Constituency Statements – Globe Wilkins Preschool, Marrickville Golf Course – Wednesday, 3 April 2019
The preschool’s been based at Wilkins Public School for 20 years. It got moved as a result of its previous location being directly under the flight path of the third runway at Kingsford Smith Airport. So the federal government does have some responsibility, in my view, for the ongoing existence of this preschool. Indeed, the problem now arises that the state Liberal government have said that they will push ahead with a tender for the preschool, meaning that we might see a private operator operating a private preschool on public land and the closure of Globe Wilkins altogether. The next Labor government, I’m pleased to announce, will guarantee access to preschool for all three- and four-year-old Australian kids, and we’ll also invest a million dollars to help deliver new classrooms at Globe Wilkins Preschool in Marrickville.
The second issue concerns Marrickville Golf Course, a golf course operated by the Inner West Council. Known as Royal Marrickville in the inner west of Sydney, it’s a very small golf course but one that is the centre of community activity. It’s an 18-hole golf course with a clubhouse. It’s where people have birthdays, where people have activities, where people walk their dogs and where people engage in open space, which is so limited in the inner west of Sydney.
It’s a community institution that’s operated since the 1940s, but the Greens political party on Marrickville council want to chop it down to nine holes; they think that’s enough. They regard golf as an elite sport. What they should do is get out of their ivory tower, go down there and talk to the working-class men and women who have been playing golf for decades at that golf course. It is affordable, it is small—it’s only par 62—and it is vital open space on the banks of the Cooks River in my electorate. The fact is that cutting the golf course in half would destroy this community facility that people have enjoyed for generations. We will fight, and this Sunday there’s a rally at one o’clock to save Marrickville Golf Course. I’ll be there, and I call upon the community to join me in defending this facility.
Constitutional Recognition Relating to ATSIP Committees Report – Uluru Statement from the Heart – Wednesday, 5 December 2018
Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (11:43): It is appropriate that I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which this parliament meets and pay my respect to elders past and present. I am very pleased to take the opportunity to speak to this report of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I believe that our Constitution is inadequate while ever the First Australians are not recognised in it. We recognised the rights of Indigenous Australians to be citizens in the famous referendum in 1967, but we need to take the next step—it’s absolutely critical.
Last May, 250 First Nations leaders met at Uluru. They delivered a historic document, the Statement from the Heart. It is a powerful document, and it included the following powerful passage:
We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.
Indeed, those of us who are the descendants of migrants, which is all of us except First Nations people, benefit enormously from the fact that we have, in our midst, the oldest continuous civilisation on the planet. It is something that we should cherish. It is something we should recognise.
Something that we should acknowledge is that the arrival of Europeans in 1788 brought violence, disease and hardship on those people who had been here for 60,000 years previously. We should also acknowledge how we’re enriched by that culture. The connection that First Nations people have with the land and with water is something that we can learn a great deal from, so Labor very much accepts the Statement from the Heart. We support a voice to parliament and we support constitutional change.
When the 250 First Nations leaders delivered the Statement from the Heart, the then Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull, simply dismissed the call for a constitutional voice. He told the ABC:
I don’t believe that would be able to be passed at a referendum and it’s not a policy that I would support.
Instead of committing himself to listening to First Nations people, to showing leadership for our nation, his government mounted a scare campaign about so-called third chambers of parliament and rejected the proposal out of hand. That was tragic. It followed, and was reminiscent of, the Howard government’s failed recognition of an apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—an apology that was famously delivered by Kevin Rudd at the first opportunity after the election of a Labor government. As the Leader of the House of Representatives in that government, that was my proudest moment—my proudest moment, bar none.
Around the country, far from it being a time of division, it was a unifying moment in our nation’s history. People, whether they were members of the stolen generation or young kids in every school around the country, stopped to watch that apology. They were inspired by that moment.
That was important, but it was, as then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said at the time, just a first step. He said that we needed to commit to practical reconciliation, closing the gaps—in some cases extremely large gaps—between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their fellow Australians that still exist in education, health and other outcomes.
The voice to parliament could also be a unifying moment. It’s not a third chamber; it plays no role in the legislative process in terms of making law. It is simply what the title implies: a voice whereby First Nations people would be consulted on legislation that affects them. It would provide a structure for that consultation and input. It wouldn’t determine what way any one of the 150 members of the House of Representatives or 76 senators would vote on legislation, but it would allow for appropriate democratic input. That is why it is critical. That is why we have committed to consulting with First Nations people to design the voice to parliament. That is why Labor’s response has been worked up with the input particularly of Senator Patrick Dodson, widely regarded as the father of reconciliation in this country; Linda Burney, my long-time colleague and friend; Senator Malarndirri McCarthy; Warren Snowdon, the member for Lingiari; and Luke Gosling, who’s here in the chamber, the member for Solomon. They have all worked very hard to consult and to establish a process moving forward.
