Craig Kelly (politician)

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Craig Kelly
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Hughes
Incumbent
Assumed office
21 August 2010
Preceded by Danna Vale
Personal details
Born (1963-09-29) 29 September 1963 (age 50)
Sydney, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Vicki Kelly
Children 1(f) 1(m)
Profession Business owner

Craig Kelly MP (born 29 September 1963), an Australian federal politician, is a member of the Australian House of Representatives representing the seat of Hughes, New South Wales for the Liberal Party of Australia, elected at the 2010 federal election. Kelly took over from Danna Vale MP who retired at the 2010 election.

Early years and background[edit]

Prior to entering politics at the 2010 Federal Election, Kelly was a 1st grade rugby union player with Southern Districts and a small business owner in the manufacturing and trade sector. Kelly was also a well known consumer advocate, fighting for small business and making recommendations to the ACCC.[1][2] He was also the President and founder of the Southern Sydney Retailers Association.[3]

Politics[edit]

National Disability Insurance Scheme[edit]

In the final sitting period of 2013 Kelly was nominated by Tony Abbott to be the Coalitions Representative to the bipartisan committee overseeing the implementation of the national disability insurance scheme. Kelly is the only sitting member of the House of Representatives who has first hand knowledge of what it is like to raise a child with severe disabilities. It is due to this personal understanding of the issues that face parents and carers that he was selected to sit on the committee.[4]

Kelly issued the following statement on being nominated:

"Beginning the implementation of the scheme is arguably the most important action that will be undertaken by the 43rd parliament.

As the only member of the House of Representatives to have the first-hand experience of raising a child with a serious disability, and dealing on a day-to-day basis with the complex and inadequate patchwork of support, let me say this: I understand why this is needed and I know that it needs to be done right.“It is an honour to have been nominated by the Leader of the Opposition, and appointed by the parliament to serve on this important committee.

I understand I carry the weight of the hopes and needs of carers, families and people with disabilities right across the country. I pledge not to let them down.’’[4]

Defence Travel Leave Entitlements 2012[edit]

Kelly and the President of the NSW Commandos Association; Barry Grant, fought Labor Government cuts in the 2012 budget that sought to remove entitlements for defence personnel to travel home during holiday times to see family and friends. Kelly and Grant put together a petition that was circulated Australia wide through RSL's, Clubs and by mail that attracted well over 10,000 signatures in favour of reinstating the entitlements. With Kelly's help a disallowance motion was put forward in the House of Representatives that forced the Labor Government to reinstate the entitlements that they had removed. This effected upwards of 22,000 service men and women.[5]

Carbon pricing[edit]

Kelly opposes the Labor/ Greens Carbon Tax and marched with a rally of about 2000 people from Hyde Park in Sydney to Belmore Park. Kelly addressed the protest, describing the reform as a "poisonous, toxic tax" and that the Federal Labor Government was destroying Australia's prosperity by going after the country's competitive advantage. Kelly also stated that "Every coalition member will sign a blood oath to get rid of this tax." [6]

Constitution Amendment on Local Government 2013[edit]

Kelly was one of only three members in the House of Representatives to oppose the proposal to change Australia's Constitution to enable the Federal Government to place any terms and conditions upon Local Councils when providing them financial assistance.

During the debate in parliament Kelly said;

"Our Australian Constitution is not just another piece of legislation; it is the document that is the heart of our very democracy. In drafting our Constitution, our forefathers well understood the dangers of centralisation of powers. They understood that decisions about how our nation is governed are best decided by those closest to the coalface. So our Constitution was designed with built-in checks and balances, to limit the power of politicians and government bureaucrats so that no particular person or group had total control. It has served our nation well for over 100 years. Therefore, we should not make any change to our Constitution lightly" [7]

Wind Farms[edit]

Kelly has been an critic of federal subsidies for industrial wind farms. In a speech in parliament Kelly criticised the use of federal funds for windpower of questionable reliability in favour of spending on other critical social needs.[8] Further, Kelly attended the “wind power fraud rally” in front of Parliament House, Canberra, where around 150 protesters called for the abolition of the renewable energy target and a ban on all new windfarms.[9]

Craig Thomson tit-for-tat[edit]

Kelly has been referred to the parliamentary privileges committee over a range of allegations, including his failure to declare on his register of interests his directorship of several companies.[10] Anthony Albanese alleged Kelly had failed to disclose the directorships of three entities related to DV Kelly — Homewares Depot Pty Ltd, Valentino Franchising Pty Ltd and Valentino Home Fashion Pty Ltd — that were not officially relinquished until March 2011, eight months after the 2010 election.[11] Under parliamentary rules, members have 28 days to declare any interests, including shareholdings and company directorships.[11]

On the same day as the accusations were levelled at him, Kelly defended himself on the floor of the House of Representatives stating:

Earlier today the Leader of the House made a number of assertions relating to me and my register of members' interests. His comments to the House were incorrect, and I would like to clarify the inaccuracies in those assertions.The Leader of the House asserted that I am a solicitor. I am not a solicitor, and I do not have a law degree. I have never held myself out to be a solicitor nor made any representation to that effect to any person. I have not derived any income or personal benefit from any matters relating to this allegation.

The Leader of the House also asserted that I failed to declare my directorship of several companies. I took steps to resign my directorships of all companies named in August 2010. I provided instructions to my accountant to this effect. My accountant today has confirmed that this is correct, but he did not act on my instructions until March 2011 due to ill-health and hospitalisation on his behalf. At the time I completed my register of members' interests I understood the instructions had been implemented, and I believed them to be correct.

I regret that the ASIC record did not reflect the circumstances that I believed to be correct at the time.The Leader of the House also asserted that I am a shadow director of a company, DV Kelly Pty Ltd. There is no substance whatsoever to this allegation. Further, I have not, nor have ever been, a shareholder or a director of this company.[12]

The Parliamentary privileges committee sided with Kelly and did not pursue the matter any further.

Media commentators suggested that this was an attempt by the Labor Government to divert attention from the Craig Thomson scandal.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lib select Craig Kelly for Hughes seat". 9 News (ninemsn). 2010-05-10. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  2. ^ Rice, Margaret (2010-08-22). "Royal cheer for Hughes Liberal candidate Craig Kelly". Liverpool Leader (News Limited). Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  3. ^ "The toothless Trade Practices Act". Grants and Opportunities. Nett magazine. 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  4. ^ a b Kelly Keen to support carers on NDIS http://www.liverpoolchampion.com.au/story/1595511/kelly-keen-to-support-carers-on-ndis/?cs=1465 June 25, 2013
  5. ^ Battle lines drawn over travel cuts http://www.theleader.com.au/story/267736/battle-lines-drawn-over-travel-cuts/ July 16, 2012
  6. ^ Lema Samandar (1 July 2012). "Sydney carbon tax protesters out in force". News.smh.com.au. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Constitution Alteration (Local...: 5 Jun 2013: House debates". OpenAustralia.org. 5 June 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Delingpole, James (25 June 2012). "Aussies drive another stake into the heart of the wind-farm vampire – Telegraph Blogs". Blogs.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Lenore Taylor, political editor (18 June 2013). "Canberra windfarm protesters demand end to 'renewable energy scam'". Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Jessica Wright (20 August 2012). "'No grounds' to pursue Thomson: committee". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Court documents conflict with Liberal MP statement on company". Crikey. 10 September 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Personal Explanations Hansard, parlinfo.aph.gov.au 21 May 2012
  13. ^ Coorey, Phillip (21 May 2012). "Tit for tat as Liberal MP cops it as pay back". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Danna Vale
Member for Hughes
2010–present
Incumbent