Federal Election Email Interview – Bob McMullan, ALP MP for Fraser

Jazz 16 November 2007 64

In our continuing series of Email Interviews with local candidates in the coming Federal Election we bring you Bob McMullan MP – the Federal Member for Fraser and the first of our respondents from the Australian Labor Party.

 Bob McMullan - ALP MP for Fraser

Bob McMullan’s responses, in full and unedited, can be found below:

Q1. Provide a short (no greater and 200 word) employment application style Resume (CV), including what work you have done apart from being a politician or political staffer or party/union/lobby employee and what experience or qualifications do you have with regard to economic management?

My academic training is principally as an economist, although I have also studied arts and public law. Whether this qualifies me to play a role in economic management is for others to judge.

I chose to use my economic qualifications to advance the interests of workers rather than employers and I am proud of the role I was able to play as an industrial advocate and union official.

As well as a union and party official, and in addition to the usual vacation jobs, I have worked at a super-phosphate factory, as a public servant and a university tutor.

While working for the Labor Party I was a Director and Company Secretary of a number of small to medium-sized companies.

Q2. What would you like to see as the first piece of legislative change brought about by your Government? What are your personal goals for your first year representing the ACT?

The first piece of legislative change I would like to see is the repeal of Workchoices and the restoration of fairness in Australian Workplaces.
At a local level I would like to see a decentralisation of Commonwealth Government departments to Gungahlin, to ease the demand for parking facilities in Civic and reduce the level of traffic to the city centre.
I will also be working for an upgrade of the roads servicing Canberra International Airport.

Q3. What private opinions do you hold which are different to those of your party? On which issues do you disagree with your Party’s stated position?

While there will always be issues on which any thinking individual will disagree with the group or party of which they are a member, I accept that the overwhelming majority of voters in Fraser who vote for me do so because I am the Labor candidate, not for any personal attributes I may have, although I hope one or two may appreciate those.

Q4. Are you in favour of fixed election terms? Why or why not and if so what length of terms are you in favour of and why?

I am in favour of fixed election terms of four years for preference.

Q5. Do you think that it is important for the Prime Minister and their family to live in Canberra? Why or why not?

Yes, I believe the Prime Minister should live in Canberra.

Q6. Do you consider that making observations about the structure and makeup of the other major political party as beneficial to your own party’s role in the election?


Q7. What are your thoughts on the permanent trading of water entitlements, as per the National Water Initiative
(http://www.dpmc.gov.au/water_reform/nwi.cfm), and do you believe that giving water a tradable, economic value is really the best method to ensure that this scarce Australian resource will be utilised sensibly in the future?

Labor supports the National Water Initiative. I believe the water reform process must continue, so we properly fix the over-allocation of water licences in the Murray Darling Basin, ensure harmony between the environment and consumptive use, and help address the impact of drought and climate change on water supply.

Labor believes that national water reform requires:
* a cooperative and constructive approach with State Governments to assist water reform and investment in urban and rural water infrastructure;
* full implementation of the National Water Initiative principles agreed to in 2004;
* fixing of the over-allocation of water licences once and for all, and the establishment of coherent, streamlined rules which ensure the problem of over-allocation never recurs;
* recognition that economic instruments including water trading are necessary to address the fact that water has been over-allocated, undervalued and misdirected;
* proper consultation with key stakeholders in the Murray Darling Basin, including all water users, farmers, water scientists, environment groups and the broader community to ensure the adoption and consistent use of efficient agricultural practices;
* returning sufficient water to the rivers in the Murray Darling Basin to ensure the long term health of all rivers, wetlands and all connected groundwater systems in the Basin and, as a result, ensure the health of the communities and businesses that rely on the health of those rivers; and
* measures to ensure industrial and urban water users adapt to maximise water efficiency.

Q8. Canberra has a large student population and Govt funding per capita for public education facilities seems to be on the slide with there being an apparent shift towards encouraging more people to enter the private education sector. What are your thoughts on this?

What initiatives would you pursue in regard to HECS fees, full fee paying uni courses, increasing/decreasing Austudy payments, funding for education/R&D/communications infrastructure and assistance or encouragement to private sector research and technology companies?

What measures will you take to ensure the best possible education is
available to all Australians?

Labor recognises that education is both a social issue – making sure all Australians have equal opportunity to live up to their full potential – and an economic issue – retaining our future prosperity, about ensuring our future international competitiveness.

That is why a Rudd Labor Government will invest more in education, whether it’s early childhood, primary schools, secondary schools, vocational education and training, on-the-job training or universities.

