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[Platforms]: Australian Labor Party national platform and constitution 2007

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National Platform

and Constitution 2007


The National Platform and Constitution was formally adopted by the 44th National Conference in Sydney on 27-29 April 2007.

The Platform represents our long-term aspirations for Australia and reflects rigorous consultation with Party members and the wider community. It is the result of extensive consultation over two years by

the National Policy Committee, which hosted forums in cities and regional areas. Many members participated through these forums or submitted individual recommendations. The National Platform was debated and approved by delegates to our highest democratic forum, the National Conference.

The National Platform provides a solid foundation for a future Rudd Labor Government. It is the basis of our most important task — winning the 2007 election.

Tim Gartrell ALP National Secretary

Authorised by T. Gartrell, ALP National Secretary, Level 5,161 London Circuit, Canberra City ACT 2600

Conference Resolution relating to the Platform

That the Conference reconfirm the longstanding resolution relating to the Platform as follows: • Conference recognises that the Platform and Resolutions of the Party represents short and long term aspirations of the ALP;

• The program for each of the three years of a Labor Government will continue to be drawn from the Platform; and

• Therefore the Conference requests that the FPLP will in preparing the program for the next three years:

(a) Continue to give priority to economic growth, a fair distribution of the benefits of economic growth and improvements in the welfare and standard of living of the Australian people; and

(b) Implement other platforms and policies according to a time scale to be determined having regard to the above overall priorities of the Parry."

National Platform and Constitution 2007


Foreword Tim Gartrell, ALP National Secretary 2

Chapter 1 Enduring Labor Values 5

Chapter 2 Building a Strong Economy for a Fair Society 11

Chapter 3 Engaging with the Global Economy 18

Chapter 4 Investing in Our Future: An Education Revolution 26

Chapter 5 Fostering Competitive and Innovative Australian Industries 43

Chapter 6 Nation Building 72

Chapter 7 A New Industrial Relations System: A Fairer Future for Working Families 100

Chapter 8 Fostering Participation, Security and Quality Care for all Australians 111

Chapter 9 Combating Climate Change and Building a Sustainable Environment 136

Chapter 10 Improving Health and Well-Being: A Health System that Delivers 153

Chapter 11 Reforming Government 177

Chapter 12 Ensuring Community Security and Access to Justice 190

Chapter 13 Respecting Human Rights and a Fair Go for All 206

Chapter 14 Strengthening Australia's Place in the World 227

Chapter 15 Strengthening Regional Communities 267

Chapter 16 Supporting Australia's Arts, Culture and Heritage 277

National Constitution of the ALP 285

National Platform and Constitution 2007

Chapter One

Enduring Labor Values Preamble The Australian Labor Party has worked for more than a hundred years to build a better future for Australia.

Labor's enduring values, which were born in the collective struggle for better living and working conditions in the last century, are reflected in the progressive and reformist tradition which the Party embodies and in the continuing pursuit of a society which values our security; champions fairness and equality; believes in communities and families; promotes social justice and compassion; values environmental sustainability; supports freedom, liberty and enterprise; and

strives for opportunity and aspiration.

• We value our nation's long-term prosperity—achieved through a modern, competitive economy and ensuring quality of life for all Australians.

• We value our security—security for our family, our community and our country. We are proud of our men and women who have served our nation and those who have died in the service of their nation.

• We value fairness and equality and believe in a fair go for all—we believe that a nation should be governed in the broader interests of all, not in the sectional interests of a few.

• We value our communities and our families. Our families are the bedrock of our communities which we need to nurture, protect and support.

• We value our democratic and public institutions, which have the power to address exclusion and disadvantage.

• We value compassion and dedicate ourselves to social justice. We believe that it is the Australian way to work together to help alleviate suffering and disadvantage when we can.

• We value the environment that sustains us all—and which we must now sustain with our country's united and urgent effort.

• We value liberty—the freedom to hold whatever beliefs we choose while respecting those of others; the freedom to express those beliefs without fear or favour; and the economic freedom to pursue our own employment and enterprise.

• We believe in opportunity, creativity and innovation as the basis for individual aspiration and being rewarded for hard work, achievement and success. These are the Labor Party's timeless values and they are fundamental Australian values.

These are the Labor Party's timeless values and they are fundamental Australian values.

These are the values that have given this great nation of ours its moral compass—not allowing us to just look after ourselves, but always prompting us to look beyond ourselves. Not just to ask what is in this for me and my immediate family, but also to ask what is in this for my community and my country. These are the values that must now guide Australia's future.

Australia's Future Challenges

1. Australia is a nation of remarkable achievements. We are the first people in history to have voted a nation into existence—a nation formed in peace, not in war. We are one of the oldest parliamentary democracies in the world. Our parliament has a proud history of leading the world in social reforms like reasonable working hours, the right of women to vote, a fair

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Chapter One '

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wage, an independent umpire for industrial disputes, compensation for injured workers, and provision of the age and widow's pensions. Since its early convict days, Australia has grown with waves of arrivals from all corners of the globe, each making unique contributions to our national identity. Despite its small population, Australia has played a significant role for more than a century in fighting the forces of oppression, injustice and tyranny, supporting

international efforts in favour of peace, freedom and the alleviation of suffering. And in more recent decades, Australia has begun to address the great injustices done to its Indigenous people.

2. Australia now faces new challenges at home and abroad in seeking to sustain long-term security and prosperity. Climate change and the emergence of global terrorist movements are adding to uncertainty about the future. The global economy is undergoing tectonic changes with the rise of China and India creating enormous challenges as well as opportunities for industrialised economies such as Australia. At home, we face the challenges of declining productivity, an ageing population, water shortages, and the need to ensure that Australia can sustain its prosperity after the resources boom subsides. To be prepared for the future, we need new economic policies that restore productivity growth, increase workforce participation, tackle long-term challenges and help make Australia competitive


3. Australia will be best placed to confront these challenges if we maintain the best values that have characterised our nation. Many of those values have been undermined since Labor was last in government. Now, we must restore the balance. We know that the truest measure of a society is the care it provides for those most in need, and the opportunity it provides for every person to realise his or her full potential. From the birth of the Australian nation, our character has been defined by our belief in the fair go for everyone—an egalitarian spirit that says all Australians are equal, no matter their background or their social standing. Since the founding of our nation, we have sought to make Australia the best place in the world for working people to raise a family.

4. The Australian Labor Party has played a major role in building the modern Australian nation. Inspired by enduring Labor values, in government Labor has implemented great reforms throughout the nation's history—from the establishment of basic rights for working people in the early 20th century to the opening up of the Australian economy to the world in the late 20th century. The next Labor government will embrace this great tradition of reform and

national renewal—to tackle the challenges of a new era, while holding steadfast to the enduring Labor values that have served the nation so well in the past.

Our Foundations

5. Labor's commitment to a fair go for everyone is at the foundation of our approach to government. Fairness has been grafted into the Australian soul throughout the past century, in large part because of the sustained efforts of the Australian labour movement. Fairness is a guiding principle for Labor in government, whether we are dealing with Australians' rights at work, access to educational opportunities and health care, our tax and welfare systems, or many other aspects of government policy. Our nation's longstanding belief in the fair go is now under pressure from many directions. Some believe that it must now be sacrificed to other objectives. In contrast, Labor believes that sustaining our commitment to fairness will best ensure that Australia meets our future challenges successfully.

6. Labor believes that one of the most important roles of government is to support Australian families. For most people, family is central to personal well-being. Families provide individuals with their most important and enduring relationships, fulfilling many of their deepest needs.

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Families need to be supported in their efforts to balance the pressures of work and family life. Restoring the balance in our industrial relations system will help working families to cope with these pressures, such as by ensuring reasonable working hours, proper remuneration for their work and the opportunity for families to spend holiday time together. Family life will also be strengthened by ensuring universal access to first rate health services, educational opportunities, modem infrastructure and community services.

7. Labor believes in the unique and positive role that can be played by government. Government can play an important role in supporting and complementing the contributions of individuals, families and communities. Our national government is the one institution that all Australians truly own and control through their right to vote. Government alone can ensure the universal provision of quality health care, education and a social safety net; implement

national security measures and plan national infrastructure needs; and implement legislation to protect the natural environment and create a legal framework for competitive markets. In these and other areas, government involvement achieves better outcomes for all Australians. Labor believes that Australia's federal system of government must be reformed to establish

cleaner lines of responsibility and accountability, end the blame game between different levels of government and to deliver better outcomes for all Australians and serve the common good.

8. Labor is committed to its future partnership with the trade union movement. The Australian Labor Party was born out of the trade union movement and its struggle for a secure, decent and dignified life for working people. In partnership with the labour movement, Labor governments in the past have achieved great things for working Australians. Labor is committed to protecting and advancing the rights of working families, including their rights to join trade unions, to organise in the workplace, to bargain collectively and to exercise their

right to strike. Our partnership with the trade union movement remains crucial for Australia's future. The trade union movement remains one of the largest and most representative community movements in Australia, representing millions of Australians and their families. The next Labor Government will restore the balance between the interests of different parts

of the Australian community, and build a constructive partnership with the trade union movement to foster productive and harmonious workplaces in the interests of working families.

Enduring Values

9. Long-term prosperity. Labor is committed to building a modern economy that competes successfully in global markets for agriculture, resources, manufactures and services. We believe that our long-term prosperity is at risk if we rely too heavily on one sector of the economy for our economic growth. Labor believes that in the long-term, building a modern, competitive economy is the best way of protecting the living standards of all Australians. We believe in ensuring that the benefits of prosperity are shared in all the regions of our nation through market-based initiatives and government action. By building long-term prosperity we can also ensure that our nation is able to sustain high quality public services and a generous safety net for those in need. Building long-term prosperity involves lifting growth and

productivity through:

n investing in an education revolution that lifts the quantum of investment and the quality of outcomes in our education system;

• building advanced infrastructure such as transport and communications networks;

• fostering innovation, research and creativity in Australian businesses; and

• modem regulatory frameworks for business.

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10. Fairness. Labor believes that all people are created equal in their entitlement to dignity and respect. We cannot afford to waste the talent or potential of any Australian. For Labor, government has a critical role in ensuring:

• respect for every person's rights at work;

• equal opportunity and protection from unfair discrimination;

• sufficient basic income and assets to provide quality of life for all Australians;

• special support for those with particular needs (including Indigenous Australians, women, people from non-English speaking backgrounds, the long-term unemployed, homeless, disabled, frail, aged and mentally ill);

• universal social rights including the opportunity for fulfilling employment, quality education, universal health care and access to affordable housing; and

n a more equitable distribution of wealth and income.

11. Fairness and flexibility at work. Labor believes in fairness at work as a fundamental Australian value. Work is one of the most important parts of our lives, which besides its contribution to economic output also contributes to personal financial security, identity and a sense of community. Fairness at work includes:

n the abolition of Australian Workplace Agreements and an industrial relations system in which there will be no statutory individual employment agreements;

• a strong safety net of minimum conditions;

• access to an independent industrial umpire which will ensure fair wages and conditions $ and settle disputes;

• the right to bargain collectively for decent wages and conditions;

• the right to join a union and be represented by a union;

• fair rights if employees are unfairly dismissed; and

• adherence by the Australian government to its international obligations particularly, as ratified, International Labour Organisation Conventions.

12. Security. Governments have a fundamental obligation to safeguard national security as well as protecting the security of individuals, communities and the environment. Past Labor governments led Australia through times of war and danger, successfully defending our security when even the survival of our democratic nation was at risk. Australia once again faces grave security threats, including from terrorism, regional instability and accelerating climate change. These threats must be confronted without resort to the manipulation of fear

and political exploitation. In response to the national security threat Labor is committed to increased engagement in our region and ensuring that our defence forces, police and emergency services are equipped to meet the new challenges. Labor is opposed to the growth of unilateralism and the undermining of the United Nations. Labor is committed to promoting peace on an international and regional basis.

13. Sustainability. Labor believes that our commitment to social justice extends to those of future generations. As a matter of intergenerational justice, we must consider how the decisions we make today will impact on future generations. Labor's approach to the economy, the environment, international relations and our communities will reflect this

responsibility. In particular, the interests of future generations must be taken into account in our response to the threat of climate change—this is the greatest moral challenge of our age, and it demands decisive action. Labor also understands that our custodianship of this country, and its unique plants and animals, entails special obligations. Labor recognises the

intrinsic value of biodiversity, alongside its economic, recreational and spiritual value. Labor

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Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference Chapter One =

will manage our natural heritage so future generations can experience the rich diversity we have inherited, in particular acting to halt the devastating and permanent impacts of extinction.

14. Opportunity. Labor is committed to giving all Australians the opportunity to achieve their potential and contribute to their community:

• to give every Australian the best educational opportunities, from early childhood education through school to vocational and technical education, and to university and beyond;

• to help individuals build family life and advance their living standards and quality of life;

• to gain access to employment, education, housing, health care, welfare services, information technology, culture and recreation, and to exercise their legal rights; and

• to participate constructively in the life of the nation and the communities within it.

15. Compassion. Labor believes in social justice. As a nation, our greatness lies in our treatment of those among us who are most marginalised. We believe in a society that protects and supports those who face difficulties and disadvantage whether because of disability, illness, old age, misfortune or other factors that are make it hard for a person to

cope. Labor holds to its tradition of reaching out, embracing, protecting and supporting those in need—as well as supporting those who help people in need.

16. Human Rights. Labor is committed to a just and tolerant society which fully protects the rights and freedoms of all Australians. Labor supports the rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties to which Australia is a party. This includes the fundamental political and civil rights of everyone to freedom of conscience, expression and association, and to due process of law. We respect basic human rights such 9. as access to tertiary education on the basis of merit, access to adequate health care and the

right to reasonable working conditions. Labor supports the introduction into Australian domestic law of the rights that are recognised and protected in the international treaties, conventions and protocols to which Australia is a party. In introducing these rights, Labor will

ensure that existing rights are also protected.

17. Responsibility. Labor believes that for all Australian citizens, rights must be accompanied by responsibilities. Those responsibilities must be exercised:

• by individuals, toward each other and the community which supports them;

• by social and economic groups and organisations, toward each other and the wider community;

• by governments, toward their own people, other governments and the wider international community; and

• by all of us, towards our environment and future generations.

18. Democracy. Labor is committed to the essential democratic principle that every person should have the right to a say, directly or indirectly, in the decisions that affect his or her life.

That right includes:

• democratic participation in the choice of governments;

• the opportunity for representation in the workplace; and

• the opportunity for a voice in planning, the environment, the delivery of public services and other aspects of community life.

19. Community. Asa nation we are at our best when we are working together for the common good. Labor believes that governments can play an important role in building stronger relationships at each level of our society.

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• Within Australia, Labor is committed to a society in which every person is able to actively and productively participate in the life of the community, and the whole community responds sensitively to individual needs.

• Labor is committed to the strong role played by community organisations in both helping individuals in need and in building a sense of community.

• Labor is committed to a community that embraces cultural diversity—a society that celebrates diversity and respects both the rights and responsibilities of Australian citizenship.

• Labor is committed to genuine reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We believe that reconciliation is crucial to our capacity to face the world as a united, peaceful and just nation.

20. International engagement. Labor believes that Australia's national interests are best protected and advanced by promoting peace and cooperation rather than confrontation and conflict. This includes a commitment to:

n international forums such as the United Nations;

• our historic alliance with the United States;

• our role in ensuring peace and stability in our own region; and

• our support of international efforts to confront major global challenges such as climate change and extreme poverty.

Australia's Future 21. Labor embraces the future with optimism. Our enduring values will help set our course for the future as we confront major global and domestic challenges. Whatever our past achievements, our future can be better. We reject the pessimistic views of some who say

that to be competitive we must sacr ifice fairness and compassion, or that our national security requires us to sacrifice basic democratic principles. These are false choices. Indeed, the competitiveness of our economy and action by Labor in government will help build a

fairer society. So too, a principled response to security threats at home and abroad will strengthen Australia's long-term security.

22. Now is the time for a reforming Australian Labor Government—to confront long-term challenges that have been neglected; to restore the balance; to ensure fairness in our workplaces; to invest in our future; to set a vision for ourselves to become the best educated country, the most skilled economy, and the best trained workforce in the world; to build the modern infrastructure that lays a platform for future growth; to make Australia competitive again, laying the foundations for long-term prosperity. Only a Labor Government can reclaim Australia's identity as a diverse and united multicultural nation, with the foundation of our enduring values, and united with a common hope for our future.

National Platform and Constitution 2007

Chapter Two

Building a Strong Economy for a Fair Society Sustained economic prosperity will make it possible for Australian families to enjoy higher living standards, and to improve quality of life for all Australians. In a highly competitive global economy, Australia's capacity to build future prosperity depends on us tackling long-term challenges—boosting education and skills, building world-class infrastructure, and investing in

innovation, research and development. We cannot rely on the resources boom to continue to supply prosperity. We must invest in the long-term drivers of economic growth now, so that we can build the industries of the future that will sustain tomorrow's economic and social prosperity.


1. Labor is committed to managing the economy in the interests of all Australians. This is best achieved by maintaining stability, keeping inflation and interest rates as low as possible, while maintaining strong public finances. At the same time, our goal is to raise incomes and living standards by boosting the productive performance of the Australian economy through investing in skills, science and innovation, and encouraging enterprise. Labor is committed to ensuring all Australians, wherever they live, can contribute to and benefit from a strong economy.

2. Labor is committed to achieving full employment, meaning that anyone who wants a job can find one within a reasonable time. Employment security is the key to personal and social well-being, to stable relationships and family life. In particular Labor is committed to reducing under-employment and maximising the opportunity for Australians to be employed in secure,

high-wage, high-skill jobs.

3. Everyone capable of employment should be able to secure a job and education or training. Unemployment is not an acceptable option. Labor will always pursue policies to achieve full employment as our highest priority. This is why we support a dynamic, mixed economy, which drives economic growth by fostering enterprise, innovation, and competition to deliver

benefits to all Australians and which invests in our people and their ideas to drive improved productive performance across the economy.

4. The benefits that flow from economic growth and wealth creation should be available to everyone in the community. Sharing the benefits of growth fairly through a fair tax system, quality public services, equal access to educational opportunities, and a decent social safety net will increase the community's acceptance of the need for ongoing economic reform. Labor is committed to providing:

• the opportunity for all Australians to have a reasonable standard of living sufficient to enable them and their families to live with dignity;

• a society where no one need live in poverty;

• equal opportunity for Australians to benefit from national economic success, including equitable distribution of assets, income and employment;

• opportunities for everyone to be educated, trained and job ready throughout their working lives through learning opportunities that are broad based and nationally accredited;

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• equity in the housing sector, overcoming Australia's housing affordability crisis in both the ownership and rental markets;

• protection of the living standards of those unable to work; and

• specific programs to promote economic growth in regional and rural Australia.

5. The unprecedented challenge of climate change demands that economic growth should be sustainable both economically and environmentally. Failure to address climate change will have a devastating impact on the environment and global economy. Labor is committed to introducing policies to reduce carbon emissions through energy conservation and the development and application of new technologies with uptake enhanced, where appropriate, through the use of market based mechanisms such as carbon trading.

6. Sound economic fundamentals provide the platform for building prosperity, create an environment for individuals, business and communities to prosper and sustain a sound revenue base to fund the provision of quality public services.

7. Strong public sector finances and low inflation are prerequisites for sustainable economic growth.

8. Labor is committed to keeping the budget strong and Government debt as low as possible by:

• adhering to a medium-term fiscal strategy that keeps the budget in surplus on average over the economic cycle;

• funding priorities by redirecting spending and maximising public sector efficiency while not


increasing the overall tax burden;


• prioritising new spending and taxation reform in areas that will boost productivity and workforce participation; and

• where appropriate, establishing partnerships with the private sector to fund capital investment.

9. Labor is committed to preserving low inflation. Low inflation is the key to maintaining low interest rates.

• Labor is committed to the independence of the Reserve Bank and expects it will fulfil each of its charter objectives of stability, employment and general economic welfare.

• Labor fully supports the independent conduct of monetary policy by the Reserve Bank and its medium term inflation target of two to three per cent.

• A Labor Government will be careful to ensure fiscal policy is not complicating the conduct of monetary policy.

• A Labor Government will give prompt attention to any supply side constraints that the Reserve Bank identifies as a threat to price stability and which are unlikely to be addressed in a timely way by market forces.

Labor's Growth Strategy

10. With the economic fundamentals in place, Labor's key priority is to raise the incomes and living standards of the Australian people by building an economic climate of enterprise and innovation. Strategic government policy and support will be utilised to achieve this goal consistent with promoting quality of life, social justice, and environmental sustainability.

11. While Australia's material resources and wealth have stood us in good stead, the economy of the future will be driven by knowledge, innovation and creativity.

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12. We must pursue a sophisticated strategy to engage effectively in high-value, high-growth global markets—producing goods and services in industries that will provide rewarding jobs for working Australians.

13. Stimulating enterprise and innovation will also equip Australia to respond to, and take advantage of, a number of long-term challenges. This includes the emerging geographic shifts in the centres of economic growth, the ageing of the population, climate change and an increasing scarcity of economic and environmental resources.

14. Labor will also seek to ensure quality of life by ensuring that economic growth is environmentally sustainable.

15. A key task of government is to support the wealth creators. A Labor Government will do this by pursuing key policy priorities that increase productivity and participation by:

• boosting the education and skills of the workforce;

• stimulating capital investment and creating world-class infrastructure using private and public funding sources;

• boosting public and private investment in research and development and fostering public-private linkages;

• removing unnecessary regulation and promoting competition;

• improving financial incentives for workforce participation by undertaking ongoing taxation and welfare reforms and increasing the affordability and supply of quality childcare;

• recognising the need to foster renewable energy and low emissions technologies and to pursue policies to capitalise on the new market opportunities that are being created by 13 the need to combat climate change; and

n actively seeking a broad range of rigorous economic policy advice from a range of government and non-government sources.

16. Boosting net exports particularly in high value added goods and services industries will be key objectives of Labor's policies, it will deliver higher real per-capita incomes, increase national savings, and help control spiraling foreign debt.

Boosting Education and Skills

17. The skill levels of those in the workforce area key contributor to productivity—supporting efficiency gains, increasing the absorption of new technologies and boosting innovation. Getting people into work, and raising their skill levels can also support the achievement of wider social outcomes. Labor recognises raising skills is a cumulative process. Early education and school are the foundation for future learning that lasts a lifetime.

18. Relevant pre-vocational and workplace training is also critical in supporting ongoing learning and skill development.

19. Australia's tertiary education sector is crucial in providing key skills for industry and business to support economic growth.

20. Labor is committed to supporting all sectors and will develop sustainable funding models focused on achieving outcomes.

World-class Infrastructure

21. Secure and efficient transport, energy and communications infrastructure is essential to a well-functioning and high-productivity economy. Labor's key priorities include:

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• developing world-class communications infrastructure particularly the delivery of high speed broadband to Australian businesses and homes;

• securing sustainable water supplies for businesses and homes;

• improving transport infrastructure including improved integration of road, rail, ports and air to increase supply chain efficiency;

• maximising social and economic outcomes from urban planning particularly through better public transport linkages; and

• removing regulatory impediments to key national infrastructure.

22. Labor will coordinate and prioritise infrastructure through the establishment of Infrastructure Australia. Labor will utilise best practice procurement processes to maximise value for money, transparency and public accountability when evaluating different procurement options.

23. Labor's Building Australia Fund will provide an ongoing revenue stream to finance, or leverage finance, for key infrastructure of national significance.

Innovation, Research and Development

24. Business innovation is a key driver of higher productive performance. Labor knows competitive markets, macro-economic stability, low barriers to investment and trade, and a supportive and fair regulatory environment are all necessary preconditions for business innovation.

25. A key priority for Labor will be the pursuit of polices that promote the creation, absorption and diffusion of knowledge.

26. New policies and institutions are needed to help firms create and use knowledge and new technologies relevant to their business. Labor will promote the use of innovation hubs which aim to foster greater public-private, co-funding of research. The commercialisation of products will also be enhanced through better access to prototyping facilities.


27. Labor is committed to a fair and sustainable tax system that provides incentive for all Australians to work and undertake productive enterprise while guaranteeing adequate revenue to provide quality public services.

28. Labor is committed to keeping taxes as low as possible consistent with maintaining a sound revenue base to fund quality public services. Labor is committed to ensuring tax does not rise as a proportion of GDP.

29. Labor recognises the design of tax policies can have a significant impact on economic growth. Tax policy is a major tool that can assist in promoting economic growth.

30. Labor understands high effective tax rates on personal and company income should be avoided as they inhibit decisions that drive investment, workforce participation, and productivity.

31. Public confidence in Australia's tax system is dependent upon a simple and transparent tax system where everyone pays their fair share of tax.

32. Labor is committed to addressing tax evasion and avoidance activity that results in tax rates on the great bulk of taxpayers being higher than they need to be.

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33. Labor will regularly assess our personal and business tax systems and consider necessary reforms essential for improving the sustainability and fairness of the system and enhancing our global competitiveness.

34. Future tax reforms should:

• ensure there is a sound revenue base for quality public services;

• remove barriers to investment and workforce participation;

• enhance Australian businesses and industries capacity to successfully integrate into the global economy, most notably Australian companies winning places in global supply chains;

• simplify the system for individuals and businesses whilst tackling avoidance activity;

• preserve and enhance a progressive and fair personal tax system;

• provide support to families;

• seek to minimise the impact of high effective marginal tax rates, particularly on those moving from welfare to work or the second income earners in low to middle income families;

• aim to attract and retain skilled labour; and

• aim to enhance allocative efficiency by not distorting investment and consumption decisions;

Sustainable Industries and Markets

35. Labor recognises sustainable economic growth will depend upon a balanced and innovative 15"

economy that embraces more efficient use of scarce resources, the development of -renewable sources of energy and low emissions technologies.

36. Scientific consensus makes it clear that carbon emissions are causing global warming which if not addressed will lead to serious environmental and economic outcomes. Addressing climate change presents both challenges and opportunities for the Australian economy.

37. Labor believes that we must move to a less greenhouse-intensive economy in order to address climate change, and we can do so while maintaining our current economic prosperity and continuing to improve our quality of life.

38. Labor believes that action on climate change could underpin a new round of productivity increases as we harness the energy and creativity of the Australian people in the transition to a low carbon future.

• Labor acknowledges compelling evidence that early action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will cost far less than inaction, will allow a smooth transition to a less carbon-intensive economy, and will avoid the inevitable economic shocks of delayed action.

• Where appropriate, Labor will use market-based measures and will provide clear long-term market signals to ensure appropriate confidence for business to invest in new infrastructure.

• Labor will invest in innovation and research to encourage the development and dissemination of new technologies and take advantage of growing international markets for low emission technologies.

• Labor will ensure that infrastructure planning and investment anticipates climate-related changes to weather (particularly water availability), settlement patterns and cost structures.

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• Labor will assist households and small businesses to invest in energy efficiency to reduce energy use and prepare for increases in energy prices as we move to a less carbon-intensive energy supply.

• Labor will work with communities and sectors of the economy that are most adversely affected by climate change to manage the transition to new circumstances.

39. The emergence of economic superpowers like China and India poses significant challenges and opportunities for Australian businesses and industries. Our location in the region, well educated workforce and abundant natural resources means we are well placed to benefit from the economic opportunities presented by this rapidly growing market.

40. Labor will pursue policies that enhance our global economic engagement with an emphasis on expanding Australia's market share of high-value goods and services exports.

41. Labor recognises the special competitive challenges facing the manufacturing and services industries. A vibrant manufacturing sector is an essential feature of the economy.

42. A modern manufacturing sector is crucial for Australia's skills, exports and it underpins other sectors of the economy including services—many of which grow out of a strong manufacturing base. Manufacturing will benefit from Labor's enterprise and innovation oriented policies.

43. Labor recognises there is a role for government in aiding the competitiveness of Australia's industries and firms to enable them to:

• penetrate export markets that would otherwise be inaccessible;


n meet competitive challenges, in both import and export markets; • gain adequate access to investment finance, particularly small and medium business enterprises; • increase employment opportunities; • lead the field through high quality, innovative research and development; and • promote diversification of the Australian economy to increase the output and exports of

high value-added, high-skill manufacturing, services and information based industries.

Managing the Constraints on Growth 44. Long-term prosperity can only be sustained if Australia's levels of household, corporate, and foreign debt are sustainable. Labor supports measures to build national savings such as:

• the growth of superannuation, sensibly balancing both compulsion and incentive; • new programs and incentives to encourage families to save for their children's future; and • responsible budgetary policy.

45. Labor will also address the current account shortfall with economic policies designed to increase the volume and value of exports in order to consistently achieve a trade surplus. Australian business will be supported through government agencies such as Austrade, export support programs and incentives and effective diplomacy to win recognition for Australia's distinctive place in the region and the world.

46. The Stem Report has indicated in the clearest terms that combating climate change is an economic imperative as well as an environmental one. Labor is committed to integrating environmental, energy and economic policies to ensure that economic growth is sustainable and that Australia plays its role in combating climate change.

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47. Labor recognises sustainable economic growth will depend upon more efficient use of scarce resources, the development of renewable sources of energy and low emissions technologies. This reality will give rise to new markets and products which Australia is well placed to capitalise on. Where appropriate Labor will consider price signals and incentives to foster new markets and improve allocative efficiency.


National Platform and Constitution 2007

Chapter Three

Engaging with the Global Economy Australia's long-term prosperity depends on us competing successfully in global markets. This requires Australia to produce high quality goods and services that the world wants to buy, as well as working hard to remove barriers to accessing overseas markets. In government, Labor will give priority to a new export strategy to ensure that Australia has diverse and value-added markets that can sustain the economy beyond the mining boom. Labor will also pursue trade liberalisation and market-opening opportunities, through the World Trade Organisation and where appropriate, through regional and bilateral agreements.


1. Labor is committed to ensuring that the benefits of global economic growth are shared—both within Australia and between countries. We support free trade as a means of generating the growth necessary for enhancing the living standards of all Australians. Australia has directly benefited from trade liberalisation, but the distributional effects cannot

be ignored. Reducing trade barriers boosts our economic growth, creates more competitive industries, provides benefits to consumers and builds stronger relationships with our trading partners. Trade is an important way of creating more fulfilling, well paid jobs for Australians. I 18 2. Labor will ensure that the benefits of global economic growth are available to all Australians through better education and training programs, industry development policies, fostering new, knowledge-intensive enterprises and a particular focus on those industries and regions which are adversely affected by trade liberalisation. Whilst the rapid development of new technologies will be encouraged, Labor will introduce policies to make access to technology more equitable. Labor is committed not only to providing an adequate safety net, but also giving everyone, wherever they live, the opportunity to prosper in the modern Australian economy.

3. Labor will continue to pursue sensible trade liberalisation through effective multilateral strategies by bilateral negotiations. The direction Labor pursued in the 1980s and 1990s of internationalising the economy and reducing protection complemented by long-term commitments to strategic industry development cannot and should not be reversed.

4. Australia's economic future lies principally with the Asia Pacific region. Over half of our trade is with nations in the Asia Pacific. Labor is committed to enhancing our economic relationship with those countries in Australia's immediate neighbourhood.

5. Australia also needs to recognise the continuing integration of Europe and the size and importance of the European Union (EU) to Australia's trading interests. Australia needs to make a strong commitment to winning new markets in the emerging economies within Europe and the Americas.

Opening Markets

6. Labor recognises the importance of maximising trade and investment opportunities for Australia in a rapidly changing world. The role of the minister and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade must remain sufficiently flexible to meet our future needs. Labor does not assume that the current policy machinery will necessarily be appropriate to the modern

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Chap tBr Three .

economy. Labor will integrate innovation, industry and trade policies to take Australia along the road of high-skills and high-wages. Labor will adopt administrative arrangements within the Commonwealth Public Service that facilitate this integration.

7. Labor remains firmly committed to realising our free trade objectives, through negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, regional free trade agreements and bilateral market opening.

8. The WTO's objective, to reduce trade barriers worldwide, will help Australia maximise economic growth and job creation. Labor endorses the full implementation of the WTO's Uruguay Round agreements and the work of the Cairns Group (established by Labor in 1986) to reduce world agricultural protection. Labor supports the timely and successful completion of the WTO's Doha Round. The Doha Round must achieve a substantial lowering of industrial tariffs and improved market access for services. It must also achieve a comprehensive outcome on agriculture including substantial improvements in market access, the phasing out of all forms of export subsidies as already agreed in 2005, and substantial

reductions in trade distorting domestic support. The Doha Round must offer major benefits to Australia and to developing countries that face world trading rules denying them access to major markets. Labor supports the re-invigoration of the Cairns Group as a leader in WTO


9. Labor will play an active role to ensure that the activities of the WTO respect core International Labour Organisation (ILO) labour standards and multilateral environment agreements. Labor recognises that economic growth and prosperity arising from increased international trade brings with it the responsibility to promote higher labour and environmental standards for Australia and internationally. I

10. WTO rules presently allow all nations to determine for themselves the appropriate public/

private mix in their health, education, water and welfare sectors, and to determine the distribution of government funding within these sectors. WTO rules also permit countries to protect their cultural industries. Labor supports these positions. We will vigorously oppose any WTO rules, interpretations or proposals that would require Australia to privatise its health, education and welfare sectors, reduce government rights to determine the distribution of government funding within these sectors, or which would require us to remove protection of our cultural industries. Labor will oppose attempts to privatise water services under WTO rules.

11. Labor is committed to the peaceful resolution of trade disputes in the WTO, through a system of transparent, fair and enforceable rules. We support efforts to make the WTO dispute resolution process as fair, prompt and open as possible. Labor will make sufficient resources available to ensure that Australia can properly prosecute and defend those cases in which it is involved.

12. APEC (established by Labor in 1989) is pivotal to increasing trade in our region. Labor will promote APEC's Bogor Declaration goals of regional free trade by 2010 for developed nations and 2020 for developing nations. APEC can also serve a valuable function by mobilising support for a further round of WTO negotiations, facilitating trade between APEC members and widening dialogue in the region on the issue of core labour standards.

13. Labor acknowledges the positive role our Closer Economic Relations agreement with New Zealand has played in improving the economies on both sides of the Tasman. In government, Labor will seek an agreement with New Zealand to jointly examine whatever other possibilities exist to further strengthen the relationship.

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14. Labor supports efforts, first begun in 1994, to join the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and

the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations agreement into a single free trade agreement.

15. Where appropriate, Labor will pursue bilateral market access initiatives provided they deliver real benefits to the Australian economy and increased employment opportunities. The pursuit of multilateral agreements will take precedence over bilateral negotiations in the allocation of resources to trade negotiation. Bilateral initiatives must contribute to, and not detract from, multilateral trade liberalisation.

16. Labor is only prepared to support bilateral free trade agreements that are compatible with WTO rules and which advance the overall national economic interest of Australia including the manufacturing, services and agriculture sectors. Labor does not support FTAs being pursued for geopolitical reasons.

17. Bilateral trade initiatives agreed by Australia must not impact on the government's capacity to provide public services such as health, education, water, waste water, electricity supply or post. In particular, trade initiatives must not undermine Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Inclusive Trade Policies

18. Labor believes that there is an obligation in all trade arrangements to respect core labour standards. Consequently, and consistent with the Singapore Declaration, we support the establishment of a formal permanent WTO working group or similar body with the following terms of reference: I o i

• It would be part of the WTO's follow-up to the Singapore Declaration commitment on labour standards and would therefore report back to the WTO General Council with proposed recommendations concerning WTO procedures, mechanisms and regulations.

• It should be a standing or permanent body working on an ongoing basis.

• It should provide for the participation of the ILO, which must be given formal consultative status at the WTO.

• It must have a defined work program including, inter alia:

• a mandate to undertake analysis and to propose procedures and instruments for the treatment of core labour standards in the international trading system;

• the examination of how to associate trade with respect for core labour standards, including positive incentives and assistance;

n the consideration of measures to be taken where trade liberalisation is associated with violations of core labour standards; and

• review of the mechanisms of the WTO (trade policy reviews, dispute settlement etc) in order to promote openness and transparency and ensure consistency of trade negotiations and agreements with respect for core labour standards within the work of the WTO.

19. Labor believes a rules-based system underpinned by core labour standards provides a framework for fairness and equity and is the most effective means to ensure governments do not resort to unsustainable protectionism. Labor believes that there is a need to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the WTO, ILO, International Monetary Fund (IMF) international framework with a view to introducing a reform agenda. Reflecting this, Labor will work towards the development of a global trading system for the 21st century which is

underpinned by equity and transparency.

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20. In this context, Labor will support calls for a meeting between the WTO, ILO, World Bank, IMF and other relevant bodies, as may be decided, for the purpose of launching an ongoing dialogue and action on the subjects of development and labour standards.

21. Labor recognises the role of ADB and Australia's unique position in the regional bank. Labor will work with the ADB, officers, directors and governors to ensure compliance with core Labor standards community consultation and the establishment of a Labor desk at the ADB, to advise project officers and consultants in ensuring core Labor standards and related


22. Labor notes that the WTO (through its preamble) and APEC (through successive Leaders' Statements) are committed to furthering the goal of sustainable development. A Labor Government will play an active role in WTO and APEC negotiations to promote sustainable development. In particular, Labor will work towards the removal of environmentally damaging subsidies, and promote mechanisms which can reconcile the interests of environmental

protection and trade liberalisation. A Labor Government will also ensure that all major trade agreements into which Australia enters, bilateral and multilateral, are assessed to ensure that they are consistent with the principles of sustainable development and environmental protection for all regions of Australia.

23. Labor recognises that free trade is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition to promote economic growth in developing countries. We will work to ensure that nations and their communities in our region and throughout the world benefit from open markets and share in global growth. We will promote policies to achieve this in the WTO, World Bank, IMF, ILO and other international forums. Labor acknowledges the benefit of economic growth in developing countries, while also noting that many developing economies have not seen the 21

benefits of economic growth equitably. Through the creation of jobs, equitable economic growth can free people from hunger and poverty, provide access to economic independence for individuals and support meaningful basic human rights. At the same time economic growth in developing countries brings new markets for Australian exporters, contributing to

creating jobs in our country and strengthening our economy.

24. Developing countries must be properly resourced if they are to fully benefit from WTO negotiations. Labor will work to ensure that international funds are made available for capacity building and technical assistance, so that poorer countries can effectively participate in WTO negotiations.

25. Governments have a responsibility to make trade policy as transparent and publicly accessible as possible. A free flow of information is important for its own sake, as well as to build accountability and public confidence in the multilateral trading system. Labor will encourage this by:

• ensuring the positions that a Labor Government takes at the WTO and developments within the WTO are regularly reported to parliament, including to a joint parliamentary committee established to scrutinise WTO affairs;

• ensuring that all Australian submissions and relevant materials to the WTO are made public unless there are genuine commercial-in-confidence reasons, or disclosure will damage our national interest;

• reviewing all existing government consultative mechanisms and reconstituting them to ensure they are representative of business, unions, environmental and community interests;

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reviewing the composition of governmental delegations to WTO ministerial meetings, so that they include appropriate representation from business (including small business), unions and non-government organisations; and

• advancing rule changes within the WTO to ensure immediate publication of dispute settlement decisions, together with a short, plain language explanation of the decision.

More Democracy and Transparency

26. Labor recognises that bilateral free trade agreements offer an avenue for opening new markets for Australia's export community to complement market access gains derived from regional and multilateral trade negotiations. Labor considers that bilateral trade initiatives should only proceed on the basis of full community consultation. In the interests of openness and accountability a new mechanism should be established to enhance parliamentary

scrutiny of free trade agreements. Labor proposes that:

• prior to commencing negotiations for bilateral or regional free trade agreements, a document will be tabled in both Houses setting out the Labor Government's priorities and objectives, including independent assessments of the costs and benefits of any proposals that may be negotiated. This assessment should consider the economic, regional, social, cultural, regulatory and environmental impacts which are expected to arise; and

• once the negotiation proposal is complete, a package will be tabled including the proposed treaty together with any legislation required to implement the treaty domestically.

22 Export Promotion 27. Labor maintains its commitment to the promotion of Australian exports. Austrade should be structured so that it can respond promptly to the needs of individual firms, as well as developing particular export markets. This may involve forming consortia, holding

conferences and educating Australians about the contribution that trade and investment make to our living standards. Austrade should focus particularly on knowledge-intensive industries such as elaborately transformed manufactures and the service economy. The promotion of manufactured goods and service exports is a fundamental goal designed to create high skill high wage employment and diversify Australia's economic base. The Export

Market Development Grants scheme provides grants to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to assist their export promotion activities. In accordance with the legislated timetable, Labor will assess the operation of the scheme to ensure that it is efficient and effective.

28. Labor recognises that the multicultural nature of our society and the many languages spoken by Australians are great strengths as a trading nation. Labor will facilitate trade networking and trade promotional activities in cooperation with major ethnic organisations both domestically and overseas.

A New Export Strategy

29. Australia needs a new exports strategy that:

• rebuilds the skills of our nation—the skills demanded by Australian export industries;

• lifts innovation, research and development;

• plans properly for our national infrastructure needs—rather than standing passively by while infrastructure bottlenecks occur;

• improves export promotion and better coordinates Federal and State government

resources in this area; and

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• rebuilds Australia's export culture.

30. Labor recognises the growing importance of China and India as markets for Australian exports, in particular services exports, and service enhanced manufacturing. Labor believes we must diversify our export base to China and India and develop appropriate export policies to effectively compete. Labor will ensure that Austrade and DFAT devote appropriate

resources to developing further access to these markets for Australian exporters.

31. Labor recognises Australia's comparative advantage in funds management and will ensure that Australia has appropriate policy settings and marketing to position Australia as a funds management hub in Asia. Labor understands the significant opportunities the worldwide growth of electronic commerce brings, particularly to small and medium sized businesses in Australia. To help optimise e-commerce opportunities for Australian companies, Labor will:

• encourage Austrade to promote competency in e-commerce as a key function of their work;

• support in APEC, and all other trade agreements, the promotion of electronic clearance and other cross border regulation; and

• promote programs to help exporters lift their take-up rate of new technology and be e-commerce ready.

32. The Export Finance Insurance Corporation (EFIC) should operate on commercial lines. In so doing, however, it must carefully assess the environmental and social implications of projects to ensure that they are sustainable in the long-term. EFIC should retain the ability to refer non-commercial projects issues to the minister for support, where those projects are in the

national interest.

2 ..

33. Labor will investigate the feasibility of instituting a mixed credit scheme, as part of the role the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) should play in linking our initiatives to the needs of Australian companies. Such a program should support Australia's development assistance objectives, but would not be counted as part of Australia's overseas aid budget.

Any future mixed credit scheme should carefully assess the benefit to recipient countries and

the country's ability to repay the loan.


34. Labor supports the maintenance of anti-dumping measures. Anti-dumping legislation ensures that overseas exporters do not hurt our industry by selling their products in Australia at a lower price than they charge in their home markets. Where there is an allegation of dumping, it should be independently and urgently investigated by the Australian Customs


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Australia China Relations Conference supports the close relationship between China and Australia originally forged by the

Whitlam Labor Government.

Conference supports the continued deepening of the links between Australia and China and the expansion of a mutually beneficial trading relationship between our two countries.

Labor recognises that China's rise as a global economic power has seen the emergence of significant challenges that need to be addressed including labour standards, health and safety standards and environmental concerns.

Labor also notes international concerns at the impact of China's managed exchange rate for its competitive advantage.

Conference notes that China is faced with the challenge of balancing economic growth, social progress and pressure from multinational corporations to maintain China as a source of competitive advantage using low cost labour combined with limited environmental and safety controls.

Labor notes that the Government has embarked on negotiation of a number of bilateral free trade agreements, including with China. Labor expresses concern at the failure of the Howard Government to negotiate bilateral trade agreements which safeguard Australia's economic and social interests. Conference notes that, contrary to the claims of the Government, the free trade agreements with Singapore, Thailand, and the United States have seen the balance of trade

Iii between Australia and these countries deteriorate.

The Government has given us no confidence that this pattern will not be replicated in an FTA with China resulting in significant structural impact on our manufacturing industry.

A further example of the Government's incompetent approach to trade negotiations was the concession of market economic status to China without gaining anything in return and without the process being transparent.

Labor reaffirms its preference for multilateral trade agreements over bilateral. Where appropriate, Labor will pursue bilateral market access initiatives provided they deliver real benefits to the Australian economy including increased employment opportunities, consistent with the platform and policy.

Conference determines that Australia's consideration of a bilateral preferential trade agreement with China must address the following issues:

• The agreement is comprehensive in nature and includes all sectors;

• It is consistent with the multilateral processes of the WTO;

• A transparent process to identify and rectify non-tariff barriers within China at both the national and province level must be agreed along with a timetable for implementation;

n Robust and effective processes to ensure legal rights are enforceable including property rights;

• Intellectual property rights must be safeguarded;

• Australia must have in place strong anti-dumping laws to protect our industries from government monopolies and other unfair practices;

• The economic and social impact of any agreement on regional areas;

• The implementation of effective domestic policies to promote research and development, innovation and increased investment in cutting edge technology designed to facilitate Australian

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business growth including services, general manufacturing, service enhanced manufacturing and elaborately transformed manufactured goods; and,

• Any agreement must be subject to effective public consultation and a thorough parliamentary process capable of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of any proposed agreement.

With regard to core labour standards, health and safety standards and the environment, Labor notes that these issues remain of concern and a source of unfair advantage to China and businesses operating in and out of China.

In dealing with these issues, Conference notes the recent party-to-party agreement signed with China.

Not only is this a deepening of the relationship the ALP has had with China, it provides another opportunity to deal with these sensitive issues.

Conference calls on Labor to further develop this dialogue with the aim of assisting progress on that aspect of the platform requiring an obligation in all trade relations to respect core labour standards and to seek to develop procedures and instruments for their treatment.

The dialogue should also be used as another means towards the removal of environmentally damaging subsidies and promote mechanisms which reconcile the interests of environmental protection and an improved trade relationship.

National Platform and Constitution 2007

Chapter Four

Investing in Our Future: An Education Revolution As a growing body of evidence shows, long-term social and economic outcomes are significantly influenced by the investment that nations make in the education and training of their people. On

measures of pre-school, school, vocational and tertiary education and research, Australia has fallen well behind its competitors. Labor believes we need an education revolution. We must lift the quantity of investment in education and the quality of education outcomes. We cannot afford to waste the talent and potential of any Australian. We must set for ourselves a new national vision—for Australia to become the most educated country, the most skilled economy and the

best trained workforce in the world.


1. All children have the right to high quality education so that they can live fulfilling and rewarding lives. It is the responsibility of government to protect that right.

2. This responsibility entails investment in raising standards at all levels of education. It includes guaranteeing that all Australians have access to the full range of learning outcomes so that students and trainees can fully develop their capabilities, as well as the intellectual and social


skills they need to gain the maximum benefit from citizenship.

3. Government also has a responsibility to ensure that there is fairness in the allocation of education resources to monitor educational outcomes. This monitoring should identify where action may be needed to improve opportunities for particular student populations and to guard against unjustifiable forms of inequality and discrimination. Equity principles will guide

Labor's priorities for the funding, planning and delivery of education for all our children and young people.

4. Much more needs to be done to improve participation and retention of Indigenous children in education at all levels. This must involve:

• focusing on literacy and numeracy in Indigenous education;

• working with communities to lift school attendance rates;

• involving Indigenous families in schools and decision making processes;

• employing more Indigenous teachers and other education workers;

• encouraging greater participation by Indigenous children in pre-schooling; and

• providing culturally appropriate and relevant learning experiences, including Indigenous languages.

S. Good teaching is at the heart of successful learning. Government has a clear responsibility to ensure that all students have access to quality teaching. Labor will give priority to this imperative in collaboration with State and Territory governments, education authorities and the teaching profession, to ensure that ongoing professional development for teachers will be enhanced.

6. Education systems need support so that they can meet the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century. Labor will support the strategic development of information and communication technologies for the benefit of all, to avoid our education systems

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contributing to the widening of the gap between the information rich and the information poor. Labor will develop a national strategy in cooperation with the States and Territories and with non-government authorities to ensure that all children and young people have access to information and communications technologies. We will also work with education

professionals to develop effective and innovative strategies for the use of those technologies in education and training.

Early Childhood, Pre-School and Primary Learning

7. Labor believes that all Australian children deserve the best start in life. Nowhere is the right of children to a high quality education more significant than in the pre-school and primary school years, which have a crucial influence on the life opportunities and directions of young Australians and their opportunities to realise the full benefits of citizenship.

8. No child should be left behind because of inadequacies in the provision of services in their early years. This means that pre-school and early primary school years must be at the core of the education, health and childcare policies of government.

9. Labor believes that learning and development must be at the centre of Australia's approach to early childhood education and care. Labor will enshrine in legislation a universal right for four year olds to access early learning programs. Early learning should be delivered flexibly so that it is accessible and convenient for parents, and more integrated for children. Labor

believes that early learning programs should be delivered in a range of settings, such as pre-schools or kindergartens, or in childcare settings. Labor will develop policies and programs that enhance the quality of early childhood education and care. Children's learning in early childhood settings and at pre-school should be of the highest standard, so that our 27 ' children have the necessary educational foundations for success in their more structured learning programs at school. Primary schools should also be supported to develop high quality educational programs that prepare for their incoming students and provide a seamless and constructive transition from early childhood education and care to primary schooling.

10. Policies for raising educational standards in early childhood education and pre-school will be complemented by strategies and resources for providing high quality teaching in those settings.

11. Labor will ensure that high quality teaching in childcare settings is supported by well-trained and resourced childcare professionals with qualifications in early childhood care and development.

12. Labor believes that providing the best future for Australia's children must be responsibility of all levels of government. Labor will work with the States and Territories to develop an integrated system of childcare and early childhood education, to ensure that all Australian children under school age have access to early learning and other appropriate developmental and social activities, provided in a safe environment. In expanding services for universal access to early learning, priority will be given those communities where children are currently under-participating in early learning, including in Indigenous communities.

13. Labor will work with the States and Territories to establish a nationally consistent, early years learning framework. This framework will be developed with a specific emphasis on play-based learning, pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills, focusing on how to bridge the gap between care and learning.

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14. Labor believes that government should ensure that eve ry Australian school student has access to the learning programs required to achieve the full range of learning outcomes set out in the National Goals of Schooling for the Twenty-First Centu ry. Access to the teaching and learning resources that suppo rt the achievement of those goals should not depend on the financial capacities of individual school communities.

15. Labor accepts the p rinciple that all children and young people have an equal entitlement to the resources needed for a high quality education, without regard to di fferences in family background, educational or financial status. Such a p rinciple is consistent with the need for governments to uphold the dignity of each child as a learner, and with the aspiration for an education system that contributes to our becoming a more just and open society.

16. In developing its policy directions for schools, Labor endorses the framework of principles for the funding of schools that have been endorsed by State and Territory Labor governments through the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). These principles are:

• the total level of resources available for schooling is adequate so that achievement of the National Goals of Schooling is a realistic objective for all students;

• public funding across different schools and sectors is distributed fairly and equitably through a consistent approach to assessing student needs and with regard to the total level of resources available for students;

• the total level of funding for government schooling is adequate to ensure access to high

quality government schooling for all, and all governments' funding policies recognise this as a national priority;

• resourcing for all students is adequate for meeting the National Goals, notwithstanding the school or sector they a ttend; and

• public funding for schooling supports the right of families to choose non-government schooling and supports non-government schools on the basis of need, within the context of promoting a socially and culturally cohesive society and the effective use of public funds.

17. Labor will negotiate a national compact with State and Territory governments and with non-government school authorities to achieve these principles on behalf of all students in all Australian schools. This compact will have respect for the distinctive and the shared purposes of schools in both the public and non-government sectors. It will also promote cooperation between the sectors and a complementary rather than competitive relationship

between them.

18. Labor recognises that government has a primary obligation for the provision of high quality public schooling that is accessible to all children and young people. Public schooling is a critical experience for future generations and their participation in the broader Australian community. Schooling is deeply immersed in our values which support our democratic principles, traditions and citizenry. Mindful of this broad social role and responsibility, public schooling must continue to be free and secular, to shape and be shaped by Australian society and culture, to keep pace with the times, to strive for educational and intellectual excellence, to contribute to the development of the shared values that sustain democratic life and to foster innovation, critical awareness, creativity and optimism towards a shared future. Consistent with the MCEETYA principles set out above, Labor will give priority for public schools through enhanced Commonwealth programs for schools.

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19. Labor continues to respect the right of parents to choose a non-government school for their children and, on the basis of educational and financial need, for these schools to receive public funding consistent with the MCEETYA principles outlined above.

20. Labor will adopt new funding arrangements for non-government schools that reflect the following principles:

• Commonwealth and State and Territory funding policies and arrangements will be aligned

to provide a coherent national approach to funding conditions, mechanisms and accountabilities;

• the resources available to non-government schools, including income from private sources, will be considered when assessing financial need; and

• public funding should be subject to non-government schools meeting quality standards for curriculum and teaching, planning arrangements that promote the economic use of public resources and accountability and reporting conditions that are consistent with those required by government for schools in the public sector.

21. Labor supports the right of parents and the community to be involved in schools and will ensure that schools reflect genuine community needs. Labor believes that all schools should have guidelines that give parents and staff the opportunity to make a contribution and which support the best interests of schools, parents, staff and the community.

22. Labor also recognises the role of schools as sites for community building and for the development of partnerships and sharing of experience and expertise across different social and interest groups, strengthening the social fabric and enhancing the context in which schools work.

23. Labor will support our schools and school systems to provide students with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to build Australia's social, cultural and economic life in the twenty-first century.

24. All students should have access to valued learning in the key areas of the school curriculum, and through explicit and high quality standards in such key curriculum areas as English language and literature, mathematics, science and technologies, Australian history, Indigenous cultures and histories, the humanities and social sciences, music and the creative arts, physical education, vocational education and the study of languages and cultures across all communities in Australia and in the Asia Pacific region.

25. School curriculum in Australia should also be a vehicle for teaching young Australians their civic rights and responsibilities, including learning about our Australian Constitution and the role of national, state and local governments.

26. Labor supports national consistency in school curriculum in such core areas of learning as English, mathematics, science and information technologies, while recognising the value of local and regional perspectives in the delivery of curriculum in schools and classrooms.

National consistency and collaboration have the potential to provide efficiency and effectiveness in the development of curriculum and related learning materials, especially in areas of national responsibility such as Indigenous education and migrant education.

27. Labor also supports the further development of a national approach to the assessment and reporting of student achievements in an educationally responsible way. This should include both minimum benchmarks for literacy, numeracy and technological capabilities and the assessment of learning outcomes across the full range of student abilities and achievements.

National reporting should inform parents and students of students' progress against national benchmarks and contribute to student learning and school improvement.

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28. Labor recognises the importance of the middle school years and the need for specific encouragement, support and inspiration for young adolescents at school.

29. Labor also recognises that students in the senior years of schooling should have access to high quality and specialised learning in areas that meet their personal needs and interests, while building on the foundations provided in the core areas of learning.

30. Labor will support the development of a national system of senior secondary education that balances comprehensive and specialised education provision in the post-compulsory years of education.

31. The Commonwealth government has a particular responsibility to promote the quality of teaching and educational leadership in Australian schools. Labor will work with the profession and the States and Territories to develop a national approach to improve the quality of teaching and the status of teachers, including issues of national concern such as

remuneration levels, national consistency and portability of teachers' qualifications and teacher registration.

32. This will require national strategies for the supply of quality teachers in all schools. This begins with the Commonwealth's responsibilities for an adequate supply of undergraduate and postgraduate places for teachers in the higher education sector. The large numbers of teachers who are approaching retirement age makes it critical to prepare for renewal of the teaching profession, to avoid decline and the subsequent need for crisis management.

Provision should be made for the support and mentoring of teachers beginning their career to reduce the number of young teachers leaving the profession.

-30- 33. The Commonwealth's strategic role in developing nationally consistent standards for professional teaching practice and school leadership and for professional renewal is critical. Such standards should inform the directions and priorities for the Commonwealth's ongoing support for professional learning.

34. Labor recognises the important role played by non-teaching staff such as Education Assistants and Aboriginal Islander Education Officers and other support staff in building a positive learning environment at all levels of the education system. Labor will ensure that these areas are adequately funded.

35. Labor supports the provision of incentives and rewards for teaching excellence in schools, consistent with Labor's principles for industrial relations more generally. Such policies will encourage teachers to continue their professional learning throughout their careers and will foster professional collaboration and collegiality in schools, in the best interests of students'

learning. Access to quality professional development for educators should be enhanced.

36. Our children and young people are living with information and mobile technologies as part of their daily lives. Labor will enhance these skills and experiences through a fundamental investment in a national broadband network and through complementary educational policies and programs. Students, parents and teachers should have the skills to use educational technologies in schools and across the curriculum, to gain access to classroom resources and to obtain technical advice to maximise their educational benefits from interactive, audio,

imaging and digital technologies.

37. Labor will continue to give priority to equity in schooling, for students and groups of students who are currently not participating fully in schooling or who require additional support to reach their potential. This can only be achieved through a comprehensive approach to the planning and funding of schools, where targeted initiatives complement the base of adequate

and appropriate resources needed in all schools.

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38. Poverty remains the greatest indicator of disadvantage and the single most important barrier to educational success. Schools that serve communities with many low income families need specialised support for teachers, student counselling and community liaison, and additional resources to provide that support. Labor will establish an innovative system of targeted

resource provision to schools with concentrations of students from disadvantaged backgrounds to improve their participation in schooling and their educational outcomes.

39. Labor recognises the entitlement of students with disabilities to maximise opportunities to participate in schooling. Where students with disabilities require special support, and consistent with needs-based funding principles that apply to all schools, governments should share the responsibility to provide these additional resources to build the capacity for schools and teachers to accommodate these students.

40. Labor is committed to working with State and Territory governments to enable schools to conform to agreed disability standards under the Disability Discrimination Act, which clarifies the rights of students with disabilities and the obligations of education providers.

41. Labor also recognises the difficulties of providing access to quality teaching and learning programs and resources in rural and remote areas of Australia, and will support the further development of targeted programs for schools in these areas.

School to Work Transition

42. Strong educational foundations are more important than ever to Australia's economic future and social well-being.

43. Labor recognises that Australia's economic success depends on the education, skills and 31 labour market participation of all our young people. Those young people who leave the formal education and training system without recognised skills are vulnerable to long-term unemployment.

44. Labor's commitment to all young people and their families is to guarantee access to valued learning to Year 12 of schooling or its equivalent in other areas of education and training.

45. For most young people, this will mean completing their secondary education at school. However, Labor recognises that this is not the best or the only way for everyone. Guidance and support needs to be there when it counts. This will require effective policies to encourage young people to stay at school, to develop alternative learning options within and alongside schools and to support students in the world outside school in a highly competitive labour market if they choose to leave.

46. Labor will work with the States and Territories to deliver a national strategy to provide our young people with the foundation for lifelong learning, consisting of the following elements:

n To achieve Year 12 or equivalent qualification at school or through TAFE, adult and community education or an apprenticeship or traineeship.

• To re-engage early school leavers to achieve a Year 12 or equivalent qualification, at school or TAFE.

• To provide tailored and informed advice and support to help students make a successful transition from school to employment and further education and training.

• To support coordinated community partnerships to maximise the use of existing resources.

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• To provide targeted labour market assistance, through employer subsidies, job creation and related training, for those young people remaining outside the formal education and training system.

47. Labor will support the further development of opportunities for students to participate in quality vocational education and training programs while they are at school, which provide real pathways to employment and to further education and training.

Vocational Education and Training

48. Labor believes that Australia's economic prosperity can only be guaranteed by training a highly-skilled workforce. Vocational education and training helps Australians develop skills to obtain and perform effectively in secure, sustainable and satisfying employment, and to use those skills to ensure our national economic prosperity. Labor will invest in those skills.

49. Labor's vocational education and training policies will be directed towards:

• equipping Australians with relevant, valued and enduring qualifications;

• ensuring the Australian economy has the qualified skills base it needs to grow, innovate and prosper;

• expanding opportunities for more Australians to undertake vocational education and

training, through apprenticeships or institutional based learning;

• providing Australians with portable, nationally and mutually recognised and consistent vocational qualifications;

• meeting the needs of people from educationally and vocationally disadvantaged


backgrounds to gain qualifications and employable skills, including those who would benefit from second chance opportunities for education and training; and

• maximising training opportunities for existing workers to continually update and raise their post-school qualifications and skill levels, in order to prevent workers being forced into low-skilled and precarious employment.

50. Labor understands the emerging and ongoing skill shortages faced by business must be addressed. Australia's skills base can only be secured through a sustained commitment to providing training opportunities for more Australians. This task cannot be left to government alone. Labor will encourage more businesses to increase their local training programs, rather than turning to temporary skilled migration. Labor believes that Australia's skill needs will only

be secured through lasting solutions, such as expanded education and training opportunities complemented by a balanced skilled migration program with an emphasis on permanent migration.

51. To enable Australian industry to develop, innovate and grow requires support to undertake higher level training, and expand the qualification base of its workers. Labor will ensure that training strategies are linked to industry development policy.

52. Labor supports the development of a genuinely national system of vocational education and training, with increased resources from government and employers for growth and for improved quality. This will include strategies to improve and modernise vocational education and training to provide contemporary programs that meet the changing needs of students,

industry and the community.

53. The ongoing development of a national system of vocational education and training, including related national industry standards, must be based on expert advice from those directly involved, both employers and employees. Labor supports a national network of Industry Skills Councils, with members from both employer associations and unions.

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54. Labor supports a cooperative approach between the Commonwealth, States and Territories to maintain and further develop a high quality, national vocational education and training system built upon nationally agreed objectives, strategies and planning processes.

55. Labor will introduce new governance arrangements to support an effective, cooperative national training system with a leading role for government, employers and unions.

56. Labor will work with the States and Territories to ensure that all providers of vocational education and training are subject to an efficient, comprehensive system of quality assurance including independent auditing. Private sector skills development should be fully integrated within national education and training goals and the national quality and mutual recognition


57. Labor supports a national training system underpinned by a national qualifications framework, with nationally recognised and portable qualifications, and interstate recognition of the registration of training providers consistent with national registration standards and auditing processes. Labor is committed to maintaining the integrity of Australian trade qualifications and ensuring that there is an effective and thorough system in place to

recognise skills obtained both domestically and overseas, so that qualifications consistent with Australia's national training system are recognised, including through rigorous and effective trades recognition and skills assessment in the electrical and metal trades.

58. Labor is committed to increasing existing workers' access to national vocational education and training qualifications. A key barrier to this is the cost of identifying the specific skills and knowledge workers have already acquired through their work and prior training, and using this information effectively. Labor will support measures to improve recognition of prior learning and current competencies, to develop and implement training plans for workers to

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complete the gap to higher, nationally recognised qualifications.

59. Labor will also support initiatives that educate and empower workers about the benefits of ongoing learning and structured training in their workplaces to encourage increased investment by employers in further education and training of workers.

60. Labor will make sure the vocational education and training system supports existing workers who are experiencing skill deficits in the course of their employment. Labor understands that many Australians who may have left school early or lack other formal qualifications often seek new opportunities to expand their education and training. Labor will ensure that pathways and programs exist for Australians to access education and training, to gain or build their skill base, whatever the stage of their working life.

61. Labor will promote a work environment conducive to more training. Labour market insecurity discourages both individuals and employers from investing in gaining or updating necessary skills and qualifications. In addition, employees with recognised qualifications are more likely to find and retain secure employment. Labor will support employees to gain these qualifications.

62. Labor will enable employees and their unions to be actively involved in increasing access to structured learning and training in their workplaces.

63. In developing policies and programs for vocational education and training, Labor will give particular attention to its critical role in providing training and employment opportunities for Indigenous students and their communities. Labor will develop vocational education and training models that acknowledge the community, cultural and educational needs of Indigenous people, including those in isolated communities.

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64. Labor recognises the important role played by TAFE as the public provider of quality training to assist the government in achieving its policy goals for economic development and social justice, and in meeting the technical and further education needs of the Australian community.

65. Access to vocational education and training is critical for many Australians. Labor will support increased public provision through a high quality TAFE system where costs are not a barrier to participation by students from low income backgrounds. A funding contribution to training should also be made by employers. Labor will support TAFE in its dual roles of training

provider and as a key access point for community education.

66. Labor acknowledges the contribution made by the TAFE workforce in developing the knowledge and skills of Australians. In cooperation with unions, industry and State and Territory governments, Labor will take a national approach to improving the professional skills and status of TAFE teachers, including through development of their contemporary and

industry-relevant skills.

67. Labor recognises the particular challenges TAFE faces recruiting and retaining suitably qualified teaching staff, and will introduce measures to address these issues. Labor will also support the professional development of other TAFE staff.

68. Labor supports the right of TAFE staff to collectively bargain and be represented by their union. TAFE funding should be free from conditions such as a requirement to offer individual contracts.

69. As well as training programs delivered through TAFE institutions, Labor believes that private sector employers have a responsibility to provide opportunities for comprehensive post-school vocational training for Australia's young people.

70. While recognising the unique character of vocational education and training, Labor will facilitate maximum cooperation between the senior secondary years, TAFE and university sectors, especially in the establishment of course credits, articulation and, where appropriate, dual and co-located institutions. This recognises the growing connection between some

university and TAFE courses and the growing number of students moving each way between these institutions to obtain their qualifications.

Apprenticeships and Traineeships

71. Labor recognises that the apprenticeship system is the backbone of our skilled trades and technical workforce. Labor will promote apprenticeships as a means towards a valuable and rewarding career for Australians.

72. Labor understands that an effective apprenticeship system involves a partnership between government, business, unions, TAFE and other training providers, and the community. Australian businesses need to provide more apprenticeship opportunities, and Labor will support these businesses through appropriate incentive programs. Labor also recognises that governments at all levels have an obligation to provide apprentice training opportunities where possible.

73. Labor believes that Australia's ability to meet its skills needs relies on the capacity of business to take on more apprentices. Unlike institutional based learning in TAFE, apprenticeships are employment based, training contracts, which require an apprentice, a TAFE and, most importantly, an employer. If companies are able to satisfy their training

intake with apprentices from overseas, then opportunities for Australians will be lost. Labor

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believes we must train Australians first, and opposes the overseas apprentice Trade Skills Training Visa.

74. Labor will provide resources for the expansion of apprenticeships and traineeships to ensure that structured entry level training and work experience opportunities are available to those seeking these skills in demand.

75. Labor will foster cooperative efforts between employers and unions to maximise and continually increase the take-up of apprenticeships and traineeships, especially in areas of skill shortage and in emerging industries. This structured training should focus on the development of both generic and industry-specific skills. Both government and industry have a responsibility to contribute to investment in workplace education and training.

76. Labor supports maintaining the apprenticeship system as modem, flexible, adaptive and responsive to Australian industry's skill needs.

77. Labor supports:

• ongoing improvement in the form, structure and duration of apprenticeships and traineeships to reflect the changing structure of work and the needs of industry;

• moves towards competency based training, accompanied by advanced salary progression for apprentices; and

• the protection of the integrity of trade qualifications and rejects the dilution of the skills base through the fragmentation of apprenticeships.

78. Labor will support apprentices and trainees during their structured training, and provide greater assistance to help them complete their training. Apprentices and trainees have the 3 5 , right to high quality training, both on and off the job, fair wages and conditions, respect from employers and co-workers, and training experiences that produce lasting and portable skills.

79. Labor will establish and implement minimum national standards for the protection of apprentices and trainees. Labor will ensure that all training contracts or agreements meet minimum standards, including an explicit and clear training plan with agreed outcomes, which will be properly monitored and enforced.

80. Labor will focus on quality apprenticeship and traineeship programs and on higher skill levels. Public funding should be more directly linked to the level of training effort, to the completion of quality outcomes and to the development of future skill needs. All apprenticeship and traineeship programs should be consistent with the national qualifications framework.

81. Labor will ensure that there is sufficient funding made available for on and off-the-job training for apprentices, especially in rural and regional Australia.

82. Labor acknowledges the particularly crucial and effective role of group training companies in providing rotated, structured training and other opportunities for apprentices who work in smaller companies that have a limited capacity to train in their own right. Labor will support group training companies' involvement with a wider range of small companies, and the formation of vocationally based employment pools based on similar principles.

83. In addition to support for group training, Labor will examine ways to encourage public and private employers including contract maintenance, employers, labour hire and industry schemes, to directly employ more apprentices and trainees.

Adapting to New Jobs

84. As well as direct job creation for older workers and unemployed people, governments also have a responsibility to invest in retraining workers to provide them with new skills in tune,

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where possible, with national qualifications so that they can adapt to changing demands in the labour force.

85. Labor will invest in a range of new job preparation programs, including specially targeted labour adjustment programs for mature age workers displaced by industry restructuring, aimed at getting these workers back into paid jobs. These programs may include specifically targeted mature age apprenticeships. Labor will address the barriers to mature age apprenticeships faced by both workers and employers.

Adult and Community Education

86. Adult and community education is an integral component of lifelong learning in Australia. Labor is committed to extending learning opportunities through adult and community education that is affordable, flexible and community-based, and that can adapt to the learning needs of both younger and older adults.

87. Labor acknowledges the significant contribution to the education of new arrivals to Australia by adult migration education services and will direct appropriate public funding for this purpose.

Management Skills

88. Labor is committed to raising the skills and standards of managers in Australia at all levels, as well as workers, through innovative new programs on leadership and management skills, and the continuing review of the performance of Australia's corporate managers. The Karpin Report raised serious concerns about the level of management skills and training in Australia,

l t3i6P and attempted to raise the general level of business and community awareness of the relationship between management capability at all levels of the organisation and company performance. Recognising that the business skills and standards of managers in our

workplaces have an important impact on our national economic competitiveness, Labor believes it is important for our long-term economic prosperity to revisit these issues.


89. Labor will ensure that Australia's universities are institutions of high quality teaching and research, where intellectual rigour and excellence are supported by sustained public investment acting as the cornerstone of our nation's social and economic prosperity.

90. Universities have a range of public purposes, intellectual and vocational, social and economic, and public access to these opportunities should be as broad as possible. Labor will support a culture of excellence in all our universities so that, as a nation, we can build a modern economy able to hold its own in the world.

91. Commitment to free inquiry is fundamental. A university must not be fettered in the questions it seeks to advance, or the issues it decides to pursue. Labor reaffirms its commitment to academic freedom. Other nations have passed laws to protect academic freedom. Labor will assess this international experience to ensure that academic freedom in Australia underpins effective teaching and research.

92. Labor believes that Australia's public universities make a special contribution to the life of our nation. They question what we take for granted, offer different ideas, discover new insights, invent new technologies and apply technologies in different ways, advancing Australia as a modem economy and vibrant democracy. Labor affirms its commitment to extensive public funding of this role, and to the principle that public universities will be given priority for public funding. Labor recognises that universities and private higher education providers fulfil

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different roles. Labor will ensure the legislative framework reflects this through separate pieces of legislation. Labor believes this will enhance the domestic and international competitiveness and reputation of Australia's higher education sector

93. Labor is committed to increasing public investment in higher education and research. Labor recognises the need to protect the value of the resources provided by public funding of universities through appropriate indexation arrangements, linked to quality improvement.

94. Labor recognises the important role universities play in their communities, and will fund universities' outreach into their local and regional communities.

95. Australia's universities must offer the highest standards of teaching and learning, and foster environments conducive for world-class research. Quality and standards must be referenced to appropriate expectations in fields and levels of learning and research. Any such assessment should be on the basis of a thorough peer or expert review system, including by

periodic course reviews.

96. Labor believes in a cooperative, national system, involving the Commonwealth, the States and Territories, for the accreditation and quality assurance of universities and all other higher education providers, consistent with nationally agreed protocols.

97. Labor supports innovation and diversification in the provision of higher education. Labor recognises that universities should be supported to meet their distinct and divergent missions, within an overarching framework of high quality standards. This means building on the individual strengths of Australia's universities and encouraging collaboration to lead to greater public and international confidence in the quality and integrity of all our universities.

98. Labor believes that it is the role of government to ensure quality of educational outcomes, 37 ;: I

rather than interfere in the internal management of universities with excessive controls on

inputs and processes.

99. Labor is committed to the autonomy of public universities. Punitive funding conditions, such as the imposition of individual contracts, will be abolished.

100. Access to a university education should be open to all, available on the basis of merit and equity rather than wealth and privilege. Entry to university must be sufficiently flexible to allow both school leavers and mature aged applicants access a higher education.

101. As in other areas of education and training, students from disadvantaged backgrounds are under-represented in higher education. Labor will develop policies and strategies to improve their participation and success including students with disabilities, students from low income communities and students from rural and regional areas. Mindful of the particularly acute

under-representation of Indigenous students in and graduates from universities and in line with Labor's commitment to bringing about permanent improvements to the lives of Indigenous people and their communities, Labor will develop particular policies and

strategies and redress this situation.

102. Labor acknowledges there is both a public and private benefit from an individual's university education. Funding contributions should reflect this balance of benefits. Labor introduced the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) as an equitable means of achieving this balance. However, Labor is concerned that changes to the HECS system have altered its original intent and shifted the cost and debt burden of a university degree further onto students at the same time as the Commonwealth contribution to universities per student has

been reduced.

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103. Labor understands financial costs can act as an impediment to participation in education. Labor will ensure that HECS does not act as a financial barrier to Australians seeking to study in a public university. Labor believes the HECS repayment threshold should be consistent with the average graduate starting salary.

104. Labor opposes full fees for Australian undergraduate students in our public universities. Labor will increase public investment in our universities and phase out fee-paying places for Australian undergraduate students in our public universities.

105. Labor is committed to legislating to ensure that student amenities and services like childcare, health services, counselling, advocacy, and sporting facilities are maintained and accessible at our universities, with formal student involvement in decision-making structures. Labor will require all universities to have an independent, democratic and securely funded student representative body. Students need independent advocacy and representation services, and democratic bodies to present their opinions and concerns to the university, government and the community.

106. Labor recognises that financial disadvantage presents a barrier to student access to, and participation in, a university education. Labor believes that all members of our society should have the opportunity to access a university education if academically qualified.

107. Labor will ensure government-assisted income support is available to students who do not have the financial means to be able to study at university. Labor believes that an adequate level of payment should not discourage students from taking on some part-time work. Labor will identify ways of improving the current income support system to better meet students' needs, including in particular the needs of indigenous students.

108. Labor believes that it is a fundamental requirement for the accreditation of a university that it undertakes teaching and research. Undergraduate and postgraduate coursework education cannot occur without quality research activity.

109. Labor understands that high quality education and research cannot occur without the support of general and ancillary staff, whose important role must be valued and appropriately rewarded.

110. Labor recognises that despite the efforts of many dedicated staff, the quality of university teaching and research has been undermined by Howard Government policy. The quality of university staff and their remuneration are matters of national interest. Adequate funding of our universities is necessary to ensure they are able to attract, retain and develop high quality staff.

111. Labor supports the right of university staff to collectively bargain and be represented by their union.

112. Labor supports the right of staff and students to participate in the governance of higher education institutions, in recognition of the knowledge, experience and commitment they bring.

113. Labor will take action to reverse the 'brain drain' of talented Australian researchers and academics overseas.

114. Labor will provide incentives for postgraduate research and coursework studies, especially in such priority areas as science, health, teaching and nursing.

115. The sustainability of Australia's significant education exports industry relies on the quality, integrity and reputation of our universities, which Labor will enhance. Labor will ensure strong

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protection for overseas students studying in Australia, through requiring high educational standards and corporate integrity and viability from education and training providers.

116. Universities in Australia should be supported to reap the benefits of global developments in knowledge, research and teaching; and to shape and respond to the challenges of the future. Labor will encourage universities to play a leadership role in the internationalisation of higher education, including through the development of global networks and by promoting

capacity building in host countries within our region.

Labor recognises that the international higher education market is leading to some overseas operations being provided by contracted third parties. Labor will ensure appropriate and rigorous compliance arrangements within international guidelines for the quality provision of

higher education services.

117. Labor notes the developing role of public universities as commercial suppliers of education and training services tailored to the needs of corporate clients. Labor will ensure that there are proper accounting and auditing processes to prevent the inappropriate transfer of public funds for commercial purposes.

118. Labor recognises the role that private providers play in extending choices for individual learners and meeting particular needs for higher education qualifications. Private providers are an important complement to public universities, and can be a source of innovation for the system generally.

119. Labor believes that all providers of higher education qualifications must offer their students the teaching and resources necessary to enable their acquisition of the knowledge, skills and understanding required by the qualification in which they are enrolled. Labor believes that 39 1 private providers should be subject to the same processes of regular evaluation of quality -

standards that apply to universities.


120. Labor believes that research and development is a key driver of productivity and economic growth. Our prosperity relies upon the creation of new knowledge and its applications to:

• produce high-skill, high-wage jobs and high-value exports, and

• achieve our social, environmental and cultural goals.

121. Labor supports increased and strategic public investment in research. Australia must have:

• strong and independent universities;

• well-funded public sector research agencies; and

• robust industry sectors with strong and effective investment in research and development.

122. Labor understands that Australia must build world-class, world-scale research capabilities in areas where we have the potential to compete globally.

123. Labor recognises that all research and research education must be conducted at high standards of excellence so Australia can compete with the world's best universities and economies.

124. Labor understands that research excellence is central to Australia's ability to attract and retain highly talented researchers and research students to our universities and research institutes.

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125. Labor will replace the Howard Government's Research Quality Framework for university research funding with an internationally recognised, metrics-based research quality assurance system that will:

• be rigorous, transparent and equitable;

• incorporate international peer review;

• apply and weight the metrics used to ensure results are verifiable;

• encourage research collaboration, both within the public research sector and between the public and private sectors;

• distribute funds in a way that, for each discipline, reflects research quality and achievement; and

• build research and development capacity and maximises the application of research results.

126. Labor will ensure that the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) fund the best quality and most nationally significant research projects, without fear of political manipulation. The ARC and NHMRC's decision making processes should be transparent, robust and free from political interference.

127. Labor is committed to ensuring that Australia sustains appropriate breadth and depth of research capability across the nation's range of universities and research institutes. Australia must have, within its overall research capability, a spectrum of research strengths and approaches—ranging from pure basic, long-term research to applied and short-term research.


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128. Labor will ensure that a strong culture of collaboration, networking and clustering, including

at the international level, underpins our universities, research institutes and private research programs in order to maximise our capabilities.

129. Labor will strengthen national research agencies, including the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and ensure they continue to contribute appropriately to national goals. Labor will reverse the current trend of under-funding of the national research agencies, and protect their scientific integrity and independence. Labor will encourage enhanced collaboration between the national research agencies, universities, TAFE and the private sector.

130. Labor will address the major skills gap in Australia caused by our inability to retain and replace researchers. Labor will ensure that young and mid-career researchers have opportunities to build their research careers and contribute to the creation and application of knowledge.

131. Labor understands the need for a strong culture of innovation and knowledge transfer in Australia. We must have effective channels for transferring knowledge and technology between universities, research institutes, TAFEs, business and the community sector. We cannot lift the capacity of business to innovate, to find and absorb knowledge in order to create new and improved products, services and processes, without linking people and

ideas in business with researchers and universities.

132. Labor is committed to lifting business expenditure on research and development. Labor is also committed to lifting the capacity of business to absorb and adapt the results of research. Labor believes it is incumbent on government to deliver a policy framework that will encourage the private sector to invest in research. Labor will promote effective linkages between Australian industry and public research infrastructure, academics and graduates.

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133. Labor will make sure that research and development initiatives provide an effective incentive to lift Australian research and development and build an innovative Australian 38 economy.

134. Labor will encourage the commercialisation of research so that Australia can reap the full benefits of its research and maximise the contribution of Australian research to economic development and competitiveness.

135. Labor recognises that the key role of universities, in relation to research, is to undertake quality basic research and to disseminate the findings of this research to the community. While it is important to ensure the successful commercialisation of research, Labor believes that government policies should not be aimed at narrow commercialisation objectives to the

detriment of basic research.

136. Labor recognises that Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) are important forums for industry, researchers, universities and government to collaborate and innovate in key research and industry areas. Labor will strengthen the cooperative research process and ensure that it encompasses broad economic, social and environmental goals as well as commercial objectives.

137. Labor believes that research in the sciences, engineering and technology is critical for national economic development and meeting our environment, security, public health and social challenges. Labor will ensure that Australian investment in the sciences, engineering and technology builds national prosperity and lifts our capacity to innovate and compete in the world.

138. Labor acknowledges the contribution of the humanities and social sciences to Australia's knowledge base and will expand opportunities for humanities and social science to further : 41 - I the economic, environmental and social development of Australia.

Indigenous Education

139. Labor believes that education and training is fundamental to reducing Indigenous disadvantage and enabling greater Indigenous self governance, determination and responsibility in the future. Labor accepts that the national government should play a particular role in supporting and promoting education and training rights and opportunities for Indigenous people. Labor will work to reduce the appalling gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous education and training access, attendance, and standards. This will mean addressing the needs and requirements of Indigenous people and families as they relate to both mainstream and Indigenous-specific education and training goals and opportunities. Labor will develop goals specific to the different needs of urban, regional and remote areas. In particular, Labor is committed to working in partnership with Indigenous communities, families and people of all ages in order to develop and implement these education and training goals and opportunities.

