,

has to all intents and purposes collapsed, in terms of the needs of the economy, and that person is Minister Nelson. There is only one person responsible for the way in which our universities have started to go backwards and for the massive cuts in their public funding which leave us at the bottom of the OECD,

the industrialised world?table, just when everybody is competing on a knowledge basis, and that is Minister Nelson. There is an absolute obligation on Minister Nelson to come clean in this place. Not come clean. To get out there into the community, get out there among his Cabinet colleagues

and start to do his job and not do everybody else's. He has a view of how you ought to conduct the affairs of student unions. He has a view about the dress standards of Australian teachers. He has a view about five-year-olds' literacy. He does not have a view about his job and his personal responsibility for the collapse of the trade-training system in this country. He has to get on his bike and do something about it. Legislation allowing a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory was passed by the Senate, stirring the passions of Territory MPs.

This bill overrides the right of Territorians simply because we are not a state. There has been no science in the site selection process for the sites nominated in this legislation. There has been no consultation with the Northern Territory government, the communities of Alice Springs or Katherine, and certainly not with the Northern Land Council, the Central Land Council or the traditional owners who will be affected by this decision. If this bill is passed then you may as well do this.

This is a copy of the Northern Territory Self Government Act. You may as well rip it up because it makes it irrelevant. This legislation will ensure that any laws created by the Northern Territory government will be overturned by this federal government at any time, for any reason, for politically expediency. To quote Senator Scullion, who at least got one thing right during this whole abysmal saga, "Territorians don't like having this sort of stuff shoved down our throat "because we're not a state." He is damned right. That is the view of people in the Territory. When the euthanasia debate was before this chamber some years ago, a former senator for the Territory, who I proudly replaced in this chamber,

despite not personally supporting the euthanasia debate and not personally supporting the issue of euthanasia, set aside his personal beliefs and stood up for the Territory. He took a stand to protect the legislation that was created by the Northern Territory government. He wanted to ensure at the time

that the legitimate rights of Territorians to create their own laws was protected. Senator Scullion, I urge you today

to take 10 steps across this chamber and to stand up for the Territory.

I have to reflect my disappointment, Mr Acting Deputy President, about the degradation of the currency in this debate since it started in 1992. The last six months of this have been an absolute disgrace.

It is a disgrace because those on the other side have decided to change the currency. It should be a currency of this place not only to debate and pass legislation but also to inform Australians. It has gone from informed, factual, scientifically assessed and validated information for people to consume, to misinformation, mistruth, complete lies and scaremongering. That is what the debate has come to on that side. I am very proud that we have continued to be reasoned, clear, and use scientific facts in regard to the debate on this matter.

And it is not a new debate, it is not something that has never been done before. This was a process, a responsible process, started by your side of government,

but suddenly you want to politicise it because it is not handy at the moment to support government. So it is just another rant in this place that has absolutely no basis in science or any argument at all.

You should be supporting this legislation, and so should Clare Martin, the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory. Some time ago, when you started talking about this process,

saying that it has to be based on the best science, a lot of pundits around the place started commenting on it. I note that recently one of our rocket scientists from the other side, the member for Lingiari, said,

"Why don't we just leave it at Lucas Heights?" I know you are a bit ashamed about history in almost every aspect of politics,

but I would commend them very much to the processes in 1995, of your government moving the entire repository to Woomera. I have some facts for the member for Lingiari. He said, "Why don't we leave it at Lucas Heights?" I am sorry, Mr Snowdon, we cannot because it is on the other side of the world. It is not at Lucas Heights. It is at Dounreay in Scotland and COGEMA in France. Again, a bit of facts.

Just a cursory look at the facts of this matter would make him informed, and then he could enter the debate as an informed individual instead of as someone who is just thrashing around the place trying to frighten people and skew the facts so somehow they have done the right thing when it is patent to anybody who understands any history about this matter that that is not the fact. The Territory community has every right to be unhappy about the process because it is an absolute scandal. In this place,

the Country Liberal Party members representing the Northern Territory - the member for Solomon and Senator Scullion - have walked away from promises made to the Northern Territory community, both prior to the last federal election and prior to the last Northern Territory election, that there would be no such waste facility

in the Northern Territory. And indeed, Senator Scullion said, "Not on my watch."