A Rudd Labor Government will:

* Invest $450 million to give all Australian four year olds 15 hours of preschool education – delivered through fun, play-based
activities – a week, delivered by a qualified teacher;
* Invest up to $34 million each year to provide 1,500 new university places in early childhood education;
* Halve the HECS debts for 10,000 early childhood graduates working in areas of need;
* Invest $16.9 million to support the rollout of the Australian Early Development Index in every Australian primary school; and
* Invest $32.5 million to roll out the Brotherhood of St. Lawrence Home Interaction Program in 50 disadvantaged communities across Australia to help parents prepare their children for school.

Labor will also:

* Invest $1 billion over four years to turn every secondary school in Australia into a digital school – Federal Labor’s National Secondary School Computer Fund will allow every Australian student in years 9-12 to have access to their own school computer.
* Provide secondary schools with between $500,000 and $1.5 million, as part of its $2.5 billion Trades Training Centres in Schools Plan, to build or upgrade trades training facilities;
* provide a new 50% Education Tax Refund to help families of around 2.3 million school-age children meet the costs of education.
* Invest $84 million to ensure all trades training students have access to one day a week of on the job training and provide these students with a Job Ready Certificate;
* Invest $62.5 million as part of the Local Schools Working Together program to fund the construction of shared facilities between Government and Non-Government schools;
* Establish a rigorous, quality National Curriculum for all Australian students from kindergarten to year 12 focussing on English,
Maths, Science, History, Languages and Geography;
* Implement a National Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan requiring all trainee teachers to achieve rigorous literacy and numeracy standards as a condition of their graduation;
* Invest $68.6 million to establish a National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools Program; and
* Provide financial incentives to encourage young Australians to study and teach maths and science.
* A Rudd Labor Government will fund an additional 450,000 skilled training places over the next four years – 200,000 more places than the Howard Government and through Skilling Australia support up to 65,000 apprenticeships over the next four years.
* Double from 44,000 to 88,000 the number of undergraduate students receiving a Commonwealth Learning Scholarship, including two new categories of scholarships for studies in areas of national priority and to assist students moving interstate to study specialist courses.
* Double from 4,800 to 9,600 the number of postgraduate students receiving an Australian Postgraduate Award for their PhD or Masters by Research over four years from the start of the 2009 university year.

Labor will encourage more businesses to increase their local training programs. To enable Australian industry to develop, innovate and grow requires support to undertake higher level training, and expand the qualification base of its workers.

The ongoing development of a national system of vocational education and training, including related national industry standards, must be based on expert advice from those directly involved, both employers and employees.

Labor supports a strengthened national network of Industry Skills Councils, with members from both employer associations and unions.

Federal Labor will invest $100 million over four years in a Manufacturing Network to foster innovation in small and medium
Australian manufacturing businesses.

Up to 3,000 manufacturing businesses will benefit from the program each year – becoming more productive, better able to compete in global markets, and able to take advantage of new business opportunities arising from the challenge of climate change.

It will help businesses succeed and create great jobs for our kids.

Five new Centres will be established in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Tasmania and Queensland’s QMI Solutions will be linked in with the network.

It is expected that about 1,000 small and medium manufacturing enterprises a year will receive hands-on support from the Network. A further 2,000 firms will receive advice, attend workshops and participate in innovation networking activities. The Network’s benchmarking services will be provided free to small and medium sized manufacturing businesses.

Australia simply must be more innovative if we are to compete in global markets. The new network will be established by a new Commonwealth department bringing together responsibility for innovation, industry, science and research, but the Network will be at arms length from government, including a combination of expert staff and outsourced consultants.

Q9. What is the single most pressing issue in your electorate (local electorate issue – not a broader issue that has an impact on your electorate) and how do you plan on addressing it?

The most pressing local issue is the development of an employment base for Gungahlin. For the past six months I have been campaigning for policy to ensure fast and efficient location of employment in Gungahlin.

Q10. Suppose you and I are stuck in an elevator for 5 minutes. You know nothing about me other than I’m enrolled to vote in your electorate. What do you say to convince me to vote for you?

Press the alarm button, now!

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64 Responses to Federal Election Email Interview – Bob McMullan, ALP MP for Fraser
thetruth thetruth 11:11 pm 18 Nov 07

If is sucks so bad – Why ain’t the refugee boats going from Florida to Cuba????

I notice that people were literally dying to join the soviet union – they called the tabks in to force their oppressive countries to join the worker paradise.

Headlines screaming “Poor Amercians huddled in makeshift rafts defying life and death to rid themselves of the capital oppressors.”