140. Central to Indigenous education policy is the valuing of the diversity of cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their contribution to Australia's social, economic, cultural and environmental development. Indigenous people and their communities must shape and influence decisions about educational priorities and strategies. Labor will develop alternative education structures that acknowledge the community, cultural and educational needs of Indigenous students.

141. The content of what is learnt in Australia's education systems, whether school or university or vocational training, should be inclusive of Indigenous cultures and perspectives. This is as important for non-Indigenous Australians as it is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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142. Labor supports a mandatory Aboriginal Studies component as part of all teachers' pre-service training. This will prepare teachers to be able to:

• work effectively in Aboriginal communities and teach Aboriginal children;

• teach Aboriginal studies competently and confidently; and

• incorporate Aboriginal perspectives in their teaching programs for all children.

143. Labor understands the important role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education workers and teachers play in achieving successful education outcomes for students. This includes, in particular, the need to increase Indigenous participation in education and training and in employment. Labor will work with State and Territory governments to develop effective incentives, support and strategies for Indigenous education worker enrolments, recruitment, remuneration, career pathways and professional development strategies. As well, Labor will work with teacher educators and with the teaching profession to ensure that all teachers enter the profession with a good understanding of Indigenous education issues and perspectives.

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Chapter Five

Fostering Competitive and Innovative Australian Industries In a highly competitive and rapidly changing global economy, Australian industries must innovate if they are to survive and prosper. Innovative industries are more likely to export, pay higher wages,

provide high-skill jobs and achieve strong profits. Labor believes that government can play a positive role in supporting the growth and development of the innovative industries of the future, whether they are in services, manufacturing, mining or agriculture, and whether they are small or large businesses. Labor believes that Australia's long-term prosperity is best protected by fostering a diversified economy, competing in high value-added sectors of global markets.


1. In the twenty-first century, the key drivers of economic success in any modern western economy will be the extent and success of investment in innovation, skill development and skill formation.

2. Labor recognises the fundamental changes that have occurred in the global economy and in Australian society. As the translation of science, technology and innovation into the productive economy proceeds at a rapid pace, we must enhance this process through strategic public and private investment.

3. Labor is committed to ensuring organisations and individuals have the knowledge, skills and incentives to stimulate investment in innovation. Labor will foster an economic climate which supports private investment in research and development, including through tax incentives, and the effective and innovative use of technology by firms and organisations.

4. Australia must be an innovative economy if we are to succeed in the highly competitive global economy of the twenty-first century. Labor will pursue the goal of lifting Australia's level of business expenditure on research and development to above the average for OECD nations.

5. Labor will maximise the benefits of innovation by encouraging the local commercialisation of Australian inventions and the development of export markets for new technologies, serviced enhanced manufacturing and knowledge-based service industries. As well as commercialising Australian inventions, Australia must lead the world in adopting and using technology including advanced production technology and information and communications technology (ICT) developments.

6. Labor will strengthen our national science agencies, such as the CSIRO, and provide them with clear strategic direction and funding to pursue basic research as well as working with industry to transfer technology and nurture innovation. Labor will further expand and encourage links between the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and the domestic defence industry. Technology transfer to Australian industry will be encouraged.

7. Labor will ensure that the financial and cultural benefits of technological change are available to all members of society, including those in regional and rural Australia. Labor will address the potential social and financial costs of technological change and questions of equitable access to information and services increasingly delivered in electronic form.

8. An emphasis on innovation and skills is fundamental not only to the creation of new industries but to the modernisation and transformation of traditional industries. Labor will:

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• establish effective incentives to encourage research, development and commercialisation;

• seek to encourage greater collaboration between Australia's private and public research effort;

• promote linkages between industry and research bodies so that they share knowledge and expertise;

• nurture clustering and networking of industries so that they share knowledge and expertise; and

• seek to strengthen industry supply chains.

Strategic Intervention

9. Labor will put in place an active industry policy involving strategic intervention where such intervention adds value to Australia's workforce, its national resources or its ideas; increases our global competitiveness, leading to more exports and investment; or where the cost of not intervening would severely impact on particular industries or regions. The focus will be on building jobs in the new and existing industries.

10. Emphasis will also be given to sustainable industry development, based on environmental modernisation, with the aim of 'cleaning and greening' existing industries and developing new and emerging environmental technologies and industries.

11. A Labor Government will be prepared to intervene, as appropriate, to advance broader economic, social or regional objectives.

12. Labor will work with particular industries to achieve national goals. The sectoral approach ` 44; adopted in the 1980s and 1990s was highly effective in boosting exports and cushioning the impact of reduced protection. The industry policy requirements of the next decade will not be the same as those of the past.

13. Labor will put in place industry-based assistance measures that meet the needs of the new century.

14. Labor believes that policy measures must be developed and implemented on the basis of a partnership between industry and government. Assistance provided to industries will therefore be on the basis of clearly defined criteria and will be structured to achieve objectives relating to employment, skills and training, developing world-class supply chains,

research and development, innovation, investment and exports.

15. Measures designed to attract significant new investment, from both Australia and overseas, will be an important element of this approach. Such measures will encourage a national approach to investment promotion and seek to minimise the detrimental effects of bidding wars between the States to attract new investment.

16. Individual projects or companies which receive federal government assistance under investment attraction schemes will need to enter into activity agreements with a Labor Government that ensure commitments to priority issues such as employment and local content strategies.

17. Labor recognises it is not the role of government to support unsustainable industries but believes that positive intervention can contribute to building the competitiveness and export orientation of Australian industries.

18. Labor's approach involves working with business, workers and their unions and with the regions to support and encourage industries and firms that are committed to best practice and improving their international competitiveness.

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19. Labor will seek to coordinate these strategic interventions as part of a broad, nation building agenda. An office will be established to:

• assist in articulating the government's strategic priorities;

• coordinate economic, social and environmental agendas;

• coordinate policy across governments;

• undertake research and policy development; and

• ensure that the machinery of government is working towards the achievement of the government's strategic objectives.

20. Labor will establish Industry Innovation Councils to develop and implement industry innovation strategies for key sectors. The Councils will comprise high level decision makers from industry, unions, Commonwealth and State/Territory governments and the science and innovation community. By building strong, productive and ongoing working relationships

among all participants in the supply chain, the Councils will facilitate whole-of-government and industry commitment to new directions and initiatives aimed at:

• improving productivity, global competitiveness and market access to secure the future of the sector;

• achieving best practice in employment and training to build a highly skilled and flexible workforce for the 21st century;

• ensuring the sustainable development of each sector; and

• enabling each sector to be part of Australia's response to the global challenge of climate change. 45

Cost Competitiveness

21. Labor is committed to pursuing, though cooperative and consultative processes, a range of measures to improve the efficiency and productive performance of industry. Labor will:

• continue to promote micro-economic reform and competition policy in ways which not only contribute to a competitive business environment, but embrace social welfare and equity concerns, benefit consumers and are consistent with industrial relations best practice;

• ensure that business regulation measures are reviewed for their impact on competitive efficiency, are in the public interest and are not used by either the public sector or the private sector to unfairly restrict business competition;

• ensure that Australia's taxation system is sensitive to business needs; and

• continue to emphasise best practice in industrial relations, and the improvement of management systems to improve the efficiency and productive performance of industry.

22. Industrial relations arrangements must contribute both to competitiveness and to achieving fair outcomes. The emphasis should be on the development of productive and cooperative enterprise relations based on a well paid, highly-skilled, effective and motivated workforce which contributes to building a competitive business environment.

23. Productive workplaces require attention to opportunities for employees to participate in and contribute to the efficient development of the enterprise and to have the opportunity to share in the benefits of its success. Labor will also develop cooperative, tripartite mechanisms to consider industrial relations in the context of wider industry development issues.

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Government Procurement

24. Labor recognises that in the manufacturing, service and information industries, government has a crucial role as a purchaser of goods and services. This is especially so for emerging industries or companies. A Labor Government will work with industry and State and Territory governments to use ethically sourced, public procurement as an industry policy tool in ways that are compatible with efficiency and cost effectiveness and local industry development.

25. Labor will put in place an aggressive local industry participation policy, consistent with our World Trade Organisation (WTO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) obligations regarding purchase of imported goods and services, and our commitment to purchasing the product with lowest 'whole of life' cost. This policy will ensure that all government departments see their purchasing activities as a key element in industry development, that significant outlays of Commonwealth funds conform with the policy, and that government agencies will be required to purchase from Australian and New Zealand suppliers who are

price and quality competitive. The policy will provide a price reference advantage for Australian suppliers of 20 per cent with an additional five per cent for those companies in regional Australia and will ensure that all goods are ethically sourced and that the process ensures that the aims of the policy can be adequately implemented, subject to international commitments and/or obligations.

26. Labor recognises that in order for goods or services to be ethically sourced, suppliers must be good corporate citizens. This requires that they comply with the law. This includes but is not limited to laws regarding taxation, trade practices, corporations, industrial relations, consumer affairs, environment and immigration. Labor will ensure that the Commonwealth procurement guidelines and codes reflect Government policy on ethical procurement.

27. Labor will also require:

• Principal suppliers to the Commonwealth to ensure compliance with procurement policies by all sub-contractors involved in the principal's supply chain to the Commonwealth.

• That any supplier to Government found to owe outstanding entitlements to its workforce, including as a consequence of a transmission of business, should pay those entitlements.

28. Labor will increase coordination of Government procurement, to reduce costs and inefficiencies arising from excessive fragmentation of purchasing under the Howard Government.

29. Labor will increase transparency of government contracts by strictly limiting the use of commercial-in-confidence secrecy. All government agencies will maintain a register of commercial-in-confidence exclusions, to be periodically tabled in parliament and subject to scrutiny by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit. Labor will require agencies to disclose details of any sub-contract arrangements including the identity and location of sub-contractors.

30. Following the election of a Labor government, all new contracts entered into by all government departments, agencies and federally-owned corporations will be required to comply with government ethical procurement policy and Federal and State laws and will reflect Labor's commitment to introducing a new fair industrial relations system for Australia.

31. Labor will ensure that all existing and prospective suppliers are apprised of the Commonwealth's procurement policy. Labor will put in place mechanisms to ensure that the policy is complied with through tendering and contractual requirements.

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Corporate Governance

32. Efficient and accessible capital markets are critical to investment and growth in the economy. Labor believes that good corporate governance is fundamental to capital market efficiency and critical to ensuring that the interests of shareholders, employees and legitimate company stakeholders are protected.

33. Labor will continue to ensure that Australia's regulatory framework generates sound corporate governance practices. Transparency, accountability and disclosure are at the core of good corporate governance. Labor will ensure that obligations on companies and their officers result in comprehensive and comprehensible disclosures for shareholders and company stakeholders, and ensure appropriate accountability of company officers.

34. Labor is committed to ensuring that shareholders and investment managers can actively participate in company governance processes.

35. Labor will continue to monitor corporate governance practices, the Corporations Act and related legislation to ensure that:

• the election of directors of listed public companies is transparent and direct voting of proxies is encouraged;

• shareholders are informed about the directors' relationships (if any) with the company and other directors when standing for election;

• companies fully disclose all information, including non-financial information, relevant to investors, shareholders and the market in a timely and equitable manner;

• companies continue to appoint independent directors to the board of directors; ---47

• performance-based executive remuneration arrangements are genuinely linked to performance;

• there is consideration of the role of the remuneration consultancy industry in the setting of executive remuneration;

• directors are accountable to shareholders for the level of remuneration received by directors and senior management;

• companies fully disclose the remuneration of directors and senior management in a comprehensive and comprehensible manner;

• the Corporations Act is amended to enhance the disclosure and regulation of options, termination payments and equity value protection schemes;

• non-recourse loans to directors and senior management are prohibited;

• companies use their general meetings to appropriately communicate with shareholders;

• shareholders retain the ability to call an extraordinary general meeting of a company;

• shareholders and institutional investors exercise their voting rights appropriately and regularly;

• ASIC has sufficient funding to undertake its functions and pursue companies who fail to protect employee entitlements;

• appropriate penalties are imposed for breaches of the corporations law, in particular for insider trading;

• the independence of audit and auditors is maintained;

• not-for-profit organisations improve their governance arrangements and disclosure;

• disclosure requirements for transactions between related parties are strengthened;

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ASIC and the DPP regularly review their operations to ensure thorough management of

law enforcement and prosecutions; and

• company directors remain accountable to investors, employees, suppliers and consumers, and that directors' duties reflect this accountability.

Corporate Responsibility

36. Labor's emphasis on corporate responsibility is grounded in our commitment to sustainable economic growth. Labor believes sustainable, responsible businesses are integral to our future prosperity and international competitiveness.

37. Corporate responsibility means a commitment from business to sustainable economic development—sustainable in terms of impacts on local communities and the natural environment, as well as returns to investors. Corporate responsibility encompasses, but extends beyond, compliance with corporate regulation such as governance requirements.

38. Labor recognises the central and significant role of corporations in today's world, and that the influence of corporations extends well beyond wealth creation and includes significant social and environmental impacts.

39. Government has a key role in monitoring and regulating these impacts. Labor believes that effective responses to the social and environmental challenges we face, must involve business. Government has a responsibility to engage business in their responses, and should play a strategic role to encourage sustainable business practice.

40. Labor believes this can benefit both business and the wider community, through the minimisation of negative impacts and costs, and the commercial opportunities that business may generate through its involvement.

41. Many leading businesses have already embraced corporate responsibility. Labor seeks to build on this trend by encouraging greater take-up of corporate responsibility. To achieve this, Labor believes that a change in mainstream business culture will be required. Labor is committed to ensuring that business leaders understand community expectations about their

role in society and will assist and encourage Australian business to build the capacity to act responsibly and sustainably.

42. Labor believes greater transparency in the social and environmental performance by businesses builds trusting relationships with communities and enhances corporate responsibility. Accordingly Labor will:

• ensure an increase in the level of comprehensive and comparable non-financial reporting by companies and other large businesses; and

• engage the financial sector to improve analysis and valuation of environmental and social performance by companies.

43. Labor will also encourage all businesses to evaluate and reduce negative social or environmental consequences of their activities by:

• ensuring that company directors recognise that their duties to shareholders do not prevent them considering the interests of legitimate company stakeholders such as employees, customers and the local community;

• insisting that Australian companies meet their obligations under Australia's international agreements, and monitoring their performance against these agreements; and

• encouraging trustees of superannuation funds to take account of the social and environmental performance of companies when investing on behalf of members.

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44. Recognising that business also needs support and resources to make their operations more sustainable, Labor will:

• ensure business has access to the tools and best practice information to assist them manage social and environmental risks, and the recognition of opportunities as part of normal business operations;

• partner with business to establish, as required, eminent roundtable forums to address sustainability issues of concern to business and society; and

• consider other incentives for encouraging business to behave more responsibly.

45. Where necessary, Labor will address specific issues of concern to the community, such as encouraging business to:

• support an increase in the employment of older people, the long-term unemployed and people living with disabilities;

• ensure that executive salary growth is clearly linked to company performance and considers community expectations; and

• embrace social diversity in their workforces and management.

46. Labor will demonstrate its commitment to sustainable activities by ensuring that Australian government agencies provide a positive example to Australian business by undertaking and implementing sustainability reporting and sustainable procurement practices.

The Future for Agriculture

47. Australia's agricultural and fisheries industries will continue to play an essential role in the Australian economy as a major source of exports and as the economic base for most of rural and regional Australia.

48. Strong primary industries are crucial for creating wealth, income and jobs in rural and regional Australia. Labor will work with farmers and their representatives to ensure all Australians understand the importance of the sector to the economic welfare of the nation and will help develop and promote a positive image for the sector.

49. Labor is committed to positive strategic intervention to ensure that all export development and import replacement opportunities are fully explored.

50. The key components of Labor strategy for agriculture and fisheries are:

• increasing agricultural productivity;

• maximising agricultural employment;

• maximising local Australian content in Australian supermarkets;

• investment in innovative agriculture;

• access to markets;

• workplace safety on farms;

• women in agriculture;

• farm assistance programs;

• intergenerational transfer of farms;

• science and best practice;

• food safety and quality assurance;

• agriculture and the natural environment; and

• fisheries and aquaculture.

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Inc re asing Agricultural Productivity

51. Labor acknowledges that the long-term survival of agriculture in a global environment will depend on continuing innovation and productivity improvement in the sector. Continuous productivity improvement will be achieved by:

• rebuilding agriculture's research and development capacity to improve on-farm productivity and enhance producer competitiveness;

• specific skilling of farmers and rural workers to enable the sector to keep pace with new production, technology and marketing advances;

• fostering the development and adoption of new farm technologies;

• improving the nation's transpo rt infrastructure and produce handling facilities to enable Australia's agricultural produce to reach overseas markets quickly and at a competitive price to maximise returns, recognising the important role of air freight and intermodal linkages in that task; and

• ensuring access by farm businesses to quality information technology and communication infrastructure to provide farmers with timely access to production, marketing and financial data.

Maximising Agricultural Employment

52. Labor acknowledges the capacity of agriculture to generate new jobs in regional areas and is committed to encouraging the further processing of agricultural products close to the source of production as a means of creating wealth and jobs in count ry towns. Labor will:

50 • assist Australian agriculture to identify new products, new market opportunities and areas where agricultural imports may feasibly be replaced;

• recognise the important role played by off-farm income sources to the survival of the family farm, and see the restoration of regional services as an important vehicle for the creation of employment opportunities for farm family members; and

• facilitate the further development and growth of integrated farming and small-scale manufacturing and processing businesses.

Investment in Innovative Agricultu re

53. Labor will examine and develop policies which encourage new forms of ownership and investment by Australian capital in Australian primary industries.

54. Labor recognises there is a potential partnership between the long-term investment needs of agriculture and the growing pool of patient capital represented by Australian superannuation funds. Labor will seek to develop specific incentives and structures that will encourage these funds to play a significant role in contributing to the capital base required in the agricultural


55. Labor will assist in the development of alternative farm ownership models (e.g. leasing and cooperative ownership) that may make it more attractive for institutional investors to contribute to the capital costs required to improve returns.

56. Labor will support the ongoing development of organic farming and sustainable agricultural practices.

57. Labor will support the further development of the increasingly important role being played by farmers in the development and production of alternative fuels, including biofuels produced on farms.

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Access to Markets 58. Labor will maximise access to domestic and international markets for Australian agriculture and fisheries. This will be coupled with effective communication links between new markets and local producers to take advantage of new market opportunities. Labor believes the big

gains for farmers in the international marketplace will be best achieved through multilateral negotiations and treaties.

59. In pursuit of new domestic and international marketing opportunities, Labor will:

• ensure that Australian representatives at international agriculture and trade forums are adequately prepared to vigorously pursue the interests of Australian agriculture;

• work with producer organisations, markets and information providers to develop programs to keep farmers better informed about changing trends in market and consumer requirements;

• support the development of structures which facilitate appropriate producer involvement at each step of the marketing chain;

• work with farmers, wholesalers and retailers to ensure that domestic markets operate as fairly, transparently and efficiently as possible;

• examine existing marketing structures to ensure that they maximise returns to producers and the nation; and

• develop programs which will assist regions and individual farm businesses to attract a premium price for their products through the use of 'clean and green' production methods.

Workplace Safety on Farms

60. Labor recognises the importance of workplace safety for farmers and farm workers and will work with State governments to ensure that best practice, farm safety education programs are available throughout Australia.

61. Labor will work with farm organisations and unions representing rural workers to develop codes of practice for workplace safety on farms. Where codes fail to improve safety on farms, Labor will work with State governments to introduce legally enforceable codes.

Women in Agriculture

62. Labor acknowledges the role played by women in the operation and management of farm businesses. Labor will:

• work with rural women to enhance the awareness and appreciation of their important role and will develop programs to upgrade the skills and expand the opportunities of women in the sector; and

• maintain and expand services, including childcare, which support women in the agricultural workforce.

Farm Assistance Programs

63. With primary industries particularly exposed to changing natural, environmental, economic and social conditions, there is a need to:

• further develop flexibility, innovation and adjustment to change as core skills in Australian primary industry; and

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• develop specific national responses to better provide for the ever present short-term crises such as disease outbreaks and climate problems.

64. Labor will:

• maintain flexible crossovers between family or household support programs in other portfolios to ensure that primary producers are not excluded from mainstream safety net assistance simply through ownership of the primary asset;

• maintain funding for exit programs which make it possible to exit with dignity as deemed appropriate;

• explore with farmers, farm organisations and other groups, conservation stewardship arrangements as alternatives to exit programs;

• assist farmers to assess ongoing viability of their enterprises in the light of changing production, marketing and environmental conditions and provide programs to assist farmers to adjust to these changing circumstances; and

• maintain and improve programs that support farmers through droughts and other natural disasters while also developing programs to help farmers better prepare for these events.

Intergenerational Transfer of Farms

65. Labor recognises the importance to the farm sector and the national economy of enabling younger generations of farmers to take over family farm businesses without leaving the older generation in financially difficult circumstances.

66. In partnership with farm organisations, Labor will seek to develop new ways of facilitating the

L52_ intergenerational transfer of farm assets.

Science and Best Practice

67. Labor is committed to confirming science as an accepted arbiter in questions related to sustainability, environmental assessment, hazards and quarantine.

68. Standards of international best practice and science will be developed and continuously reviewed and updated. In particular, this will support a fully resourced, national quarantine system accepting a proactive responsibility for representing Australian quarantine interests at all levels and ensuring appropriate levels of protection for all distinct regions of Australia.

Food Safety and Quality Assurance

69. Australia's producers must be able to satisfy the consumer need for complete assurance on matters of food safety and quality. Labor draws no distinction between domestic and international consumers in this regard. Labor recognises that the interests of producers and consumers are best served when food products are labelled accurately, including country of origin.

70. Labor will establish and enforce a comprehensive model of national food safety and quality assurance, which will include:

• the adoption of international best practice at all levels of the chain;

• an understanding of food safety and quality assurance concepts for persons performing tasks along the pathway from producer to end user;

• labelling of food products containing genetically modified material; and

• development of a national label of accreditation as a universally recognised symbol of Australian quality and environmental sustainability.

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Agriculture and the Natural Environment 71. Labor sees an expanded role for the agriculture sector in meeting major environmental challenges such as soil degradation, salinity, chemical use, water conservation, greenhouse and climate change, river rehabilitation, feral animal and noxious weed control, and the loss

of biodiversity. Labor will ensure that farmers are recognised for the considerable progress they have already made in these areas.

72. Labor will:

• encourage the development of innovative production systems and farming practices, new research and infrastructure developments that address these major challenges;

• acknowledge the particular implications for Australian agriculture of long-term climate change, direct scientific effort to identifying areas at risk from such change, and develop long-term strategies for regions required to change the nature of their farming activity; and

• make the development of economically and environmentally sustainable farming methods for a drier climate a focus of research efforts.

73. Labor recognises the critical role of the rural community in the ongoing stewardship of our land. Labor is committed to working with rural communities and land holders in the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and whole farm planning consistent with regional strategies. Labor is committed to building on the achievements of Landcare, encouraging the uptake of sustainable farming practices and the continuing support for the repair of our rural landscapes.

Fisheries and Aquaculture


74. Labor recognises the importance of the commercial and recreational fishing industries, and the aquaculture industry, in generating employment and export income for many regions.

75. Labor understands the crucial role research and development plays in ensuring that fish stocks remain at a level that can support both commercial and recreational fishing.

76. Labor supports the further development of aquaculture industries.

77. Labor will implement programs that actively prevent illegal fishing activities in Australian waters.

The Future for Minerals, Resources and Energy

78. Australia's minerals, resources and energy industries are vital to our economy. They are a major source of exports and a direct and indirect employer; provide an economic base for regional Australia; and make a substantial contribution to the well-being of the whole community.

79. Enormous potential for long-term economic and employment growth exists in the further development of these industries. The greatest potential for this growth exists in downstream processing of Australia's natural resources and the export of minerals-related services and technology.

80. The potential for economic and employment growth in these industries, combined with the globalisation of the economy, the emergence of new international competitors in the global resources market, and the internationalisation of a number of Australia's larger companies, means that the international competitiveness of Australia's minerals, resources and energy industries is a crucial issue for government.

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81. Australia's natural advantages in downstream minerals processing for domestic and export markets can be further enhanced by a more efficient, nationally oriented energy industry.

82. The extraction and use of mineral resources has both natural resource and economic implications. Government and industry should ensure that development of mineral resources occurs in a way that maximises the economic worth of existing resources.

83. Labor will improve the efficiency of the use of minerals, resources and energy so that the depletion of finite resources is minimised by the use of renewable resources and the conversion and reuse of surplus and waste products.

84. To maximise the minerals, resources and energy industries' social, environmental and economic contribution to Australia, Labor will:

• encourage, in conjunction with the States, an intensified national minerals, oil and gas exploration effort, and the development of new exploration science and technology;

• facilitate the continued development of a national gas distribution network;

• develop strategies with industry and the States/NT to maximise Australian labour participation, including training and skill development, in all phases (exploration, construction, extraction, processing and transportation) of minerals, resources and energy projects, including in the offshore hydrocarbons sector;

• promote the sound development of Australia's coal resources, with particular regard to domestic requirements, the development of Australia's coal exports, and the need for a stable and profitable coal industry;

• encourage the development of clean coal technologies; 54^i n encourage downstream processing of minerals, resources and energy products, and, through public and private avenues, the infrastructure necessary to achieve this;

• bolster research, development and technology efforts to ensure the international competitiveness of the minerals, resources and energy industries, including technology and services derived from those industries;

• harness the scientific, technological, research and development and engineering ingenuity of our minerals and resources industries in a nationally coordinated way; and

• make a national effort to maximise our energy security, capacity and efficiency and provide the lowest practicable energy prices for Australian industry and consumers.

85. Labor will maximise local content in the manufacture, construction and maintenance of facilities and equipment for production and processing in Australia's minerals, resources and energy industries, including by promoting specific facilities and infrastructure which can build and service major offshore and onshore hydrocarbon projects.

86. Labor recognises the skill shortages in traditional trades and resource industry professions facing the sector and will work with the industry to address this issue as a matter of urgency.

87. Labor recognises that the development of Australia's natural resources requires that the benefits are shared equitably between producers and the Australian community, and will foster a full return to the community from the development of common resources and maximise the benefits of Australian ownership and control of our natural resources. Labor

supports the use of the tax regime to help achieve this objective.

88. Labor will ensure that the ultimate responsibility for the administration of offshore mining and petroleum production resides with the Commonwealth, and facilitate the efficient production of crude oil from new and existing fields including through regular release of exploration areas and an efficiently administered resource rent tax.

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89. Labor will ensure that mineral development on Indigenous land proceeds consistently with Labor's land rights and native title policy, maximises Indigenous employment, business, education and training opportunities, and maximises Indigenous community development and self determination opportunities.

90. Labor acknowledges that mining operations may have an impact on Indigenous communities and traditional landowners. Labor is committed to working with these communities and mining operators to identify and minimise any adverse impact, including proper resourcing of communities for Indigenous land use agreement negotiations.

91. Labor will adopt integrated long-term plans to ensure the economic and environmental health of the nation's water resources.


92. Labor recognises that the production of uranium and its use in the nuclear fuel cycle present unique and unprecedented hazards and risks, including:

• threats to human health and the local environment in the mining and milling of uranium, which demand the enforcement of very strict safety procedures;

• the generation of products which are usable as the raw materials for nuclear weapons manufacture, which demands the enforcement of effective controls against diversion; and

• the generation of highly toxic radioactive waste by-products, which demands permanently safe disposal methods not currently available.

93. Labor, accordingly will only allow the mining and export of uranium under the most stringent conditions, as described below. 55

94. In relation to mining and milling, Labor will:

• Ensure the safety of workers in the uranium industry is paramount, and establish a compulsory register for workers in the uranium industry that includes regular health checks and ongoing monitoring. Such a register would be held by an independent agency and be subject to privacy provisions.

• Ensure that Australian uranium mining, milling and rehabilitation is based on world best practice standards, on extensive continuing research on environmental impacts and on the health and safety of employees and affected communities, particularly Indigenous communities;

• ensure, through public accountability mechanisms, that the Australian public is informed about the quality of the environmental performance of uranium mines; and

• foster a constructive relationship between mining companies and Indigenous communities affected by uranium mining.

• prohibit the mining of uranium within national parks under IUCN protected area category 1 A, category 1 B, and category 2, and listed world heritage areas.

95. In relation to exports, Labor will allow the export of uranium only to those countries which observe the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), are committed to non-proliferation policies, have ratified international and bilateral nuclear safeguards agreements and maintain strict safeguards and security controls over their nuclear power industries. In addition, Labor will work towards:

• strengthening export control regimes and the rights and authority of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);

• appropriate international responses to violations of existing safeguard commitments;

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• limiting the processing of weapon usable material (separation of plutonium and high enriched uranium in civilian programs);

• tightening controls over the export of nuclear material and technology;

• universalising of the IAEA additional protocol making it mandatory for all states and members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to make adherence to the additional protocol a condition of supply to all their transfers;

• criminalising actions of individuals and companies that assist in nuclear proliferation;

• the development of an international guarantee of nuclear fuel supply to states forgoing sensitive nuclear technologies;

• revising the NPT to prevent countries from withdrawing from the NPT and passing a new resolution in the UN Security Council addressing the penalties for withdrawal from the NPT;

• encouraging all nuclear states to join the NPT;

• reserving the right to withhold supplies of uranium permanently, indefinitely or for a specified period from any country which ceases to observe the non-proliferation safeguards and security conditions which are applied to Australian uranium exports to that country, or which adopts nuclear practices or policies inimical to further advance in the cause of nuclear non-proliferation;

• supporting the maintenance and enhancement of international and Australian safeguards to ensure that uranium mined in Australia, and nuclear products derived from it, is used only for civil purposes by approved instrumentalities in approved countries which are

f 56

signatories to the NPT and with whom Australia has safeguard arrangements; and

• seeking adequate international resourcing of the IAEA to ensure its effectiveness in undertaking its charter.

96. Labor will progress these commitments through diplomatic means including the re-establishment of the Canberra Commission to re-invigorate Australia's tradition of middle power, multilateral diplomacy. In doing so, Labor, as a non nuclear armed nation and a good international citizen, can wield considerable influence and credibility in promoting disarmament, the reduction of nuclear stockpiles, and the responsible use of nuclear technology.

97. In addition, Labor will:

• vigorously oppose the ocean dumping of radioactive waste;

• prohibit the establishment in Australia of nuclear power plants and all other stages of the nuclear fuel cycle;

• fully meet all our obligations as a party to the NPT; and

• remain strongly opposed to the importation and storage of nuclear waste that is sourced from overseas in Australia.


98. Australia's forest and forest products industry has high economic and employment value.

Labor recognises the importance of the forest and the forest products industry to the Australian economy and the need for forests to continue to be based on ecologically sustainable development principles. Future development of the forest and forest products

industry must take place on an ecologically and economically sustainable basis, by ensuring the full implementation of the Regional Forest Agreements process.

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99. The forest and forest products indust ry provides a source of employment for regional communities and contributes to economic growth and employment through increasing downstream processing of resources taken from public and private forests, including pulp and paper milling, veneer milling and plywood manufactu ring.

100. Labor recognises the skills shortages in traditional trades and forest indust ry professionals and will work with the indust ry to address this issue as a matter of urgency.

101. Labor will establish a Wood and Paper Industry Innovation Council to review current industry arrangements, including investment incentives, identify new markets and generally assist the industry to reach its potential.

Labor will task the Innovation Council with the development of a comprehensive plantation forestry strategy.

The Futu re for Manufacturing Industries

102. Labor is committed to supporting a strong manufacturing sector, on the basis that:

• A strong manufacturing sector can be the engine for significant job growth, particularly in high quality, service sector jobs;

• In the global context, exports of manufactures, particularly elaborately transformed manufactures, have experienced rapid growth over the past two decades. Unfortunately, under the Howard Government exports of Australian ETMs have stagnated. Service enhanced manufacturing will be the engine of growth in world trade and it is essential that Australia realises its full potential; and

• Investment in heavy manufacturing industries, including the resource sector, must be planned within a cooperative framework, with medium to long-term value adding capacity for local and export markets.

103. Manufacturing provides Australia with some of its most significant economic opportunities. Within the manufacturing sector, the industries with the fastest export growth over the past decade were those that had some level of government assistance, including pharmaceuticals, computer and telecommunications equipment, assembled new motor vehicles, ships, food processing, and textiles, clothing and footwear.

104. Labor will secure and expand our manufacturing sector, and through it develop our high growth and knowledge-intensive industries. Labor sees the key elements to develop in relation to these industries as being:

• research and development and innovation;

• investment;

• quality products and services;

• a more skilled workforce, including management; and

• infrastructure.

105. Labor will develop or review existing strategic action plans for a range of industries including:

• food processing;

• pharmaceuticals;

• biotechnology;

• medical and scientific instruments;

• information technology, including software;

• telecommunications;

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• metal production and fabrication;

• automotive;

• advanced manufacturing technology;

• space technology;

• shipbuilding;

• resource processing;

• sustainably managed forest and forest products;

• environmental technology;

• plastics and chemicals;

• printing;

• energy, including renewable energy;

• textiles, clothing and footwear; and

• domestic and commercial furniture manufacturing.

106. Development of these strategic action plans will involve industry employers, unions and government identifying the opportunities, the barriers to realising these opportunities and the solutions to overcoming the barriers. In addition to the broad array of our industry policy initiatives, Labor will look to establish a partnership with each relevant industry, involving a commitment from each industry to targets in investment, jobs, net exports and research and development, in return for strategic assistance.

107. Labor recognises there is a potential partnership between the long-term investment needs of 58 manufacturing and the growing pool of patient capital represented by Australian superannuation funds. Labor will seek to develop spec ific incentives and structures that will encourage these funds to play a significant role in contributing to the capital base required in

the manufacturing industry.

108. Labor will continue to support the established manufacturing industries as well as new and emerging industries. The industries which have been undergoing major structural change such as the automotive, textiles, clothing and footwear industries, and the domestic and commercial furniture manufacturing industries, have the capacity to be transformed into successful, world-class industries providing quality jobs with decent wages and working conditions.

109. Continuing emphasis will be placed on the effort to ensure that our trading partners honour their trade liberalisation obligations and that the established time frame is adhered to by all.

110. Where these industries continue to receive special support, Labor will seek firm commitments to securing existing employment levels, adherence to core labour standards including relevant award and legislative protections, new jobs, new investment and increased exports and a commitment to skills development, research and high quality design performed in Australia. For its part, Labor will seek to ensure that future tariff reductions are matched by our competitors and that programs are in place which encourage continued growth in net value-added exports.

111. TCF tariffs will be held at current levels pending a review to be undertaken by a new Labor Government in 2008. Labor's TCF review will be undertaken by a review panel established by the Industry Minister and including both employer and union representatives. This review will be required to take into account the tariff and non-tariff barriers of our trading partners and the likely social impact of further tariff reductions on TCF workers, regional Australia and the

broader community. If Australia's trading partners have not made sufficient adjustments at all

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levels to bring them into line with their international obligations, or the negative social impact of further tariff reductions is too severe, the tariff will be frozen until such time as those issues

Package along the lines of the Labour Adjustment Program abolished by the Howard Government. Labor will ensure that this non means-tested program has an appropriate level of funding and better assists TCF workers to improve their English and language skills, engage in vocational training and find new employment in secure jobs.

continue funding of the Strategic Investment Program for the TCF sector at current levels, review the scheduled reductions from 2009 with a view to reversing the Government's

establish an effective and resourced Australian TCF Industry Council to focus on creating employment and development in the TCF sector focusing on high-value exports; and

exploitation of outworkers and ensure they are employed under secure, safe and fair systems of work with enforceable rights and conditions of employment.

Labor will strengthen anti-dumping measures to ensure that Australian industry is not disadvantaged by unfairly priced imports.


Labor recognises that Australia has a strong record in biotechnology research and its application to medical, pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial uses. Labor will take a national approach to promoting the biotechnology sector, in conjunction with States and Territories and will give strong support to local industry to take advantage of biotechnology

a range of venture capital initiatives and other forms of encouragement to enable

assurance that intellectual property rights will be protected.

Labor recognises that our service industries already provide a significant proportion of Australia's employment and national income. Labor also recognises that, beyond our traditional strengths in primary industries and manufacturing, the service industries sector has

growth and ability to sustain economic growth. This trend, as well as the significant growth in service-enhanced manufacturing, will strengthen in the future as the long-term shift in the

The businesses which provide the many services that essential to consumers in a modem industrial society—such as financial, transport, communications, information technology, data management, legal, medical, scientific, engineering, construction, education, tourism, hospitality and leisure services—are also becoming more crucial to our national prosperity,

Australian. Labor Party 44th NatIonal Conference'

• improve our ability to compete on the international stage by making export initiatives in other sectors more competitive;

• penetrate services export markets in their own right; and

• compete with imported services on cost and quality.

117. Accordingly, Labor recognises that service and information industries must be embraced by the broader approach to national industry policy outlined in this Platform. In particular, Labor will develop and implement industry policy measures that assist the different industries which comprise the sector to:

• build export markets;

• generate new jobs;

• attract new investment;

• improve the productive performance of the nation's businesses to internationally competitive levels;

• collaborate, where appropriate, with international partners in export initiatives;

• gain access to capital, where this is warranted because of financial market failures; and

• pursue innovation.

118. Labor recognises the particular importance of a number of key industries in this sector and will develop focused industry strategies in these areas.

The Future for Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

BO 119. The shift to an information age culture has transformed our world, creating opportunities and challenges and presenting advances that affect almost every aspect of daily life. Labor sees the ICT industry as an important source of economic activity, providing sustainable high-skill and high-wage jobs into the future. Labor recognises the significant positive contribution that the adoption of ICT has made to Australia's economic growth.

120. Labor is committed to putting in place industry development measures which help position Australia as a quality supplier of ICT products and services, building on the synergies to be achieved between developing the nation's ICT infrastructure and manufacturing capacity. In particular, Labor will seek to:

• attract investment into this sector;

• reduce foreign barriers to exports through active market access efforts and export promotion programs;

• lift the nation's educational emphasis on, and jobs skills in, ICT;

• encourage collaborative relationships between local business, educational institutions and government, building on the concept of Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) and geographical Centres of Excellence;

• support a range of information technology investment initiatives, research and development programs and IT traineeships across a range of significant portfolios;

• facilitate exports, consistent with our international obligations and commitments;

• continue to grow Australia's strength as a quality exporter of information industry and technology education services; and

• use the purchasing power of government to create opportunities for the local ICT industry.

121. Labor is committed to improving the access of all Australians, including those living in regional and rural areas, to the benefits of broadband connectivity. Compelling content,

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affordable pricing and effective competition will drive consumer take-up of broadband services, and the ongoing development of national and international network infrastructures will improve community access to a wide range of emerging content and broadband-enabled applications.

122. The public sector must be at the leading edge of online information provision and transaction processing. Labor will utilise the digital environment to improve access to government services without compromising service delivery.

123. Labor recognises that, in the information age, the key to fostering sustained growth is the protection and careful management of intellectual property. Online commerce and communication will only flourish if data is secure, ownership identified with certainty and privacy guaranteed.

124. Investment in technology and information based industries requires the development and enforcement of domestic law, suppo rted by international treaties and agreements, for the protection of intellectual property and the regulation of electronic commerce. Understanding the importance of information security and data protection, Labor will:

• encourage the widespread uptake of unique digital identities through mechanisms such as digital signatures;

• support the use of encryption technologies to secure ICT services;

• develop a framework to deal with information security issues such as information wa rfare, computer crime and cyber-terrorism; and

• develop a strategy for the protection of Australia's national information infrastructure and its quick recovery in the event it is compromised. 61

125. Digital content in all of its forms—entertainment, education, marketing, presentation of information, applications and databases—is the interface between what Australia has to offer and the global economy. Strategies to achieve excellence serve a dual purpose, providing both a source of export revenues and an opportunity to showcase Australian talent and culture. An industry development focus on the production of digital content should assist in the rapid expansion of our capability in this area.

126. Labor will implement principles governing personal privacy. Action will include:

• using international privacy principles as a minimum standard in a digital environment;

• the regulation of information sharing in a corporate environment where mergers occur and particularly where databases are a core asset;

• the independent regulation of data matching and its possible inclusion as a role for the privacy commissioner;

• the standardisation of metadata with respect to publicly held information about private individuals; and

• measures to reduce junk email or 'spam', and the invasion of privacy that it represents.

127. Labor believes Australians should have the knowledge and the tools necessary to protect themselves from exposure to internet material that they consider inappropriate.

128. Labor will establish a national framework to provide academic, industry and community input into IT policy development.

129. Labor will encourage the application of new information and communications technologies to established industries to enable their successful transformation into world-class industries.

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130. Enhanced measures to facilitate and encourage employee share ownership will be an important part of a successful, information industry development strategy.

131. Labor recognises the importance of protecting the security and privacy of publicly held information.

Tourism 132. Labor recognises that the tourism industry is one of the most significant employers in Australia, particularly for young people. It is one of Australia's highest export earners and generates immense goodwill for Australia with overseas visitors. Labor recognises that in a

competitive global marketplace the priority must be to secure high yield tourism markets not just to increase the volume of tourists to Australia. Labor further recognises the important role that the business and educational tourism sectors play in the industry at a national level.

133. Labor recognises that in a competitive global marketplace the necessary co-priorities are securing high yield tourism markets and increasing the number of tourists to Australia.

134. Labor acknowledges the importance of strategic coordination between all tiers of government in the development of promotional and marketing activities, infrastructure and new job opportunities.

135. Labor recognises the opportunities which tourism can provide to regional Australia and supports strategic intervention by all levels of government to maximise these opportunities.

136. Labor recognises that there are many vaned sectors within the tourism industry ranging from small businesses to international corporations, all of which cater for people with diverse


2 needs and expectations.

137. Accordingly, Labor will:

• improve industry workplace relations by introducing measures to enhance efficiency and productive performance in a cooperative manner;

• ensure that taxation arrangements are conducive to the industry's growth;

• amend the Export Market Development Grants to allow companies to apply for further grants to assist in the promotion of tourism to the emerging market economies of China, India and the Middle East.

• ensure that environmental sustainability is central to tourism planning;

• ensure that regulation and compliance costs faced by the industry are minimised;

• improve the price competitiveness of Australian tourist destinations;

• develop further the job skills of tourism workers and improve the standards and options available for training and education in tourism and related areas. This will include a full review of the duration and quality of apprenticeships and traineeships provided by the government and private sector;

• work with industry to devise strategies aimed at promoting more permanent and less casual employment for young workers and attracting mature aged workers. This should ensure minimum standards of employment to workers including superannuation and combating cash in hand payments;

• address the significant infrastructure needs of the sector, particularly in transport, encompassing aviation, rail, road and cruise shipping, and communications;

• ensure that the benefits of tourism are spread throughout regional Australia, through targeted assistance to encourage job creation and economic development;

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• develop tourism strategies and policies which recognise that the sector is predominantly operated by small businesses;

• recognise the need to provide a high quality product and ensure the guaranteed service delivery of quality product through a national accreditation system for operators that aims to eliminate rogue tourism exporters;

• develop tourism projects to enhance the employment prospects of Indigenous Australians in areas in which they live and work in conjunction with the appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative bodies;

• appropriately resource the marketing and promotion of the domestic tourism sector;

• develop adequate tourist forecasting and research services and recognise the need to ensure that all marketing and promotional activities, as well as forecasting research are carried out without political bias; and

• maintain adequate resources for marketing and promotional activities, particularly generic efforts related to Australia as a tourist destination, through Tourism Australia.

138. Labor recognises eco-tourism and heritage tourism as areas of significant growth in Australia and an effective catalyst for encouraging the tourism industry to be ecologically sustainable and responsive to our cultural heritage. Labor is committed to protecting Australia's unique natural environment and heritage as well as to the development of strategies designed to

maximise the benefits and sustainability of both eco tourism and heritage tourism.

139. Increasingly, international visitors are seeking an opportunity to experience Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Labor will work with Indigenous Australians, their organisations and communities to facilitate growth in Indigenous tourism that respects their culture, and assists them to become more involved in this aspect of tourism.

` 63

Transport 140. Labor recognises that transport is a service industry in its own right, and not just an infrastructure network. Labor will seek to reduce foreign barriers to transport exports through active market access efforts and export promotion programs, and assist the growth of

aviation and maritime transport as important export industries.

Education Services

141. Labor will assist the education services industry to build upon the successes in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s and position itself as a supplier and a destination of choice in the booming international education market.

Financial and Professional Services

142. Labor acknowledges that the financial services industry has become increasingly outward looking since the early 1980s. Labor believes that, subject to the maintenance of quality and cost effective banking and financial services for Australian consumers, this trend should be facilitated by government. In particular, Labor will seek to reduce foreign barriers to financial services exports through active market access efforts and export promotion programs.

143. Labor supports the increasingly outward orientation of Australian professional services, such as health, legal, accounting, engineering and surveying services. Labor will seek to:

• reduce foreign regulatory barriers to entry through active bilateral, regional and multilateral trade diplomacy; and

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• develop expo rt strategies designed to win a greater share of the burgeoning international market for these services, pa rticularly in East Asia, in pa rtnership with the industries involved. The

Future for the Arts indust ry

144. Labor recognises the economic significance of the a rts industry in Australia and its contribution to the nation's cultural capital. Since the 1960s the number of a rtists and a rts workers in Australia has tripled and there are four times as many arts companies. Seven per cent of Australia's workforce now earns some of its income from arts work.

145. The arts give us a sense of pride and improve the quality of our daily lives. Labor recognises the cont ribution of the arts to our intellectual and cultural life, to our leisure time and to our economy through employment, tourism, taxes and export dollars. By nurturing arts industries, Labor acknowledges a significant investment in the future, ensuring a vibrant culture for the generations to come.

Small Business: Creating Jobs and Wealth

146. Labor supports reward for effort, risk-taking and entrepreneurship.

147. Labor supports the choice of Australians to pursue a career as independent contractors and small business operators. Australia's independent contractors and small businesses are vital contributors to national prosperity and job creation.

148. Labor recognises, as recognised by the ILO, that genuine independent contractors are governed by commercial law, while employees are governed by employment law.

64 149. Labor opposes sham contractor arrangements, where employees are re-classified as contractors by employers to avoid obligations such as superannuation guarantee payments, workers' compensation coverage and the payment of annual leave and sick leave entitlements. Labor will ensure that, as far as practicable, ambiguity and uncertainty regarding the nature of the contractual relationship is minimised.

150. Labor supports the principles behind the alienation of personal services income regime and will apply these principles with consistency and transparency.

151. Labor recognises that TCF workers and owner-drivers are among the most vulnerable groups of workers and accordingly commits itself to the maintenance and enhancement of existing protections for these workers.

152. Labor believes cooperative relationships between small business operators and employees can create the conditions for higher profitability, higher productivity, higher wages and better working conditions.

153. Labor recognises the difficulties faced by small businesses in recruiting and retaining suitable staff and, through its policies to ease skill shortages and wider labour sho rtages, will assist small businesses in overcoming these difficulties.

154. Labor supports competition in the business sector. Where market failure creates anti-competitive conditions Labor will legislate to promote competition. In particular, Labor will legislate effective protections against monopolistic pricing, collusive behaviour, abuse of market power, predatory pricing and unconscionable conduct. Labor recognises that collective bargaining can benefit the public by allowing small businesses and independent contractors to address imbalances in bargaining power with larger businesses. Labor

believes small businesses and independent contractors should have choice as to who represents them in collective bargaining.

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155. Labor acknowledges that small businesses bear an especially heavy compliance burden from government regulation and that small businesses are less well equipped than larger businesses to bear this burden. To maximise the economic dynamism that flows from the personal enterprise of small business operators, they must be relieved of excessive government regulation, subject to meeting their obligations to employees and their social obligations.

156. In recognition of the risks and heavier compliance burden borne by small business, Labor supports simplifying the tax system for small business and, where fiscally prudent, reducing the tax burden on small business.

157. Labor supports reducing business regulation affecting small business, including reductions in and greater harmonisation of federal, state and local government business regulation.

158. The viability of small businesses and independent contractors is highly sensitive to interest rate rises. Through its economic management and economic reform programs, Labor will put downward pressure on interest rates.

159. Labor recognises the imperative of small businesses and independent contractors to have access to low-cost, timely and informal dispute resolution procedures in respect of their employment and commercial disputes and will ensure that such avenues are available. Dispute resolution procedures will be able to deal with claims of unfair contracts.

160. Labor acknowledges that small businesspeople need ready access to low-cost advice when seeking to start new businesses or expand existing operations and will facilitate the provision of such advice.

161. Labor recognises the value of high-speed broadband in boosting the viability of small 65 businesses and independent contractors and will ensure the provision of high-speed broadband through a national broadband network.

162. Labor recognises the important and growing role of women in establishing small businesses, including home-based micro-businesses. Labor will ensure that its small business advisory services are tailored to the needs of women.

The Community and Not For Profit Sectors

163. Labor acknowledges the social economy in Australia and the vital contribution it makes to Australian life—economy, society and politics. Labor acknowledges that the social economy has been overlooked in the reforms of government and business that have transformed Australia over the past 25 years.

Labor acknowledges the important contributions of community organisations and the 'not for profit' sector to the Australian economy and to Australians' quality of life. There are 700,000 non-profit organisations in Australia employing in excess of 600,000 people and contributing billions of dollars to the Australian economy.

164. Labor, in consultation with the sector, and State and Territory governments, will encourage the development of a national regulatory framework for 'not for profit' organisations that is fair, consistent and clear that:

• stimulates the establishment or further development of a broad range of community or 'not for profit' organisations;

• does not attempt to inhibit the public advocate role of the sector;

• encourages donor confidence;

• sets a reasonable standard for public disclosure; and

• establishes appropriate oversight of the sector.

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165. Labor will work with social economy leaders to identify priorities for government action that will help the social economy grow, transform and once again become a powerhouse of social innovation.

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Resolutions Owner Drivers ALP National Conference recognises that owner drivers are an especially vulnerable group of independent contractors. Rates of pay represent a high proportion of operating costs for transport operators. Competition amongst operators for contracts with industry clients can lead to lower

rates of pay for owner drivers as companies attempt to lower their costs. Lower rates of pay can lead to longer hours on the road as owner drivers endeavour to recover the cost of carrying out their business. Some owner drivers can be forced to make a choice between driving safe hours and keeping their business afloat. As such, ALP National Conference recognises the importance of the following for owner drivers:

• enforceable, minimum conditions providing the certainty of at least cost recovery;

• prevention of unfair or destructive competition by preventing undercutting (below the cost recovery minima) across a site or industry sector;

• the capacity for incentive systems to flourish above the minima, either on an individual or enterprise level;

• protection against arbitrary termination of the contract;

• quick, no cost access to the independent umpire for the resolution of disputes, including oversight of contract transfer upon changeover of head contract to which the work relates;

• freedom of association and collective bargaining rights; and

• capacity to recover goodwill where termination of the contract has resulted in that goodwill being unfairly extinguished. 67

There are a number of legislative systems in place which endeavour to protect owner drivers. ALP National Conference sees the following as positive steps towards developing and maintaining protections for owner drivers:

n the States should be free to enact legislative protections for independent contractors to provide for the interlinking minimum cost recovery features (and therefore minimum safety features) outlined above;

• there should be a cooperative approach between Federal and State Governments regarding the development of such protections for interstate work;

• there should be effective protections against sham independent contracting arrangements being forced on Australian workers; and

• there should be a cooperative approach between Federal and State Governments regarding the development of occupational health and safety laws applying to independent contractors.

Further, ALP National Conference notes the dangers faced by truck drivers on Australian roads, and the people tragically killed in truck accidents on Australian roads each year. Conference recognises that a significant number of those deaths could have been prevented if those

responsible for pushing truck drivers and transport operators over the edge just to get their goods delivered on time and as cheaply as possible were held accountable. Conference notes that a level of accountability must be introduced to prevent more road deaths in the future.

Accordingly, ALP National Conference calls for:

• The introduction of transport fatigue and chain of responsibility provisions to make every link in the transport supply chain responsible for the extent of their impact on driver fatigue and safety practices;

• The introduction of a safe driving plan model involving each participant in the transport supply chain and recognition of safe rates for; and

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• The provision of appropriate funding to allow for 'first instance' investigations of road transport fatalities, serious injuries and serious driving offences (i.e. occupational substance use) to identify additional parties in the transport supply chain with potential responsibility.

Financial & Professional Services

Labor believes that access to basic banking, insurance and financial services is essential for full participation as a member of the community and for the community to realise its full economic and social capacity. Labor believes that Australia's banks and insurers should provide all Australians,

including those living in small or remote regions and those with low incomes, access to affordable banking and insurance services.

The Australian financial markets have now developed to a point where the previously distinct industries of banking, merchant banking, insurance, funds management and superannuation are now integrated into a highly efficient and profitable financial services sector. Labor will ensure that appropriate prudential supervision of this sector encourages continued growth while protecting the

interests of Australian communities from anti-competitive practices.

Accordingly, Labor is committed to the continuation of the four pillars policy that prevents mergers between the major banks (ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac) as well as supporting the operation of regional banks and other financial service providers in order to promote effective competition and stability that will deliver the strength and diversity required to see that the sector meets the needs of our communities while providing employment and career opportunities in the sector.

Industry Policy Resolution

National Conference condemns the Howard Government for 10 years of ideologically based neglect of the Australian manufacturing industry. Over one million Australians are directly employed in manufacturing and the Howard Government's neglect belies the ongoing place of manufacturing in the Australian economy, as a major exporter, as a driver of research and development, and skills creation.

National Conference expresses grave concern at the loss of 100,000 jobs in Australian manufacturing over the last decade and the effect that a decade of neglect will have on Australia's capacity to build a modem, diversified economic base and to maintain economic growth and social progress through the creation of well paid, highly skilled jobs beyond the resources boom.

National Conference notes that:

• Manufacturing output shrank by 1.1% in 2004-05 and 0.4% in 2005-06;

• Annual growth in the value of Australia's elaborate manufactures exports has fallen from 15.8% under Labor to just 4.7% a year since 1996;

• The 2005-06 trade deficit for manufactured goods was $92 billion;

• Manufacturing's share of total business expenditure on research and development (BERD) has declined from 45.2% in 2000-01 to 40.9% in 2004-05.

National Conference welcomes the announcements that the Federal Labor Party has already made in regard to building a strong innovation policy, in partnership with industry, to reverse these trends. National Conference notes that, under this policy, Federal Labor has announced that it will:

• Establish 10 Enterprise Connect innovation centres, with an investment of up to $200 million over four years, whose activities will include benchmarking services for manufacturers to encourage them to adopt world's best practice technology; and

• Establish Industry Innovation Councils for key sectors—comprising high level decision-makers from industry, unions, the science and innovation community and Commonwealth and State/

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Territory governments—to support a strategic and long-term approach to innovation, and to ensure that Labor's innovation initiatives are implemented in partnership.

National Conference notes the recent report of the National Manufacturing Forum-representing the views of State and Territory governments, unions and industry-and encourages the Federal Labor Party to take further action in accordance with the Forum's recommendations.

National Conference resolves that an incoming Labor Government will act immediately to protect the interests of manufacturing and communities, and the Australian economy as a whole, including by:

• Ensuring government procurement policies identify and maximise opportunities for local manufacturing and service providers;

• Ensuring government policies provide an incentive for manufacturers to increase their capital investment, particularly in new technologies;

• Encouraging greater investment in research and development;

• Increasing export market development assistance;

• Providing an attractive environment for foreign direct investment in manufacturing, especially in greenfield sites which create new jobs; and

• Improving the availability of highly skilled labour, particularly through high quality education and training.

Private Equity

Labor notes the growth of private equity activity in the Australian capital markets, and in the economy more generally.

Whilst private equity can make a significant contribution to the flexibility and efficiency of our capital markets, Labor recognises that the dramatic increase in private equity activity is a significant new market development which merits closer consideration by government.

In particular, Labor notes some concerns have been raised within the community, including by a number of business leaders, and the Reserve Bank, regarding the expansion of private equity activity.

Issues which have been raised in relation to increased private equity activity include:

• Debt levels associated with highly leveraged investment, and consequent macro-economic implications;

• Post-acquisition conduct by some private equity investors;

• Governance issues, including the management of conflicts of interest and the adequacy of market disclosure, particularly in the context of acquisition of publicly-listed companies;

• Impact on taxation revenues; and

• Potential effects on employee entitlements.

Labor notes the range of inquiries and examinations currently being undertaken in relation to the impact of the expansion of private equity investment, including by the Council of Financial Regulators, the Senate Economics Committee and the Australian Stock Exchange.

In government, Labor will review existing legislative and market supervisory mechanisms to ensure they appropriately enable risk identification and risk mitigation in relation to private equity investment.

Labor recognises that the private equity sector is highly mobile and will have due regard to the need to retain Australia's international competitiveness when conducting this review.

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Australian Automotive Industry

National Conference acknowledges the critical role that the automotive industry plays in the Australian economy and, particularly, within the manufacturing sector. Automotive manufacturing accounts for around 21 % of manufacturing R&D, and almost 9% of all Australian business

expenditure on R&D. The sector is also Australia's largest source of elaborately transformed manufacturing exports, with vehicle and component exports worth over $5 billion in 2005-06.

National Conference recognises that the global automotive industry is undergoing significant change, including unprecedented growth in both sales and production in the Asian region—especially China and India—and rapid changes in consumer demand as a result of fuel price volatility and climate change. These developments present both opportunities and challenges for Australian vehicle and component manufacturers. Decisions made over the next few years will be a critical to securing the viability of the Australian industry and its place within global supply chains.

The challenges to the Australian industry are compounded by significant exchange rate appreciation, resulting from the resources boom and comparatively high interest rates; fragmentation of the domestic market; and the continuing existence of tariff and non-tariff barriers in many Asian markets.

National Conference believes that the Howard government has failed to appreciate the importance of the automotive industry to maintaining a diversified, sustainable and highly skilled Australian economy based on competitive and comparative advantage.

National Conference declares that government must work in partnership with the industry to meet

70 the emerging challenges and secure the place of the vehicle and component manufacturers in global supply chains, through a multifaceted, modern and sophisticated industry policy. The focus must be on innovation, and the strategy will require ongoing technological improvements, research and development, access to capital and a skilled workforce.

National Conference notes that the Federal Labor Party has committed to developing a Green Car Partnership with the automotive industry, under which the Government will invest $500 million over five years from 2011, in addition to existing Automotive Competitiveness and Investment Scheme funding. National Conference welcomes the focus on innovation and research and development

under this program.

National Conference further notes that the Federal Labor Party has committed to an immediate review of the industry on the election of a Labor Government.

National Conference resolves that Labor's automotive review will be undertaken by a high-level review panel established by the Industry Minister and will include both employer and union representatives. This review will examine all issues affecting the competitiveness of the Australian automotive industry.

National Conference resolves that until this review is completed all current government measures applicable to the automotive industry shall remain, including industry, regulatory and legislative support mechanisms.

Nuclear Waste Facilities

Conference notes that for the past decade the Howard Government has tried to impose a controversial radioactive waste dump on various communities around Australia.

A rocket range in South Australia was one proposed site, before the High Court ruled SA out of the equation.

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Then the Government tried to move the dump offshore.

Now they're trying to impose it on the Northern Territory, against the wishes of the NT Government and the community.

The Howard Government has ridden roughshod over the rights all Territorians—Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

The current Federal Radioactive Waste Dump plan is profoundly flawed. It is not a measured or responsible approach to the long-term management of Australia's radioactive waste.

It does not enjoy scientific, procedural or community credibility or license.

Labor is committed to a responsible, mature and international best practice approach to radioactive waste management in Australia.

Accordingly, a Federal Labor Government will:

• not proceed with the development of any of the current sites identified by the Howard Government in the Northern Territory, if no contracts have been entered into for those sites.

• repeal the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act 2005.

• establish a process for identifying suitable sites that is scientific, transparent, accountable, fair and allows access to appeal mechanisms.

• identify a suitable site for a radioactive waste dump in accordance with the new process.

• ensure full community consultation in radioactive waste decision-making processes.

• commit to international best practice scientific processes to underpin Australia's radioactive waste management, including transportation and storage. 71

Conference notes:

• The Jabiluka site is an area physically surrounded by the World Heritage-listed area of Kakadu National Park and holds particular cultural importance to the Mirrar traditional owners;

• The domestic and international concern, and opposition, that continues to exist over the issue which has seen development of Jabiluka halted since September 1999;

A Federal Labor Government will continue to support:

• the commitment by ERA's majority owner, Rio Tinto, to maintain its formal agreement with the Mirrar traditional owners, and that no future work at the site be undertaken without the explicit written consent of the Mirrar.

• conference further agrees that a future Labor Government will implement an action plan in order to reflect community and Indigenous concerns.

• labor will oppose any future proposals for exploration and mining in World Heritage areas.

This conference calls on an incoming Labor Government to develop a national fuel strategy.

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Chapter Six

Nation Building Our national infrastructure—the roads, rail, ports, airports, pipes, grids, cables and broadband communication networks that criss-cross Australia— is the platform for future growth and prosperity. To build a modern, dynamic economy, Australia needs world-class infrastructure.

Labor is Australia's nation building party. In government, Labor will provide national leadership to clear the infrastructure choke points that are holding back Australia's growth, and build the infrastructure for Australia's future needs. Labor will also embrace a leadership role in addressing major city infrastructure needs and the growing crisis of housing affordability.


1. Renewing national infrastructure requires national vision. It requires a long-term and coordinated plan from government and to address shortfalls in cooperation with the States, Territories, the private sector, and the broader community.

2. Labor's nation building approach will provide the leadership needed to ensure adequate investment is made in Australia's infrastructure, and that infrastructure priorities are delivered.

3. Labor's approach to infrastructure will embrace:

• strategic planning that prioritises infrastructure investment and delivery based on the national interest; X72 n the use of the best expertise across all levels of government, business, unions and

academia; and

• sustainable principles and solutions that provide for the needs of the present without compromising those of future generations.

4. A coordinated and cooperative, long-term infrastructure strategy between all relevant stakeholders is required to identify, prioritise and redress:

• inadequacies in Australia's nationally significant infrastructure; and

• regulatory, planning, tax and financial obstacles.

5. Labor recognises the need to put in place the right national institutional arrangements to assess, coordinate and plan our nationally significant infrastructure requirements.

6. Labor has a longstanding commitment to providing national leadership for Australia's infrastructure needs. Labor's policy approach since 2000 has been the establishment of a nationally led and coordinated authority to work in partnership with the States and Territories to identify and achieve the most effective outcomes for our nationally significant


Infrastructure Australia

7. Labor in government will create an independent statutory authority, Infrastructure Australia, to assist in the planning and coordination of Australia's infrastructure needs.

8. Infrastructure Australia will be charged with responsibility for developing a strategic blueprint for Australia's infrastructure needs and facilitating its implementation, in partnership with the States and Territories, local government, and the private sector.

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9. Infrastructure Australia will establish policy guidelines and standardised formats to facilitate the consideration of infrastructure proposals and to expedite decision making.

National Infrastructure Audit

10. Up-to-date, comprehensive information is critical in understanding our national performance and standards in infrastructure. Currently, Australia has no official, up-to-date record or database on the state of the nation's economic infrastructure assets. Without a clear baseline or benchmark it's impossible to accurately assess Australia's infrastructure


11. Labor in government will undertake, through Infrastructure Australia, a National Infrastructure Audit to assess the adequacy, capacity and condition of nationally significant infrastructure assets in order to identify possible future gaps.

12. The National Infrastructure Audit, to be conducted biannually, will compile a list of what infrastructure already exists and where it's deficient or inadequate, in addition to identifying gap areas where infrastructure investment is required based on economic, demographic and population trends.

13. The National Infrastructure Audit will provide Infrastructure Australia with the comprehensive and timely information it will need to coordinate and plan Australia's infrastructure requirements.

National Infrastructure Priority List

14. Labor will develop a National Infrastructure Priority List, based on the findings of the National Infrastructure Audit. Without an audit and without priorities, it is impossible for government to plan future infrastructure investments and get other policy settings right.

15. The National Infrastructure Priority List will set targets in priority project areas so that it will be possible to benchmark Australia's performance in a number of key infrastructure areas against the rest of the world.

The Building Australia Fund

16. Labor will establish a true intergenerational fund, the Building Australia Fund, which will provide the flexibility to invest in our nation's productive capacity, including infrastructure investments. Labor believes that the income stream of the Howard Government's Future Fund should be used to enhance the productive capacity of our economy, not set aside solely to offset the future superannuation liabilities of the Commonwealth Public Service.

17. Labor's Building Australia Fund will adopt the same corporate governance arrangements as the Future Fund. In setting the broad investment mandate, Labor will ask the Board to consider the full range of investment opportunities suitable to the return and risk objectives of the Fund. Labor envisages that this would include commercially attractive infrastructure

investments. The Fund will be managed by an independent statutory authority, which will set the investment strategy and contract fund management to the private sector.

Building Better Infrastructure

18. Throughout Australia's economic history, Labor governments—at both Commonwealth and State levels—have worked to accelerate and broaden national economic development. This has been achieved through a balance of public and private investment strategies involving direct public investment in infrastructure and commercial enterprises, and through the creation of a positive climate for private investment.

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19. While government remains the largest owner of economic and social infrastructure, private sector involvement has increased in key areas such as rail, airports and roads. Substantial electricity assets have passed to private owners in the past decades, as have other power and communications assets.

20. Increasingly, private sector entities now operate under contract to provide all levels of government with the construction expertise to build and maintain various infrastructure assets. Increasingly, government is also a major purchaser of infrastructure services from the private sector, reflected in the role of the private sector in the design and management of infrastructure.

21. With this shift in public policy, a consistent regulatory framework for infrastructure delivery has become increasingly important in relation to both traditional and public private partnership (PPP) procurement methods.

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs)

22. Labor will continue to facilitate the construction of national infrastructure by encouraging the most appropriate financing instruments. Labor recognises it will continue to be necessary for some infrastructure to be jointly procured by government and the private sector where appropriate.

23. Labor recognises that PPPs have a legitimate role to play as an approach to infrastructure financing and procurement. However, that role should be clearly defined and subject to evidence of value for money. PPPs may be an appropriate procurement option for projects which are large (generally over $100 million), complex, one-off or non-standard, or standard government projects in circumstances where there are challenges of a technical, innovation or design nature.

24. Labor's infrastructure procurement approach will focus on the evaluation criteria that will determine how an infrastructure project is most appropriately delivered.

25. Labor will, through Infrastructure Australia develop best practice procurement processes to maximise value for money; transparency and public accountability when evaluating differing procurement options. These processes will include, but not be limited to:

• the development and application of a rigorous Public Sector Comparator (PSC) adjusted to accurately reflect risks involved in specific projects;

• public transparency in relation to the methodologies used for calculating risks;

• allowance for the costs to government of monitoring PPP projects;

• ensuring that the 'value for money' test guarantees that employee pay and conditions are not the differentiating factor between two different procurement options or two different bids; and

• in the absence of revenue streams involving market risk, use of the 10 year Commonwealth bond yield when determining the net present cost of different procurement options.

26. Labor is also committed to high levels of transparency and accountability for all major infrastructure projects, and will through Infrastructure Australia adopt best practices such as those established in British Columbia to:

• publish Public Interest Reports and Value for Money Statements;

• publish at the time of public announcement of contract finalisation, appropriate and informative Contract Summaries that should include details of: the PSC, the discount rate

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and explanations of risk adjustments, the forecast payment schedule, the expected capital and operating costs, asset transfers, risk allocation tables, provisions for contract renegotiations, major contract obligations and management costs.

• include in 'Contract Summaries' relating to tollways and projects involving revenue from user-charges, all material financial and other underlying assumptions and revenue forecasts; and

• allow the National Audit Office to review the timeliness and rigour of the above processes and review particular projects at its discretion.

27. Labor will promote best practice employment standards through government procurement policies and guidelines. This includes the identification of appropriate standards for all parties entering into PPPs, tenders or other commercial arrangements with government, with specific consideration of appropriate wages and conditions, fair employment standards, best

practice industrial relations, and guidelines on achieving fair and safe workplaces.

28. A Federal Labor Government should note the issues surrounding the transfer of public sector employees to the private sector and ensure that procurement processes guarantee no loss of wages and conditions for all existing employees.

29. Labor will also, through Infrastructure Australia, expedite the standardisation of tender processes and contract documentation between Commonwealth and State jurisdictions for the use of PPPs and other relevant procurement options.

Leveraging Superannuation for National Infrastructure

30. Labor in government built Australia's superannuation industry. Superannuation is the dominant source of investment capital in Australia, making up some two-thirds of collective -75 investment savings. Given the rapid growth of superannuation funds under management, there is increasing interest by the superannuation funds industry to invest in infrastructure asset classes.

31. If investment opportunities are not made available in Australia, superannuation capital will increasingly flow offshore.

32. Labor in government will review existing public policy to facilitate greater involvement in infrastructure financing and delivery by Australia's superannuation funds.

Australia's Infrastructure Assets

33. Labor recognises that a strongly performing economy is dependent on adequate and efficient national infrastructure, particularly in the critical sectors of transport, communications and utilities. Renewal and enhancement of this infrastructure is necessary to reduce business costs, improve environmental efficiency, accessibility, living standards and social justice; and expand opportunities for economic development in regional Australia.

Building Transport Capacity

34. For transport infrastructure development generally, Labor will:

• develop a national transport planning strategy aimed at implementing a world class national transport network, with consistent performance benchmarks across rail, road, sea and air including urban public transport to ensure Australia has a coherent transport system;

• ensure that the national transport strategy funding model takes account of the particular financial capacities of different State and Territory Governments to meet infrastructure

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demands, so as to guarantee the development of a coherent national transport plan covering all transport modes;

• develop integrated transport planning processes which provide for fair competition between modes, improve data collection and models on transport demand and projections along with transparent and objective criteria for consistent approach to assessment for investment and projects across modes, equality of modal treatment in regulatory and financial issues and policy integration with environmental, energy and land use objectives;

n broaden the scope of and representation on national transport regulatory reform organisations to include union representation;

• work with industry participants on strategies to redress skill shortages and develop a highly-skilled, transport workforce with nationally accredited and portable training standards;

• support strategies to develop urban and regional infrastructure and intelligent transport systems;

• ensure that Australians have access to adequate transport services by providing appropriate financial assistance to State governments to improve and extend public transport systems in urban and regional Australia for employment, environmental, education and training, social justice and economic reasons and to help alleviate congestion;

• focus infrastructure development strategies on the creation of efficient intermodal _ connections, particularly at ports and airports and at regional hubs;

F- • foster the use of public transport by exploring the tax treatment of public transport to remove the disincentives compared to the concessional tax treatment of company cars;

• work with State and Territory Governments to examine transport regulatory differences between jurisdictions with the goal of harmonising regulations where possible;

• encourage the promotion and funding of environmentally friendly transport including cycle ways;

• consider strategies to promote the take-up of contemporary vehicle safety features through specification of such features by government when purchasing or leasing vehicles. Action on this front is important given the economic and social cost of vehicle accidents;

• consider strategies to promote the development of energy efficient, alternative fuel vehicles including the purchase of such vehicles by government. Action on this front is important given the state of our environment and the fact that oil is a non-renewable fuel source: and

• undertake a comprehensive investigation of contemporary Travel Demand Management initiatives.


35. Labor will:

• encourage majority Australian-owned international carriers including Qantas and Virgin Blue to offer high quality, affordable services to meet a substantial proportion of Australia's international aviation needs;

• ensure that all Australian international airlines deliver world-class safety and service standards;

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• foster a continuing, vibrant domestic aviation sector offering safe affordable aviation transport services;

• foster the development of the general aviation sector and develop the potential of the aviation industry as an important export industry including the expansion of Australian aviation maintenance services;

• encourage the growth of air freight through upgraded airport facilities, increased competition in cargo terminal operations and improvements in the logistics chain;

• ensure that privatised airports maintain competitive pricing regimes, high quality services and strict environmental and safety requirements and facilitate local ownership and operation of regional airports;

• implement measures at airports to ensure that outsourcing and sub-contracting does not compromise the security of staff and visitors to the nation's airports;

• ensure regional communities have proper access to security and safety services; and

• develop an integrated Sydney Transport Plan that provides for Sydney's future airport needs, including a preferred second Sydney airport site outside the Sydney basin. Labor will maintain the cap and curfew at Kingsford Smith Airport and implement the long-term operating plan maximising takeoffs over water.

Maritime Transport

36. Labor will:

• Ensure a strong and viable Australian coastal shipping industry which employs Australian seafarers working under the Australian flag with Australian terms and conditions of employment;

• develop a national register and database of all maritime employees—including seafarers, port and stevedore workers—to record that the appropriate levels of security induction and qualifications are held;

• encourage growth in the Australian coastal shipping industry—and in doing so ensure that Australian shipowners continue to employ Australian crews and receive support comparable with international standards;

• encourage long-term investment to rebuild Australian maritime industries, address the maritime skills shortage, protect our vast coastline and marine environment and to re-establish our defence self sufficiency;

• establish a review of the cabotage provisions in Part VI of the Navigation Act 1912 and associated regulations and Ministerial guidelines, and the permit and licensing provisions under that legislation to ensure Australia has strong and effective cabotage laws;

• encourage Australian participation in international shipping, and in particular provide conditions for Australian seafarers to work in the international trades in ways which do not disadvantage them compared to other seafarers in the international trades;

• ensure a high degree of cooperation between the Australian Defence Forces and the Australian merchant fleet;

• require all vessels operating in the Australian offshore oil and gas sector as well as the coastal shipping sector comply with all relevant domestic laws including navigation, health and safety, taxation and industrial relations laws;

• require floating storage and offload facilities [FSOs] and floating storage, production and offload facilities [FPSOs], and similar vessels working in the Australian Exclusive Economic

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Zone [EEZ], to comply with all relevant domestic laws including navigation, health and safety, taxation and industrial relations laws.

• ensure that all vessels participating in the Australian coastal shipping industry and the offshore oil and gas industry comply with all Australian laws including industrial laws and navigation, health and safety, customs, taxation and migration laws;

• encourage the expansion of Australian participation in Australia's international shipping task through bilateral agreements particularly in the strategic LNG trade;

• pursue individual port productivity improvement strategies with the direct involvement of port authorities, stevedoring companies, unions and port users through initiatives such as increased competition, productivity targets in terminal leases, increased investment and enterprise bargaining;

• ensure that where Australia shares economic zones with East Timor, PNG and Indonesia preference of employment is given to the participating nations and that the actual conditions of employment, safety and maritime legislation are no less than those in the Australian Offshore Oil and Gas Industry;

• explore the possibility of a single, cooperative national maritime jurisdiction through integration of the various State, Territory and Federal maritime authorities;

• ensure that the Maritime Security Identification Card is used to identify genuine threats to national security and not to exclude ordinary Australian workers from employment in the maritime industry;

• guarantee the rights of all seafarers to shore leave and also ensure that seafarers' welfare organisations, trade unions and visitors have access to seafarers on their vessels in ' ?S'` accordance with the International Maritime Organisation guidelines for shore leave and access to ships under the International Code for the Security of Ships and Port Facilities

(ISPS Code);

• ratify and implement appropriate International Labour Organisation (ILO) and International Maritime Organisation (IMO) conventions, codes and recommendations, in particular the ILO Seafarers Bill of Rights, and ensure that national bodies charged with implementing ILO and IMO Conventions, such as the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, are properly resourced to undertake their compliance functions; and

• recognise the vital role of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) in the protection of international seafarers visiting Australia's ports. Labor supports seafarers' human and industrial rights progressed by welfare organisations and maritime unions, and will support efforts to ensure there is a genuine link between all ships and their flag state as a means to combating abuses under the flag of convenience (FOC) system.

37. Labor is strongly committed to the re-invigoration of the Australian maritime industry, aimed at building the capability of the shipping sector to help meet the nation's growing domestic freight task and to support a rapidly expanding offshore oil and gas industry. The availability of a highly skilled and highly qualified seafaring labour force will be vital in meeting this

objective. To give effect to this objective, Labor will, in consultation with industry employers, unions, training institutions, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, the Industry Skills Council and State/NT Governments:

• ensure the availability of suitable maritime training and skills development arrangements to meet the skills needs of the maritime industry;

• ensure there is a coordinated approach to the resourcing and delivery of maritime training across all maritime training institutions;

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• ensure that any bottlenecks in the distribution of resources to maritime training be resolved, aimed at ensuring training expenditure is allocated to regions and to projects having the greatest demand for seafaring skills;

• assist in expediting industry research on reconciling data on maritime industry skills supply and demand with the capacity of training institutions to deliver relevant training;

• review the charter, management and focus of the Australian Maritime College (AMC) to ensure it is responsive to the needs of the Australian and regional maritime industry;

• develop a nationally coordinated scheme to ensure that both private and public shipping assets are harnessed in an effort to maximise opportunities for maritime trainees to gain sea time as a necessary part of acquiring a maritime qual ification; and • consult with regional governments on the most appropriate ways to involve regional

nations in the training and skill formation strategies for the offshore oil and gas industry, to assist in meeting Australia's skills needs and to facilitate skills transfer as part of Australia's commitment to regional development.

Rail Transport

38. Labor will:

• work with State and Territory governments to further develop an integrated national rail network and tracks of national significance to the operation of the economy, including efficient intermodal connections, particularly at ports and airports;

• retain the designated interstate mainline from Perth to Brisbane and explore, in cooperation with State governments, designating extensions of the interstate rail mainline. Labor will also maintain the Australian Rail Track Corporation in full public ownership; 79

• fund investment to attain high speed freight standards giving priority to removing speed restriction and modifying extension of the network to include other critical freight lines;

• provide assistance to major, privately funded extensions to the rail network where there is demonstrable public benefit; and • work with State and Territory governments to re-invigorate Australia's long-haul passenger railways, including assessment of the likely costs and benefits of private,

high-speed train projects linked to airports where practicable and the establishment of uniform national Very Fast Train (VFT) standards.

Road Transport

39. Labor will:

• seek to restore equity in road funding and ensure that road projects are funded according to strict, transparent and objective criteria;

• consult with the States with regard to the re-establishment of the national highway system and to include critical freight routes—such as port access roads and urban ring roads in the system; • improve road safety by providing greater access to well equipped rest stops for both

passenger vehicles and heavy vehicles on the national highway;

• recognise the link between rates of pay and road safety in the road transport industry, and work to improve mechanisms to prevent drivers from facing pressures to work unsafe hours;

• seek to ensure national compatibility of automated, e-toll payment systems on all toll roads; and

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• review Roads to Recovery guidelines to include park and ride facilities, bus and ferry stations, real time passenger information, regional airport runways, walking trails and railway crossings.

Urban Public Transport

40. Labor will:

• recognise the importance of cities and regional urban communities to the national economy and a role for the Commonwealth government in urban development;

• recognise a role for Commonwealth involvement in delivering urban public transport infrastructure, with particular focus on the needs of poor regions in outer urban and regional areas;

• assist State and local governments to integrate land use and transport planning;

• provide appropriate financial assistance to State governments to improve and extend public transport systems in urban and regional Australia for employment, education and training, health, social justice and economic reasons;

• achieve greater use of all forms of public transport, thereby contributing to reductions in emissions and congestion;

• integrate transport, land use and environmental objectives;

• ensure public transport is available to new suburbs and developments;

• improve integration of various public transport modes through development of inter modal interchanges;

• propose ways to reduce dependency on cars, including reform of the inequitable tax treatment of public transport as against employer-provided, car transport and thus encourage public transport use for commuting to and from work; and

• Encourage urban public transport including trains, trams, light rail, buses and ferries.

Protecting Travellers

41. In relation to aviation safety, Labor will:

• ensure that security at Australian airports and in planes flying in Australia is maintained at the highest possible standards;

• ensure that the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has access to adequate resources to continue its efficient and effective, independent role in accident and incident investigation across transport modes;

• ensure the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is appropriately resourced and continue the review of regulations and internal CASA reforms designed to streamline procedures, ensure public accountability, concentrate resources on the safety enforcement task and ensure the strict enforcement of safety regulations; and

• retain Airservices Australia as an efficient public aviation service provider of air traffic services, aviation fire services and national airways maintenance and installation services.

Maritime Safety

42. Labor will:

• maintain an appropriately resourced Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority (Seacare Authority), National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) and Australian Transport Safety Bureau

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(ATSB), and equivalent State organisations, to ensure they operate efficiently and in a

coordinated way to maintain a strict maritime safety regime; and

• protect the marine environment by adequately resourcing AMSA to combat 'ships of shame', and to maintain strict, regulatory regimes governing pilotage, discharges at sea and other matters critical to marine environmental protection.

Rail Safety

43. Labor will:

• consult with rail operators, users and unions with the aim of upgrading Australia's rail safety efforts in order to accommodate the proliferation of operators arising from privatisation and vertical separation;

• enhance the role and functions of the Rail Safety Unit in the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to recommend strategies to improve the safety of the national rail network; and

• work with State and Territory governments to develop a modem national regulatory and enforcement regime.

Road Safety

44. Labor will:

• work with the States and Territories and key road safety stakeholders to develop a strategic approach to reducing road trauma and death reflecting the guiding principal that it is morally unacceptable to accept any level of road death or trauma.

