Tuesday, 2 September 2008
Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Emergency Response Consolidation) Bill 2008
Consideration in Detail
by leave—I move amendments (1) to (7) as circulated in my name.
- Schedule 1, item 3, clause 204 (at the end of the table), page 3, (lines 9-11), omit the item.
- Schedule 1, item 10, clause 12, page 5 (line 7) to page 7, line 20, omit the clause, substitute “12 Condition applicable to certain subscription television narrowcasting services provided in the Northern Territory under class licences
- Schedule 1, item 10, subclause 12(17), page 7, (line 20), after the subclause insert “12A Racial Discrimination Act
(4) Schedule 1, item 13, page 8 (lines 23 to 25), omit the item.
(5) Schedule 1, item 16, page 9 (line 5) to page 12 (line 10), omit the item.
(6) Schedule 2, page 13 (line 2) to page 14 (line 22), omit the Schedule.
(7) Schedule 3, page 15 (line 2) to page 16 (line 7), omit the Schedule.
It is important that these amendments be considered and passed by the House because, unless they are passed by the House, the intervention—which the government quite properly supports—will be rendered somewhat less effective. As I am sure that the minister appreciates, one of the problems in the remote Northern Territory towns is the impact of pay TV porn, which is now readily available. The intervention originally proposed that pay TV porn simply be banned. Under the legislation, as put into the parliament by the government, that pay TV porn ban will be significantly watered down. Under the government’s legislation, there will only be a ban on pay TV porn if the town in question, the community in question, actually asks for it.
If a community is as troubled as many of these communities are, if people are as used to pay TV porn as it seems some are in these places, it is simply unrealistic to expect the communities to ask for this ban. Unless the amendments that I have just moved are passed, pay TV porn will continue to be available and it will continue to have the horrible impact that was pointed out by the Little children are sacred report. So these are important amendments. They do restore the intervention to its original form. They will mean that the pay TV porn ban, as proposed by the Howard government, is maintained. They will also ensure that the permit system, which allowed so many horrors to thrive in secret, is dumped, as originally announced by the Howard government.
I am disappointed that the Rudd government is making these changes, very disappointed, although I applaud the Rudd government’s maintenance of most of the intervention. The changes proposed by this bill in these respects do significantly water it down, and I think the Australian public would be disappointed with the new government if they were more aware of precisely what is happening here. I note that, in a pamphlet which the Prime Minister himself put out to mark the first 100 days of the Rudd government, he boasted that the new government had banned pornography in Northern Territory communities. Well, it has not banned pornography in Northern Territory communities. In fact, it is going to allow pay TV porn to continue to be broadcast in Northern Territory communities. It is rendering the original ban on pay TV porn ineffective.
I do not want people to think that the Prime Minister of this country might be a liar. The only way to make the Prime Minister of this country an honest man in respect of the claim that he made in that pamphlet after 100 days is to pass these amendments. We in the opposition are trying to help the government; we are trying to help the Prime Minister to live up to his claims. We cannot make the Prime Minister a good speaker in question time; we cannot make him a good manager of the economy; but we can, at least in this respect, make him an honest man, and that is why these amendments should be passed.
Mr Deputy Speaker, may I have your indulgence for just a moment before I sit down. As you may know, I have just spent three weeks in Far North Queensland working as a teacher’s aide in the Coen State School. I want to thank the Coen community for making me so welcome. I want to particularly thank the teachers and staff of the Coen State School for their help and encouragement. I certainly hope that a better policy generally emerges as a result of the engagement I have just had. Certainly, I now have an infinitely better appreciation of the vocation of teaching and of the heroism of people who teach for years in challenging and difficult locations. I salute them and I think it is appropriate that their work be noted in the national parliament.