“Yanks flee to Rudd worker Paradise”

Someone in RiotACT was trying to tell me that Bangladesh was a better place to be a new mum because of their maternity leave!!!!

Maybe that where those pesky american refugees were heading????

ant ant 10:28 pm 18 Nov 07

Many yanks have work, plenty of work. But they can’t afford to LIVE. I’ve worked there, for years. And had to subsidise my forays there with earnings from here. I’ve seen the elephant. I hear Mr Howard’s words, and I see America. It’s a horrible place for ordinary workers. We aren’t americans, and it won’t work here. Because we don’t have mexicans. Thank god.

sepi sepi 10:02 pm 18 Nov 07

Workchoices enables bosses to get their workers to do extra hours – weekends and evenings, for the same pay.
This means bosses can get 8 workers to do the work of 10. So that is 2 people out of a job.

Just because workers become cheaper and work harder for less pay doesn’t mean the unemployed will suddeenly get jobs.

thetruth thetruth 9:17 pm 18 Nov 07

“In order for there to be a few winners, there has to be a shitload of losers.”

That my point exactly, a centralised system creates losers – see the 500,000 long term unemployed in 1993 that Wayne Swan spoke about. These were not recession cases they are people who were unemployed for a long time. If you put all of the long term unemployed in 1993 into the Canberra Statium you would sell out the ground twenty times!!! That is a shit load of losers in anyones language

thetruth thetruth 9:09 pm 18 Nov 07

I have posted this before, but it is an important look back which help form my views on IR. Wayne Swan was elected to parliament in 1993 – the last Labor victory, in his maiden speech he said

“I was fortunate enough to be born into a privileged generation that took full employment for granted. It is an awesome responsibility to enter this Parliament at a time when unemployment exceeds 10 per cent and long-term unemployment is approaching half a million. The social cost of unemployment places enormous responsibility not just on politicians in this House but also on academics, industrial leaders and everyone in our community not to tap the mat and say, `There is nothing we can do’. We should never resort to the pathetic bleating that we sometimes hear from sections of our community that there is nothing that can be done.

It is our duty, as national leaders, to ensure that the inevitable sacrifices flowing from unemployment are equitably borne; that fundamental principles of justice are preserved and applied; that all the nation’s resources of intellect and expertise are drawn into the struggle to combat unemployment. That must be our foremost task. With unemployment, Australia faces the fourth greatest challenge of its first century of federation—a challenge as great as those presented by two world wars and the great depression. This Parliament must have a decisive role in reshaping Australia, in recharging the economy and in restoring employment. I therefore applaud the commitment of the Prime Minister (Mr Keating) and the Minister for Employment, Education and Training (Mr Beazley) to tackle this problem head on. It is the most fundamental thing we can do.”

The irony is that the full employment generation he referred to was the Menzies era. It reminds us of the cost of unemployment.

ant ant 8:59 pm 18 Nov 07

Trickle down has never worked. The Yanks cleve to it because they believe that if they are patient and put up with it, they can ALL make it. A yank explained this to me. The fact that the american economy is a huge pyramid scheme eludes them. In order for there to be a few winners, there has to be a shitload of losers.

We don’t need to go that way.

thetruth thetruth 8:56 pm 18 Nov 07

Stalin tried the centralised model and it didn’t work

sepi sepi 8:53 pm 18 Nov 07

Ronnie Reagan tried the trickle down effect (economic success for some will eventually benefit everyone) ad it didn’t work.

thetruth thetruth 8:46 pm 18 Nov 07

Poor english does not mean they are stupid – very arrogant paternal view. How many migrant families have gone on become multi-millionaires through hard work, skill and endevour?

There are safeguards in the current legislation

thetruth thetruth 8:43 pm 18 Nov 07

If you sit back and look at it this is where it comes down to me. Firstly, I am very fortunate I will not be adversely impacted by either the labor nor libral IR laws. Expect for the social cost of either.

The IR laws are essentially about those who are at the high supply end of the spectrum (those whose skills are most common).

The debate is about where do you set the minimum level bar.

If you set it lower more people have jobs, but those jobs will not be as highly paid (in combined salary/ condition terms)

If you set it higher a smaller number of generic skilled people have higher paid jobs (in combined salary and conditions). The rest are unemployed. This senario requires more expense on the welfare system to ensure that those that have missed out lower number of the generic skilled jobs can at least survive.