• ensure that this guiding principle is reflected in funding allocations for Auslink programs. gi

• further develop national Chain of Responsibility principles, including recognition of the link between rates of pay/contract prices and road safety in the road transport industry, and developing a national enforcement program to ensure all parties in the transport supply chain operate safely;

• continue the process of developing uniform, national road transport regulations and ensure that the regulations regarding driving hours and loads protect the health and safety of drivers, including concerns about driver fatigue and the interests of the general public;

• continue to develop e-transport strategies and actions to improve road safety, reduce emissions and traffic delays and to make our transport systems more sustainable and user friendly;

• develop strategies to reward road transport operators and drivers who fully comply with regulatory and health and safety requirements and penalise operators and drivers for regulatory and health and safety breaches;

• improve the collection of data on road fatalities and injuries to ensure a more strategic approach to road safety initiatives, make more use of Australian Design Rules to improve safety standards in new vehicles, require manufacturers to release crash test data and improve public road safety education;

• investigate internationally proven vehicle safety features and review the currency of Australian Design Rules in regard to vehicle safety;

• provide ongoing support to independent vehicle safety assessment programs;

• encourage car manufacturers to work in collaboration with independent vehicle safety assessment programs to enhance the community's road safety awareness and purchasing options;

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• incorporate road safety best practice with regard to the engineering guidelines when constructing or modifying road infrastructure;

• encourage vehicle importers to retain OEM (original equipment manufacture) safety features over and above Australian Design Rules; and

• review Australian Design Rules for vehicle safety features against international best practice and consider more stringent rules and clearer labelling requirements for safety features.

Urban Infrastructure: Reallsing the Potential of Our Cities and Towns 45. Labor is committed to rebuilding the idea of Australia as a fair society: a place where everyone has the chance to get ahead in life no matter where they live. Federal Labor's

nation building reforms will regenerate and revitalise our cities, towns, neighbourhoods and communities.

46. Labor will strive to ensure that Australia's cities remain among the most liveable in the world.

47. Eighty per cent of Australians live in cities. Cities and the people who live in them drive the nation's economic future. Only cities can bring together enough people with highly specialised skills, working across a wide enough range of fields, to enable the generation of new industries, hasten the spread of knowledge and spur innovation in products and processes.

48. Labor understands that quality of life is the key to attracting and retaining the skilled workers

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who are the foundation of our economic prosperity. Improving the environmental and

physical health of our cities and addressing social equity are therefore absolute prerequisites to sustained economic growth.

49. Labor believes we must have the best of urban planning and development in our suburbs to:

• make the most efficient use of energy and water;

• support healthy lifestyles;

• strengthen community and cultural life; and

• ensure that buildings, streets, parks, urban centres and transport services are accessible to everyone, including children, older people and those with disabilities.

50. Cities also play a vital role in the economic and social life of their surrounding regions. Smaller cities and towns close to our fast-growing major capitals are in a strong position to attract city workers looking for a quieter lifestyle, but the key to their success is fast and reliable transport links.

51. Labor recognises that there is a role for the national government in urban development and believes that abrogation of Commonwealth responsibility and failure to invest in Australia's cities has hindered economic development and undermined social cohesion.

52. The Commonwealth Government has both the capacity and the responsibility to plan for the long-term with respect to industry and workforce development, the provision of infrastructure and services, and environmental sustainability.

53. As the level of government closest to the community, local governments have a vital role in local and regional planning, decision making and infrastructure provision and maintenance. Labor will ensure their active participation in urban development strategies.

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Managing Our Cities for the Future

54. Labor sees the liveability and sustainability of Australia's cities and towns as two sides of the same coin. While liveability measures tell us what a city or town is like today, sustainability is about ensuring our cities remain healthy and prosperous for future generations.

55. The continuing growth of Australia's cities brings with it demand for new infrastructure and presents environmental and social challenges that all levels of government must address.

56. Labor will seek to use these opportunities to reduce barriers to productivity in Australia's cities and towns focusing on measures that:

• reduce traffic congestion and improve access to public transport;

• improve access to high-speed broadband;

• ensure reliable energy supply and efficient energy use; and

• secure the supply of water and support better water management.

57. Labor will establish Infrastructure Australia to coordinate a national strategy for infrastructure provision and maintenance across urban and non-urban regions.

58. Labor will develop a national settlement strategy to bring together the evidence about Australia's settlement trends, enabling all levels of government to plan for the future by identifying what is needed to ensure communities develop sustainably. The strategy will examine changes in industry structure, employment demand and demographics. Labor will

use the national settlement strategy to inform decisions about Commonwealth investment in hard and soft infrastructure, particularly in areas of rapid growth.

59. Labor will work with other spheres of government to develop a multilateral national cities and 83 I towns policy, building on the settlement strategy and a national sustainability charter.

60. Labor will work in cooperation with other spheres of government, regional authorities and the private sector to identify opportunities for the national government to support innovative projects which improve the liveability of Australia's cities. These projects will demonstrate best practice in urban development and contribute to achieving our economic, social and environmental goals. The program will build on the successful elements of Labor's Better Cities, which leveraged state and private investment to transform decaying urban areas and generate returns to the Australian economy of four times the public investment.

61. Commonwealth neglect of Australia's cities has resulted in the need for states and local governments to fund local infrastructure through developer levies which are sometimes passed on to new home buyers. Urban infrastructure represents a long-term community asset and forms part of the public realm. Labor will work with State, Territory and local governments to improve ways of financing local infrastructure.

62. Up-to-date communications infrastructure and facilities are essential to modern cities. Labor will establish a national broadband strategy to ensure that high speed communications infrastructure and services are available to all Australians, including those in the outer suburbs of our cities.

63. Labor is committed to overcoming the practical difficulties faced by businesses in outer urban areas, particularly small businesses, in accessing information and expertise. Labor will improve the effectiveness of business networks, including online networks, in disseminating best practice information and new technologies to regional and outer urban businesses.

64. Labor understands that a strong research base is essential in promoting dialogue and informed debate on the future shape of our cities. We must support the next generation of

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urban research scholars, who will bring new perspectives and inject new ideas into the


65. Labor will support an expansion of Australian research in housing and urban development, attracting the best minds in the country to address the challenges, and aiming to double the number of researchers in this area. This will be done through a range of mechanisms, including a national research institute with expertise in each of our major cities, and other structures such as CSIRO and the Cooperative Research Centre program.

66. A collaborative, coordinated effort is required and Labor will actively support researchers in reaching out to a wide audience. Building bridges between researchers and policy makers will be critical to ensure that the best research becomes embedded in government decision-making processes.

Environmentally Sustainable Cities

67. Australian minds and Australian industry can and should be at the forefront of sustainable urban planning, design and technologies. Labor recognises that the Commonwealth must take the lead in encouraging the development of environmental strategies for urban regions.

68. Labor will actively support the development of alternative energy and water conservation technologies in Australia. We want to see our best minds at work on these critical issues, developing new technologies and commercialising their ideas here in Australia.

69. Neglect of Australia's research and innovation sector has seen Australia fall from its position as the world leader in solar technology. Labor aims to reverse this situation and to encourage greater use of renewable energy in housing and all other developments in Australia's cities. This includes support for the use of home-based sources of renewable energy.

70. Energy and water must also be conserved through better urban planning and innovations in building design, materials and construction. Labor believes the Commonwealth has a responsibility to support innovation in these areas, which are critical to combating the threat of climate change and the impact of drought on our cities.

71. Each of Australia's major cities receives sufficient rainfall to meet all of its water needs if managed effectively. However, much of this water is currently discarded as stormwater, causing pollution of inland and coastal waterways. Significant water savings can be made by improving the design of new residential developments to minimise stormwater run-off and by capturing stormwater for use in watering public parks and sports grounds. Labor will work with State, Territory and local governments to address Australia's stormwater infrastructure

problems and to support innovative stormwater management projects.

72. Labor supports the use of water-sensitive, urban design for new housing developments, which can significantly reduce demand on the drinking water supply. Labor will work with State, Territory and local governments to create incentives for developers and new home buyers to implement water-saving measures, including recycling, rainwater use and demand


73. Labor supports the role of the Australian Building Codes Board in examining the environmental impacts of buildings, and the decision of the Board to include a Five Star energy rating standard for new homes in the Building Code of Australia. Australia faces the task of building 3.8 million new homes over the coming 25 years and we must do all we can to ensure that they are both as environmentally efficient and as affordable as possible. Labor will undertake regular review of the standard to ensure best practice energy efficiency.

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74. Labor recognises that work must continue to improve ratings tools for both residential and commercial buildings. Such tools must be constantly refined to take account of new construction materials and techniques, and to look at areas beyond energy use—such as water consumption and waste management. More resources must also be commi tted to determining accurate life-cycle costs for building materials and construction technologies.

75. Labor acknowledges the important role local government can play in environmental management, planning and service delive ry. Labor will work with local government to facilitate community involvement in urban environmental management, recognising the importance of building awareness of the benefits that can come from changes in individual


Improving Urban Transpo rt

76. Labor will establish a national transport planning strategy which recognises that urban and passenger transport are critical elements of the national transport system. Labor will work with State, Territory and local governments to improve transport infrastructure and systems across Australia's cities, and particularly in outer urban areas.

77. Australia's national government is unique among Western countries in making no contribution to urban public transport infrastructure. Labor believes that safe, clean and efficient public transport in our major cities is critical to addressing the economic problem of traffic congestion and the environmental, health and social impacts of increasing car use.

78. Labor recognises that decent access to public transport in our outer suburbs is vital if we are to treat those who live there fairly, to protect our environment and to avoid creating pockets of social exclusion. Labor will invest in public transport in outer urban regions and new 85` I growth corridors, in partnership with State, Territory and local governments.

79. Labor will also adopt a more flexible approach to transport funding for local government, giving individual councils greater scope to fund projects such as public transport infrastructure, real-time passenger information systems, intermodal hubs and exchanges, and pedestrian and cycle trails.

Challenging Poverty and Exclusion in our Cities

80. Most Australians live in the suburbs of our capital cities. Labor recognises that there is an increasing economic disparity between different suburbs within our cities. The prosperity of families and their children's is becoming irrevocably linked to where they live. This inequity undermines social cohesion and limits opportunities for individual Australians and the country

as a whole.

81. As a nation, we have a responsibility to ensure that Australian cities are designed to include and engage everyone, rather than marginalising the poor or reinforcing the effects of income inequality. Instead, in many outer-suburban areas there are not enough decent jobs, there are limited prospects for young people, infrastructure is crumbling, services can't be relied on and a vital and healthy community life is becoming harder to sustain.

82. Labor recognises the debilitating effect of social exclusion on the lives of individuals, families, communities and the nation. Areas suffering concentrated disadvantage are breeding grounds for crime and dysfunction and the economic and social costs are ultimately borne by the entire community. The emergence of such neighbourhoods in Australia is a problem that is national in scope, and for which the Commonwealth has some responsibility.

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i 6Six ti r Australian Labor Parry 44th National Conference ,i SM0 r 83. Markets alone will not deliver fairness and equality of opportunity between our suburbs. An active approach to building opportunity at the community level, with an emphasis on participation, is critical to improving outcomes.

84. People in depressed areas often suffer from multiple disadvantages. They need customised assistance that delivers opportunities for both community building and individual participation in employment, education, training and social, cultural and recreational activities.

85. Labor recognises that communities of refugees who have arrived in Australia over the last decade are facing particular challenges, and that addressing these concerns is the responsibility of the Commonwealth. The needs of refugees from societies that differ greatly from the Australian mainstream cannot be met with English language classes and short-term settlement assistance alone. The complex needs of such families are placing enormous strain on housing, education and community services in many suburbs. Labor will work with States, Territories, local governments and communities themselves to dramatically improve settlement support for refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants.

86. Labor is committed to community building, based on partnerships between local people, government, businesses, higher education and research institutions and other agencies which aim to improve the places where people live. Strong communities are able to find local solutions to local problems, increase social participation and develop networks within and across communities.

87. Labor will establish a new urban renewal program in cooperation with the States and Territories, local governments, the business and not-for-profit sectors and local communities


to revitalise Australia's most disadvantaged urban communities, building on existing 86 neighbourhood renewal programs. Labor's urban revitalisation program will take account of

the need to invest in infrastructure as well as human capital, recognising that decent housing, transport and community infrastructure are fundamental to supporting social inclusion.

Community in Our Suburbs

88. Labor believes that the physical and cultural environment in which people live plays a key role in determining their health and well-being. Genuinely inclusive cities and suburbs are welcoming environments for people of all ages and backgrounds.

89. Population ageing has implications for the structure of our cities as well as their services. Planners' growing understanding of older people's needs for improved physical access to businesses, public transport and community facilities has the potential to create flow-on benefits for other people who find access difficult—particularly people with disabilities, who have not had the economic weight behind them to drive rapid improvements in accessibility.

90. As we focus on our ageing population, however, we must not forget about the needs of other groups, particularly children. Trends towards consolidation in inner suburbs, larger houses on smaller blocks in outer suburbs, increased traffic volume and concerns about child safety reduce both the private and public space available for children to play in. This not only affects children's social and physical development, it also increases the risk of childhood obesity.

91. Labor recognises that the Commonwealth can play a role in helping meet the specific urban planning challenges posed by changing demographics, health concerns and shifting community expectations through standard-setting and encouraging streamlined approaches to development. Labor also believes the government has a role in encouraging informed debate about the liveability of our cities and in facilitating the sharing of information between jurisdictions about best practice approaches to making our cities work for all Australians.

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92. Labor supports the establishment of standards under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 in relation to access to premises, and the inclusion of these standards in the Building Code of Australia. Labor believes that the processes for finalising the standards should be transparent and that there should be a mechanism for people with disabilities to be involved

in monitoring their implementation and effectiveness.

Reforming Structures and Processes

93. National leadership is required to ensure that regional planning and decision making structures exist to coordinate the efforts of smaller local communities, based on commonality of interest.

94. Labor's urban development structures will build on existing networks, including Area Consultative Committees and Regional Organisations of Councils. Labor will work with State, Territory and local governments to re-invigorate or establish regional structures within cities where they would be of benefit in coordinating urban development.

95. Labor recognises that Australians respond to challenges when given opportunity, resources and support. Labor will develop community leadership in urban communities, including youth leadership and will provide opportunities for community input to ensure that people have an effective voice in policy development and delivery.

Labor's National Housing Strategy

96. Labor believes that all Australians have the right to secure, affordable and appropriate housing throughout their lives. Labor recognises that having a home provides the foundation for financial, social and emotional security. If Australia is to be a truly fair and democratic 87 1 society, we must not tolerate the social exclusion that arises from failing to meet this basic


97. Labor is committed to policies which make housing affordable:

• by implementing economic policies designed to maintain low interest rates and a competitive housing finance sector; and

• ensuring those on low and middle incomes can meet the cost of home ownership or public, community or private rental accommodation.

98. Labor recognises that although there are significant concessions to assist housing under current policy, home ownership is now out of reach for many Australian families, and Australian cities are experiencing a rental crisis. Labor believes that all Australians have a right to affordable housing. It is critical for the provision of decent housing for all Australians that the current affordability crisis is addressed. Labor is committed to ensuring that policies

affecting housing affordability are effectively targeted to provide help for Australians who need it most. Poorly targeted subsidies can have the undesirable effect of driving up accommodation costs at the wrong times in the wrong places. Labor will ensure that subsidies are efficiently and fairly targeted.

99. Labor will develop and implement a National Housing Strategy, which will:

• expand the range and supply of secure, affordable and appropriate housing;

• deliver more efficient and effective housing, land and infrastructure development;

• improve opportunities for first home buyers to enter the market;

• re-invigorate public housing and support the further development of the community housing sector;

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• better integrate housing and other services to strengthen communities and build neighbourhoods that are safe, healthy and close to employment opportunities;

• expand the role of institutional investment in the provision of affordable housing; and

• promote housing options that minimise adverse environmental impacts.

Home Ownership

100. Labor recognises that the dream of home ownership has slipped further out of reach for many young Australians as house prices have increased over the last ten years from less than three times average income to around six times average income. Australians are paying more of their income in mortgage payments—and more in mortgage interest

payments—than ever before. The consensus is that Australia is now experiencing a chronic problem with home ownership affordability.

101. Labor believes that national leadership is needed to address the crisis in home ownership affordability. As part of its National Housing Strategy, and working with State, Territory and

local governments where appropriate, Labor will:

• improve the First Home Owners' Grant scheme to give better help to those most in need;

• ensure that incentives are in place to increase the supply of affordable housing for purchase, including requirements for affordable housing to be built in new developments;

• support innovative projects to develop cost-effective, environmentally sustainable


• ensure that non-bank home loan providers are appropriately regulated and that borrowers

rgg and potential borrowers are protected as far as possible from taking on unsustainable home loans;

• explore options for government supported, shared equity products, in partnership with superannuation funds, to allow low income earners to enter the property market through arrangements that are fair to them while protecting the investor from undue risk.

102. Labor acknowledges that much of the urban infrastructure to support new residential areas is a long-term community asset. Labor will work with State, Territory and local governments to:

• ensure that new home buyers do not unfairly bear the costs of such infrastructure, with infrastructure charges levied on developers appropriately reflecting the cost of infrastructure related to specific developments;

• find better ways to finance infrastructure that has a broader community benefit; and

• reduce development costs by improving national consistency in building codes and urban design regulations and streamlining approval processes.

National Affordable Housing Agreement

103. Labor supports the continued existence of a Commonwealth State agreement on housing assistance and will work with the States and Territories to develop a National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) to replace the existing Commonwealth State Housing Agreement, from 2008. Through the NAHA, Labor's National Housing Strategy will be

advanced by:

setting targets, in cooperation with State, Territory and local governments, for a net growth in public and community housing stock in each State and Territory jurisdiction,

based on a national assessment of need;

ensuring funds are available to increase social housing stock and upgrade social housing which has fallen below acceptable standards;

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• supporting a program of urban renewal of old public housing estates, to provide a greater range of housing choices, better integration with services such as public transport and an increase in private investment and employment and training opportunities;

• promoting partnerships between the public, community and private sectors in the provision of affordable housing for both ownership and rental, including developing mechanisms to encourage increased institutional investment in affordable housing;

• seeking ways of providing assistance to low and middle-income households to buy their own homes, including key workers and social housing tenants where appropriate;

• actively supporting a National Sector Development Strategy for the community housing sector and addressing barriers to the expansion of the sector, including establishing frameworks that enable long-term headleasing of properties from small private sector landlords;

• ensuring public housing rental rebate policies do not require tenants to pay more than 25 per cent of household income in rent, unless there is an agreement with the Housing Authority to charge a higher rate for the provision of additional services;

• ensuring that public housing is provided in conjunction with health, disability and other support services and that tenants who are vulnerable or marginalised, such as tenants with a mental illness, are appropriately supported to maintain their tenancy;

• improving the capacity of public and community housing to support tenants in moving from welfare to work, including facilitation of employment opportunities for public housing tenants through TAFE training, maintenance work and management;

• ensuring that public and community housing tenants in all States and Territories have access to independent mechanisms to review decisions made by housing providers; :S9

• reviewing current rent assistance arrangements to improve the effectiveness of rent assistance in addressing housing affordability and the ability of rent assistance to support tenants moving from welfare to work;

• exploring other options to reduce housing-related poverty in the private rental market;

• establishing a National Housing Advisory Committee, which will involve peak representative bodies in program development;

• ensuring that peak bodies are properly resourced to perform such functions;

• supporting programs which ensure that people are made aware of and can access the various forms of housing assistance which are available; and

• ensuring consumer rights are protected and satisfactory standards are maintained for all low income housing consumers through adequate funding to housing consumer services.

A Comprehensive Approach to Housing Policy

104. As part of its National Housing Strategy, Labor will also:

develop and implement a national Indigenous housing strategy, recognising the special needs of Indigenous housing policy, taking into account employment needs and the need for cultural compatibility;

• take particular account of the needs of other groups who are vulnerable in relation to housing and homelessness, including older people, single parents, children and young people, people with disabilities, people with mental health problems, people with chronic illness, refugees, asylum seekers and other migrant groups and prisoners and people released from detention;

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• develop policies to ensure they key workers, such as nurses, police and emergency service personnel, have access to appropriate and affordable housing, especially in inner-city areas, remote communities and fast-growing regional centres;

• develop and implement strategies to increase the number of apprentices in the housing industry;

• undertake ongoing evaluation of housing assistance and taxation policies to assess their effectiveness in improving housing outcomes for low and middle income consumers;

• explore the effectiveness and impacts of incentives to encourage individual private property investors to invest in affordable rental housing;

• review the allocation of rent assistance payments to young people in receipt of the Youth Allowance, as part of its commitment to removing any discrimination against young people in the setting of rental subsidies;

• in cooperation with all levels of government, industry and unions, develop a plan for the housing industry to increase its capacity to deliver a quality and cost effective product; and

• support the development of flexible housing programs which recognise regional differences and the changing nature of rural areas.

Protecting the Rights of Renters and Boarders

105. Labor believes that the rights of renters must be protected through the application of appropriate regulation and standards and will work with States, Territories and non-government organisations to: ti`90

• introduce national tenancy standards for all residential tenancies, including caravan park residents, boarders and lodgers, to ensure that tenants' rights are protected in relation to matters such as eviction, unfair rents, repairs and maintenance, quality of rental accommodation, appeals and bond security;

• ensure that all States and Territories have independent review mechanisms for resolving tenancy disputes with the power to overturn evictions and unfair rents, determine bond or rental disputes and refer matters for prosecution where necessary; and

• support the regulation of tenant databases though stronger privacy protection including independent monitoring of compliance and access to affordable dispute resolution processes.

106. Labor notes that over 160,000 Australians live in boarding houses, mobile homes and manufactured home parks. These people are often retirees or those who cannot afford other accommodation. Refuge services also use caravan parks to provide emergency accommodation. Labor will:

• examine ways to restore equity between the private rental market and permanent residents of caravan parks, boarding houses and manufactured home parks including discriminatory applications of taxation; and

• develop a National Boarding House, Mobile Homes and Manufactured Home Parks Accommodation Standards Code in consultation with appropriate bodies, including peak advocacy and consumer groups.

Addressing and Preventing Homelessness

107. Labor recognises the growing problem of homelessness, and particularly youth homelessness, and that other problems—such as poverty, drug and alcohol abuse,

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psychiatric or other health problems, deinstitutionalisation, unemployment, family breakdown and domestic violence—can contribute to or precipitate homelessness.

108. Labor acknowledges the responsibility of all levels of government to ensure that all Australians have access to adequate housing and believes that homeless people, and those at risk of homelessness, should receive particular attention in housing and broader social programs. No individual or family should be placed at increased risk of homelessness by the withdrawal of income support under punitive welfare policies.

109. Labor is committed to developing a genuine national homelessness strategy in conjunction with State and Territory governments and will establish targets to reduce homelessness over time as part of its plan to address poverty in the community. Labor supports a three pronged approach to homelessness, the success of which depends on the participation and cooperation of all stakeholders through:

• prevention;

• assistance to people once they become homeless; and

• support for homeless people in their transition from crisis accommodation to more stable housing.

110. Labor is committed to the continuation of the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) and its capital arm, the Crisis Accommodation Program (CAP) and will ensure that, under these and related programs:

• the quality and security of boarding house accommodation is improved;

• crisis and emergency accommodation programs are improved and expanded; and

• high-security refuges for women and children escaping from family violence are appropriately supported.

111. Labor is concerned that the current SAAP V Agreement does not adequately reflect the findings of the independent evaluation of SAAP conducted in 2004. In particular, the current Agreement:

• is not sufficient to support the development of new service models while maintaining viability of essential crisis services; and

• does not do enough to engage related sectors, such as mental health services, drug and alcohol treatment, employment services and training providers.

112. Labor will support a diverse SAAP sector and enable services to trial innovative approaches to early intervention and assistance for homeless people, both while they are in crisis and in their transition to stable housing, without undermining the viability of existing services. Labor supports a cooperative approach to the development of the sector, involving service

providers, all levels of government, and the organisations and institutions best placed to identify individuals at risk and to assist them.

113. In order to provide pathways for homeless people to move out of SAAP accommodation and into more permanent housing, Labor will ensure that:

• housing programs have clear and planned links with the SAAP;

• housing programs provide for long-term housing support requirements in both public and private rental housing; and

• housing programs have the flexibility to offer a range of housing options suited to those at imminent and/or chronic risk of homelessness.

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114. Labor recognises that child and youth homelessness is a significant problem within the Australian community. Labor supports the implementation of a National Child and Youth Homelessness Strategy within the broader national strategy. The strategy will:

• address the pathways into homelessness for children and young people (for example, abuse, family breakdown, pover ty, unemployment, discriminatory social policy);

• improve research into and support implementation of best practice in providing pathways out of homelessness for children and young people;

• investigate how community housing can be tter assist children and young people to leave SAAP and move into a more stable environment that will allow them to continue or resume education and/or participate in the labour market; and

• develop best practice models of community housing for young people living independently.

Equitable Access to Modern Communications Se rvices

115. Labor regards telecommunications services as essential services that should be accessible and a ffordable for all Australians. Labor believes that access to fundamental telecommunications services should be provided through a universal service subsidy that adequately compensates for the costs of universal services, funded by the industry in accordance with market share.

116. Labor is committed to ensuring that all Australians will be able to enjoy access to affordable high-speed broadband telecommunications service.

g^ F 117. Labor recognises that access to broadband in regional Australia is crucial to the future economic development of regional communities. Broadband facilitates the location of small and medium sized businesses outside the major urban centres.

118. Labor will ensure that adequate safeguards are in place to protect consumers in communications markets. Labor will ensure that these safeguards are properly enforced and that communications companies deliver high standards of service to consumers.

A More Competitive and Consumer Focused Regulato ry Regime

119. Labor is committed to establishing a communications regulatory regime that supports investment in modern infrastructure while ensuring genuine competition and fair third party access arrangements to "bo ttle neck" services.

120. Labor supports fair, third party access arrangements for communications infrastructure. Labor will ensure that Telstra's wholesale and retail functions are clearly distinct within the company, to ensure the openness and transparency needed for fair access regulation. Labor will strengthen the telecommunications competition regime to ensure genuine openness and transparency in Australian telecommunications.

121. Genuine competition and consumer protection in communications requires appropriate resourcing and regulatory powers for bodies such as the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

122. Labor will retain the telecommunications price control regime and ministerial pricing powers to ensure that all Australians share equitably in the benefits of innovation and competition and are protected against the effects of any market failure. Labor will ensure that there are no further unfair increases in basic telephone line rental and call charges.

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123. Labor will encourage communications technology research and development within the industry generally, to help ensure that Australia remains at the forefront of the international communications sector.

Australia Post

124. Labor will maintain Australia Post in full public ownership.

125. Labor will maintain Australia Post as the sole carrier of the standard-size, letter service and the sole issuer of postage stamps. Cross-subsidy arrangements between metropolitan and regional Australia will remain to ensure an equitable, flat-rate postal charging arrangement for the standard letter.

126. Labor will encourage the growth of Australia Post's services and extend the scope of Australia Post's community service obligations, where appropriate, to ensure equitable access to a full range of postal services for all Australians, including financial and bill paying services.

127. Labor will ensure that Australia Post continues to maintain appropriate coverage of post office and post box outlets throughout Australia. Labor will ensure that the present Australia Post corporate retail outlets remain publicly owned and operated and that the current ownership mix will be maintained.

128. Labor will encourage Australia Post to continue to use its network to provide public access to new communications options and essential community information. Labor envisages Australia Post playing a key role as a platform for the delivery of digital services, particularly to regional Australia. 93 ]

Building Energy Capacity 129. Among Australia's greatest economic strengths is the extent and diversity of its natural energy resources, energy infrastructure and energy technology. Australia is both an important producer of established sources of energy, including coal, gas, oil and

condensate, and a world-class player in the development of renewable and sustainable energy technologies.

130. Australia's energy supply and use must be economically efficient, internationally competitive and sustainable in the long-term. Such national energy capability is essential for Australia's sustained economic growth. Labor recognises that the long-term challenge of global environmental issues must be built in from the start in planning the future of the Australian energy industry.

131. Increasingly, more efficient and clean energy supplies and use will enhance Australia's capacity for the downstream processing of minerals and other natural resources and more competitive manufacturing generally, thus providing employment benefits.

132. The continued development and application of new technology to improve the economic and environmental efficiency of energy production and consumption is vital to Australia's long-term international competitiveness.

133. To improve our national energy capacity, Labor will:

• facilitate a process of cooperation and development involving State governments, industry representatives, including peak industry associations and the trade union movement to ensure that Australia builds the necessary electricity industry transmission, distribution and generation electricity facilities to meet Australia's electricity demands and ensure supply for the future for all Australians;

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• encourage investment in an intensive national oil and gas exploration effort;

• encourage continued development and investment in energy infrastructure and technologies, particularly gas and renewable energy sources;

• facilitate free and fair competition between energy sources;

• facilitate free and fair interstate trade in gas;

• facilitate a national electricity market;

• encourage cogeneration;

• encourage the use of gas in conjunction with coal for power generation;

• encourage research and commercial development of new and renewable energy sources and technology; and

n take into account the relative environmental impact of these energy sources.

134. Labor will encourage greater efficiency in the production, transmission and use of existing energy sources, in particular by acting to:

• ensure a concerted and ongoing effort to encourage the pattern of Australia's domestic, transportation and industrial energy consumption to greater use of clean and renewable energy sources through demand management strategies and government procurement policies;

• encourage greater energy efficiency and consumer purchase of energy efficient products through consumer education programs, innovative financing mechanisms, product standards and energy efficiency labelling schemes; and


n encourage energy audits for the industrial, commercial, transportation and residential 4. ] sectors to inform users of their relative energy efficiency and how this can be improved. 135. Labor recognises that major opportunities are emerging in new and renewable energy technologies within the global energy market. Accordingly Labor will:

• support research and development in innovative energy technologies that are cleaner and more efficient;

• encourage domestic markets in renewable energy technologies;

• encourage Australian development, manufacture and commercialisation of renewable energy technologies for both domestic and export markets;

• encourage local and foreign investment to increase Australia's renewable energy technology manufacturing capability; and

• maximise employment creation within the renewable energy sector to offset possible long-term job losses in fossil fuel dependent sectors of the energy industry.

136. Labor will institute a national energy industry policy to integrate the need for improving energy efficiency, abating greenhouse emissions and encouraging the development and commercialisation of new Australian energy industries, including renewable and sustainable energy technology.

137. Labor will ensure that consumers are protected in the new national energy environment, through access to competitively priced energy, proper regulation of the national energy market and viable dispute resolution mechanisms.

Safeguarding Australia's Infrastructure

138. Labor recognises the importance of Australia's critical infrastructure and the need to adequately plan, maintain and safeguard it. Critical infrastructure includes systems of telecommunication, banking and financial operations, power generation, air, land, sea and

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water transpo rtation systems and operations, water purification and sewerage and waste

water treatment. Infrastructure protection is integral to Australia's national security. It underpins our economy. Our quality of life depends on it. Labor is committed to ensuring that Australia can manage and contain demonstrated and emerging threats to our infrastructure, especially those that relate to the information or cyber elements that increasingly control the operation of physical infrastructure.

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Resolutions Urban Transport Conference notes:

Australia's urban transport systems are under increasing demand pressures relative to their capacity. Particularly because of significant increases in oil prices. The costs of traffic congestion, road accidents and housing affordability are increasing. These costs have important consequences for Australia's well being, the environment, Australia's global competitiveness and workers' standard of living. These issues include transport efficiency and effects on economic growth, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, health and social amenity; Public transport needs to be developed in order to provide a real alternative to the car, particularly in urban areas.

• Australia's transport greenhouse emissions are per capita the third highest in the world and it is estimated that by 2010, total greenhouse emissions will be 47 per cent higher than 1990 levels.

• Urban transport congestion cost $12.8 billion in 1995 and is estimated to increase to $29.7 billion in 2015.

• Australia's major cities have clear 'transport rich' and 'transport poor' regions because of the creation of new suburbs without strong public transport. Strong rail cities are 45% wealthier than weak rail cities and spend less on road transport and are more cost effective in their transit operations.

• The 2005 House of Representatives Report "Sustainable Cities" said " the Australian Government had a responsibility to provide national leadership on urban policy as it impacts on

96 1 the sustainability of Australian cities.

• Australia is the only country in the western world in which the federal Government is not involved in funding urban public transport.

• Once externalities are taken into account the actual cost of car use is around 60 cents per passenger kilometer with the true cost of trains and buses being 20 to 30 cents per passenger kilometre.

Conference resolves that the next Federal Labor Government will:

• work to ease urban congestion and promote greater public transport use through investment in strategic transport infrastructure for the national economy, particularly the separation of freight and passenger transport corridors;

• work to ease the transport funding burden on State governments for freight transport infrastructure so they can invest more in urban public transport in the integrated development of their cities and suburbs;

• take into account sustainable transport principles and the recommendations of the Sustainable Cities report in respect of transport when formulating transport policy;

• support the TravelSmart program and the National Cycling Strategy and further promote and facilitate public and active transport options;

• take into account transport, land use and environmental objectives, including social costs, in transport investment decision making (noise, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, congestion and cost of accidents);

• encourage integration of various public transport modes through development of seamless inter modal interchanges; and,

• work to achieve greater use of all forms of public transport by cooperation between all levels of government.

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Modern, Efficient and Safe Land and Transport Network

This Conference condemns the Howard Government for their years of neglect of Australia's transport infrastructure. In the 1960's 3% of GDP was invested in transport infrastructure and by 2001 this had reached a low point of 1.4%.

The Auslink Land Transport program is the first Howard Government attempt to deliver an integrated land transport plan, but it fails on many counts because it:

• continues the bias against rail funding. In the last Auslink round rail only received 10% of total land transport funding. From 1974 to 1999 the Federal Government spent $58b on all roads compared to $2.2b on rail capital works (3.6%);

• fails to integrate regional road, rail and port networks within the roads to recovery program;

• only includes freight transport not people movement;

• does not address the void in land transport policy decision making which currently exists because of no coordination mechanisms between federal, state and local governments to give direction on transport infrastructure pricing, transport demand management initiatives, investment priorities and modal integration;

• does not include whole of of life, environmental or social costs of transport in investment decision making; and

• was motivated to shift costs to States, Territory and Local Governments, not to deliver an efficient, integrated and modern transport network.

Conference calls on the next Federal Labor Government to:

• restructure the Auslink transport program to Include funding for urban public transport;

• integrate regional road, rail and port infrastructure funding;

• ensure corridor strategies are undertaken using a full environmental, social cost analysis, that rail track straightening be given a greater priority together with a greater emphasis on increasing rail's modal share; • give greater emphasis to congestion between rail passenger and rail freight traffic in urban

areas and increasing rail freight capacity to and from ports to container terminals;

• reshape transport policy decision making in order to give direction to all levels of government on infrastructure pricing, investment priorities and modal integration for both freight and passenger transport;

• Working with States to develop an integrated national transport network and corridors of significance to the operation of the national economy, including efficient intermodal connections at ports and airports;

• strengthening the Commonwealth commitment to the construction and maintenance of the national highway system;

• retaining full Commonwealth ownership of the Australian Rail Track Corporation and ensuring it has sufficient funds to develop and maintain our interstate rail infrastructure to world class standards, such as transit times, axle loads and double stacking containers;

• committing to invest in Australia's transport network to ensure our infrastructure can accommodate the increasing freight and urban passenger task in a sustainable and efficient way and financing options may include superannuation funds, infrastructure and/or savings bonds;

• improving rail and road safety standards for the national transport network by enhancing the role of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and ensuring more proactive leadership from the Commonwealth Department of Transport to reduce accidents and fatalities; including the

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implementation of the recommendations on fatigue of the 2001 House of Representatives Report "Beyond the Midnight Oil";

• improving the security of our transport networks through more clearly defined responsibilities and accountabilities between Commonwealth Government agencies;

• developing a modern, integrated regulatory and enforcement regime; and

• restructure the funding, works program and projects of the National Transport Commission to ensure an equal balance between road and rail thus ensuring a greater emphasis on increasing rails performance and modal share.


The future prosperity and competitiveness of the Australian economy will require world class infrastructure. In the global economy of the 21st century, advanced communications networks will be critical.

Broadband is an important enabling technology with the potential to facilitate significant productivity gains. Broadband also has the potential to open up new markets for Australian businesses.

Broadband is also crucial for service delivery, providing increased access to health and education services for Australian families.

However, the Howard Government's obsession with the privatisation of Telstra has caused it to neglect Australia's communications infrastructure. Long overdue regulatory reforms have been overlooked as a result of the government's narrow policy focus.

98 Labor will bring Australia's communications networks into the 21st century. Labor will revolutionise Australia's communications infrastructure by facilitating the construction of a new fibre to the node National Broadband Network.

The National Broadband Network will connect 98% of Australians to high speed broadband internet services of a minimum of 12 megabits per second.

Labor will ensure that Australians in regional and remote areas not covered by the fibre to the node network have a standard of service that, dependent on available technologies, as far possible approximates that provided by the new network.

The National Broadband Network will foster competition by ensuring genuine open access is provided to bottleneck fibre to the node infrastructure.

Labor will facilitate the construction of this National Broadband Network through a combination of regulatory reforms and Commonwealth government investment.

Regulated access prices would be set at a level that ensures a commercial return can be made on such an investment by private investors.

Labor will establish a competitive process to assess commercial proposals to build a National Broadband Network, and will finance a Commonwealth Government public equity investment in the network by using existing government investments in communications.

Labor will aim to have this National Broadband Network rolled out to Australian homes and businesses within five years of the completion of this competitive assessment process.

Labor recognises that despite its privatisation, Telstra continues to play a central role in the provision of nation-wide communications services to Australians. It is the only carrier with a ubiquitous fixed network and remains the national carrier of last resort and emergency services operator.

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Labor, recognising the ongoing strategic significance of Telstra's assets in the provision of national services, will retain the existing foreign ownership restrictions on the company.

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Chapter Seven

A New Industrial Relations System: A Fairer Future for Working Families Central to Australians' belief in a fair go for everyone is the belief in fairness at work. The Australian

labour movement's commitment to improve pay and work conditions for working people has for generations helped make Australia such a great place to live, work and raise a family. Yet these basic rights and conditions are now being taken away by unfair, one-sided industrial relations laws. Labor will abolish these one-sided laws and restore balance and fairness to the working lives of all Australians.

The Future of Industrial Relations

1. A flexible industrial relations system based on high employment, a skilled workforce and increased productivity is the basis of a modern, thriving Australian economy and is essential for building and sustaining prosperity for all Australians.

2. To play a productive role in the Australian economy and to participate in family and community life, employees need the financial security which comes from employment security and protection.

3. The Howard Government's new industrial relations laws are unfair and put the interests of working Australians and their families last. Under these unfair laws, terms and conditions of employment which make up the take home pay of working Australians, like penalty rates, overtime, leave loadings, shift allowances, bonuses and public holiday rates can be stripped away.

4. These laws have taken away the rights of working people, and ripped fairness out of the workplace. They have:

• reduced the safety net by replacing awards with five minimum conditions;

• removed the no disadvantage test for agreement making so workers' terms and conditions can go backwards without compensation;

• promoted unfair take it or leave it Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) which cut hard-fought for pay and conditions;

• made it impossible for the majority of workers in an enterprise who want a collective agreement to get one unless the employer consents;

• taken away the principle of an independent umpire and gutted the Australian Industrial Relations Commission;

• stripped unfair dismissal protections for Australian workers; and

• prevented trade unions from properly representing their members.

5. The Howard Government's unfair industrial relations laws have made it even harder for parents to balance their responsibilities at work and at home, with no adequate protections from excessive and unpredictable hours. This is bad news for Australians and their families—and particularly for their children and grandchildren.

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6. These laws are most harmful to those most at risk—and that includes teenagers in their first job. More and more Australians are worried about their family, their relatives, their friends and their neighbours being affected by these unfair laws.

7. It's just another example of the Howard Government throwing the fair go out the back door.

8. Labor will repeal this unfair legislation and will use the full range of powers available to it in government to replace these unfair laws with new laws that create a fair, flexible and productive industrial relations system. We must have a modern industrial relations system for a modern Australia.

9. Labor's new system will balance our priority for a globally competitive economy while helping families manage their responsibilities at home and in the workplace. Specifically, Labor will guarantee:

• a strong safety net of minimum conditions;

• the right to bargain collectively for decent wages and conditions;

• access to an independent industrial umpire which will ensure fair wages and conditions and settle disputes;

• the right to join a union and be represented by a union;

• fair rights if employees are unfairly dismissed; and

• the abolition of AWAs and an industrial relations system in which there will be no statuto ry individual employment agreements.

Principles 10^

10. Security of employment is fundamental to income stability and to all aspects of personal and family life. Therefore the industrial relations system should provide significant protection for the security of workers' employment and of their wages, entitlements and working conditions.

11. Industrial relations arrangements should serve social and economic goals. There must be emphasis on both achieving fair outcomes for workers and building efficient enterprises.

12. The industrial relations framework should encourage cooperation not confrontation. Government has a key role in promoting and fostering such a climate of cooperation.

13. Labor recognises that our industrial relations system must take account of the inherently unequal power balance existing between individual workers and their employer. This principle has long been accepted in Australian society and by virtually all federal governments prior to the Howard Government.

14. The rights and entitlements of workers, particularly the most vulnerable such as young workers, workers with disabilities and workers from non-English speaking backgrounds, need to be supported and protected as a consequence.

15. The inherent imbalance of power between workers and their employers requires a collective approach within the industrial relations system in order to deliver fairness. Fair and balanced bargaining must be underpinned by a safety net of legislated minimum conditions and decent minimum wages and conditions contained in modern awards. Agreements should be subject to a no disadvantage test, to ensure vulnerable workers are not exploited in bargaining.

16. The legitimate role of trade unions and their rights to organise, to take action on behalf of their members and on behalf of workers generally, and to bargain collectively, should be recognised, defended and enhanced.

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17. A strong and independent industrial umpire is vital to the fair and proper functioning of our system.

18. Workers must be able to participate in and share the benefits of the success of the enterprise or industry for which they work and of the economy as a whole.

19. Labor recognises that there is a crisis of low pay in Australia that has come about in conjunction with growing income inequality. Labor acknowledges public disquiet about the increasing difficulty for low-paid workers and their families to participate fully and with dignity in Australian society, whilst at the same time there has been an explosion in executive salaries.

20. The independent industrial umpire has an important role in examining the means by which the low pay crisis and specific areas of labour market exploitation in Australian can be addressed.

21. Nationally recognised high quality vocational training and skill development opportunities should be available throughout the workforce.

22. Non-discrimination will continue to be a central tenet of Labor's industrial relations policy. This includes recognition that work in some industries with traditionally high levels of female employment has been historically undervalued, and a continuing commitment to equal remuneration for women, not just equal pay.

23. Labor will ensure that Australia's domestic industrial relations arrangements are consistent with its international obligations. Labor will restore Australia to a position of international leadership and pride. 102


Fair Representation

24. Every Australian has the right to freely choose whether or not to be a member of a trade union and to be represented by the union. Labor recognises this fundamental democratic right and will protect Australians from being discriminated against because of their trade union membership or activity.

Fair Pay and Conditions

25. Australian workers deserve a proper safety net of legislated minimum conditions and decent minimum wages and conditions relevant to particular industries contained in modern, simplified awards.

Fair and Balanced Bargaining

26. Collective bargaining should be promoted through a fair and simple stream of workplace and enterprise agreements negotiated with trade unions or employees and consistent with ILO obligations.

27. Labor recognises that employers and employees or unions may also want to negotiate consistent terms and conditions across an industry, for example childcare.

28. Labor will abolish AWAs which are secretive, unreviewable and unfair. There will be no legislative provision for federal statutory individual agreements. Labor will implement transitional arrangements for employers and employees who are bound by existing AWAs, which are simple and sensible, and which take into account the wishes of the parties.

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l Conference L_ Australian Labor Pa 44th NatlonaFConterence Chapter Seven

A Fair Independent Industrial Umpire and Monitoring 29. Labor believes a strong and independent industrial umpire is essential to the maintenance of a fair and balanced industrial relations system.

30. Labor will ensure the independent industrial umpire has real powers to settle disputes, to maintain a safety net of fair wages and conditions. Under Labor, the industrial umpire will act in the national interest and in the interests of fairness and equity.

31. Labor will create an effective and impartial monitoring agency with enhanced resources for the enforcement of workplace laws, awards and agreements.

Fair Termination of Employment

32. Labor's industrial relations system will provide significant employment protection and job security for working Australians.

33. Labor will balance the right of employees to have protections against unfair dismissal with a process which takes account of the needs of business and employees to have unfair dismissal matters resolved in a balanced, cost effective and timely fashion.

Fair Superannuation

34. Labor will ensure that all statutory and industrial superannuation obligations, and statutory and voluntary superannuation entitlements, are protected for Australian employees.

Fair Transfer of Entitlements

35. A change in ownership of a business or similar corporate restructure should not be used as a means of evading pre-existing wages and conditions. Labor will facilitate schemes that 103 I provide portability of leave entitlements between employers where those entitlements would otherwise be lost to the employee.

Fair Treatment of the Federal Government's Own Employees

36. Public sector workers should be treated fairly by government and have full access to the independent industrial umpire.

Fair Treatment of All Who Work

37. The protection of the industrial relations system should be extended beyond a narrow definition of employees to include those in employment-type relationships. The method of engagement of workers should not be a vehicle for denying them access to the independent industrial umpire or the usual range of entitlements and rights. Nor should it be designed to

undermine their income or conditions.


38. Labor recognises the disadvantaged position of outworkers in the textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) sector when compared with the rest of the labour force. Outworkers require specific regulatory protection in order to control the exploitative conditions under which they are employed.

39. Labor is committed to introducing complementary federal and state legislation that aims to ensure outworkers are employed under secure, safe and fair systems of work.


Getting More Out of Life: Work and Family

40. The way families live and work has changed radically. Women's employment participation is increasing. Labor recognises the importance of women's participation in the labour market to

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Australia's productivity and global competitiveness and the importance of work to the independence of women and the security of their families. Labor is committed to a work and family package, which supports women's participation in the workforce and provides improved assistance to all Australian families, especially in areas such as industrial relations, children's services, taxation and income support.

41. Labor believes that policies to better balance work and family mean better economic prosperity and community harmony. It means that employers can get the best out of their employees and families can get more out of life.

Paid Maternity Leave

42. Australia and the United States are the only developed countries that do not have a national paid maternity leave scheme.

43. Labor believes that it is economically and socially responsible for governments to assist mothers with the financial costs associated with the birth of their children. In particular, mothers need to be able to spend time with their newborn babies and have time to recover from childbirth.

44. Labor will aim, over time, to introduce a paid maternity leave scheme for all mothers with no cost burden to small business.


45. Labor believes that investment in human capital is at the heart of the economic reform that will position Australia as a competitive, innovative, knowledge-based economy that can


compete and win in global markets.

46. Instead of investing in our stock of human capital, Australia has fallen behind in its education and training of all workers. Australia has also pursued an industrial relations agenda which encourages individual agreement over collective bargaining—despite the positive relationship between enterprise level agreements and long-term productivity growth.

Promoting Safe Workplaces

47. Whilst occupational health and safety is currently primarily a State responsibility, the federal government can and should do more to ensure appropriate standards are applied for Australian workers irrespective of where they work.

48. Labor will work cooperatively with the States and Territories to ensure that workers' compensation schemes, social security and Medicare deliver the best possible benefits to injured workers. Labor will work with the States and Territories to achieve appropriate minimum national standards of benefits for injured workers.

49. Labor will work with the States and Territories to achieve a nationally consistent occupational health and safety framework which reflects best safety practice within Australia, and which is consistent with the best international standards. This framework should be clear and capable of enforcement at the workplace level.

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Workers' Contribution To Economic Wealth Labor recognises that Australian workers have made a significant contribution to the social fabric and economic prosperity of the country.

Despite this contribution, the period of Howard government has seen growing unfairness in the labour market. Jobs are increasingly fragmented. There has been a significant growth in poor quality jobs that are associated with insecure incomes, irregular or unpredictable working hours and a loss of benefits and entitlements.

Working families are struggling to keep their heads above water. Households now spend a record 11.6 per cent of disposable income servicing debt.

Despite economic growth driven largely by the resources boom, in the 12 months since the introduction of the Howard government's extreme IR laws, real wages have declined. In the first 12 months that the laws were in force real total average earnings for full time adult workers dropped by 0.6%.

For full-time workers in the private sector average total earnings have dropped by 1.1 %, with average earnings for women workers in the private sector is falling by 1.8%.

The gender pay gap is as large today as it was in 1978. Full-time women earn on average 10% less than full-time adult males.

At the same time executive salaries have grown at an unacceptable pace. Between 1990 and 2005, the average annual total regular cash remuneration of Chief Executives of a sample of Australia's largest companies rose by 564 percent, from $514,000 to $3.4 million, or to a notional 105 weekly average of $65,700. There is no evidence that these excessive rates care correlated with

company performance.

Decent Work

Hours of work

Some Australians have too much paid work, while others do not have enough.

Full-time jobs have become long-hours jobs. Between 1985 and 2005 the average working hours for men increased by 1.9 hours per week to 43.2 hours and for women by 1.7 hours to 39.3 hours. Labor recognises that these long, and often excessive hours of work, place unfair levels of stress on workers and their families, and constitute a risk to workers health and well-being.

Part-time work can assist employees undertake study or training or care for dependents.

However many part-time employees would prefer longer hours. The ABS suggests that 5% of employees are under-employed and seeking more hours. These workers are looking for another 20 hours of work each week. This involuntary part-time work camouflages under employment, with adverse consequences for both employees and for national prosperity.

The arrangement of hours has also changed. More and more workers are working unsocial and irregular hours. Thirty seven per cent of employees regularly work overtime, 13% of workers hours have hours that vary from week to week and three in ten regularly work weekends. Recent research highlights that personal relationships health and well-being suffer when workers are unable to strike the right balance between work and other commitments. These unpredictable, insecure and fragmented working arrangements place strains on working families.

Casual work

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The period of the Howard government has been associated with a growth in casual, contingent and other insecure forms of employment. In August 2006 over 28% of all employees were employed on a casual basis, with almost a third of all women employed casually. In certain sectors permanent work has all but disappeared, with almost two thirds of employees in the hospitality sector and half of all employees in retail employed on a casual basis.

This level of job and income insecurity is not in the public interest. Such insecurity has been associated with employee stress, and associated harm to workers' well-being, family relationships and worsening social problems. The concentration of casual employment amongst women

workers denies women access to training and promotion, and means that those workers most likely to require paid leave to care for family members are least likely to have access.

Instead, the long-term interests of workers, industry and the nation is better served by an expansion of secure, high quality jobs with appropriate training and career prospects.

Quality Jobs And Balanced Lives

Labor acknowledges that working time arrangements can vary according to the needs of employees and employers in an industry. Nevertheless, the erosion of full-time employment and growth in casual, part-time, contracting and insecure forms of employment is adversely affecting the ability of families to meet their financial, family and social needs and responsibilities.

Labor also believes that long and excessive working hours are placing unfair levels of stress and strain on workers and families.

Labor will encourage employers and unions to develop working time arrangements in agreements or awards which: 1 6

• Are consistent with employees' preferences and needs;

• Reduce excessive working hours;

• Maximise employment creation;

• Reflect agreed enterprise or industry priorities;

• Emphasise levels of working time that are sufficient and reasonably predictable to provide relevant and meaningful outcomes for work;

• Encourage preference for secure full time and part time employment over casual employment; and

• Prohibit the misuse of unpaid trial work.

Labor will initiate an inquiry to examine the growth of insecure and contingent employment and its effects on workers and their families, and to recommend measures to promote greater employment stability. Labor will work with employers, unions and other parties to develop effective and viable solutions to these important issues.

Workers With Disabilities

Unlike the Howard government's punitive approach to getting people with a disability into work, Labor will consult and work with unions, employers and community organisations to remove obstacles to the employment of people with disabilities in fair and non-exploitative ways.

Safe And Healthy Workplaces

The current application of the Comcare scheme and the Commonwealth's occupational health and safety jurisdiction to the private sector is bad public policy. It has created:

• A complication of federal arrangements;

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• An undermining of entitlements such as access to journey accident and common law claims; and • A safety gap where basic safety standards will not be properly enforced.

Labor will work cooperatively with the States and Territories to:

• Ensure that workers compensation schemes, social security and Medicare deliver the best possible benefits to injured workers; and • Harmonise occupational health and safety frameworks which reflects best safety practice within Australia, and which is consistent with the best international standards. This framework

should be clear and capable of enforcement at the workplace level.

Labor will reintroduce income protection by amending the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act for the purposes of employees who are injured travelling to and from work and during breaks in working hours.

Employee Entitlements

Protection of employee entitlements in circumstances of company insolvency is an increasingly important aspect of income security. Labor's scheme to protect employee entitlements will be national and will ensure that:

• 100% of entitlements of employees are protected in circumstances of insolvency; • There is an obligation on employers to make proper provisions for employee entitlements;

• Employers of businesses which cease trading, close their business, 'disappear', transfer assets out of the employing entity, establish phoenix companies or otherwise have an incapacity to pay employee entitlements, irrespective of whether an insolvency practitioner has been [ ^:I appointed to the employing company or not, are eligible to receive assistance including in circumstances where employees are stood down by an insolvency practitioner;

• Corporations law is amended to enable recove ry of assets in circumstances where the use of corporate structures has the effect of denying workers their entitlements; • Payments to employees are timely;

• Employees have a right to review and appeal in respect to decisions to reject application for assistance; • Additional cost burdens placed on employers are minimised;

• Employers are not required to make additional payments for benefits already protected by trusts or other appropriate means; and

• Small business is protected from any additional costs.

Labor recognises the importance of a sound legislative framework to strengthen corporate governance and responsibility with respect to the security and protection of employee entitlements. Labor will ensure:

• The recovery of assets in circumstances where the use of corporate structures have the effect of denying workers their entitlements; • All employee entitlements, whether they arise from an industrial instrument, any other instrument, terms of se ttlement or by law, are recognised as a debt for the purposes of

insolvency; • ASIC's powers are reviewed and strengthened where necessa ry, to enable disqualification of a director from holding office where the director has been convicted of trading while insolvent; • Ensure that administrators and liquidators of insolvent companies are independent of creditors;

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• Upon reasonable request by employees or unions, require companies to disclose financial information as to the company's ability to meet their obligations under the law regarding employee entitlements (by means which are practicable); and

• Directors are required to act once they have reasonable grounds to believe that the company is, or likely to become insolvent.

Labor will also conduct a review of the Corporations Act which will consider the following issues:

• The early detection and prevention of insolvencies with the objective of restructuring businesses in difficulty;

• The treatment of creditors who are competitors of the insolvent company and whether such creditors should be able to vote on a proposal to wind up the company;

• The situation where there is an objection to the decision of the chairperson (of a meeting of creditors) to include or exclude any proof of debt or claim and that decision alters the outcome of the vote;

• Whether directors who are convicted of trading while insolvent should be personally liable for outstanding employee entitlements;

• The effectiveness of the legal framework in relation to director disqualification, avoidance of obligations and insolvent trading, including whether the current onus of proof provisions are appropriate; and

• The effectiveness of the provisions in the Corporations Act which deal with penalties imposed on directors for breaches in relation to employee entitlements and trading whilst insolvent.

In recognition of the importance of superannuation in enhancing employees' long-term 108_; entitlements and security, Labor will amend relevant superannuation and associated legislation to ensure that:

• They maintain the capacity for awards and agreements to ensure monthly contributions;

• The superannuation system provides essential protection for employees and for the superannuation contributions made by them or on their behalf;

• Effective choice, without undermining successful industry funds;

• Representative and balance trustee structures;

• An independent appeals process; and

• Unpaid superannuation entitlements will be included in Labor's scheme to protect employees' entitlements.

Labor will enable Fair Work Australia to act to enhance the security and protection of employee entitlements.

Labor will facilitate schemes that provide portability of entitlements between employers where those entitlements would otherwise be lost to the employee. Labor acknowledges that less people are becoming eligible for long service leave and will examine ways in which long service leave can

be returned to being a mainstream entitlement which better reflects the contemporary labour market.

Building And Construction Industry Act

Labor in Government will abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission and ensure that the new Fair Work Australia provides a balanced and effective compliance regime, which will provide procedural and substantive fairness to all parties in the construction industry.


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Chapter Sev en]

Labor will implement a package of reforms including parallel federal legislation modelled on the Victorian Outworkers (Improved Protection) Act 2003 and the NSW Industrial Relations (Ethical Trades) Act 2001.

Labor will work cooperatively with the State governments to achieve these goals, including enactment of legislation designed to ensure the following:

• No outworker in any Australian jurisdiction will have fewer rights to legal redress and protection than are offered by any other Australian jurisdiction;

• The entire chain of clothing production and sale will be rendered transparent to scrutiny, so that each party in that chain will become identifiable and accountable for ensuring payment of monies sufficient to meet local labour standards for the production of clothing:

• Provision of sufficient resources to ensure effective compliance with these legislative protections at each step in the chain of production and sale;

• Implementation of policies which require governments to ethically source their TCF supplies; and

• An end to the artificial distinction between so-called 'employee' outworkers and 'contract' outworkers by deeming all outworkers to be employees.

In order to participate and take a lead role in global efforts to end the exploitation of home based workers, Labor will, in Government, accede to the International Labour Organisation—C177 Home Work Convention, 1996, Convention Concerning Home Work.

Labor will support the joint industry-union initiative, the Homeworkers Code of Practice and its No Sweat Shop label, including providing resources to assist in the further development and promotion of this voluntary system of company accreditation/certification. The Homeworkers Code 109 1 of Practice seeks to address the high levels of exploitation found in the clothing and fashion

industry by making production chains transparent and promoting ethical locally-based manufacturers and designers.

Labor will in Government introduce regulation which requires corporations to report on and be accountable for the labour rights of employees in their contracting chain.

Maritime Workers

Labor is committed to ensuring that the general workplace laws apply to employees in the Coasting Trade.

Conference notes that the Howard Government has excluded such protections to those engaged in certain commercial enterprises, particularly non-citizens, employees and corporations engaged in operating shipping vessels under single or continuing voyage permits.

Conference also notes the High Court Decision obtained by the Maritime Unions and the subsequent challenge by those unions to the application of WorkChoices Regulation making powers by the Commonwealth with regard to permit ships.

Labor will protect these vulnerable seafarers and promote fair labour standards in the Australian shipping industry.

Fair Treatment Of The Federal Government's Own Employees

Public sector workers are entitled to an industrial relations system that is flexible, fair and promotes collective bargaining as the most efficient way of delivering good pay and conditions. As an employer, Labor will develop a system that fosters the public service as a model employer that treats employees with dignity and respect in an apolitical framework.

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Retirement Incomes

Labor understands that returns and costs are the drivers of investment performance. Labor also knows that the collective provision of superannuation maximises economies of scale and reduces the burden on employers.

Labor believes that employees should be able to access low cost not-for-profit funds through their workplace, and industrial awards should be able to address superannuation. Awards should contain not-for-profit funds as the default fund.

Labor notes the clear evidence that the 9% SG is insufficient to fund adequate retirement incomes for workers on average incomes. Labor believes that employers, employees and government will need to make a contribution to addressing this, and Labor will work over time to achieve a 15% contribution level.

Workers' superannuation savings should continue to be protected by representative and balanced trustee structures. These have proven to deliver honest and diligent leadership and administration of the funds under their management.

Promoting Decent Work Internationally

Despite seeking and accepting a position as a member of the International Labor Organisation's governing body, the Howard Government has repeatedly been found to be in breach of ILO fundamental standards, in particular Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and the Right to Organise, and Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining.

Labor will ensure that Australia's domestic industrial relations arrangements are consistent with


t 10 our international obligations, and will restore Australia to a position of international leadership and pride.

Labor will also actively work within the ILO, in particular within our region, and the development of international labour standards and the promotion of decent work, with a particular focus on issues of forced labour and child labour.

Labor will provide support and assistance within the region to promote free and democratic organisations to represent workers and employers, and to champion respect for internationally recognised workplace rights, in particular the right to join a union and pursue workers common

interests free from coercion and violence.

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Chapter Eight

Fostering Participation, Security and Quality Care for all Australians One of the greatest challenges facing Australian society is the exclusion of large numbers of

people—from work, from educational opportunities and from access to basic services. Labor believes that inclusion and full economic and social participation is critical for every Australian to reach their potential. Social inclusion can help to reduce poverty, improve health outcomes, reduce crime and strengthen communities. Labor believes that we can build long-term prosperity without throwing fairness out the back door. In government, Labor will implement long-term strategies to build social inclusion and spread opportunity so that all Australians have the opportunity to be a valued part of their local community and society.


1. Since the foundation of the Labor Party the attainment of full employment and the improvement of working conditions have been at the core of Labor's philosophy. Employment is the most important source of economic security and opportunity for working age Australians and their families. Labor is committed to achieving full employment—ensuring any Australian who wants a job can find one within a reasonable time.

2. Labor will always pursue full employment as its highest priority.

3. The maximisation of employment opportunities for all Australians is a fundamental objective of Labor's economic policy. To achieve this, Labor is committed to:

• strong economic growth;

• increasing the nation's workforce participation rates;

• investing in the skills of all Australians;

• making work pay, by addressing the financial disincentives to work resulting from the interaction of the tax and welfare systems;

• ensuring that the benefits of economic growth are shared and translate into high-wage and high-skill jobs and a lower unemployment rate;

• improving demand for Australian goods and services both at home and abroad through effective economic, trade and foreign policies;

• ensuring that economic growth translates into business and job opportunities right across Australia through industry and regional development policies; and

• effective labour market assistance programs to overcome barriers to effective workforce participation;

4. Labor recognises that there is much more to employment than the official rate of unemployment. In addition to the commitment to a low rate of official unemployment, Labor will also work to ensure positive employment outcomes for Australians that can be measured across a range of indicators.

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5. Labor understands that the official rate of unemployment can mask serious problems in the labour market, such as the number of working age people reliant on income support. While the number of people claiming unemployment benefits has dropped, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits for long periods has increased dramatically. Similarly, the number of working age people claiming other forms of income support has risen considerably.

6. Labor also understands that there are many people who would like to work, or would like more work than they can get, who do not appear in the monthly unemployment figures. Many people are working part-time but would prefer to work more and many people are discouraged from seeking a job because of what they perceive to be insurmountable barriers, such as a lack of childcare and inadequate skills.

7. Labor in government will focus on improving outcomes across the range of employment indicators, including the official unemployment rate.

Increasing Workforce Participation

8. Labor is the Party of working Australians and has always understood the value of work. Work, along with family, gives meaning to life.

9. Labor believes that it is a social and economic necessity to maximise participation in the workforce.

10. Labor believes that all Australians should be able to realise their full potential and have the opportunity to build successful and rewarding careers. Workforce participation is a foundation of social inclusion; it creates opportunities for financial independence and personal fulfilment.

11. Labor believes that as well as being good for individuals, increasing workforce participation benefits communities and the economy. Communities are more prosperous and cohesive when those who can work, are working.

12. Labor is gravely concerned about the numbers of jobless households in Australia; the unacceptably high number of children growing up in families where no-one is employed and consequent intergenerational unemployment. Labor considers the cycle of disadvantage resulting from intergenerational unemployment to be unacceptable, and is committed to its reduction. This will require investment in the work skills of parents and youth, local employment solutions, and the guarantee of a good start for young people.

13. Labor believes workforce participation is a key economic challenge for Australia—given the ageing of our population and the chronic skills shortages across the economy. The nation simply cannot afford to have potential workers, who want to work, excluded from the labour force.

14. Labor recognises that Australia has a large pool of under-utilised workers. They include the officially unemployed, those who are working but want more work than they can get, and those who would like to work but don't appear in the official monthly labour force figures.

15. In addition to the goal of an official unemployment rate that is sustainably below five per cent, Labor is committed to increasing Australia's workforce participation rates.

16. Labor understands that these potential workers include people with a disability, young people (particularly early school-leavers), mature age Australians, and parents seeking to return to work. Some live in areas where the labour market is less robust. Many Australians who are not in the workforce face multiple barriers to work participation, including lack of

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relevant skills, lack of access to childcare, inadequate social and physical infrastructure and negative employer attitudes.

17. Labor is committed to helping Australians not in the workforce overcome these barriers. Labor believes Australia needs a broader participation agenda that tackles the reasons why some Australians are not participating in the workforce.

18. Labor believes that government should work in partnership with business, unions and the community to develop employment opportunities for groups who are under-represented in the workforce.

19. Labor is committed to meeting the challenges presented by the lack of employment opportunities in particular regions—urban, regional, rural and remote. Labor recognises the geographic dimension of economic disadvantage, and the coincidence of low employment, low growth, lack of educational opportunity and persistent disadvantage in some communities. Labor believes in the importance of engaging local communities to address local problems, and will actively target regions of high unemployment to improve economic, educational and employment opportunities.

20. Labor's approach to increasing workforce participation will include both supply-side policy measures that address the barriers to participation confronting under-represented groups, and demand strategies that encourage employers to provide employment opportunities for these Australians.

21. Labor believes that closer integration of education and training, employment services and income support is the basis for employment and skills development. This is the best insurance policy the nation has against unemployment in the long-term. 1 2,

Skills - the Key to Participation, Productivity and Prosperity

22. Labor believes Australia's ongoing prosperity will be driven by a skilled workforce.

23. Currently there is a fundamental mismatch in the contemporary Australian labour market between the skills required to take up available jobs, and the skills profile of many potential workers. Investing in the skills of Australians is vital to both individual opportunity and economic prosperity. Employability is critical to the economic security of individuals and families and the nation as a whole.

24. Labor recognises the fundamental link between a person's skills and their employability; people only get a job if they have the skills an employer needs.

25. Labor will give working age Australians the opportunity to regularly update their skills throughout life.

26. Labor knows that investment in skills also helps develop and sustain the nation's capacity for growth and the direction of that growth. It also prolongs the economic cycle by acting as an anti-inflation device by better matching supply and demand for skills.

27. Labor believes government has a clear responsibility to build the capacity of the labour force through investment in skills. Labor will meet this responsibility through the design and content of its labour market programs. Labor is committed to improving the skills of those Australians who are unemployed or at risk of becoming unemployed because skills are the

key to employability.

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Moving People from Welfare to Work 28. Labor believes that people who can work, should work, and those who can't work should be cared for.

29. Labor understands that while most people want to work, some people will never be able to work due to their particular circumstances.

30. Labor believes that a civilised country like Australia should provide a strong social safety net to ensure people who are unable to work or who are temporarily out of work—and their dependants—can live with dignity and confidence.

31. Labor recognises that the alternative to such a social safety net is increased poverty, isolation, stress and crime resulting in increased social and economic costs to the community as a whole.

32. Labor supports mutual obligation. Mutual obligation is consistent with Labor's belief that if individuals receive support from the community, they should return that support by finding employment as soon as is practicable.

33. Labor believes that the intent of mutual obligation requirements is to encourage engagement, build capacity and to improve—not impede—the possibility of employment. Mutual obligation requirements should serve both the best interests of the individual and the community.

34. Mutual obligation must be a two-way street. Government has a responsibility to do its part through sustaining strong economic growth, investment in skills, the provision of effective labour market programs and reducing the barriers to participation.

11'4 35. Labor recognises that different obligations will be appropriate for different people in different circumstances.

36. Labor supports a mutual obligation framework that takes account of people's work capacity and caring responsibilities.

37. Labor believes that some people will benefit from seeking work, while others will benefit from capacity building through training or study.

38. Labor recognises that where a lack of skills stands between a person and a job, the most sensible primary obligation for the job-seeker is to acquire relevant skills.

39. Labor will retain reasonable activity obligations for Newstart recipients, encompassing community work, job-search requirements and training opportunities.

40. Labor believes that mutual obligation requirements must be fair. Labor will provide reasonable avenues for disputes to be resolved and will ensure mutual obligation requirements do not unfairly penalise vulnerable Australians and their dependents.

41. As part of the process of determining participation requirements for a person with a disability, experts with relevant qualifications will be involved in assessing the current and potential capacity of that person.

42. Labor will ensure parents receiving income support payments are able to balance work and family responsibilities. Labor recognises that being a parent is the most important job there is, and that a parent's mutual obligation requirements should be designed to improve their ability to provide for their children, not add complexity to their lives.

43. Labor understands that for many individuals, the move from welfare to work will require significant support and assistance. A range of programs and services are needed to help people who face complex challenges to become work-ready.

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44. Labor recognises that the interaction of taxation, income support and family benefits can significantly reduce the incentive to earn private income through increased taxation and the withdrawal of benefits as private income increases. Redressing these financial disincentives is a key component to improving workforce participation. Labor will take steps to boost

incentives to move from welfare to work by making work pay.

45. Labor recognises that through their lives many people will change jobs, sometimes lose their jobs, and move from work to welfare. Labor will encourage employers and employees to embrace ongoing training opportunities to improve the job security and work-readiness of the existing workforce. Labor will also ensure that workers who lose their jobs have

immediate assistance in finding new employment.

Employment Services

46. Labor believes that employment services play a critical role in assisting and case-managing job-seekers to give them the best chance of gaining employment and building a career.

47. Labor will retain and improve the Job Network and the Disability Employment Network systems as private and community providers of employment services.

48. Labor supports an employment services sector where funding is based on quality performance, and where providers work in partnership with government.

49. Labor is committed to an employment service framework that provides and maintains a nationally accessible, job matching database and delivers customised assistance to the long-term unemployed and those at risk of long-term unemployment. This is achieved through job matching services, case management, opportunities for group participation and i i5 targeted access to wage subsidies and community employment schemes.

50. Labor believes that employment services should be designed to give the job-seeker the best chance of a long-term job placement. Labor recognises the risk of an excessive focus on short-term outcomes, which can lead to churning job-seekers in and out of short-term, entry level jobs with little security or opportunity for advancement.

51. Labor believes that job-seekers should not only have the opportunity to get a job, they should have the opportunity to build a career.

52. Labor will provide labour market assistance tailored to the particular needs of the unemployed and their local economies.

53. Labor's initiatives will take account of workers in different stages of their lives, striking an appropriately targeted balance between skills development, work experience, community employment and income support. Labour market assistance will be regularly refined in the light of success rates and experience.

54. Labor aims to develop the capabilities and skills of the unemployed and believes employment services providers should be encouraged, where appropriate, to refer clients to training including vocational education and training.

55. Labor recognises that the Job Network does not always adequately reward early intervention and support, despite evidence that early intervention is the most successful approach. Outcome payments should be designed to reward employment services providers for finding genuinely long-term jobs for people as soon as possible.

56. Labor is committed to improving the transparency, and ensuring the accountability, of employment services systems in the interests of job-seekers, service providers and taxpayers.

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57. Labor will encourage a diverse range of specialist and generalist employment services _ .. providers to take part in employment services to ensure that appropriate services are available to meet the diverse needs of job-seekers.

58. Labor is commi tted to adequately addressing the needs of the most disadvantaged in the labour market.

59. Labor will review and adjust relevant contractual arrangements underpinning the Job Network and other employment services, in close collaboration with the indust ry, clients and the community organisations which work with them, to ensure they are consistent with these objectives.

60. Labor will invest in new programs, more closely integrated with employment services, to assist people facing special disadvantages and multiple ba rriers to workforce participation. In addition to focusing on skills development, Labor will target specific barriers including:

• poorly located housing, low literacy and numeracy skills, physical and mental health problems, English language difficulties, disability, alcohol and substance abuse, homelessness and lack of access to social services like childcare and public transport;

• poverty traps where the unemployed receive inadequate financial reward for working that, combined with the tapering of benefits, results in high effective marginal tax rates;

• cultural barriers and discrimination facing mature age people, those who have been institutionalised and carers returning to the workforce;

• entrenched structural discrimination against people with disabilities, migrants, and _ Indigenous Australians; and

( 116 n direct and indirect disc rimination against women that results in vertical and horizontal job segregation. Discrimination including sexual harassment and discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy and parenting can limit women's choices in workforce participation.

Promoting the Fai rer Distribution of Work 61. There are now large and growing divergences in unemployment rates between different areas of Australia. This combined with growing demands and pressures on those who have jobs means one of the major inequalities in Australia today is the gap between the

overworked and the out of work.

62. In generating additional jobs, Labor will pursue innovative measures to promote greater security and a fair distribution of work between regions and individuals in the workforce, focusing on job creation for the most disadvantaged groups.

63. The net effect of economic growth must be the creation of new jobs and not simply longer hours in existing jobs. Labor recognises the significant growth in overwork in many industries and the growing pressure being placed on existing workers, their families and communities.

Labor will foster industrial relations and employment practices that enable workers to balance their employment with family and community responsibilities.

Reducing Under-Employment

64. Under-employment, affecting part-time workers who want to work more hours, and workers who want to fully use their skills and qualifications, is also a growing problem. It affects women with dependent children working in low-paid jobs and migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds and is most widespread outside the major metropolitan areas.

Increasingly more and more men are among the under-employed. Clearly, under-employed

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people need more hours of work and Labor will take steps with employers, unions and the under-employed to bring about work practices that allow the under-employed to maximise their hours of employment.

65. To cope with under-employment, part-time workers need to be treated equally in industrial terms, by obtaining portable entitlements on a pro-rata basis similar to those available to full-time workers. They must also have equal access to promotion and new job opportunities.

66. The under-employed particularly require access to training and career opportunities to assist them to move into better paid jobs or industries guaranteeing them the traditional employment conditions of full-time workers, including holiday pay, sick pay and long service leave.

67. Labor recognises that many under-employed Australians, including part-time and casual workers are forced to survive on low wages and minimal hours of work. The rapidly growing number of workers employed on casual, temporary, irregular and unpredictable hours is placing immense financial and emotional pressure on Australian families. Many workers are forced to seek multiple jobs. It also leads to high employee turnover with a high financial cost to business and the community, reduced investment in training and associated loss of skills

in the economy.

Supporting People with Particular Needs

68. Labor supports additional assistance for carers, people with disabilities, migrants and Indigenous Australians in accessing the labour market. Labor will integrate these programs with the mainstream labour market, giving all Australians opportunity for advancement. 11T 69. Labor supports measures such as intensive mentoring and wage subsidies to help

Indigenous Australians into employment. Labor will encourage a training and industrial framework that applies to Indigenous employment and which encourages skills development. Labor recognises that the Community Development Employment Program (CDEP), can give

Indigenous Australians better access to work opportunities. It can also be a useful tool for developing Indigenous enterprises and provide meaningful work to people in areas where there are limited job and training opportunities. However CDEP should not be used to subsidise employment that would otherwise be funded by Government. Labor is committed to developing job opportunities as an alternative to CDEP.

70. Labor recognises that people with disabilities represent a valued part of our society and have the potential to make a significant contribution to Australia's future. Labor supports programs which address the particular needs of people with disabilities and, in particular, those which encourage skill development.

71. Labor recognises that people with disabilities face serious obstacles in obtaining and holding employment, and in securing opportunities to access education and training.

72. Labor is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities have access to both generic and specialist employment assistance to meet their employment support needs as well as access to a social security safety net. This commitment has the twin goals of ensuring that people with disabilities can earn award wages and have the opportunity for participation in the economy.

73. Labor recognises that people with disabilities employed in supported employment business services (previously known as 'sheltered workshops') and in open employment gain a great deal from their employment experience including the opportunity to interact socially and to

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participate in society through employment. These opportunities lead to increased self-confidence and feelings of self-worth.

74. Labor will work with employers, unions and community organisations to increase the employment opportunities of people with disabilities in a fair manner. Labor supports the Supported Wages Scheme, and the development of new programs for people with disabilities. Advances in technology supporting workers with disabilities make it increasingly possible to integrate workers with disabilities into the mainstream labour market.

75. As part of its commitment to increasing and enhancing employment opportunities for people with a disability, Labor will review the current restrictions on the provision of disability employment services.

76. Labor will work with State and Territory Governments and the service sector to explore innovative funding and service models which increase the opportunities for the employment, training, education and community participation needs for people with a disability.

Supporting Young People (15-24 year olds)

77. Labor recognises that young people who leave the education system too early are at risk of being trapped in a cycle of unemployment and lifelong disadvantage. Governments have a responsibility, through investment in education, to equip our young people with the training and skills they need to get decent and secure work.

78. Labor is committed to strengthening and improving the pathways and increasing the opportunities for young Australians to move successfully from school into further education,

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training and/or employment.

79. Labor is committed to all young Australians achieving an accredited post-secondary qualification.

80. People in this age group require a smooth transition from school to work, through a combination of work experience opportunities including:

• expanded opportunities for students to access quality vocational education and training (VET) while at school providing genuine pathways to employment and further education;

• possible TAFE provision of upper-secondary education to early school-leavers;

• a diverse range of traineeship and apprenticeship opportunities; and

• targeted case management to more actively assist those at most risk.

81. Labor will ensure that shorter-term, unemployed young people have a variety of pathways to develop skills to assist them back into the workforce. For those who are long-term unemployed or at risk of becoming long-term unemployed, case management is necessary to overcome particular barriers.

82. Labor recognises that one of the barriers to the transition from school into work or further training is the lack of information about available options. To overcome this, Labor will improve communication and coordination between all levels of government, education sectors, industry, employment service providers and community organisations.

83. Labor will support the establishment, through a case by case approach in the independent Industrial Commission, of competency and skill based pay structures for young workers. The priority will be to ensure that young people are treated fairly.

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Supporting 25-44 year olds 84. The concept of lifelong learning is now an imperative for working age Australians. People in work need the opportunity to update their skills throughout their working lives. Labor will ensure that working Australians, particularly those at risk of future unemployment, have

access to affordable training that can improve their long-term labour market prospects.

85. Labor recognises that improving the skills base of Australian workers is not only in their interests but also in the best interests of employers and the national economy. Reflecting this, Labor will ensure that the costs of training are appropriately shared, including with 94 employers.

86. Just as those in work need to update their skills to maintain employment in the face of change, those without work need assistance to overcome the immediate and longer-term barriers to workforce participation.

87. Labor recognises that many people face difficulties in entering the workforce after long periods of schooling, caring, illness or child rearing. Labor will help people get back into the workforce through school to work programs, pre-work training, increased assistance for carers and access to affordable childcare.

Supporting Australians who are 45 plus

88. Many Australian workers over 45 have suffered through economic restructuring and workforce change. They face particular difficulty in retraining and reskilling during their working lives making it difficult to adapt to economic change.

89. Labor recognises that people who become unemployed later in life can find it difficult gaining g new, secure employment. While encouraging ongoing workforce participation, Labor will ensure that obligations placed on unemployed workers who are 45 plus, by mutual obligation programs and intensive job searching, are fair and respect the dignity and self esteem of the people concerned.

90. Labor will develop positive pathways for unemployed Australians who are 45 plus to get back to work. Labor believes there must be a national strategy for assisting and retraining older workers who are at risk of unemployment, before they lose their jobs. This includes improved consultation before redundancies occur and fast tracking the employment services and training provided to older workers in order to minimise the risk of becoming long-term unemployed.

91. Labor believes employment security for older workers is the responsibility of the whole community—including industry, unions, employment service providers, group training bodies and all levels of government. In particular Labor in government will adopt best practice recruitment policies and processes to ensure that older workers are given fair and reasonable opportunities for employment and will open up prospects in government for mature age job seekers.

92. Labor is committed to a national public campaign to promote equal employment practices in the private and non-government sector in relation to older workers. The Commonwealth will seek the cooperation of the State and Territory Governments to review the barriers to timely entry to government supported training for mature age workers who are unemployed.

93. Labor recognises the wealth of knowledge, experience and skills that older workers bring both to their communities and the national economy but also appreciates the particular difficulties older workers are currently experiencing in securing and retaining employment in the labour market. Labor is committed to ensuring that mature age Australians receive

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assistance to take up the employment oppo rtunities available. Labor will develop effective options for employment in areas such as human services, environmental renewal, mentoring and volunteer work.

94. With an ageing population, low labour force participation rates among men and women over 45 will become less and less economically sustainable. Labor is commi tted to working with industry and unions to develop strategies designed to retain and suppo rt older employees, including retraining and reskilling.

95. Labor recognises the right of older Australians to retire from the workforce if that is their preference and recognises their ongoing contribution to society throughout their retirement.

Child ren's Services for All Australians

96. Labor believes that all Australian children deserve the best start in life. Children's services must centre on the needs of all children and the value of each child.

97. Investing in the early years of a child's life delivers strong long-term benefits for children. Labor will put learning and development at the centre of Australia's approach to early childhood care and education. Labor will enshrine in law a right of universal access to early learning programs for all four year olds. This learning would be provided in all forms of early childhood care and education settings as Labor is concerned with the quality of the learning, not where it takes place.

98. Labor will work with the States and Territories in making early childhood education and care a national priority, including expanding provision of integrated, accessible and affordable

120 early learning and care programs, as well as setting a national research agenda for early childhood education and care.

99. Labor believes that children's services must centre on the needs of all children and the value of each child.

100. Labor will develop a long-term national plan for investing in our children. This will include a plan to treat childcare as an early learning opportunity.

101. Labor will work with the States and Territories in se tting a national research agenda for early childhood education and care, and using existing evidence about child development to inform all government policy on the early years.

