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Speech: Emergency Response Fund Bill 2019

I rise on behalf of the Greens to speak to the Emergency Response Fund Bill 2019. This bill really does lay bare the Liberal-National government's logic-free approach to the wicked problems of our time. With this bill they are attempting to abolish Australia's only—I repeat, only—TAFE and university infrastructure fund, to create an opaque Emergency Response Fund, without a cent for disaster resilience or any action on the climate crisis. What a mess!

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Speech: No daylight between Morrison and Trump

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government are doing extraordinary damage to Australia and are threatening our future every single day. A year ago I said that it was more and more obvious that the Prime Minister was trying to reinvent himself as a mini-Trump. If there was any doubt then, it is now absolutely clear that Mr Morrison has completed the transformation. These days there's not a shred of space between Trump and Morrison on the issues that matter.

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Motion: Councils Declare Climate Emergencies

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) 61 local councils, representing almost 6 million Australians, have declared a climate emergency, and

(ii) these local councils represent a wide range of regional, suburban and major city areas in every state and territory in Australia, including Canterbury-Bankstown City Council in New South Wales, Ballarat City Council in Victoria, Launceston City Council in Tasmania, Port Lincoln City Council in South Australia and Denmark Shire Council in Western Australia; and

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Motion: NSW Abortion Reform

Mehreen Faruqi 16 Oct 2019

I, and also on behalf of Senator Waters, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that the New South Wales Parliament passed a Bill to decriminalise abortion on 25 September 2019; and

(b) congratulates and thanks all the women and activists who have worked tirelessly for decades to achieve this important reform.

Question agreed to.


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Speech: National Children's Week

The Greens are strong supporters of early childhood education and care. We believe that anyone who wants their child to participate in early education should be able to do so without any barriers, and early childhood educators should be paid a professional wage. We want to extend universal access to early childhood education to 24 hours a week for all three- and four-year-olds and fund the national partnership agreement on an ongoing basis. Let's also further support children and families by making child care free and by abolishing the activity test.

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Motion: Commonwealth Rent Assistance

Mehreen Faruqi 15 Oct 2019

I, and also on behalf of Senators Dodson and Siewert, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Anti-Poverty Week runs from 13 to 19 October 2019,

(ii) the Productivity Commission has found that two-thirds of low­ income renters in Australia are in rental stress – spending more than 30% of their income on rent,

(iii) 170,000 Australian households are left with less than $35 a day after covering their rent, and

(iv) the Productivity Commission has stated that Commonwealth Rent Assistance has not kept up with rising rents; and

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Speech: Higher Education Support Costs & Charges Bills 2019

I rise on behalf of the Greens to speak to the Higher Education Support (Charges) Bill 2019 and the Higher Education Support Amendment (Cost Recovery) Bill 2019. I'll be clear from the outset: the Greens do not support these bills. These bills impose yet another levy on the higher education sector, which is already under pressure from round after round of funding cuts. The Greens are deeply concerned about the ongoing cuts to higher education.

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Speech: Girls Takeover Parliament

Mehreen Faruqi 14 Oct 2019

Girls Takeover Parliament is a fantastic initiative which allows young women from a wide range of backgrounds to access parliamentary processes which are so often limited to only the privileged few. I'm particularly excited this time to see so many women from diverse backgrounds taking over parliament. I've had the pleasure and privilege of hosting Manya Sinha in my office today. Manya has identified domestic violence as an issue that matters to young Australian women, especially those from a migrant and refugee background.

The following is in Manya's words:

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Motion: Bylong Valley Coalmine

I, and also on behalf of Senator Waters, move: That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

        (i) the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission (the Commission) has rejected the development of the Bylong Valley coal mine near Mudgee in New South Wales, citing concerns about the long-lasting environmental, agricultural and heritage impacts of the proposed coal mine;

        (ii) the Commission raised serious concerns about the proposed mine, including groundwater contamination and the mine's contribution to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions; and

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