The Turnbull Government’s lack of vision

I spoke in the House of Representatives on Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2017-18 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2017-18. This was an opportunity to examine the priorities of the Turnbull government: tax handouts for multinationals and millionaires. A clear lack of vision from this out-of-touch Liberal government.

Infrastructure needs of Tasmania

In the cut and thrust of question time, sometimes particular moments stand out.

Today in question time Anthony Albanese, as the Shadow Minister for infrastructure, asked a question of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Barnaby Joyce. That question was directed towards the significant reduction in infrastructure spend within the State of Tasmania under the Abbott/Turnbull governments, and the fact that there were no new infrastructure projects commenced in Tasmania.

The response from Barnaby Joyce was extremely surprising. He made reference to Inland Rail as an infrastructure project, and Badgery's Creek airport.

Tasmania has real need is for infrastructure to drive economic growth. The requirement for infrastructure extends from commitments to the Tamar River Sewerage improvement plan in the Tamar Valley, the replacement Bridgewater Bridge, vital roads funding and essential tourism infrastructure.

This is not a joking matter, the Minister needs to take his portfolio seriously.

Health – Co-Location of a Private Hospital at the LGH

Health is a key issue in Northern Tasmania.

I was recently asked about Tasmanian Labor's plan to call for tenders for development and construction of a new co-located Private Hospital at the Launceston General Hospital, a plan which includes a comprehensive precinct plan to address long overdue issues like lack of parking.

This hospital would be paid for by a private operator, in all likelihood the existing operator in Launceston consolidating their existing facilities.

I was able to respond with some detail, in part due to my governance experience on the THO-North, but also courtesy of some research I had commissioned.

I though I should share that information.

By 2015/16 there were 68 private hospitals that were co-located with a public hospital, around Australia.

The Last Week for the Year- What a Week

History was made, just before 6:00 pm on Thursday 7 December.

It was a moment of extreme emotion for me, having met with members of the LGBTIQ community, including the irrepressible Rodney Croome, about the Dean Smith Bill, and the concerns that in the name of religious freedom and free speech, anti discrimination protections would be wound back.

Don't get me wrong, I support both freedom of speech, and religious freedom, but not a return to the past where discrimination against the LGBTIQ community was institutionalised.

Two things strike me as I recall the day and its aftermath:

The first an image of my friend Linda Burney, hoisted aloft by Warren Entsch in the joy of the occasion. Lucas Coch/AAP surely should get image of the Year for this effort:


The second, a Tweet; which also had great emotional impact on me, as it speaks of the small things we can do in our role, which can have big impact:

History; and I was there.

Thank you Bass for putting your faith in me.

A Busy week in Parliament

It is always very interesting returning to Parliament after a break, in this case a break of more than a month.

There are extensive building works under way at Parliament House. I have so far spoken on the legislation which has been introduced by the government to facilitate its ongoing attack upon the union movement and union members. It is quite clear that the government did not have a mandate for their extreme anti union legislation.

I have also spoken about very important legislation which has been introduced by the government, supposedly to assist housing affordability. My speech on this issue highlights the fact that the government will not achieve what it wants to do, in fact the effect of the legislation may be to drive up prices and worsen housing affordability.

I have had some very interesting meetings and events with health themes – I know how important Medicare and the Launceston General Hospital is to our community. There is a recurrent theme about disadvantage within communities and poor health outcomes – something that Labor is arguing hard to address through further health funding and preventive health measures to provide a practical response.

It was also great to welcome constituents to the House, they were able to see me deliver speeches in the Federation Chamber, and also in the main chamber