102. Labor is committed to supporting families in the different choices they make about how to balance making an income sufficient for their needs and aspirations, with caring for children:

• Labor's first concern is to ensure that children grow up in a caring, stable and safe environment.

• Labor is committed to providing high quality, affordable and accessible formal childcare, and supporting families who choose to care for their children at home.

• Labor is committed to ensuring that funding of quality childcare supports choice for families in the type of service they can access.

103. Labor believes the Commonwealth government should play an active role in early childhood care and education through planning and funding to ensure that:

• the supply of places matches demand, including demand for places for babies and children at risk, for children with disabilities, and in outside-school-hours and vacation care services;

• emerging needs for childcare places are met, in line with changes in the way families balance their working and family lives;

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n location and family income are not a barrier to accessing appropriate early childhood care and education; and

• the childcare sector provides a continuing stable environment for children in communities.

104. Labor will adequately fund the costs of childcare, to ensure that quality early childhood care and education is affordable for the families who choose to use it, and sufficient for childcare providers to operate a viable quality service. Labor will better target assistance to overcome income and location disadvantage in the accessing of childcare.

Provision of Children's Services

105. The provision of children's services is increasingly spread between private and community and other not-for-profit providers. In relation to the mix between private and community and other not-for-profit providers, Labor will:

• target support so as to maintain an appropriate balance between private and community and other not-for-profit children's services to ensure that the needs and choices of Australian families are satisfied;

• ensure that Commonwealth government funding provided to private and community and other not-for-profit children's services is directed towards improving the quality of those services; and

• support an effective complaints resolution process to ensure that concerns of parents and workers in children's service facilities are able to be resolved satisfactorily.

106. Labor recognises that parents need flexible childcare which matches their many needs, and that families' needs for childcare can vary. 2i

107. Labor will encourage the development of an appropriate mix of centre-based care, family day care, work-based care, outside school hours and vacation care and occasional care.

108. Labor will support and maintain a viable community-based sector through adequate and appropriate funding, including local government services.

109. Labor will provide capital assistance to expand the provision of children's services, especially by the community sector, targeted at areas of childcare need and work with the community sector to ensure they sustain viable business models for providing quality child care.

110. Labor will encourage and support the development of innovative models of childcare which link to the provision of other services.

111. Labor in Government will coordinate and monitor the provision of work-based and employer-sponsored childcare.

112. Labor's childcare policies will encourage all formal childcare providers to involve parents in the management of childcare services, and will support parents' involvement in the development and implementation of early childhood care and education policies.

113. Labor believes that providing the best future for Australia's children must be the responsibility of all levels of government.

114. Labor will work with the States and Territories to establish a nationally consistent early years learning framework. This framework will be developed with a specific emphasis on play-based learning, pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills, focusing on how to bridge the gap between care and learning.

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115. Labor believes that cost must not be a barrier to early childhood education and care, and will work with all State and Territory governments to make early childhood education and care services more affordable for families.

116. Labor will work with the States and Territories to develop an integrated system of childcare and early childhood education, to ensure that all Australian children under school age have access to early childhood education and other appropriate developmental and social activities, provided in a safe environment.

117. Labor will work with State, Territory and Local Governments to ensure that future planning of new schools and other community developments takes account of local child care needs, and seeks to co-locate new child care services on primary school grounds where appropriate.

118. Recognising the contribution early childhood education and care services make to children's development, parent support and early identification of children at risk, Labor will develop an integrated national system of local networks linking services such as preschool, childcare, playgroups, maternal and children's health, early intervention and parental education.

119. To improve early identification of children at risk, Labor will work with the States and Territories to integrate awareness of child protection issues inthe ongoing training and development programs for childcare professionals.

120. Labor will establish a national education, care and development curriculum for children aged 0-5 years as a guide to parents which can be used in any type of early education and care facility. Recognising the importance of early childhood education to early learning and successful transition to school, Labor will work with all State and Territory governments to

reduce the cost of and increase participation in pre-school education programs.

121. Labor believes all children should have some prior-to-school learning; that price must not be a barrier; and that early learning is one of the best ways to reduce social disadvantage in Australia.

122. Labor will continue to support and expand early childhood care and education for children with special needs and children at risk.

123. Labor supports quality assurance processes within the children's services sector to ensure that high quality service standards are adopted and maintained. Labor supports policies which will ensure that funding provided by government to children's services operators will be directed towards providing high quality services, maintaining the standards of care and providing greater access to the services. This includes:

• improving the monitoring of standards, including a more effective system of inspections by the accreditation agency to ensure that accreditation standards are being met;

• greater monitoring of compliance with licensing regulations;

• auditing Commonwealth funding to ensure that all funding is appropriately allocated in all children's services facilities; and

• addressing the development and retention of workforce skills.

124. Labor will extend the national childcare accreditation system to encourage the provision of high quality care and appropriate professional standards in all formal childcare services

• Labor will ensure that only users of accredited services are eligible for childcare assistance.

• Labor will work with State and Territory governments to ensure a consistent national framework for the regulation of childcare providers.

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• Labor will ensure that a consistent national framework for the regulation of childcare providers focuses on lifting the quality of childcare and will do this by improving childcare regulations in every State and Territory.

Children's Services Workforce

125. Labor will ensure that care and education are provided by appropriately trained and caring staff whose wages and conditions reflect their training and their responsibilities. Labor recognises that there is a growing body of evidence to show that the first five years of a child's life are critical to their educational and social development and that dedicated children's services workers are fundamental to this development.

126. Labor recognises that there is a critical shortage of qualified and experienced children's services workers. Labor will develop strategies to improve the retention and recruitment of qualified children's services workers.

127. Children's services workers are often underpaid and undervalued for the important work they do with Australian children in their vital early years. Wages and conditions of children's services workers often do not reflect their training and qualifications.

128. Labor will support improvements in the wages and conditions of children's services workers, such as dedicated programming time in centres.

129. Labor is committed to improving staff-to-child ratios in childcare centres, to improve quality of care by enabling childcare professionals to develop secure attachments with children.

130. Labor will:

• support wage and pay equity cases in State and federal industrial tribunals; 1

• help establish a new career structure and pay scale for children's services workers;

• developing strategies to improve the retention and recruitment of qualified children's services workers;

• support Australians wanting to study early childhood education; and

• support measures to retain trained childcare professionals, including by providing HECS and TAFE fee relief and secondments to childcare policy jobs.

131. Labor aims to improve the quality of education and care in all children's service settings. In determining a new career structure for the industry, Labor will recognise the crucial contribution of all childcare professionals to children's development.

132. Labor will also ensure that there are adequate funding arrangements to:

• meet the necessary improvements in wages and conditions for existing workers and to assist in the recruitment of new qualified workers;

• encourage qualified workers to rural and remote areas;

• meet the cost of further education and training for children's services workers; and

• address occupational health and safety concerns including immunisation and first aid courses for children's services workers and additional cleaning staff.

133. In recognition of the shortage of qualified childcare professionals, Labor will work with State and Territory Governments to phase in a Certificate III in Children's Services as a mandatory minimum qualification for childcare professionals. Labor will:

• Coordinate a national program of recognition of prior learning for experienced childcare professionals to attain formal qualifications; and

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• Eliminate TAFE fees for those studying to obtain a recognised Children's Services qualification.

Child Support when Parents Separate

134. Labor believes that child support policy must put the interests of children first, aiming to reduce child poverty, ensuring that both parents contribute to their children's well-being and encouraging both parents to maintain an ongoing role in their children's lives.

135. Labor supports a flexible, national Child Support Scheme which recognises variations in earnings and new family responsibilities and which is administered by an appropriately resourced Child Support Agency.

136. Labor believes the best arrangements for providing for the children of separated parents are those agreed between parents and will encourage those who establish a good payment record to opt out of the Child Support Scheme by agreement, where this is consistent with reasonable maintenance action.

137. Labor will strengthen enforcement and compliance measures to ensure that parents paying and receiving child support cannot structure their financial affairs to avoid their obligations.

138. Labor will regularly evaluate the Child Support Scheme's operation and continue to improve it so it is easily understood, and provides parents with the support required to establish child support arrangements, including mediation services.

Social Security: Past, Present and Future

i ' 139. In the post-war era, Labor governments have been responsible for building a fair and decent social security system which has aimed to:

• support Australian families;

• protect Australians' living standards, provide income support for those in need and income supplements for families and those with additional costs;

• give Australians opportunities to improve their lives—investing in individuals' capacities by providing support and incentives to take up work and learn new skills;

• demonstrate our compassion for those Australians who, because of age, disability or their responsibility for the care of another, cannot support themselves; and

• deliver flexible assistance in a cost effective way to the taxpayer.

140. Australia's social security system must change to meet the nation's emerging needs and circumstances.

• Working lives have changed dramatically. Australians are now likely to experience periods without a job, are unlikely to have a job for life with one employer and working hours are increasingly unpredictable. Some Australians are working more hours than they want while others work fewer hours than are needed for a decent life. Many people will return to training or education at some stage during their working lives, children are staying at school and at home longer, and many more are going on to post-secondary study.

• There are more 'transitions' outside of work: Australians change houses, cities, partners far more frequently than they used to—some of these changes are voluntary, some are forced, but they all involve elements of risk that the social security system could anticipate and manage better.

• Increasingly the benefits of economic growth are not being shared equally and there is a widening gap in opportunities available to people living in particular communities.

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n We are living longer and our population is ageing.

141. Labor is committed to preventing and eliminating poverty in Australia, to improving the living standards of all Australians and to reducing inequality between Australians, by providing people with a secure income and access to the services and oppo rtunities they need so that all Australians can live with decency and dignity.

142. Labor is committed to the development of robust whole of government indicators to measure national progress in addressing poverty and improving living standards, including measures of income, health, educational attainment and participation through employment and housing affordability.

143. Labor will ensure that, through an ongoing dialogue with State and Territory Governments, initiatives to tackle poverty and inequality are coordinated and effective in improving the living standards of all Australians.

Security and Opportunity

144. Labor recognises that at times in their working lives some Australians may be unable to support themselves through work. Labor remains committed to a compassionate and fair social security system which offers a basic level of income support to these Australians, in proportion to their need and according to their circumstances and which, above all, encourages and supports them to enter or re-enter the workforce enabling them to enjoy a decent standard of living.

145. Labor believes that the federal government, on behalf of all Australians, has a duty to ensure that no-one is left without the means to a decent life because he or she:

• is retired and does not have an adequate retirement income;

• is sick or disabled and unable to work, either temporarily or permanently;

• is unlikely to find work because of age or disability;

• has primary responsibility for the care of children or other family members;

• has lost the support of a partner through separation, divorce or death;

• is unemployed and seeking work; or

• is in education or training, or a combination of education and training and looking for work.

146. Labor believes that the social security system also plays a vital role in supplementing low incomes and providing additional help where Australians and their families face increased costs because of the need to provide for children, or to meet the costs of disability, health care, decent housing, and education.

147. Labor will:

• continue to supplement Australians' incomes to help meet these costs;

• ensure that the system of assistance for families with dependent children, provided through the tax, social security and education systems, is easy to understand and access and is designed so that people do not face financial barriers to work and are able to get the help they need, when they need it;

• work to eliminate tax and social security rules that cause families with variations in income to incur large debts and which result in the removal of substantial amounts of additional income earned through overtime; and

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pursue innovative ways to deliver assistance to families to reflect changing roles, responsibilities and work practices so that all families have the opportunity to make free decisions about bringing up their children.

148. Labor believes that the fundamental objectives of government assistance are to support individuals and families through stages of the life cycle or in particular circumstances where support is needed and to facilitate and increase people's access to the opportunities and skills they need to achieve a decent standard of living. Our welfare system is successful when it not only alleviates poverty, but when it provides a platform for people to access education, training and economic opportunities. In this way that the welfare system can change people's lives.

Poverty and Social Exclusion

149. Labor recognises that the causes of poverty in today's society are complex and the experience of living in poverty is multi-dimensional. Poverty means both economic and social hardship—people living in poverty are often marginalised and excluded from mainstream society. People experiencing extreme financial hardship also have reduced access to the health, education and other services that the rest of the community takes for granted.

150. Poverty often breeds poverty-it can be difficult for children growing up in poor households to break the cycle. Labor is committed to preventing and eliminating poverty. Labor is also committed to addressing social exclusion and the inter-generational effects of poverty.

151. Labor will build a welfare system designed to reduce inequality and improve the living standards of all Australians. This requires ensuring all Australians have a secure income and 126 equal access to services and opportunities. Labor will work with the welfare and community sectors to provide assistance to people living in poverty and experiencing financial hardship

and social exclusion.

152. Labor will develop robust, whole-of-government indicators to properly measure poverty. Labor will set bold, but achievable targets for the reduction and elimination of poverty and social exclusion, and will establish mechanisms to measure progress towards achieving these targets. National progress in improved living standards for all Australians will be

properly measured and will include measures of income, health, educational attainment and participation through employment and housing affordability. Labor will be accountable for meeting the goals it sets.

153. Labor recognises the importance of breaking the cycle of inter-generational disadvantage. Accordingly, Labor's efforts to address poverty will include a major investment of effort in reducing child poverty and deprivation. Labor believes in giving all Australian children the best possible chance in life.

154. International best practice shows that well coordinated, truly national efforts are the only way to properly address poverty and social exclusion. Labor will ensure that, through an ongoing dialogue with State and Territory governments, initiatives to tackle poverty and inequality are well coordinated and genuinely 'whole-of-government'. Labor will also work closely with the community and welfare sectors to ensure that efforts to address poverty and social exclusion are effective.

Helping People Move Forward

155. Labor recognises that, for working age Australians, the best route out of poverty lies in a job with a decent income. Labor believes the social security system should encourage and help people to take up work opportunities to improve their standard of living. Labor will ensure

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that those who can combine assistance with work, education or training are always better


• As a matter of urgency, Labor will address the poverty traps that see extra earnings immediately clawed back in tax and the withdrawal of social security payments and benefits.

• Labor acknowledges the widening gap between the skills an unemployed person can offer and the skills employers want and will better integrate the provision of income support and job assistance with education and quality training opportunities, particularly in areas of skill shortages.

• Labor recognises the widening disparity of opportunity in many communities, particularly in regional and rural Australia and will act to coordinate and better target resources in these areas.

• Labor will ensure the welfare system takes advantage of the unique resources and expertise found in local communities.

• Labor will pursue new ways to break the poverty cycle and long-term benefit receipt by developing strategies that can help families early and provide links to health, education, childcare and labour market assistance.

The Importance of Creating and Facilitating Opportunities

156. Labor believes in lifelong education and training and recognises that many Australians combine work with education, training and caring responsibilities and that families change the way they balance these tasks over the course of their lives.

• Labor will ensure that people receiving payments can move flexibly between caring responsibilities, study or training and the workforce.

• Labor will build positive incentives into the system to encourage those receiving payments to take up work experience, education and training.

157. Labor acknowledges the important role of quality, affordable childcare for parents who want to take up educational opportunities, re-enter the workforce or increase their hours of work.

Providing Incentives

158. Labor will better integrate the income support and tax systems to:

• minimise the poverty traps where income tests and taxation combine to severely reduce the benefit of earnings; and

• develop new and innovative ways to reward people who find work.

159. Labor recognises that for many disadvantaged job-seekers, removal of barriers such as access to affordable quality childcare and quality training and skills development are equally important to finding work. Labor is committed to removing the barriers facing many of the long-term unemployed, especially sole parents, mature aged, people with disabilities and

Indigenous job-seekers and providing incentives in the transition from welfare into work.

Ensuring Adequate Income Support

160. Labor remains committed to providing adequate income support for those who need it. Labor will:

• maintain the benchmark of maximum single adult rates of pension to at least 25 per cent of male total average weekly earnings;

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• ensure basic rates are indexed at least twice a year in line with movements in the Consumer Price Index; and

• ensure that those whose only income is provided through the social security system will not have to pay income tax.

Better Delivery of Welfare Services

161. Labor believes that the social security system should be based on recognition of the need to provide adequate and sufficient levels of support to all Australians so that they and their families can live decently with dignity. Accordingly, the social security system should be a flexible and simple system, easy to understand and easy to administer. Labor will continue to

reform the social security system so that it meets these benchmarks.

162. A fairer, simpler and more flexible system will mean that people will be able to more readily understand their entitlements and staff will be able to have time to actively assist social security recipients rather than grapple with administrative complexity. Further, the lengthy processes of review and appeal will be reduced. Labor will retain the independent and free review and appeals process.

163. Under Labor, people will be treated with courtesy, respect and understanding by the social security system.

164. Labor will ensure that personal information is protected and will maintain individuals' rights under freedom of information to have access to their personal files.

165. Labor is committed to maintaining Centrelink in full public ownership and ensuring it has the 128 resources necessary to carry out its services effectively. Labor will:

n develop and expand the role of Centrelink in our communities, particularly as a central resource linking people to services and opportunities in local areas; and

• enhance Centrelink's ability to offer personalised service to individuals who are looking for work.

Involving the Community

166. Labor believes that effective, high quality welfare services are best guaranteed by an equal partnership between government and the community sector. A Labor Government will:

• work with the community sector to maintain a highly skilled workforce;

• develop a compact with the community sector to guide the development and delivery of welfare services;

• ensure that government is held accountable for meeting the goals that are set and the commitments that are made. Partnership with the welfare and community sectors is crucial to successfully delivering effective, high quality welfare services—but it must be genuine partnership—government must not be allowed to abdicate its responsibilities or shift the burden to the community or other sectors; and

• develop flexible and integrated models of service delivery which are 'place-based'—that is, responsive to the particular needs and circumstances of different communities, including small and rural communities. Labor recognises that a one-size fits all solution will not work.

Valuing Older Australians Principles

167. Labor recognises the vital contribution of older Australians to our community and will encourage and support them to live full, active and independent lives.

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168. Labor believes that a secure, adequate income and access to good quality, appropriate health and aged care services when they are needed are essential to older Australians' peace of mind.

169. Labor rejects any suggestion that older Australians area burden on our society.

170. Labor will continue to encourage and suppo rt older Australians to play an active role in the community and to contribute to the development and implementation of the policies that support them to live full, active and independent lives.

171. Labor's policies will recognise, value and support older Australians in their many roles including as:

• experienced and committed workers;

• active volunteers in many organisations;

• carers of children and other family members;

• investors;

• teachers and students;

• advisers, guides and mentors to the next generations; and

• builders of our sense of community.

172. Labor will support comprehensive age discrimination legislation and will ensure government policies do not discriminate against older Australians.

173. Labor recognises the vulnerability of frail, older Australians, especially those with dementia and those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and will ensure their rights are respected and protected. 129)

174. Labor recognises that systems that encourage healthy ageing will also encourage independence and a greater quality of life. Many more older Australians are now suffering from a range of mental health issues, particularly depression. Labor recognises that programs that encourage older people to pursue an active lifestyle, engage in exercise and

mentally stimulating recreational programs will lead to a decrease in medical needs and an increased quality of life.

175. Labor's policies recognise elderly people are vulnerable to abuse including neglect, financial exploitation, psychological manipulation and physical and sexual abuse. Labor will strengthen community understanding of the need to protect our elderly, empower them to withstand abuse and in conjunction with the States and Ter ritories, establish programs to receive and act on allegations of abuse.

176. Labor supports programs which provide lifelong learning opportunities for older Australians. Labor will encourage older Australians who wish to expand their learning ho rizons to take up educational opportunities.

177. Labor will ensure programs are in place to enable the formal recognition of acquired skills of older working Australians.

178. Labor supports health promotion initiatives which improve the quality of life for older Australians, such as those that encourage older Australians to remain physically active and prevent injury.

179. Labor recognises the need for all services and programs for older Australians to be person-focused and designed to meet their specific and individual needs. Labor will promote equity and access to all programs and services for older Australians.

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180. Labor recognises services that enable older people to stay in their homes often depend heavily on a collaborative approach through the three spheres of government, the non-government sector, private enterprise, informal care systems and volunteers. Labor will work with the States and Ter ritories towards coordinating a more collaborative approach to planning and service delivery, to ensure that there is a more integrated approach to funding and equity in the provision of programs and services.

181. Labor will always honour Australia's debt to veterans through programs of compensation, commemoration, income suppo rt, health care, aged care and housing assistance.

Oppo rtunity for Older Australians

182. Labor supports programs which ensure that older Australians who wish to remain in the workforce are not discriminated against.

183. Labor will encourage industry to provide continued educational oppo rtunities and adapt work organisation to enable older Australians to continue in the workforce.

184. Labor is committed to increasing employment opportunities for older Australians and addressing negative stereotypes and debunking myths about older workers' suitability and ability to work.

185. Labor will actively promote employment of older workers in the public service.

186. Labor will ensure that the needs of older Australians in the workforce are taken into consideration when developing occupational health and safety policy. This will ensure that older Australians in the workforce are safe and their specific needs are addressed. 130

A Secu re Income for Older Australians

187. The growing number and proportion of older Australians requires a comprehensive retirement incomes policy which ensures a guaranteed decent minimum retirement income for all Australians.

188. When in government, Labor working with the trade union movement, employers and superannuation providers, established a comprehensive retirement incomes system, based on:

• government guaranteed age pensions with appropriate means testing;

• compulsory superannuation coverage for all employees; and

• incentives to encourage voluntary superannuation contributions.

189. Labor will continue to strengthen these three pillars to provide a retirement income system which:

• is universal;

• guarantees all Australians a decent minimum retirement income;

• better protects retirement investments;

• is simple and cost effective to administer; and

• is fair and equitable in its operation and outcomes.

190. Australia currently has a retirement income system based on three pillars; the basic government pension, compulsory and voluntary superannuation. Labor will continue to promote and develop this system to provide all Australians with a higher retirement income. To achieve this Labor will set clear goals for levels of retirement income, in particular levels of

compulsory superannuation.

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la ^^:

191. Labor supports a universal retirement incomes system which:

• ensures that no Australian is left without an adequate retirement income; and

• involves greater integration and coordination of the pensions and superannuation systems, to reduce complexity and enhance stability.

192. Labor suppo rts a guaranteed minimum retirement income:

• based, on an income suppo rt payment which is at least 25 per cent of male total average weekly earnings, and indexed twice a year in line with increases in the Consumer Price Index; and

n supplemented by superannuation contributions.

193. Labor supports a retirement incomes system with better security and protection which:

• provides protection and compensation in the event of theft or fraud for both preretirement and post-retirement income products;

• ensures fees and charges are monitored and capped where appropriate;

• maximises returns through a competitive environment balanced by the safe, stable, and long-term approach to be delivered by superannuation investment providers; and

• provides an appropriate balance of regulato ry oversight and activity to provide essential protection to fund members through a representative, balanced trustee structure and independent dispute process. Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference

194. Labor supports a simpler retirement incomes system which:

• is streamlined to improve efficiency and minimise all costs;

• allows superannuation funds to include death and disability insurance; 31 ,

• provides some access to lump sum benefits; and

• allows people to make informed choices about their retirement investment strategies through ongoing education campaigns for the community and superannuation providers.

195. Labor supports a fair, simple, safe and equitable retirement income system which:

• provides taxation treatment of retirement income investments that is fair, equitable and administratively efficient;

• prevents gender discrimination;

• provides equitable treatment to same-sex couples including for superannuation;

• ensures equity and fairness in the division of benefits in the event of the ending of a relationship; and

• is regularly reviewed to ensure that older Australians share in the growth and prosperity of the country.

196. Labor recognises that women's work pa tterns mean that many retire with small superannuation investments. Labor supports a retirement incomes system for women which:

• ensures that the work choices women make over the course of their lives do not jeopardise the adequacy of their retirement income;

• promotes the benefits of superannuation for women through a targeted education campaign which assists women to make informed decisions about their retirement income choices; and

• encourages and fosters the involvement of women in all aspects of the superannuation industry.

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197. Labor will ensure that workers, especially women, employed for a small number of hours per week in part-time or casual jobs, shall continue to receive compulsory superannuation coverage with full vesting from day one, in order to maximise their retirement income.

Caring For Older Australians

198. Labor believes quality aged care is a basic entitlement forall Australians.

199. Labor will continue to plan and fund aged care services, in both community and residential aged care facilities, to ensure the supply of aged care services meets older Australians demand for care.

200. Labor believes that Australians' access to aged care services should be on the basis of their need for care and not on their ability to pay or where they live.

201. Labor will maintain an appropriate balance between community based and residential aged care services, to ensure that older Australians can access the form of care they choose and the form of care they need.

202. Labor will ensure that the planning ratio for the allocation of aged care services reflects the needs of the population and reflects regional requirements.

203. Labor is committed to ensuring an appropriate balance between for-profit and not-for-profit aged care services, allowing older Australians access to the type of care they desire.

204. Labor recognises that older Australians prefer to stay within their own neighbourhoods or communities.

i32 • Labor supports the vital services which allow older Australians to remain at home, such as personal care, housekeeping, home maintenance, community transport, meals services, allied health care and programs to prevent social isolation.

• Labor supports quality assurance processes within the community care sector to ensure that high quality service standards are adopted and maintained.

• Labor will promote new models of delivering community based services to meet the emerging needs of older Australians.

• Labor will ensure that any new model of delivering community-based services continues to support not-for-profit providers with a viable business model for delivering community based services.

• Labor will ensure that community-based care remains affordable and accessible for all older Australians.

205. Labor believes that older Australians who need residential care should be provided with the highest quality care. To ensure high quality services are adopted and maintained, Labor supports the strengthening of the accreditation and monitoring process.

206. Labor supports initiatives which ensure that the aged care workforce has an appropriate mix of professionals including nurses, personal carers, geriatricians, psychogeriatricians and other allied health professionals.

207. Labor recognises the difficult work conditions and pressures faced by the aged care workforce. Labor in Government will introduce minimum staffing levels in residential aged care facilities.

208. Labor recognises there is a critical workforce shortage in the residential and community aged care sector. Labor also recognises that there is a major wage disparity between both nurses and direct care staff working in the residential and community aged care sector, when

National Platform and Constitution 2007

Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference

compared with the acute care sector. Labor will develop strategies to improve the recruitment and retention of nurses and direct care staff in aged care with a focus on:

• addressing the wage disparity;

• support personal care attendants to receive wages commensurate with their skills and responsibility;

• improving working conditions;

• reducing the paperwork burden;

• addressing career path development;

• ensuring that carers are appropriately trained and/or qualified;

• improving opportunities for further education and training including recognition of prior learning for workers without formal qualification;

• introducing whistleblower legislation to protect staff who raise concerns about care standards;

• ensuring a safe workplace whether it be in a care recipient's home or in a residential aged care facility; and

n promoting aged care as a positive career choice.

209. Labor also recognises that support and administration staff in aged care are essential to the operation of a residential aged care facility and should be acknowledged for their efforts.

210. Labor will support the establishment of career structures and pay scales for aged care workers that will attract and retain quality aged care staff.

211. Labor recognises that many people with disabilities are ageing and require a mix of disability 133 and local aged care services that support their needs. Labor in government will work with the States and Territories to ensure that service systems deliver the mix of services to meet individual needs and ensure that staff receive appropriate training to manage the existing disability as well as the conditions that may develop due to age.

212. Labor will ensure that older Australians in regional, rural and remote areas have comprehensive access to aged care services appropriate to their needs.

213. Labor understands the need to provide culturally appropriate aged care services for older Indigenous Australians and older people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and will promote the delivery of such services.

214. Labor recognises that the process of accessing care services for older Australians is complex. Labor will simplify and streamline both the process of accessing aged care services and care recipient contributions to that care. The funding structures of residential aged care must be equitable and fair and provide sustainability of the sector.

215. Labor supports an effective complaints resolution process to ensure that residents of aged care facilities and their families are able to resolve their concerns satisfactorily. Further, Labor recognises that some complaints require independent investigation and will provide the necessary legislative framework.

216. Labor will support the people who care for older Australians and will implement new strategies to support carers in their vital work.

217. Labor believes that research into ageing, in particular dementia, and aged care service delivery is essential to ensure that current and future needs of older Australians are met.

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♦ = • : r .0 _ E^h Australian Labor Party 44th Na ti onal Conference .., . g em

218. Labor will improve links between acute and prima ry health care, aged care and other services so that older Australians have continuity of care and can access the care they need without having to deal with multiple programs and multiple levels of government.

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. °Australian Labor Party 44th. National Conference


Community Services Conference recognises that:

• The provision of adequate appropriate social and community services is critical to Australia's social cohesion and the development of a fair and equitable society;

• Our aspirations for a just and inclusive nation must include the delivery of social and community services designed to address disadvantage and promote the inclusion of all;

• Central to a vision for a just and inclusive nation is the development of a highly skilled

community services workforce; and

• As a nation we need an urgent and strategic response to the emerging workforce issues in the community services sector -- one of the fastest growing sectors in our economy.

Conference notes that challenges for the community services sector workforce are various:

• Community services are a significant item of government spending yet strategies to address workforce and skills shortages are relatively new or non-existent in most states and territories and nationally.

• There has been an increase in community services employment, yet most workers report a lack of training and career development opportunities.

• Community service workers are particularly needed in rural, regional and remote areas but organisations have increased difficulty recruiting and retaining staff in these areas.

• Volunteers add to the output of community services but also present increased challenges for f35

management and financial planning in organisations reliant on volunteer contributions.

• WorkChoices and its labour market deregulation is not conducive to the provision of, reasonable wage rates, attracting and retaining staff, ongoing staff development, and longer term training and workforce planning.

• Overall community sector wages are lower than industry and government averages, and conditions may not include benefits such as portable long service leave, paid parental leave, superannuation and career development.

• The community services sector has shortfalls in the capacity to provide culturally appropriate services to Indigenous Australians, and needs to increase Indigenous employment within the


• The rewards of community service work—interaction with clients—is also an occupational health and safety risk, and training challenge.

• Community service workers need extra support to work with people who have increasingly complex problems and behaviours; their work is largely with Australians who have been left behind by economic change and face social exclusion.

Conference notes that these community sector workforce issues must be addressed through a collaborative and strategic approach involving unions, sectoral peak bodies, employers and federal, state and local governments. Federal Labor is committed to supporting the community sector to continue to provide high quality services to the most vulnerable Australians.

National Platform and Constitution 2007

Chapter Nine

Combating Climate Change and

Building a Sustainable Environment Climate change represents one of the greatest threats to the future prosperity and security of Australia and its region. It is critical for Australia to implement long-term measures to address the environmental and economic challenges of climate change, and to engage constructively with global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Labor believes it is a vital responsibility of the Commonwealth to protect the environment now and for future generations. The long-term

prosperity and well-being of Australia depends on sustaining our environment and tackling critical challenges such as addressing water shortages, protecting threatened species and reducing carbon emissions.


1. Labor believes all Australians deserve to live in a healthy environment with clean air, clean water, safe food, abundant wildlife and plenty of green space for our children to play in.

2. Labor believes that Australia must take strong measures to avoid dangerous climate change ^3g and prepare for an environmentally sustainable future.

3. A healthy and sustainable environment will improve living standards, create jobs and encourage growth of sustainable industries.

4. Ecologically sustainable development represents a future for regional Australia, with regional delivery of natural resource management consistent with national priorities, sustainable agricultural practices and opportunities for new industries.

5. The international community increasingly recognises the need for sustainable development. Labor believes that early environmental action will position Australia to take advantage of growing global markets for sustainable products and services and deliver improved quality of life.

6. Labor supports the precautionary principle, which states that if there is a high risk of serious or irreversible adverse impacts resulting from resource use, use should only be permitted if those impacts can be mitigated or there are overwhelming grounds for proceeding in the national interest. The absence of scientific certainty should not be a reason for postponing

measures to prevent or mitigate negative impacts.

Climate Change

7. Labor recognises there is overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions is making Australia hotter, the oceans warmer and our major cities and towns drier.

8. Labor believes climate change is the most serious environmental challenge facing the world today.

9. Labor notes the scientific evidence that climate change increases the intensity of cyclones i

and hurricanes, meaning Australia will have more Category 4 and Category 5 cyclones.

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Australian Labor Party 44th

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10. Labor is concerned that Australia, with its long coastline and unique wildlife, is particularly

vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

11. Labor is concerned that if climate change remains unchecked, it will severely damage Australia's agricultural and tourism industries while also impacting on many Australians through increases in tropical diseases and heat related stress, extreme weather events, coastal erosion and further water restrictions.

12. Labor is concerned that climate change threatens Australian biodiversity and that biodiversity loss weakens our ecosystems' capacity to absorb and adjust to climate change.

13. Labor recognises that climate change could have a dramatic impact on the lives of people living in low lying islands in the Torres Strait and the South Pacific, as well as those living near the coast of mainland Australia.

14. Labor will develop a national climate change adaptation strategy that builds resilience in our tourism industry, our agricultural industry, our water supplies and our energy systems.

15. Labor believes dangerous climate change can be avoided if governments, communities and businesses work together, and that national leadership is needed to map the path for Australia towards a sustainable, carbon-constrained economy and society.

16. Labor believes that delaying effective action on climate change will significantly add to the costs for business and the wider Australian economy.

17. Labor believes Australia must act as a responsible member of the world community and commit to greenhouse gas reduction targets.


Cutt ing G reenhouse Gas Emissions 18. Labor will cut Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent on year 2000 levels by 2050.

19. Labor believes that establishing a long-term target for greenhouse gas emission reductions provides certainty for energy companies and helps industry make informed decisions about which technologies they should be investing in—allowing the economy and society to adjust in a reasonable timeframe.

20. Labor will ratify the Kyoto Protocol and join with 167 other countries in the effort to avoid dangerous climate change.

21. Labor believes the Kyoto Protocol is an important first step and that without ratifying Kyoto some of our businesses will continue to miss out on effective participation in international schemes that offer substantial financial rewards for greenhouse gas reductions.

22. Labor will establish a National Emissions Trading Scheme to deliver a price signal for carbon.

23. Labor believes a National Emissions Trading Scheme will provide a long-term incentive to cut emissions further and act as a mechanism for trading, so that energy is allocated efficiently in the economy and greater private investment in clean energy technology is encouraged.

24. Labor will introduce a climate change trigger in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act so that major new projects are assessed for their climate change impact as part of any environmental assessment process.

25. Labor will encourage industry to take up new and cleaner energy technology by reconfiguring the incentives and disincentives in our tax system to encourage investment in cleaner and renewable energy technologies.

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pter Nine k Australian Labor Party 44th National Gonterence j

26. Labor believes that adequate funding of research into the science of climate change, emission reduction technologies and adaptation management is vital if Australia is to meet the challenge of climate change.

27. Labor will fund research into renewable energy and support research, development and demonstration aimed at technologies to reduce emissions from fossil fuels, including cleaner coal and gas, and technologies to capture and store carbon dioxide to prevent its release to the atmosphere.

28. Labor is committed to the development of the renewable energy industry, which will play an important role in reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.

29. Labor supports a Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) which will promote the growth of renewable energy industries such as solar and wind power. Labor will ensure a genuine and substantial increase in the percentage of Australia's energy generated from renewable sources.

30. Labor recognises the enormous potential for improved energy efficiency is a largely untapped resource for improved business productivity and savings for households and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Labor will adopt an ambitious, national energy efficiency program and work in partnership with energy suppliers, regulators and State and local governments to ensure that every business and household in Australia has improved access to energy savings technologies and advice.

31. Labor will work with State, Territory and local governments to ensure that five star energy efficiency provisions are mandatory for new homes.

1—"-i 32. Labor supports the promotion of demand management and energy efficiency throughout the national electricity and gas systems, with programs targeting both domestic and industrial energy use. Labor will ensure the national electricity market delivers environmental outcomes by promoting renewable energy and cleaner fuels and removing barriers to sound demand management and cogeneration investments.

33. Labor is committed to taking a leadership role in the efficient use of energy and will ensure all government departments and agencies adopt best practice energy efficiency.

34. Labor supports the introduction of measures to promote consumer uptake of energy efficient technologies and renewable energy.

35. Labor is committed to expanding national, mandatory energy efficiency design and performance standards, including those for domestic appliances, industrial equipment, residential and non-residential buildings and motor vehicles.

36. Labor supports the promotion of less greenhouse-intensive forms of transport, including public transport, cycling and walking.

37. Labor will promote more sustainable management of Australia's vegetation cover and an end to broad-scale clearing. Labor is committed to cooperation between States, Territories and landholders to achieve net expansion of vegetation cover and reduction in emissions related to land use change.

Water 38. Labor notes that Australia is the world's driest inhabited continent, yet we are amongst its highest per capita users of water.

39. Labor notes that while Australia has enough water it is a long way away from where most Australians live.

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40. Labor notes that Australia's water resources are highly variable and range from heavily regulated rivers and groundwater resources, to rivers and aquifers in almost pristine condition.

41. Labor notes that over 65 per cent of Australia's water runoff is in the sparsely populated tropical north, but Australia's large urban areas are in southern Australia and irrigated agriculture is principally located in the Murray Darling Basin, where only 6.1 per cent of the national run-off occurs.

42. Labor notes that by 2030 water supplies for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and many rural towns could drop by 25 per cent, because climate change will cut rainfall and increase evaporation. Climate change means rainfall in the Murray Darling basin is expected to fall by 25 per cent and evaporation rates will also rise. This will hurt Australian agriculture, our domestic food supply and exports and directly threaten the supply of drinking water to Adelaide.

43. Labor believes that ensuring sustainable supply and use of water is one of Australia's biggest environmental challenges.

44. Labor believes there is no greater impetus for a thriving, healthy community and economy than healthy rivers and communities having a guaranteed water supply. Where there is water, there is life—and when the water dries up, a town closes and businesses leave.

45. Water use and water supply in Australia is a national crisis and national leadership is needed to ensure Australia's towns and cities have a sustainable water supply.

46. Labor is concerned that as a nation we have never really valued water and that our water supplies have been undervalued and over-allocated. g

47. Labor notes that, as Australia's population has grown, competition for water has also grown from the agricultural sector, from urban development and from industry and mining sectors. Labor is concerned that, as a consequence, the health of water supplies and their environments have suffered, and we have squandered the water resources of the nation.

48. Labor believes Australia must stop its waste of water—in our cities and in agriculture, mining and industry.

49. Labor believes Australia must establish economic frameworks that encourage water to be put to its most valuable use. We must recognise water is a finite resource.

50. Labor supports a strong role for the Commonwealth in establishing water markets, supporting water recycling and encouraging innovation and new technological solutions to deliver a sustainable water supply for Australia.

51. Labor will encourage the application of environmental infrastructure to Commonwealth property assets to capture rainfall and recycle waste water.

52. Labor is concerned that unsustainable levels of extraction, and major alterations to the seasonal flow patterns of our rivers by dams and weirs have disturbed the natural balance in many river systems. Increasingly, algal blooms, pest species and salinity impact on our waterways. Without continued and concerted national effort, there is a real prospect of the economic as well as ecological collapse of major systems such as the Murray-Darling Basin.

Labor will introduce mechanisms to encourage projects to address these issues.

53. Labor is committed to providing science-based environmental flows to save the Murray River and repair the Murray-Darling Basin and other rivers facing similar degradation.

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54. Labor believes that revitalising the water flow and eco-systems of the Murray River and the Murray-Darling Basin should be a first order priority for the Commonwealth Government.

55. Labor believes that the Murray River needs 1,500 gigalitres more water per year to be a healthy working river.

56. Labor supports adding 1,500 gigalitres in annual environmental flows into the Murray. To achieve this, Labor supports market based options such as purchasing water from willing sellers or acquiring options to access water entitlements.

57. Labor recognises the responsibility of all governments to provide safe and adequate drinking water to communities and to maintain the ecological health of river systems.

58. Labor is committed to a national rivers program, in cooperation with State, Territory and local governments, industry and communities that provides adequate environmental flows to rivers, addresses encroaching salinity and enables the restoration of river systems currently in crisis. Australia's approach to rivers in the past has been to take as much water as we possibly could and leave the rest. Our approach in the future must be to determine and

provide the level of environmental flows necessary to maintain a healthy river system and make better use of the water we can safely extract.

59. Labor supports the adoption of water efficiency technologies and urban planning measures that improve the quality and integration of urban water, sewerage and drainage and the adoption of whole of catchment approaches.

60. Labor supports recycling wastewater and sets a goal of 30 per cent of Australia's wastewater being recycled by 2015. 40 61. Labor believes greater use of recycled water by industry and agriculture will free up valuable

drinking water and help increase environmental water flows.

62. Labor is committed to the sustainable use of groundwater. Labor acknowledges that personal and domestic water is an essential service and must be available to everyone. Labor will work with the State, Territories and local government to achieve access for all.

63. Labor supports Australia ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Water Courses to ensure the equitable, cooperative and sustainable management of the world's 263 rivers which are shared by two or more countries.

Land Clearing

64. Land clearing is the single biggest cause of dryland salinity; it is one of the greatest threats to endangered species of birds, plants and animals and it is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

65. Labor is opposed to broad-scale and unregulated land clearing.

66. Labor will stop the continuing decline in our native vegetation cover.

67. Labor will insist that funding of State, Territory and landholder projects is conditional upon the States, Territories and local government introducing appropriate clearing controls.

68. Labor supports the introduction of national standards to strictly regulate approvals for land clearing.

69. Labor will prevent the clearing of endangered and vulnerable threatened ecological communities and critical habitats for threatened species, and work with private landholders to deliver threatened species and ecological community recovery measures.

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Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference . ' Chapter Nine

Biodiversity and Endange re d Species

70. Australia is one of only 17 megadiverse nations on earth. We have one of the most diverse collections of species, habitats and ecosystems of any developed nation on ea rth. As such, we have an obligation to future generations, and a global responsibility, to protect our biodiversity.

71. Australia is facing a biodiversity extinction crisis. Twenty per cent of our species are threatened with extinction by the end of this century and the number of terrestrial bird and animal species listed as extinct, endangered or vulnerable rose by 41 per cent from 1995 to 2005. Australia leads the world in mammal extinctions and half our woodland birds could disappear by 2100.

72. Our biodiversity is under great threat from climate change, land clearing for urban development and agriculture, the loss of native forests, the introduction of exotic species and the inadequacy of our system of funding for national parks and reserves.

73. No generation has the right to appropriate biodiversity for its exclusive use and no government should accept species decline as inevitable.

74. Labor is committed to a national approach to the protection of rare, vulnerable and endangered species and ecological communities, through the development, resourcing and implementation in cooperation with State and Territory governments of threat abatement and recovery plans.

75. Labor will ensure that the schedules of nationally threatened species and ecological communities are kept up to date, ensuring State and Territory listings are considered promptly for national listing under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation 4 ^>, ) Act.

76. The health of breeding bird populations is a visible and reliable measure of ecosystem health.

Labor will introduce regular monitoring of the health of breeding bird populations as one indicator of ecosystem health.

77. Labor acknowledges the contributions made by zoological parks through their research and development into captive breeding.

Invasive Species and Weeds

78. Introduced weeds and feral animals, whether it's cane toads in Kakadu or foxes in Tasmania, are wreaking havoc on our environment.

79. Labor will promote research into invasive species and weeds with a view to finding environmentally responsible means of dealing with these problems.

80. Labor will fund measures to ensure that both public land and private land are managed to effectively control invasive species and weeds.

Sustainable Agriculture and Nature Conservation on Private Land

81. Labor recognises the critical role of the rural community in the ongoing stewardship of our land. Labor is committed to working with rural communities and landholders in the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and whole-farm planning consistent with bio-regional strategies.

82. Labor recognises that the good work of private landholders and volunteers in programs such as Landcare has been damaged by uncertainty and the short-term approach associated with funding through vehicles such as the Natural Heritage Trust.

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ine w ^ N p :. liii] , Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference

83. Labor is committed to building on the achievements of Landcare, encouraging the uptake of sustainable farming practices and maintaining suppo rt for the repair of our rural landscapes. Sustainable agriculture requires that the integrity of land, water and landscapes is not unnecessarily risked by man-made technologies and products without rigorous scientific assessment and community support.

84. Genetically Modified (GM) crops will not be released unless they are safe to health, safe to the environment and beneficial to the economy. Safe and beneficial standards must be established beyond reasonable doubt. Standards must be met to the satisfaction of the government and also of the scientific community, the consumer community and, in the case of GM crops, to the satisfaction of the farming community. Accurate information on GM products must be provided to consumers and the community. The onus of proof that a product is 'safe and beneficial' lies with its developers. GM crops should not be introduced unless there is whole of community consensus. Labor will preserve the right of the States to implement and manage moratoria on the commercial production of GM crops.

85. Labor will explore models that provide suitable financial recognition for landholders who have engaged in good environmental practice.

86. Labor is committed to conservation and regeneration of our native plant communities outside our national reserve system through partnerships with landholders. Significant proportions of Australia's arid and rangeland ecosystems are suffering from serious degradation and are in need of urgent government a ttention to ensure their conservation values are restored and


87. Labor is committed to halting the loss of vegetation, reducing soil erosion and rehabilitating 42 degraded land, pa rticularly those lands affected by soil salinity.

88. Labor supports the adoption of integrated catchment management plans, property management plans, volunta ry conservation agreements, community based revegetation programs and appropriate regulato ry and fiscal policies to promote the conservation ethic.


89. Australia's wetlands are critical to the ongoing health of Australia's rivers, estuaries and coastal waters. These vital environments are under increasing threat from human se ttlement, jeopardising the habitat and survival of many species of fish and crustaceans that use wetlands as a nurse ry ground, and migrato ry birds that depend on wetlands as feeding and

resting areas.

90. Labor is committed to ensuring proper management and protection of our wetlands and will promote and honour Australia's obligations under the Ramsar Convention.


91. Labor is committed to the establishment and maintenance of a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system that is consistent with the agreed Janis criteria and aims to protect at least 60 per cent of existing old growth forest (increasing to 100 per cent for rare and depleted old growth), and 90 per cent or more of high quality wilderness, as part of a broad objective of preserving 15 per cent of pre-1750 distribution of each forest ecosystem. This goal will be achieved through the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) process.

RFA outcomes will vary from region to region in response to variations in community expectations and environmental concerns.

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92. Labor is committed to the ongoing monitoring of compliance with RFA outcomes and full implementation of the National Forests Policy Statement, the Wood and Paper Industry Strategy and Plantation 2020 Vision.

93. Labor recognises the potential for development of plantations and integrated farm forestry, particularly on existing cleared agricultural land and the additional benefit in addressing dryland salinity and greenhouse emission abatement.

94. Labor recognises that large-scale plantations need to be managed to minimise possible adverse effects and supports research and development, particularly in relation to improved technology and processes, tree breeding, species selection and land capability assessment.

95. Much of our remaining native vegetation is fragmented, leaving it vulnerable to further decline and limiting its habitat values. Labor will build and promote corridors to link native vegetation where appropriate, including enhancing roadside remnant vegetation to better enable wildlife species to survive.

96. Labor supports the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement.

97. Labor is committed to sustainable economic, environmental and community outcomes for Tasmania's forests, based on the principles of:

• a sustainable forestry industry plan, developed in consultation with unions, industry and the Tasmanian Government and based on the use of plantation timber, selective use of native timber, value-adding, and downstream processing;

• no overall loss of jobs in the forestry industry; and

• further protection of identified Tasmanian high-conservation-value, old growth forests, 43 rainforests, and other ecosystems.

World Heritage Areas and National Parks

98. In government, Labor earned an international reputation for providing a high standard of properly funded protection, management, monitoring and presentation of World Heritage Areas.

99. A Labor Government will continue this standard of protection, and will support the investigation of areas identified as suitable for future listing.

100. Labor strongly opposes any moves to reduce protection of World Heritage Areas, the listing of which protects areas of outstanding universal value.

101. Labor recognises the fragile and diverse nature of Australia's natural environment and its unique array of species and habitats, wilderness areas, old growth forests, rivers, native grasslands, coastlines and oceans. Labor is committed to the protection of Australia's biological diversity through the establishment of a national system of comprehensive, adequate and representative national parks and reserves (including a representative range of terrestrial and marine ecosystems), while continuing to promote the ecologically sustainable

use of all our natural resources.

102. Labor will ensure that the Commonwealth retains responsibility for the protection of forests located in listed world heritage areas. Labor will progress further World Heritage nominations in cooperation with State and Territory Governments.

103. Labor will seek World Heritage listing for Ningaloo Reef, based on the boundaries proposed by the West Australian Labor Government.

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104. Labor does not support mining or other resource extraction in national parks and world heritage areas.

105. Labor will ban oil and gas exploration and mining both on and near to the Great Barrier Reef, in order to ensure that the reef is not threatened by oil spills.

106. Labor supports World Heritage listing of suitable areas of Cape York and environmental buyback of suitable areas of Cape York and the Daintree.

Northern Australia

107. Labor recognises the cultural expertise and wide understanding and knowledge of landscapes held by Indigenous people in Northern Australia. Sustainable practices maintained for millennia provide important tools and a foundation for ongoing conservation, land management and sustainable practices. Labor recognises Indigenous people will be involved in land management through various means, including national parks and tourism.

108. Northern Australia contains some of the most outstanding environmental assets in the world. The Great Barrier Reef, Daintree, Cape York Peninsula, Kakadu and the Kimberley are regions which are known throughout the world.

109. Climate change presents a significant threat to the biodiversity of northern Australia. Within 25 years, the Great Barrier Reef could be devastated by the regular coral bleaching caused by rising water temperatures. Half of North Queensland's highland tropical forests could disappear over this century.

_ 110. If global temperatures rise by a further two degrees, half of Kakadu's majestic wetlands will 144 1 be flooded and will disappear.

111. Labor's approach to northern Australia will focus on avoiding dangerous climate change, promoting sustainable development, protecting heritage rivers, focusing on eco-tourism as a source of wealth for the north, and a concerted attack on invasive species of weeds and feral animals.

Marine and Coastal Protection

112. More than five and a half million Australians live in coastal communities outside our capital cities. People are choosing to live near the coast and governments need to respond to that choice by addressing the economic, environmental and social challenges that this change brings.

113. Our coastal environment is under pressure. Unsustainable coastal growth is leading to habitat loss, damage to wetlands, the introduction of pests and weeds and coastal erosion and damage to dunes.

114. Labor is committed to promoting the conservation and sustainable use of our marine and coastal environment. Labor will work with State, Territory and local authorities and agencies to ensure Australia's biologically diverse and fragile marine environment is monitored and sustainably managed.

115. The Commonwealth should provide leadership, policies and resources to ensure integrated regional ecosystem-based management across jurisdictions and maintain marine biodiversity.

116. Labor will protect our coasts and beaches by investing in high conservation value areas as well as meeting international obligations, continuing legislative reform and opposing inappropriate development.

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117. Labor will develop a national coastal policy to deliver strategic responses to population growth in coastal regions and support coastal planning initiatives.

118. Labor will ensure that all relevant national coastal planning processes address the potential impact of climate change and will inform local councils about national research and its implications for them.

119. Labor will work towards the reduction of the serious threat to water quality from coastal shipping practices, sewage and stormwater disposal and thermal pollution, nutrient sedimentation and the introduction of exotic pests and diseases via ship ballast water.

120. Labor will work to mitigate noise pollution in the marine environment and sonar and seismic activities harmful to cetaceans and other vulnerable marine species.

121. Planning imperatives include the need to address unsuitable coastal development including all future canal developments, agricultural practices, pollution of estuary and coastal water, ship transport regulation, rig and pipeline developments and industry accountability for pollution.

122. Labor will promote the efficient and sustainable use of Australia's marine resources and will address unsustainable fishing practices.

123. Labor supports the creation of marine national parks and 'no take' or 'green zones' in the Great Barrier Reef to sustain ecosystem health and sustain fish stocks. Labor is committed to maintaining the existing boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef Representative Areas Program.

124. Labor will prohibit mineral, oil and gas exploration in Australian waters adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

125. Labor will promote the conservation of key ecosystem health indicator species such as whales, dugong and turtles both in Australian waters and across the world's oceans.

126. Labor will support technological advances in fisheries to minimise bycatch of non-target species in fisheries and ensure this serious threat to a number of marine threatened species is eliminated.

127. Labor will develop strategies to mitigate the impact of marine debris that poses a threat to many marine species.

128. Labor will work through international forums to address unsustainable fishing practices worldwide.

129. Labor will work with Indigenous communities and recreational fishermen to ensure hunting of marine animals is sustainable and humane and that threatened species are protected.

130. Labor will pursue a permanent end to all commercial and scientific whaling and the establishment of a global whale sanctuary.

131. Labor will pursue legal action against whaling nations before international courts and tribunals to end the slaughter of whales for all time.

132. Labor will pursue high seas, marine protected areas to protect biodiversity and work to address the increasing problem of unregulated, unreported and illegal fishing through all appropriate legal instruments.

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Sustainable Industries and Cleaner Production

133. Modem clean industries that minimise resource consumption, waste and pollution generation, together with new agricultural techniques that reduce land and water degradation, are the key to a sustainable economy. Labor will work with State and Territory governments to consider extended producer responsibility schemes for priority waste. Labor recognises that schemes to manage white goods, televisions, computers, tyres, batteries and mobile phones (including advanced deposit and refund schemes) at the end of the life cycle have been highly successful overseas and will consider their suitability to Australia's unique economic and environmental conditions.

134. Labor supports the phase-out of plastic shopping bags, with a legislated ban if necessary.

135. A Labor Government will promote more efficient and cleaner production practices and the 'reduce, reuse, recycle and recover' approach to waste management through the adoption of voluntary economic, fiscal and regulatory measures.

136. Labor will encourage the adoption of life cycle analysis, green purchasing arrangements and voluntary corporate environmental reporting.

137. New global markets are developing as the demand for sustainable goods and services grows. New industries are emerging with new jobs and domestic and export opportunities. These opportunities range across industry sectors and geographic areas. Labor is committed to supporting the development of these new industries.

Chemicals, Toxins and Pollutants

1161 138. Labor recognises the important role of chemicals in both industrial processes and everyday life. However, many pollutants are produced as a result of the use of chemicals and it is the responsibility of government to ensure that the production, release and disposal of these substances is adequately managed to ensure that individuals and the environment are not exposed to harmful concentrations.

139. Labor is committed to the strict control of pollutants and toxins in the environment, including the minimisation of the production, import and use of harmful substances, the development of alternative technologies and, where possible, the elimination of harmful substances.

140. Labor believes nations have a responsibility for the appropriate disposal of hazardous wastes generated within their boundaries. Labor is committed to the aims of the Basel Convention and to fulfilling Australia's obligations in the control of transboundary movements of hazardous waste.

141. Labor remains strongly opposed to the importation and storage of nuclear waste in Australia, that is sourced from overseas. Labor does, however, acknowledge that Australia has a responsibility to manage nuclear waste material that has been produced in Australia.

Clean Air

142. Labor is committed to improving air quality and averting the serious health risks that air pollution represents.

143. Cutting Australia's greenhouse pollution and taking action to avoid dangerous climate change, will deliver cleaner air for all Australians.

144. A comprehensive system of monitoring and reporting of air pollution will be an integral part of Labor's air quality initiatives, including dissemination of information regarding health risks.

145. Labor will introduce national air quality standards commensurate with international standards.

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146. Labor will recognise the environmental and health impacts of vehicle emissions and will seek to strengthen emission regulations. Labor recognises the need to promote greater transport choice and will pursue strategies to encourage alternative modes of transport, alternative fuels, greater fuel efficiency and lower average vehicle age.

147. Labor believes careful and integrated urban planning offers a powerful tool for reducing transport demand.

Built and Cultural Heritage

148. Thousands of years of Indigenous settlement and more recent waves of migration have left Australia with a rich and diverse heritage. This heritage is a link between the past and present and is both a national asset and a source of national pride.

149. Labor is committed to the identification, preservation, restoration and promotion of significant and representative built and cultural heritage, whether material or not. Labor recognises the imminent threat of the loss of Indigenous knowledge systems and will fund the recording of Indigenous oral histories, stories and languages. Labor recognises that Indigenous knowledge is a critical part of the knowledge capital of Australia and is a key to an environmentally and socially sustainable Australia.

150. It is important that we preserve what is best of our history, tradition and heritage. Where culturally appropriate, Labor is committed to the promotion of and access to our built and cultural heritage, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

151. The identification and listing of properties of heritage significance should be carried out by an independent expert body.

152. Labor believes that the Commonwealth government has a responsibility to provide adequate heritage protection for Commonwealth properties of heritage significance.

153. Labor would pay special attention to ensuring that the heritage significance of existing defence properties is properly ascertained, protected and conserved.

Building Sustainable Cities

154. Patterns of human settlement and the size and rate of growth of the population are critical to our ongoing impact on our ancient and fragile environment.

155. Labor believes that Australian cities must be ecologically sustainable and incorporate a sound understanding of environmental principles in their planning. Labor recognises that the Commonwealth government has a role in long-term strategic planning for demographic change and local government priority setting.

156. The daily lives of most Australians are spent in and around urban areas. Our quality of life and our physical and mental health is increasingly at risk from degradation of urban environments. Labor is committed to appropriate demographic policies and to ensuring that any population increase is sustainable and does not come at the cost of the environment. As our population increases, it is essential that our collective 'ecological footprint' is contained.

157. Climate change will have a profound impact on the health of our cities.

158. Labor is committed to protecting and enhancing our urban environment through long-term integrated urban planning for all major cities, major industries and rural communities. Planning must be supported by the provision of information, the development and implementation of practical solutions and the right policy framework to ensure our cities are

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healthy and sustainable. We should seek to contain the area of our cities and guard against urban sprawl.

159. For any planned increase in the population of a particular urban area, Labor supports infrastructure investment (especially transport investment) that is evaluated on the basis of its contribution to improvements in that urban environment, including air and water quality. It is important that remnant vegetation and catchment health is protected from urban encroachment.

Greening Our Institutions

160. Labor will lead by example with national leadership on environmental matters through an integrated, whole of government approach. Labor supports the incorporation of environmental values and sustainability into all areas of government decision making, both in terms of the government's direct environmental impacts and the environmental consequences of all legislation and regulation.

161. Labor recognises the essential role played by local government in environmental protection and repair and natural resource management. Labor is committed to full involving local government in environmental protection and repair efforts and making use of its substantial capacity to deliver outcomes and promote change for the better.

162. Labor will develop, with State and Territory Governments, a National Sustainability Charter that sets key national targets across a number of areas which impact on Australia's environmental, social and economic sustainability.

[ ,, 163. Labor will establish an independent National Sustainability Commissioner and Council to l — monitor Australia's performance against sustainability targets and to evaluate Commonwealth government policies in terms of their impact on sustainability and agreed national targets, particularly on climate change.

164. Labor will establish an independent statutory authority, Infrastructure Australia, to analyse, monitor, report and assess the delivery and operation of major infrastructure projects, and to develop a coordinated and objective approach to longer-term planning and development of nationally significant infrastructure.

165. Labor supports the development of a genuine progress or sustainability indicator which recognises social and environmental capital and complements monitoring of economic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product.

166. Labor supports the incorporation of environmental reporting into the budget process through the development of a federal Green Budget. A Green Budget will enable progress on environmental performance to be tracked and achievement against milestones to be monitored.

167. Labor is committed to open and transparent environmental decision making and effective monitoring, assessment and reporting of environmental performance. This will be achieved through a combination of state of the environment reporting, environmental audits and impact assessments, and initiatives such as the National Pollutant Inventory and corporate environmental reporting.

168. Labor is committed to post-approval monitoring of major projects to ensure that measures and targets agreed during environmental impact assessment processes achieve the desired environmental outcomes.

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169. Labor supports a life cycle approach to the evaluation of environmental impacts of goods and services. Where there is a significant variation in environmental impact between comparable products, Labor supports eco-labelling to provide the consumer with the necessary information to make informed purchasing and lifestyle decisions.

170. Labor will implement environmental best practice to Commonwealth government operations.

171. Labor recognises that existing international environmental protection regimes need to be strengthened and new arrangements developed to address emerging issues. Labor will take a leadership role in multilateral forums that consider issues of environmental protection and sustainable development, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, United Nations Conference on Environment and Development process, the Convention for the Conservation of Biological Diversity, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species and the International Whaling Commission.

172. Labor will assess all trade agreements to ensure that they are consistent with the principles of sustainable development, and will work to prevent any conflict arising between trade agreements and multilateral environmental agreements and domestic legislation to protect the environment.

173. Labor will ensure that specific environmental programs will be targeted at nations in the region that are also recognised global biodiversity hotspot regions.

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Sustainability in Transport Conference notes:

That much of current transport planning and investment is predicated on the availability and use of private motor vehicles. Unrestrained car use is a significant contributor to global warming.

The Conference is concerned that investment in transport infrastructure and services should aim to be sustainable, by minimising the impact on the environment and providing equitably for future generations. The primary criteria for decision making about transport investment should include energy, greenhouse gas and other emissions and impacts on the physical, built and social environment.

There are at least three broad aspects of transport sustainability of interest:

• Efficient use of energy—more fuel efficient vehicles, greater use of rail, efficient use of fossil fuel by transport to reduce energy and global (GHG) emissions and increased use of renewable energy;

• Cleaner air and quieter environment through reductions in emissions from mobile sources and more efficient transport (higher occupancy), such as enhanced public transport and rail, walking and cycling; and

• A transport system integrated into the built and natural environment with minimal associated impact including on water quality and open space through sound planning, design, construction and operations. i50

Rail is certainly more efficient than road in terms of energy or fuel use for both mass passenger transport and bulk, long distance freight transport movements. Rail freight produces significantly lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than road freight. Transport policy considerations must take into account the fact that fossil fuel is a non-renewable resource and there are real concerns about diminishing oil reserves, and other environmental and social impacts.

With the aforementioned issues considered this conference recommends that the next Federal Labor Government consider adopting following sustainable transport principles.

• Principle I People have a right of access to other people, places, goods, services and opportunities.

• Principle 2 Transport services that enable access should meet the community's expectation of a high standard of reliability and quality.

• Principle 3 Governments, transport planners and developers should be bound by a framework that ensures the equitable distribution of basic transportation resources to meet the needs of all people including men and women, young and old, the poor, the disabled and those living in outer suburban or rural areas.

• Principle 4 Transportation systems should be designed and operated in a way that protects and promotes the health (physical, mental and social well-being) and safety of all people, and enhances the quality of life in communities.

• Principle 5 Transport decision-makers have a responsibility to ensure that the transportation systems allow the opportunity for individuals to act to reduce their impacts on the natural environment.

• Principle 6 Transportation decision-makers have a responsibility to pursue more integrated approaches to planning, delivery and use of public transport.

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• Principle 7 Transpo rt decision-making processes should suppo rt, encourage and provide

resources for public participation.

• Principle 8 Transportation needs must be met within a framework which minimises the use

of natural resources and land, and reduces emissions that threaten public health and essential ecological processes.

• Principle 9 Transportation systems must maximise the use of, and return on, transport

assets and resources through be tter planning and accountability measures while maintaining their long-term sustainability.

• Principle 10 Transportation systems should be cost e ffective, now and in the future, and transportation decision-makers must move as expeditiously as possible towards fuller cost accounting, reflecting the true social, economic and environmental costs, in order to ensure that users pay an equitable share of costs.

Further this Conference calls on the next Federal Labor Government to consider implementing these principles as part of a whole of government approach to sustainable transpo rt, along with the adoption of pe rformance measure to meet these sustainable transport principles.

Water That conference commends the Rudd opposition for its clear policy direction on tackling climate change and urges the Rudd opposition to give further commitments that will secure Australia's water supply.

That Labor will respect the natural integrity of the northern rivers and will not support the proposal of the Howard Government to dam the Clarence River. 151`^

Macquarie Island National Conference notes that time is running out for Macquarie Island and calls on the Howard Government to end the blame game and properly fund the eradication of feral animals in this nationally and internationally significant World Heritage Area before it is too late.

Macqua rie Island was listed as a World Heritage Area in 1997. National Conference notes that the Tasmanian government has day-to-day management responsibilities for Macquarie Island and is already implementing interim control measures, including rabbit-proof fencing and a shooting program that will reduce the rabbit population by between 30,000 and 40,000.

National Conference recognises the need for the Australian Government to properly fund World Heritage Areas of national and international significance and calls on the Howard Government to meet its obligations in this regard.

National Conference notes that the Australian Government's funding to Tasmania's World Heritage Areas was slashed from $6.6 million to $3.4 million this year despite the fact that over 20 per cent of Tasmania's land area has World He ritage status, far above the national and international average.

National Conference recognises:

• The international significance of Macquarie Island as a breeding ground for about four million seabirds each year;

• The clear and present danger posed to the breeding ground by an explosion of rats and rabbits;

• The urgent need for the Howard Government to end the blame game and properly fund a feral animal eradication program on Macquarie Island before it is too late; and

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• The need for the Tasmanian Government to ensure that effective quarantine procedures are in place to prevent reinfestation of the Island once eradication is achieved.

National Platform and Constitution 2007

Labor is deeply committed to universal provision of quality health care for all Australians. Universal

health care is fundamental to a fair society. Just as past Labor governments built Medicare, Labor believes Medicare must be restored and extended in order to meet a range of new health care demands arising from increased rates of chronic disease and the demands of an ageing population. This will require reforms to eliminate overlaps and duplication between Commonwealth and State provision of health services and a stronger focus on prevention, healthy lifestyle and well-being. In government, Labor will give priority to improving Indigenous health, mental health and addressing the long waiting lists for dental treatment.


1. Labor believes that every individual in our society has the right to live their lives in the best possible health and to receive the best possible care when they need it.

2. In order to achieve this, Labor will:

• put the highest priority on promoting wellness and preventing disease;

• defend and strengthen Medicare, which is the cornerstone of Australia's health system;

• build a better system of community and primary care;

• defend and strengthen the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which is essential to ensuring Australians have access to pharmaceuticals at affordable prices;

• defend and strengthen Australia's free public hospital system;

• solve the current health and medical workforce crisis and develop the workforce we need for the future of health care;

• improve the health status of Indigenous Australians;

• give targeted assistance to those with special needs;

• improve private health insurance and better integrate the private hospital sector into Australia's health system;

• reform Australia's health system to improve its efficiency and fiscal sustainability;

• integrate new technology into the provision of health care and better manage patient information;

• empower users of health services;

• improve the quality of our health care services; and

• implement a national drugs strategy to prevent the onset of use, intervene early and minimize the harm caused by legal and illegal drugs.

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Promoting Wellness, P reventing Disease: Healthy Australians, Healthy Kids 3. Today many Australians become ill or die early because of preventable conditions like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. This burden of preventable disease is

often associated with lifestyle and environmental factors such as obesity, poor nutrition and lack of exercise.

4. Disturbing trends in the health of Australian children mean that the burden of preventable disease may well increase in the future. Australian children are confronted with a new range of health challenges particularly increasing rates of obesity, and at the other extreme, there is an epidemic of eating disorders. There increasing community concern in the rising prevalence of these conditions; rising rates of diabetes, childhood asthma and other allergies, a range of developmental disorders and conditions, autism, and mental health problems including depression, anxiety, behavioural problems, schizophrenia and suicide. There is also an increase in learning disabilities, aggressive behaviour and violence. Too many children and adolescents are dying from preventable causes. Over 50 per cent of the deaths of children and adolescents are due to accidents, poisonings, violence and suicides.

5. Labor believes in national leadership to improve the health of Australians and particularly Australian children. This is a vital social priority but also an urgent economic priority. Australia cannot afford to compound the challenges of an ageing society and the associated changes in the dependency ratio, by having an increasing number of working age adults outside the

labour force and in need of medical care because of preventable chronic and complex conditions.

[ 154 6. Labor believes a fundamental pillar of our health system must be health maintenance, health promotion and the prevention of illness. National responsibility for se tting priorities and providing funding rests with the federal government. However, substantial change in personal behaviour and reducing the risk profile of the community can only be achieved and sustained with the active participation of all levels of government, the non-government sector, health

professionals but most importantly the local community.

7. To promote good health and well-being, Labor will:

• pursue both long-term and short-term goals that will help improve our children's health and well-being and protect Australia's future prosperity;

• pursue national strategies for ten national priority areas: obesity, mental health, cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, injuries, suicide, diabetes, arthritis and sexually transmitted and blood-borne diseases;

• seek to further integrate health promotion and preventive health activities with Medicare and general practice;

• undertake new health education programs, including programs targeted at Indigenous Australians and Australians from non-English speaking backgrounds, to increase awareness of health risks, promote a healthier lifestyle and reduce the toll of preventable ill health;

• support research into the causes of preventable health problems in order to develop new effective health promotion programs;

• reduce the risk of communicable diseases through the vigorous promotion of universal childhood immunisation and improving the Communicable Diseases Network in a cooperative program with the State and Territo ry health departments and infectious diseases specialists;

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• seek to prevent the onset of use, intervene early and reduce smoking, alcohol abuse and drug use including the misuse of pharmaceuticals; and

• develop new programs to tackle the environmental causes of ill health and issues of occupational health and safety.


8. Medicare is the cornerstone of Australia's high quality health system. Medicare is a universal system of health insurance funded through a combination of general taxation and a Medicare levy based on ability to pay. Since 1984, it has ensured that all Australians have been entitled to free hospital care and bulk billed or rebated medical services. Before Medicare, Australians

had to rely on private health insurance or pay their own medical bills.

9. Labor believes that Medicare should be retained, defended and strengthened. Labor is opposed to allowing individuals to opt out of Medicare and is opposed to the direct or indirect means testing of Medicare and bulk billing. Medicare should remain a universal system for all Australians. Labor is opposed to the creation of a two-tiered health system in which Medicare is reduced to being a second class 'safety net'.

10. Labor will strengthen Medicare to meet future challenges including:

• ensuring all Australians have fair access to Medicare and to bulk billed GP and specialist services;

• making the promotion of wellness and the prevention of disease a focus of Medicare;

• achieving better continuity of care for patients and better integration between Medicare services, acute care and aged care;

• developing a more flexible Medicare to enable access to genuine multi-disciplinary care delivered by the health care teams of the future; and

• ensuring better access to Medicare after hours and for those in residential aged care.

Reform, Efficiency and Fiscal Sustainability

11. International experience demonstrates that public purchasing of health services, as occurs under Medicare, is the most effective system for controlling costs and achieving fair access to services.

12. Labor will ensure that health resources are used efficiently and that priorities are set on the basis of the needs of patients and achieving the best health outcomes. In recent years the Commonwealth share of funding in the Australian Health Care Agreements has been inadequate and service standards have fallen because of under-funding.

13. Labor's policies are based on the expectation that Australia's health expenditure will continue to increase as the population increases and ages. According to the Productivity Commission, ageing and medical technologies are the key drivers of costs and expenditure on health. While this increase in expenditure can be partly met within a growing and increasingly

productive economy, reforms within the health sector, in the context of a broader program of micro-economic reforms, will also be required to address growing costs in the health sector.

14. The financing arrangements for Australia's health system need to be simplified. Labor will:

• resolve confusion over multiple funding sources and disputes between the Commonwealth, States and Territories over who is responsible for delivering particular services;

• ensure the public and private sectors work to complement each other;

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• carefully manage factors which influence demand and supply for health services; and

• maintain pressure to ensure Medicare buys health services wisely, particularly in high technology areas such as pathology, radiology and medical devices.

15. An effective health system depends upon effective arrangements between federal, State, Territory and local governments on planning, funding, monitoring and delivering health services.

• The federal government has a national leadership role, particularly in public health, Indigenous health and health promotion.

• The federal government has primary responsibility for national health policy and health insurance, both Medicare and private health insurance.

• State and Territory governments have primary responsibility for service delivery and administration and an important priority setting role.

• Local governments have responsibilities for developing and maintaining the physical and social environments of local communities, and in service delivery.

16. Australia's health system needs reform aimed at:

• developing a long-term, primary health care strategy;

• specifying mechanisms to close the gaps between primary care, acute care, rehabilitative care and aged care;

• improving quality and quality assurance;

• defining the best way for the private sector and the public system to complement each

1561 other;

n embracing preventative health care; and • the promotion of healthier lifestyles and implementing strategies for addressing critical health workforce shortages. Reform is also needed to clarify the funding and delivery roles played by federal, State, Territory and local governments to ensure efficiency, quality and

integration of services.

Better Primary and Community Care

17. Labor recognises the importance of high quality, primary health care services and the need for general practitioners, nurses, community pharmacists and a wide range of allied health professionals to work together in providing these services. Labor is committed to the improvement of primary health care through:

• reducing financial barriers which prevent people from accessing primary health care services provided by general practitioners by increasing the value of the rebate for bulk billed services and providing financial incentives for GPs to bulk bill more of their patients;

• addressing workforce shortages by making more GPs and other primary care professionals available, particularly in rural, regional and outer metropolitan areas of need;

• strengthening the link between patients and their GPs, pharmacists and other health professionals to improve the management of chronic illness and to encourage GPs to act as advocates for their patients when they require hospital treatment;

• promoting Divisions of General Practice, as the basis for the development of innovative approaches to primary care and the building of better links between GPs and other health and medical professionals;

• facilitating the development of multi-disciplinary care by primary health care teams;

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• providing new funding for high quality general practices to deliver services for which fee-for-service payment is inappropriate, especially health promotion and illness prevention, and supporting general practice with better resources and a reduction in 'red tape';

• maintaining opposition to compulsory co-payments; and

• continuing to develop the National Health Call Centre, with strong links to primary health care providers.

Continuity of Care

18. Labor recognises that improving the continuity and coordination of care, especially for Australians with complex and ongoing care needs, is a high priority in health care reform and will require a concerted effort at all levels, including cooperation between Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and local government. Labor does not support US style

managed care programs driven by financial rather than clinical outcomes.

Community Health

19. Labor will put an emphasis on community health programs to ensure all groups in the community have information and access to services appropriate to their health needs. These programs will be delivered by health professionals, community health centres and, where appropriate, through the general media.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and Better Access to Medicines

20. Labor believes that a sustainable Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is essential to the success of Medicare and that the PBS must be managed responsibly, having regard to the ageing of the Australian population and the incredible advances in the development of innovative pharmaceuticals. Labor will ensure all Australians have affordable access to their essential medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). In particular Labor will:

• ensure thorough and timely evaluation of new medicines before their approval for use in Australia;

• work to reduce the harm caused by the misuse of pharmaceuticals, through inadvertent misuse of prescription drugs or fraudulent abuse of the PBS;

• support the continuing growth of the Australian pharmaceutical industry and recognise its potential to generate jobs and exports for Australia;

• maintain the ban on direct advertising of prescription medicines;

• seek to prevent the illegal sale of registered and non-registered pharmaceuticals through the internet; and

n ensure that international trade agreements and other treaties do not compromise the effectiveness of the PBS.

Community Pharmacies

21. Labor is committed to the maintenance of a competitive, community pharmacy sector in Australia to deliver high quality health products and information at a community level. Labor supports an expansion of the range of services to be provided through community pharmacies including the delivery of basic health services such as methadone, wound

management and asthma and diabetes management programs.

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Complementary Medicine

22. Labor recognises and understands that many Australians value alternative health treatments and products. Labor will review the current regulatory regime to ensure that it is both robust and effective. Labor will work to establish appropriate registration and accreditation for practitioners and their products to ensure that the beneficial work of practitioners in these areas is recognised and also to ensure that consumers are well informed and protected from physical or mental harm or financial exploitation.

Medical Technology

23. Labor will introduce a national system, comparable to the cost and clinical assessment system used by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, for the assessment of all new diagnostic technologies and medical devices.

Acute Care: a Hospital System that Works

Public Hospitals - Resources

24. Labor is committed to giving the highest priority to maintaining and improving a high quality, integrated, free public hospital system accessible to all Australians on the basis of clinical need.

25. Labor believes that governments at the Commonwealth, State and Territory level must substantially increase their efforts to overcome difficulties with access to public hospitals, and to provide for increasing demand due to the ageing of the population and new medical



Emergency Departments

26. There is a strong community demand to end the long queues in emergency departments. In the next health agreements, Labor will work with the States and Territories to solve this problem and integrate low-level emergency treatment services with primary care services available through Medicare and to develop standards to substantially reduce delays in treatment and admission. Labor will take the pressure off emergency departments by

improving access to bulk billed GP services and providing co-located primary health care facilities.

Access Block

27. There is also strong community demand to ensure that frail aged people who need residential aged care places or some form of rehabilitative care are not left stranded in acute public hospital beds. This is both cruel for frail elderly Australians and contributes to elective surgery waiting lists and long waiting times for admissions from emergency departments. In the next health care agreements, Labor will work with the States and Territories to solve this

problem through a better approach to aged care and step down care.


28. Labor opposes the privatisation of public hospitals on the grounds that Australian and overseas experience has shown that privatisation:

• does not lead to increased efficiency or effectiveness in the delivery of health services;

• opens the way for private operators to allow financial incentives to influence admission, treatment and hospital discharge patterns;

• results in a loss of flexibility in the delivery of services and thereby increases the potential for additional costs;

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• results in governments relinquishing the traditional democratic measures of accountability and replacing them with contractual accountability;

• can lead to a reduction of services offered and selective treatment of patients;

• reduces government control over the quality of services, leading to poorer quality of patient care; and

• involves a number of inherent risks associated with the contract, including nonperformance of contractual requirements, a change in operator ownership, insolvency, and litigation between government and the operator.

The Health Workforce of the Future

29. Labor will ensure that Australia educates and trains enough members of the health workforce to meet Australia's needs. Labor does not believe that Australia should be in a position where its health system would fail without the recruitment of high numbers of overseas trained doctors and nurses. Labor also objects to stripping other countries, particularly developing

countries, of their health workforce to meet Australia's needs.

30. Labor will ensure an appropriate supply and distribution of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and other health workers with particular emphasis on:

• improving the supply of all health professionals in rural, regional and outer suburban Australia;

• improving recruitment and retention of nurses and other health professionals, through professional opportunities which develop and enhance decision making and team care roles; 159

• supporting evolving new professional roles in health care professions that better meet the health needs of Australians;

• ensuring the number of health and medical specialists meet Australia's health needs; and

• increasing the numbers of Indigenous Australians at all levels of the health workforce.

31. Labor recognises the particular problems experienced by the mental health workforce and believes renewed focus is needed on supporting, expanding and developing the mental health workforce across the spectrum including:

• increasing the number of postgraduate university positions for mental health nurses and supporting the reform of nursing education to provide for postgraduate psychiatric nursing courses and a greater emphasis on mental health training in undergraduate nursing courses;

• Consider establishing a pilot mental health major in the nursing undergraduate degree. This pilot would be established in rural and metropolitan areas;

• renewing efforts to improve the retention of mental health staff in the public sector;

• improving mental health content of allied health undergraduate courses;

n supporting and encouraging multi-disciplinary teamwork;

• extending new staff models in mental health care throughout Australia; and

• working towards an increase in and a better geographical distribution of private psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals.

32. Labor will also address workforce issues related to safety and quality including:

• ending the practice of excessive working hours for all health professionals;

• ensuring that a full range of supervised training opportunities are available to graduate doctors and that graduate doctors are not used to fill roles they are not trained for;

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• establishing programs to ensure all health workers remain up to date with the latest health advances and technologies; and

• ensuring an appropriate role for the private sector health providers in training, without disadvantaging the public health system.

Indigenous Australians - the Greatest Health Inequality

33. Labor acknowledges that the greatest and most distressing example of health inequality in this nation is the health status of Indigenous Australians. Indigenous Australians have unacceptably poor health, suffer a high burden of illness, die at a younger age than their non-Indigenous counterparts and too often do not have access to adequate health services.

34. Labor recognises that addressing the health status of Indigenous Australians requires a comprehensive approach looking beyond a focus on health services to include cultural well-being and connection to the land, education, environmental health and employment and training opportunities. Labor recognises as essential, the need for the Commonwealth government to work with State and Territory and local governments to address environmental health issues including housing, water, sewerage and roads.

35. Labor recognises the critical importance of community control and direct involvement in planning and delivery of services to the success of health services for Indigenous Australians. It is critical that we train Indigenous health workers and vastly increase the number of Indigenous health professionals.

36. Labor is committed to reducing the burden of premature death and disease on Australia's

16.0 I

Indigenous communities, aiming for equity in health status and life expectancy. This will require:

• financial commitment;

• commitment to changing the way health services are delivered; and

• most importantly, an overall approach to improve the employment, education and social circumstances that lie at the root of Indigenous health problems.

37. Labor supports the Council of Australian Governments driving new approaches to regional service delivery for Indigenous communities, free from the usual constraints imposed by the involvement of different levels of government and different portfolios. Such new approaches need to be developed in partnership with Indigenous communities.

38. In particular, Labor will adhere to the principle of providing grant funding to State and Territory health departments and Indigenous controlled health services, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, to fund comprehensive primary health care services for Indigenous people. The grants will be based on national per capita average Medicare and PBS usage

and adjusted to reflect actual Indigenous health needs in each region, with loadings for factors including disease burden and morbidity rates, hospitalisation rates, labour and capital costs, remoteness and cultural needs.

39. To improve health outcomes, it will be necessary to increase health spending, with an emphasis on provision of primary health care and early intervention in remote, rural and urban communities. Special programs that are integrated into the primary health care planning and service delivery are needed to tackle particular problems such as renal failure,

low birth weights and eye and skin diseases. Labor believes that primary health care programs must be properly funded and developed in consultation with Indigenous communities. Labor recognises the pivotal role played by Indigenous health workers and supports achieving a national system of skills recognition and the creation of career paths.

