Time to stop playing politics on foreign donations

Today’s reports from the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters demonstrate the need to support Bill Shorten’s bill on foreign donations.

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Ford Closure to Impact Melbourne's North

Six hundred blue collar workers will lose their jobs tomorrow when Ford’s plant in Broadmeadows closes its doors, and the Turnbull government has done nothing to ease the impact on Melbourne’s north.

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SKY: Karvelas Interview

PATRICIA KARVELAS: Just on this issue of the plebiscite on same-sex marriage which has been obviously the big story of today. I know Labor is pushing for a conscience vote, for a Parliamentary vote. I understand that’s your first position, but if that fails, if it doesn’t get up, if you don’t get the opportunity to have a Parliamentary vote, isn’t it better to have a plebiscite in this term of Parliament than to have nothing?

ANDREW GILES, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR SCHOOLS: I think the whole notion of a plebiscite is pretty extraordinary, Patricia, I mean what we have here is a weak Prime Minister who is prepared to paper over the cracks and divisions in his party room by trashing responsible government in Australia, how our representative democracy has worked for over 100 years. So I think I’d be pretty reluctant to go down another path, but that said, we’ve said we’ll look at proposals that are put before us.

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SUBJECT/S: Needs-based schools funding; Royal Commission into banks

KIERAN GILBERT: With me now the Shadow Assistant Minister for Schools, Andrew Giles, Mr Giles thanks very much for your time. The literacy and numeracy skills have stalled their improvement, at least in the latest NAPLAN results to be released today, despite record dollars going into our school system. That is a disappointment as the minister pointed out this morning, what’s your reaction to it?

ANDREW GILES, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR SCHOOLS: Well it’s a disappointment. I should say firstly, great to be with you, but I’d really query you saying despite the record investment. I think what the results show is the need for us to continue down the path of needs-based funding in schools if we’re serious about lifting our students’ performance.

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Australian cities and the people who live in them have been short-changed yet again by the Coalition, with the potential loss of 35 of 50 staff from the CSIRO’s sustainable cities program due to government cuts.

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Labor's innovative infrastructure funding needed to support Melbourne

It is time for Malcolm Turnbull to come clean on the Coalition’s plan for cities and infrastructure in Victoria.

With Victorian Liberal MPs being called in for a secret meeting on November 10 to try and quell a stoush over the $1.5 billion previously locked for East West Link, we once again have to question whether the government is truly dedicated to funding public transport, or just to taking selfies on trains and buses.

“Malcolm Turnbull is trying to be all things to all people when it comes to supporting our cities, but now he has to put up or shut up,” Andrew Giles, Member for Scullin and chair of Labor’s cities committee, said.

“The choice is clear. He can either support productive infrastructure investment based on the evidence, or he can listen to self-interested MPs returning us to the days of ‘roads of National Party importance’.”

“Melbourne’s growth needs Labor’s innovative approach to infrastructure funding – investing based on business cases and leveraging private sector investment,” he said.

Liberal Dan Tehan’s opinion article in the Herald Sun on Monday once again highlights the deep divisions within the Coalition when it comes to major infrastructure projects.

We need to stop the rhetoric and look for a bipartisan, evidence based approach when looking at something as important to Victoria and Australia’s future as infrastructure funding. Old school pork barrelling by federal Coalition MPs in Victoria is unacceptable.

A Labor government will focus on evidence rather than optics when funding infrastructure.

Labor will also create a $10 billion infrastructure financing facility to unlock billions of dollars of private sector investment. 

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Turnbull's hypocrisy on cities exposed

Malcolm Turnbull’s media blitz on Victorian public transport hasn’t changed his thinly veiled contempt for the city of Melbourne.

After claiming in Question Time that a key difference between the Turnbull and Abbott governments is Cities policy, the Prime Minister refused to allow the Minister for Cities to answer a question on the business case of the Melbourne Metro rail project, instead farcically redirecting it to the Deputy Prime Minister.

“It’s one thing to look to selfies on trams for product differentiation, but quite another to take seriously the challenges facing our major cities,” Andrew Giles, MP for Scullin, said.

The Melbourne Metro project is a vital piece of infrastructure for the growing population of Melbourne. By refusing to answer questions on the issue, the Turnbull government is treating more than four million Melbournians with contempt.

The project was funded in Labor’s 2009 federal budget and the Victorian government completed the business case in 2011.



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New Paper Shows Need for Cities Policy

A new PwC report has reinforced the importance of Commonwealth investment in urban policy, confirming that cities are increasingly critical to national economic growth and calling for closer government attention to areas like efficient public transport.

The report shows that $1 in every $5 of national income is produced by 10 locations in Australia, with Australia’s cities leading this trend.

Rob Tyson, Director of economics and policy at PwC who collated the data, stated that it is, ‘urban areas which have been steadily capturing a larger share of economic output’, and that, ‘fewer locations will be relied upon to drive an increasingly large share of economic growth’.

The report suggests that governments should invest in increasing public transport links between these centres of economic activity.

This is consistent with Labor’s calls for urgent and immediate investment in public transport in our metropolitan cities to connect people in the suburbs to jobs and opportunities in our cities.

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Business Council of Australia Restates Need for Cities Policy

Key business figures are continuing to attack Tony Abbott’s lack of an urban policy, with the Business Council of Australia today again calling for political leadership in this area.

In her speech to the National Press Club, BCA President Catherine Livingston stated that Australia required policies for, “the planning and prioritisation of infrastructure and the design and liveability of our cities and regions”.

Ms Livingston shares Labor’s aspirations for Australia’s metropolitan cities to become more creative, innovative and more prosperous, as well as Labor’s concerns about the danger of simply muddling through.

What’s clear is that the Abbott Government continues to be completely out of step with expert and stakeholder views in Australia.

Only Labor is committed to a national urban policy that supports our metropolitan cities and the people who live in them.

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New Report Shows Urgent Need for Urban Policy

Today’s report by Per Capita highlights the challenges faced by people in our metropolitan cities and the urgent need for a national urban policy.

The report, Paradise Lost? The race to maintain Australian living standards, finds that Australians are commuting an extra 56 unpaid hours per year compared to 2002. The report concludes that:

‘To continue to lift labour productivity, we must lift our investment in hard infrastructure like transport and broadband, as well as soft infrastructure like skills and education.’

To maintain liveability and to unlock our metropolitan cities’ productive potential, our cities need coordination and investment at a national level in urban rail, roads and fibre to the premises broadband.

Australia needs a Government that’s prepared to take responsibility for where four out of five people live and 80 per cent of our national GDP is generated.

To this effect, Labor has released a ten-point action plan for better, more prosperous cities aimed at lifting productivity, sustainability and liveability of urban Australia.

Only Labor is committed to a national urban policy that supports our metropolitan cities and the people who live in them.

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