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Greens Senator Calls for Wiping of SFSS Student Debt

Australian Greens Senator and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi has called for the wiping of Student Financial Supplement Scheme debts which she has described as a rort that has severely impacted people’s lives. From 1993 till 2003 the Student Financial Supplement Scheme encouraged students, including minors acting without their guardians’ authority, to trade in their Youth Allowance for a loan. For every dollar of income support a student gave up, they incurred $2 in debt.

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Education Department Merger a Huge Mistake

Australian Greens Senator and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi has called the proposed merger of the Department of Education with Skills and Employment a huge mistake.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Merging the departments of education and employment is a short-sighted decision that highlights the Government's narrow, neoliberal idea of education. Education is a public good essential to building a socially and economically just society, not just an avenue to employment or profit – it demands a standalone focus.

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Motion: NSW Bushfires

I move: That the Senate—

(a) notes with deep concern that:

   (i) over a hundred fires continue to burn across New South Wales,

   (ii) data from the New South Wales Department of Environment shows harmful pollutants in Sydney's air are already over three times worse than at any moment in the past five years during bushfire season,

   (iii) the toxicity of the air in some parts of Sydney is the equivalent of smoking between four and ten cigarettes a day,

   (iv) particle pollution can trigger heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer and asthma attacks,

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Speech: Islamophobia

Muslim women have a right to be safe in our communities. We have a right to socialise and to be in public wherever and whenever we want. We have the right to wear whatever we bloody well want to. We have the same rights as any other person, but too often we are denied those rights because of the risk of violence, harassment and intimidation.

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Speech: PFAS Order for the Production of Documents

Communities around Australia are living with the toxic legacy of PFAS contamination in their water, in their soil, in and around their environment. People have already lost so much. They are at breaking point. The impacts have been financial, physical and mental. They are stressed and distressed at the lack of action. The government is really dragging its heels and it's extending the suffering of the people around Australia who are living around these sites. I think the lack of empathy the government is showing is really despicable.

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Motion: Review of Foreign Aid Program

I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that the Federal Government has announced a review of Australia's foreign aid program;

(b) notes with concern that:

   (i) Australia's foreign aid budget has been cut by 27% since its peak in 2012-13, and is well below the average for countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),

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