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Targeting Special Needs

40. Labor understands that poor health is associated with poverty and disadvantage. Special approaches are needed to maximise the wellness of those sections of society that bear the greatest burden of disease and to overcome these health inequalities. Labor also understands that to maximise wellness special approaches to different parts of our community are required.

Rural and Regional Health

41. Labor also understands that poorer health status is associated with living in rural and remote areas and Labor is committed to improving the access to vital health care services for Australians living in these areas.

42. Labor recognises that the health status of rural communities is directly related to the economic prosperity and opportunities of each community. Depressed economic conditions lead to poorer health and, in turn, place greater strain on the rural heath services provided. Labor's commitments to rural health are therefore part of a wider regional and rural policy that aims to restore the economic health of rural, regional and remote Australia.

43. A concerted and sustained commitment by all levels of government towards working cooperatively and committing increased resources to rural health is a necessary first step. Labor will foster a collaborative environment between service providers and will increase resources to rural health services. Labor will create flexible funding arrangements that respond to a community's needs and accommodate the different models of health services available and promote greater collaboration and cooperation between public and private health services, to enable the sharing of resources and maximise access to health expertise 1611 in rural and regional centres.

44. Rural health care providers are facing increasing financial, social and professional pressures in their efforts to provide health care for rural Australians. Labor recognises the special demands of rural health care and will:

• address workforce shortages in rural, regional and remote areas by making GP training places more available;

n provide greater education and professional support to rural doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals to reduce the pressure they are currently experiencing;

• adopt a new approach to rural workforce education and training which acknowledges that the models of health care delivery in rural and remote areas are often quite different from metropolitan health services;

• support programs that improve access to locum services for rural doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals;

• support incentive packages that are effective in encouraging doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other crucial heath professionals to relocate and remain in rural and remote communities;

• promote cross-cultural training programs for rural health care workers to ensure Indigenous Australians are appropriately cared for in mainstream health services;

• ensure equitable access to health services through the provision of public facilities in community health, aged care and multi-purpose services; and

• in rural and regional communities, where public hospital facilities are either inadequate or non-existent, ensure that MBS funding is appropriate for the type of services needed in rural areas, such as nurse practitioners.

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45. Rural Australians suffer from asthma, diabetes, suicide, road accidents, injuries and corona ry heart disease at significantly higher rates than their metropolitan counterpa rts. To address

this inequity and to encourage greater emphasis on prevention, Labor will have spec if i c rural health promotion campaigns that target these preventable health problems.

46. Access to mental health services is difficult for rural and remote Australians. Labor is committ ed to developing innovative strategies to improve mental health treatment in rural communities. In particular Labor will work with State and Te rritory governments to develop and implement strategies to improve the availability of mental health professionals in the public mental health system. Specific efforts will also be directed at reducing the rate of youth suicides in rural communities, especially among young males.


47. Labor will significantly expand access and improve decision making processes for patients and health professionals through the encouragement of new technologies. The potential applications for tele-health in rural areas are significant, particularly as a means of reducing the level of professional isolation experienced by rural and remote health workers. Labor will

provide resources to significantly expand tele-health services. These new technologies will be used to complement the delivery of face-to-face services in rural areas rather than replace them.

Mental Health

48. Mental health is a major health issue and mental health disorders are one of the leading causes of disability in the Australian community. According to the Australian Institute of `^ Health and Welfare, mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability burden in Australia, accounting for an estimated 27 per cent of the total years lost due to disability.

However, less than 40 per cent seek and receive treatment and only seven per cent of health funding is directed to mental health.

49. Ensuring human rights will underpin Labor's approach to mental health, with access to programs and services provided in the least restrictive environment, free of stigma and discrimination. Failure to address these problems will lead to a growing social and economic cost to the Australian community.

50. Labor understands that mental health and well-being can only be achieved by activities across a spectrum and will develop programs in health promotion and prevention, as well as treatment, recovery and disability services. Labor will work towards ensuring the right programs and treatment are delivered at the right time in the right place.

51. Labor's National Mental Health Strategy will recognise the particular importance of integrated, inclusive, community-based housing, employment and whole-of-health social services.

52. Labor affirms the key role of the Commonwealth in leading and promoting reform of Australia's mental health service system. Labor will work in partnership with the States and Territories to:

• improve the quality and diversity of mental health services through the promotion of best practice, systematic program evaluation, accountability, encouragement of innovation and improved linkages between research and practice;

• re-invigorate the National Mental Health reform agenda, including ensuring the availability of community-oriented mental health care, provided through comprehensive local mental health services and improving access to public mental health services by targeting

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programs that provide early intervention, housing, employment, improved mental health responses in emergency departments and assistance for young people with drug and alcohol and mental health problems;

• understand, uphold and promote the role of consumers' perspectives in mental health;

• ensure that Australians with mental health problems and their families can access disability support, housing, income security and employment programs and are treated fairly in the justice system and that these and all relevant government services recognise the episodic nature of mental illness and associated disabilities;

• pay particular attention to housing through a range of approaches which provide accessible, long-term and affordable, supportive and inclusive facilities, including models with 24 hour staffing support;

• recognise the particular importance of employment programs for people with mental illness and ensure new programs that work collaboratively with the public mental health system are developed to meet their particular needs;

• improve public access to private psychiatry by providing incentives to private psychiatrists willing to work in collaboration with public mental health services, particularly to encourage case planning;

• review how Medicare could assist general practitioners get better access to specialist psychiatric consultation and treatment for their patients;

• further improve access to psychology and allied health services, especially for people on low incomes and for those who live in outer metropolitan suburbs and rural and regional Australia where access to psychology and allied health services are limited;

• support the expanded provision of primary mental health care, including counselling and I163

social support, in recognition of the increasing number of Australians with depression and anxiety;

• provide whole-of-family support services, including counselling, support, education and information;

• ensure that culturally appropriate mental health services are available to Indigenous Australians and to migrants and refugees, especially within the first two years of settlement;

• ensure the promotion of mental health is given priority within health promotion campaigns aimed at the general community; and

• ensure primary mental health is integrated into the National Health Call Centre.

Labor will ensure that the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments work together to coordinate mental health initiatives to maximise positive outcomes for the community and minimise duplication, including in relation to:

• COAG initiatives such as respite care and the personal helpers and mentors program;

• State funded services such as Emergency Departments' mental health services; and

• Youth mental health initiatives such as 'headspace'.

Labor accepts that as a matter of principle:

• dental health is an essential component of general health and well-being; and

• failure to maintain good dental health leads to upwards pressure on general health costs down the track.

The Commonwealth Dental Health Program was abolished in 1996. This has had disastrous health effects for many in the community, particularly low income and disadvantaged Australians.

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Ten . Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference

The Commonwealth must accept its responsibilities for dental health by ensuring fair and affordable access to essential dental services. Labor is committed to improving access to dental services and, in particular, restoring access to dental services for Australians on low incomes by:

• Re-establishing a Commonwealth dental scheme;

• Addressing shortages in the dental health workforce;

• Providing more training places at universities so more Australians can train as dentists;

• Working with the States and Territories to reduce waiting lists and implement preventive dental health programs; and

• Working with relevant stakeholders to keep treatment affordable.

People with Disabilities

53. Labor recognises that preventive health measures and early intervention programs can improve the level of ability of, and quality of life for, many people with disabilities. Services for people with disabilities are provided by various levels of government often leading to confusion, difficulty in accessing services and gaps in services for families and individuals. Labor supports the trialling of innovative approaches to the financing and delivery of services and aids for people with disabilities and their carers. Labor recognises that people with disabilities have limited housing options and that many young people live in aged care facilities due to the lack of more appropriate accommodation options. Labor recognises that

many young people with disabilities who are living in nursing homes are at risk of social 164 ! isolation, depression and in some cases compromised care and could be more appropriately cared for elsewhere. Labor will develop strategies to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy opportunities for appropriate, accessible and affordable housing.

People with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C

54. Labor will actively pursue national strategies to combat transmissible blood diseases including HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. These strategies will include targeted prevention campaigns, continued access to treatments through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and health programs for people living with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C.

Women's Health

55. Labor will develop a national policy on women's health that will encourage specific health services for women and will actively promote participation of women in health decision making and management. Labor will:

• Extend the national screening programs for breast cancer, cervical cancer and ovarian cancer to improve access for those groups not using these screening programs, especially those in rural areas and non-English speaking and Indigenous women;

• Acknowledge the over-representation of young women with eating disorders and body image related mental health issues. Labor will develop strategies to prevent and reduce the damage being caused by the increased sexualisation of young women in all media;

• Develop and implement targeted public education campaigns, specifically for women dealing with drug, alcohol and associated violence issues; and,

• Commit to ensuring targeted health and well-being support for women subjected to family and sexual violence.

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Men's Health

56. Labor will put resources into a national education program to raise men's awareness of a range of preventable health problems that disproportionately affect men and which result in generally poorer health outcomes for Australian men. These include heart disease, suicide, lung cancer, prostate cancer and road accidents.

Reproductive Health

57. Labor will:

• provide universal access to fertility advice and control programs and advice on the safe use of contraceptives;

• fund research into the prevention of infertility and fertility control and ensures that access to assisted reproductive technology programs is not determined by economic circumstances;

• ensure that a representative body exists to advise governments and the community on monitoring, regulation and legislation related to reproductive technology, including cloning; and

n enforce a ban on the cloning of human beings.

Maternal and Child Health Services

58. Labor will work with State and Territory governments to improve the delivery of maternal and child health services. In particular it will:

• improve the promotion and provision of pre-natal services; 165

• improve the information available to mothers about the options available for childbirth;

• ensure that benchmarks for the appropriate use of caesarean section and ultrasound are professionally developed and used to improve service delivery;

• increase the accessibility of birthing centres;

• increase the ability to access independent midwives and midwife-led models of care;

• redirect resources into post-birth health care services, which are currently under-resourced;

• ensure continuity of care is available after a baby is born;

• implement special programs for Indigenous mothers and babies, to reduce mortality rates and improve health;

• research the health and well-being of children to monitor and improve outcomes for children;

• develop a new policy framework to better integrate research and programs to meet the social and health needs of younger children;

• support and encourage breastfeeding by supporting initiatives like the Australian Breastfeeding Association's 24 hour phone line and lactation specialists visiting new mothers in hospital and breastfeeding workshops for new mothers who have left hospital;

• review the Medicare Schedule to include midwives in the provision of maternity care and to facilitate the expansion of midwife-led care; and

• consider models of indemnification to facilitate the practice of midwives as experts and primary care givers in normal birth.

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Young Australians

59. Labor recognises the necessity to specifically address the health needs of young Australians, including:

• increasing the proportion of babies breastfed in line with World Health Organisation recommendations;

• childhood obesity, body image and eating disorders;

• suicide prevention;

• drug use prevention and alcohol education;

• sexuality and safe sex practices;

• promotion of healthy lifestyles;

• long-term nursing home type care required as a result of accident or illness; and

• family support and appropriate alternative social networks to help children in difficulty.

60. Labor recognises the importance of providing appropriate and accessible health services to young people while ensuring confidentiality. Labor supports the current issue of Medicare cards to young Australians to facilitate their access to health services.

Migrant Health

61. Labor recognises that language and cultural differences need to be addressed to ensure fair and equal access to health services for all Australians. In particular, Labor recognises the need for interpreter services, culturally appropriate health services and health education messages in languages other than English. 1 6

Palliative Care

62. Labor believes that every person should have access to quality palliative care. People should be able to decide where they wish to die and to choose the extent of active treatment they want to prolong life as a terminal illness progresses. People have a right to relief from pain and suffering, but there is a need for legal guidelines and safeguards to prevent abuse or wrongful actions. Labor supports legislative measures to give each person a right to determine, in advance, the sort of medical treatment he or she wishes to receive, or not

receive, in the event that their medical condition prevents them from expressing that wish.

Role of Private Health

63. The private sector plays an important role in Australia in the delivery of services paid through Medicare and to supplement this with other services that are paid for privately or covered by private health insurance. Labor recognises the role the private health sector can play to complement Medicare and remains committed to a balanced health system making best use of both public and private services. To this end, Labor supports the better integration of services delivered by private sector and public health providers.

Medibank Private

64. Labor is opposed to the sale of Medibank Private. Labor believes that Medibank Private can play an important role as a market leader to hold down premiums and keep the private health insurance market competitive and consumer oriented. There is no evidence that the sale of Medibank Private will reduce premiums or increase competition and for this reason Labor opposes its sale.

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Private Health Insurance 65. The private health insurance indust ry offers commercial products to those who are seeking additional cover for health services, in addition to those covered by Medicare. Labor believes the industry needs to be well regulated in the interests of contributors so that value for

money products are available to all policy holders. To this end, Labor believes that further efforts can be made to control health costs, such as those associated with advances in medical technologies and procedures, which would impact directly on private health insurance premium levels. Labor believes that offering simpler products will also provide greater value and transparency for consumers seeking to transfer between funds.

66. Labor will:

• urge funds to increase the proportion of policies that eliminate gap charges without increasing premiums. Doctors and other health professionals who charge gap fees will be required to disclose their additional charges prior to treatment;

• reform the re-insurance pool to remove the disincentives for funds to operate more efficiently and for the industry to become more competitive;

• encourage funds to provide cover for a wider range of services to improve the integration of primary and acute care, without disadvantaging the public hospital system; • provide consumers with access to independent information and require funds to disclose rises in premiums. Funds will be required to further simplify their products so that

consumers can readily compare policies;

• give the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman additional powers and resources to investigate policy issues and to develop a Consumer Charter for the indust ry, setting f"67 minimum standards; and • ensure that patient choice and clinical decision making remain at the heart of health care,

rather than giving power to funds to determine what kind of care is appropriate.

Harnessing New Technology and Managing Patient Information 67. Labor sees major opportunities for new technology to make health services more effective, more accessible and more consumer friendly. Technological change needs to be carefully managed with close attention to the social and ethical implications and the need for privacy

for personal health records. Labor will ensure that commercial interests do not subvert intended health outcomes and that decisions are made on the basis of clinical and cost effectiveness determined by the best available research evidence.

68. Labor will, in collaboration with State and Territory governments, build information technology and communication infrastructure and systems that improve the decisions made by consumers, clinicians and health service managers about care, service delivery and policy. The purpose of this investment will be to:

• build accessible knowledge bases from quality data systems, libraries of research evidence and the experience of consumers and professionals; • enhance online communication between consumers and professionals, and primary and acute care settings, regardless of location, to improve health outcomes and service

quality; and • create data management systems that monitor population health and the safety, quality and efficiency of health services.

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69. Labor will ensure that appropriate training is undertaken by health professionals to develop and maintain the skills necessary to use these knowledge bases, health records and communication systems.

70. Labor believes the development and implementation of health knowledge management systems that include electronic health records and decision support systems for evidence-based practice are central to improving the safety and quality of health services. However, these new tools cannot be widely used until satisfactory arrangements are in place to protect security and privacy.

71. Labor will ensure every Australian has a personal electronic health record that is privacy protected. Labor will develop a strong privacy regime built around a unique patient identifier based on the Medicare card. Legislation will prohibit this number being used for any other purpose and access will depend on authorisation from both the patient and the doctor. A range of other safeguards will be incorporated in legislation, which will be developed after a public inquiry into all the issues.

72. It is critical that health providers can communicate effectively with each other while maintaining patient confidentiality. Labor will provide leadership in the development of national, secure health data standards and will establish a common framework for health record systems. The delay in establishing this infrastructure is inhibiting the delivery of quality health services in Australia and contributing to unnecessary adverse events. Specifically

Labor will ensure:

• the use of tele-health to give rural clinicians direct access to city based specialists and the resources of major teaching hospitals; 168 n the use of secure electronic networks to give clinicians and pharmacists access to high

quality drug information sources; and

• the use of electronic prescriptions to speed up and reduce errors in communications between clinicians and pharmacists.

73. Labor will give Medicare Australia greater powers to analyse data to examine variations in practices, to enable the promotion of professional practice based on the best available evidence from research. Clinicians will be supported in their evidence-based practice through the development of appropriate, accessible clinical guidelines and pathways of care.

Empowering Users of Health Services

74. Labor recognises that the Australian public wants and needs clear and relevant information about their health care. Many Australians feel under-informed about their health care and this lack of information can cause unnecessary anxiety about appropriate treatments.

75. Labor believes that all health service users have the right to:

• receive information about their condition, treatment options and risks and give informed consent before receiving health services;

• give informed financial consent, before receiving health services, which includes obtaining estimated costs of proposed procedures;

• expect privacy for their health records and other information relating to their health and use of health services;

• obtain access to their health records; and

• indicate, ahead of time, their unwillingness to have their life prolonged by artificial means in the event of a terminal illness.

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76. Labor believes that better informed health service users will participate more actively in the health decision making process leading to a reduction in the incidence of adverse events, fostering a greater partnership approach between user and providers and increasing user satisfaction with the care provided.

77. Labor will promote users' access to timely, accurate and relevant health information through support for public internet sites which provide independent, evidence-based sources of information for people to research their health problems.

78. Labor will encourage the development of educational materials about treatment options, medicines and procedures associated with a variety of clinical conditions, for consumers.

79. A strong and independent complaints system is essential to ensuring that patients' rights are respected and should also play a constructive role in reform.

Health and Medical Research

80. Labor will encourage and invest in excellence in health and bio-medical research to improve the health of all Australians, and to boost Australia's reputation as a world leader in high quality, innovative research and development activities.

81. In particular Labor will:

• increase the Commonwealth government's contribution to the research effort and ensure that other funding sources maintain or increase their effort during this period;

• establish career structures and pay scales for Australian medical researchers to encourage retention of our best researchers and to be internationally competitive; 189

• encourage private industry to increase its investment in Australian-based research and development;

• give priority to innovative research that will improve the knowledge base, address national priorities and help Australia be commercially competitive;

• ensure that advances in knowledge are translated and applied to the benefit of the nation's health and health services;

• work with stakeholders to ensure that comprehensive ethical guidelines to cover both public and private sector research are developed and regularly reviewed; and

• ensure that the National Health and Medical Research Council is able to address the strategies, policies and priorities for the nation's health, free from political interference.

Improving the Quality of Health Services

82. Labor is committed to improving the quality of health services. Labor will measure the quality of health services provided against six quality principles: access, efficiency, effectiveness, appropriateness, safety and consumer satisfaction.

83. Labor will invest in and promote knowledge management to:

• improve the flow of information through the health care system;

• reduce the variation in the use and outcomes of health services; and

• ensure the efficient implementation of evidence based health care.

84. Labor will develop benchmarks for health service performance and standards of treatment for public and private providers. This information will be available to consumers to help choose their preferred health service, and to inform managers and health care providers.

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85. Labor believes the funders, managers, providers, and consumers of our health services have a role to play in improving the quality of health services. Labor will identify and promote mechanisms that assist stakeholders to take an active role in improving the quality of health services and to ensure that they are held accountable for their performance within the health system.

86. Quality health service delivery depends on cooperative working relationships between governments, professional bodies, community organisations, the public and private health sectors and consumers in the planning and delivery of health services. Labor will work in partnership with all parties to improve the quality of our health services.

National Drugs Strategy

87. Labor recognises the serious health and social impact that legal and illegal drug use has on the Australian community. Tobacco use continues to cause harm to the individual and the community. Other legal drugs such as alcohol can cause damage if not used in moderation and are a major factor in domestic violence and road accidents. Greater efforts are needed to prevent and address the significant health and social problems caused by illegal drugs.

88. Labor is committed to developing innovative, integrated strategies to improve the outcomes of alcohol and drug interventions provided by specialist alcohol and drug services, general and mental health services, youth and family services, disability services, housing services, law enforcement and the criminal justice system, policy and research services and

Indigenous services.

89. Labor will ensure that the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments work together to 1 develop models that coordinate the alcohol and drug interventions provided by all relevant services to maximise positive outcomes for the community.

90. Labor recognises the need to improve the coordination of care across a range of services. Labor will work towards enhancing cross-sector, complex case management between services and health professionals.

91. Central to Labor's drug strategy are the principles of prevention of onset of drug use, early intervention and harm minimisation for all illicit drugs. Labor will, in consultation with expert bodies, drug and alcohol agencies, community groups and peak organisations:

• curb the supply of illegal drugs through effective law enforcement;

• tackle the underlying causes of both legal and illegal drug problems in order to reduce demand;

• reduce the demand for illegal drugs and tobacco and reduce the misuse of alcohol through targeted advertising and public health education campaigns;

• increase the opportunities for treatment and harm reduction for people with drug problems; and

• ensure supply and consumption rates are monitored and reduced to minimise alcohol harm.


92. Labor will focus on the prevention and reduction of the harm caused by tobacco by further tightening restrictions on tobacco advertising, conducting aggressive anti-smoking campaigns and developing national clean air standards to address passive smoking. A new focus will be placed on harm minimisation strategies and promotion of nicotine replacement therapies to reach those people not influenced by current Quit programs.

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93. Labor believes that more investigation is needed into manufacturing and marketing practices that target younger Australians.

94. Manufacturers of tobacco should be held to account for any unlawful activity in relation to the suppression or destruction of evidence about the health risks associated with smoking and passive smoking.

95. Labor supports an ACCC administered code of practice for the selling of cigarettes to minors. This code will include non-supply of tobacco products to sellers if they breach the code.


96. Labor will promote awareness of safer patterns of alcohol use, aimed at reducing consumption at hazardous and harmful levels. Targeted advertising and public education campaigns, strengthened treatment services and appropriate regulations in areas including taxation, public intoxication, under-aged drinking, and alcohol-related illness can reduce social problems.

Petrol Sniffing and Chroming

97. Labor recognises that the practices of petrol sniffing and chroming are seriously damaging to health. Young people are particularly at risk of harm from the misuse of legally available, volatile substances. Labor's priority is to focus on prevention and also to protect the health and welfare of those who misuse volatile substances or are at risk of misusing them. Adequately funded, community based approaches supported by adequate government

services including children's services, correctional services and policing are needed to prevent, minimise and halt the harm caused by these practices.

Illicit Drugs

98. Labor will work with the States and Territories to develop and implement a comprehensive framework of strategies to address the diverse problems caused by illicit drugs. The focus of the strategies will be prevention of onset of illicit drug use, early intervention and reducing the harm caused by illicit drugs. These strategies will include:

• developing and implementing comprehensive anti-drug community and education strategies targeting those most in need of information and encouraging drug-free lifestyles. These groups include young people, families, migrants, refugees and Indigenous Australians;

• additional funding for treatment, primary health care, rehabilitation and diversion services run by government and non-government agencies;

• support for harm prevention and harm minimisation strategies to prevent the onset of drug use and also deal with drug abuse in cooperation with State, Territory and local governments including targeted advertising and public education campaigns, strengthened treatment for services and clean needle and needle exchange programs;

• research based trials of alternative pathways to treat, manage and recover from drug dependence;

• specialised early intervention support services, including counselling and social support, for families and friends of drug users;

• culturally appropriate services for young people, Indigenous Australians and migrants to work with mainstream drug and alcohol services;

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• support for consultation with service users and peak professional bodies in alcohol and drug service planning and delivery;

• support for community self-help organisations and recognition of the role they play in community support and the re-integration of service users back into the community; and

• provision of advocacy services for treatment recipients of drug and alcohol services.

Road, Sea and Air Trauma

99. Labor will support a comprehensive approach to reduce the incidence of road, sea and air accidents attributable to fatigue, speeding, or alcohol or other drugs.

Food and Therapeutic Products

100. Food labelling. To enjoy healthy lifestyles, Australians and their families need to know what is in the food they are eating and what processes are being used to make food. Labor supports giving consumers essential information to enable them to make an informed choice when purchasing food products.

101. To make certain consumers have access to effective product labelling Labor will ensure that:

• genetically modified food is labelled; and

• consumers are better informed about the nutritional quality of packaged food through improved nutritional panels.

102. Food standards. Labor is committed to working with State and Territory governments and the New Zealand Government to improve the current system of food safety standards. There

I1 1 21 is a need for greater transparency in the development of standards and more dialogue between consumers, trade unions and industry on technical issues.

103. Australia should bring its standards into line with world's best practice while allowing sufficient flexibility for State-based implementation.

104. These standards need to be backed by quality implementation, ongoing monitoring and enforcement where necessary. Labor will work with all stakeholders to spread the burden of cost to protect small business and local councils.

105. Genetically modified food. Labor recognises community concern about genetically modified food. To ensure our food is safe and of a high quality, Labor will:

• maintain consumer and environmental safety through strict enforcement of national standards as the principal policy consideration;

• build public confidence by providing appropriate and balanced public education;

• ensure all issues pertaining to import, export, production, distribution and use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are overseen by a strong national body that is independent, scientifically based and whose processes are transparent;

• establish a meaningful labelling regime that enables consumers to make informed choices about what they are buying;

• undertake continued research on the use of foods containing GMOs to better understand health, safety and environmental risks and benefits; and

• put in place a rigorous and transparent process based on environmental and safety considerations, for assessing and approving or rejecting research proposals which require the release of GMOs outside the laboratory.

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Chapter Ten

106. Food and therapeutic products regulation. Labor recognises that the ongoing introduction of new technologies has revealed overlaps in the current responsibilities of food, therapeutic products and import/export regulatory bodies.

107. Australia needs a more effective and open regulatory system for setting standards for foods and therapeutic products produced in Australia and imported from other markets. Labor will introduce a comprehensive food and therapeutic products regulatory model to address overlap and gap issues and place responsibility for consumer health and safety protection within an integrated structure.

108. Labor recognises that the standard of regulation of therapeutic goods in Australia is amongst the highest in the world. We will strive to raise the standard by improving transparency and enabling a greater consumer voice.

Sport and Recreation

109. Labor recognises that sport and recreation are an intrinsic part of our culture and way of life—building social cohesion that binds families, communities, regions and the nation. Most important of all are the principles of fairness, accessibility and opportunity. Labor is committed to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to participate in sport, recreation and physical activity.

110. Labor believes that the role of government in sport and recreation is to:

• increase participation in physical and recreational activities to promote physical and mental health;

• improve outcomes for public health through encouragement, facilitation and support for 173 healthy lifestyle choices, including regular physical activity and other recreational pursuits;

• develop and support participation in grass roots community sport and recreation activities; and

• develop and support high performance athletes through the provision of infrastructure, resources and leadership.

111. Labor will, through the Australian Sports Commission, and in consultation with Australia's sport and recreation community, establish appropriate criteria for the delivery of funding to:

• provide appropriate policies and programs to better deliver sporting and recreational opportunities for all Australians;

• develop and enhance community based sporting organisations across all regions of Australia in recognition of the important role such organisations play in creating social cohesion;

• develop and enhance programs and facilities for the Australian Institute of Sport that appropriately reflect our sporting abilities and aspirations;

• create pathways for the development of high performance athletes that are fair and accessible across all regions of Australia; and

• assist highly talented athletes to pursue sporting excellence and gain international experience.

112. Labor will examine alternative public and private sector funding options to supplement budgetary initiatives.

113. In consultation with State, Territory and local governments and relevant sporting bodies, Labor will develop a model for Commonwealth government involvement in the provision and

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access of community sporting and recreation facilities, especially in rural and regional Australia where it is particularly challenging to establish and maintain facilities.

114. Labor recognises that the enhanced teamwork, communication skills, health benefits and interdependence that arise from sport are vital to young people's development. Labor will provide coordinated funding for community development resources in sport and recreation that address the needs of young people of all ages.

115. Participation in sport and recreation provides public health benefits. Poor diet and lack of fitness are closely associated with major health problems. Labor recognises that physical activity through sport and recreation enhances physical well-being, including improvements in mental health and self esteem.

116. Labor is committed to an integrated approach with the health, education, sport and recreation sectors to address weight-related problems. Labor is committed to addressing the disturbing increase in obesity among Australians, particularly children.

117. Labor is committed to working with the States to improve the opportunity of Australian primary school age children to learn basic physical skills such as running, jumping, kicking, throwing and catching.

118. Labor is committed to integrating the development of sport and recreation with its health policy and programs. Labor will develop mechanisms that direct resources into preventive strategies that improve the overall physical health standard of the community by encouraging greater exercise and relaxation.

119. Labor is committed to promoting sport and recreation for older Australians. As well as enjoying obvious personal benefits, older and veteran participants contribute greatly by volunteering and passing on their experience and skills as players, administrators and officials to the younger members of their sporting clubs and organisations.

120. Labor recognises and values the essential contribution of volunteers of all ages to sport and recreation in Australia. Labor notes the declining levels of volunteers and will work with communities to develop strategies to increase opportunities for participation in administration, officiating, coaching and other forms of volunteer support.

121. Labor is committed to ongoing recognition and support of disability sport and supports the integration of athletes with disabilities into mainstream sport. Labor will pursue funding options to ensure that appropriate programs, resources and facilities exist for Paralympic and disability sport.

122. Labor is committed to ongoing recognition and support of Indigenous sport and recreation programs and will ensure there is appropriate support, resources and facilities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

123. Labor is strongly committed to raising the profile of women's sport. Labor will restore the Prime Ministerial Women in Sport Award, increase the profile of women's sport, and undertake efforts to improve the coverage and portrayal of women's sport and the accessibility of the media by women's sporting organisations.

124. Labor will provide support for the promotion of codes of sporting behaviour, ethics and development of workplace health and safety standards through consultation with other levels of government, Australia's sporting community and relevant organisations.

125. Through adequate support for the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and education programs, Labor will continue to work towards the abolition of all performance enhancing

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drugs in sport. Labor supports community based education campaigns in partnership with national sporting bodies that promote health drug free lifestyles.

126. Labor will ensure that all Australians have access to free-to-air television coverage of sport that has major cultural significance.

127. Labor will work with stakeholders to ensure sporting venues and events are as accessible as possible for all Australians.


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Health Blame Game This Conference condemns the Howard Government and in particular the comments of Health Minister Tony Abbott who constantly plays the blame game on dental health rather than providing solutions for Australian working families. The result of the Howard Government neglect is that millions of Australians are having their health compromised. This Conference endorses Kevin

Rudd's commitment to a national dental scheme to alleviate the pain and suffering of Australians whose dental health has been compromised by an arrogant and uncaring Howard Government.

Childcare Conference recognises the importance of high quality early years services for our children, and believes that early childhood care and education must be a national priority.

Labor recognises that child care has a dual role in helping parents, especially mothers, return to work, helping to lift workforce participation, and as a early development opportunity for children where early play-based early learning gives our children the best start in life.

Conference recognises the importance of investing in the early years, and the need for universal access to play-based learning for all four year olds.

Universal early learning must be integrated within the existing childcare settings to provide the greatest benefit to our children.

Conference also acknowledges the wide range of international research and experience which

178 shows that early learning opportunities have the greatest benefit for those from the most-disadvantaged backgrounds, and wants expanded early childhood programs in disadvantaged communities, as a priority. Conference notes the increasing cost of childcare which has skyrocketed under the Howard Government, and is concerned that these massive price increases are putting childcare out of the reach of many parents. Conference calls on Federal Labor to expand access to childcare through additional childcare centres, integrated with other community and educational facilities, and to provide increased support to families. Quality of care is also critical, and Conference supports Federal Labor working to improve childcare regulations, in conjunction with the States and Territories, by developing a consistent national child care framework which drives quality improvement across the child care sector.

Improvements in quality of care will only be achieved through a highly skilled and properly paid workforce of childcare professionals.

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Chapter Eleven

Reforming Government Australia's system of government has served us well for more than a century. But in more recent years public confidence in government has been in decline. To restore public confidence and tackle the challenge of the future, we need to reform our system of government and improve the openness, transparency and accountability of parliament, government and the public service. In government, Labor will reform Commonwealth/State financial relations, end the blame game between different levels of government and engage in

ongoing reform of the tax system


1. Government must respond to the complex social needs of a modern, technologically rich society and to the economic insecurities citizens are experiencing. Labor reaffirms its commitment to:

n the idea and practice of government intervention to promote social democratic goals and to ameliorate the consequences of market failure; and

n remaining responsive to community opinion, with a continuing emphasis on consultative processes of government.

2. Government must be truly representative if it is to realise the aspirations of all Australians. Labor believes governments should reflect the diversity of our society through their 177 I representatives, appointments and decisions. Accountable and Accessible Government

3. With the growing perception that decisions affecting the lives of citizens are increasingly being taken beyond national borders, it is imperative that people should have access to and confidence in their national governments. Labor believes this can only be achieved if:

• governments are truly accountable to parliament and the electorate;

• citizens' rights to an independent review of administrative decisions are guaranteed; and

• transparency of government decision making is facilitated by effective measures such as freedom of information.

Efficient and Effective Government

4. Labor has always believed that its goals are best achieved if government services are delivered in the most efficient manner possible. Because of the universal difficulty in matching government revenue raising capacity to required outlays, the premium on efficiency is greater than ever.

5. Labor recognises that community support for an active role for government in the achievement of social and economic goals requires that government programs deliver the expected results.

Commonwealth-State Financial Relations

6. Many of Australia's biggest policy challenges involve the intersection of Commonwealth and State government responsibilities. In government, reforming the Federation will be an important priority for Labor. The cost shift and blame shift between governments costs

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Australian taxpayers billions of dollars each year. There is too much ambiguity about which level of government is responsible for a particular government program. This often creates difficulties for Australians who want to access the range of services shared by governments, in areas such as health care, aged care, childcare, disability services, and dental care. It is also often a significant problem for Australian businesses in dealing with conflicting and costly regulatory environments between Commonwealth, state and governments.

7. Accordingly, Labor will:

• Review areas of overlap and duplication of responsibility between the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments, with the aim of eliminating inefficiencies and clarifying responsibilities;

• maintain a comprehensive system of horizontal fiscal equalisation based upon the per capita relativity recommendations of the Commonwealth Grants Commission;

• maintain a system of general purpose funding to local governments which provides adequate funding for their needs;

• continue to support specific purpose payments to States and Territories where these are appropriate to meet national objectives or ensure national standards, and ensure that those payments are used for the purpose for which they have been allocated; and

• ensure that State, Territory and local governments and their authorities are able to maintain and steadily improve their economic and social infrastructure.

8. Labor will also:

• seek to eliminate inappropriate duplication between Commonwealth, State and Territory, and local government functions and activities;

• support arrangements to voluntarily harmonise revenue bases and tax administration between the Commonwealth, States and Territories; and

• support arrangements to voluntarily integrate the administration of Commonwealth and State and Territory taxes and charges, where this has the potential to lead to economic benefits such as lower compliance costs for business.

9. Labor opposes companies shifting jurisdictions to avoid their OHS and workers compensation responsibilities and obligations. Labor will stop this.

Respect for the Constitution

10. The Constitution is the fundamental compact between the Australian people and their government. The Constitution and the powers it vests in the three arms of government—the parliament, the executive and the judiciary—all draw authority from the Australian people.

11. A healthy and open democracy in which government is held to account by the people is dependent upon a participative and active population. Our democracy's ability to respond properly to the priorities of people is diminished if people feel they are not part of that society or that it has nothing to offer them.

12. Labor is committed to addressing issues such as economic deprivation, geographic or cultural isolation and language barriers that contribute to people's social exclusion.

13. Through citizenship education and l ifelong learning, Labor is committed to empowering

Australians to understand the operation of our system of government, and to the need for ongoing constitutional reform to ensure that our legislatures are properly equipped to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.

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14. To continue to meet the increasingly complex economic, environmental, political and social needs and aspirations of the Australian people, Labor believes that the Constitution must be flexible and readily capable of alteration.

15. Australians have only rarely amended the Constitution. History shows that referenda are only likely to succeed when they receive broad support across the political spectrum. Accordingly, Labor will seek to build a broad consensus for constitutional reform both with other political parties and among the Australian people as a whole.

16. The Constitution was not set in stone at the time of Federation. It must be adaptable and acquire meaning from the needs of the day. Labor acknowledges that it is the role of the High Court to interpret the Constitution in context, rather than relying on any expression of original intent made at the time of Federation. Constitutional Reform

17. Labor is committed to engaging the public in a process of ongoing constitutional reform to remove outdated and inappropriate provisions from the Australian Constitution, to modernise our democratic structures and to make public administration more efficient and effective by facilitating cooperative schemes between Commonwealth and State governments.

18. The Constitution should:

• reflect Australia's status as an independent nation and as a federal parliamentary democracy;

• use simple language and reflect actual practices and conventions of our system of government, including that the head of state should act on the advice of the government enjoying the confidence of the House of Representatives;

• provide the most suitable framework for the economic, environmental, social and political 17 development of Australia as a federation;

• recognise an appropriate division of responsibilities between all levels of government to facilitate national planning and the effective delivery of public services; and

• protect the independence of the judiciary;

19. Labor supports the inclusion of a new preamble to the Constitution which recognises Indigenous Australians and the core elements of Australia's history and democracy and appropriately expresses the values, aspirations and ideals of the Australian people.

20. Labor believes that the monarchy no longer reflects either the fundamental democratic principles that underpin the Australian nation or its diversity. Labor believes that our head of state should be an Australian who embodies and represents the traditions, values and aspirations of all Australians.

21. Labor recognises the difficulty of advancing constitutional reform if the Australian people are not fully involved in the process and unless bipartisan support is obtained.

22. Labor is committed to consulting with the Australian people, other political parties, the States and the Territories as to the form that the Republic should take. Labor will promote community debate about the advantages and disadvantages of the various republican models.

23. Labor will conduct plebiscites to establish support for an Australian head of state and the preference for different forms of a Republic. When a preference has emerged Labor will initiate an appropriate referendum under section 128 of the Constitution.

24. Labor believes that every Australian citizen should be eligible to be our head of state.

25. Labor supports Australia's continued membership of the Commonwealth of Nations.

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Participation in the Democratic Process

26. Australians must be entitled to participate equally in the democratic process and in public life and administration. Labor supports constitutional reform to entrench the principle of one vote, one value for all elections, to ensure equal participation for all regardless of place of residence.

27. Labor will pursue new and innovative measures designed to foster greater participation and engagement of the Australian population in the political process.

28. Labor supports simultaneous, fixed four-year terms for the House of Representatives and the Senate.

29. Labor supports repealing subsection 394(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, which would then not prevent the States and Territories from moving their electoral systems into line with the Commonwealth, should the Commonwealth establish fixed four year terms.

30. Labor supports constitutional reform to prevent the Senate rejecting, deferring or blocking appropriation bills.

31. Labor supports constitutional reform at the Commonwealth, State and Territory level to remove the barrier on election to parliament of a person holding an office of profit under the Crown, provided that office is relinquished on election.

32. Labor supports constitutional reform to allow all Australian citizens to contest Commonwealth elections.

33. Labor supports the removal from the Constitution of provisions no longer having any effect.

180 34. Labor will seek to remove racially discriminatory provisions from the Constitution, in particular to delete section 25 of the Constitution and to amend placitum 51 (xxvi) to ensure it cannot be used to discriminate against Indigenous Australians.

Respect for the Parliament

35. Parliament is the central institution in our system of government and respect for parliament is an essential element of a healthy democracy. In Labor's view this respect is dependent on the extent to which parliament reflects the will of the people; the credibility, appropriateness and effectiveness of the institutions of parliament; and the standard, dignity and transparency of parliamentary proceedings.

36. Labor reaffirms its belief in the primacy of the people's House (the House of Representatives) and believes that a government enjoying the confidence of that House should be able to govern without obstruction by the House of review (the Senate).

37. Labor acknowledges the need for ongoing reform to ensure parliament is able to meet the changing needs of government and society.

38. Parliamentary question time should be an opportunity for calling the government to account. Labor believes that all ministers should be in attendance and that there should be procedures to ensure that questions are adequately answered.

39. Labor will support measures designed to enhance the independence of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

40. Labor regards the parliamentary committee system as an important means for enabling parliament to exercise its responsibility to review draft legislation and oversee the implementation of laws, policies and programs.

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41. Labor believes that those holding public office should fully disclose their financial interests and any other interest that may conflict, or be perceived to conflict, with their public duty.

42. Labor ministers will be required to adhere to a formal code of conduct which sets out the principles of ministerial responsibility under which ministers are answerable to Parliament for the discharge of their responsibilities, and action to be taken when conflicts of interest, or perceived conflicts of interest, arise and which prohibits behaviour likely to bring discredit to the government. Former ministers will be required to adhere to a twelve-month waiting period

before they can take up employment in their most recent area of responsibility.

43. In order to enhance the accountability of parliamentarians for their expenditure of allowances, Labor will table details of expenditure of travel and other allowances annually and will establish an independent auditor of parliamentary allowances and entitlements with appropriate powers of investigation.

44. Labor will ensure that ministerial advisers are accountable to government, the parliament and the public.

45. Recognising that every citizen should have a stake in the political process and that political parties need to be broadly representative, Labor endorses the maintenance of compulsory voting and registration.

46. Labor will reverse the Howard Government's regressive and undemocratic electoral changes. In particular, the early closure of the electoral roll and unfair proof of identity requirements that are designed to disenfranchise many Australians.

47. In order to guarantee effective representation of the community in the national parliament, limitations on the opportunities for Australian citizens to offer themselves for election to the 81 parliament should be minimal. Labor will work towards removing unnecessary barriers, and in particular will support reforms to terminate the constitutional ban on election to parliament of a person holding an office of profit under the Crown, provided that office is relinquished on


48. Labor believes that the cost of participation in the political process should be shared between the wider electorate and political organisations and their supporters. To achieve this Labor believes public funding is central to ensuring an open and participatory democracy.

49. Labor supports public transparency of political donations. Labor will therefore reverse the outrageous changes instituted by the Howard Government to limit public disclosure of political donations. Labor will not support millions of dollars being hidden from public scrutiny.

50. Labor will introduce measures to ensure:

• all fundraising bodies and trusts assisting political parties, politicians or candidates fully and promptly disclose their accounts and the source of their income;

• the definition of 'associated entity' in the Commonwealth Electoral Act more accurately reflects the activities of political parties;

• political party annual returns are accompanied by a report from an accredited auditor; and

• the Australian Electoral Commission has the power and resources to ensure compliance with disclosure laws, including the power to fully audit organisations or people it suspects have not disclosed gifts or other resources given to political parties, politicians or candidates.

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51. Labor will abolish the tax-deductibility of political donations, and reverse the Howard Government's attempt to hide donations by lifting the disclosure threshold from $1500 to $10,000.

Integrity and Openness In Government Administration

52. In government, Labor will ensure the highest standards of integrity, transparency in decision making, openness and accountability are maintained.

53. Labor will seek to encourage and lead public debate on important public policy issues by publishing appropriate, taxpayer-funded research.

54. Labor will not support the use of government advertising for political purposes. Labor will introduce legislation to ensure:

• government advertising campaigns only occur after government policy has been legislated for by parliament;

• all government advertising and information campaigns provide objective, factual and explanatory information, free from partisan promotion of government policy and political argument and in an unbiased and objective language;

• all advertising campaigns in excess of $250,000 are examined by the Public Service Commissioner, who will report to ministers on whether the proposed advertising complies with Auditor-General's 1998 guidelines on government advertising; and

• the cost of government advertising is minimised by the targeted use of media other than television advertising.

182 55. Labor will promote transparency and open government through improved freedom of information legislation. Conclusive certificates will be abolished and internal working documents that do not compromise national security will be accessible. Reports on the operation of government and government-funded agencies will be regularly tabled in


56. Freedom of information provisions should be available to all. Labor will ensure that the costs involved in using freedom of information procedures do not put them out of reach of the community.

57. Labor will ensure that considerations relating to outsourcing, privatisation, notions of commercial confidentiality and corporatisation are not used as excuses to allow government and government-funded agencies to escape the requirements of open government and accountability. The rights of clients and other recipients of such services, including rights to access to information, privacy, correction of inaccurate information and, where necessary, redress, will be maintained.

58. Labor recognises the responsibility of government to provide the necessary regulatory frameworks to ensure people, particularly clients and other recipients of services, are protected.

59. Labor recognises that where the government acknowledges responsibility to provide a service, it must guarantee delivery standards. This will require that the performance of service providers, whether they be public or private sector, be subject to examination by the Auditor General. Labor remains committed to a strong, independent and well resourced national audit office capable of providing objective and balanced audit advice and assurance to the

parliament, government and public sector entities.

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60. Labor believes that all government and administrative decisions should be subject to administrative review or judicial challenge, including through the continued effective operation of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act.

61. Labor will defend the integrity of the office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman and, with commensurate funding, boost its powers and responsibilities, including the power to commission public inquiries, to ensure standards of governance can be independently scrutinised.

62. It is essential for the integrity of the review process that tribunals and other bodies should maintain their independence from the agencies under review.

63. Labor supports public participation in government decision making through consultative processes such as advisory bodies, that are representative of community views.

64. Labor recognises that public interest disclosures are a legitimate form of action in a democracy and will support legislation to provide effective protection for public interest disclosures in the public sector.

65. Labor is opposed to relinquishing control of the nation's public services, including health and education services, in the General Agreement on Trade in Services negotiations and negotiations on bilateral free trade agreements. Labor will not support changes that undermine affordable access to public services or ongoing government rights to regulate services in the public interest. Nor will Labor support changes that require the privatisation of public assets.

High Quality Government Service Delivery 1 3

66. The Australian Public Service and the public sector generally plays a crucial nation building role, promoting our economic and social objectives in a publicly accountable way.

67. Labor will revive the concept of a career in the public service by making the APS a model employer, a place where Australians want to work, and by limiting and reducing non-ongoing employment in the APS. Labor will revive skills in the public sector and reaffirm the historic role of the public sector in national affairs.

68. Labor is committed to working with the community and the trade union movement in order to develop quality public services for all communities throughout Australia. These will be balanced across a range of issues, including re-investing in the community, services generated for service rather than profit, commitment to growth in service, and meeting the community's expectations.

69. Labor will boost the powers of the Public Service Commission and its Commissioner. This would provide for greater coordination in whole-of-service issues, such as workforce planning, recruitment, and greater in-service training. The Commission will take responsibility for core industrial relations matters, including a framework agreement. The Public Service Commissioner will also examine proposed government advertising campaigns in excess of $250,000, and report to ministers on whether the proposed advertising complies with the Auditor-General's 1998 guidelines on government advertising.

70. Given the rapid ageing of the APS workforce, and the shrinking number of young people joining the service, Labor will place particular emphasis on the recruitment of young people to the APS workforce, and will ensure that older Australians who wish to remain in the APS are able to do so.

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71. Labor supports the maintenance of a strong, unified, apolitical public service as a repository of knowledge and expertise in the development of government policy and the delivery of essential services to the Australian community.

72. Labor believes there are characteristics, which are unique to the public sector, such as multiplicity of objectives, the need for higher standards of accountability and the need to respond to the changing requirements of governments and that there are limits to the extent to which private sector practices can or should be applied to the public sector.

73. Under Labor, the focus of government will be on achieving benefits for the Australian community as a whole. While cost effectiveness will be an important consideration, equity, social cohesion and the provision of opportunities for all Australians will be of prime importance.

74. Labor recognises that, in the drive to make Australia more competitive, there is a need for continuous improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of government service delivery. Labor is committed to achieving best practice in the provision of government services.

75. As part of the process for improving the performance of public sector trading enterprises, Labor will ensure that they are provided with an adequate capital structure, including an adequate equity base.

76. Labor believes that the purchasing power of the Commonwealth and other levels of government should be used to provide expanded opportunities for local industry and to achieve savings in the purchase of goods and services for the public sector.

77. Labor recognises that for government programs to meet their stated objectives necessary 184" tools and resources must be in place. Programs should be regularly monitored to ensure that they have the capacity to achieve their stated objectives.

78. Labor is committed to improving transactions between the public sector and the wider community. It will strengthen the consultation between government agencies and consumers and will ensure that service delivery is simplified and better directed through the use of appropriate technology. It will favour changes to program design that enable recipients to exercise greater choice and control in their utilisation of basic government services.

79. Labor recognises that, despite the potential for increased efficiencies offered by new technologies, access to personal service and expert advice locally will still be of great value in many circumstances, particularly in the delivery of services to regional areas.

80. Labor will undertake audits of the provision of government services, including to regional, rural and remote Australia, and develop a strategy to ensure adequate service provision.

81. Labor recognises that our institutions and systems of government were not designed to manage mega-issues, such as climate change. Labor recognises the need for institutional reform in order to responsibly manage long-term issues facing Australia, the likes of which were unimaginable to our nation's founders.

Access and Equity in Government Employment

82. Labor is committed to a single, integrated, merit-based and non-discriminatory career public service that is able to respond to the changing needs of government and society.

83. Selection and promotion in the public sector will be on the basis of merit. At the same time Labor reaffirms its commitment to ensure a rapid increase of representation, including at senior levels, of sections of the workforce who have been discriminated against, or who have special needs: namely women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, migrants and

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people with disabilities. Labor also recognises the important role of the public sector in providing employment, training and career opportunities for young people.

84. Women make up over half of the Australian public service workforce, but remain significantly under represented at senior and middle management levels. Women will remain under-represented in the senior public service unless they have the flexibility to balance work and family commitments. Labor is committed to addressing this inequality in the public service workforce.

85. Labor reaffirms its commitment to the principles of participatory decision making and industrial democracy in the public sector.

86. Labor supports collective bargaining within the public service and the role of relevant unions in bargaining processes.

87. Labor is committed to ensuring that public servants are adequately represented in respect of workplace matters and will encourage union membership within the public service.

88. Labor will encourage mobility between and within departments, particularly for the Senior Executive Service, and between the public service and other appropriate areas of employment.

89. Labor recognises that the job insecurity faced by agency heads and department secretaries is a matter of serious concern and that it can lead to politicisation of the APS. Contracts for heads and secretaries will be for a fixed period of five years unless the appointee has a preference for a shorter period. Performance pay for heads and secretaries will be abolished and the jurisdiction of the Remuneration Tribunal to fix pay and conditions for heads and -.--secretaries will be restored.

90. Labor recognises that:

• Australians want a career public service without partisanship;

• public service employment must be fair and equitable;

• there is necessarily a limit on, and need for public scrutiny of, top public service remuneration;

• there must be an ethos of public service; and

• outcomes are funded by public money.

91. These special elements should be reflected in public service industrial relations arrangements by:

• ensuring secure, comprehensive, service-wide standards and classifications;

• ensuring secure superannuation arrangements;

• emphasising training and career development;

• enabling public servants to balance work and family responsibilities;

• ensuring appeal and review rights;

• ensuring that contracting-out is not used as a vehicle to cut wages and working conditions; and

• establishing staffing levels commensurate with work loads, not arbitrary financial targets.

92. Labor recognises that government appointments to board and statutory positions should be conducted in a manner that is designed to foster transparency, accountability and public confidence. In government, Labor will adopt principles and procedures to ensure that such appointments are underpinned by a system based on merit, equality of opportunity, public scrutiny and independence.

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Financing Government

93. Labor believes that the operation of the taxation system should be consistent with the criteria of fairness, economic efficiency, environmental sustainability, adequacy, simplicity, transparency, comprehensiveness and administrative efficiency.

94. Labor is committed to a fair and progressive tax system characterised by:

• vertical equity, meaning that those with differing capacities to pay tax should face differing burdens, with a greater contribution from those with the greater capacity to pay; and

• horizontal equity, meaning that those with equivalent capacities to pay tax should face similar burdens.

95. Labor will ensure that the taxation system is fair by, in particular:

• recognising the costs faced by families in raising children;

• ensuring that the interaction of tax and welfare does not act as a barrier for people to move from welfare to work;

• providing appropriate resources to revenue authorities to ensure a high level of compliance with, and minimal avoidance of, existing taxation laws;

• taking measures to ensure that high wealth individuals are not able, through family trusts and other income splitting a rrangements, to avoid paying their fair share of taxation;

• ensuring that the tax system does not subsidise excessive executive remuneration;

• ensuring the integrity of the ABN registration system; and

• addressing erosion of the PAYE tax base through incorporation and contrived 18 . independent contracting.

Economic Efficiency

96. The design and structure of taxes can have a significant effect on the economic viability of particular industries, regions or indeed the whole nation. To maximise economic efficiency in the tax system, Labor will seek to ensure that it:

• encourages economic growth and employment;

• encourages saving;

• encourages new investment, and research and development;

• assists the location of headquarters of international businesses in Australia;

• facilitates the establishment of Australia as a major regional financial centre; and

• maintains the integrity of taxation bases that are currently threatened.

Envi ronmental Sustainability

97. Labor will ensure that taxation leads to increased environmental sustainability and avoid taxation that leads to increased environmental degradation.


98. Labor will ensure a level of revenue adequate for the rebuilding and improvement of the public services we are committed to providing by:

• achieving sufficient economic growth to generate revenue;

• ensuring that the integrity of the tax base is maintained; and

• ensuring that all taxpayers are contributing fairly, by appropriately designed tax measures and effective legislative and administrative action to minimise tax avoidance.

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99. Labor will ensure that the taxation law is as simple to apply as is practicable and consistent with the achievement of fairness and other objectives. Taxpayers should be able to determine their liability inexpensively and with reasonable certainty, and the authorities should be able to calculate and collect revenue equally readily.


100. Labor will ensure that the taxation system is as transparent as possible, with decision-making discretions reduced as much as possible and a comprehensive system of rulings maintained to keep taxpayers fully informed of the practice of the revenue authorities.

Comp re hensiveness

101. Labor will ensure that the tax base is as comprehensive as possible, consistent with the achievement of other objectives, in a way that ensures that all sections of the community pay their fair share and no one is disproportionately burdened. Labor believes that tax avoidance schemes used by wealthy individuals must be stamped out. Labor in government will require the budget papers to include an independent report from the Taxation Commissioner and the Secretary to the Treasury, identifying material threats to the tax base.

Administrative Efficiency

102. Labor recognises that administrative efficiency is particularly desirable in the taxation system, in that it minimises the negative effects of taxation on the economy reduces the costs of collecting revenue, thereby providing more net revenue for government services and t87`., improves voluntary compliance by taxpayers. - . "0'=

103. Labor will ensure that the taxation system minimises compliance and collection costs. Maximum use will be made of information technology to minimise the time and cost burden faced by taxpayers, in particular small businesses, in complying with their taxation obligations.

The Management of Assets and Non-Tax Revenue

104. Labor believes that the management of public assets should reflect their contribution to the community beyond their financial worth. Labor is committed to the management of public assets to ensure that:

• consultation occurs when the use of public assets, including land, requires upgrading or review and that this involves the consideration of impacts on the environment, community amenity and access, transport, and regional or urban development;

• interest and dividends are used to meet broad social and economic objectives; and

• the services provided by the assets are reviewed and, if required, safeguarded by legislation.

105. Labor believes public ownership of assets, services and infrastructure will continue to play a vital role in supporting and promoting a strong economy and a more equal society. Therefore, Labor is committed to the maintenance of, and investment in, public assets, services and infrastructure to ensure their long-term competitive viability.

106. Any consideration of privatisation of assets, infrastructure or services, including through the application of national competition policy, will only occur where, after a period of genuine public consultation, it is demonstrably in the public interest.

107. Such public interest tests will include:

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• privacy of consumer information;

• accountability to, and scrutiny by, the public including unions and other stakeholders;

• reduced quality of service or access to service, cuts to jobs or employment conditions;

• detrimental effect on the environment or industry development (including regional industry clusters and supply chains);

• assessment of impacts on regional, rural and remote Australian communities;

• detrimental impact on skills development; and

• detrimental impact on maintenance, safety and productivity of associated industries services and infrastructure.


108. In addition to maintaining a taxation system which provides the primary source of revenue for meeting the needs of the Australian community, Labor recognises that the public expects government to continually review and assess public spending so that value for money in public expenditure is achieved and additional resources can be directed to high 153 priority objectives.

109. Labor recognises that this can only be achieved by way of a rigorous and disciplined budget process and financial management system.

110. Accordingly, Labor will implement a system which:

• establishes clear priorities and intended outcomes for spending, in line with announced policies; 188.. • seeks wherever possible to offset new recurrent expenditure with efficiencies in existing


• maintains world best practice and continuous improvement in the efficient delivery of high quality public services, and encourages innovative ways to achieve policy objectives at lower cost;

• maintains accrual accounting, but makes it more transparent and rigorous and reports the underlying cash and fiscal balances;

• improves the transparency of budget reporting at program level including by presentation of program information in the current budget year and the forward estimates;

• rigorously evaluates all spending and tax expenditure programs to ensure that programs are efficiently and effectively achieving their objectives;

• ensures the prudent financial management and accountability of public monies through a framework of strong fraud control measures, efficient cash management, optimal buying practices by government agencies and active asset management; and

• maintains the role of the Auditor General as the sole auditor of budget funded bodies, ensures adequate resources for the Australian National Audit Office and provides comprehensive financial information throughout the budgetary cycle.

111. Labor will do this while maintaining its commitment to a socially just Australia where all people can have a standard of living sufficient to enable them to live decently with dignity.

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Electoral Act Changes Labor condemns the Howard Government's recent changes to the Electoral Act which will affect thousands of Australians, particularly new citizens, renters, seasonal workers, Indigenous, homeless and young people.

These regressive and undemocratic changes include:

Early closure of the electoral roll By closing the electoral roll for most new enrollees on the day the writs are issued and only giving existing enrolees three days to co rrect their details, the government will severely limit a crucial period for Australians to ensure they are correctly enrolled. If it had been implemented for the last election up to 160,000 Australians may have been unable to enrol to vote and up to 280,000

people in total, could have been affected by having a substantial fault in their enrolment.

Greater identity requi re ments for enrolment This will make it harder to enrol and therefore to be part of the democratic process. It will increase the administrative burden on the AEC and disenfranchise thousands.

New requirements for provisional voters to prove their identity Voters on election day who aren't listed on the electoral roll are able to cast a provisional vote, that is then enveloped. After election day the bona fides of these ballots are investigated by the AEC

and if they should be admitted to the count, they are. The Howard Government intends to force those who cast a provisional vote to provide additional proof of identity. If they are unable to do so their vote will be excluded. Over 180,000 Australians cast provisional votes at the last election. 1 gg

Increasing the declarable limit for disclosure of donations from $1,500 to $10,000 A huge jump in the limit required before donation details must be made public. Massive sums of money will go into party coffers without the public knowing. Over 80% of donations would

disappear from public view. In 2003-04 over 12 million dollars across all major parties would vanish from public scrutiny.

Increasing tax deductibility for political donations from $100 to $1,500 This will provide a massive windfall to Coalition donors.

In the history of our country, there is not and has never been any evidence to show that any election outcome has been affected by fraud.

The Howard Government should be condemned for making it easier to donate to influence the political process, but a lot harder to exercise your democratic rights.

Labor will amend the Electoral Act to restore these rights, including reinstating the seven day period for enrolment after the issuing of the writs.

Labor will undertake a positive campaign to inform Australians of their rights to participate in the democratic process.

Federal Labor will also work with the States and Territories to keep our electoral roll properly maintained. As part of this process, Labor will commit to exploring new strategies to ensure our electoral roll is kept up to date as an essential part of our democratic system.

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Chapter Twelve

Ensuring Community Security and Access to Justice A rigorous, consistent and fair system of law and justice is foundational to a democratic society and a secure, well-functioning economy. Where a national approach offers significantly better outcomes, Labor will work alongside State and Territory governments to establish model or

uniform legislation. Labor will also work to improve access to justice, strengthen the institutions of the justice system, and take action to give greater protection to the victims of fraud, crime and violence.


1. Labor believes that a fundamental objective of government is to work with the community to provide greater security for all Australians and their families. To achieve this, the objectives of the criminal law should be to:

• prevent crime;

• protect the personal safety and property of all Australians;

I 190 • support, counsel and compensate the victims of crime, their families and dependents; and

• rehabilitate offenders.

2. Labor believes that the well-being and safety of the community is a fundamental responsibility of government.

3. An integral element of community safety is criminal justice. Labor is dedicated to providing the community with an effective criminal justice system, at all levels of government. Labor will ensure that the Commonwealth's investigation, prosecution, defence and judicial processes are separate, independent, adequately resourced and appropriately accountable.

4. Labor will also pursue cooperation between the Commonwealth, States and Territories in developing uniform and coordinated approaches to criminal justice and community safety.

5. Labor will provide adequate resources to law enforcement and prosecuting agencies to enable them to investigate and prosecute Commonwealth offences, in particular corporate crime and fraud against the Commonwealth.

6. Labor's response to the tragedy of drug abuse and related crime will be comprehensive. Labor is committed to a strategy for dealing with illicit drugs that aims to improve safety in the community by reducing the level of drug-related crime; to reduce the spread of illness; to keep people alive; and to find new ways to reduce the use of illicit drugs in our community.

7. Labor realises that an effective illicit drug strategy must address all areas of drug use and have prevention, early intervention and harm minimisation as its underpinning philosophy.

Labor's illicit drugs strategy will support and promote:

harm reduction through programs designed to tackle the health and social problems caused by drug use;

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• national coordination and cooperation between governments; • state government initiatives, such as supervised injecting places, aimed at reducing the costs to the community of illicit drug use and which will provide access to counselling and rehabilitation and facilitate scient ific and medical research;

• the development of programs and strategies based on expert advice, the adoption of performance objectives and a coordinated approach to research;

• purposeful law enforcement strategies, including the development of specialist drug courts and diversionary programs, designed to get drug users out of the traditional criminal justice system and into a comprehensive range of treatment, rehabilitation and support programs;

• adequate funding of law enforcement agencies such as the Australian Federal Police, which aim to break drug smuggling and other crime organisations;

• effective criminal and civil law reform aimed at deterring and punishing the professional criminal elements in the illicit drug trade;

• reduction directed at reducing the number of people taking up illicit drug use through targeted education programs for young people and users, and a strengthening of community and family involvement in programs across Australia;

• tackling the social dimension with programs to give young Australians hope and opportunity through employment, education and training and real life options and encouraging greater support among family, friends and community networks; and

• improving law enforcement at our borders and on the streets, increasing liaison and coordination with overseas law enforcement agencies and reducing the profitability of the 19i drug trade.

8. For these strategies to work, all need to be effectively funded and supported by government. They must also be properly evaluated and researched.

9. Labor will continue to value the Australian Federal Police as the foremost Commonwealth law enforcement agency. Labor will support initiatives and strategies which ensure that the crime fighting and investigation practices of the Australian Federal Police are modem, strategic and effective in combating criminal threats in the twenty-first century, including high technology crime, identity fraud and money laundering.

10. Labor acknowledges that Federal law enforcement agencies and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions must be effectively resourced in order to carry out the range of responsibilities required of Commonwealth law enforcement agencies.

11. Labor supports measures that remove the profit which organised crime can make from illegal activities. Labor believes that where the appropriate authority can demonstrate, on the balance of probabilities, that assets are the result of criminal activity the onus should be on the owner of the assets to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that the assets were lawfully obtained.

12. Labor supports law reform aimed at giving Commonwealth law enforcement agencies greater ability to investigate and apprehend people involved in terrorism, drug trafficking, gun running and organised crime. Labor will maintain the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 under review and amend it as necessary so as to further this aim. Labor will protect the human rights of those so accused, in accordance with our international obligations.

13. Labor will ensure that the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Federal Police and Customs have appropriate independent complaints handling procedures. As Australia is in an

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environment where there is a need for tough anti-terrorism laws, Labor will ensure there are strong safeguards against their abuse or misuse.

14. Labor supports the creation of national uniform criminal laws. These should include:

• a criminal code;

• a code of custody, sentencing and parole, with a specific section on juveniles;

• evidence laws;

• laws controlling the power of arrest and bail, in particular to strictly define the power to arrest without warrant and simplify the laws governing bail;

• laws providing strict controls on the use of firearms and offensive weapons;

• drug laws;

• national standards for dealing with spent convictions;

• national standards for dealing with victims of crime; and

• national standards for Indigenous prisoners which respect, as far as possible, customary law.

15. Labor will maintain and develop mechanisms designed to coordinate and enhance the efforts of federal, State and Territory authorities engaged in the fight against crime. To this end, Labor will establish a joint parliamentary committee for the oversight of all national law enforcement agencies.

16. Labor, while maintaining the principle of merit selection, will encourage the Australian Federal Police to recruit from a broad cross section of the Australian community, particularly i92 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women and people from non-English speaking backgrounds, as.a means of achieving non-discriminatory and more effective policing


17. Labor will ensure that the training of members of the investigative, prosecution and judicial authorities, and those involved in the administration of the law, encourages the development of non-discriminatory and non-violent attitudes. Labor supports the establishment of consultative mechanisms between investigating authorities and groups suffering from discrimination.

18. Recognising that crimes such as drug importation, corporate crime, cybercrime, identity fraud and money laundering are increasingly interwoven with globalised commerce and terrorism, Labor will support enhanced mechanisms for international cooperation including mutual assistance with overseas agencies and regulators.

19. Labor recognises the contract security industry as an integral part of ensuring Australians have confidence in the safety of the community. Labor recognises that the regulation of this sector is controlled through various Acts at the State and Territory level. Labor supports common minimum standards of regulation of the industry and will encourage State and Territory governments to establish a working group to facilitate those standards.

20. Labor is committed to reducing the over-representation of Indigenous Australians in the criminal justice system. A national whole-of-government social justice approach, in cooperation with State and Territory governments, is required to tackle to complex underlying causes of such over-representation. These causes include poverty, lack of education and employment opportunities, homelessness, substance abuse and family violence.

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Victims of Crime 21. Labor will develop national model legislation and program delivery standards for victims of crime, including:

• a charter of rights for the victims of crime which builds upon the United Nations Charter of Victims Rights (Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power 1985);

• laws governing the compensation of victims of crime;

• coordination across States and Territories of research and evaluation programs, the collection of data on victimisation rates, demographics, and victim needs and the dissemination of information;

• standards for the provision of support, counselling and rehabilitation services for the victims of crime;

• laws providing for victim impact statements, the provision of witness support and information and standards for the treatment of victims by the criminal justice system;

• initiatives for reducing repeated victimisation including video conferencing;

• particular emphasis on the needs of children and victims of sexual assault; and

• promotion of alternative dispute resolution and restorative justice processes aimed at improving outcomes for both victims and offenders and reducing prospects of recidivism.

22. Labor will aim to minimise the trauma of crime for victims, in particular the victims of sexual or family violence and abuse, during both the investigation of the crime and its prosecution. Labor will support programs and initiatives that are directed towards people from non-English speaking backgrounds, children, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women and the disadvantaged. g3 al

Rights of the Accused

23. As part of its commitment to the development of national uniform laws, Labor will work with the States and Territories to ensure that Australia is a civil and just society so that:

• people accused of a criminal offence are not compelled to incriminate themselves;

• people charged are given a fair and speedy trial;

• people charged with serious criminal offences are provided with legal representation if they are unable to afford legal representation of their own;

• people charged have a right to legal representation during questioning by investigating authorities and that such questioning is video taped; and

• evidence obtained illegally, by torture, coercive techniques or by improper investigative practice is inadmissible.

Custody and Sentencing

24. Labor supports the development of a national uniform code of custody, sentencing and parole to optimise the rehabilitation of offenders and to ensure the just treatment of all prisoners in public and private prisons. The code will:

• ensure consistent, just and humane treatment of offenders and accused and support the appropriate use of non-custodial sentencing options;

• prohibit the imposition of the death penalty;

• conform with Australia's international human rights obligations;

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• prohibit mandatory detention regimes for juveniles and the adults who commit minor offences without limiting the capacity of courts to direct offenders to appropriate noncustodial programs;

• adopt special measures to protect young people held in custody;

• adopt special measures to prevent deaths in custody, particularly among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;

• ensure training of police and prison officers in understanding Indigenous culture and the Indigenous social context;

• provide innovative and stronger sentencing options to penalise corporate offenders with penalties designed to redress the harm caused to individuals and the community as a result of offences and to deter future offences;

• remove imprisonment for the non-payment of fines except in cases of wilful default;

• adopt international treaties allowing the repatriation of Australians in overseas prisons; and

• develop consistency in sentences so that the judiciary retains a sufficient degree of appropriate discretion so as to enable sentences to be tailored to the circumstances of each individual case.

25. Labor supports the introduction of sentencing regimes that are purposeful and aim to divert juveniles away from the criminal justice system in the future.

26. Labor will continue to oppose mandatory detention when applied to juvenile offenders and to adults who commit minor offences, as it is discriminatory in practice and ineffective in

194 reducing crime or criminality.

The Causes of Crime and Crime Prevention

27. Restorative justice seeks to build a sense of community spirit and responsibility in the offender and aims to restore the victim and the community to their pre-offence state of security. Labor will promote the principles of restorative justice as a just and effective way to be tough on crime. Labor will support the introduction of programs that are consistent with victims' rights, based upon restorative justice.

28. Labor will support ongoing research into, and consult with the Australian community in relation to, the causes of crime, the most effective ways of preventing crime, and methods of rehabilitating criminals and reducing recidivism.

29. Labor will inform Australians about the level and effect of crime so that Australians can acquire a better understanding of the causes of crime, its impact and the measures needed to address it and to reduce fears that Australians hold about crime in our society.

Access to Justice

30. Access to justice requires reducing the cost of legal services and the removal of artificial barriers to justice. Labor will also seek to provide all Australians suffering from disadvantage, disability or discrimination with reasonable assistance and specialist services to enable them to have access to justice.

31. Labor will explore alternative and innovative models of justice administration and delivery to improve access for regional, rural and remote Australians. As the costs of legal services increase, Labor will explore alternative models to ensure urban Australians also have access to justice.

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32. Labor will reassume a national leadership role with regard to legal aid in order to recreate an independent, adequately resourced national uniform system of legal aid, which makes no distinction between Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth matters.

33. Labor will continue to support general and specialist community-based legal services, recognise their advocacy role and will further develop collaborative clinical legal education schemes with universities to the mutual advantage of both students and the community.

34. Labor acknowledges the many social and cultural dimensions of the Australian community, and the impact this has upon the understanding of and access to justice. Labor will ensure that Australians from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds are given access to information about their rights and responsibilities under the law, including court interpreter services, and the ways in which these rights and responsibilities can be fulfilled.

35. Labor will ensure the effective and efficient operation of the courts and tribunals by:

• requiring mediation to be undertaken in federal matters unless that mediation would be traumatic or impractical as a result of issues of abuse or power imbalance;

• providing adequate resources to the courts to allow the efficient, effective and timely resolution of disputes;

• supporting the removal of unnecessa ry procedural impediments to prompt dispute resolution an d to minimise litigation costs; • working with the States and Territories to overcome jurisdictional barriers to the delive ry of effective and efficient justice;

• ensu ring access to small claims tribunals and courts for the resolution of appropriate disputes; t 5

• strengthening funding to Aboriginal Legal Aid Agencies; • maintaining and enhancing the right to bring representative and group proceedings in federal courts and tribunals;

• rejecting the application of the user pays principle to court fees; • reviewing and monitoring court fees with a view to imposing cou rt fees that do not act as a barrier to justice; and

• ensuring provision of interpreter services.

36. In order to enhance the accessibility of justice, Labor will, without reducing the quality of access to the justice system:

• encourage the continued development of other affordable and simple primary dispute resolution mechanisms;

• encourage the development of a community approach to dispute resolution; • encourage parties to conciliate or arbitrate disputes, where that is appropriate;

• encourage the continued development of other cheap and simple primary dispute resolution mechanisms;

• provide just and equitable taxation treatment of legal expenses; • promote the use of appropriate and transparent contingency fee arrangements; and

• promote access to legal expense insurance schemes.

37. Recognising the importance of public duties owed by government to all Australians, Labor will provide relevant public interest advocacy groups with increased standing to enforce public duties.

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38. It is important to consider independent advice on access to justice issues. Labor will consider establishing an independent body to advise government on access to justice issues. The body will include representatives from the legal profession, the judiciary, other legal and related service providers, State and Territory governments and consumers.

Children and the Law

39. Labor supports the protection of the rights of children at the same time respecting the proper role of parents and other people responsible for their welfare. Labor supports the use of programs to help Australians to become better parents and to enhance life opportunities for their children. Where appropriate, Labor will ensure that children have adequate and independent separate representation before the courts.

40. Labor supports the development of a national approach to children and the law, which will include:

• recognising the best interests of the child as a primary consideration;

• a sentencing regime based primarily upon the principles of restorative justice;

• standards for court procedures where children are involved as witnesses, victims or offenders;

• standards for support, counselling and rehabilitation services for child victims and offenders within the criminal justice system; and

• support for research into causes of juvenile crime.

41. Labor will work with foreign governments, international agencies, the States and Territories, 196 and relevant community groups, to establish and maintain an integrated and effective response to paedophilia, child abuse and family violence.

42. Labor recognises that the way in which the criminal justice system treats juvenile offenders greatly influences whether they will re-offend. The incarceration of juveniles should be a last resort, and all efforts should be made to divert children from long-term involvement in the criminal justice system. To this end, Labor supports a review of the current Commonwealth, State and Territory sentencing practices, with respect to juveniles.

43. Labor will work with the States and Territories to develop a uniform national system for adoption.

The Government and Legislation

44. Government must play an active role in increasing awareness of, simplifying, and reducing the cost of compliance with the law. Labor will take appropriate steps to ensure that legislation and legislative instruments are accessible to all Australians. In particular, Labor will ensure that all legislation and legislative instruments are:

• drafted in clear, simple and non-discriminatory language;

• readily available to the public at the time of proclamation, including in printed form and via the internet;

• consolidated in a form which is accessible to both the profession and the public at a reasonable price and in an appropriate format; and

• regularly reviewed, simplified and if necessary, repealed.

45. Labor believes that substantive rights should be enshrined in legislation. Delegated legislation and other legislative instruments will be confined exclusively to administrative matters and should not be used to limit an individual's rights to access the courts. All legislative

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instruments should be subject to parliamentary scrutiny to check for consistency with Australia's human rights obligations.

46. Labor will establish a mechanism for the development of uniform national laws in the Attorney-General's and Justice portfolios. Labor will further work with the States and Territories on a long-term solution to ensure that the Commonwealth and State governments can put in place joint legislation to address issues of national importance for which neither government has complete responsibility.

47. Labor will work to ensure that Australia's security organisations are properly equipped and resourced to protect Australians from the threat of terrorist activities, and that the law strikes an appropriate balance between the protection of Australians and the democratic freedoms and values that are part of the Australian way of life. The activities of all security organisations should be subject to an appropriate complaints mechanism and independent external review.

The Courts and the Judiciary

48. Labor believes in the maximum possible uniformity in the structure and operation of the courts system throughout Australia. Labor will work to ensure adequate court services around the nation, including rural, regional and remote Australia. With a growing federal judiciary, Labor will review the interaction between the federal courts to ensure proper

resource distribution and their effective operation,

49. The independence of the judiciary is fundamental to the maintenance of both the rule of law and our democratic society. Labor will:

• consult widely in appointing judicial or quasi-judicial office holders on the basis of merit, i9 from among those with the highest personal and professional qualities. Labor's appointment process will be transparent and, as far as practicable, will seek to reflect the diversity of Australian society by including meritorious appointments from traditionally

under-represented groups such as women, people from non-English speaking backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;

• encourage the judiciary to participate in appropriate professional development programs including programs on gender, race and other relevant issues; and

• support the dismissal of judges only for proven misconduct or incapacity, by developing a protocol for dealing with serious complaints of misconduct or incapacity against federal judicial officers.

50. Labor believes that the courts should be accountable and managed efficiently and will work with the judiciary to ensure that the judicial system is efficient, accessible and accountable, including the use of benchmarking to evaluate and improve the delivery of services by courts to the public.

51. Labor will resume the traditional responsibility of Attorneys-General of defending the courts from inappropriate attacks and threats to their independence.

The Legal Profession

52. The legal profession plays a fundamental role in the provision of access to justice. Labor supports the creation of a modern, efficient and accountable national legal services market. In particular, Labor will work with the legal profession, the judiciary and the States and Territories to:

• create an independent, national, unified legal profession, regulated by an independent body so as to be fully accountable;

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• abolish the distinction between barristers and solicitors;

• develop and maintain independent complaint mechanisms through which the interests of consumers and the community are represented;

• abolish any anti-competitive practices engaged in by the legal profession except where those practices are in the public interest;

• remove restrictions which prevent legal practitioners from incorporating, providing complementary non-legal services and advertising their services, or non-legal corporate entities from offering legal resources by employing qualified practitioners subject to the protection of the interests of consumers and the community;

• establish uniform and mutually recognisable qualifications for entry to the profession;

• abolish the practice of some judges and members of the legal profession of wearing wig and gown; and

• abolish the title of King's or Queen's Counsel.

53. Labor will work with the legal profession to promote equality of opportunity and to seek to eliminate discrimination within the profession.

54. Labor will work with the legal profession, the judiciary and the States and Territories to:

• review and simplify all fee scales to ensure that they reflect the true value of work performed by the legal profession;

• establish fee scales as benchmarks above which lawyers may not charge without the express written agreement of their client;


• actively promote options to keep legal costs affordable and accessible to ordinary Australians; and

• gather and disseminate information to consumers about the reasonable cost of legal services.

55. Labor will work with the judiciary and the legal profession to ensure that effective mechanisms are in place to minimise the level of abuse of the legal process.

Law Reform

56. Law reform is essential to ensure that the law reflects the traditions, values and aspirations of all Australians. Law reform also ensures that our laws meet the needs of our modem democratic society.

57. Labor will seek to engage as many Australians as possible in issues of law reform so that our laws and legal system reflect the traditions, values and aspirations of all Australians.

58. Labor will provide adequate support and resources to law reform bodies, including the Australian Law Reform Commission, to enable them to provide independent and comprehensive advice on all aspects of law reform and to consult as widely as possible with the Australian people.

Privacy and Free Speech

59. Labor believes in the protection of the individual's right to privacy. In particular, Labor will:

• legislate to extend the operation of privacy protection to cover both the public and private sectors in accordance with international privacy principles and the best international standards;

• work with the States and Territories to develop appropriate frameworks for the protection of privacy in the workplace;

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• maintain regulation of the use, collection and dissemination of information about individuals by private and public organisations;

• prohibit the use of telecommunications interception and listening devices unless approved by judicial warrant or subject to appropriate administrative review;

• provide that evidence obtained by illegal invasion of privacy is generally inadmissible; and

• ensure privacy implications of emerging technologies are properly assessed and acted upon.

60. Labor will ensure that all Australians have reasonable access to their personal records and the right to correct false or misleading information.

61. All Australians enjoy the right to freedom of speech. However, this freedom must be exercised in a manner that respects the individual and collective rights enjoyed by other Australians and allows others to live free from violence, the fear of violence or the threat of violence. In particular, Labor will:

• legislate for proper freedom of information laws that enable Australians to access appropriate information about government activities;

• move to implement the ALRC recommendations on sedition laws;

• provide shield laws for protecting confidential sources and whistleblowers; and

• review laws that criminalise reporting of matters of public interest.

62. Labor believes it is appropriate to protect the reputation of others through uniform national defamation laws that ensure a proper balance between freedom of expression, public debate and the protection of the reputation of others. 199

63. Labor believes that adults should be entitled to read, hear and see what they wish in private and in public, subject to adequate protection against persons being exposed to unsolicited material offensive to them and preventing conduct exploiting, or detrimental to the rights of others, particularly women and children.

64. Labor is particularly concerned about the portrayal of violence on television and in films, videos, the internet and video games. Labor will ensure that appropriate controls are in place to protect all Australians and will conduct research into the impact of the portrayal of violence on our society.

65. Labor is concerned about the sexualisation of children and adults in the media. Labor will support the conduct of research into these areas.

Family Law

66. Labor believes that the family is the fundamental unit of society. Labor will provide support to Australians to help them to have happy, secure and productive family lives.

67. Labor believes that community-based services aimed at preventing marital and family breakdown, such as relationship education, family skills training, marriage preparation and marriage counselling and adolescent and family mediation should be a priority and readily available.

68. Labor believes that the resolution of family disputes should focus on counselling and mediation with litigation as a last resort. The resolution of disputes should focus on keeping families together, where it is appropriate. Labor will ensure counselling and mediation services will be accessible and affordable.

69. Labor will continue to develop and implement measures to ease the anxiety and stress of marital and family breakdown. In particular, Labor will ensure that:

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• the rights of children are paramount, in particular their right to support from and contact with both parents and contact with members of their extended family;

• there is a just and equitable division of matrimonial property;

• appropriate protections are in place in cases of actual or apprehended family violence or abuse;

• the particular needs, customs and practices of the diverse cultures which constitute Australian society are appropriately respected;

n family law disputes are resolved in a timely, effective and affordable way; and

• the Family Court and Federal Magistrates Service are accountable to the people who use them and are affected by them.

70. Labor believes that family law should apply in a consistent and uniform way to de-facto relationships across Australia.

71. Labor supports the continuation of independent sources of advice to, and research for, government on family matters.

Domestic and Family Violence and Abuse

72. Labor recognises that family violence is the cause of numerous social ills including homelessness, suicide, homicide, drug misuse, mental illness and community dislocation. It causes often irreparable damage to its survivors, particularly children. Labor recognises the need to firstly acknowledge the incidence and prevalence of family violence in all sectors of the Australian community and to accurately name and define family violence in all aspects of

200 Labor Party policy making.

73. Labor recognises that there is a gross over representation of incidents of family violence and abuse in Indigenous communities which is crippling the development, leadership and capacity of communities to become sustainable. This intolerable situation must be addressed through a re-invigoration of a national partnership approach with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the three tiers of government.