Not on his watch, indeed. Today we are looking at amendments which have been passed through the Senate to try to suggest that at some point

the Northern Territory government will choose to identify a site. The Northern Territory government has made it very, very clear that it has no intention of identifying a site for a nuclear waste facility in the Northern Territory. It has done everything it possibly can to prevent the imposition of a nuclear waste facility in the Northern Territory. But, despite this opposition and the opposition of the Northern Territory community, the government has decided to pass this legislation and is now seeking to amend it in an absolutely redundant way. And amend it in a way which provides the capacity for some opposition, in the form of a limited veto on any future site which might be identified. But not to the three sites which the government itself has identified. The hypocrisy is mind-boggling. They will not provide a veto for their own process. But they want to provide it for the process they think might happen in the future. The member for Lingiari and his Labor colleagues in the Northern Territory a couple of weeks ago screamed loud and long about how they had collected 9,000 signatures on a petition to bring to Canberra to tell Senator Scullion and myself

that Territorians didn't want this. Let's analyse this. Firstly, I also did a survey of Territorians' views and overwhelmingly, on a two-to-one basis, I received phone calls, faxes, emails and responses to my OWN survey in favour of this facility, with people understanding the science behind it.

What is more, earlier this week the member for Lingiari slides into this place in a sneaky sort of manner and tables that petition. The 9,000 signatures suddenly turned into 5,383 signatures.

To me, there is a difference between 9,000 and 5,383. They say this is a clear indication. Notwithstanding the fact that the Labor government in the Northern Territory would have spent in excess of $1 million collecting these 5,383 signatures... They received not that long ago 13,000 signatures from the township of Palmerston to establish a health precinct in Palmerston. What did the Northern Territory Labor government do with that? They ripped it up and ignored it ? 13,000 signatures. Here they turn up and say that there is overwhelming community opposition to this because they have 5,383 signatures. Why can't they get community support for this? The reason is simple. It is all misinformation that they have run.

They have run a complete campaign based on lies and misinformation. There were condolences for the highly-respected former Labor minister, Senator Peter Cook, who died a week ago. It is important on occasions such as this when somebody dies tragically early, a victim of a disease which has threatened so many people, and claimed the lives of so many millions of Australians, to pause, importantly across the political divide,

to express respect for somebody who fought according to his principles and who acted out his beliefs.

If you look at Peter Cook's life,

it is a model of commitment to the trade union movement and to the Australian Labor Party. I can unconditionally express my respect for the contribution that he made to the Australian trade union movement and to the Australian Labor Party. He was a forthright advocate of their values and their principles. He never wavered and he never compromised on those.

He was a stalwart of the labour movement, a senior figure in the industrial wing and, to many who will miss him, a deeply loyal friend. He was more than that. He was a considered man. He was a person of powerful but ordered passion. He was a person who could think through issues at their very roots and determine a policy line free of prejudice. He had profound convictions but he was a man remarkably free of prejudice.

He has remade himself in many ways in each of a series of careers. In each career he has pursued, he has exposed a little more of himself to the public to emerge at the conclusion of his political career as one of the most significant politicians that the Australian Labor Party has provided in federal politics

in the very long history of our organisation. Secondly, Mr Speaker, it was a strange circumstance only four weeks ago. Members would be aware that I was hit with the news that I also had been affected with a melanoma-type cancer. And very quickly I was advised by my medical practitioners to go and get it seen to. I did that in the Mater Hospital in Sydney four weeks ago. Having had the operation in the morning

I was, at about lunchtime, very groggily coming out of the anaesthetic and who should appear at my door but Peter Cook in his wheelchair, being pushed by Barbara. He was a great lateral thinker, Peter. He was always the person that when you came in with the options

he had another option. He thought creatively and instinctively

about where the other argument would come from. He was also a great negotiator. I was reminded recently of someone who had been on the other side of the negotiation table from Peter. And they said that he was a fantastic negotiator But you never came away feeling that you were dudded when he was in the room. He always understood the importance of giving dignity and something of a win to the other side. We entered, I suppose, philosophically opposed and came from very different backgrounds. He obviously came from a strong Labor background and he always was a Labor person. He was proud to be a Labor person. He was proud to be a minister in the Hawke and Keating governments. I consider people on the other side of parliament such as Peter Cook and Chris Schacht to be absolutely terrific people that you could go and talk to and share a waiting room.

I can recall at one stage Peter, Barbara and I got caught waiting for a plane somewhere. And we watched Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby. And we sat down in the waiting room and we sang through the whole script together. I remember it was 'True Love' and Gene Kelly and Bing Crosby. We had a great night. We had a few drinks and sat there and waited for a couple of hours for the plane. Peter Cook was tenacious. He was tenacious in his support for the trade union movement. He was tenacious in his support for the Australian Labor Party. He was tenacious in pursuing the goals he believed in.

He was tenacious in his fight against the cancer which finally claimed him. We will miss his fighting spirit. We will miss him. That's all from Order in the House this week and for this year. Both houses will sit again on Tuesday, February 7.

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