Congratulations to Woodbridge District High School on a fantastic presentation evening, and thanks to principal Hamish Cunningham and staff for inviting me.
I was pleased to sponsor and present the Academic Improvement Award. It’s important to recognise academic achievement as an encouragement to all students to engage in learning and achieve their full potential.
Good fun working this morning at the Kingborough Helping Hands stall as part of the Kingston Rotary Club Mega Market. Weather and entertainment was wonderful. I also had a great chat to those staffing the Unions Tas stall supporting #Jobswecancounton.
Thank you Taroona High School for inviting me to the annual musical production. This year the show was Chicago and once again THS has excelled itself. It was a fantastic night of entertainment. The brilliant cast was supported by the amazing THS Production Band and other talented students including those involved as stage crew, actors, dancers and singers. It’s hard to believe the students on stage were only grade nine or ten they had such a wealth of talent.
I’ve known Taroona High School turns on wonderful productions since my own children attended (both were involved in the band and productions) and I was not disappointed tonight.
The marriage bill has passed the House of Representatives unamended and will now become law.
This is a great day for all Australians. I am proud to be in Parliament for this historic moment and to have voted for marriage equality in the Senate!
This morning I met with James Dickinson, acting Chief Executive and head of regulatory affairs at Screenrights, and Virginia Gordon, public affairs advisor. Screenrights is a non-profit organisation that administers the provisions allowing schools to copy television and radio for educational purposes. The photo shows Virginia and James introducing me to EnhanceTV, a wonderfully innovative service …that enables schools to capture, edit and share any free-to-air or subscription television or radio broadcasts. A very user-friendly way to help our kids engage in their learning, another fine example of Australian ingenuity, and a great way to bring educator and film-makers together and support the growth and diversity of screen production.
The bill we’re debating today, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Consumers First—Establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) Bill 2017, arises from the Turnbull government’s policy to set up a one-stop shop for consumers’ complaints about financial services. In doing so, the bill combines three existing external dispute resolution schemes, the Financial Ombudsman Service, FOS; the Credit and Investments Ombudsman, CIO; and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal, SCT. The new body will be known as the Australian Financial Complaints Authority, AFCA. For the FOS and CIO, this is simply a merging and rebranding of the two existing services.
We, of course, welcome higher monetary thresholds for disputes that can be heard. But the government is not proposing any new or additional powers that the existing dispute resolution bodies don’t already have. The bill also purports to copy the powers of the SCT into the AFCA. However, as the AFCA will be a private company limited by guarantee, this bill will result in reduced consumer protections for superannuation disputes. The chair of the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal, Helen Davis, said:
I don’t think it would be true to say, in relation to super, that it’s a rebranding exercise. Arguably, it’s quite a significant change for superannuation, specifically in terms of the external dispute resolution. It goes from a statutory body to a non-statutory body. It moved from a specialist body to a one-stop-shop body.
As Co-Convenor of the Australia-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group it is always a pleasure to catch up with Ambassador of Ukraine, His Excellency Mykola Kulinich to discuss Australia-Ukraine relations.
Thank you Mr Kulinich for the wonderful gift of a picture submitted for the Where I Am-There is My Flag art competition. The artists, Stephania and Sophia Mandziy, are members of the Ukraine diaspora in Australia and the picture features native Australia flora and fauna. A larger version of this picture is on display in the Mariyinsky Palace – the President of Ukraine’s ceremonial residence.
It was a pleasure to catch up with Tammy Gardner, CEO of Huntington’s Victoria to update me on the work they are doing to support people living with this debilitating disease, their carers and families.
Tammy is very happy that I’m wearing her football team colours too!
The report of the Senate inquiry into cancers with low survival rates has received further coverage with an article today in The Mercury Newspaper. The more coverage this issue receives the more pressure can be put on the Government to implement the recommendations of the inquiry.
Click on the image to go to the full size for easier reading.