74. All Australians are entitled to live safe from family violence and physical and emotional abuse. Labor will:

• support measures to reduce violence in our community, including violence against women;

• develop a National Strategy on Violence Against Women, which will take a coordinated evidence based approach to ending violence including sexual violence and domestic violence;

• provide a uniform national mechanism to help protect Australians against family violence and abuse;

• support the establishment of a national database to record and advise authorities of family violence and abuse orders;

• ensure access to legal assistance and community services for people escaping family violence and abuse;

• conduct research and education to counteract the effects of family violence and abuse;

• ensure women and children are protected from family violence in the family home or through access to high-security refuges with skilled staff to support them;

• support the establishment of specialised State domestic violence court services to ensure the speedy and appropriate handling of complaints; and

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offer continued support to successful programs already established to combat domestic and family violence, such as the National Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse and ensure that funding gives organisations some ability to plan long-term.

War Crimes

75. Labor recalls the key role played by Ben Chifley's Government in developing the Geneva Convention on Genocide and reaffirms Labor's commitment to international treaties that aim to punish those who commit crimes against humanity, war crimes and other major human rights violations. There are major gaps in Australia's domestic laws that allow such accused criminals to enter and live here without fear of prosecution. Labor is committed to meeting Australia's international human rights obligations by closing these loopholes and Labor will

review investigatory resources to ensure that any perpetrators found in Australia can be brought to justice.

Administrative Law

76. Labor will ensure that government is accountable through appropriate freedom of information legislation and by providing mechanisms for all government decisions to be subject to independent administrative review or judicial challenge. Labor will ensure that the law of standing does not inhibit access to justice through effective and accessible administrative review.

77. Labor will ensure that the provision of public services by the private sector does not diminish the rights of Australians to freedom of information and administrative review or judicial challenge. 201 ,

78. Labor will seek to establish a uniform national administrative law system that complies with the highest standards of accountability.

79. Labor will continue to maintain an adequately resourced independent body to provide advice to government on the effectiveness of Australia's administrative law system.

Business Law

80. Labor supports the maintenance of national companies and securities legislation regulating companies, company takeovers, the futures industry and the securities industry to ensure a rational framework for business, its public accountability, the protection of consumers, workers, investors and shareholders and the prevention of anti-competitive practices.

81. Labor will continue to simplify corporate laws in order to reduce unnecessary costs to business and the community while maintaining protection for consumers, workers, investors and shareholders.

82. Labor will continue to review the Corporations Act 2001 and related legislation to ensure that companies follow good corporate governance practices that empower shareholders and hold company officers accountable.

83. Labor will work with the States and Territories, the business community and consumer representatives to develop a national business and commercial law to underpin the development of our national economy and to increase the international competitiveness of Australian business. The national law will seek to establish uniform national laws for commercial transactions and the incorporation of non-corporate business structures, while

ensuring international best practice, consumer protection laws and such other matters as are agreed. Consistent with Australia's close economic relationship with New Zealand, Labor will

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work with that country if it wishes to participate in Australia's uniform national scheme. If necessary, Labor supports constitutional reform to bring about this objective.

84. Labor will strengthen remedies and penalties to help prevent the practice of establishing phoenix companies to avoid the payment of debts to employees, trade creditors, and tax authorities.

85. Labor believes that bankruptcy laws should provide an inexpensive and quick determination of the rights and obligations of bankrupts. Labor will ensure:

n maximum possible returns to creditors;

• bankruptcy trustees can effectively recover property disposed of by bankrupts in an attempt to defeat creditors; and

• small debtors have access to negotiated voluntary alternatives to bankruptcy.

86. Labor will work with the States and Territories to maintain and improve Australia's national uniform Corporations Act 2001 on a secure long-term footing. This includes bringing all matters falling within the scope of the Commonwealth's constitutional power to legislate, in respect of corporations, within a federal government enactment and where appropriate securing a reference of State powers.

87. Labor will explore appropriate constitutional reforms to facilitate federal and state cooperative schemes including the ability of officers of the Commonwealth to exercise powers conferred by State legislation, the ability of State officers to exercise powers bestowed by federal legislation and the ability of federal courts to adjudicate in respect to matters arising under cooperative schemes. 202

Fraud Control Policy

88. Labor will be vigilant in efforts to eradicate fraud against the Commonwealth, particularly in light of the increased opportunities for fraudulent activity which have arisen from outsourcing and technological changes.

89. Labor supports the development of a fraud control policy which:

• is applicable to modem public service conditions and technological changes;

• has a comprehensive, all of government application;

• focuses on developing public sector expertise in preventing and combating fraud;

• involves the private sector; and

• acknowledges the primary role of the Australian Federal Police in conducting fraud investigations.

90. Labor supports a review of the criminal and civil laws relating to fraud, the range of civil penalties available and possible reforms to the complexity and length of the trial process.

Legal Services in the Global Market

91. Labor will work with the States and Territories, the courts and the profession to export Australian legal services to the world. In particular Labor will, through multilateral and bilateral negotiations, seek to reduce and eliminate inappropriate trade barriers to the export of the legal services of Australian firms.

92. Labor will work with our universities to promote Australia's high standards of legal education to overseas students.

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Empowering Consumers

93. Labor is committed to empowering consumers. Consumer sovereignty is enhanced by competitive and fully informed markets, balanced by effective regulation to protect consumers from unsound or unsafe goods, services or practices. Labor believes that the interests of consumers must take a central role in the policy making of the government.

94. Labor will work with States and Territories to develop uniform personal property security laws and a national register of personal property securities, to reduce the cost and uncertainty of transactions for consumers and small businesses.

95. Labor is committed to effective lifetime consumer education starting at school. It is through education that all Australians can be empowered as consumers.

96. Labor will require the ACCC to publish international price comparisons.

97. Labor is committed to effective consumer protection measures at the national and international level. Labor supports unified, consistent, simplified consumer laws and redress mechanisms throughout Australia.

98. Labor is committed to making the nation's consumer protection agencies more accountable through transparency and reporting.

99. Labor is committed to effective product labelling to ensure consumers can make informed choices. Food should be labelled to ensure consumers know both the ingredients and processes used. Labor will maintain food standards that guarantee minimum compositional requirements for popular foodstuffs such as ice cream and meat pies. Labor also supports the comprehensive labelling of genetically modified food. 20

100. Labor will strengthen country of origin labelling laws to ensure that products labelled 'Made in Australia' are predominantly manufactured in Australia, and that the 'Product of Australia' label is only used on products which are wholly made in Australia.

101. Financial markets offer many new opportunities for consumers but are also becoming increasingly complex. So that consumers can make informed financial decisions Labor supports:

• the full and transparent disclosure of all fees, charges, interest rates, risks and returns;

• the extension of the Corporations Act 2001 to credit products such as Low Doc and Reverse Mortgage loans.

• an end to unconscionable fees and charges; and

• up front display of transaction fees at ATM's.

102. Labor supports a 'one stop shop' for dispute resolution in financial services and will work to join together the various agencies providing alternative dispute resolution.

103. Labor will work with State and Territory governments to ensure that financial literacy is a prominent part of the education curriculum.

104. Labor will work with State and Territory governments to ensure comprehensive regulation by ASIC of mortgage brokers and property investment schemes.

105. Consumers are entering a new economic era where goods and services are increasingly available in highly deregulated and complex markets. Labor will conduct an urgent audit of our existing regulatory structures to ensure that consumers are adequately protected in this new environment. The audit will include consultation and input from relevant industry and community and consumer organisations on whether:

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• the existing regulatory structures need to be redesigned to better protect consumers in the new economy;

• voluntary industry codes of conduct offer adequate protection to consumer interests in the new economy; and

• the Trade Practices Act 1975 needs further amendment to outlaw unfair consumer contracts.

106. Labor will ensure that the ACCC is adequately resourced to protect the interests of consumers, in areas such as price exploitation, price monitoring, industry codes and pursuit of legal action against organisations in breach of consumer legislation.

107. Labor supports a strong consumer voice in government and will ensure that consumers are properly represented in policy processes and that all consumer advocates on government bodies are genuine representatives of Australian consumers.

108. Services such as mobile phones and the internet are increasingly essential to full participation in the economy. To protect consumers in these new growth areas, Labor supports the implementation of:

• cooling off periods in consumer internet and mobile phone contracts;

• an end to unconscionable fees and charges in consumer internet and mobile phone contracts; and

• strict standards to protect consumers engaging in electronic commerce consistent with international best practice standards.

109. Labor will implement the recommendations of the Productivity Commission and introduce 204 uniform product safety laws and a Product Safety Regulator.

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Empowering Consumers That further to the "Empowering Consumers" provisions of Chapter 12, Conference expresses its concern at the need to protect consumers' rights in the global economy.

To this end Conference declares that Labor in government should:

1. Enact laws that will provide that before consumers' personal or financial information can be sent off-shore they must give their informed consent, and

2. Require that all corporations operating in Australia that operate or engage the services of off-shore contact centres for either inbound or outbound calls shall disclose the physical location of the contact centre involved.

Sedition and Treason Labor is opposed to the new sedition laws introduced by the Howard Government in the Anti-Terrorism Act (No. 2) 2005. Under these laws a person can be convicted of sedition merely by expressing a strong dissenting opinion. Labor believes that sedition should be confined to circumstances where a person urges force or violence and intends that force or violence to occur.

Labor in government will implement the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission to that effect in its report entitled Fighting Words: A Review of Sedition Laws in Australia.

In 2002, the Howard Government introduced new treason offences, two of which prohibit "conduct that assists by any means whatever" an enemy at war with Australia or a country/ 205 organisation fighting the Australian Defence Force.

Labor is concerned that these offences may be committed by a person giving minor assistance, perhaps just by expressing a strong dissenting opinion, despite treason being the most serious crime known to our law and having a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Accordingly, Labor in government will implement the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission in its Fighting Words report to the effect that treason should be confined to "conduct directly and materially assisting actual military activities, by the provision of funds, troops, arms or strategic advice or information".

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Respecting Human Rights and a Fair Go for All Labor's vision for Australia's future is for a united nation where freedom, responsibility and power are fairly and equitably shared. Our commitment to human rights is based on our belief in the fundamental equality of all peoples. In government, we will work towards recognising and

respecting the human rights of all Australians. In particular, Labor will work towards the proper recognition of the unique place of indigenous Australians in our nation's history and future. This is the only basis on which we can build lasting national unity.


1. Labor is committed to supporting the international human rights instruments to which Australia is a signatory including:

• The Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

• The International Convention on Civil and Political Rights;

• The International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

• The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; 206 • The International Convention on the Rights of the Child;

• Convention concerning the Application of the Principles of the Right to Organise and to Bargain Collectively

• Convention concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise

• Convention concerning Force or Compulsory Labour

• Convention concerning the Abolition of Forced Labour

• Convention concerning Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value

• Convention concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation

• Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour

• The International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination;

• The Refugee Convention; and

• The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Punishment or Treatment.

2. Labor will continue to support a properly funded Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) as an independent body advising on, and inquiring into, the protection and advancement of human rights in Australia.

3. Labor will cooperate with the States and Territories to ensure that comprehensive and consistent human rights protection and enforcement mechanisms are available to all Australians.

4. Labor supports both the promotion of human rights internationally and the development of international standards and mechanisms for the protection and enforcement of these rights.

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Labor will adhere to Australia's international human rights obligations and will seek to have them incorporated into the domestic law of Australia and taken into account in administrative decision making.

5. Labor recognises the fundamental rights and entitlements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians as the original owners of this land.

6. An awareness and understanding of the human rights enjoyed by all Australians is essential to their maintenance and protection. Labor will promote an awareness and understanding of human rights that should be enjoyed by all Australians and provide education to all Australians about the significance of, and the need to respect, human rights.

Human Rights and Responsibilities

7. Labor will initiate a public inquiry about how best to recognise and protect the human rights and freedoms enjoyed by all Australians.

8. These inalienable rights also carry with them a responsibility to respect the individual and collective rights enjoyed by others and the need to protect and promote institutions and practices fundamental to an equal, just, democratic and tolerant society.

9. Labor will establish a process of consultation which will ensure that all Australians will be given the chance to have their say on this important question for our democracy. Labor will engage with Australians in deciding which democratic, industrial and community rights recognised in international treaties and conventions ratified by Australia should be protected. Any proposal for legislative change in this area must maintain sovereignty of the Parliament

and shall not be based on the United States Bill of Rights.


10. Labor supports legislative and administrative action by all Australian governments to eliminate discrimination, including systemic discrimination, on the grounds of race, colour, sex, religion, age, sexuality, gender identity, disability, genetic makeup, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

11. Where necessary, Labor will take special measures designed to achieve equality and eliminate the effects of both historic and contemporary discrimination.

12. Labor recognises the right of all people to live and work in an environment free from vilification or harassment, and will provide an accessible and effective means for all people to protect themselves from such behaviour.

13. Labor supports the protection of the rights of children at the same time respecting the proper role of parents and other persons responsible for their welfare.

14. Labor supports the appropriate protection of the religious freedom of all people.

15. Labor believes that people are entitled to respect, dignity and the opportunity to participate in society and receive the protection of the law regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. Labor supports the enactment of legislation prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of a person's sexuality or gender identity and will audit Commonwealth legislation to amend

provisions that unfairly discriminate against any person on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity.

16. Labor will ensure that all couples who have a mutual commitment to a shared life do not suffer discrimination because they are not married.

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Labor will take action to ensure the development of nationally consistent, state-based relationship recognition legislation that will include the opportunity for couples who have a mutual commitment to a shared life to have those relationships registered and certified. This legislation will:

n Be based on the scheme that has existed in Tasmania since 2004 and that the Victorian government has announced its intention to introduce;

• Not create schemes that mimic marriage or undermine existing laws that define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

17. Labor recognises the right of people living in rural, regional and remote communities to receive adequate levels of essential services in areas such as access to justice, health, education, housing, employment and technological and physical infrastructure.

Women: Making Equality Real

18. Labor is concerned that women remain concentrated in lower-paid and lower-skilled jobs, and that in recent years the pay gap between men and women has widened. Women are more likely to work part-time, more likely to experience periods out of the labour force and more likely to require support to balance work and family responsibilities throughout their lifeti mes. To address these issues, Labor will implement measures to:

• further reduce and ultimately eliminate the earnings gap between male and female workers;

• further reduce occupational segregation;


cke • ensure women receive equal access to educational and training opportunities and ensure ~ ' that women are encouraged and assisted to take up these opportunities;

• ensure women have equal access to opportunities within the workplace, specifically to promotions and career development;

• ensure women have access to adequate retirement income, with a particular focus on increasing women's superannuation savings;

• recognise and value women's unpaid work, particularly caring and volunteer work;

• develop specific programs to assist women to better balance work and family responsibilities, in particular flexible workplaces and high quality, affordable childcare and before and after school care;

• promote changes to both the industrial relations system and labour market programs that improve women's access to employment and to their conditions of employment;

• provide strong mechanisms to remove sexual harassment and discrimination from the workplace;

• recognise the particular issues faced by women in rural, regional and remote areas and seek to address inequalities of access to communication services, transport, training and employment;

• recognise the particular issues faced by women of non-English speaking backgrounds and ensure government policies and programs are accessible and appropriate to their needs;

• recognise the particular issues faced by Indigenous women and ensure that government policies and programs are accessible and appropriate to their needs;

• ensure appropriate measurement of the value of unpaid work to the economy; and

• eliminate the exploitation, including sexual exploitation, of women and children, either in Australia or overseas.

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19. Labor will:

• strengthen and improve the Sex Discrimination Act and the powers of the Commissioner to protect women against discrimination on the basis of gender and family and carer responsibility;

• ensure the unfair taxation system introduced by the Coalition is made fairer;

• invest in lifelong learning so that women are provided with equal opportunities to improve their skills and their life opportunities by getting a better education; and

• provide Australian women with a new avenue to seek redress of their fundamental human rights where domestic avenues have been exhausted, by signing and pursuing ratification, through domestic treaty-making processes, of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

20. Labor will provide the necessary support services which enable women to balance work and family responsibilities so that they can participate fully in the life of the community.

21. As women are the major users of health and community services, Labor will:

• ensure that health, housing, childcare, aged care, and family and other community services are of high quality and affordable;

• support the rights of women to determine their own reproductive lives, particularly the right to choose appropriate fertility control and abortion;

• ensure that women have a choice regarding their reproductive lives on the basis of sound social and medical advice;

• strengthen programs that assist women escaping family violence; 209„

• provide assistance to carers, including carers in the workforce; and • support the development of local and accessible justice, health, education and training and family and community service programs tailored to meet the needs of women living in rural, regional and remote Australia.

22. Labor will pay particular attention to keeping women and families out of poverty, acknowledging that women of all ages and their dependent children comprise the majority of Australians who live below the poverty line, as well as the majority of social security beneficiaries. Labor will continue to help families lift their living standards by:

• providing income support, health and community services to reduce the number of women and their children living in poverty;

• linking the provision of these services more directly to employment, education and training opportunities so that women can improve their living standards over their lifetime;

• reducing the tax and social security penalties that penalise many women when they return to work or increase their hours at work;

• ensuring that labour market programs of proven benefit to women are maintained and extended; and

n providing and promoting skilling and education programs for women re-entering the workforce.

A Better Balance between Work and Family

23. Labor will implement measures to:

• encourage employers to provide more family friendly workplaces, including the provision of paid family leave, extended unpaid parental leave, family friendly rostering provisions,

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paid maternity leave, quality part-time work including the opportunity to move between full and part-time work and family facilities;

• improve the accessibility of affordable, quality childcare and before and after school care, particularly at or near workplaces and encourage employer investment in childcare;

• provide greater support for pregnant and breastfeeding women in the workplace;

• encourage greater flexibility in the delivery of social security payments so that families, if they want to, can afford to have one parent stay at home in the early years in a child's life;

• promote greater acceptance that women and men will temporarily interrupt their careers for parenting duties and reduce the indirect costs such as loss of benefits and uncertain or reduced employment status associated with these breaks; and

• target social and economic policies to the different needs of families as they pass through each life-stage.

A Better Deal for Women from Government

24. To improve the quality of government decision making as it relates to women, Labor will introduce annual audits by an independent agency of the impact of specific policies on women. These audits will be conducted in partnership with the Office of the Status of Women and will be made publicly available.

25. Labor will support and encourage women to contribute to the development and implementation of policies that affect their lives, and will fund organisations to advocate on behalf of and for women.

2;10; 26. Labor will strengthen the Office of the Status of Women.

27. Labor will increase the representation of women in parliament, and will continue efforts to increase the number of women at senior levels in both the public and private sectors.

Children and Young People

28. Labor believes that all areas of government must reflect the intrinsic value of children and young people in their policies and programs.

29. Labor will establish a specialised government Office for Children and Young People. The Office will have responsibility for developing a coordinated strategy between, and analysing policies arising from, different portfolios for impacts on children and young people.

30. Labor will also establish a National Commissioner for Children and Young People in order to promote their interests as participants in our community and to promote investing in children and young people.

31. The National Commissioner for Children and Young People will establish a national code to protect children and young people from abuse. The national code will be developed in consultation with the States and Territories and will ensure that all organisations have adequate procedures to prevent abuse and handle any complaints. The code will include a national working with children check.

Young Australians: Consultation and Inclusion

32. Young people are a diverse group with different needs, concerns and aspirations. Labor is committed to the development of policies that support their different needs, concerns and aspirations including those who suffer from socio-economic disadvantage, neglect and abuse, shifts in education, employment and training patterns and technological change.

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33. Labor is committed to real consultation with children and young people about issues affecting them as well as including parents, communities, community organisations and advocacy groups. Labor will pursue a positive and integrated agenda which recognises and 173 values the strengths, contributions and resources of all young people.

34. Labor is committed to ensuring successful transitions for young people leaving school to pursue employment, education and training. Labor will ensure that appropriate support services are available to young people so that their transition from school to further education and employment is as effective as possible.

35. Labor's education and training strategies will ensure that young Australians have high levels of literacy and numeracy and the confidence, flexibility and maturity to contribute to, and participate in, our nation's economic, social, cultural and technological development.

36. Given structural changes in the economy and the greater flexibility which is demanded of the workforce, a commitment of both government and individuals to lifelong education and training is required to ensure that young workers can shift effectively into growth sectors of the economy.

37. Unless young people are given greater certainty about their post-secondary pathways, they will inevitably lower their ambitions and Australia will become a much weaker nation for this loss of ambition among its young citizens.

38. Education and training has a fundamental role in preparing young people for the employment market, including the exploration of career paths, development of job interview skills, workplace responsibilities and the rights of the employee. This should be available through a wide range of outlets including schools, community groups and other convenient and youth [211 accessible mediums such as the internet.

39. Labor is committed to enhancing pathways that will affect young people achieving employment and job security. In particular, the 15-19 age group requires relevant school to work transition programs, expanded work experience opportunities and work-orientated, careers education in secondary schools. It is also the primary target group for apprenticeships and traineeships.

40. Labor will provide the support and assistance needed by young people at risk of not successfully making the transition to economic independence. Labor will invest in programs to assist young people who face barriers to participation and will integrate employment development for young people into its regional job creation programs.

41. Labor recognises the need to specifically address the health needs of young Australians, including physical and mental health issues, drug and alcohol education and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. Labor will adopt an integrated health-based approach to youth suicide that works with existing community structures. Part of this approach will include strategies to address contributing factors such as depression, neglect, abuse, drug and alcohol problems, access to firearms and discrimination.

42. Labor will address youth homelessness, recognising the interconnection of employment and education opportunities and the need for a voice in the community for young people. Labor recognises the higher incidence of physical and sexual assault among young people and the need for this to be tackled as a central element of service provision.

43. Labor recognises the need for the reinstatement of a peak youth representative body in order to facilitate a direct voice to government for youth service organisations and to coordinate a national network of autonomous youth services. In addition to this, Labor will examine ways

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of improving the access of young people to make recommendations to government across all portfolio areas.

Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders

Basic Objectives

44. Labor will review the current citizenship rights extended to youth, including suffrage, discrimination and representation in the policy making process and seek to extend these rights where they respond inadequately to young people's needs and legitimate aspirations.

• To promote the First Nations status of Indigenous Australians.

• To build national consensus around a long-term strategy to improve the social and economic well-being of Indigenous Australians.

• To enable the full exercise of Indigenous Australian's rights and responsibilities on both an individual and collective level.

n To advance reconciliation and social justice.

Guiding Principles

• Labor respects the right of Indigenous Australians to meaningful self determination arising from their First Nations status.

• A Labor Government will develop a strong political relationship with a new national representative body, and be accountable to it.

• Labor will harness Indigenous decision-making power in relation to the formulation and 2 delivery of policies and programs.

• Labor will endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and be guided by its benchmarks and standards.

• Labor will take an evidence-based approach to improve the social, cultural and economic well-being of Indigenous Australians.

• Labor will introduce a national policy framework with transparent goals and timeframes based on research and statistical data and will hold all governments accountable to it.

• Labor will build national consensus and support for the policy framework across political parties and all levels of government.

• Labor believes that government is best placed to act as an enabler, investor and monitor in Indigenous affairs.

• Labor will require that all policies and programs increase independence and self reliance in Indigenous communities.

• Labor understands that policy must reflect the plurality and diversity of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.

• Labor believes that Indigenous Australians in urban, regional and remote areas deserve equal attention from government.

• Labor believes that all Indigenous communities are entitled to access equitable standards of infrastructure, amenities and services.

• Labor understands that historical policies are a fundamental cause of poverty and marginalisation today.


45. Labor remains firmly committed to reconciliation and is encouraged by the initiative of the community and corporate sector in driving reconciliation.

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46. Labor values the symbolic importance of a national apology and commits to reconciliation as a vehicle for healing and justice in Australian society.

47. Labor believes reconciliation is also essential for improving unacceptable health, education and economic disadvantage faced by Indigenous Australians.

48. Labor will implement the recommendations made in 2000 by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and will use the Council's Australian Declaration towards Reconciliation as a basis for action.

49. Labor will work towards a lasting settlement with Indigenous Australians. Labor will build public support to meet the goal of providing constitutional recognition of the First Nations status of Indigenous Australians and their custodianship of land and waters.

National Representative Body

50. Labor remains committed to establishing a national representative body and regional representative structures for Indigenous Australians.

51. Labor will empower Indigenous Australians to hold all levels of government to account through this national body and regional structures.

52. Labor will finalise this structure and its functions in partnership with Indigenous Australians.

Good Governance, Capacity Development and Indigenous Service Delivery

53. Labor will target the structural deficiencies within the federal system to ensure that the funding distribution is efficient and equitable according to need.

54. Labor recognises that all Indigenous Australians should have access to equitable standards 2i3+ of services, amenities and infrastructure and will address the current neglect of service provision that exists in many remote communities. Under Labor, all levels of government will be held accountable for service provision to Indigenous Australians.

55. Labor will revitalise and reform the culture of government agencies to balance compliance with community outcomes and capacity development.

56. Labor supports preferential tendering for service delivery contracts where an Indigenous organisation can deliver a higher quality and competitive service and promote local employment and greater community benefits.

57. Labor will invest in developing the capacity and governance of Indigenous community organisations.

Early Childhood Development and Intervention

58. Labor believes early childhood intervention is one of the best means of providing a pathway out of disadvantage for many Indigenous children.

59. In cooperation with the States and Territories, and in consultation with Indigenous communities, Labor will implement a comprehensive early childhood strategy for Indigenous children including initiatives that start well before pre-school.

60. Indigenous communities—urban, regional and remote—will be priority areas for the expansion of early childhood services, particularly in regard to Labor's commitment to universal access for four year olds to early learning programs.

61. Labor acknowledges the over-representation of Indigenous children in the child protection system. Preventative and proactive measures focused on early childhood development and family strengthening are most effective in reducing this over-representation. Labor strongly

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supports the principle that where a child has to be removed that every effort is made to place that child with relatives, kin or another Indigenous family. The paramount priority of child placement is the safety and well-being of the child.


62. Labor believes that the disparity in health status between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is unacceptable.

63. Closing the life expectancy gap will be a key objective of a federal Labor Government. International experience shows that this is achievable, with the right resources and political will.

64. In consultation with the Indigenous health sector, Labor will set targets for health improvements and ensure programs and services are adequately resourced to meet those targets. Labor will take particular care to adequately resource the primary health care sector.

65. Labor will provide funding certainty and continuity to Indigenous health care providers.

66. Labor will make investment in the Indigenous health workforce a key priority.

67. Labor remains committed to community-controlled and culturally-sensitive health services because they are proven to deliver higher quality service and superior health outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

68. Labor will also work to address the social determinants of Indigenous people's poor health, such as material poverty and poor education.


69. Labor recognises the gravity and extent of substance and alcohol abuse, family violence, child abuse, and sexual assault in some Indigenous communities. Labor believes that these issues should be seen as health issues as well as law and order issues. Labor will provide ongoing support to community initiatives to ensure strong interventions are put in place that break the cycles of abuse, rehabilitate individuals and families and strengthen social norms.


70. Labor acknowledges that the housing crisis in many Indigenous communities has profound consequences for educational and health outcomes.

71. Labor believes that the crisis should be addressed through evidence-based strategies and adequate investment. Labor recognises that meeting the bulk of this need will require additional investment in public housing in urban, regional and remote areas.

72. Labor will explore options to leverage private sector finance and to more effectively utilise public finance to respond to the chronic housing needs of Indigenous Australians.

73. Labor supports Indigenous home ownership measures. Labor believes that initiatives encouraging home ownership on Indigenous land must not undermine the property rights of traditional owners.


74. Labor believes that the Commonwealth Government has a particular responsibility for working with State and Territory governments to provide high quality and relevant education for Indigenous Australians.

75. Labor believes that Indigenous students, particularly in regional and remote areas, should have access to quality primary or secondary schooling or school infrastructure. Labor will hold all State and Territory governments to account for their service provision to Indigenous communities.

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76. Labor supports flexible delivery modes in regional and remote areas that enable students to maintain a connection with their home community. Labor also supports scholarship programs, which allow selected students to pursue broader academic opportunities.

77. Labor will value Indigenous decision making in education and promote community leadership on the importance of education.

78. Quality teacher recruitment and training, including an increase in the Indigenous education workforce, is a key priority for Labor.

79. Labor believes that quality education and successful initiatives should be accessible to every student and community in need, including in urban areas. Programs must also be adequately resourced and have funding stability.

80. Labor supports quality teaching environments and institutions that are culturally inclusive and will encourage Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in education curriculum.

81. Labor supports a mandatory Indigenous studies component as part of all teachers' pre-service training.

82. Labor supports bi-lingual and bi-cultural education and believes they have value for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Employment and Training

83. Labor recognises that Indigenous unemployment is chronic and is projected to increase dramatically in the next decade.

84. Labor will invest strongly in quality; culturally-competent training that is linked to regional 5s l need and opportunities. Labor will grow local and regional partnerships between the community and private sectors.

85. Labor asserts the rights of Indigenous workers to fair and equal recognition and remuneration for their work. Labor believes that CDEP should not be used to subsidise employment that would otherwise be funded by government.

86. Labor will also ensure that employees of Indigenous organisations receive equitable remuneration to their counterparts in mainstream organisations.

87. Labor will make sure unemployed Indigenous Australians are provided with the training, skills and personal development that are needed to successfully transition into employment.

88. Labor will also ensure that Indigenous employment initiatives are resourced to carry out community development programs where needed.

89. Labor will review the policy and funding guidelines of CDEP to meet the social and economic development agendas of Indigenous communities in remote areas.

90. Labor will increase Indigenous employee recruitment and retention rates in the Australian Public Service including in upper management.

Economic and Infrastructure Development in Remote and Regional areas

91. Labor affirms the importance of economic development in increasing self reliance and furthering the aim of self determination.

92. Labor believes that governments must act as enablers of business development and job creation in remote communities.

93. Labor understands that infrastructure needs such as roads and communications are an important prerequisite to economic development.

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94. Labor will realise the potential for economic opportunities in rural and remote areas through regional, evidence-based planning. Areas of potential include environmental and cultural heritage management and the tourism, mining and creative industries.

Native Title and Land Rights

95. Labor understands that land and water are the basis of Indigenous spirituality, law, culture, economy and well-being.

96. Labor acknowledges that Native Title and Land Rights are both symbols of social justice and valuable economic resources to Indigenous Australians.

97. Labor recognises that a commitment was made to implement a package of social justice measures in response to the High Court's Mabo decision. Labor will honour this commitment.

98. Labor fully supports Native Title as a property right under Australian law.

99. Labor also fully supports the statutory recognition of inalienable freehold title under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 and the right of property owners to provide free, prior and informed consent to any major changes affecting their interests.

100. Labor believes that negotiation produces better outcomes than litigation and that land use and ownership issues should be resolved by negotiation where possible.

101. Labor will facilitate the negotiation of more Indigenous Land Use Agreements and ensure that traditional owners and their representatives are adequately resourced for this task.

102. Labor believes that the independence of native title representative bodies should be 21:6 supported to enable them to freely advocate on behalf of the people they represent. Labor will evaluate the performance of these bodies against transparent indicators, including how

satisfied traditional owners are with the service they have received.

103. Labor will address the chronic staffing retention issues of native title representative bodies by supporting professional development and mentoring opportunities.

104. Labor will ensure adequate resourcing for the core responsibilities of Prescribed Bodies Corporate.

Cultural Heritage and Language

105. Labor will make the protection, preservation and revitalisation of Indigenous languages a major priority. The urgency of this is underscored by the probability that 90 per cent of Indigenous languages will disappear over the next generation.

106. Labor will significantly reform national heritage protection legislation to provide adequate protection of Indigenous cultural and intellectual property, as well as economic opportunities for Indigenous Australians.

107. Labor is committed to promoting policies that support the preservation and recording of Indigenous cultural heritage and its protection from expropriation, exploitation and desecration.

108. Labor recognises the need for balance between ensuring that Indigenous peoples possess the power to protect their own culture, both past and present, and the right to economic development for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Labor will seek the agreement of traditional owners, as far as possible, when making decisions that affect cultural heritage. Non-adversarial processes that include Indigenous peoples in the

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protection of their heritage, cultural and intellectual proper ty will also ensure greater certainty for all stakeholders.

109. Labor will involve Indigenous people as key decision makers over the location, care and rules of access to their particular cultural heritage, artefacts and human remains in Australian public collections.

110. Labor will also vigorously advocate this approach to other national governments whose institutions hold Indigenous Australian cultural heritage, a rtefacts and human remains. Labor will ensure Indigenous involvement in decision making and respect for traditional custom in the repatriation of these items or human remains.

Natural Environment

111. Labor believes that Indigenous knowledge and experience of lands and waters is a beneficial and under-utilised asset in the management and use of our natural environment.

112. Labor will recognise the monetary value of Indigenous natural resource management and make it a central component to national environment and climate change strategy.

113. Labor acknowledges the conservation and economic value of Indigenous Protected Areas and will provide appropriate and sustainable levels of funding to reflect those values.

114. Labor will strongly encourage private sector partnerships with Indigenous land managers to deliver greenhouse gas abatement services and offsets.

Deaths in Custody, Criminal Justice and Community Safety

115. Labor notes the high level of incarceration experienced by Indigenous people and that these 217^

high rates continue to rise.

116. Labor recognises that the 1992 Report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody identified the systemic causes of incarceration and provided a specific and targeted agenda for reducing social and economic disadvantage. Labor will review progress and support the continued implementation of its recommendations by all levels of government.

117. Labor will also reinstate the full publication of statistics on deaths in custody.

118. Suspicious deaths in custody must be treated in a manner that maintains public confidence in the justice system.

119. A Federal Labor Government will work with State and Territory Governments to ensure that Indigenous communities are safe and that women, children and elders in particular receive the full protection of the law.

120. Labor believes there is one standard of law in Australia that must be applied to all Australians and understands that the recognition of customary law in some areas of legal practice does not compromise this standard.

121. Labor recognises that the consideration of customary law in sentencing and traditional methods of treating offenders has improved law enforcement and the effectiveness of the justice system in a number of Indigenous communities.

122. Labor suppo rts this collaborative approach to the extent that customary laws or traditional methods do not breach Australian law or basic human rights.

123. Labor will ensure that Indigenous legal services are adequately resourced to represent and provide quality advice to their clients. Labor will also ensure that solicitors and other staff working in these services receive equitable remuneration.

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124. Labor will continue to oppose mandatory detention when applied to juvenile offenders and to adults because it is discriminatory in practice and ineffective in reducing crime or criminality.

Stolen Generations

125. Labor recognises that past government policies which separated Indigenous children from their families continue to have adverse economic, social and cultural effects. The trauma caused by these policies continues to affect all generations of Indigenous families, including the younger generation.

126. Labor will provide a comprehensive response to the Bringing them Home Report, including a formal apology. Labor will also ensure that remedial initiatives such as link-up and family history programs and Bringing them Home counsellors are adequately resourced to meet demand.

Stolen Wages

127. Labor recognises that certain past government policies on the State, Territory and Commonwealth level denied Indigenous workers their wages and entitlements. Those policies have imposed an economic and social disadvantage on many of those workers and their descendants today. Labor understands the ongoing need for redress and the resolution of this outstanding issue.

Australians with Disabilities: Closing the Access Gap

128. People with a disability in Australia have the same rights as other Australians and form an important part of our society where individual difference is valued.

218:. 129. Labor recognises that people with a disability and their families need confidence that their needs will be met now and into the future.

130. Labor is committed to policies and programs for people with a disability which:

• recognise and promote the worth and dignity and improve the quality of life of people with a disability and encourage and support their participation in the community;

• provide equitable access to services for people with a disability;

• support cooperation between the Commonwealth, States and Territories to ensure strategic planning between governments;

• provide a national approach to disability policy, focused on early intervention through mainstream programs where appropriate and through disability specific programs where necessary;

• improve access to employment;

• improve access to the full range of accommodation options, to transport and the built environment, to health, rehabilitation and community services, to recreational activities, information and to education and training;

• improve community awareness and understanding of disability;

• trial innovative approaches to assisting people with a disability to access the supports they need including aids and equipment;

• make information about disability services more streamlined and accessible;

• complete the implementation of the disability standards under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) including the Access to Premises Standard and the Disability Standards for Education;

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• strengthen advocacy services, user rights, complaints, and advisory mechanisms for people with disability;

• provide equal access for people with disability to civil and political life; and

• recognise the critical importance of carers and support them in providing essential care.

131. Labor recognises that achieving these goals will require investment in accessibility and universal design and appropriate long-term national planning together with the State and Territory governments, business, the community sector and the broader community. The adoption of universal accessibility will provide benefits for the whole population including

older Australians and parents.

132. Labor recognises that people with a disability are more likely to be affected by poverty because of the additional costs of their participation. The non-optional costs of disability are a significant barrier to their participation in the community.

133. Labor recognises the need for the Commonwealth State/Territory Disability Agreement (CSTDA) to provide national leadership and coordination of services for people with a disability throughout Australia and will ensure that the CSTDA is developed in partnership with those who depend on it.

134. Through the CSTDA, Labor will adopt a national approach to disability policy that seeks to deliver consistency in the delivery of services.

135. Labor supports ongoing collaboration between government and people with a disability, their advocates, carers, service providers and key stakeholders to ensure the CSTDA operates efficiently and effectively.

136. Labor recognises the particular vulnerability of people, particularly women, with a disability, to 19

domestic violence and will implement measures to address this.

137. Labor will consult with people with a disability on the implementation of the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of People with Disability.

Migrant Australians: Responding to their Needs

Labor's Multicultural and Integration Services Policy Agenda

138. Australia is and will remain a society of people from a rich variety of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds. Australia is and will remain an multicultural society.

139. Australia is also a society that has traditionally enjoyed a high level of social cohesion. Social cohesion means a society in which the vast majority of citizens voluntarily respect the law, one another's human rights and core values.

140. Labor's multicultural and integration services policy agenda aims to ensure social cohesion through maintaining Australia as a tolerant, fair and united nation. Our policy agenda is based upon the following principles:

• Recognition that migrants and their children have the same right to maintain their traditional customs, beliefs and traditions as do long established groups and Indigenous Australians.

• Recognition that we all have an interest in and obligation to foster respect for:

• the rights and liberties of others including the right to liberty and security;

• the rule of law including the right to be treated equally before the law and the rights to due process and a fair trial;

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• parliamentary democracy including the right of all eligible people to vote or stand for public office;

n freedom of thought, conscience and religion;

• freedom of speech and expression subject to reasonable restrictions required to protect the reputation of others or to protect national security, public order, public health or public morality;

• freedom of association; and

• the right to protection from unlawful discrimination and harassment including on the grounds of gender, race, religion, age, disability and sexual orientation

• Strong integration services to assist migrants to settle into the Australian community. Helping people move into the workforce and become self-sufficient.

• Strong opposition to the fostering of extremism, hatred, division and incitement to violence.

Labor's multicultural and integration services programs

141. Labor's policy agenda will be achieved through programs that:

• prioritise helping people move into the workforce and become self-sufficient;

• promote our cultural diversity as an asset that enhances Australia's ability to compete in the international marketplace and to make a real and worthwhile contribution to international affairs;

• expand information programs that detail the cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds

1 2Z0 of our people;

• ensure that appropriate social support services are provided to prevent groups in our society feeling marginalised or neglected;

• develop a proper research capacity on questions of citizenship and multicultural affairs independent of government;

• combat prejudice and discrimination aimed at any migrant community through community education programs and anti-discrimination legislation;

• maintain effective and independent processes for resolving complaints about prejudice and discrimination;

• provide English language assistance and employment services to migrant groups that require such services in order to settle effectively into the Australian community;

• provide highly targeted settlement assistance to sponsored migrants, including employer and family sponsored migration as well as humanitarian and non-sponsored migrants who require it;

• improve the availability and integration of Commonwealth-funded migrant settlement services, focusing on the newly arrived and those in greatest need;

• increase coordination and cooperation with the States and Territories on settlement issues and seeking to work in partnership with local councils and community organisations;

• expand the availability of English classes under the Adult Migrant Education Program and ensure that contracted service providers deliver high quality and cost effective tuition;

• restructure current settlement services for new humanitarian arrivals to improve service integration, case management and the provision of accommodation-related assistance;

• continue the provision of interpreting and translating services to eligible clients and work with the States and Territories to address issues facing the interpreting workforce;

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• ensure that ongoing core funding is provided for the maintenance of a network of community based Migrant Resource Centres in high settlement regions. These centres will provide information advice and referral services, foster the development of specific services, promote greater awareness of the needs of migrants and refugees, and provide a base for other sessional services and community functions;

• continue project funding to community organisations and councils to deliver culturally appropriate settlement services, promote client needs to mainstream service providers and promote community capacity building amongst specific groups or in specific locations; and

• give priority consideration to the more recently arrived and economically disadvantaged groups rejecting the notion that the need for settlement services ceases at some arbitrarily defined point.

142. Labor supports an inclusive citizenship process for new migrants that encourages the acquisition of citizenship by permanent residents and does not put up unnecessary barriers or extensive delays to the acquisition of citizenship. The conferral of Australian citizenship is a critical part of encouraging participation by new migrants in the Australian community.

Immigration: a Link to Australia's Future Growth

143. Labor will ensure immigration levels are set within the framework of a population policy fashioned in Australia's interest and consistent with international and humanitarian commitments. The system of setting immigration targets year by year without any underlying rationale or long-term policy framework has contributed to declining public confidence in the

program. Moving to long-term planning will achieve greater stability and confidence.

144. Labor is committed to maintaining a non-discriminatory immigration policy. Labor recognises the economic and social contribution that has been made by immigrants and refugees throughout our nation's history. Labor regards Australia's diversity as a source of national strength and nation building and will consistently oppose those who seek to poison Australia's social cohesion and who foster extremism, hatred or ethnic division.

145. Labor will ensure that the current system and criteria for granting visitor visas is addressed and that a more equitable, flexible, fair and non-discriminatory system is implemented while at all times maintaining the integrity of our immigration program.

146. Labor believes in an orderly immigration system, a system based on the rule of law, a system of integrity in which the Australian people will have confidence and trust.

147. For the Australian people to have confidence in the administration of our immigration system, it must be built upon rigorous procedures and processes, which protect our national interest and our national borders.

148. We must also treat individuals fairly and with dignity. To treat individuals fairly requires that they are dealt with in a speedy and efficient manner, where decisions are based on fair procedures and subject to appropriate review.

149. Protecting our national interest and our national borders requires zero tolerance for people smugglers, who will be subject to harsher penalties to deter their activities and stop unauthorised boat arrivals.

150. It is also in our national interest to conduct ourselves as a good international citizen, to do our fair share for those who are subject to persecution and who need protection.

151. Labor will ensure that our borders are secure and that the processing and detention of asylum seekers is fair.

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152. Labor will administer a fair and flexible refugee and humanitarian program. While acknowledging that Australia has one of the world's most generous humanitarian programs, Labor will ensure that unforeseen world events that necessitate special responses can be accommodated. Labor will examine immigration intake consistent with a population policy for nation building and will work with regions seeking population growth to find options to assist additional immigration. Labor will ensure that Australia's non-refoulement obligations under international law are met.

153. Labor's refugee and asylum seeker policy will be based on the following principles:

• In accordance with the core Australian principles of fairness and decency, when people flee persecution and reach Australia the persecution must end.

• Labor will ensure that all asylum claims must be processed fairly, independently and free from any political or diplomatic interference.

• Australia should comply with the letter and the spirit of the obligations Australia has voluntarily assumed by signing the Refugee Convention and other relevant international instruments.

• Labor will seek to lead world debate on the new agreements and understandings required to ensure that the Convention and the international protection system function effectively over the long-term, including encouraging countries in our region to become signatories to the existing Refugee Convention.

• Labor will develop further multilateral solutions, recognising the importance of regional neighbours, with the aim of eradicating people smuggling, deterring secondary movement

2 and enabling refugees to access processing and appropriate settlement outcomes.

• Australia should seek to eradicate people smuggling, which is an organised criminal activity that costs lives, by effective law enforcement as well as relevant international agreements.

• As a matter of fairness, Australia should seek to assist the world's most vulnerable whether these people are within or beyond our immediate line of sight.

• Australia should take its fair share of refugees for resettlement and contribute a fair share to international aid efforts and UNHCR to alleviate the pressing humanitarian needs of displaced persons.

• Asylum claims made in Australia should be assessed in a manner which is both fast and affords procedural fairness. Those found to be refugees under the Refugee Convention should be provided with appropriate settlement outcomes and services, while those without successful refugee or humanitarian claims should be quickly returned.

• Detention of asylum seekers should only be used for health, identity and security checks. Children and family groups should initially be placed under supervision within the community. In other circumstances, detention would remain mandatory for the duration of these initial check.

• Conditions of detention must be humane and appropriate to the needs of asylum seekers, with appropriate alternatives to detention centres made to meet the needs of unaccompanied children and family groups.

• The length and conditions of detention must be subject to review and detention centres managed by the public sector.

154. Labor will end the so-called "Pacific Solution", with its huge cost to Australian taxpayers.

155. Labor recognises that the arbitrary 45-day-rule results in legitimate asylum seekers on bridging visas being unnecessarily denied the right to work while their claim is being

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processed. It also prevents immigration officers from denying work rights to frivolous claims lodged within the 45-day-period. Labor will work to develop guidelines based on merit so that frivolous or vexatious visa applications will be denied those rights, instead of applying an arbitrary 45-day-time limit.

156. Labor will process claims quickly through a new Refugee Determination Tribunal, with appeals to Federal Magistrates.

157. Labor will create an Australian Coastguard to strengthen our borders, increasing Australia's capacity to prevent illegal fishing and smuggling operations. Labor will implement harsh penalties for people smugglers, including life sentences for the worst of the people smugglers while pursuing strong international and regional arrangements to deter secondary

movements of asylum seekers.

158. To further deter people smugglers, Labor will continue the excision of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Ashmore Reef from Australia's migration zone.

159. Labor will administer a fairer and more balanced immigration program. The ratio of skilled to family migration will be tailored to meet Australia's needs.

160. Labor will review the current asylum seekers' appeal mechanism to ensure that its decision making and operation is both cost efficient, fair and consistent. While the rights of asylum seekers to seek judicial review must be maintained, it is important that a streamlined and more formal system of appeal is instituted to provide a better filter and alleviate the higher courts' immigration caseload burden.

161. Asylum seekers who are independently determined to be refugees under the Migration Act 1958 will be given permanent protection. 22^ l

162. Labor will maintain the Temporary Humanitarian Visa for situations where temporary safe haven is required.

163. Labor will ensure that adequate resources are allocated to Australia's overseas immigration posts to liaise and maintain relationships with local authorities to prevent or minimise illegal immigration. The dangers facing people undertaking this dangerous activity will be emphasised and information on Australia's refugee programs made available. Labor will also ensure that close political and diplomatic relations are maintained with all countries where known people smuggling operations exist and where there is a high incidence of illegal immigration.

164. Labor will ensure that the highest level of service and coordination is restored and adequate resources are provided to organisations that assist in the se ttlement and counselling of newly arrived migrants and refugees, recognising the value of volunteer contribution in these areas whilst not exploiting their goodwill.

165. Labor will examine the provision of incentives to newly arrived migrants to se ttle in regional areas. Such programs would only occur with the support of local government, business and community groups.

166. Labor's initiatives will include fostering a secure environment conducive to companies planning ahead to meet future skill needs. The identification of emerging skill shortages is crucial to ensure that, as far as possible, skilled vacancies are filled by unemployed Australians who have gained qualifications from training programs in this count ry. The intake of skilled migrants should always be determined in the context of local employment policy.

167. Labor supports the further development of closer consultation between the employment and immigration departments in determining intakes of skilled migrants.

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168. Labor also supports the further development and effective implementation of employer sponsorship schemes and labour agreements.

169. Labor supports a skilled migration program, particularly in the context of the current skills shortage brought about by the failure of the Howard Government to enhance Australia's domestic training effort.

170. Labor supports improved streamlining of the permanent migration program and ensures that existing temporary skilled migrants who are seeking permanent residency and who meet the required tests can have their permanency applications processed expeditiously.

171. Labor generally prefers permanent skilled migration to temporary skilled migration because permanent migrants:

• have a greater stake in Australia's future and in integrating into all aspects of Australian community life;

n are less susceptible to exploitation; and

• are more likely to transfer skills to Australians and Australian permanent residents.

172. Labor in Government will institute a balanced approach to the permanent intake having regard to the importance of all components of the permanent migration program.

173. Temporary skilled migration should only occur where the relevant position cannot be filled by an Australian or permanent resident or by a permanent migrant with the requisite skills. The qualifications of temporary skilled migrants should be properly verified by the relevant Australian regulatory authority prior to the granting of the visa.

224 174. Labor will ensure that sponsorship applications for highly specialised skilled workers are processed expeditiously, without creating undue red-tape for business.

175. Labor opposes temporary migration being used:

• as a means of addressing persistent labour or skills shortages;

• to undercut Awards and collective agreements;

• as a method of constraining collective bargaining outcomes;

• where the sponsoring employer has failed to demonstrate a satisfactory domestic training or retraining effort;

• where the sponsoring employer fails to retain domestic labour due to below market wages and conditions or poor employment practices;

• to overcome a failure to invest in skills and training; and

• as a short-term solution that undermines equity and fairness at work.

176. Labor will ensure that labour market testing occurs to ensure that:

• available Australian workers with the requisite skills are offered the vacant job at the market rate;

• Australian workers are not displaced;

• local market rates and conditions are not undercut; and

• qualification standards are maintained.

177. Labor will progressively establish Registered Employment Authorities, replacing the existing Regional Certifying Bodies. The Registered Employment Authorities will verify that labour market testing has occurred making sure sponsored overseas labour does not displace Australian workers and remuneration is not undercutting local market rates. The Registered

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Employment Authorities will engage with all relevant stakeholders in carrying out their function.

Labor will introduce new levels of transparency to the temporary skilled migration scheme to ensure that workers living outside the local area but within Australia are able to access employment opportunities.

178. Labor supports the following principles for the operation of temporary skilled migration:

• that temporary skilled migrant workers are entitled to the effective market rate of pay based on the principle of equal pay for equal work. An assessment of the effective rate of pay would guarantee that salaries are not effectively undermined through a system of deductions;

• appropriate stakeholders are consulted on a regular basis regarding systemic changes;

• that overseas qualification be verified by the appropriate regulatory authority;

• migration agents be accredited;

• that temporary skilled migrant workers be given a reasonable opportunity in line with international conventions to find alternative employment should they cease employment with the sponsoring employer;

• an inspectorate service within the relevant department be established and resourced;

• sponsors of temporary work visas must have a satisfactory training record and have a satisfactory record of compliance with the immigration laws of Australia and with relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory laws;and

• information on organisations that can provide support and assistance be provided to temporary skilled migrant workers.

179. Labor will review the provisions of other visas, including training visas, to ensure they do not become a new path for exploitation excluding the apprenticeship visa (Trade Skills Training Visa) which will be abolished.

: 225I

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4 Australian Labor Parry 44th National Confe rence

Resolutions 1967 Anniversa ry Resolution That the Conference recognises that:

• On 27 May 2007 Australians will mark the 40th anniversary of the referendum that gave the Federal Government the power to make specific laws in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and to count them in the census, and

• the referendum was passed with an unprecedented level of support from over 90 per cent of Australians

• this achievement reflected a bipartisan, cooperative spirit and the outstanding effort of the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders

• the anniversary also commemorates the reality that despite the ambitions of the 1967 referendum, Indigenous Australians remain the singularly most disadvantaged group in Australia.

• Indigenous Australians still experience problems in being fully counted in the Census and do not enjoy equal access to basic citizenship entitlements like Medicare

• Indigenous Australians:

1. still die 17 years younger on average than non-Indigenous Australians

2. have children that are over five times more likely to die before the age of five than non-Indigenous children

3. are half as likely to make it to year 12 at school

4. are over three times more likely to be out of work

5. represent nearly a quarter of the prison population while only representing 3% of the Australian population

• this inequality can be fixed as demonstrated by progress in Canada, the US and New Zealand

• large corporations, community and advocacy groups are leading the way in se tting targets for employment and closing the life expectancy gap

The Conference resolves that a Federal Labor Government will:

• ensure Indigenous Australians fully exercise their citizenship rights and responsibilities

• develop an Indigenous national representative body in partnership with Indigenous Australians to advocate on their behalf and hold governments to account

• complete the unfinished business of social justice—including an apology over the stolen generations, invigorating the reconciliation process and negotiating a lasting settlement with Indigenous Australians

• focus immediately on promoting self-determination through education and participation in the workforce

• bring direction and focus to public policy by securing a bipartisan and long-term commitment to targets to hold governments to account and see Indigenous disadvantage turned around.

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Chapter Fourteen

Strengthening Australia's Place in the World The Commonwealth Government is responsible for protecting Australia's national security. Under Labor, Australia's national security strategy will address both global and regional risks, in the

context of our commitment to the international organisations such as the United Nations, our longstanding alliance with the United States and our comprehensive engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. We will address the widening gaps in our defence capability, guided by the principle of Australias self reliance. In the interests of Australia and the global community, we will also step up Australian efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation, address climate change and engage

more seriously with global efforts to make poverty history.


1. For most of the post-war period, Australian national security policy under successive Labor governments has been constructed on the basis of three fundamental pillars:

• our membership of the United Nations;

• our alliance with the United States; and

• our policy of comprehensive engagement with Asia.

2. This framework has served both the Party and successive Labor governments well. It was Labor, under Curtin, that initiated our alliance with the United States fully a decade before the ANZUS Treaty. It was Labor, under Chifley and Foreign Minister Evatt, that helped form the United Nations as the core of the post-war international order. It was also Labor, under Whitlam, Hawke and Keating, that initiated and advanced Australia's policy of comprehensive engagement with Asia.

3. Labor has a proud tradition of activism in international affairs. We are determined to bring to Australia's foreign policy the conviction and commitment which saw previous Labor governments play critical roles in world events, including the formation of the United Nations, the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, establishment of the South

Pacific Nuclear Free Zone, the banning of chemical weapons and in the development of Australia's vital engagement with the Asia Pacific region.

4. Labor's effective advocacy and appropriately resourced and targeted diplomacy will ensure Australia plays a significant role in regional and global developments in favour of our own interests and the common good. Labor will pursue Australia's national security, economic and human rights interests with vigour and determination at all levels in the international system, globally, regionally and in our bilateral relations with other countries.

5. Labor will make renewing Australia's tradition of creative, middle power diplomacy a priority. While Australia is not a super power, it is nonetheless a significant power with a keen interest in shaping the international strategic order. Labor will practise creative and activist diplomacy by building coalitions with like-minded states to create the political momentum necessary to

bring about multilateral diplomatic outcomes in the national interest.

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Fourtee n ; j ' Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference Australia's Changing Strategic Environment

6. While Labor's national security policy and foreign policy objectives and values remain constant, the global and regional environment in which we must now operate has been subjected to rapid and recent change. This in turn has created new and significant challenges for Labor policy.

7. Terrorism represents a major factor in Australia's strategic environment which requires a comprehensive policy response at home, in the region through cooperative efforts with regional partners, as well as globally.

8. The emergence of al Qaeda, Jema'ah Islamiyah and related terrorist organisations has profoundly reshaped Australia's strategic environment. The attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States caused the deaths of some 3000 people of 92 nationalities and fundamentally altered Australia's strategic environment. The risk to Australia and Australians

posed by al Qaeda and its associates was bought home a year later with the Bali bombings on 12 October 2002 by Jema'ah Islamiyah. The bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta on 9 September 2004 and a further bomb attack against tourists in Bali on 1

October 2005 removed any doubt about immediacy of the threat of terrorism in our own region. Since the 11 September 2001 attacks, Australians have also been caught up in terrorist attacks around the world including the London Underground bombings in July 2005. Terrorism continues to represent a significant threat to Australians and Australian interests

abroad, particularly, but not exclusively, in South East Asia where all Qaeda and Jema'ah Islamiyah remain active.

9. The 11 September attacks on the US resulted in the invocation of the ANZUS Treaty for the 228] first time since its inception because the attacks constituted an attack on the metropolitan territory of an ally. As a result, Australia became engaged in military conflict in Afghanistan against al Qaeda and the Taliban regime that had provided their operating base. Australia's

military engagement in Afghanistan was authorised by UN Security Council Resolutions.

10. Labor believes that Afghanistan continues to be a central priority for Australia's efforts to secure peace and stability and fight global terrorism, including in our region. Many of the key figures in Jema'ah Islamiyah, the organisation responsible for the Bali bombings, including some of those directly involved in the bombings, received terrorist training in Afghanistan.

11. For this reason, Labor believes that the withdrawal of Australian troops from Afghanistan in 2002 in preparation for Australia's involvement in the war in Iraq was a mistake and represents a complete mismanagement of Australia's national security priorities. Labor supports Australian security assistance for Afghanistan.

12. Labor did not support Australia's involvement in the war in Iraq because military action was not authorised by the United Nations Security Council and because a credible case could not be made that the Iraq war represented a legitimate response to the terrorist attacks by al Qaeda on 11 September under the terms of Article 51 of the UN Charter. Labor's position has subsequently been vindicated. None of the objectives given for the war have been met: no weapons of mass destruction were found and the terrorist threat has increased rather than decreased as a result of the invasion. As a result of our involvement in Iraq, Australia is

now a greater terrorist target than would have otherwise been the case. Labor has argued consistently that our troops would be better used securing Australia's interests in our own region, not remaining in Iraq indefinitely.

13. Another major shift in Australia's strategic environment has been the growing arc of instability in Australia's immediate neighbourhood. This has been brought home most starkly following

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the political instability and fragile security situation in Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands which have seen the significant deployments of Australian troops.

14. In Timor Leste, Labor welcomes the establishment of an expanded UN presence and supports Australia's leadership of the international security force following the political crisis of May 2006. Labor believes that Australian troops provide a stabilising presence in Timor Leste and should not be withdrawn prematurely. Under Labor, Australia will respect the sovereignty of Timor Leste and engage in dialogue with its elected leaders and on this basis will be committed to providing support and assistance to Timor Leste for the long-term.

15. Security, stability and peace in the nations of the Pacific are Australia's most immediate foreign policy challenges. Labor has supported the Solomon Islands' request for assistance in restoring law and order to the islands through the establishment of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). The Solomon Islands intervention was

authorised by the Solomon Islands' Government, supported by the Pacific Islands Forum and a majority of the people of the Solomon Islands. The Commonwealth Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the United Nations commended the deployment of RAMSI. Labor will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the deployment. Labor will work closely with other governments in the Pacific region and consider any further requests for assistance on their merit. Labor will seek greater involvement of personnel from Pacific island countries in

RAMSI's civilian contingent.

16. The nuclear enrichment activities and flouting of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in defiance of UN Security Council resolution by both Iran and North Korea pose a serious threat to the nuclear non-proliferation regime that has prevented the use of nuclear weapons over the past 60 years and are a grave threat to international security. In North East Asia,

North Korea has in the past few years declared itself to be a nuclear state, withdrawn from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, ended its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, recommenced nuclear reprocessing at the Yongbyon reactor, conducted two sets of missile tests, including medium range and intercontinental range rockets and has conducted a nuclear test. Labor is committed to using its good offices to assist in building

improved relations on the Korean Peninsula and maintain stability in North Asia.

17. In the Middle East, a major unintended consequence of the war in Iraq has been the emboldening of Iran. Iran's nuclear enrichment activities, its flouting of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its refusal to submit to IAEA inspections in defiance of the UN Security Council, pose a grave threat to international security. Iran's recent nuclear enrichment activities and the bellicose statements of the Iranian leadership pose a significant threat to the safety and security of the region. Labor supports nuclear disarmament in the

Middle East and the use of diplomacy to bring all states back within the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime and IAEA safeguards and inspection regime.

18. Labor is convinced that all Australians seek a lasting and equitable solution to the problems that have worked against stability and development in the Middle East. Labor will pursue a sustained Australian engagement in the Arab/Israeli conflict based on the rights of all people in the Middle East to peace and security and livelihood and their desire for better access to

land, water and financial assistance than they have had in the past, regardless of their race, religion or origins. Labor believes that urgent attainment of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the best way to reduce violence and conflict across the Middle East.

19. Globalisation, technological advances and increased people-people contact and mobility across international borders have given rise to a whole new category of unconventional security threats. The cross border threats and challenges posed by transnational crime

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including drug trafficking, environmental disasters, and public health threats such as communicable diseases, including Avian Influenza, are part of Australia's new international security environment.

20. All these factors impact on our current national security and foreign policy environments. Labor's challenge today, as in previous decades, is to apply its continuing policy objectives, values and framework to the new demands of the emerging environment.

The Challenge of Terrorism

21. Labor led older generations of Australians in successfully defending Australia as a secure, courageous and democratic nation. Terrorism is nothing new, but its growing presence in our region poses new and complex security challenges. Labor will increase engagement in our region and cooperation with our neighbours—measures that are fundamental to meeting the new security challenges. Labor will ensure that our defence forces, police and emergency services are equipped to meet the new challenges. As always preserving national security, and the security of individuals, is a major Labor priority.

22. Labor's first priority is the defence and security of our nation and its people. However, Labor refuses to manipulate fear or racism for political gain in response to terror. Australia needs tough laws to deal with terrorism but, just as importantly, we need well-balanced laws that target the terrorists, not innocent citizens. We need strong safeguards to protect the civil and human rights that are fundamental to our freedoms.

23. Labor believes that the challenge of terrorism, together with the changing nature of the threat spectrum, requires a reorganisation of Australia's national security policy. In the past, [ 230 Australia has not had a properly integrated national security policy that addresses the breadth and depth of the new threat spectrum—including terrorism, international organised

crime and the narcotics trade. To this end, Labor will establish an Office of National Security under the Prime Minister's portfolio to be headed for the first time by a National Security Advisor at permanent head level. This Office will develop Australia's first fully integrated national security policy.

24. Labor will develop, in partnership with regional governments in South East Asia, a Comprehensive Regional Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Labor argues that a Comprehensive Regional Counter-Terrorism Strategy should be based on five core organising principles:

• prevention;

• protection;

• emergency response management (in the event that terrorist attacks occur);

• coordinated capacity building across the region; and

• a 'hearts and minds' strategy to address the underlying political, economic and societal factors which terrorist groups exploit to their advantage.

25. Labor believes that an effective strategy for combating terrorism must promote justice, the rule of law, genuine peace and inclusive development, as well as confront those factors that make it easier for terrorist organisations to recruit within the region. This raises the question of economic, employment and educational opportunities available to young people across the region, particularly Indonesia and the Philippines. Labor believes this requires an

integrated, comprehensive strategy for dealing with a range of the causative factors involved in the terrorism challenge. Cooperation and capacity building for local security forces, including military or security assistance should promote positive outcomes and values in the fight against terrorism.

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26. Finally, Labor believes that the global nature and reach of various terrorist organisations will mean that Australia will rely on global intelligence exchange—as well as support for an expanding range of UN multilateral measures designed to combat terrorist financing and explicitly to outlaw defined terrorist organisations.

United Nations (UN) Multilateral System

27. Labor's approach to international relations is based on a clear recognition of the fundamental interdependence of the world community. Global economic and social development, human rights, environmental protection and international security can best be achieved through multilateral diplomacy. Through international organisations we can promote the agreements necessary to build a secure twenty-first century based on economic justice and development, respect for human rights, environmental sustainability and peaceful means of resolving conflict.

28. The United Nations is the key forum for cooperation on many issues that affect Australia's interests, including our national security, trade and sustainable development and our humanitarian concerns for welfare and human rights. Agreements reached under the auspices of the UN and its agencies touch on almost all aspects of our national life. Australia

must contribute actively and constructively to shape global changes and events through the work of the UN.

29. In the modern age of globalisation, the threats faced by nation states are multifaceted. Some will be classical military threats but they also include a range of new security threats from non-State actors. These include: international crime syndicates trafficking people and narcotics, environmental disasters and communicable diseases such as SARS and Avian 231

Influenza. These new security threats are challenges that are not faced by individual nations alone and can not be solved by individual nations acting alone. International cooperation is the only way to combats such threats. Put simply, global problems require global solutions.

30. Labor is committed to working multilaterally to reform and improve the administrative efficiency, democratic operation and effectiveness of the UN and ensure that it is able to effectively respond to the new international security challenges posed by non-State actors including terrorists, organised crime and environmental disaster. Labor is committed to

reforms that enhance the role and standing of the UN as the primary forum for global cooperation and understanding. In this regard, Labor welcomes the work of the UN Secretary General's High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change which has

proposed far-reaching reform of the UN.

31. In line with Labor's strong commitment to human rights, Labor will devote particular attention to strengthening and improving the UN's human rights machinery and processes, and supports the recently established UN Human Rights Council.

32. Recognising the significant threats to international security that arise both from longstanding and new conflicts between and within states, Labor supports strengthening the UN's capacity, along with Australia's, in the fields of preventive diplomacy and peace building, peace making, peace keeping and peace enforcement. Labor welcomes the establishment of the UN Peace Building Commission.

33. Labor strongly supports the UN Security Council's adoption of the doctrine of international humanitarian intervention known as 'The Responsibility to Protect' which was first developed in a 2001 report prepared by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS). The principle was adopted by the UN Security Council in Resolution

1674 which recognises the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes,

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ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and provides a firm basis in international law for the international community to step in to intervene to protect civilian populations on humanitarian grounds when, and if, their own governments are unwilling or unable to do so.

34. Consistent with our strong commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law and justice and the doctrine of the responsibility to protect, Labor considers Australia duty bound to assist with the resolution of disputes and conflicts and subsequent rebuilding wherever we can play a positive role consistent with our national interests. Labor also supports the emphasis in the doctrine of the responsibility to protect on the prevention of conflict. Labor believes that Australia should engage vigorously with relevant governments, the UN Security Council, and other UN and regional bodies to ensure that the responsibility to protect doctrine moves from adoption to commitment and consistent implementation.

35. As a middle power with significant experience in peace keeping operations, most recently in Timor Leste, Australia must be prepared to accept peace keeping responsibilities consistent with our national, regional and global security interests.

The United States

36. The United States remains our closest security ally and a vital global partner. Labor is firmly committed to maintain and strengthen Australia's close relationship with the United States, a relationship founded on our people's common democratic values and their commitment to fostering international peace and security.

37. Labor believes in the centrality of the alliance to Australia's national security requirements in 232 critical areas such as intelligence on terrorism, defence equipment and broader strategic stabilisation in East Asia, where great power tensions between other regional states remain problematic.

38. Labor does not, however, believe that the alliance equals the totality of Australia's national security requirements as these must also be met in the other two pillars of Labor's approach—the UN multilateral system and our policy of comprehensive engagement in Asia. Labor continues to support the United Nations process and opposes policies that undermine the integrity and effectiveness of the United Nations.

Comprehensive Engagement in the Asia Pacific Region

39. The third pillar of Australia's framework for national security policy and foreign policy is comprehensive regional engagement. This policy pillar is based on the logic that if you have good relations with your neighbours, it is good for your security and if you have bad relations with your neighbours, it is bad for your security. This is particularly critical given the current challenges to our security from terrorism.

40. Labor also believes that comprehensive engagement with Asia rests on the logic that if you have good relations with your neighbours it is good for the economy, exports and jobs.

41. Labor considers that active engagement with Asia is fundamental to our national security and to furthering our national interest. Australia is intimately linked with Asia. We contribute to both the prosperity and security of the region, just as the region profoundly contributes to Australia's prosperity and security. Labor is committed to our nation's future with Asia. Australia's greatest international challenges and opportunities arise from rapid economic

change in East Asia and India and the evolving security environment of the Asia Pacific region. Economic growth in East Asia is again presenting Australia with critical opportunities to advance our prosperity and security. Resumed economic growth will be accompanied by

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increasing regional confidence and assertiveness. As a consequence, Australia will have to

make greater efforts and work with imagination to maintain and enhance our relative influence in our region and beyond.

42. Labor is determined to broaden and deepen our links at all levels in the Asia Pacific region and will seek to secure full participation in significant regional forums and processes. The inaugural East Asian Summit in December 2005 marked a significant turning point in the development in East Asian regionalism with the emergence of a forum which may ultimately become a major regional economic institution. Labor strongly advocated Australia's participation in the East Asia Summit and Labor will seek to play an active role in shaping this

new regional mechanism—both its infrastructure and its agenda.

43. Labor will continue to consolidate Australia's economic engagement in the Asia Pacific region, especially with the economies of East Asia, including working through the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and other cooperative arrangements to produce concrete benefits in terms of economic growth, jobs and our standard of living.

44. Labor is similarly committed to actively contributing through the ASEAN Regional Forum, to region-wide cooperation on security, specifically the development of capacity and confidence building measures, mechanisms and practices of preventive diplomacy and peaceful dispute resolution. Labor will consider offering either Darwin or Townsville as an integrated regional headquarters for an integrated Regional Disaster Coordination Authority, to coordinate national defence and emergency services contributions to natural disaster responses.

45. Labor will actively encourage the further broadening of regional dialogue and cooperation to include problems of sustainable economic and social development and environmental 233 protection, with the aim of enhancing human security throughout our region.

46. Labor is concerned that pandemics such as the transformation of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) into a human-to-human transferable disease has the potential to match terrorism as a national security threat to Australia—and our region. Labor will implement a five point action plan on Avian Influenza which involves:

• hosting a regional ministerial-level meeting on Avian Influenza;

• providing assistance for the development of community level surveillance networks to better detect outbreaks of the disease;

• providing increased technical assistance through the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratories to increase the diagnostic capacity of regional neighbours;

• establishing a regional compensation fund to provide financial incentives to farmers to report outbreaks of the disease; and

• negotiating agreements with host countries for the proper provision of medical and other emergency assistance to Australians in affected countries.

47. At the bilateral level, Labor will work with vigour in building productive relationships which advance shared political and economic interests. Labor strongly supports enhancing people-to-people contacts between Australia and our East Asian neighbours and will actively pursue the further development of social, cultural and educational ties. Labor will support the National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools strategy.

48. Labor strongly supports engaging and integrating China with the emerging Asia Pacific security community. The rise of China is the single biggest geopolitical force in the ongoing transformation of our region. Australia's interests are best served by China's positive involvement in the international political and economic community. It is imperative that

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Australia seek to work cooperatively with China, bilaterally and regionally, and in global forums in the context of an international rules-based order.

49. Australia must embrace India, which is playing an increasing role in global and regional forums, and has been Australia's fastest growing trading pa rtner since 2002. However, the political relationship remains underdeveloped. Labor will work energetically to remedy this deficiency and enhance our ties with India, the fourth largest economy in Asia and now

integrating politically and strategically with our region.

50. Australia and Japan have a long standing and mature relationship. Japan is a vital economic partner and our political and strategic relationship is of fundamental importance to Australia's regional and international aspirations. Labor looks forward to the further development of Australian-Japanese ties, especially people-to-people contacts and greater understanding of each other's society and culture.

51. Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous count ry and Australia's nearest Asian neighbour, is of vital importance. Labor is committed to building a new relationship with a democratic Indonesia. Australia and Indonesia have strong, shared interests in regional security cooperation and in relation to many international issues. Labor looks forward to the development of a close, mature and multi-dimensional relationship in which no single dimension dominates. Labor will seek to maximise our cooperation in regional and global forums.

52. Labor will give p riority to further developing our bilateral economic relationship with Indonesia, providing appropriate humanitarian assistance, supporting sustainable development and ^r increasing people-to-people and institutional exchanges, especially in fields such as the S^ti. 2 4 media, education, the arts, health and language training.

53. Timor Leste is one of the newest nations in the world and one of Australia's nearest neighbours. The events of recent years have demonstrated the need for Australia to work together with Timor Leste to build and reinforce the foundations for a viable, self-sustaining, independent and sovereign state. Under Labor, priority will be given to restoring security including through the long-term rebuilding and retraining of the Timor Lestese police force, political reconciliation including support for the preparation and conduct of general elections, and economic development including through development programs to address youth

unemployment. Labor strongly supports the further development of a wide range of institutional and people-to-people ties between Australia and Timor Leste.

54. Labor recognises the Treaty signed by Australia and Timor Leste on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea and the provision of the Treaty that neither party will pursue its claims to sovereign rights and jurisdiction and maritime boundaries for the period of the Treaty. Labor recognises that the people of Timor Leste have the right to secure,

internationally recognised borders with all neighbouring countries. Labor will negotiate in good faith with the Government of Timor Leste, in full accordance with international law and all its applications, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Labor

believes that the conclusion of the maritime boundary should be based on the joint aspirations of both countries.

55. Australia's greatest international challenges and opportunities arise from rapid economic change in East Asia and the evolving security environment of the Asia Pacific region. Economic growth in East Asia is again presenting Australia with critical opportunities to advance joint prosperity and security.

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56. While pursuing closer engagement with East Asia as Australia's highest foreign policy priority, Labor is firmly committed to strengthening and broadening our links with other countries and regions.

57. Labor recognises the increasing importance of the Indian Ocean Rim as a region for achieving the long-term objectives of our foreign and economic policies. Labor will build our relationships with the Indian Ocean Rim and the emerging economies of Southern Africa.

58. Labor will give high priority to the further development of Australia's strong and mutually beneficial relationship with New Zealand, both in respect of bilateral economic and political ties and through cooperation in multilateral forums. We should jointly review existing mechanisms for cooperation and coordination and explore further opportunities for closer


59. Papua New Guinea (PNG) remains a country of great importance to Australia. Labor will work closely with PNG in dealing with the very substantial challenges of economic and social development in the context of great cultural and political diversity. Labor will maintain Australia's strong support for the Bougainville peace process. Labor will continue to provide substantial support to PNG, focusing particularly on basic education and health services,

including programs to address the spread of HIV/AIDS and district and community level employment creation and income generation. Labor supports innovative micro and mixed credit schemes and efforts to improve resource management and conservation in the areas

of fisheries and forestry.

60. To strengthen our relationship with Pacific Island nations and improve regional stability, Labor believes that a more cooperative approach to our neighbourhood is needed. This approach would include a focus on strengthening the economic, social and political institutions of the X35 Pacific. As part of this, Labor believes that the Pacific region should commit to the long-term objective of integrated regional structures and institutions. Labor recognises the importance of the Pacific Islands Forum as a significant regional gathering.

61. Security, stability and peace in the nations of the Pacific are important to regional security and Australia's national defence. Labor is committed to increasing Australia's efforts to engage in supporting sustainable development in partnership with the nations of the Pacific, through the creation of democratic institutions, effective security arrangements, modern defence forces and social and economic development.

62. Labor will encourage the further development of a wide range of institutional and cultural links between Australians and the people of the Pacific nations. Labor will investigate initiatives such as cultural exchanges, Pacific studies programs in Australian universities and schools, and links between local government in Australia and neighbouring Pacific countries. Labor will also promote economically and environmentally sustainable and equitable development, strengthen regional cooperation in areas including climate change, natural disaster planning,

response and relief, fisheries research and protection and work to ensure that impacts on the peoples and nations of the Pacific are fully considered in the negotiation of solutions to global problems.

Other Important Bilateral and Regional Relationships

63. Labor supports the development of a strong political, economic and cultural partnership with Europe. Europe has a combined GDP as significant as that of the United States. Furthermore, the European Union (EU) has become a significant political voice globally and within our own region.

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64. Similarly, Labor supports expanded relations with the Americas, including Canada, Central America and South America. Latin America is also important in Australia's capacity to increase its multilateral leverage both on trade and other broader UN candidacies.

65. Labor will rectify the emerging pattern of Australian disengagement from the African continent. Africa lies front and centre in the international community's global development challenge. Australia must re-engage with Africa and, to this end, Labor will establish an Africa-Australia Council as a vehicle for deepening this country's commitment to some of the

poorest countries on the planet. Africa also presents significant opportunities for Australian business—as well as enhancing Australia's multilateral leverage through the UN system.

Australia's Role in Arms Control and Disarmament

66. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), nuclear, chemical and biological, is widely recognised as one of the most serious international security issues facing the world community. The international environment in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War allowed important gains in nuclear arms control and disarmament. In recent years, however, progress in nuclear disarmament has faltered with adverse implications for efforts to halt weapons proliferation. The nuclear activities and ambitions of Iran and North Korea in defiance of the international community pose a major threat to the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

67. Australia has a strong interest in preventing the spread of WMD. This interest has both a humanitarian and a strategic aspect. Labor has an interest in helping to ensure that no one should experience the horrors of nuclear, chemical or biological warfare. Labor also believes

236 that Australia has a strategic interest in minimising the risk that WMD might one day be used or threatened against Australians and Australian interests. Effective, global non-proliferation regimes are vital to limit the spread of WMD in our region. Disarmament and non-proliferation measures are vital to ensure long-term international security and to channel resources into sustainable and just development. Australia has a direct national security interest in ensuring that our immediate region remains free of such weapons and that their presence does not lead to instability and conflict elsewhere.

68. Australia has made significant contributions to important multilateral disarmament and arms control negotiations, notably the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Labor will ensure Australia is at the forefront of international efforts to advance disarmament and non-proliferation.

69. Following recent developments involving North Korea, Iran, the sale of Pakistan's nuclear secrets by AQ Khan and the decision by the United States to engage in nuclear cooperation with India outside the framework of the NPT, the current non-proliferation regime is fundamentally fracturing. The consequences of the collapse of this regime for Australia are acute, including the outbreak of regional, nuclear arms races in South Asia, North East Asia and even possibly South East Asia. The impact on Australia's long-term national security

interests is immense. Australia, as a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, has a responsibility to promote the NPT.

70. Labor will launch a new diplomatic initiative aimed at restoring the integrity of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Under Labor, Australia will establish and lead a new diplomatic caucus of like-minded countries including both nuclear suppliers and nuclear users—a nuclear "Cairns Group". The objectives of the caucus will be:

n a review to strengthen the Non-Proliferation Treaty;

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• new incentives for countries to remain within the peaceful nuclear community, for instance with new assistance in technology transfer and other important forms of peaceful scientific and research cooperation;

• ensuring that countries within the peaceful nuclear community have the political, diplomatic, economic and military support they need to protect their legitimate national security interests without nuclear weapons;

n pursuing the recommendations of the Canberra Commission; and

• ensuring that the carbon emissions gains from the growth of nuclear power are matched by new and innovative work on waste disposal and safety of power generation.

71. With regard to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, Labor will energetically support and pursue appropriate initiatives, such as those recommended by the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, the Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, and the New Agenda Coalition, to achieve further significant reductions in nuclear armament and strengthen non-proliferation regimes as steps toward the ultimate objective of a nuclear weapon free world.

72. Labor will continue to give strong support to strengthening safeguards against further horizontal nuclear proliferation, to negotiating a convention banning the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons and to the earliest possible entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Labor will continue support for nuclear weapon free zones in the South Pacific, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and South East Asia and explore the possibilities of links between those zones to consolidate a southern

hemisphere free of nuclear weapons.

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73. Labor will actively encourage the pursuit of further substantial reductions of nuclear arsenals L-and the development of processes for bringing all nuclear weapon states into the disarmament process as steps toward the ultimate objective of a nuclear weapon free world. In this regard, Labor considers it very important to protect fully the integrity of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

74. In the longer-term, achievement and maintenance of a nuclear weapon free world will require an enduring legal framework, linked to the Charter of the United Nations. Labor supports exploration of potential legal frameworks for the abolition of nuclear weapons, including negotiation of a Nuclear Weapons Convention that would ban nuclear weapons and provide a global framework for the elimination of existing arsenals.

75. Efforts to reduce and eliminate nuclear arms must be accompanied by further progress in eliminating other WMD. Labor will continue Australia's strong support for the Chemical Weapons Convention and pursue the earliest possible completion of negotiations for a robust and effective verification protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention. Labor is committed to continue support for the Missile Technology Control Regime and explore the

possibilities of negotiating more effective multilateral constraints on ballistic missiles.

76. In response to the global humanitarian crisis produced by anti-personnel landmines, Labor will campaign to encourage universal adherence to the Ottawa Convention and continue to give high priority in Australia's overseas aid programs to de-mining activities and assistance to landmine victims in afflicted countries.

77. Labor strongly supports international efforts to address the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons across the globe, and particularly in the South Pacific. We are committed to work in both global and regional forums to stop illegal trafficking and limit destabilising accumulations and transfers of small arms. Labor will ratify the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and

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Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

Human Rights in International Relations

78. Labor considers the promotion of universal human rights to be a core foreign policy objective that cannot be traded off against other diplomatic and economic goals. Support for an active and consistent pro-human rights stand is firmly grounded in Australian values.

79. The Australian people expect our nation's diplomacy to be both principled and effective. A foreign policy that incorporates and reflects the core human rights values of our society will enjoy more respect overseas and greater support within Australia. Respect for human rights brings benefits in higher standards of international behaviour. Domestic peace and stability, which stems from respect for human rights, contributes to international security. Effective

human rights diplomacy supports international and regional security, and therefore Australia's national interests.

80. Labor considers all human rights to be universal, equal and indivisible. There is no hierarchy of human rights. The basic human rights to food, shelter, health care, economic security and education are preconditions for human survival, dignity and the enjoyment of civil and political rights. Equally, respect for civil and political rights is critical to advancing economic and other rights. Each group of rights underpins the other.