I personally (Ant – I argue a personal position because I accept other have different views based on diffent moral constructs and cannot speak for them) believe that a person is more likely to be socially included if they are active participants in the economic and social life around work and that it is better to have more employed at a lower wage than the arbitary nature of a centralised system. Bare in mind, I am was unemployed and despritely wanted a jobs at ANY condition, that would be illegal – so someone has removed my right as a person to exchange my labor for a price of my choosing – That is a very paternal and patronising position.

That said, I can see the other side of the arguement. It is difficult and complex without absolutes, but when I weigh it up in my mind that why I come down on the side of deregulation.

The calls for more regulation tend to come from those with jobs – I don’t see many unemployed folk marching in the streets demanding highe regulation. The cynic in me is that unions are seeking more regulation for more pay for THEir members at the expense of the truely vulnerable.

sepi sepi 8:38 pm 18 Nov 07

So – cleaners with poor english – they might be really good at cleaning, not so hot at negotiation – what would they get paid?

Mælinar Mælinar 8:17 pm 18 Nov 07

I think we should go all the way. AWA are merely the first, albeit untidy step, to a decent solution that benefits employers and employees at the same time, and equally.

Unfortunately for some, there is a need for a draconian element to workplace agreements, mainly because they are members of the great Australian whingebag society.

We all know them, most of us work under at least one of them.

Employers should be entitled to get what they pay for, albiet if they want to pay peanuts, they should expect monkeys. Employees similarly should be entitled to be paid to a level that they are working to, albeit if they don’t have the skills to see a raw deal, it is an easy assumption to make that their working skills probably aren’t that high either.

I have not said that employees rights don’t need to be defended, so step back off your high horses…

thetruth thetruth 7:56 pm 18 Nov 07

I ain’t a liberal stooge!!!! I have voted labor more than liberal. I intend to vote labor at this election…

I just don’t buy the union bullshittery about AWA – I think that folk should take more personal responsibility, at that people should not get overpaid for their skills.

The result of an inflexible IR environment that is less lower skilled people get work – FACT!!!! Proven time and time again…The welfare system then picks them up not to help them get out , but as a sad warehouse of misery to keep them comfortable while everyone else enjoys life. That is the centralised path.

barney barney 6:28 pm 18 Nov 07

Tony ‘the fish’ Abbott has admitted that AWA’s and the Work Choices policy screws over ordinary folk. And if you ask me about AWA’s and Work Choices and the Liberals attitude towards the workplace, I’d say that they have screwed millions of Aussies and are encouraging the evil side of people.

*in the morning * – Hmm. How many heads should I kick today…

*in the afternoon whilst eating out* – Hmm. How many heads should I have kicked today…

ant ant 6:23 pm 18 Nov 07

I am on the ultimate AWA, “truth”, I contract. If I decide I’m no longer happy, I up sticks and move on. And I’m not in IT. Why do you keep arguing a personal position on this? Is this how Liberal stooges think? What about everyone else, all the people? If large numbers of people in our society are being screwed, we are all worse off.

thetruth thetruth 5:04 pm 18 Nov 07

“So you admit that you’ve lost the argument?”

WHAT!!! If you are worth more go get it if your not then deal with it – get skills, burn the midnight oil, get off your butt go into business for yourself (the ultimate AWA!!!!!!!)

Vic Bitterman Vic Bitterman 5:00 pm 18 Nov 07

I got a much higher salary and access to overtime under my AWA in the PS. But then again, I do admit I can negotiate and I do have skills that I could easily take elsewhere.

There needs to be a balance in protecting the conditions and salary of the average worker on an AWA, and making an AWA a tool to allow much higher achievers better access to salary and conditions.

To simply remove them as labor proposes, and push every back to an award of some sort indicates a shallow understanding of today’s business environment.

ant ant 11:06 am 18 Nov 07

Everyone at finance is on an AWA, including those who were there when they moved over to them. I don’t think choice played a big part in it, either. And they aren’t negotiated, they are standardised. It’s like a collective agreement, except it was written by the employer. This is the reality of “work choices”.

Under awards, people always had the ability to bargain for better/different conditions. The award merely stated the minimum legal pay and conditions. Tradies, for one, had a “going rate” which was already way above the award in the 80s.

sepi sepi 10:21 am 18 Nov 07

The push in the public service is for all departments to move to AWAs. If you don’t sign one, you don’t get the job. There is no negotiation involved. Currently they are all much the same, but there is nothing to stop the employer issuing slightly worse conditions with each new employee. Employees have lost the bargaining power that they had under a collective agreement. The vulnerable will suffer.

Pandy Pandy 10:21 am 18 Nov 07

Ant is right: If you start a NEW job they can force you to sign an AWA: NO AWA, no start.

(Oh the irony of No ticket, no start!)

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