This report is part of that process. It is keeping the fight for constitutional recognition alive in this parliament, despite the inaction of the government. But there is much more to do. That’s why we’re committed to additional reforms proposed by the Statement from the Heart—in particular the makarrata commission for agreement making and truth-telling. That’s why we remain committed to closing the gap.
I said in this place on the 10th anniversary of the apology:
Of course, the apology was not the end of the story; it was just the beginning … it was just a step on the road to reconciliation.
I believed that then and I believe that today. The national apology was a step on this road, closing the gap means more steps on this road, and constitutional recognition is a vital step in us truly coming together as a nation. On this side of the house, Labor is committed to continuing on this journey. I know that across the parliament there are many people of goodwill who are also committed to this journey. I believe we need to advance it because it’s in the interests not just of First Nations peoples but of each and every Australian and those generations to come.
Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:43): Tonight work starts at the Pyrmont Bridge Road site for WestConnex stage 3. The project starts tonight but the community consultation processes are next week! What we have is a state government that consults the community after the work starts, and it wonders why there’s so much alienation from the state government when it comes to its infrastructure proposals, whether it be WestConnex or the light rail project. What has characterised it is a lack of proper planning, a lack of proper community consultation, and a lack of appropriate outcomes.
We know that there have been examples of houses which are seeing their walls cracked, which are seeing damage, but there’s no process, as had been called for by the shadow transport minister in New South Wales, Jodi McKay, to ensure that the community can get an independent assessment of whether the damage has been caused by tunnelling activity or not.
Surely the state government should put in place a proper process there, just like they should also put in place proper filtering of the stacks for this project. You have the state Liberal government saying there should be filtering on the North Shore in schools, but not saying that for schools in my electorate. These processes need to be looked after in an appropriate way. I call on the New South Wales government to filter the exhaust stacks and to ensure there is a proper process for residents to be able to go to if there is any damage to homes as the result of this infrastructure work.
The loss of Sisto in the Bourke Street lone wolf attack on 9 November this year, which also injured two other men, is devastating for his family and for the enormous number of friends that he had. I want to pay my condolences to Sisto’s wife, Vicki, children, David and Lisa, and baby granddaughter, Sofia. But it is truly the nation’s loss as well, because Sisto was a larger-than-life person whose commitment to his work turned Pellegrini’s into the institution it is today. Creating a legacy is no easy feat, but through his warmth and his commitment to serving his community Sisto achieved exactly that. In the days after the attack I also visited Pellegrini’s with Richard Wynne, the member for Richmond, to sign the condolence book and to pay my respects to Sisto’s life and contribution to our great multicultural nation of Australia.
Sisto’s story is an Italian immigrant’s story. It’s a proud Australian story. Born in a small town in the Marche region of Italy in 1944, he moved to Australia in the 1960s. His career started with odd jobs in the meatworks. He went on to catering, and in 1974 he took over Pellegrini’s with his co-owner and dear friend Nino Pangrazio, a business venture that has well and truly stood the test of time. He was passionate about the opera and the Essendon Football Club. His commitment to family, friends and Pellegrini’s was reflected in the more than 1,300 people who paid their respects at his funeral.
Melbourne won’t be the same without Sisto Malaspina, and that’s a fact, but we would all do well to live by his example: to show warmth and friendship to people that we know and, importantly, to people that we don’t know; to put division aside; and to build the kind of diverse, vibrant community where people are respected no matter what their background—a community that says ‘no’ to hate, which, in its extreme forms, leads to atrocious acts by those who act in the name of religion but who do nothing but disrespect the fundamental tenets of faith and their fellow human beings. We want the vibrant communities that make our nation the success that it is today.
He promoted peace and stability in our region, in Cambodia in particular. His service didn’t end there. He headed the International Crisis Group, the independent global conflict prevention resolution organisation, for the decade following 2000. Gareth is now the chancellor of the Australian National University. The former UN secretary Kofi Annan described Gareth Evans as ‘one of the world’s great internationalists’. He went on to say:
Gareth Evans’s career serves as an inspiration on how a spirit of optimism coupled with a keen insight for the art of the possible can create real positive change.
He was critical in promoting Australia’s role in peace and nuclear disarmament issues, including the Canberra commission.
Last year, the guest lecturer at the inaugural Tom Uren lecture was Jose Ramos-Horta, the Nobel laureate and former president of Timor-Leste. This Sunday, Gareth Evans will be introduced by our shadow foreign minister—and the person I hope is Australia’s next foreign minister—Senator Penny Wong. I’m very pleased Senator Wong is giving up her time to be a part of what is an important community event. It’s a community event in honour of, I believe, one of the greatest Australians: Tom Uren, a friend, mentor and father figure to me. He was a giant of the Australian progressive political movement, a campaigner for international justice and a former prisoner of war, who was not embittered about that traumatic and terrible experience during the Second World War. He was someone who came out of that experience committed to ensuring and promoting peace throughout the world, someone who was a principled advocate who always treated people with respect. I’d encourage all people in the inner west to come along on Sunday to Petersham Town Hall for what will be a momentous event.
Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2018 – Second Reading – Thursday, 29 November, 2018
Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (12:55): I rise to support the amendment moved to the Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2018 by the member for Gorton. This bill is a small step forward, but it doesn’t do what is required. The bill proposes that the National Employment Standards be amended to provide all employees with an entitlement to five days unpaid family and domestic violence leave. It follows the decision of the Fair Work Commission in March of this year to insert a clause into modern awards with an entitlement providing for five days unpaid family and domestic violence leave. This decision came into effect from 1 August. It has provided more than two million award-reliant employees with up to five days unpaid domestic violence leave. This is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough.
In just the first two weeks of October, seven women in Australia lost their lives to violence. The majority of these crimes were committed by people they knew. The statistics on violence against women in Australia are indeed shocking and shameful. In Australia, on average at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner. One in four Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner. Women are five times more likely than men to require medical attention or hospitalisation as a result of intimate partner violence and five times more likely to report fearing for their lives. Half of these victims have children in their care. Women with disabilities experience high levels of violence. Indigenous women experience higher rates of more severe forms of violence than the rest of the population. Domestic violence is the leading cause of death, disability and illness amongst women aged between 15 and 44 years. It is higher than motor vehicle accidents, blood pressure or smoking. Just think about that.
I have had the privilege of serving as both the minister and the shadow minister for transport. One of the big issues that we deal with is road safety and trying to get the number of fatalities and serious injuries on our roads down. We developed the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-20. That was recently inquired into in a good piece of work initiated by the government to have a strategy over the next three years, 2018 to 2020. That inquiry consulted people who were families of the victims of road fatalities and trauma. There was a great deal of attention given to that. But the figures pale into far less significance compared with what happens to women in homes around our nation. Whilst very few road fatalities occur as a result of a deliberate act by someone behind the wheel, these fatalities and trauma occur as a direct result of deliberate actions by someone—overwhelmingly men, overwhelmingly the partners or husbands of women—who makes a conscious decision to commit an act of violence, which, at its most extreme, can result in a murder. Yet, tragically in my view, it has not received the significance or the attention that it deserves of this parliament or, indeed—because this isn’t just an issue for this parliament—of our society.
When you look at the statistics, they tell you that it must be the case that all of us have friends or family members who are engaged in this activity. That must be the case, given the quite horrific numbers that we are talking about. Domestic violence destroys individuals, destroys families and destroys communities. The insidious reach of domestic violence across our nation places an obligation on the national government to do what it can to support those affected. I do want to pay tribute to those amazing women who work in centres, including the one located in my electorate, that deal with victims of rape and domestic violence. Those women do extraordinary jobs under what must be extraordinary emotional pressure to improve the lives of women and their children.
If we need an argument for strong intervention, beyond common sense and decency, it’s that so much of the research tells us that there’s an ongoing cycle of violence in families once it has occurred. The fact that young people are exposed to that is tragic. It is something that requires a response from the whole of our society. But we also have an obligation to do what we can, and we are in a position to make a difference. That’s why I implore the government to show a bit of courage and support the amendment put forward by my colleague the member for Gorton and put in place 10 days leave, which should be, in my view, a minimal requirement.
We know that the ABS estimates that around two-thirds of women who experience domestic violence are in the workforce. What that means is that some 800,000 women are experiencing some form of violence in their homes at a time when they are also contributing to an income, largely to look after their kids as well as themselves. Quite often, we also know that physical violence will be associated with violence of other forms—psychological violence and violence of intimidation, including the withholding of financial support for women in those situations. So, very clearly, we should do what our neighbours across in New Zealand have done and introduce 10 days paid leave. They did it in July of this year. It makes sense.
Apart from the significant personal impact of violence, we know that there are also costs to employers when a worker is living with violence—increased absenteeism, increased staff turnover, decreased performance, decreased productivity, conflict among workers and safety issues if the perpetrator of violence has to be at the workplace, because, as we just heard from the member for Longman, sometimes the perpetrator of that violence will turn up at the workplace. In a report into the economic aspects of domestic violence leave by The Australia Institute, Dr Jim Stanford confirmed what domestic violence counsellors have been saying for decades—that economic insecurity is one of the most significant obstacles confronting women in their decision of whether to leave or not leave a violent relationship.