81. Labor considers all states have a duty to protect and promote universal human rights. This obligation is grounded in the principles contained within the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international covenants. It is an obligation 28 also based on the consistency of experience across diverse cultures and societies in which

ideals of popular sovereignty, equality of treatment, fairness and freedom are enduring themes.

82. Labor considers human rights to be a subject of legitimate international concern and rejects attempts to portray this concern as interference in the internal affairs of other states. International dialogue on universal human rights issues must be based on the concept of mutual respect. Australia must respect the political, economic, social, religious and cultural differences between other countries and us. At the same time, Australian diplomacy must

never lose sight of our core national values as a country with proud democratic traditions of openness and rigorous debate.

83. Labor will be forthright in raising concerns over human rights violations with relevant governments in our region and beyond. Similarly, we expect and welcome the prospect of international scrutiny of Australia's domestic human rights record. This includes the mandatory imposition of the death penalty.

84. Labor is determined to further strengthen international mechanisms and processes for monitoring human rights violations, especially those monitored under the auspices of the United Nations, and to encourage the development of regional dialogue on human rights issues in the Asia Pacific region. Cooperation between national human rights institutions is an important foundation for regional understandings and arrangements to advance human rights in our region. Labor will work to further develop the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions.

85. Labor strongly supports the development of bilateral human rights dialogues as an integral element of Australia's relations with our neighbours in the Asia Pacific region and beyond. These should supplement, but not replace, multilateral monitoring mechanisms and

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processes and not constrain. Australia's ability to speak out strongly against violations of human rights.

86. Where appropriate, Labor suppo rts the imposition of targeted 'sma rt' sanctions against governments that violate fundamental human rights. Such sanctions will not be to the detriment of the general population.

87. Labor is concerned about human rights abuses wherever they occur in the region and will continue to raise concerns with relevant governments.

Human Rights

88. Labor is gravely concerned about the continuing human rights abuses in North Korea. The North Korean regime is one of the most repressive in the world with a horrific record of human rights abuses. Regre ttably, there is little room for optimism that the humanitarian and human rights situation in North Korea will improve in the near future.

89. Labor deplores the continued denial of democratic process in Burma and the well-documented human rights abuses that have caused so many citizens to leave Burma. Labor strongly supports efforts by the United Nations for a political solution in Burma that will end years of suffering, denial and decline. Labor believes Australia can make a larger contribution through the Australian aid program to rebuilding Burma to help give its people a future.

90. Labor considers that support for universal human rights and democratic processes should

be an integral part of Australia's engagement with Indonesia. In the context of a broadly based and multifaceted relationship, Australia should maintain contact with all elements of 239 the political process in Indonesia and our dialogue should give expression to the Australian ( =^ people's fundamental concern with human rights and democratic freedoms. Labor notes the improvements in relation to the political infrastructure developments between West Papua and other parts of Indonesia. Labor strongly supports the Special Autonomy Act of 2001 for West Papua and supports a solution similar to that implemented in Aceh, including full

implementation of the Special Autonomy Act of 2001. Labor urges the acceptance of freedom of movement and access by non government organisations and journalists to enhance openness and transparency as the Special Autonomy laws are progressively


91. Labor strongly believes there must be a vigorous human rights dialogue with China where significant human rights abuses continue to occur. Labor notes the role played by the Australia—China Human Rights Dialogue. Labor believes that this should not be a substitute for other bilateral representations to the Chinese Government on particular human rights cases.

92. Beyond the Asia Pacific region, Labor is concerned about human rights violations wherever they occur and Labor in government will continue to raise human rights concerns with the governments concerned. In particular, Labor is very concerned about ongoing and systematic human rights abuses which continue to occur in Zimbabwe, the Sudan and Iran.

93. Labor will actively campaign to focus world attention on governments that persist with forms of repression against the development of free trade unionism. Labor reaffirms that issues of core labour standards relate to fundamental human rights and will pursue, as appropriate, through international treaties, guaranteed respect for those rights. Labor deplores cuts to Australia's participation in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and reaffirms its

suppo rt for programs designed to address abuse of labour rights in the Asia Pacific region through support to neighbouring countries for the development of national labour legislation,

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helping partner country to ratify ILO conventions, and regional trade union cooperation. Labor will restore and strengthen Australia's participation and support for these vital activities. Labor will also give high priority to supporting international efforts to eradicate the exploitation of child labour.

94. Labor will play an active role in encouraging Australian companies operating overseas to adopt public codes which commit them to observe international human rights standards, including core labour standards, and ensure that their operations do not directly or indirectly violate human rights or inflict unacceptable impacts on local communities and the environment

95. Labor abhors the increasing levels of repression against women in some countries. Labor will vigorously support international campaigns to end:

• sexual exploitation of women and children, including child sex tourism;

• prohibitions on education and paid employment for women;

• the denial of equal property rights for women;

• the unequal standing of women in judicial systems;

• the persecution of rape victims; and

• the systematic use of rape and sexual torture in war.

96. The establishment of an International Criminal Court has been an important step in efforts to deter the perpetrators of crimes against humanity and to ensure justice is done when atrocities have been committed. Labor will actively encourage ratification by other countries


to broaden the Court's jurisdiction to punish crimes against humanity. Labor believes the 0 negotiation of bilateral agreements to grant immunity to citizens of particular countries from the jurisdiction of the Court undermines the operation of the International Criminal Court and should not be supported.

97. Labor opposes the death penalty and believes that death by hanging, beheading, electrocution, firing squad, or stoning is inhumane, no matter what the crime. Labor in government will strongly and clearly state its opposition to the death penalty, whenever and wherever it arises and will use its position internationally and in the region to advocate for the

universal abolition of the death penalty.

98. That the Australia/China Human Rights Dialogue give an annual report to the Human Rights Committee of Parliament's Joint Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee.

Environmental Diplomacy

99. Labor considers the protection of the global environment a vital foreign policy objective.

100. International environmental concerns have become ever more acute. Many of the most serious environmental problems extend far beyond the boundaries of nation states. Climate change, ozone depletion, over-population, over-consumption, deforestation and loss of biodiversity threaten the future of the planet and its inhabitants. Environmental degradation contributes to social and political conflict. It undermines regional and international security.

Protecting the environment will support Australia's national interests and security.

101. Climate change is the most significant international environmental issue and one of the biggest challenges confronting Australia. Climate change is real and it is hurting the planet now. Our Pacific neighbours are particularly vulnerable to climate change through rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

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102. Major advances have been made in international environmental cooperation on, and regulation of, global commons. Although multilateral agreements have proven powerful tools for addressing environmental problems, international environmental stewardship lags behind rapid economic and social change. Gains from new technology and environmentally sensitive

policies are being overtaken by the pace and scale of population growth and economic development. Concerted global action is required.

103. Leadership on these issues can and must be taken by middle powers such as Australia. Labor is determined to rebuild Australia's reputation as a world leader on international environmental issues.

104. China looms as a key to any effective global response to the challenge of global climate change. Australia's good diplomatic relationship with Beijing and its position as a major energy supplier to China means that Australia has a direct environmental and economic interest in helping shape China's response to global climate change. Labor will initiate a government-to-government level Australia-China Commission on Global Climate Change.

105. Labor is committed to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development process as the framework for our international environmental policies and to Agenda 21 as an action plan to promote sustainable development on a worldwide basis. Labor will ratify the Kyoto Protocol and join the world in a global agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

106. Labor strongly supports the work of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and will pursue reform aimed at enhancing the UNEP's advocacy of global environmental concerns.

107. Labor will give priority to environmental cooperation in the Asia Pacific region where rapid i 241 economic growth is accompanied by increasing environmental pressures and damage. Labor supports regional cooperation on environmental issues through APEC and in cooperation with ASEAN. We will seek to upgrade consultation with Japan, the United States, Canada and New Zealand. We will further seek to establish new and substantive dialogues with major developing countries, especially China, Indonesia and India.

108. Australia's Pacific Island neighbours face increasing environmental challenges arising from climate change, population growth and rapid increases in exploitation of land, forests and fisheries. Increased Australian support for regional environmental programs, sustainable management of fisheries and other bilateral environmental assistance to Pacific Island countries will be key elements of Australia's engagement with the Pacific under Labor. In

order to properly measure and monitor the impact of climate change, a dedicated Pacific Climate Change Centre and a Pacific Climate Change Alliance should be established. Australia should play a key leadership role in supporting migration and evacuation efforts through an international coalition to accept climate change refugees.

109. Labor will develop a Pacific Climate Change Strategy, which will include:

• a continuation of the proposed long-range climate change prediction project;

• assistance for mitigation, adaptation and emergency response efforts, such as protecting fresh water sources from salt water contamination and dealing with infrastructure decay caused by coastal erosion;

• assistance with intra-country evacuations when citizens have to be moved from low-lying areas to higher ground;

• training to help the citizens of countries that have to be fully evacuated;

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• establishing an international coalition to accept climate change refugees when a country becomes uninhabitable because of rising seas levels, damage to coastal infrastructure or reduced food security and water supplies;

• assistance to preserve the cultural heritage of those who are evacuated; and

• establishing a Pacific Climate Change Alliance to add greater momentum to global efforts to deal with climate change. But for Australia to credibly be part of such an alliance, it must ratify the Kyoto Protocol and commit to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

110. As a major Antarctic claimant state, Australia has a special responsibility to protect the Antarctic's near pristine environment. Labor will work to further strengthen the Antarctic Treaty System with particular emphasis on enhancing environmental protection. Labor supports negotiation of a stringent agreement on liability for damage to the Antarctic environment. Priority will also be given to developing effective arrangements for management of tourism and other non-government activities that may impact on the Antarctic environment. Labor will energetically seek to combat unsustainable, illegal and unregulated fishing in the Southern Ocean.

111. Labor will support World Heritage listing for Antarctica, working with other nations to give Antarctica the environmental status it deserves.

112. Labor will pursue a permanent end to all commercial and scientific whaling and the establishment of a global whale sanctuary. Labor will pursue legal action against whaling nations before international courts and tribunals to end the slaughter of whales for all time.

113. The 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami and the Nias earthquake highlight the real threat that natural


disasters pose to our regional stability, safety and security. Such events also highlight the need for improved relief and reconstruction coordination across the region.

114. Labor proposes the establishment of a Regional Disaster Management Centre aimed at developing the effective coordination of regional emergency services. This Centre would be established with wide and thorough consultation with sector experts and regional partners. Townsville and Darwin are both logical locations given their logistical capacity, existing skills,

and Defence personnel concentration. Such an organisation is an excellent mechanism for developing closer regional relationships by focusing on such a practical and internationally relevant issue.

Development Assistance Responsibilities

115. Eliminating the disparities between the world's rich and poor is one of the critical international challenges of our time. The world can never be just, if one in five of its people live in abject poverty and are denied basic rights to health, shelter, education, clean water and sanitation. Global poverty is also a leading source of international insecurity with high levels of poverty linked to political and economic instability, human rights abuse, unrest and war, uncontrolled migration and population growth and environmental degradation. Both altruism and self interest require that we actively assist the economic and social advancement of people in developing countries, especially the poorest countries and communities.

116. To that end, Labor believes the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) should constitute the new framework for global overseas development assistance (ODA) and Australia's national contribution. Labor argues for a deepening in the world's commitment to this MDG framework. Specifically, this involves commitments to:

• eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;

• achieve universal primary education;

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• promote gender equality and empower women; • reduce child mo rtality;

• improve maternal health;

• combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases;

• ensure environmental sustainability; and

• develop a global partnership for development.

117. Labor believes that Australia's commitment to the MDGs should also be reflected in appropriate levels of senior ministerial representation at relevant UN review conferences. The fact that Australia has failed consistently to do so in recent years unnecessarily undermines Australia's international standing in a critical area of corporate global responsibility.

118. Consistent with our commitment to the ideals of equality and social justice, Labor accepts the challenge of working towards these goals as an urgent priority. This objective fully supports Australia's long-term security and economic interests. While the provision of development assistance may also support our foreign policy objectives, the pursuit of

short-term diplomatic and trade advantage can easily compromise the effectiveness of our aid program and should not determine development assistance priorities.

119. A focus on the MDGs is also consistent with our determination to employ Australia's overseas development assistance to advance respect for human rights. Labor considers efforts to advance the full range of human rights, economic, social, cultural, civil and political, must be integral to Australia's overseas aid, while acknowledging the sovereign right of developing nations to control the form and nature of their development.

120. In promoting the MDGs, Australia's overseas aid program should involve a cooperative 3 partnership with developing countries and peoples to:

• support broadly based, equitably distributed and sustainable economic growth by encouraging sound national economic policies, including helping to develop efficient, accountable and equitable government administration;

• work to increase access to basic human requirements such as health, education, housing and sanitation, where possible building upon existing infrastructure, knowledge and resources of local communities;

• increase the productivity of the poor by facilitating access to productive assets, including support for micro-credit programs, and access to vocational training and appropriate agricultural technology;

• break down ba rriers to the participation of the poor in economic and social development, and especially support activities which enable women to contribute to and benefit from development;

• establish a human rights framework for Australia's overseas aid programs and include human rights issues and respect for Indigenous rights and culture in our development assistance policy dialogue with recipient countries. This should be done bearing in mind the pitfalls of imposing donor values and structures on developing countries through development assistance:

• suppo rt environmentally sustainable development work directed towards environmental protection and rehabilitation;

• address HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases; and

• support population activities, including volunta ry family planning, as part of wider efforts to improve the health and education of women.

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121. Labor strongly supports further international action to provide effective debt relief for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. Debt relief should be closely linked to social and economic development and poverty alleviation. Australia must be prepared to contribute its fair share of the cost of debt cancellation.

122. Labor will pursue reforms to ensure the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank are held more accountable for their programs in terms of poverty reduction and sustainable development, as well as their impacts on vulnerable groups and communities.

123. Labor accepts the internationally agreed aid volume target of 0.7 per cent of GNP for overseas development assistance. Labor will ensure that Australia's overseas aid as a percentage of GNP is not further reduced and will work towards the UN goal of 0.7 per cent

124. Labor acknowledges the inadequacy of much development assistance in recent years, and therefore will commit to new and innovative approaches in aid delivery. To address the effectiveness of aid delivery, Labor will conduct a thorough review of AusAID's performance and consider whether AusAID should become a department separate to the Department of

Foreign Affairs and Trade to ensure its independence in policy making.

125. To address the accountability of aid delivery, Labor will consider establishing a Legislative Charter on Australian Development Assistance to guarantee that aid is spent on poverty reduction and not political agendas.

126. To promote creative responses to aid delivery, Labor will consider the creation of a Global Development Institute to conduct development research to inform policy making.

127. Labor will also maximise aid effectiveness through:

• discouraging corruption and other destructive distortions in recipient countries nurtured by ineffective development assistance;

• ensuring governance initiatives are properly balanced against the need for poverty reduction through the adequate provision of basic services;

• empowering and serving individuals in developing countries more effectively and directly through decentralised aid delivery; and

• supporting grass roots, local ownership of institutions of governance.

128. Such measures will enable Labor to improve the effectiveness of development assistance and encourage greater commitment to development assistance in wealthy countries and, in so doing, better full its commitment to the Millennium Development Goals.

129. The geographical scope of Australia's aid programs should reflect our primary regional focus on East Asia and the South Pacific. This should not preclude significant development assistance activities in other areas, especially South Asia and Africa where many of the world's poorest communities are located. Labor also supports the continuation of special development assistance programs of global significance such as Australia's aid contributions

in support of the Middle East peace process.

130. Labor is committed to ensuring that Australia's overseas development assistance is delivered professionally in a cost effective manner and that over time it contributes to development. Labor strongly supports the role of non-government organisations in the development and delivery of Australia's overseas aid program. Labor will further enhance the role of Australian and international non-government organisations as channels for Australia's development assistance, subject to rigorous standards of effectiveness and accountability. Labor believes that aid delivery needs creative and decentralised approaches including the development of

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Civil Society Partnership Agreements with the private sector, non-government organisations, religious organisations and other recognised, accredited community organisations. Labor will also consider establishing a Pacific Development Trust to promote micro-credit schemes through the establishment of local financial services providers or by complementing existing

private sector initiatives.

Australia's International Image

131. Labor will strengthen efforts to enhance Australia's international profile and standing through information activities, particularly in Asia and the Pacific.

132. Labor notes that other countries have increased their short-wave and television penetration of Asia—while in Australia's case it has declined.

Institutional Foundations of Foreign Policy

133. Australia's diplomatic service is a national asset that is critical to maximising our international influence and securing outcomes that advance the interests of Australia and Australians. Australia needs effective diplomacy to make us heard and help shape the course of international and regional events.

134. Australian governments must be provided with timely and high quality analysis of international developments. Similarly our overseas representation must enable us to pursue our objectives in a cost effective way and to exploit emerging opportunities to enhance our security, economic and other interests.

135. Australia's diplomatic service has suffered significant cutbacks that impair its ability to pursue . r our national interests. Targeted reinvestment in our international relations effort is required to meet the challenges of the next two decades and beyond. Labor will:

• strengthen the capacity of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and other relevant agencies to assess and assist in shaping global and regional patterns of strategic and economic change and their implications for Australia, especially in the longer term;

• establish a high level policy planning capability for the minister and the government. Rather than simply responding to international events as they unfold, Labor will establish a long-term policy and strategic planning capability with a view to shaping events and positioning Australia for the environment it will confront in 10, 20 and 50 years time;

• ensure that the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio retains and develops relevant policy expertise;

• review the capacity and focus of Australia's overseas representation to ensure that our network of diplomatic posts is resourced to meet the challenges of the increasingly complex international agenda and the growing needs of government, business and the Australian people;

• review and strengthen Australia's public diplomacy programs to project abroad an image of a modern, culturally diverse, tolerant and sophisticated Australia, in support of our key foreign and trade policy objectives; and

• ensure that DFAT maintains 'critical mass' in its cadre of linguistic and area specialisations consistent with Australia's regional interests. Australia must maintain in its diplomatic service (inter alia) continuing high levels of expertise in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malay, Thai, Tagalog, Hindi, Tamil and Vietnamese. In the case of the languages of South East Asia in particular, the impact of regional terrorism makes the retention of these language and area specialisations within DFAT even more critical than in the past.

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136. Labor will ensure that high priority is given to assisting all Australian travellers and Australians overseas through effective and accessible consular services. In the aftermath of the Bali bombings, Labor will overhaul every aspect of the DFAT travel advisory system to ensure there is no avoidable mismatch between intelligence and what the travelling public are told.

137. Labor recognises the important contribution made to advancing Australia's national interests by Australia's intelligence collection and assessment agencies and the necessity for effective management, scrutiny and accountability of those organisations. Labor is committed to:

• ensuring that our intelligence agencies are able to assess effectively and respond to national security challenges, including threats arising from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism; and

• maintaining appropriate and effective oversight of Australia's intelligence agencies, including placing all such organisations on an appropriate legislative basis and under effective parliamentary scrutiny.

138. Labor is committed to ensuring continued effective parliamentary and public scrutiny of international treaties prior to final treaty action by government. Labor will continue arrangements for review of treaties including the Treaties Council, the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, and the requirement that treaties together with National Interest Analyses be tabled in the Commonwealth parliament for at least fifteen sitting days before final treaty action is taken. Labor is committed to further enhance consultation with State and Territory governments and increase opportunities for public and parliamentary scrutiny prior to the conclusion of treaty negotiations.

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Western Sahara 139. Labor supports the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and is concerned about allegations of human rights abuses in the occupied areas of Western Sahara. Labor believes in maintaining an appropriate dialogue with the Polisario Front, the legitimate

representative of the people of Western Sahara. In government Labor will support UN efforts to organise a free and fair referendum on independence in Western Sahara, and calls on the UN to press Morocco to implement all UN resolutions pertaining to Western Sahara.

140. Labor urges the Australian Government to extend all due assistance to the UN in its efforts to organise a free and fair referendum in Western Sahara, and to maintain an appropriate dialogue with the Polisario Front, the legitimate representative of the people of Western Sahara. Labor calls on the UN to press Morocco to implement UN resolutions with regards to the decolonisation process in Western Sahara, the last non-self-governing African territory on the UN decolonisation list.


141. Labor in government will use all its influence to help facilitate a just settlement of the Cyprus problem, based on UN resolutions respecting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus, and resulting in the demilitarisation and reunification of the island for the benefit of all its people.

Strength, Sustainability and Self Reliance in Defence


142. Labor believes that the main responsibility of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is to defend Australian territory and other key Australian strategic interests from any credible threat.

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143. The foundation of Labor's defence policy is the principle of Australian self reliance. Labor considers that Australia's armed forces need to be able to defend Australia without relying on the combat forces of other countries. Labor believes that the principle of self reliance reflects, fundamentally, Australia's sense of itself as an independent nation.

144. Notwithstanding its commitment to a self reliant defence policy, Labor recognises the importance of strong bilateral and multilateral defence relationships in providing for Australia's defence. Where appropriate, Labor will both strengthen existing defence ties through the United Nations, with our key allies, and by building new relationships within the Asia Pacific region.

Australia's Strategic Interests

145. Labor considers that the best way for Australia to discharge its global responsibilities, and to protect its national security interests at the same time, lies first in defending our nation and then in fostering peace, stability and security within our South Pacific neighbourhood and the broader Asia Pacific region.

146. Labor believes that the ADF needs to possess the capability to make contributions to international operations led by the United Nations and Australia's key allies in the pursuit of broader national strategic objectives. Those contingents will be drawn from the forces and capabilities that are developed for the defence of Australia and for operations in our region.

147. Labor sees the expansion of the ADF Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) capability as critical to its stability and peace building operations. The empowerment of local populations and creation of sustainable governance institutions can only be achieved through a comprehensive and integrated framework of cooperation between military, policing and 247 civilian organisations. Labor will work to facilitate this process in line with other countries and the UN. Labor considers the utilisation of skills within the ADF's Reserve capability to be critical in an enhanced CIMIC program.

148. Labor will ensure that ADF capability development is directly related to Australia's strategic interests and that appropriately regular strategic reviews are undertaken with public reports published. Where necessary, Labor will respond to changes in Australia's strategic circumstances by providing a clear explanation of any implications for defence.

Maintaining a Viable Defence Capability

149. Labor is committed to maintaining a strong and efficiently managed defence organisation that possesses the equipment, personnel and skills that are needed to meet the demands placed upon it by the Australian government. In particular, Labor expresses concern about the looming air capability gap that will be created between the retirement of the F-1 11 and

F/A-18 from the RAAF and the acquisition of a new capability.

150. Labor believes that armed conflict should be a last resort and that every effort should be made to prevent it. Nevertheless, a strong and technologically advanced defence capability must be maintained and be so effective as to demonstrate, if necessary, Australia's intention and ability to defend itself and its vital interests.

151. Labor considers that all Australians within Australian territory are entitled to the full protection of the ADF. No concentration of defence effort in particular areas, shall in any way compromise the security of other parts of Australia's national territory.

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Terrorism 152. Labor believes that Australia's national interest dictates a committed and determined effort to prevent the spread of terrorism. Labor is strongly committed to working with its neighbours, allies and through the United Nations, to eliminate this serious threat.

153. While primary responsibility for counter-terrorism rests with Australia's intelligence, law enforcement and emergency management agencies, the ADF also has a critical role. Labor's new Department of Homeland Security will work closely with Defence to ensure that Australia develops a coordinated, whole of government response to the ongoing threat of terrorism. The ADF will also work with its regional partners and allies to enhance joint counter-terrorism training and operations.

154. Labor is committed to ensuring that the ADF, in particular the Special Forces, is equipped with the highest level of counter-terrorist capabilities available.

155. Labor will investigate the need for further research of force protection, surveillance and detection capabilities for the ADF to counter terrorism-related technologies such as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

International and Regional Defence Relationships

156. Labor recognises the importance of both bilateral and multilateral defence relationships in achieving security for Australia and creating and maintaining stability in Australia's strategic environment. Defence cooperation with Australia's neighbours is important for building regional security.

( 2 g 157. Labor will ensure that Defence cooperation does not contribute to any suppression or violation of human rights or democratic freedoms. Labor will closely monitor the human rights performance of foreign military forces with which Australia engages in defence cooperation. If necessary, Australia will work with regional military forces to increase respect for human

rights and democratic processes.

The US Alliance

158. Labor considers the alliance relationship with the United States to be fundamentally important to Australia's national security. Labor believes that the ANZUS Treaty, which is central to the alliance relationship, is one of Australia's great national assets. Labor endorsed the invoking of the ANZUS Treaty following the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001.

159. Labor will continue to build on this excellent relationship developed over many years. We will revitalise the consultative mechanisms to facilitate a strong relationship into the future.

160. Labor will continue to promote joint defence exercises and improved interoperability with United States military forces, within the context of Australia's national defence objectives.

Pine Gap

161. The Pine Gap Joint Facility makes an important contribution to this alliance as well as to the deterrence and avoidance of conflict. Labor will require that this facility continue to be managed and operated on a joint basis and only with the Australian Government's full knowledge of and concurrence with the facility's activities. Labor will ensure the operations of the Joint Facility are consistent with Australia's national security, disarmament and

non-proliferation objectives. Labor will require that this facility continue to be managed and operated as a joint Australian-US facility within Full Knowledge and Concurrence arrangements to ensure the protection of Australian sovereignty.

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Ballistic Missile Defence

162. Labor considers that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile delivery systems is one of the most serious international security issues confronting the world today. Labor considers effective efforts to combat these developments require sustained multilateral, diplomatic and defence cooperation and action.

163. Labor is concerned that as a unilateral response to the problem of ballistic missile proliferation, national missile defence is disproportionate, technically questionable, costly and likely to be counterproductive. It also has the potential to undermine non-proliferation and derail world progress towards nuclear disarmament. Labor also notes that national missile defence would impact on the security situation in the Asia Pacific region, and that this could have serious consequences for Australia's strategic circumstances and national security.

164. Labor is committed to ensuring that all efforts are made to protect ADF personnel deployed on operations. Labor supports the development of capability for in-theatre defence of ADF personnel and key strategic interests from ballistic missile attack.

Defence Relationships in the Asia Pacific Region

165. Labor is committed to Australia comprehensively engaging with other nations in the Asia Pacific region, as part of its efforts to foster and preserve peace, stability and security in this region. Labor recognises that these efforts are increasingly fundamental to Australia's own national security.

166. Australia's participation in the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) will remain an important aspect of regional policy under Labor. The FPDA provides a unique, multinational forum in which the ADF can exercise with other countries of the region. Labor will work to g maintain the FPDA as a cooperative treaty with benefit for all participants.

167. The continued development of Indonesia's democracy and joint cooperation against terrorism, is allowing Australia to build on the strength of its relationship with that country. Labor will ensure that any defence relationship between Australia and Indonesia will be as equal partners, to the benefit of both countries and that of our broader region while ensuring that Labor's commitment to liberal democratic and human rights values is not compromised.

168. Australia's historical and close ties with New Zealand are the basis of an ongoing partnership. Labor will promote regular, joint military exercises with New Zealand and seek to improve the operational capability of potential joint deployments and foster the synergies that can be created with our different defence capabilities.

169. Australia has a special role and responsibility in its relations with Papua New Guinea. Labor in government will assist Papua New Guinea to develop an effective and disciplined defence force, while encouraging non-military solutions to problems of internal security and order.

170. Security of the Pacific nations is essential for regional security and Australia's own defence. Labor will increase Australia's efforts to engage in supporting sustainable development of the Pacific nations through the creation of democratic institutions, effective law enforcement and modern defence forces. Labor understands that this is a long-term process that must not be prematurely disengaged from, requiring an enhanced ADF Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) capability.

Allied Use of Australian Facilities

171. Labor will support the use of facilities in Australia by the armed forces of friendly countries for combined exercises, training and goodwill visits, provided that in times of peace:

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• use of Australian ports by foreign warships does not extend to the home porting of any of those vessels in Australia;

• staging of military aircraft through Australian airfields or airspace shall only be for such purposes as may be agreed beforehand by the Australian Government;

• no nuclear, biological or chemical weapons may be stored or stationed in Australia;

• nuclear powered vessels visit only those ports which, after assessment by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), have been determined by the Visiting Ships Panel (Nuclear) as being suitable for those vessels, and provided also that all other safety precautions and conditions that are deemed necessary by the relevant Australian authorities are complied with by the vessels concerned; and

n appropriate environmental safeguards are in place.

Defence Personnel

172. Labor recognises that the ADF's most valuable asset is its people. Labor is committed to an ADF which is made up of highly motivated, skilled, well trained and well equipped personnel who volunteer for service. The ADF must be able to compete in the labour market to recruit and retain the best and brightest personnel. In order for the ADF to be an attractive and competitive employer, Labor will develop an integrated long-term personnel policy that addresses the special nature of military service, the needs of service families and the need for a stronger sense of mutual respect.

173. Labor will ensure that ADF pay and conditions continue to be fixed in a fair and transparent manner by an independent tribunal. Labor believes that ADF personnel have the right t 0 form, and be members of, associations in respect of their pay and conditions. Labor will allow associations that can demonstrate a substantial membership to have the right to

appear before the independent tribunal to present the views of serving members.

174. The Howard Government has comprehensively failed to stem the progressive slide in ADF recruitment and retention. Each of the three services is now seriously undermanned, resulting in under-crewed ships and shortfalls in the Army and Air Force equivalent to one whole battalion of troops. Service in the ADF has become less popular due to the failure of the Howard Government to address the disruptive lifestyle for families, lack of career planning, the negative image of failed military justice and the political controversy over unpopular deployments such as Iraq.

175. Labor will review the current distribution of bases to reduce the need for frequent disruptive transfers, develop a better program of career planning, invest in better training programs providing marketable skills on discharge and revise the approach to overseas deployments with a new emphasis on shorter rotations.

176. Labor will also review pay and conditions to ensure that recruitment attractions match those more broadly available in the labour market.

177. New incentives will also be developed to improve retention rates and reduce wastage caused by lack of direction, poor career planning opportunities and improper use of medical discharge processes.

178. New incentives will also be developed to improve retention rates and reduce wastage caused by lack of direction, career planning opportunities and the improper use of medical discharge processes.

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179. Skill shortfalls are currently crippling the ADF and its capacity to defend Australia. This is largely consistent with the failure of the Howard Government to attend to the education and training crisis more broadly within in the economy. Labor recognises that in the high tech world of defence weaponry and the need for self sufficiency in defence industry support,

much more needs to be done.

180. Labor will therefore develop a new defence training program in association with State and Territory governments and the education sector to ensure that specific skill shortages within Defence are addressed.

Occupational Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation

181. Labor will continue to support a modem, dedicated occupational health and safety regime for all personnel, supported by a fair and supportive military rehabilitation and compensation scheme. Labor believes that these arrangements should reflect the unique employment circumstances of the ADF, the need to respect the historical approach to injury and illness incurred overseas and the need for firm policies of prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, return to work and income maintenance measures.

182. Labor will ensure that all ADF personnel receive timely and accurate information about occupational health and safety, and compensation provisions and appropriate assistance to claim compensation when they sustain a work-related injury or illness.

183. Labor believes that before ADF personnel are deployed on operations they should, at any early stage, receive full details about the medical circumstances of their deployment, 1 including physical and mental health risks, thorough preparation including trauma counselling, and the need for preventive measures such as inoculation by consent, based on the best information available. Labor will also ensure personnel receive comprehensive

medical and psychological screening checks and support upon their return from operations.

184. Labor is acutely aware of the stresses of military duty on active service overseas and the need to ensure that ADF members receive full support and treatment in the event of the debilitating and career threatening risks associated with mental health disorders. Labor will review the adequacy of current mental health screening and assessments processes and ensure early intervention and treatment in every case. This will also extend to include cases where there is abuse of processes of military justice, harassment, or discrimination, likely to

result in stress affecting duties and career potential.

185. Labor supports the deployment of female personnel in both non-warlike and warlike circumstances on a voluntary basis, short of actual front line combat.

Military Justice

186. As part of its commitment to lift the standard of military justice in the ADF, commensurate with the recommendations of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee report on military justice of June, 2005, Labor will ensure that the system of military justice which has broken down so dramatically under the Howard Government is restored.

187. Labor will very closely monitor the Howard Government's changes to the system of military justice following that report and will not hesitate to further improve the system if the problems of harassment and breaches of natural justice continue to pass untreated. Labor will not tolerate failure to investigate complaints, cover up, or inadequate investigation. Labor will

ensure that all allegations of sexual assault involving members of the ADF are referred

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immediately to the civilian police for investigation with total cooperation from the ADF command.

188. Labor will ensure impartial, rigorous and fair outcomes for all affected parties in any complaint lodged for redress. Labor is committed to the introduction of a strict accountability system to improve the transparency and public accountability of all military justice investigations.

Composition of the ADF

189. Labor believes it is important that the nation's defence force be representative of the community it serves. Labor will reconsider Defence's recruitment policies to ensure that the ethnic composition of the ADF better reflects the cross section of Australian people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

190. Labor believes that the Reserves area critical component of Australia's defence capability that need to be able to contribute to any sort of operation in which Australia might participate. Labor is committed to integrating full-time ADF and Reserve elements in a total force structure where the different role of all components is properly understood, valued and

utilised effectively. Labor will also:

• abolish the Common Induction Training for the Army and review it for the Navy and Air Force;

• assess the adequacy of equipment available for the purpose of Reserves training, in light of evidence that some units are suffering shortages of weapons and ammunition; and

• be vigilant in ensuring that the rights and protections accorded to Reservists are

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including through the reintroduction of defence leave as an allowable award matter.

191. Labor is concerned that the current shortfall of Reserve recruits is preventing the reserves from fully performing the functions envisaged in the 2000 Defence White Paper. Labor endorses the changes made to Reserves' conditions and employment processes in late 2005.

Defence Administration

192. Labor has long been concerned at the past 10 years of administrative failures of the Department of Defence, as described in a continuing series of critical reports of the ANAO. These include failure to reconcile and acquit $8 billion of expenditure on military assets, including personal leave. Insufficient investment has been made in information systems development and training. Labor will give top priority to the rectification of these shortcomings.

193. Labor is also concerned at the repeated failure of the department, the DMO and the ADF to comply with broader government guidelines and administrative procedures, as instanced by breaches of Attorney General guidelines for legal assistance and Finance guidelines for the assessment of compensation for defective administration. Labor will insist on full compliance with all such government guidelines, with particular attention to tendering and contract management, breaches of which continue to be a serious deficiency.

Defence Industry and Procurement

194. Labor believes that the failure of the Howard Government to deliver major defence equipment projects on time, within budget and with the required level of capability is undermining Australia's overall defence efforts.

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195. Labor is committed to reforming defence acquisition policy to ensure that the defence procurement process delivers better outcomes for the ADF, the Australian Government, and the Australian community.

196. Labor will ensure that the Defence portfolio including the new Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) is more accountable for the timely and cost effective delivery of all major defence acquisition projects. Labor will fund the ANAO to prepare an annual report akin to that prepared in the UK whereby every Defence acquisition project is assessed and reported on annually for its compliance with time, cost and quality outcomes. Parliamentary oversight will thereby be enhanced.

197. Labor will also introduce new restrictions to limit the improper practice of senior and expert defence personnel leaving Defence employment to work with private defence companies, thereby compromising national security, public service ethics, and corrupting the transparency and accountability of current procurement processes.

Defence Industry

198. Australia's defence industry sector is an integral part of the defence of Australia. Labor is committed to fostering a strong and viable, long-term domestic defence industry and will ensure that government policy reflects that commitment.

199. Labor recognises that defence acquisition plays a significant role in the modernisation of Australian industry and the development of a skills base. Labor will give preference to Australian based companies, with special consideration for local suppliers being desirable where:


• the supplier is commercially competitive; • the supplier is operating in an area of high strategic value; and

• local production is required to establish a new capacity capable of future development.

Defence Industry Sectoral Plans

200. Labor supports the development of defence industry sectoral plans for shipbuilding, aerospace, electronics, and land and weapons.

201. Labor believes that the sectoral plans represent a more strategic approach to defence industry policy that will enable Australia to sustain key industry capabilities necessary to meet our long-term national security needs. This also helps to provide better guidance for industry, introduce better business practices within defence and establish better relationships between industry and defence.

202. Labor supports a defence shipbuilding sector plan that maintains a viable defence shipbuilding and repair capability in Australia.

203. Labor will ensure that the ship building and repair industry is based on a competitive private sector model in such a way as to ensure continuity of work through prime and sub contractors, recognising the need for flexibility in the national heavy engineering sector.

204. Labor recognises that a viable and competitive naval ship building industry is strategically vital for Australia's defence, as well as for the continuing health of the heavy engineering and high tech industries involved in modern weaponry. Labor will ensure continuity of work, with emphasis on a nationally coordinated arrangement for modular construction with centres of excellence for assembly and weaponry development, installation and maintenance.

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Defence Capability Plan

205. Labor is committed to the regular publication of a Defence Capability Plan (DCP) to ensure that the defence industry sector remains informed about future acquisition projects, particularly the proposed timing, cost and level of capability associated with such projects.

206. Consistent with its approach to regular strategic reviews, Labor will review and, as necessary, update the DCP on a regular basis to ensure that public information about defence equipment projects remains current and relevant to the needs of the ADF, the defence industry sector and the Australian community.

Defence Science and Technology

207. Labor believes that the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) has an impressive record of research and development of defence-related technologies. Labor will further expand and encourage the links between DSTO and the Australian defence industry, including technology transfer to Australian industry, This will ensure maximum benefit from Australian defence research and development and enhance domestic development

opportunities for new technologies and products.

208. As far as possible, Labor will foster the retention of intellectual property ownership in Australia, including where appropriate ownership of intellectual property by Defence.

The Role of Defence in Urban and Regional Development

209. Consistent with Labor's urban and regional development and transport policies, we will develop ports, airfields, railways and roads which will contribute to the mobility of and infrastructure support for the ADF as well as to the material development of the nation and growth in the defence industrial base. Labor will also ensure that the Defence Force's activities, that provide important transport links and economic infrastructure for rural and

regional centres, are maintained.

Defence Exports

210. Labor will ensure government control over the manufacture and export of arms, munitions and military goods and services.

211. Labor supports the export of Australian defence equipment within strict guidelines. Labor will not permit defence exports to countries where those exports would:

• have an adverse impact on Australia's security interests;

• contravene United Nations embargoes; or

• pose a clear, identifiable risk of being used for the major suppression or violation of human rights or fundamental freedoms.

212. Defence exports are important in maintaining local industry support for the ADF and in contributing to Australia's own defence capability. Accordingly, Labor will review the defence export facilitation program in consultation with industry to ensure maximum opportunities for the Australian defence industry, within the strict guidelines required for defence exports.

Defence Corporate Performance

213. Defence continues to face significant corporate management challenges. Labor will ensure that Defence establishes the highest level of financial discipline, because improved financial management is critical in ensuring that value for money outcomes are delivered to the government, the ADF and the Australian community.

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214. Labor will undertake a comprehensive audit of Defence financial management to ensure that the corporate performance of the organisation meets best practice standards. Labor will ensure and demand greater accountability and transparency in Defence financial and asset management.

215. Defence property disposal. Labor recognises the cultural, heritage and environmental significance of many surplus Defence properties around Australia. Labor will review the future of all sites identified as being surplus to Defence needs, before deciding whether to sell or transfer these properties to the community. Labor will ensure that Defence consults with all affected parties, including local communities, local and State government agencies, and private interests before determining the future of individual sites.

216. Defence outsourcing. Labor will review all outsourcing initiatives proposed by Defence to determine the financial viability of proceeding with these programs. Labor will ensure that future outsourcing only occurs in areas where real long-term savings can be generated without compromising the operational capability of the ADF.

Security of Australians at Home

217. One of the primary obligations of government is to secure and defend its territory, people and economic and political interests. In recent years, the threat of non-state terrorism has made that task more difficult and threatened to disrupt the peace and security of Australians at home, as well as abroad.

218. These new and additional security challenges require new and effective responses that are compatible with ensuring the safety of Australians at home in a free and democratic society.

219. Life, liberty and security are the most fundamental of all human rights. Ensuring the defence and security of our nation and its people is one of the most important obligations of government.

220. Australia needs tough laws to deal with terrorism but, just as importantly, we need well-balanced laws that target the terrorists, not innocent citizens. We need strong safeguards to protect the civil and human rights that are fundamental to our freedoms. We can protect the community from terrorism while also safeguarding the right to legal representation and a fair trial.

221. In responding to terrorism, we must not undermine or destroy the very liberties we are seeking to protect.

222. Labor is committed to an effective and comprehensive plan for domestic security to enable all Australians to live, work and raise families in safety.

223. Central to that endeavour is the creation of a new Department of Homeland Security to ensure all relevant resources of government are carefully focused on the security of our national borders and critical infrastructure and the protection of all Australians at home.

Department of Homeland Security

224. Labor's Department of Homeland Security will achieve better coordination between law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies as well as civil authorities and the Defence Organisation.

225. The Homeland Security Department will coordinate and control the key agencies involved in information and intelligence gathering, border protection, coastal waters, transport security, protection of critical infrastructure, incident response and recovery.

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226. Labor's plan avoids the problems created by splitting these functions over a number of Departments that invites overlap, wastage, confusion and missed opportunities. In national security, confusion and missed opportunities can be fatal.

227. Labor's Department of Homeland Security will be organised around its core responsibilities of:

• border protection;

• protecting against terrorist attacks;

• fighting crime;

• collection and dissemination of intelligence; and

• response to and recovery from incidents.

228. The border protection role includes responsibility for authorising entry and monitoring the passage of persons and goods through our ports.

229. Protecting against terrorism within the borders would bring together responsibilities such as infrastructure protection, including transport security, counter-terrorism science and technology, crime prevention, emergency management, and protective security coordination.

230. Labor's Homeland Security Department will include a number of law enforcement and security agencies, such as the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Customs Service, the Australian Federal Police and Protective Service, the Protective Security Coordination Centre, Austrac, Crimtrac and the Australian Crime Commission.

231. This new Department will provide a more efficient and effective way to coordinate and

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integrate domestic security operations in Australia.

Protecting our Borders

232. Protecting our borders is an important part of protecting our citizens. A new Homeland Security Department with a clear responsibility for border protection is the best means to secure the community from:

• illegal drugs, weapons, explosives and precursors;

• illegal immigrants, people smugglers and sex traffickers;

• illegal fishing and exploitation of our environment; and

• terrorist penetration.

233. Australia's maritime and border security has been dangerously neglected. Thousands of ill egal boats go unchallenged in our northern waters. The threat to our fishing and aquaculture industries, the risk of human and livestock diseases spreading and the opportunity for drug smuggling and gun running require urgent action.

234. Labor will establish an Australian Coastguard under the Department of Homeland Security to tackle these problems in association with other agencies.

235. The Australian Coastguard will be responsible for the detection of and response to all incursions into Australian waters; for the enforcement of all Commonwealth laws as they relate to the maritime jurisdiction; for carrying out coastal surveillance and intelligence gathering operations; for coordinating maritime safety and search and rescue operations; and for coastal surveillance and protection against incursions in times of declared emergency and conflict.

236. In addition to existing resources within Customs, the Coastguard will be equipped with new vessels and other platforms designed for their specific role and appropriately armed to

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undertake their important tasks. Coastguard personnel will be recruited to complement existing personnel engaged in these tasks.

237. The Coastguard will also have a volunteer civil reserve component to provide a localised search and rescue service.

Port and Maritime Security

238. Labor is committed to a rapid improvement in the security of our coastal shipping and major ports, many of which are in heavily populated areas.

239. Labor will ensure that only security cleared vessels crewed with sailors who have appropriate security clearances are able to carry dangerous materials on coastal routes.

240. Labor will ensure that all ships wanting to enter Australian ports provide satisfactory details of all cargo and crew at least 48 hours before arrival and that a significantly higher percentage of containers are x-rayed on arrival.

Aviation Security

241. The aviation industry remains a target for terrorists. Labor will expedite the implementation of the 'Wheeler' review recommendations which has stalled under the Liberals.

242. Labor will work with stakeholders to ensure:

n in-line screening of all cargo on passenger flights at counter-terrorism, first response airports is completed;

• upgrades to regional airport security are given priority, particularly those that have direct commercial passenger flights to major high security airports;

• the expanded use of CCTV, including enhanced smart monitoring that complies with agreed minimum national standards; and

• improved perimeter security.

243. Labor is committed to ensuring that the security of Australia's aviation industry is second to none.

Mass Urban Transport Security

244. The horrific terrorist attacks on Madrid's rail system in 2004 and the attack on London's bus and rail network in 2005 demand urgent bus and rail security upgrades in Australia.

245. Labor will work with industry, State, Territory and local government to ensure acceptable national standards for security are in place on all major urban transport systems.

246. Labor will take the initiative in ensuring:

• the design of carriages, buses, ferries, railway stations and terminals minimises the opportunity for explosive devices to be left and also reduces the lethal effect of any explosion which may occur;

• a substantial increase in the availability of sniffer dogs to detect explosives and their regular use on major urban transport systems;

• the creation of highly mobile flying squads of police, specially trained to operate in an urban transport environment; and

• improved security and surveillance at depots and rail yards where vehicles, ferries and passenger carriages are held.

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Inspector of Transport Security .

247. The Inspector of Transport Security has an important role inspecting and verifying that security measures meet acceptable national standards to protect the travelling public. Under Labor, the role of the Inspector of Transport Security will be enhanced and become a full-time position to audit transport security measures and ensure suitable standards apply.


248. Labor recognises the need for safeguards to protect against a pandemic or disease that could threaten human and other life. Accidental or deliberate actions can expose Australia to these risks.

249. While improved border security will play an important part in minimising these risks, Labor recognises the need for expanded research in the field of bioterronsm to combat the use of viruses and other forms of infectious disease that may be a threat.

250. Labor will work closely with other nations in our region to control the threat of bioterrorism and pandemics more generally.

Protecting Essential Services

251. Natural and human-caused disasters can threaten lives and property. At such times, protecting critical infrastructure such as communications, power and water supply is vital to the recovery effort and maintenance of normal activity.

252. In cooperation with other tiers of government, utility providers and owners of critical infrastructure, Labor will ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to limit threats and ensure rapid recovery from incidents.

Recovery from Incidents

253. Natural disasters are a part of Australian life. Together with the damage and injury which terrorists may cause, they pose challenges for all levels of government. The Commonwealth has a key role to play in monitoring threats, supporting programs that reduce the risk of incidents and responding to and recovering from disasters.

254. As part of Labor's Department of Homeland Security, Emergency Management Australia will be resourced to ensure response and recovery from incidents minimise loss of life and damage to property.

255. Labor will work with other levels of government to ensure local resources are capable of addressing anticipated threats. Particular attention will be given to interoperability across agencies and jurisdictions.

Care and Honour for Australian Veterans

The Tradition of Care

256. Australias military activity since Federation has seen many deployments abroad in the defence of our national interests. This service has traditionally been treated with special status by Australian society, recognising the disruption to life, hardships of separation from family and the wide range of risk to life and limb. Repatriation therefore has had a special significance, with unique and separate acknowledgement of that service through special

programs of support, care and commemoration at public cost.

257. Labor respects the tradition of special care for Australia's service men and women who serve overseas, within the modern context. Labor will continue to care for and honour veterans for

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their service to the maintenance of world peace and domestic security through dedicated programs of support, care and commemoration.

258. Moreover, Labor will not tolerate any further erosion of the traditional distinction accorded those with warlike (qualifying) service as appropriate in a modern service context.

259. However, Labor also notes that these traditional policies and programs have evolved slowly over almost a century and, that in some instances, may no longer be consistent with the needs of veterans and their families in a modern society.

260. Labor, in its approach to veterans' and war widows' entitlements, recognises there are many inconsistencies but in addressing these, need will always be the first priority.

261. Labor also recognises, however, that many inconsistencies resulting from different judgements and perceptions in the past cannot be remedied without considerable cost, and the risk of creating further inconsistencies.

262. Consistent with the philosophy of benefits being relevant to contemporary needs and with the principles of fairness, equity and transparency, Labor will continue to review policies. Labor will fully consider the recommendations of all recent reviews of policy, including giving further consideration to the recommendations of the Clarke Review of Veterans' Entitlements that have not been acted upon.

263. Labor will give early priority to those recommendations of Clarke relating to those affected by radiation from service in Japan and during the atomic tests in Australia.

Veterans' Needs

264. With the passing of most World War I veterans, the veteran community can be categorised three ways for the purposes of reviewing and developing flexible and responsive programs.

265. Veterans who served in World War II, Korea and subsequent deployments in South East Asia who are now largely retired. For this group the issues are now predominantly ones of health and aged care.

266. Veterans who served in the Vietnam War with its unique characteristics which included the presence of many conscripted men and divided community support. For this group the more immediate needs are those of income security for their future retirement, support for the raising of families and programs of support for families suffering from the effects of substance abuse, gambling and acts of violence.

267. Those who have served since in peace keeping missions, and deployments such as the Gulf, Timor Leste, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Solomon Islands-most of whom are yet to become veterans, but whose needs at present seem likely to emulate those of the Vietnam generation.

268. Labor's policy for Wbterans will therefore be structured to respond to the differing needs of veterans according to their stage of life, with flexible programs based on meeting contemporary needs.

Veterans' Families

269. Traditionally programs of support and care for veterans extend to immediate family, recognising that injury and the stresses of service can often affect those for whom the veteran is responsible. Those programs also recognise the care extended to the veteran within the family, especially by partners, as a lifelong commitment. They also recognise the

right to public support in times of need and for children not to be disadvantaged by their


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parents' service and any subsequent outcomes affecting their health and well-being and their future development as individuals.

270. Labor is committed to the care and welfare of veterans' partners and families who may have suffered as a result of the veterans' service, particularly from the ill health of a veteran, as part of a policy of lifelong care for those injured or affected by their service.

271. Labor will work to address the health and welfare needs of younger veterans' families, particularly those of Vietnam veterans, but also those of former peace keepers and subsequent deployments. Labor will ensure there are adequate programs to assist these families to meet the pressures and demands of modern society.

272. As a first priority, Labor will ensure the adequacy of programs focused on alleviating the effects of substance abuse, gambling, and domestic violence as experienced by partners and children.

273. Labor will also undertake health studies into the health and welfare of children of younger veterans, to better establish the possibility of intergenerational health effects flowing from their service.

274. To assist families of veterans in need, Labor will review the adequacy of the program of bursaries for talented children accepted at the tertiary level—including living away from home allowances, complementary with the Veterans' Children Education Scheme.

Programs of Income Support

275. Consistent with general policies which have seen the provision of safety nets for those disadvantaged in society and unable to take their place in the workforce due to disability or age, special provision has always been made for veterans and their dependants. This uniquely includes the effects of service which impact on veterans' employability within the labour market.

276. These policies which have their origins in the immediate post-World War I society, while consistent with general social welfare policies, are separate and form part of service conditions rather than general social welfare policy. Labor will honour that distinction.

277. Recognising the principles of entitlements based on need and consistent with the current principles governing the provision of income support, Labor will continue to provide programs of income support for veterans, their partners and widows, whereby as the result of service in the Australian Defence Forces, they have been unable to provide for themselves and their families due to loss of work capacity, death, or age.

Disability Compensation

278. Injuries and illness resulting from veterans' service overseas have traditionally been compensated in a separate scheme in recognition of the different circumstances and status of that service. This is reflected in some circumstances by a more generous standard of proof, the lack of any onus of proof and a longstanding commitment to the benefit of the doubt operating in the veteran's favour.

279. Labor will honour these commitments and the values on which they are based.

280. Labor will seek to ensure that the operation of income and assets tests applied to veterans, other than under the Veterans' Entitlements Act, is applied fairly and takes account of veterans' service to our nation.

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^ Ctl^pternFOUrt i en^

281. Labor also recognises the claims of the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated community with respect to the erosion of that pa rt of their pension compensating for their inability to earn a living, particularly those younger veterans with continuing family responsibilities. Labor will consider further measures to restructure benefits for T&Pls consultatively with the T&PI community.

282. Labor recognises too, that much of the unfairness and inconsistency within veterans' disability compensation law derives from two separate acts of parliament and the incompatibility of different entitlements from this dual eligibility. Labor supports the development of a new single scheme for all ADF serving people in the future, provided that hard-fought benefits and the traditional values on which they are based, are not diminished.

283. Labor will continue to support the BEST and TIP programs which are of immense value in assisting ex-service organisations to prepare compensation claims for their members.

War Widows

284. Australians have always cared and provided for those whose partners were lost in action or who died as the result of their war-caused injuries or illness. Labor recognises that the traditional programs of support for war widows as provided for in the Veterans' Entitlement Act may no longer be relevant and that there are strong perceptions in the community of

unfairness with respect to eligibility.

285. Labor also clearly recognises there are some widows in need of greater suppo rt, especially those renting privately, and younger widows without children whose entitlements have been reduced in the past. k26;i',

Health Care

286. Health care policy for veterans has, from the time of Federation, provided for free treatment of all service-related inju ry and illness. This is now denoted by possession of a White Card.

287. In more recent times, free private health care for all conditions has been provided by the Gold Card to a range of veterans and widows. Eligibility is automatic for some classes of veterans and widows but generally requires warlike (qualifying) service and an age of 70.

288. Assistance in the home, aimed at keeping ageing veterans and widows out of costly institutionalised care is also provided under the Homecare Program, consistent with the Home and Community Care (HACC) program available to the community at large. This forms part of the traditional approach of lifelong care to those who served Australia abroad.

289. Labor will retain the current programs of health care for veterans and honour the historic commitment to free treatment for all service-related injuries and disease. The Gold, White and Orange cards will be retained with existing entitlements.

290. Labor will expedite the current program of mortality and health studies and research into past deployments, as well as ensuring that the current processes for future deployments properly deal with health risks in advance, and after return to Australia—particularly with respect to record keeping.

291. Labor recognises that mental health issues arising from service, such as post traumatic stress disorder, have affected veterans from all conflicts. Labor encourages and supports measures designed to ensure that existing programs take account of the mental health needs and requirements of veterans.

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292. Commemoration of veterans, their commitment and sacrifice has historically been restricted to the observance of Anzac Day and Remembrance Day by the public, with little government involvement. Labor introduced the current program of commemoration in 1992 and has continued to support that effort, despite its capture by the Howard Government for political


293. Labor will restore a bipartisan approach to commemorative activity, with a concentration on educative programs under the aegis of the Australian War Memorial. Anzac Day will continue to be the central focus of commemorative commitments. In addition Labor will introduce a new day of commemoration to be known as the 'Battle for Australia Day' in September each year, recognising the special significance of the World War II campaigns in Papua New Guinea, the Pacific and South East Asia in the defence of Australia.

294. Labor recognises the significance, importance and sacred nature of battlefields where our troops have lost their lives. Where possible, Labor will actively work with foreign governments and other parties to protect and preserve the integrity of significant battlefields where Australian troops have served. These locations include, but are not limited to, the Gallipoli

Peninsula and the Kokoda Track.

295. Labor will implement education and information campaigns to ensure all Australians, especially the young, develop a full appreciation of the sacrifice and service of our veterans and current servicemen and women.


2 296. Currently administration of veterans' and ex-service personnel matters are concentrated within the Department of Veterans' Affairs, recognising the need for better continuity of specialised client service around Australia. Recognising that the administration of veterans' policy and ex-service personnel matters will continue to merge in the future as the nature of defence service evolves and the older veteran cohort diminishes in number, Labor will continue with a dedicated agency for veterans within the Defence portfolio.

297. As part of this continuing commitment, Labor will consult widely and regularly with the veteran community.

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Death Penalty The ALP does not support the use of the death penalty and supports international campaigns which work to remove the death penalty in many countries.

Today the figure stands at 89. The ALP will work cooperatively with organisations which campaign against the death penalty, in international fora.

Strengthening Australia's Role in the International Arena In today's interdependent world, no national policy can be pursued in isolation. Under Labor, Australia will play a proactive role in the institutions of the global economy, including the World Bank group, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The OECD currently groups 30 industrialised countries "sharing a commitment to democratic government and the market economy". While the OECD's original focus was economic, its scope today extends to all sectors of government, with a growing role in education, the environment and social affairs. Labor will ensure that Australia uses effectively the OECD as a reliable source of

economic and social data among industrialised countries, while contributing to its important standard-setting role through the negotiation and application of agreements and treaties.

Labor will support the OECD's "whole of government" approach in developing policy advice for member countries based on comparative data and research. Three major OECD studies currently underway on health, water and immigration are all especially relevant to Australia. Labor will ensure that Australia will contribute fully to these international studies and will be in a position to obtain the 82

best available evidence and policy advice from them.

On economic issues, including employment, Labor will ensure that there is full consultation with the social partners, trade unions, business and industry, on Australia's contribution to OECD policy analysis, and the use of that advice in the Australian context.

OECD technical work on taxation and intellectual property is of key importance to Australian enterprises. Labor will ensure that such work is followed closely, and that there is regular reporting to, and consultation with, both enterprises and Australian centres for research and innovation.

The purpose of the OECD's role in establishing international rules must be to improve the functioning of the global economy. Labor will ensure that Australia works through the OECD and other global institutions for a world economy that is more just and equitable.

The OECD is a leading standard-setting organisation on corporate and financial market governance and regulation, including on pension fund policies and anti-bribery standards. In negotiating, revising and/or implementing any of these standards, Australia under Labor will be guided by the overarching goal of ensuring greater financial market integrity and corporate accountability. In doing so, Australia will actively promote the role of social partners with the OECD.

Australia will promote effective application of the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises, and Labor will ensure that the Australian national contact point (NCP) fully exercises the responsibilities required under these guidelines. To achieve this it will reconstitute the NCP in a

tripartite from as in the more effective NCPs in other OECD countries.

Under Labor, Australia will exercise a proactive role at the OECD as a forum where the industrialised nations work out their positions on trade, environment, development assistance and other issues, and as a link between the G8 and the broader group of industrialised countries.

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Iraq The Conference condemns the Howard Government's invasion and four years of failed strategy in Iraq. It also condemns the Prime Minister for his refusal to accept responsibility for four years of failed policies and his unwillingness to provide a clear mission statement for our combat troops in

southern Iraq.

Iraq has been the worst foreign policy disaster since the Vietnam War and the Howard Government has failed to win the war in Iraq and to secure the peace.

The Howard Government has presided over and implemented four years of an Iraq policy which has:

• Failed to find weapons of mass destruction, devise a plan for victory or a plan for withdrawal;

• Stubbornly stayed the course with policies that have resulted in the deaths of more than 3,500 allied soldiers, 6,500 Iraqi milita ry personnel and at least 65,000 Iraqi civilians;

• Created a social and humanitarian disaster in Iraq which has resulted in 2 million internally displaced Iraqis and a fu rther 2 million driven from the count ry as refugees;

• Exacerbated te rrorism in Iraq, the region and internationally and failed to make Australia safer— in fact we are now a greater terrorist target; and

• Been a two billion dollar opportunity cost and massive distraction from dealing with security challenges in Australia's immediate region.

Conference notes Iraq is a civil war and fundamentally requires a political solution, not a military one. Open ended and unconditional military commitments by the Howard Government are therefore part of the problem. Endless numbers of army trainers or Iraqi security forces will not end 2 L < 4 . .a^ the violence in Iraq until a political solution can be reached. This approach fails to address the

fundamental need for a political solution and does not place the required pressure on the Iraqi administration to make necessary political compromises and take responsibility for Iraq's own security and future. Stability in Iraq ultimately requires a political solution among all of the ethnic and sectarian groups and this should be combined with economic reconstruction and assistance.

Labor believes that such assistance is best coordinated using the multilateral framework provided by the United Nations.

Conference supports the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party's policy that Australia should conduct a phased withdrawal of our combat forces currently deployed in Southern Iraq in consultation with the Iraqi government and our allies. Conference agrees that Australia should examine other options to assist Iraq with enhancing its security, economic reconstruction and aid needs.

Veterans' A ff airs This Conference calls on Labor to focus its Veterans' Affairs policy on:

Restoring the Value of Compensation

Labor acknowledges the widespread concern in the veterans' community at the erosion of the value of compensation payments, especially those affecting our most severely disabled war veterans.

Compensation payments are made in recognition of our veterans who, as a result of their service, are now left with severe physical or mental afflictions. This is one way in which our society can try to repay them for their sacrifice. Labor believes it is imperative that the value of these payments is not allowed to further erode.

Healing Our Veterans Both Physically and Mentally

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It is well known that many veterans suffer from a range of physical and mental afflictions as a result of their service.

There is an obligation on Governments to ensure that we provide the very best health and rehabilitation services for our veterans. Our focus should not just be on reactive treatments but also preventative actions and proactive outreach programs.

Caring for the Families of Veterans

The role of a veteran's family in providing veterans with love, support and care can not be underestimated. It should also be acknowledged that often a veterans' service can impact negatively on his or her family, including sadly upon their health.

We need to investigate the effects of a veterans' service on their families so we can design the most appropriate responses and programs to assist them. We need quick and effective action in this area.

Empowering the Veterans' Community

Governments can never truly understand the nature of a veteran's sacrifice. Therefore we must have effective processes and infrastructure in place to allow the veterans' community to communicate their needs to Government in a representative and independent manner.

The veterans' community should be able to communicate through representation on departmental committees and should be broadly consulted on controversial or important decisions that impact upon them.

We affirm our support for the independence of the WCS and its governing body the National Advisory Council. We believe that this body must be representative of all sections of the veterans' . 265 community whilst maintaining its independence from the Department.

Improving the Operation of the Department

While recognising that the Department of Veterans' Affairs is world class there is always room for improvement. Expanding claims processing times and backlogs must urgently be addressed by the Department

The Department must deal with claims in a timely and efficient way. Claims processing should pay due regard to the unique circumstances and challenges that many veterans and their families face.

Recognising Courage and Sacrifice

Australia owes a large debt to our fighting men and women. We must strive to ensure that we recognise their courage and sacrifice in an appropriate manner.

Where there have been deeds of great courage and sacrifice, Labor will not neglect its duty to promote appropriate recognition.

Labor will also strive to protect the heritage of foreign battlefields where our troops have lost their lives in recognition of their ultimate sacrifice.

David Hicks The Australian Labor Party recognises that, like every Australian citizen, David Hicks was entitled to a fair trial. His detention at Guantanamo Bay for five years without trial represents an unprecedented denial of justice. It breaches long standing Australian and international legal

principles. The Howard Government's failure to defend the rights of an Australian citizen is of grave concern.

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Fourteen j Australian Labor Parry 44th National Conference Further the 'gag order' placed on Mr Hicks is evidence of a deeply flawed process that no Australian Government should have supported.

Conference calls for the closure of Guantanamo Bay as an affront to natural justice and the rule of law.

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National Platform and Constitution 2007

Chapter Fifteen

Strengthening Regional Communities All Australians should be able to participate fully in the life of the nation, no matter where they live. Labor is committed to strengthening regional communities because local communities are the

nation building core of our future—nurturing the next generation of Australians and fostering the next generation of Australian industries and jobs. Regional communities face significant challenges including shortages of skilled workers, environmental constraints and inadequate service provision. Labor will give priority to improving regional infrastructure and services, in particular through improved service provision, faster broadband and expanded opportunities for education and training.


i. Regions play a vital role in the economic development of Australia contributing 65 per cent of Australia's export income. Labor recognises that international best practice demonstrates that national leadership combined with strong local input into regional development improves the sustainability of the regions and the nation. Successful nations have active strategies to

regenerate their regions and integrate them into the national and global economy.

2. Regions are not only the economic drivers of the nation. They are a source of significant 267 social and cultural diversity and our precious natural resources base. Labor is committed to 221 the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of our regions and their natural resource base. This development is good for the regions and it is good for the


3. The sustainable development of our regions and the fair sharing of opportunity between regions is critical to Australia's long-term economic, environmental and social well-being. Labor is committed to reducing economic and social inequalities between regions caused by infrastructure bottlenecks, skills shortages and distance. Where market failures do exist, Labor is committed to fill the gaps and ensure communities do not decline.

4. Labor recognises that our regions are diverse in size, population and location. Labor recognises that an inclusive approach to Australia's development will encompass all regions: remote, rural, regional and urban. Labor also understands a collaborative approach to regional development that involves all levels of government, the private sector and local communities, will produce the best solutions and outcomes.

5. Labor has had a consistent commitment to our regions. Successive Federal Labor governments have recognised the role of the Commonwealth in regional development and made the commitment through innovative policies to address regional needs. By contrast, Coalition Governments have abrogated their responsibility to regional development which has hindered economic development, undermined social cohesion and led to regressive cuts in services.

6. Labor is committed to restoring a Commonwealth commitment to regional development. Globalisation and technological change bring opportunities and threats. Government has a responsibility to act as catalyst and partner to meet the challenges confronting our regions to

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ensure equitable economic and social outcomes, address market failures and provide services.

7. The Commonwealth has both the capacity and the responsibility to plan for the long-term for industry and workforce development, the provision and maintenance of infrastructure and services and environmental sustainability.

8. Labor recognises that regional development is not only about assisting disadvantaged regions although this is a clear role for the Commonwealth. Regional development is also about assisting progressive regions to realise their full potential. By enhancing all regions' performance there is spill over to surrounding regions and the nation. Regions should offer the best opportunity to live, work and raise a family.

9. Diversity in Australia's regions means that a one-size-fits-all approach to regional development will not work. Labor supports a location-specific approach. Local communities have much creativity and enthusiasm but often lack the resources to put these skills to work. Labor will support regional communities to develop local solutions and strategies to realise their potential.

10. Labor also respects the capacity of communities to determine their own futures, and will support each region in assessing its own potential, identifying its own priorities, devising its own solutions and driving its own agenda. Labor will develop place-based policies to respond to local solutions and coordinate delivery of long-term strategies across departments and between levels of government.

11. Labor will pursue an expanded role for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) 2 g incorporating Commonwealth, State and local governments, to coordinate and integrate infrastructure utilisation and service provision between different levels of government, private and community sectors.

12. As the level of government closest to the community, Labor recognises the role local government plays in regional planning and decision making and will ensure their active participation in regional development strategies.

Strategies for Specific Regions

13. All Australian regions have unique configurations of geographic, economic and social characteristics and require the development of specific strategies to reach their full potential. Labor recognises that in the uneven pattern of economic development, six types of regions face different challenges:

• old industrial centres affected by industry restructuring;

• outer metropolitan regions poorly served by infrastructure and services;

• rural towns and communities with declining populations;

• coastal conurbations with growing populations and development pressures placing the environment at risk;

• fast growing inland centres experiencing rapid growth as a result of factors such as new mining activity, industrial expansion and tree change migration; and

• remote and isolated areas that are deficient in or devoid of infrastructure, services and economic and employment opportunities.

14. Labor will develop a National Settlement Strategy to bring together the evidence about Australia's settlement trends, enabling all levels of government to plan for the future by identifying what is needed to ensure communities develop in sustainable ways. Trends

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re nce ^. ^ r ___ F^ tee

examined will include expected changes in industry structure, employment demand and

demographics. Labor will use the National Settlement Strategy to inform decisions about Commonwealth investment in hard and so ft infrastructure, particularly in areas of rapid growth.

15. Labor recognises that some growing regions need to a tt ract new migrants. New arrivals must be provided with sufficient and appropriate services to encourage them to become part of their new regional communities.

16. Labor recognises that 80 per cent of the Australian population lives on one per cent of the land mass, the coastal fringe. This trend continues in the context of an ageing population.

17. The 'sea/tree change' trend offers opportunities for positive renewal and renaissance occurring in many smaller communities. Labor will work with local government, regional development bodies and the community to make the most of these opportunities.

18. Labor will also work with other spheres of government to address the impact of rapid population growth on the viability of local government and on community infrastructure in both 'sea change' and fast-growing inland communities.

19. Many towns in regional Australia have very high Indigenous populations where 40 per cent of the population is under the age of 15. This should be understood in the planning of service delivery and policy development. Labor will ensure, in these places, that the local Indigenous community is engaged in the development of delivery of programs and services.

20. Labor will provide focused assistance to regions of greatest disadvantage and will seek to reduce the gap between these regions and more advantaged areas. These regions will be given priority access to Commonwealth funding in key policy areas. 269

21. Labor will seek to regenerate regions bearing the costs of economic restructuring. Labor will develop strategies involving all levels of government aimed at improving the physical, social and economic environment in these areas. These strategies will involve the development of local industry and employment opportunities, access to education, health, housing and community support services, improved transport links and the involvement of local stakeholders.

22. Labor recognises that housing affordability and demand for housing is an issue in high growth and mining communities. Labor will work with all levels of government, housing providers and the community to develop local strategies to meet the challenge of housing affordability.

23. Labor recognises there are disparities between regions. Labor will establish benchmarks that recognise differences between regions and help identify what is necessary to overcome them.

24. Labor will continue to develop integrated strategies for particular regions in partnership with local stakeholders.

Infrastructu re and Economic Development: Key for Future Growth

25. Labor recognises that adequate infrastructure, the ability to attract capital, an innovative business culture and a skilled workforce are critical to developing regional economies.

26. Labor is committed to consulting with local communities about their infrastructure needs and ensuring that regional priorities are considered in developing national infrastructure priorities.

27. Labor recognises that infrastructure is not just road, rail and ports. As important as these remain, there are other essential infrastructure needs which must be met for sustainable

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1<6 Australian .Labor Party 44th National Confe re nce I116 ^ s1^11M IIMI, ^,OL1 '. growth in the regions. Labor recognises that strong national leadership is essential to meet

these essential infrastructure needs. This essential infrastructure includes sustainable water resources and land use, telecommunications and sustainable sources of energy.

28. A successful economy depends on the provision and maintenance of adequate infrastructure to support economic development and service delive ry. Labor will establish a national infrastructure council, Infrastructure Australia, to coordinate a national strategy for infrastructure provision and maintenance across all regions to address the infrastructure

bottlenecks constraining further development. Infrastructure Australia will complete an audit of our nation's infrastructure needs and analyse, p rioritise and monitor the delivery of major projects.

29. Infrastructure Australia will consult with regions themselves to determine national infrastructure priorities. The network of Area Consultative Commi ttees will have a wider role in identifying their region's infrastructure priorities, in tandem with developing strategic economic plans in pa rtnership with local stakeholders.

30. Labor is committed to develop a strong integrated trade and industry policy to encourage innovation and investment in regional industries to enable them to value-add our export base. This will create new and long-term economic and employment opportunities across regional Australia.

31. Labor will facilitate the expansion of new links between regional universities, expo rt manufacturers and industry to encourage more diversity of our regional export base. Labor will encourage joint research and development to move Australian exports up the supply

( 270


32. Labor will encourage strategic alliances between industry, universities, research centres, business service providers and customers. Labor will assist regions to develop business networks that allow them to identify and develop closer links with other regions, industries and sectors.

33. Labor recognises that retaining, creating and expanding business and industry is critical to providing opportunity and security for the future, and will encourage innovation and business growth. Labor is committed to overcoming the practical difficulties faced by regional and outer urban business, particularly small business, in accessing information and expertise.

Labor will improve the effectiveness of business networks, including online networks, in disseminating best practice information and new technologies to regional and outer urban businesses.

34. Labor recognises the difficulties faced by regional businesses in accessing capital, information and advice and will develop initiatives to improve information flows between financial institutions and regional entrepreneurs.

35. Labor recognises that up-to-date communications infrastructure and facilities are essential to develop industry and business and Labor will develop and implement a national strategy to deliver broadband services to all parts of the nation.

36. Labor recognises that economic and business development will be enhanced in regions that have a high quality of life. Labor is committed to promoting opportunities for cultural expression and cultural experiences for all Australians whatever their backgrounds and wherever they live.

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Better Management of our Natural and Built Environment

37. Labor recognises the Commonwealth must play a leadership role in environmental management to ensure sustainability at local, regional, national and global levels.

38. Labor will consider the environmental impact of all policy decisions made by government.

39. Labor will encourage the development of regional environmental strategies, encouraging effective land and water usage strategies and the expansion of industries such as alternative energy development and environmental renewal.

40. Labor recognises that strong national leadership is required to deliver effective reform and sustainability of our precious water resources.

41. Labor recognises that the renewable energy industry can offer both environmental benefits and opportunities for economic and industry development in regional communities.

42. Labor will facilitate a grass roots approach to local and regional environmental management to engage public commitment.

Telecommunications Infrastructure: The Great Enabler

43. Labor recognises that access to fast, affordable broadband is the great enabling infrastructure for individuals and regions.

44. Labor recognises that "Next Generation Networks"- the use of packet technology (internet) to provide telephone, data, internet, email, video, pay TV and television, including high definition television—requires true high-speed broadband. The difficulty in providing this broadband speed in regional and remote communities has the potential to create a new digital divide. 2711

Labor is committed to ensuring that the digital divide is minimised.

45. Labor recognises that access to fast, affordable broadband in regional areas will enable regional industries and businesses to be better able to access world markets and improve export performance.

46. Labor recognises that access to fast, affordable broadband will not only benefit regional economies but will also enhance the educational opportunities of all of children regardless of where they live.

47. Labor will take the national leadership necessary to establish an integrated national broadband network. Labor will establish and implement a national broadband strategy to ensure up-to-date communications infrastructure and services are available to residents and businesses in outer-metropolitan, regional and remote Australia.

Education, Training and Skills Development for Regions

48. Labor recognises that knowledge and learning are critical to the long-term future of regional economies and that the education sector has great potential to be a source of ideas and to assist in local economic and social challenges.

49. Labor will develop initiatives to retain and attract a diversity of highly-skilled workers to regional areas. This includes supporting regional university campuses enabling people to study in their place of origin and retaining highly-skilled workers in the regions.

50. Labor is committed to working in partnership with local communities to identify the skills shortages constraining further growth and to maximise the opportunities for young people to pursue education and employment in their own region.

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51. Labor will ensure that national training and education solutions are tailored to deliver local results.

52. Labor is committed to get the balance right between skilled migration and training young Australians in regional areas.

53. Labor will seek to improve coordination of all education sectors at a regional level.

54. Labor recognises that access to fast, affordable broadband is essential for students, teachers and academia in distance education, and for regional universities to continue to be competitive with metropolitan universities.

Regional Services: Statement of Entitlements for all Australians

55. Labor believes that all Australians, regardless of where they live, should have reasonable and affordable access to services including:

• secure and appropriate housing;

• transport;

• basic utilities;

• universal and affordable broadband facilities and mobile access;

• quality education and training opportunities;

• health and aged care;

• financial services;

• personal, family and social services; 272 • employment services; and • information on government programs and policies.

56. Labor recognises that many regional communities face difficulties in accessing a range of basic services. Labor is committed to develop a flexible, long-term solution to deliver services to all communities.

57. Labor is committed to ensure all government decisions are assessed for their impact on regional areas.

58. Labor recognises that an integrated cross-portfolio approach to regional development is necessary to meet social, economic and environmental goals and to deliver quality services to all regions.

59. Labor recognises that a concerted commitment by all levels of Government to work cooperatively is necessary to improve the delivery of services to regional areas.

60. Labor is committed to protect affordable, accessible health services in all regions. Labor is committed to ensure the universal nature of Medicare to ensure all Australians have access to free hospital care, bulk billed or rebated medical services and subsidised essential medicines.

61. Labor recognises that the health status of regional communities is directly related to the economic prosperity of each community. Labor's commitment to rural health is therefore part of a wider regional and rural policy that aims to ensure the economic health of regional communities.

62. Labor recognises that many regions have severe shortages of medical professionals and will develop initiatives to address the shortages. Labor will ensure an appropriate supply of health professionals in rural, regional and outer-suburban Australia.

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Australian Labor Par

ty: 44th National Conference Chi^fiel `F,IftGei

63. Labor recognises that a concerted and sustained commitment by all levels of government towards working cooperatively and commi tting increased resources to rural health is a necessa ry first step.

64. Labor will foster a collaborative environment between service providers and increase resources to rural health services. Labor will also create flexible funding arrangements that respond to different communities' needs and accommodate the different models of health services to enable the sharing of resources and maximise access to health expertise in regional and rural areas.

65. Labor recognises the increased financial, social and professional efforts facing rural health care providers. Labor will address the special demands for rural health care including:

• making GP training places more available; • providing greater professional support and education opportunities to health professionals; • supporting programs that improve access to locum services for health professionals;

• supporting incentive packages for health professionals to relocate and remain in rural and remote communities; • promoting cross-culture training programs for rural health professionals to ensure Indigenous Australians are appropriately cared for in mainstream health services; and • ensuring equitable access to health services in areas where access to public hospital

facilities is inadequate or non-existent.

66. Labor recognises that basic banking, insurance and financial services are essential for all Australians. Labor will consider ways to intervene should there be a further decline in access to these services in regional communities.

67. Labor will establish a national transport planning strategy to enable integrated planning across regional areas.

68. Labor will develop a comprehensive national disaster strategy, in partnership with State and Territory emergency services and local governments.

69. Labor will work with State and Territory governments to implement a national bushfire strategy aimed at ameliorating the adverse environmental, social and economic impacts of bushfires.

70. Labor acknowledges the important role of local government in the provision and maintenance of social and economic infrastructure.

Reforming Regional Structures and Processes 71. National leadership is essential to ensure regional structures and process are effectively used and developed. Regional planning and decision making allows for coordination between smaller local communities, based on geographic proximity and commonality of interest.

72. While Labor commits to ensure regional development is part of mainstream policy, it will also retain separately financed regional-specific programs. In retaining these programs, Labor will ensure that the highest levels of transparency and accountability in program administration are adhered to.

73. Labor recognises that there is a role for all three levels of government in developing Australia's regions. National leadership is also essential to develop a whole-of-government approach to regional development. Labor will work with State and local governments to develop a strategic approach for regional futures.


National Platform and Constitution 2007

Chapter Fifteen

Australian Labor. Party 44th NatIonal Conference

74. Labor will build on existing regional structures including Area Consultative Committees and will continue to support regional organisations of councils.

75. Labor will ensure that Area Consultative Committees (ACCs) Boards operate in a transparent and accountable manner, are representative of their communities and will work closely with State and local government.

76. Labor will widen the mandate and improve the resources of the network of ACCs, in order to reconnect with regional areas and build capacity within them. ACCs will have a mandate to:

• develop strategic economic, environmental and societal plans in close consultation with local government, state regional development bodies, private sector and regional communities,

n support local projects in line with their plans, and

• identify infrastructure needs (Infrastructure Australia will be required to consult ACCs in establishing national infrastructure priorities).

77. Labor will ensure that ACCs' cooperation with government and community bodies results in a single plan for each region, and that all involved play complementary roles without overlap.

78. Labor will rename the ACC network Regional Development Australia to better reflect its role in coordinating regional development. Labor will ensure the network is properly resourced to provide funding certainty over the longer term.

79. Labor will establish a network of Commonwealth urban development offices to work alongside regional structures in urban areas to coordinate Commonwealth activity.


Community 274: 80. Labor will build capacity in communities to develop location-specific solutions. Communi empowerment will be at the core of Labor's approach, with the devolution of opportunity and responsibility to local communities. Labor will identify and develop community leadership, including youth leadership, and will provide opportunities for community input to ensure people have an effective voice in policy development and delivery.

Resourcing the Regions

81. Labor recognises that regional development has been financed separately to mainstream policy. This has restricted long-term planning for regional development and led to programs built on short-term political gain. Labor will retain regional funding programs, including the Regional Partnerships program, but will improve their transparency and accountability and ensure funds are allocated for legitimate local needs.

82. Labor will ensure that regional development and services are not sideline issues but are brought into mainstream policy and service delivery. Labor will require mainstream portfolio budgets to identify how much they are spending in each region of Australia. This will produce greater accountability in the budget papers and will allow regions to have input to the spatial allocation of funds in a range of portfolios for better service delivery. This funding model will also drive coordination across government.

83. This funding model will also provide a mechanism by which mainstream portfolios are required to respond to innovative, creative solutions for better service delivery. Labor will explore opportunities to establish innovation funds in the main portfolios of health, education and industry to respond to innovative, creative solutions developed by local communities to improve service delivery and to develop regions.

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84. Labor will explore opportunities for regional development bodies to have input into the allocation of mainstream portfolio funds in their communities to respond to local solutions for better services delivery and economic development.

85. Labor will invest the Broadband Connect program funds and the Communications Fund to establish a national broadband network.

86. Labor will explore options for investment in infrastructure through partnerships with the private sector, and in consultation with local people, local government and local businesses.

Building Stronger Communities

87. Many urban, rural and remote communities have been adversely affected by the process of globalisation and the resulting transformation of local employment and industry.

88. Labor recognises that confident, inclusive communities create opportunities for environmental, social, cultural and economic development and lead to improved health, education and employment outcomes.

89. Labor is committed to community building, which involves developing partnerships between local people, government, businesses, higher education and research institutions and other agencies to improve the places in which people live. Community building aims to find local solutions to local problems, increase social participation and develop networks within and across communities. Labor will pay particular attention to the opportunities afforded to young

people in these communities.

90. The regional network of ACCs is ideally placed to drive coordination and partnerships across local communities. I

Local Government 91. Labor will support the necessary legislation for a referendum to amend the Australian Constitution to recognise the autonomous role of local government. In addition Labor recognises:

• the increased role played by local government in the Australian federal system and potential benefits to the nation of enhancing that role;

• local government's participative role in the decision making process of COAG, and the parallel Ministerial Committee relevant to local government;

• the important role played by local government representatives in their communities:

• the value of democratic, accountable and efficient local government as a vehicle for local democratic decision making, responsible to local communities;

• the importance of effective partnerships between local government and the Commonwealth in the efficient delivery of services that impact directly on the living standards of Australians; and

• that efficient, effective and responsive local government is vital to creating and maintaining equity between the regions.

92. Labor is committed to working with local government to develop and implement strategies to increase participation by women in all aspects of local government.

93. Labor will work with local government on the issue of urban reform and development through further measures to improve the efficiency and quality of local planning and approvals processes.

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94. Labor recognises the role of local government in environmental management, including the areas of coastal management, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, improved waste management, energy efficiency, and improved catchment and water resources management and will promote its active involvement in the achievement of national environmental objectives. Labor will promote consideration of a broad range of national environmental strategies in the core business of local government.

95. Labor acknowledges the need for greater local government involvement in pursuing employment and training opportunities, in partnership with other spheres of government, business, unions and regional organisations.

96. Labor is committed to working with local government on the formulation and implementation of regional development strategies.

97. Labor recognises that costs to local government have increased. Accordingly, Labor will examine ways to redress the funding shortfall suffered by local government. In addition, Labor will work with local government to improve and protect the provision of infrastructure and services to local communities and to achieve best practice in the development, management and maintenance of infrastructure. This will include:

• increasing efforts to stimulate and support infrastructure investment in partnership with State and federal governments; and

• preparing infrastructure development plans as part of local and regional development objectives.

98. Through a whole-of-government approach, Labor will work towards clearer definitions of the

12761 roles and responsibilities of local government and other levels of government and the elimination of unnecessary duplication between spheres of government. Linkages between Commonwealth, State and local government in the delivery of services and programs will be improved, particularly across rural and regional areas. This process will involve the development of national benchmarking and performance indicators for specific services and functions, and will include consultation with all stakeholders, the community and appropriate


99. Labor will implement a process to provide for a serious discussion on the future funding arrangements for local government, involving federal government, state government and local government. Industry unions will be asked to contribute to this important discussion.

External Territories

100. Labor recognises the need for special arrangements between the Commonwealth and the external territories that are tailored to the particular needs and circumstances of each territory.

101. Labor believes that the potential of our external territories and their people will be best realised when they have access to:

• Fair and equitable opportunities similar to that in Australian states and mainland territories;

• Appropriate economic, social and cultural development strategies addressing the needs and circumstances of each territory; and

• Governance arrangements which are equitable, fair, sustainable and reflect the islanders desire for real decision making power and responsibility and a level of autonomy.

102. Labor recognises that the population of Australia's external territories have suffered from isolation and neglect and that new policies are required to protect their full citizenship rights and to support economic development to underpin their sustainability.

National Platform and Constitution 2007

Chapter Sixteen

Supporting Australia's Arts,

Culture and Heritage Australia's distinct sense of national identity is sustained and strengthened through our arts, culture and heritage. At a time when our sources of information and entertainment are increasingly globalised, it is important that we support what is uniquely Australian. The Commonwealth

Government plays an important role in supporting a vibrant arts and cultural sector, which contributes substantially to both employment and economic growth and to the well-being of all Australians.


1. Australia's arts and cultural industries are mainstays of our national identity.

2. Arts and culture give an immeasurable, sustaining dimension to the life of the nation and help shape Australia's place in the world.

3. Lack of vision, unsustainable funding arrangements, bureaucratic mismanagement, government interference and political appointments are creating a climate of cultural despondency. Australia is missing out on the economic benefits of a thriving cultural sector and the global potential of art forms like music, film, television and new media.


4. Labor is committed to fostering a vibrant, diverse and world-class arts and cultural sector in Australia. A confident and innovative cultural sector is the hallmark of a confident and innovative nation.

5. The links between creativity, innovation and economic activity means the arts can make a huge contribution to the cultural and economic vitality of our cities and regions.

6. The key elements of Labor's plan for a revitalised, invigorated cultural sector pervaded by excellence are:

• a new wave of arts education;

• the promotion and protection of Indigenous arts;

• a national strategy for creative industry development;

• fostering cultural entrepreneurs;

• technological and businesses skills development; and

• the protection of Australian content and intellectual property.

7. Labor has a proud history of nurturing cultural expression and cultural opportunities for all Australians whatever their backgrounds and wherever they live. Labor will ensure that support for all cultural activities remains one of its highest priorities. Labor will encourage the development of creative talent and imagination through continued support to the cultural industries and groups and individuals within them.

8. In a fair society, there needs to be a balance between government support for the development of excellence and giving everyone a chance to participate. Labor will ensure all forms of art and culture are accessible to all Australians.

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Government Support for the Arts

9. Labor, building on its tradition of support and enthusiasm for the arts, is strongly committed to a vibrant, diverse and well-supported arts sector in Australia.

10. Labor believes access, equity, education, excellence and innovation are foundation principles for arts policy and that a healthy arts sector is indicative of a healthy democracy.

11. Labor is committed to developing policies that provide greater opportunity and capacity for the community to discover, create and enjoy the arts at the local, regional, state and national level.

12. Labor will continue to support the Australia Council to provide an independent voice in policy development, deliver funding for new and existing arts programs, act as an advocate for the arts and work closely with arts organisations and individual artists. The principles of merit based funding, peer assessment, arms length board appointments and equitable distribution within the Commonwealth should be emphasised.

13. Labor recognises the importance of the performing arts to the cultural development and health of Australia. Labor will continue supporting performing arts companies through the Australia Council, ensuring that adequate attention is given to second and third tier companies and independent projects in dance, music and drama.

14. A fundamental role for the Commonwealth is the maintenance and development of the great national collecting institutions. Australians in all regions must be able to access quality works, traditional and contemporary, of both local and international artists. National institutions should be encouraged to tour their collections to ensure access by all Australians. Z78

15. The role of the Commonwealth is to develop and support artistic expression across all art forms. Labor recognises the importance of supporting professional artists and fostering all forms of the arts and will encourage an increasing role for professional artists to teach in schools and universities.

16. Labor recognises the crucial role the Australian film industry plays in the cultural life of the nation.

17. Labor is committed to supporting and financing the film industry, encouraging increased private investment, including in digital Australian film and television production, training further talent and assisting market development through Australian local content requirements on free to air and pay television as well as diverse new technologies.

18. Labor recognises the role of strong local markets in supporting the development of the Australian music sector. Governments should ensure that access to local markets, and support for independent and emerging artists building overseas careers, is maintained and strengthened.

19. Commonwealth, State, Territory and local governments should cooperate to ensure that regional and local libraries can provide effective and equitable access to literature and information, including through modern technology.

20. Labor recognises that Australians are increasingly enthusiastic producers and consumers of the arts. Labor believes that arts education is vital and will continue to support high quality art, drama and music education programs.

21. Labor recognises that technological change is a powerful driver of content responsible for growing new media, art forms and new creative industries. Labor will support new media forms which complement traditional ways of presenting our culture and art, and will pursue opportunities to enlarge their presentation in digital media.

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22. Labor supports a requirement for internet service providers to offer a filtered 'clean feed' internet service to all households, schools and other public internet points accessible by children.

23. Labor will seek to restore priority to the provision of art works in major public buildings as part of a public works program.

24. Labor will seek to initiate a wide range of measures aimed at harnessing substantial private investment in the arts sector.

25. In addition to financial support, government needs to play a role in encouraging and coordinating the development of private and corporate patronage and sponsorship of arts and culture to maximise the social resources provided by this sector.

26. As society and the economy change and develop, the economic and employment significance of the arts and culture industries must be recognised. Labor commits to developing industry and export assistance programs in ways which are appropriate for these industries.

Support for Artists

27. Government funding in arts and culture must include priority for the development of excellence. It must also maximise the opportunities for Australians to fully develop their talent and to display it to other Australians and the world.

28. Labor recognises the need to support experienced artists and develop strategies which make it more attractive for artists to live and work in Australia, rather than overseas. Retaining talented and experienced artists is crucial for the ongoing development of Australia's cultural 2f79 and artistic life.

29. A fundamental part of industry development and equitable access is formulating policy to maximise employment in culture, arts and heritage, including training for employment in these areas and support which enables talent to be developed into a career. Labor will support the transition from education and training to work. Labor will also support programs for

mentoring emerging artists.

30. Training and retraining options for artists and arts workers in mid-career should be a high priority. Emphasis needs to be given to programs to facilitate the development of, and access to, such training programs and to special project support for artists who have an established career.

31. Labor recognises that artists and arts workers earn their living through a range of mechanisms in any year, from casual work to entrepreneurial activity. Labor will support workers in the arts industry and protect and advance their individual rights, employment conditions and entitlements.

32. The tax and welfare systems need to be responsive to the needs of students and workers in arts and culture. In particular, they should reflect the varied nature of artists' income generation within years and over different years.

33. Labor will support the legal framework of copyright as a necessary part of a program to ensure that the income generated by arts, culture and heritage is fairly distributed between the creators and the institutions and entrepreneurs who make it available.

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Equity and Access

34. Labor recognises that equity of, and access to, participation in the arts, culture and heritage remains a central priority in arts policy.

35. The development of the arts in regional Australia and the outlying suburbs of our cities should reflect the principles of equity and access to ensure the opportunity for Australians to participate in and enjoy the arts in communities is increased and sustained. Labor supports regional arts organisations and the touring of arts to cities in regional Australia. This requires a role for government in assisting regional touring and the development of regional facilities.

36. Emphasis on access must include the development of effective opportunities for Australians with disabilities and Australians from disadvantaged groups to participate in the arts.

37. Labor encourages women to seek careers in the arts and to hold positions at the highest level.

38. There is a need for special emphasis on the participation of young people in the arts and the development of arts of interest to young Australians, and in grant-making and peer assessment processes.

39. The arts must reflect our cultural diversity and give voice to all Australians including the long settled Anglo-Celtic communities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the post-war migrant groups and more recent arrivals. Art that reflects Australia's diverse cultures will receive Labor's support and recognition.

40. Labor is committed to developing and promoting the Indigenous art sector to its full social,


cultural and economic potential.

41. Labor will ensure that provision is made for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to participate in all aspects of the planning, decision making and implementation of policies and programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts.

42. Labor recognises that it is important to improve access and participation in cultural activities and experiences. Through art education programs young Australians gain access to the ideas, values and beliefs of others and nurture their own imaginations.


43. In placing emphasis on developing the best and newest, it is very important not to lose sight of the priority of preserving what is best in our history, tradition and heritage.

44. It is not only important that this material is preserved but that it is made effectively available to Australians wherever they live. This requires institutional and individual activities at a local and national level, assistance to private owners of heritage properties and skills development and training.

45. Labor will give special attention to the preservation of the heritage properties owned by the Commonwealth.

46. Labor will ensure the identification and preservation of our industrial, built, environmental and cultural heritage, and look for opportunities to promote world heritage recognition of such sites.

47. Labor will ensure that the National Trust and other government and community organisations are supported to identify priority projects for heritage protection.

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.Australian: Labor Party 44th National Conference k 1, Cha pt ij .Sixteen _]

Communications and Electronic Media

48. The media, particularly broadcasting, are undergoing a process of major change, driven by digitisation, convergence of technology and the globalisation of broadcasting, communications and information technologies.

49. Labor remains strongly committed to longstanding national and public interest objectives, including:

• high quality and informative media which contributes to the advancement of Australian society;

• genuine diversity of sources of information, opinion, education and entertainment;

• diversity of ownership, operation and control of Australia's media;

• greater choice and accessibility for consumers;

• the development and reflection of a distinctly Australian national identity;

• a vibrant competitive industry of international standard; and

• the development of, and equitable access to, new technologies.

50. Labor will also strengthen legislation to meet the challenges of adult and other materials being made available to children and young people on mobile phones.

Diversity and Content

51. Labor will pursue policies that ensure that Australians have access to a diverse range of information and opinion in Australia's media.

52. Labor is committed to maintaining appropriate Australian content quotas in the broadcasting .284y, sector.

53. Labor will ensure that television and radio advertising are properly regulated and that community standards are reflected in the regulatory approach.

54. Labor will ensure that Australians will continue to enjoy coverage of premium sporting events on free-to-air television.

55. Labor is committed to ensuring that the Australian Communications and Media Authority is adequately resourced and has sufficient regulatory powers to ensure the maintenance of appropriate community standards in broadcasting material.

Public Broadcasting

56. The ABC and SBS are two of Australia's most important public institutions. Labor is committed to ensuring adequate funding and support for Australia's public broadcasters, to enable them to continue to provide Australians with high quality broadcasting services, free from political and commercial interference.

57. Labor will provide adequate funding on a triennial basis to the ABC and SBS to ensure they can deliver quality public broadcasting services. Labor will ensure that the national broadcasters are able to exploit the potential of new technology to deliver attractive and innovative content over digital television and the internet.

58. The ABC is a cultural institution which reflects our national identity. Labor recognises the importance of the ABC being maintained as an independent and comprehensive national public broadcaster, catering for a diversity of interests in the Australian community. Without committing the range of programs and services the ABC provides, Labor will ensure the ABC produces high levels of local content and has the capacity to:

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Sixteen j Australian Labor Parry 44th National Conference

• cater to the needs of regional and rural Australia, providing coverage of local news, current affairs and community activities;

• provide programs and services relevant to young Australians;

• work with Indigenous people to provide services and programs relevant to them and their communities; and

• provide comprehensive coverage of a broad range of sporting and artistic activities.

59. Labor will end political interference in the ABC by introducing a new ABC board appointment process in which board members are appointed on the basis of merit. Candidates will be considered by a panel established at arm's length from the minister who will appoint Board members from a shortlist prepared by the panel. SBS Board appointments will be dealt with in the same way. Labor will examine other options for further increasing the transparency and democratic accountability of the ABC and SBS Boards. Labor will also restore the staff-elected commissioner position on the ABC board which was abolished by the Howard Government.

60. Labor will ensure that the ban on ABC advertising and sponsorship remains in place. Labor will also ensure that advertising is not permitted on ABC branded websites.

61. Labor is committed to increasing access to public broadcasting services to those Australians in regional and rural areas who currently cannot access particular services.

62. Labor believes it is important to engage young people on issues relevant to our community and make general current affairs accessible to them. In the interests of sustaining a vibrant democracy, Labor believes governments must continue to invest in youth-accessible current

2g2 affairs, such as the Triple J youth radio station, with a view of establishing new services.

63. Labor recognises that the SBS provides a unique national broadcasting service that promotes a multicultural Australia, and provides services to Australians from non-English speaking backgrounds which are not delivered by the ABC or the commercial broadcasting sector.

64. Labor recognises the importance of Australia maintaining external broadcasting through Radio Australia and ABC's Australia Network Television Service, to encourage awareness of Australian values around the world and build closer ties with our Asian and South Pacific neighbours, as well as serving the needs of Australians abroad.

Community Broadcasting

65. Labor regards community and Indigenous broadcasting, including radio and television, as an essential component of Australian broadcasting, and will continue to encourage its maintenance, growth and development. Community and Indigenous broadcasting provides important services to local communities, particularly in rural, regional and remote areas. Labor supports diversity in community and Indigenous broadcasting recognising that it meets the needs of many communities, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, ethnic communities, and Australians with a print disability; and addresses developing Australian

media needs with services for youth, mature age, religious, specialist music and other emerging communities of interest.

66. Labor will investigate the need for administrative arrangements to assist the training,support and regulatory compliance needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander broadcasters.

67. Labor believes that adequate public funding must be provided to community and Indigenous radio and television for their effective ongoing operation. Labor seeks to improve the capacity of community and Indigenous stations to serve their communities by providing support to the

National Platform and Constitution 2007

Australian Labor Party 44th National.


sector for content production, improving skills, technical infrastructure, and sector coordination and planning. Labor accepts that appropriate funding must be provided to the community and Indigenous broadcasting sector.

68. Labor will ensure that the community broadcasting sector receives appropriate support to make the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.

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Stx t@@1., ` ? r ?i Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference

Resolutions Community and Public Broadcasting The state of public and community broadcasting in Australia has been seriously undermined by the Howard Government.

The Howard Government has diminished public confidence in our public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, by stacking the boards of these taxpayer funded agencies with political appointments. SBS is drifting away from its multicultural charter to the detriment of the communities it is bound to serve. Conference applauds Labor for pledging to restore the balance on the ABC and SBS boards with a proper and transparent board appointment process.

The Howard Government has also failed to adequately support the community broadcasting sector and has overseen a decline in real funding to the sector. Labor notes the huge importance of the community broadcasting sector to Australian democratic culture, media diversity, building local communities, settling migrants, supporting heritage and development, and Indigenous rights and aspirations.

Community broadcasting is an innovative, flexible and highly cost-effective, not-for-profit media sector based on principles of access, participation, diversity, localism and independence. Community broadcasting continues to foster services that meet the emerging media needs of Australians, with recent communities of interest developing in youth, mature age, religious, specialist music and other areas.

The lack of funding for community television and decline in radio funding is threatening standards in the sector and in some cases will have consequences for the delivery of services, the adoption 284 of new and emerging technologies and the contribution of community broadcasting to Australian life.

Conference calls on a future ALP Government to:

• develop policies to ensure community broadcasting continues to grow and realise its potential

• improve support for community television, radio and television infrastructure, sector coordination, training and content development

• ensure that the community broadcasting sector has equal access to, and can appropriately implement, digital platforms and new technologies (including maintenance of community television channel allocation following analogue switch-off)

• liaise with the community broadcasting sector and its consumers on policy development

• include community broadcasting in government information strategies

National Platform and Constitution 2007

National Constitution of the ALP

National Constitution Contents A. Objectives and Principles 1. Origins

2&3. Objectives 4. Principles of Action

5-7. Membership and Organisation

287 287

288 288

B. Rules

1. Name 290

2. Objectives 287

3. Head Office 290

4. Composition 290

5. Structure of Party Organisation 290

6. National Conference 291

7. National Executive 292

8. National Executive Committee 294

9. National President and National Vice-Presidents 295

10. National Labor Women's Network 296

11. Membership 296

12. Finance 298

13. National Policy Committee 299

14. Federal Parliamentary Labor Party 299

15. Membership Recruitment 300

16. National Life Membership 301

17. Australian Labor Advisory Council 302

18. National Appeals Tribunal 302

19. National Constitution Not Enforceable in Law 303

C. National Principles of Organisation

1. Determination of Policy and Binding Effect 304

2. Decisions of Caucus Binding 304

3. PLP to Elect Leaders and Ministry 304

4. Election of Delegates to National Conference 304

5. Composition of State Conferences 304

6. Membership 296

7. Affiliation of Unions 304

8. Union Representation in State and Territory Branches 305

9. Union Delegations 305

10. State and Territory Labor Advisory Councils 305

11. Dialogue with Local Union Activists 305

12. Members' Rights 305

13. Organisation and Training 306

14. State and Territory Policy Committees 307


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44th National Conference

15. Preselections 307

16. Australian Young Labor 307

17. Indigenous Labor Network 307

18. Implementation of National Principles of Organisation 308

19&20. State and Territory Branch Rule Changes 308

D. Resolutions to Implement National Principles of Organisation

1. General Membership System 309

2. Party Communications 309

3. Responsibilities of National Executive 309

4. Review of Campaign Techniques 309

5. National Organisation-Ongoing Review 310

6. Preselections 310

7. Internal Party Relationships 310

8. Basic Principles 310

9. Preselections 310

10. National Public Office Training Program 311

E. Register of Conference Decisions

1. Members Initiating Legal Proceedings (decision of the 1955 Conference) 312

2. Union Elections (decision of the 1963 Conference) 312


® 6

Grievance Procedures (decision of the 1979 Conference) 312

312 4. Affirmative Action (decision of the 1981 Conference) 5. Abortion (decision of the 1984 Conference) 313

6. Conduct of Ballots (decision of the 1994 Conference) 313

7. ALP Code of Conduct for Fundraising (decision of the 1994 Conference) 313 8. National Conference Decisions 315

F. National Conference Standing Orders

1. Chair of Conference 316

2. Credentials 316

3. Session Times 316

4. Order of Business 316

5. Motions and Amendments to Be Moved and Seconded 316

6. Members to Address Chair 316

7. Conduct of Debate 316

8. Amendments 317

9. Members to Speak Once Only 317

10. Procedural Motions 317

11. Effect of the Closure 317

12. Time Limit for Debate 317

13. Reconsideration of Decisions 318

14. Speakers For and Against to Alternate 318

15. Interpretation of Policy 318

16. Consideration of Business Not on Agenda 318

17. Dissent in Chair 318

National Platform and Constitution 2007

Australian LaborParty

44th National Confereriee .. lath; _____3fi1

Part A Objectives and Principles Origins 1. The Australian Labor Party had its origins in:

• the aspirations of the Australian people for a decent, secure, dignified and constructive way of life; • the recognition by the trade union movement of the necessity for a political voice to take forward the struggle of the working class against the excesses, injustices and inequalities

of capitalism; and

• the commitment by the Australian people to the creation of an independent, free and enlightened Australia.

Objectives 2. The Australian Labor Party is a democratic socialist party and has the objective of the democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange, to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features in these fields.

3. To achieve the political and social values of equality, democracy, liberty and social cooperation inherent in this objective, the Australian Labor Party stands for:

(a) redistribution of political and economic power so that all members of society have the opportunity to participate in the shaping and control of the institutions and relationships which determine their lives; 1283711

(b) establishment and development of public enterprises, based upon federal, State and other forms of social ownership, in appropriate sectors of the economy;

(c) democratic control and strategic social ownership of Australian natural resources for the benefit of all Australians;

(d) maintenance of and support for a competitive non-monopolistic private sector, including small business and farming, controlled and owned by Australians, operating within clear social guidelines and objectives;

(e) the right to own private property;

(f) recognition and encouragement of the right of labour to organise for the protection and advancement of its interests;

(g) the application of democracy in industry to increase the opportunities for people to work in satisfying, healthy and humane conditions; and to participate in and to increase their control over the decision making processes affecting them;

(h) the promotion of socially appropriate technology and the monitoring of its introduction to ensure that the needs and interests of labour, as well as the requirements of competitive industry and consumer demand, are taken into consideration;

(i) the restoration and maintenance of full employment;

(j) the abolition of poverty, and the achievement of greater equality in the distribution of income, wealth and opportunity;

(k) social justice and equality for individuals, the family and all social units, and the elimination of exploitation in the home;

(I) equal access and rights to employment, education, information, technology, housing, health and welfare services, cultural and leisure activities and the law;

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^laf^n _0 l UtlOt

Australian Labor Party 44th National Confe rence

(m) reform of the Australian Constitution and other political institutions to ensure that they reflect the will of the majority of Australian citizens and the existence of Australia as an independent republic;

(n) recognition and protection of fundamental political and civil rights, including freedom of expression, the press, assembly, association, conscience and religion; the right to privacy; the protection of the individual from oppression by the state; and democratic reform of the Australian legal system;

(o) the development of a democratic communications system, as an integral part of a free society, to which all citizens have opportunities for free access;

(p) elimination of discrimination and exploitation on the grounds of class, race, sex, sexuality, religion, political affiliation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, regional location, economic or household status;

(q) recognition of the prior ownership of Australian land by Aborigines and Islanders; recognition of their special and essential relationship with the land as the basis of their culture; and a commitment to the return of established traditional lands to the ownership of Aboriginal and Islander communities;

(r) recognition and encouragement of diversity of cultural expression and lifestyle within the Australian community;

(s) the use, conservation and enhancement of Australia's natural resources and environment so that the community's total quality of life, both now and into the future, is maintained and improved;

(t) recognition of the need to work towards achieving ecologically sustainable development;

(u) maintenance of world peace; an independent Australian position in world affairs; the recognition of the right of all nations to self determination and independence; regional and international agreement for arms control and disarmament; the provision of economic and social aid to developing nations; a commitment to resolve international conflicts through the UN; and a recognition of the inalienable right of all people to liberty, equality, democracy and social justice;

(v) commitment to and participation in the international democratic socialist movement as represented by the Socialist International; and

(w) recognition of the right of citizens to work for progressive changes consistent with the broad principles of democratic socialism.

Principles of Action 4. The Australian Labor Party believes that the task of building democratic socialism is a cooperative process that requires:

• constitutional action through the federal and State Parliaments, municipal and other statuto ry authorities;

• union action; and

• ongoing action by organised community groups.

Membership and Organisation

5. Membership of the Australian Labor Party is open to all residents of Australia who are prepared to accept its objectives and who have associations with no other political party.

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Australian Labor Party

44th National Conference

6. Australian Labor Party policy is made by National Conferences comprising the federal and State parliamentary leadership of the Party, together with elected delegates from all States, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and Australian Young Labor.

7. Party policy within the States and Territories is framed by conferences of delegates elected by constituent branches and affiliated unions. Policy within the Australian Labor Party is not made by directives from the leadership, but by resolutions originating from branches, affiliated unions and individual Party members.

National Platform and Constitution 2007

N tlo gal

A .-1 Uf10_tit Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference .-t

Part B

Rules Name 1. The name of the Party shall be "The Australian Labor Party".

Objectives 2. The objectives of the Party are set out in the Basic Principles as determined by the National Conference. To achieve these objectives the ALP will act in accordance with the Principles of Action and Progressive Reforms set out in the Party Platform from time to time.

Head Office 3. The Head Office of the Party shall be known as the National Secretariat and shall be established in Centenary House, Barton, ACT or any other place determined by the National Executive from time to time.

Composition 4. The Party shall consist of branches in each State, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (hereinafter referred to as State Branches).

Structure of Party Organisation

5. (a) The Party shall function upon the following basis: 280 (a) National Conference,

(b) National Executive,

(c) Federal Parliamentary Labor Party (FPLP), and

(d) Australian Young Labor.

(b) The National Conference shall be the supreme governing authority of the Party and its decisions shall be binding upon every member and every section of the Party.

(c) The National Executive shall be the chief administrative authority of the Party, subject only to the National Conference.

(d) The Federal Parliamentary Labor Party shall have authority in properly constituted Caucus meetings to make decisions directed towards establishing the collective attitude of the Parliamentary Party to any question or matter in the Federal Parliament, subject to:

(a) at all times taking such action which may be possible to implement the Party's Platform and Conference decisions;

(b) on questions or matters which are not subject to National Platform or Conference or Executive decisions, the majority decision of Caucus being binding upon all members in the parliament; and

(c) no attitude being expressed which is contrary to the provisions of the Party Platform or any other decision of National Conference or National Executive.

(e) Australian Young Labor shall function in accordance with the rules that may be approved from time to time by the National Executive and subject to its control and jurisdiction.

National Platform and Constitution 2007

Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference . I

l l^ O Stt !.^Otl

(f) The National Labor Women's Network shall function in accordance with the rules that may be approved from time to time by the National Executive and subject to its control and jurisdiction.

(g) That a National Indigenous Labor Network be formed from the State Networks with appropriate suppo rt from the National Office. The Network's goals will be to:

(a) a ttract and support Indigenous ALP members;

(b) increase the involvement of Indigenous people at all levels of the ALP;

(c) provide a focus for the identification, training and support of Indigenous candidates;

(d) increase awareness of Indigenous issues throughout the ALP;

(e) increase commitment of Party members to greater representation of Indigenous people throughout the Party; and

(f) encourage the employment of Indigenous people in staff and Party positions.

National Confe re nce

6. (a) National Conference shall consist of 400 delegates, comprising:

(a) three delegates being the National President and National Vice-Presidents elected under rule 9(a);

(b) four delegates being the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Federal Parliamenta ry Labor Party and the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Pa rty in the Senate;

(c) six delegates elected from and by the Federal Parliamenta ry Labor Party;

(d) delegations from each State consisting of: 291 ,

(a) the State Parliamenta ry Leader,

(b) a base component of 12 persons, and

(c) a supplementa ry component of a number of persons equal to twice the number of House of Representatives electorates in that State as at the previous 31 December;

(e) delegations from each Territory consisting of:

(a) the Territory Parliamentary Leader,

(b) a base component of 2 persons, and

(c) a supplementary component of a number of persons equal to twice the number of House of Representatives electorates in that Territory as at the previous 31 December; and

(f) three delegates from Australian Young Labor.

(b) State Secretaries and members of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party who are not delegates to National Conference shall be able to attend National Conference with the rights of delegates except that of voting.

(c) All members of the State or Territory Branch shall be eligible to be elected as delegates from that State or Territory.

Proxy Delegates

(a) (a) Each State shall be entitled to a minimum of two proxies up to a maximum equal to half the State's delegation.

National Platform and Constitution 2007

Australian Labor Party

44th National, Conference

(b) The credentials for State Branch proxies shall be circulated in advance and accepted at the commencement of the Conference and no other proxies may be admitted.

(c) It is the responsibility of each State delegation to ensure that the Chair is advised of all changes of delegation during the Conference. No proxy shall participate in the debate of a report in which the delegate he/she is replacing has participated.

(d) State and federal Leaders may each nominate one proxy subject to paragraph (ii) above. Such proxies must be a member of the relevant parliamentary party.

(b) All delegates must be elected by a system of proportional representation in a single ballot with affirmative action in accordance with rule 10.

(c) Delegates shall be elected within 12 months prior to the date of National Conference.

(d) State Branches cannot bind delegates with regard to their vote on any issue before the National Conference.

(e) National Conference shall be held every three years in a location determined by the National Executive which shall have the responsibility for determining the time of the National Conference.

(f) Special National Conferences may be held for specially stated purposes and shall be called in the manner prescribed by these Rules.

(g) (a) The National President and National Vice-Presidents need not be delegates to National Conference, but have the full rights of a delegate except that of voting.

(b) The National Secretary shall not be a delegate to National Conference, but shall


have the full rights of a delegate except that of voting.

(h) The National Secretary, after receiving instructions from the convening authority, shall observe the following procedure for the purpose of establishing the Conference agenda:

(a) give the following bodies three months notice to send items to the National Policy Committee: State Branches, Australian Young Labor, and Federal Electorate Councils, and trade unions whose State branches are affiliated with the Party in a majority of States in which they operate, all of which shall have the right to submit items to the National Policy Committee. Bodies so submitting items to the

National Policy Committee shall be notified in writing of the Committee's views on such items; and

(b) send to State Branches and other bodies represented at National Conference, agenda and any other documents related thereto at least one month before Conference meets.

National Executive

7. (a) The National Executive of the Party, which shall be the chief administrative authority subject only to National Conference, shall be constituted in the following manner:

(a) the National President and National Vice-Presidents, who are directly elected by Party members in accordance with rule 9(a), have the full rights of a delegate except that of voting, unless elected as a delegate in their own right;

(b) 20 executive members elected by the National Conference;

(c) the National Secretary, who shall be elected by the National Conference, shall not be a delegate but shall have the full rights of a delegate except that of voting;

National Platform and Constitution 2007

Australian. Labor Party

44th National Conference Nati onal COIlStltu on

(d) the Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party or proxy nominated by the Leader. Such proxy must be a member of the Federal Parliamentary Party;

(e) State Secretaries who are not delegates to the National Executive shall be able to attend National Executive meetings with the rights of delegates except that of voting; and

(f) Delegates shall be entitled to nominate their proxy for any meeting or part of a meeting that they are unable to attend and for any ballot in which they are unable to vote.

(b) (a) The terms of all those elected by the National Conference shall commence at the conclusion of the National Conference at which they are elected. They shall be subject to re-election at each Conference except the National Secretary who shall be subject to re-election at every second Conference.

(b) Casual vacancies will be filled by the National Executive in accordance with the principles of proportional representation.

(c) Casual vacancies for the positions of National President, National Vice-Presidents and National Secretary shall be filled by a ballot of the National Executive and the National Executive Committee shall institute procedures to hold a ballot.

Powers and Duties of the National Executive (c) Decisions of the National Executive shall be binding upon all sections and members of the ALP subject only to appeal to National Conference. Pending the hearing of any appeal, the decision of the National Executive shall operate. The National Executive


(a) be the administrative authority carrying out the decisions of National Conference, and in the interpretation of any Conference decision, the National Platform and the Constitution and Rules of the Party, and the direction of federal members;

(b) convene National Conferences in accordance with these Rules;

(c) convene Special National Conferences when requested by a majority of State Branches for special purpose(s), providing that such purpose(s) is/are national in character. The National Executive may also, on its own motion, convene such Conferences;

(d) elect a National Executive Committee and such other committees, including the National Policy Committee, as it may determine from time to time;

(e) meet at least three times a year, and at such other times as the Executive may determine, for the purpose of considering and determining all matters that are properly before it. Subject to these Rules only State Branches, Australian Young Labor, the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party and trade unions whose State branches are affiliated with the Party in a majority of States in which they operate shall be competent to send matters to the National Executive;

(f) initiate discussions of any question of a national nature if a majority of the Executive so decides;

(g) determine the time and place of all meetings. However, special meetings of the National Executive may be convened with the agreement of a majority of delegates or by unanimous decision of the National Officers;

(h) be competent to hear and decide appeals from any affiliated organisation or individual member against the decision of any State Conference or State Executive alleged to be inconsistent with any national decision or matter;

National Platform and Constitution 2007

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OnSt itutl^ J Australi an Labor Party 44th National Confe re nce

(i) where any member or affiliated organisation desires to appeal to the National Executive on a question which does not involve any national decision or matter, leave to appeal must first be obtained from the State Branch concerned;

(j) hear and decide an appeal from any person seeking to be a candidate for federal elections against a decision of any State Conference or State Executive affecting his/her preselection or endorsement, providing that leave to appeal is granted by the National Executive. Such leave to appeal is not to be granted except by a decision in which 11 members vote affirmatively;

(k) have plenary powers to deal with and decide any matters which, in the opinion of an absolute majority of members of the Executive, affect the general welfare of the Labor Movement, provided that no decision of National Conference shall be abrogated under this rule;

(I) in the case of any State Executive, State Branch or section of the ALP acting or having acted in a manner deemed by the National Executive to be contra ry to the National Constitution, Platform and Policy of the Party as interpreted by the National Executive, the National Executive may overrule such State Executive, State Branch or section and/or may declare that same no longer exists, and shall set up in place thereof an organisation competent to carry out the National Constitution, Platform and Policy of the ALP. Pending the hearing of any appeal, the decision of the National Executive shall operate. In the event of the National

Executive taking any action under this paragraph, the National Executive shall be the body to approve any selection which otherwise would have been made by the


body affected by the National Executive decision; and

(m) the National Executive, in part, combined with the parliamentary leadership and Caucus representatives would be combined to form a revamped Political Coordination Committee. Such a committee is to meet regularly to discuss key strategic issues facing the Parliamentary Party.

(d) (a) The National Executive may meet by telephone and other electronic means provided each member who wishes to participate in the meeting is able to clearly and simultaneously communicate with every other such member.

(b) A resolution agreed to in writing by all voting members of the National Executive has the same effect as a resolution passed at a meeting of the National Executive. In this rule "writing" includes emails, faxes and other electronic means of representing or reproducing words in a visible form.

(c) The National Executive may conduct elections by postal vote.

National Executive Commi ttee

8. (a) The National Executive Committee (NEC) shall consist of the National Secretary and such other members of the National Executive as may be elected by the National Executive.

(b) The National Executive Committee shall be responsible for the administration of the Party between meetings of the National Executive.

(c) They shall meet at least once between each two meetings of the National Executive for the purpose of preparing the agenda and making recommendations to expedite the business of the National Executive.

(d) Other than in urgent situations which preclude either a special meeting or a resolution without meeting of the National Executive, the NEC shall not have the power to make decisions on behalf of the National Executive.

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Australian Labor Party

44th National: Conference

(e) Any actions taken by the NEC between Executive meetings shall be reported to the next meeting of the Executive for endorsement.

(f) The non-parliamentary members of the NEC shall also be members of the companies John Curtin House Limited and ALP Legacies and Gifts.

(g) Rules 7(d)(i) and (ii) apply to the NEC in the same way as the National Executive.

National President and National Vice-Presidents

9. (a) The National President and 2 National Vice-Presidents must be directly elected from and by Party members in the 12 months before each triennial National Conference in a single ballot by proportional representation with affirmative action in accordance with rule 10.

(b) (a) The candidate first elected holds office in turn as National President, National Junior Vice-President and National Senior Vice-President.

(b) The candidate second elected holds office in turn as National Senior Vice-President, National President and National Junior Vice-President.

(c) The candidate third elected holds office in turn as National Junior Vice-President, National Senior Vice-President and National President.

(d) The term of office in each position is 12 months, beginning at the commencement of National Conference or on the anniversary of that date, except that the term of office in the third position ends at the commencement of the next triennial National Conference.

(c) The National President, when available, will chair National Conference and meetings of E the National Executive, and conduct such meetings in accordance with the National Conference Standing Orders. The National President will carry out any other duties referred by the National Executive.

(d) The National Vice-Presidents in order of seniority will take the Chair in the absence of the National President, and carry out any other duties referred by the National Executive.

Affirmative Action 10. The ALP is committed to men and women in the Party working in equal partnership. It is our objective to have equal numbers of men and women at all levels in the Party organisation, and in public office positions the Party holds. To achieve this the Party adopts a

comprehensive affirmative action model of 40:40:20, as set out below, whereby a minimum of 40% of relevant positions shall be held by either gender.

Party Positions

(a) All elections, other than public office preselections conducted by national and State level Party units for three or more positions, shall comply with the affirmative action model. Not less than 40% of such positions shall be held by women, and not less than 40% by men, provided that sufficient candidates of the relevant gender nominate ("the

basic entitlement"). If the calculation to determine the basic entitlement results in a fraction of one half or more then the basic entitlement shall be the next higher whole number, and where it results in a fraction of less than one half it shall be the next lower


National Platform and Constitution 2007


otlal .COf1StItUtIOC1•' Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference

Union Delegations

(b) Union delegations to Party conferences and forums shall comply with the affirmative action model. Not less than 40% of a union's delegation shall be women, and not less than 40% shall be men ("the minimum representation"). Provided that if the level of male or female membership of a union is less than 40%, the minimum representation shall be set at that level.

Public Office Preselection

(c) Preselections for public office positions at a State and federal level shall comply with the affirmative action model in this rule 10(c). PRINCIPLES

(a) The intention of this rule is to produce an outcome where not less than 40% of seats held by Labor will be filled by women, and not less than 40% by men ("the minimum target").

(b) This minimum target shall apply to any preselection round taking place after 1 January 2012.

(c) The remaining 20% of the seats held by Labor may be filled by candidates of either gender.


(a) State and Territory Branches shall be required to amend their rules so as to achieve the minimum target by applying these principles to the relevant seats.

(b) For the purposes of paragraph (iv), the relevant seats shall include:

2ss (a)

in relation to lower houses, those seats needed to form government, or those seats held by Labor, whichever is the greater; and

(b) in relation to upper houses, at least 50% of seats in the upper house, or those seats held by Labor, whichever is the greater.

(d) The National Executive shall have the responsibility and the power to enforce rules 10(a)-(c) generally and specifically to determine the outcome in any public office preselection progressively between now and the year 2012 in order to ensure that this rule is complied with.

(e) Each State and Territory Branch must no later than 1 November each year provide a report to its Administrative Committee or State Executive and to the National Executive on the implementation of rules 10(a)-(c).

(f) Each State and Territory Branch must ensure that its rules are consistent with this rule, and are submitted to the National Executive for approval by 1 November 2003.

Transitional Provisions - Former Rule 12 to Continue to Apply

(g) Any preselection round held after the date this rule is adopted by National Conference, but prior to 1 January 2012, shall comply with the provisions of rule 12 as it was immediately prior to the adoption of this rule ("the former rule"), except that the references in the former rule to the year 2002 shall be read as references to the year 2011.

National Labor Women's Network


11. (a) (a) There will be a National Labor Women's Network.

(b) Every woman member of the Party is automatically a member of the National Labor Women's Network.

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(c) There will be no membership fee at the national level

Role of the NLWN (b) The role of the National Labor Women's Network is:

(a) to encourage women to join and pa rticipate in the Australian Labor Party;

(b) to increase the numbers of women in the Party;

(c) to maintain and expand e-communication between Labor women;

(d) to devise and promote training programs to improve the skills, confidence and participation of Labor women throughout the ALP;

(e) to sponsor and expand the NLWN political work experience program;

(f) to develop and promote women within branches and other structures of the ALP as well as to elected office;

(g) to organise, in conjunction with the host State or Territory, the National Labor Women's Conferences;

(h) to administer travel subsidy to the National Labor Women's Conferences;

(i) to promote contact between the ALP and women's organisations in the community;

(j) to assist in the development of policy and ensure women participate in policy making; and

(k) to nominate representatives to women's forums, including international women's forums.

National Executive

(c) (a) The NLWN Executive will consist of 15 women members of the ALP elected by each triennial National Conference in a single ballot by proportional representation, but so that at least one candidate elected is from each State and Territory (in so far as there are nominations from each State and Te rritory).

(b) At its first meeting after each triennial National Conference, the NLWN Executive will elect from its members a Convenor, Deputy Convenor, Secretary and any other officers it thinks appropriate. The Convenor and Deputy Convenor will be elected in a single ballot. The NLWN Executive may fill vacancies in officer

positions from its members.

(c) The National Executive may fill vacancies in the membership of the NLWN Executive in accordance with the principles of proportional representation and State and Territory representation in rule 11 (c)(i).

(d) Women members of the ALP National Executive and the Federal Minister or Shadow Minister for the Status of Women shall be ex-officio members of the NLWN Executive.

(e) Nominees for the NLWN Executive do not have to be delegates to the National Conference at which they are elected.

(f) Members of the NLWN Executive shall be able to nominate their proxy for NLWN Executive meetings.

(g) The NLWN Executive will provide an annual report of its activities to the National Executive, State and Territory Branches and State and Territory women's organisations.

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(h) The NLWN Executive will meet monthly by telephone and twice a year, face to face, with travel funded through the National Secretariat.

(i) Accounts and financing will be run through the National Secretariat, within an annual budget, allocated by the National Executive.

State Women's Groups and Interaction

(d) (a) The NLWN will coordinate contact with State and Territory branches of the Labor Women's Network, other Labor women's organisations and women's contact officers.

(b) The NLWN will regularly meet with State and Territory representatives of the LWN by telephone conference.

(c) The structure of State and Territory Labor Women's Networks will be determined by each State and Territory although uniformity is desirable.

(d) The NLWN will continue to develop materials, share programs and information to assist and support State LWNs. Transitional Provision(e) That the current term of the LWN Executive be extended to the next National Conference, and the Executive expanded to 10 members to ensure representation by all States and Territories.


12. (a) To meet the general expenses of the Party, each State Branch shall pay each year, to the National Executive through the National Secretary, a sum representing a rate per 298 thousand adult members, and a rate per thousand pensioner and student/junior members. The total due shall be paid in four quarterly instalments on 1 January, 1 April,

1 July and 1 October. The National Executive shall have the power to fix sustentation fees.

(b) In the event of a State Branch being six months in arrears in its contributions to the Party, the National Executive may decide that such Branch shall not be entitled to be represented at any meeting of the National Executive or National Conference, or be consulted on any question that may be subject to a ballot of State Branches, until such arrears are paid.

(c) Upon request, State and Territory Branches shall report financial information to the National Secretary in a standard format determined by the National Executive.

(d) The National Executive shall determine an annual budget for travel costs and administer an equalisation pool for such costs associated with National Conferences and the National Executive.

(e) The National Executive shall meet the expenses of the National President attending National Conference and the expenses of any officers associated with any duty being carried out on behalf of the National Executive.

(f) Each Branch shall pay to the National Executive not later than 31 December of each year the appropriate fee, to be determined by the National Executive, for international affiliations or activities associated therewith.

(g) The National Executive shall authorise the National Secretary to negotiate banking facilities on behalf of the National Executive of the Party and determine the manner in which the Party's accounts shall be operated including the signatories to the Party's bank accounts.

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' Natiorl&I COEsstltUti , Oh

(h) Fundraising by the Labor Party at State, Territory and national levels and by the Labor Party candidates for public office shall be governed by the ALP Code of Conduct for Fundraising as approved by the National Executive.

(1) All accounts conducted for candidates whether at Commonwealth, State or municipal elections shall include the Australian Labor Party in their title. Furthermore, they shall be controlled by that level of Party organisation with the identical relevant signatories, be audited at the July meeting of such Party organisations and such annual accounts shall

be forwarded to the Party State Branch for inclusion in the Party's annual account reporting process to the Australian Electoral Commission.

National Policy Committee

13. (a) At its first meeting after each triennial National Conference, the National Executive must appoint a National Policy Committee consisting of a Chair, Deputy Chair and seven other members, all of whom have considerable experience in policy development.

(b) The Committee will be responsible for:

(a) coordinating development of the Party Platform;

(b) conducting ongoing reviews of the Platform;

(c) preparing the draft Platform for consideration by National Conference;

(d) actively participating in the formulation of policy at National Conference;

(e) taking into account all policy resolutions passed by State and Territory Conferences;

(f) considering all policy resolutions sent to it by State and Territory Policy 2g9; Committees and other constituent units; and

(g) in conjunction with State and Territory Policy Committees, conducting regular policy forums in which rank and file participation is encouraged.

(c) The Committee has power to co-opt non-voting members with particular expertise to the Committee when examining specific policy areas.

(d) The Committee will work closely with the convenors of the State and Territory Policy Committees, and will be resourced by the National Secretariat.

Federal Parliamentary Labor Party

14. (a) At its first meeting after each triennial National Conference, the National Executive must appoint a National Policy Committee consisting of a Chair, Deputy Chair and seven other members, all of whom have considerable experience in policy development.

(b) The Committee will be responsible for:

(a) coordinating development of the Party Platform;

(b) conducting ongoing reviews of the Platform;

(c) preparing the draft Platform for consideration by National Conference;

(d) actively participating in the formulation of policy at National Conference;

(e) taking into account all policy resolutions passed by State and Territory Conferences;

(f) considering all policy resolutions sent to it by State and Territory Policy Committees and other constituent units; and

(g) in conjunction with State and Territory Policy Committees, conducting regular policy forums in which rank and file participation is encouraged.

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44th National Conference

(c) The Committee has power to co-opt non-voting members with particular expertise to the Committee when examining specific policy areas.

(d) The Committee will work closely with the convenors of the State and Territory Policy Committees, and will be resourced by the National Secretariat.

(a) No State Branch may direct or discipline members of the FPLP in regard to matters affecting the National Platform or policy or upon legislation before the parliament or any matters the subject of consideration by the FPLP.

(b) The power of direction, advice and/or guidance is reserved for the National Conference and between Conferences, the National Executive.

Membership Recruitment

15. (a) It is an abuse of Party rules for an individual or group/s to fund Party membership for other individuals or groups of individuals who would otherwise be unwilling to pay their own subscriptions.

(b) It is an abuse of Party rules for an individual or group/s to encourage reduced-rate membership to people that may not be eligible for that category of membership.

(c) It is an abuse of Party rules for an individual or group/s to recruit members who do not live at the claimed addresses in an attempt to gain advantage at local Party meetings or the outcome of Party ballots.

(d) It is a requirement of Party rules for members, where eligible, to join or transfer to the branch or sub-branch which has geographical coverage, in accordance with State or


Territory Branch rules, of the address at which the member is enrolled to vote.

Members must, at the time of joining or transferring to the branch or sub-branch, either be correctly enrolled with the Australian Electoral Commission to vote in a federal election at their stated address or not be so entitled because they are under 18 years of age or not an Australian citizen.

(e) It is a requirement of the Party rules for members to personally apply for membership and renew membership by signing their own membership application or renewal form and either:

(a) organising to post the form back to State Branch office with an appropriate fee;

(b) by personally attending the State Branch office or arranging a person to attend on their behalf and paying their membership fees (identification shall be necessary); or

(c) subject to the rules of a State Branch, by personally attending their local branch meeting and paying their fees to the Secretary during the meeting. In this regard, the money shall be receipted to the member and the member's attendance recorded in any attendance book. The Secretary shall forward such moneys to the

State Branch office along with the signed membership renewal forms.

(f) A Party member may also renew their membership by phone or the internet using their personal credit card or by signing a standing authority for the renewal of membership via their personal credit card or bank account.

(g) Notwithstanding the above, a Party member's membership may also be renewed by a family member resident in the same household.

(h) All records associated with the payment of membership fees shall be available to any full-time officer of the State Branch upon request.

(i) In order to prevent the "bulk renewal" of other members, the National Executive must prescribe membership application and renewal forms for use by all State and Territory Branches that:

National Platform and Constitution 2007


an Labor Party 44th National Confe re nce I^:at Otla) Chi S#I

(a) require the signature of the applicant or member authorising the application or

renewal; and

(b) contain a declaration by any applicant or member paying a reduced-rate subscription that they are entitled to that reduced rate. The declaration must also indicate the basis on which the member is claiming this entitlement. State or Territory Branches may also set standard requirements of evidence to be met by

members claiming this entitlement.

(j) All State and Territory Branches must implement an appropriate cap or limitation/review procedure relating to the number of members that may validly apply to join the ALP at a local branch or sub-branch meeting. Members who seek to transfer into a branch or sub-branch shall be included/counted for the purposes of determining the number of members to which the cap or limitation applies.

(k) Involvement in such abuses will be considered as behaviour likely to bring the Party into disrepute and will result in disciplinary action which may include expulsion under the rules of the Party.

(I) All State and Territory Branch rules must, where necessary, establish a tribunal to effectively resolve disputes concerning membership. All State dispute tribunals will operate according to due process and according to the national membership principles and rules.

(m) All State and Territory Branch rules must contain a procedure that permits a decision to admit a person as a Party member to be reviewed, where there is an allegation that the person was ineligible to become a Party member.

(n) All State and Territory Branch rules must permit 50 members or 25% of the members in 301 a federal electorate, whichever is the lesser, to petition the Administrative Committee or State Executive to investigate any allegations of breaches of this rule in that electorate.

(o) In order to ensure that these rules are given effect, the State and Territory Branches of ALP be required to amend, where necessary, their rules to reflect these National Rules. Such amended rules will be presented to the National Executive no later than 1 November 2003.

(p) The National Executive must continue: (i) to monitor and enforce compliance with this rule; and (ii) to review the operation of this rule to ensure the integrity of the Party's membership processes.

(q) All States and Territory Branches must provide to the National Executive a complete current Branch membership list by no later than 31 July of each year.

National Life Membership

16. (a) The National Executive can award national life membership of the Australian Labor Party.

(b) Nominees for national life membership must be longstanding members of the Par ty and have provided distinguished service to the Party at a national level.

(c) Only the National Executive, State Br anches, federal electorate bodies and nationally affiliated unions can make nominations for national life membership. Nominations should describe the background and history of service of the nominee particularly their contribution at a national level.

(d) Nominations for national life membership must be forwarded to the National Secretary at least one month prior to a meeting of the National Executive.

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Australian Labor Party 44th National Confe re nce

(e) National life membership shall only be awarded with the unanimous suppo rt of the National Executive.

Australian Labor Adviso ry Council

17. (a) There will be an Australian Labor Adviso ry Council (ALAC), consisting of the Leader and senior members of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, the National President and National Secretary or their nominees, and representatives of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

(b) The role of ALAC will be to provide a formal consultative mechanism between the Party and the union movement.

(c) The National Policy Committee must consult with ALAC in relation to Party policy relevant to ALAC's role, and resolutions of ALAC relevant to Party policy must be considered by the National Policy Committee.

(d) ALAC must meet at least twice each year, the meetings to be resourced by the National Secretariat.

National Appeals Tribunal

18. (a) The National Executive must: (a) at its first meeting after each triennial National Conference; and

(b) whenever there is a vacancy in a position; by a three-quarters majority of all voting members appoint three persons to form the panel for the National Appeals Tribunal. O2 (b) A member of the panel may only be removed by a three-qua rters majority of all voting

members of the National Executive.

(c) In respect of each appeal, the Tribunal is constituted by a member of the panel

determined by lot under the supervision of the National Secretary.

(d) The Tribunal is responsible on behalf of the National Executive for hearing all appeals by members, affiliated unions and constituent units of the Party that relate to:

(a) compliance with the National Constitution; or

(b) enforcement of the rights and obligations of members, affiliated unions and constituent units under the National Constitution; and making recommendations to the National Executive in relation to those appeals.

(e) No appeal may be heard by the T ribunal until all practicable avenues of appeal have been exhausted under the rules of the relevant State or Territory Branch.

(f) The Tribunal must:

(a) comply with the rules of procedural fairness in conducting hearings;

(b) (subject to paragraph (i)) conduct its hearings as expeditiously as possible; and

(c) give the National Executive and all parties to the appeal written reasons for its recommendations.

(g) The National Executive:

(a) must promptly consider all recommendations of the Tribunal; and

(b) may make any decision in relation to the appeal it thinks fit.

(h) The Tribunal:

(a) must prescribe guidelines for the conduct of appeals, including the granting of leave by the Tribunal to hear appeals; and

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` Australian. Labor Parry 44th National Conference a #10„11 CQC1Sf(tl(;t_I,Otil

(b) may otherwise regulate its own procedure; subject to these Rules and any

direction of the National Executive.

(i) In this rule "National Constitution" has the same meaning as in rule 19. Q) The powers of the National Executive under this rule are in addition to, and not in derogation from, those contained in rule 7(c).

National Constitution Not Enforceable in Law

19. (a) In this rule "National Constitution" means all national constituent instruments of the Party, and includes the national Objectives and Principles, the national Rules, the National Principles of Organisation, and all resolutions of National Conference and the National Executive relating to the structure and organisation of the Party.

(b) It is intended that the National Constitution and everything done in connection with it, all arrangements relating to it (whether express or implied) and any agreement or business entered into or payment made or under the National Constitution, will not bring about any legal relationship, rights, duties or outcome of any kind, or be enforceable by law, or be the subject of legal proceedings. Instead all arrangements, agreements and

business are only binding in honour.

(c) Without limiting rule 19(b), it is further expressly intended that all disputes within the Party, or between one member and another that relate to the Party be resolved in accordance with the National Constitution and the rules of the State and Territory Branches and not through legal proceedings.

(d) By joining the Party and remaining members, all members of the Party consent to be bound by this rule. 3031

National Platform and Constitution 2007

National Constitution

Australian Labor Party 44ih National Conference

Part C National Principles of Organisation 1. Policy at the national, State and Territory level shall be determined by the national, State and Territory conferences respectively. Such decisions shall be binding on every member and

every section of the Party, or of the relevant State or Territory Branch.

2. On matters that are not subject to National Platform or Conference or Executive decisions, or their State and Territory equivalents, the majority decision of the relevant Parliamentary Labor Party shall be binding upon all members of the parliament.

3. In all parliaments, the parliamentary leadership, the Ministry and Shadow Ministry shall be elected by the Parliamentary Labor Party.

Election of Delegates to National Conference 4. State and Territory Branch delegates to National Conference (including proxy delegates) must be elected in accordance with the rules of that State or Territory Branch, subject to rule 6.

Composition of State Conferences

5. (a) In all States the State Conference shall comprise 50 percent union representatives and 50 percent constituency Party representatives. (This shall not bind Territory Branches until the proportion of unions affiliated is equivalent to that in the States. This principle shall apply to all State level Party units comprised of direct representatives of unions 304 and constituency units.)

(b) State Branches should increase or maintain the size of State Conferences, which should have greater rank and file involvement.

Membership 6. (a) Membership of the ALP is open to all residents of Australia who are prepared to accept its objectives and who have associations with no other political party or proscribed organisation. This right to join shall not be impaired other than in circumstances in

which it can be demonstrated clearly that an individual cannot meet the requirement outlined above.

(b) Members of the Party are encouraged to be members of a union or to employ union labour. State and Territory Branch rules should require members of the Party to be members of a union or to employ union labour to the maximum extent permitted by law.

(c) To further encourage union members to join the Party, State and Territory Branches should offer discounts in membership subscriptions for members of affiliated unions.

Affiliation of Unions

7. (a) All bona fide unions shall have the right to affiliate to the ALP. This right to affiliate shall not be impaired unless it can be demonstrated clearly that the relevant organisation is not a bona fide union or that the organisation has engaged in conduct that renders it unsuitable to be affiliated.

(b) For the purposes of calculating union delegation sizes and affiliation fees, the number of members of each affiliated union must be determined each year by an independent audit by a registered auditor of:

National Platform and Constitution 2007

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44th National Conference _ 1 Natlor of ConStlt UtlO

(a) the number of members eligible to vote in a ballot for an office in that union at 30 June as conducted by the appropriate Electoral Commission/s, and (b) the number of members identified in paragraph (i) above for whom the union received an amount of dues in relation to the period between 1 April and 30 June

inclusive for that year.

(c) Each affiliated union must by 4.00 p.m. on the last Friday in February each year provide to the State or Territory Branch in a sealed envelope:

(a) the independent audit report for the previous year, and (b) advice on the number of members that union will affiliate on for the current year, and all such sealed envelopes must be opened at the same time in the presence of scrutineers appointed by affiliated unions.

(d) Union delegation sizes must be based on the three year rolling average of that union's affiliation for the current and two preceding years (except that affiliation figures before 2002 must not be used to determine a union's rolling average).

(e) Each State and Territory Branch (other than the Queensland Branch) must amend its rules to implement clauses 7(b)-(d) above in accordance with the model adopted by the National Executive for the Queensland Branch on 12 April 2002.

8. Each State and Territory Branch should develop an equitable basis of determining union entitlement for representation at relevant State level Party units. This shall not prevent State Branches making reasonable special arrangements for the representation of small unions.

Union Delegations (

9. Subject to rule 10(b), it shall be the right of each union to determine the criteria and 305: procedures for selection of its delegates, subject to those delegates being members of that union and financial members of the Party.

State and Territory Labor Advisory Councils

10. (a) Labor Advisory Council (LAC), consisting of the Leader and senior members of the State or Territory Parliamentary Labor Party, the State or Territory President and Secretary or their nominees, and representatives of the Trades and Labour Council or equivalent body in that State or Territory.

(b) The role of the LAC will be to provide a formal consultative mechanism between the Party and the union movement in that State or Territory.

Dialogue with Local Union Activists 11. All Labor MPs must establish dialogue with local union activists in their electorates, including frequent meetings with those union activists who work in their area. Senators and MLCs must be invited to attend such meetings.

Members' Rights 12. The following are to be established as minimum standards:

(a) The process of joining the Party shall be simplified and all unnecessary impediments to that process shall be removed from State and Territory Branch rules.

(b) Subject to any attendance requirements in the State or Territory, full membership rights in all States and Territories shall begin to accrue in accordance with the relevant State or Territory requirements and those rights shall accumulate, to a maximum, following two years consecutive membership. These rights include: being eligible for preselection; standing and voting for or standing on, the various Party bodies and executives.

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44th National Conference

(c) Each State and Territory Branch must adopt rules that establish an appeals process in relation to compliance with and enforcement of Branch Rules by members, affiliated unions and constituent units of the Branch, such rules to be submitted to the National Executive for approval by 1 November 2003. The appeals process must include compliance with the rules of procedural fairness, expedited hearings and written reasons for decision.

Organisation and Training

13. (a) In addition to geographically based local branches within State and federal electorates, State and Territory Branches should consider different forms of rank and file organisation, such as:

(a) occupation, workplace and employment related branches,

(b) university and TAFE campus branches, and

(c) policy forums (including online forums).

However, any attendance requirements in State and Territory Branch rules will continue only to be met through attendance at geographically based local branches.

(b) The number of local branches in metropolitan areas should be consolidated to provide for larger meetings and better branch organisation.

(c) Branches should be involved in local community activities, and should provide regular updates and suggestions of events in which members might participate.

(d) Local branches and MPs should institute, and participate in, regular joint community


consultation processes in their electorates to raise the profile of the ALP and provide feedback on policy and Party initiatives.

(e) MPs and State and Territory Branches should respond to branch correspondence promptly so that branch members know their contribution has been considered.

(f) State and Territory Branches should ask branches to nominate either a women's officer or contact person to assist the development of equitable participation for women in the Party.

(g) State and Territory Branch rules should provide for a forum of all members within each federal electorate to be held at least once each year.

(h) The Federal Electorate Council (FEC), or combinations thereof, shall be encouraged to appoint a Women's Contact Officer, Community Activities Officer and a Policy Development Officer when electing or appointing its executive.

(i) The Community Activities Officer and Women's Contact Officer shall assist the local branches to identify the major issues within the community, within which they should be active and assist in the development of either endorsed or unendorsed (depending on the State Branches) candidates for local government or other community bodies.

(j) The State Branches shall assume within their organisational structure the responsibilities of coordinating the Women's Contact Officers, Community Activities Officers and the Policy Development Officers.

(k) The Policy Development Officer at a State Office level and at State and federal electorate level shall be responsible for coordinating policy input on local, State or federal matters, as appropriate, and work within a defined relationship between those electorate based Policy Committees and State and Territory Policy Committees and/or the National Policy Committee.

(I) Each State Branch shall develop training programs for Branch executives, candidates and activists, as well as introductory programs for new Party members and mentoring

National Platform and Constitution 2007

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and development programs targeting women. The National Secretariat shall assist in the development of such programs.

(m) State and Territory Branches should form supporters clubs, and explore the possibility of the creation of an associate class of membership as a way of broadening involvement in the Party.

State and Territory Policy Committees

14. (a) State and Territory Branches should expand and improve the system of State and Territory Policy Committees, which should be linked to any policy forums that have been established.

(b) All Party members should be eligible to attend State and Territory Policy Committee meetings to contribute specialised knowledge and expertise on policy issues. However, final decisions on policy documents should continue to be taken by elected Committee members. Committees should, where feasible, conduct forums and consultations in

regional centres.

(c) Resolutions passed by Party units should be circulated to the relevant Ministers and Shadow Ministers, State and Territory Policy Committees and the National Policy Committee for consideration and response.


15. (a) Any member who meets the membership eligibility requirements shall be entitled to participate in voting for a candidate in any preselection covered by the applicable boundaries within which they reside, subject to clause 15(c). 3 'OT,,I

(b) The only residential boundaries that can affect that right are those devised by either

federal, State or municipal electoral commissions. That is, the entitlement is guaranteed by the publicly known and independently drawn boundaries of respective electoral commissions. Therefore, if you live within the respective electorate and meet other criteria within the rules you are eligible to vote in the preselection.

(c) To ensure the integrity of preselection ballots, no member shall receive a vote in any preselection unless that member is correctly enrolled with the Australian Electoral Commission to vote in a federal election. The member's address for the purposes of preselection will be their enrolled address.

(d) In order to ensure that MPs are fulfilling local responsibilities, State and Territory Branches must:

(a) introduce a system of compulsory candidate forums during preselection processes; and

(b) develop a system of reporting to federal electorate bodies the activities of their MP.

Australian Young Labor 16. Every State and Territory Administrative Committee or State Executive should consider co-opting a non-voting member or members of Young Labor.

Indigenous Labor Network 17. That each State and Territory Branch form an Indigenous Labor Network. Membership should be open to all Indigenous people who are members of the ALP. Non-Indigenous ALP members can nominate to be associate members.

National Platform and Constitution 2007


Australian Labor. Party 44th National Conference'

Implementation of National Principles of Organisation 18. The National Executive will monitor the implementation of these National Principles of Organisation in consultation with the State and Territory Branches. These Principles will apply equally to all State and Territory Branches unless otherwise stated.

State and Territory Branch Rule Changes 19. All State and Territory Branch rules must be revised in accordance with these National Principles of Organisation as amended at the Special Rules National Conference held in October 2002, and be submitted to the National Executive for endorsement no later than 1

November 2003.

20. That, pursuant to rule 7(c)(i), the National Executive be empowered to amend the rules of any State Branch as required to implement the National Principles of Organisation.

National Platform and Constitution 2007


Labor Party 44th Nationai^Conference

Part D

Resolutions to Implement National Principles of Organisation

General Membership System 1. (a) Each State should adopt a system to allow applications to be processed and accepted by the head office thus allowing potential expansion of a general membership system.

(b) A general member initially has only the right to take up at their initiative the process of becoming a full member through the Branch membership system. The general members are to be encouraged to contribute to the Pa rty in whatever way they can and they are bound to assume the responsibilities of supporting the Party both privately and


(c) Any general member of five years or more standing could be considered for preselection provided the majority request of all Party members in their respective electorate was made and/or the majority request of that State Branch Administrative Committee or Executive was made. (for guidance to the State Branches)

Party Communications 2. The National Secreta ry shall be requested to prepare an annual budget for internal Pa rty communications, to include methods of financing, as well as expenditure. The National Executive shall liaise with the State and Territo ry Branches with the objective of improving

internal Party communications. (for direction to the National Secretariat)

Responsibilities of National Executive 3. That the responsibilities of National Executive be clarified to ensure appropriate powers to manage the Party's:

(a) finances,

(b) education and training for memberships,

(c) liaison with the trade union movement,

(d) liaison with community organisations,

(e) campaign technique development for Party members and constituent units, and

(f) Party communication; and to organise the Manning Clark Labor History Memorial Lecture at each National Conference of the Party.

Review of Campaign Techniques 4. That National Conference instructs the National Executive and State Administrative Committees to undertake a review of campaign techniques to ensure continued electoral success. The following principles are central to such a review:

(a) the need for redevelopment of campaign skills within safe Labor seats;

(b) the need for continuous workplace campaigns to be developed in consultation with the trade union movement;

(c) improved liaison with community organisations; and (d) continued development of ministerial involvement at the local level.

National Platform and Constitution 2007


tIOnal COC1StItutlo t; Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference j

National Organisation —Ongoing Review 5. (a) That the National Executive take responsibility for an ongoing process of organisational review. The National Executive should establish a Standing Committee to initiate proposals, or receive submissions from members and affiliates, on the Party's rules,

structures and political effectiveness.

(b) That an ongoing National Organisational Review Committee (ORC) be established with appropriate delegated powers under the guidance of the National Executive to continue the process of improving the effectiveness, participation and accountability of the Party's organisation.

(c) That the ORC undergo a consultative process with State Branches, union affiliates, Party units and members on strategies to achieve the following objectives:

(a) strategies to increase the level of ALP branch membership;

(b) strategies to encourage more trade unions to affiliate to the ALP and to involve unions more effectively in the Party's decision-making processes;

(c) strategies the ALP should consider in order to defeat coalition party proposals to undermine the existing arrangements for trade union affiliation; and

(d) strategies to increase the participation of women at all levels within the ALP.

(d) That the National Secretariat provide adequate resources for the Committee to meet its objectives.



6. That the matter of preselections be referred to the ongoing organisational review process.

Internal Party Relationships

7. (a) The National Secretariat shall coordinate a regular program of ministerial visits to FEC meetings, coordinated through the State Branch offices, to report on the work of the Government and then receive views of Party members. Such FEC meetings to be open to all Party members.

(b) That a representative delegation from the State Administrative Committee shall combine with the parliamentary leadership and Caucus representatives to form a State political coordination committee. Such a committee shall meet regularly, to discuss key strategic issues facing the Parliamentary Party. (for guidance to the National Secretariat and State Branches)

Basic Principles

8. (a) The National Executive establish a Committee for the purpose of revising the Basic Principles of the Party including its objectives.

(b) The Committee, in conducting its revision, should invite submissions from any interested Party member or interested unit and conduct appropriate seminars on the subject, prior to finalising any recommendations on changes.

Preselections 9. State and Territory Campaign Directors should consult the Leader and the National Campaign Director before the selection of candidates in both target and safe Labor seats to discuss quality potential candidates. This process should begin at least 18 months prior to

the next election. It is the responsibility and obligation of Party officers and other influential figures within the Party to ensure that quality candidates are preselected in all seats. The

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Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference

NtOil al'.CO ► lStf^UtlOfl

Party must also actively identify and encourage candidates from a wide range of occupations and life experiences.

National Public Office Training P rogram 10. The National Secretariat, in conjunction with State and Territo ry Secretaries, should conduct a pilot National Public Office Training Program and report to the National Executive by 1 July 2003. The NPOTP would involve former Labor leaders and ministers and would be

responsible for: running training schools for candidates, those who aspire to be candidates, and younger Party members; overseeing mentoring programs; and running skills workshops. Better training and professional development should also be examined for elected members.


National Platform and Constitution 2007


Labor Party 44th , National Conference

Part E Register of Conference Decisions (These decisions of previous National Conferences remain in force.)

Members Initiating Legal Proceedings (decision of the 1955

Conference) 1. This Conference resolves that as a general principle it cannot concede the right of any member of the Party to initiate legal proceedings for the purpose of establishing the constitutional behaviour of the Labor Movement. We emphasise that, with a few isolated

exceptions, the history of our Party discloses we have functioned on a basis of complete determination in accordance with our own rules and our own interpretation of them. We insist we must continue to create our own procedures, taking care of our own business without the introduction of lawyers and law courts.

Union Elections (decision of the 1963 Conference) 2. Conference believes that industrial legislation should provide for trade unions to properly determine their own internal policies in accordance with their rules and constitutions and deplores interference in trade unions activities by any government, outside individuals or

organisations. Conference accordingly calls upon all trade unionists to refrain from interference in the internal affairs of another trade union.

1131L21 Grievance Procedures (decision of the 1979 Conference) 3. That Conference believes that the procedures of the Party at State and national level provide adequate opportunity for people who are dissatisfied to seek redress of grievance and calls

upon all members of the Party in respect of matters in dispute to refrain from making comment outside the Party.

Affirmative Action (decision of the 1981 Conference)

4. (a) That Conference: (a) asserts its support for affirmative action to ensure greater representation of women in the Party structures and amongst its representatives at all levels of government;

(b) endorses the Guidelines for Implementation of an Affirmative Action Programme in the ALP, June 1981, produced by the Working Party on Affirmative Action, drawn from the State Women's Groups and requests each State and Territory Branch to implement an affirmative action program in keeping with these guidelines; and

(c) requests the National Executive to monitor regularly progress in each State Branch and to report to each National Conference.

(b) That all Party publications and Party ballot papers be given an indication of sex by use of given names.

(c) That it be the policy of the ALP to investigate, instigate, and fund the provision of childcare facilities at all conferences and large assembly meetings of the Party.

(d) That it be the policy of the ALP that all Party literature and publications should be free of sexist terms and sexist overtones; similarly all Party conferences, meetings etc. should be free of sexist comments, terms and overtones of any kind and all officers, MPs and members of the Party should be advised accordingly.

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44th National Conference.::

Abortion (decision of the 1984 Conference) 5. Conference resolves that the matter of abortion can be freely debated at any State or federal forum of the Australian Labor Party, but any decision reached is not binding on any member of the Party.

Conduct of Ballots (decision of the 1994 Conference) 6. Procedures for conduct of ballots if required:

(a) that ballots for multiple vacancies be conducted in accordance with the rules of the Victorian Branch;

(b) that ballots for single vacancies be conducted under the optional preferential system; and

(c) that ballots for multiple vacancies be conducted in accordance with rule 10(a).

ALP Code of Conduct for Fundraising (decision of the 1994 Conference)

Preamble 7. Australia's political and economic stability is dependent on the strength of our democracy. The Labor Party believes that democracy in Australia will be strengthened by moderate and equal financial contributions from corporate Australia to both sides of politics.

• This code of conduct establishes the conditions that govern fundraising by the Labor Party at State, Territory and National levels. It is binding on all Labor Party branches, units and candidates for public office. i3 I

• Funds are raised by the Organisational wing of the Labor Party to assist candidates for public office to gain and/or maintain office.

• Funds are needed for policy development, Party administration and, most importantly, campaigning. All these political tasks must be carried out Federally and in each State and Territory.

• Each State, Territory and National Secretary of the Labor Party has a responsibility to raise funds.

• Campaign responsibilities can overshadow the need for adequate funds to support a strong and effective party organisation. Lack of funding for party maintenance and administration not only drains the Party's ability to develop policy and membership, but also undermines Labor's ability to campaign effectively and therefore undermines the stability of Australia's political system.

Organisation of Fundraising

• The Party's National Director of Fundraising is the National Secretary. State and Territory Directors of Fundraising are the relevant State or Territory Secretary.

• Each State and Territory Branch and the National Secretariat raise funds cooperatively but separately.

• Each State and Territory Branch and the National Secretariat has a Finance Committee and a Fundraising Director. These individuals and their committees and/or donation collectors have sole responsibility for fund raising for their respective Branches. Each Branch organises its efforts independently and according to its own methods.

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• State and Territo ry Finance Commi ttees, all of whose members act in a volunta ry capacity, collect funds from individual unions and corporations. Such funds supplement the Party's income from normal membership dues and affiliation fees.

• The National Secretariat collects funds for national campaigning, maintenance of the National Secretariat and the support of various State Branches. These funds suppo rt the National Secreta riat's role of national policy development, assistance to the Federal Parliamentary Party and maintenance of the Party's professional and voluntary organisation throughout Australia.

• State, Territory and National offices shall operate systems of "centralised banking".

• All local campaign and other party accounts will be held under the relevant State or Territory central banking system with the relevant Tax File Number.


• The Labor Party observes a fundraising code of conduct. This code is fundamental to the integrity of the Party and its organisational and Parliamentary members.

• Parliamentarians can, and should, voice the Party's needs for funds or services and on occasions sign appeal letters.

• on reasonable request, Parliamentarians can, and should, speak or appear at Labor Party fundraising events.

• Members of the Parliament or candidates should not accept money or services on the Party's or their own behalf, above the amount of $3000 from any one source. Donations that are accepted must be held in appropriate Labor Party central banking 2 y 4 accounts styled in the form: Australian Labor Party Campaign tY rtY n p ^9 Account.

• Any funds held in accounts, or otherwise not under a State or Territory central banking system with the relevant Tax File Number, will be regarded by the Australian Labor Party and any other interested party as "personal accounts".

• Cheques should be made payable to the Australian Labor Party named account, not individuals.

• It is the legitimate responsibility of the relevant Fundraising Director, Finance Committee members and/or collectors to accept money on behalf of the Party.

• On the written authority of the relevant State, Territory or National Secretary, Parliamentarians or Candidates may act as fundraising agents for the Labor Party.

• Members of parliamentary executives may not be asked to act as fundraising agents or collectors.

• The detail of donations shall be publicly disclosed as per the requirements of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 191—The Labor Party does not accept funds that are subject to conditions of any kind.

• Under no circumstances will the Labor Party accept funds which, even if only by inference, are intended to obtain the Party's support for specific actions, attitudes or public statements.

• Donors have a right to put views to the Party—but a right to no more than that.

• The Labor Party never raises funds on behalf of any other Party or Organisation.

• Candidates for public office who act outside these guidelines will be liable to sanctions by the relevant Labor Party Caucus or State or Territory Administrative Committee or other interested parties.

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National Confe re nce Decisions 8. That decisions of National Conference are equally binding on all members of the Party whether determined as Platform or as a decision of Conference. However, decisions of Conference which relate to matters of policy lapse if they are not reaffirmed by the

subsequent Conference. Decisions of Conference which relate to organisational, administrative or rules matters continue in force until a subsequent Conference otherwise determines.

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nal Con stitution Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference

Part F National Conference Standing Orders Chair of Conference 1. The National President shall preside over Conference. In the President's absence the senior

officer present shall preside. If no officers are present a delegate shall be appointed by Conference to preside.


2. (a) Each body represented at National Conference or National Executive shall lodge with the National Secretary the names and addresses of its delegates as early as practicable before the meeting. These names and addresses shall be sent by the National Secretary to all members of the National Executive and other bodies represented at the National Conference as soon as possible.

(b) Any body or delegate may challenge the credentials of any delegate by lodging with the National Secretary the grounds of objection in writing within 14 days of being notified of the nomination of that delegate.

(c) The grounds of the objection shall be conveyed to the delegate challenged and to the body nominating the delegate by the quickest possible means. The National Executive shall hear and determine the challenge. An appeal shall lie to the National Conference. Pending the outcome of any such appeal, the decision of the National Executive shall



Session Times 3. Conference shall meet each day from 9.30 a.m. to 12.45 p.m., and 2.15 p.m. to 5.30 p.m., subject to Conference at any time, determining on motion or amendment without debate, and without rescission of any previous decisions as to meeting times, to meet at any other


Order of Business 4. The agenda of the National Conference shall be as distributed by the National Executive pursuant to rule 6Q)(ii). The order of business shall be as determined by Conference from time to time.

5. No discussion shall be allowed except on motion or amendment duly proposed and seconded.

6. Any member desiring to propose a motion or amendment, or to discuss any matter under consideration, must address the Chair. No member shall address the Conference unless called by the Chair of Conference.

7. All questions shall be determined in the following manner:

(a) the mover of the motion shall have seven minutes to present argument in support of the motion and five minutes to reply;

(b) the seconder of such motion, and all other speakers, shall be limited to five minutes;

(c) the movers and seconders of motions and amendments must exercise the right to speak at the time of moving and not subsequently, subject to the right of reply by the mover of the motion;

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44th National Conference NatKOnal COfStltUtlOn,

(d) Conference on motion without debate may extend the time of any speaker; such extension of time shall not exceed five minutes. Conference may agree to further extensions on the same basis;

(e) the Chair shall call attention to the time of all speakers one minute before such time expires. Motions for extensions may be made when the Chair so calls, but no later;

(f) after the motion has been moved and seconded, and no speaker rises to oppose or move an amendment, the Chair shall proceed to put such motion to a vote of Conference;

(g) all votes of Conference shall be subject to the following procedure:

(a) the Chair shall call upon those who support the question to say "Aye" and those who are opposed to say "No"; and

(b) the Chair shall then declare the question carried or lost;

(h) any delegate not satisfied with the Chair's decision may, by standing in their place, call for a show of hands. The Chair shall proceed to determine the question by calling upon those who support the motion to raise their hands, and those opposed to act similarly. The Chair shall appoint two tellers to take the count and they shall be representative of the opposing viewpoints. When the tellers are agreed upon their count the Chair shall

declare the result by quoting the figures for and against;

(i) when any question voted upon by Conference results in equal numbers for and against, the Chair shall declare such question lost; and

(j) any motion or amendment affecting the Pledge, Platform or Constitution of the Party shall be declared lost if less than a majority of delegates credentialled to the Conference vote for it. 3.17


8. (a) At any time during debate on any motion it shall be competent for any delegate to move an amendment. All amendments must be seconded. Motions may be amended by adding words, by deleting words, or by deleting words and inserting others in their place, providing that the effect of any proposed amendment is not to establish a direct negative to the question contained in the motion.

(b) Any number of amendments may be proposed and discussed simultaneously with the original motion, notwithstanding standing order 14. At the close of debate amendments shall be put in the order they have been moved.

9. No member shall speak more than once to any question before the Chair, unless by way of personal explanation or with the consent of the Conference. Such consent shall not be given unless by a majority of those present.

10. At any time during debate on any question it shall be competent for the Chair to accept a motion "that the question be adjourned," "that the question be put", or "that the next business be proceeded with", provided at least two speakers have spoken for and against. A member having spoken to the question shall not be competent so to move. Such motions shall be immediately put without debate, provided that in the event of Conference agreeing

"that the question be now put" the mover of the original motion shall have the right of reply.

11. On Conference agreeing "that the question be now put" it shall mean not only the question contained in the motion, but in any and all amendments.

12. No question shall be debated for a longer period than one and a half hours, subject to Conference agreeing on motion or amendment put without debate to extend such time. A two-thirds majority of those present shall be required to approve any such extension.

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[ National Constitution

Australian Labor Party 44th National Conference

13. Motions directed towards the re-consideration of any decision reached by Conference shall fail unless carried by a three-fourths majority of the delegates credentialled to Conference.

14. Not more than two delegates in succession shall speak for or against any question.

15. All questions involving an interpretation of policy on any section of the Platform or the direction of members of the parliament in accordance with the principles and methods of the Party, shall be subject to decision by Conference on the basis of these Standing Orders and not by ruling of the President.

16. Questions other than those contained on the Agenda shall not be discussed unless agreed to by two-thirds of the delegates credentialled to Conference, and no delegate shall canvass the subject matter of the proposed new business when seeking Conference approval for discussion of same.

17. Rulings given by the Chair on any question shall be subject to a motion calling upon Conference to disagree with any ruling. In the event of such motion, the mover shall be permitted not more than five minutes to support the motion and the Chair shall be permitted not more than five minutes to defend the Chair's ruling. There shall be no other speakers. The Vice-President or any other delegate appointed by Conference shall occupy the Chair during the currency of such motion.

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Australi an

Labor Party 44th National :Conference .•.. . . ad ¢^O C ♦ i.0. v:1Ut10;11>i


National Confe re nce notes: 1. The Australian Labor Party must win the 2007 federal election.

2. The calling of the 2007 federal election is only months away. Any outstanding preselections for the House of Representatives must be resolved as a matter of urgency.

3. In order to maximise the Party's ability to achieve government it is essential that all our candidates be of the highest calibre.

4. Under the national constitution, it is the role of National Conference to be the supreme governing authority of the Party, and of the National Executive to be the chief administrative authority of the Party responsible for carrying out the decisions of National Conference.

National Conference therefore resolves:

1. National Conference gives the National Executive specific authority to preselect candidates in the House of Representatives for the 2007 federal election where a candidate has not been preselected.

2. For the purposes of implementing paragraph 1, National Conference empowers the National Executive to delegate any part of the preselection process it considers necessary and to make any necessary ancillary decisions.

3. National Conference confirms that this resolution:

1. applies only to the 2007 federal preselections; and