We know that the most dangerous time for a woman is when she is leaving a violent relationship, and many of us have had those experiences firsthand. This time, in addition to fearing for her safety, she will need to find new, secure accommodation, get an AVO, seek treatment if required and, potentially, attend court appearances. Introducing paid domestic violence leave into the National Employment Standards provides an important opportunity to reach people living with violence and to give them support. It sends a clear message that domestic violence is not acceptable in any workplace or in our society.
Senator Mathias Cormann has said that domestic violence leave is just another cost on our economy that will have an impact on our international competitiveness. The former Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, said that paid domestic violence leave is ‘a perverse disincentive’ leading to women not getting jobs. These are ill-informed and ignorant claims which are dangerous and negligent. It’s time that these senior members of the government step back and had a rethink on an issue that should be well above politics, because we know that some of Australia’s most successful and profitable businesses have introduced paid domestic violence leave—Qantas, IKEA, NAB, Westpac, Woolworths and Telstra. Indeed, more than 1,000 enterprise agreements approved under the Fair Work Act between 1 January 2016 and 30 June 2017 provide for 10 days or more of paid domestic and family violence leave. Both the Queensland and Western Australian governments offer 10 days paid domestic violence leave to public sector employees. South Australia offers 15 days. In Victoria and here in the ACT, it is 20 days.
Make no mistake: not paying domestic violence leave is not free. There’s a cost to those experiencing family violence, but there’s also a cost to the economy. Paid domestic violence leave will make it easier for women to leave violence. It will make it easier to keep children safe. It will make our workforce healthier and safer, and it will save lives. As with every other major social and economic reform, there are some who will say that it will damage business, but the reality is that the cost of inaction is far too high. It’s 2018; we know what the circumstances are. There are no more excuses for not taking action and for not taking action in this parliament.
It is important to remember that in 2007 John Howard changed his mind before that election—there had been a bipartisan position supporting an emissions trading scheme in the lead-up to that election. But, unfortunately, the coalition changed its mind when we proposed the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in 2009. It still would have been carried, had the Greens political party voted for that proposition in the Senate, and, if that had happened, I’m convinced that there would be a price on carbon still in place today that would have been doing its job and that would have made that transition to a clean energy future so much easier. The problem that we had wasn’t just that the climate change sceptics got control of the coalition under the former Prime Minister and member for Warringah. It’s that they became market sceptics as well, and opposed any market based mechanisms to promote change.
Since the change of government, we’ve seen the action on climate change go backwards. We’ve seen a government that has been unable to come up with a comprehensive energy plan. They had the emissions intensity scheme, then they asked the Chief Scientist to produce a policy and he came up with the clean energy target, which they abandoned, and then they had various versions of the National Energy Guarantee and, after it going through the party room not once but twice, they then abandoned their own policy. Now this government doesn’t have an energy policy, going forward. The fact is that the private sector and the energy sector are saying that what they want is certainty. They need policy certainty so as to promote that investment, but they’re not getting it from this government. They will have it from Labor. We’ll put on the table our proposal to be prepared to support the NEG and negotiate with the government. We’ve put on the table our commitment to a 45 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030, net zero emissions by 2050 and 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
The fact is that we are the party of the future in terms of government and we’re prepared to work with people of goodwill, such as the member for Mayo. I note the newly-elected member for Wentworth in the chamber this evening. We’re prepared to work with people of goodwill who understand that climate change shouldn’t be a partisan issue. It should be something that the whole parliament unites together on in order to achieve change. We’re prepared to work cooperatively with members of the coalition of goodwill as well, because this is an issue that should be beyond politics; it’s an issue about our future.
New South Wales shadow transport minister Jodi McKay has requested that an independent property assessment panel be introduced to help alleviate the concerns of residents and supervise the remediation, reparations and independent appeals, if required. This is common sense, and the New South Wales government should come on board this commonsense proposal. It follows, of course, the underpayment of people who had their properties compulsorily resumed for the project. It follows, of course, the New South Wales coalition government continuing to refuse to consider filtering the exhaust stacks being built in the inner west for the project, while they say that exhaust stacks will be necessary for any road on the North Shore of Sydney.
- Federation Chamber
- Federation Chamber
What we find now though is that, on top of the fact that WestConnex doesn’t go to a port, to an airport or to the city of Sydney, their gateway project still doesn’t go to the port: it stops six kilometres short. What we have now is a major project costing $17 billion after they said it would be $10 billion. And, on top of an additional $2.6 billion, it is a motorway to more roads. Because of the congestion around the Rozelle and St Peters interchanges, the government is now saying they’ll require an F6 down to the Sutherland Shire. They require this Sydney Gateway project. They require another tunnel under the harbour, the Northern Beaches tunnel from the Rozelle interchange. This is a road to more roads and shows the lack of planning when it comes to this WestConnex project, which was paid with an advance payment from the Commonwealth of $1.5 billion.