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Speech: Early childhood education and care

I rise to speak briefly on Senator Pratt's motion to refer to the Senate Education and Employment References Committee a reference about early childhood education. I want to say at the start that early childhood education and care is an essential service. It should be universal and it should be free. I say this not just from a rights perspective. There is a compelling case for free and universally available early childhood education and care because it has enormous benefits for children and enormous benefits for families. Of course, it has enormous benefits and is good for women.

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Speech: Higher Education Support Amendment (Freedom of Speech) Bill 2020

 I rise to speak on the Higher Education Support Amendment (Freedom of Speech) Bill 2020. This bill amends the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to provide a new definition of academic freedom that enshrines in law principles of freedom of expression and substitutes the existing term 'free intellectual inquiry' in relevant provisions with the term 'freedom of speech and academic freedom' to align the language of provisions within the model proposed by Robert French.

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New early childhood data reveal costs, quality concerns

The median cost of childcare is the highest it’s ever been and there are worrying signs for service quality, according to new figures from the Productivity Commission. The new data also confirms that demand for early childhood education and care is higher than ever before.

The Greens say that this is a call to action for the Australian government to invest in universal, high-quality and fee-free early childhood education, and deal with the crisis facing early learning.

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Childcare Expenses Back To Pre-Covid Levels

Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said that the December quarter Consumer Price Index data released today by the ABS has revealed “out-of-pocket [childcare] expenses have now returned to pre-COVID levels in all capital cities.”

Senator Faruqi said:

“These latest numbers put us back to where we were before Covid-19 – with one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world.

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Tudge Shouldn’t Be A Minister, Let Alone Education Minister

Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said that Alan Tudge’s appointment as Education Minister is a disturbing development.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Anyone who a federal court judge has found to have acted criminally is not fit to be a minister of the government.

“It’s no surprise that this is the sort of ‘talent’ the Prime Minister wants to elevate in the government’s efforts to defund and privatise education.

“This disturbing appointment shows how little the government values the education system.

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Speech: Higher education language teaching

Universities are cutting courses and slashing jobs. The combined blows of COVID-19 and funding cuts are devastating. We should prioritise and expand education in languages and cultures, especially those in the Asia-Pacific, and reject these harsh, nonsensical cuts to language programs.

In its submission to the job-ready graduates bill inquiry, the Languages and Cultures Network for Australian Universities said:

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Amendments: Australia's Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Bill 2020

Exclude universities from the legislation

I move:

(1) Clause 7, page 9 (lines 6 and 7), omit paragraph (7) (e).

(2) Clause 7, page 9 (after line 12), after paragraph (h), insert:

(ha) a university established by, or under, a law of a State or a Territory; or

(3) Clause 10, page 11 (line 28), omit "paragraph 7(d), (e) or (f)", substitute "paragraph 7(d) or (f)".

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Speech: Australia's Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Bill 2020

I rise to speak to the Australia's Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Bill 2020. The Greens will be opposing this ill-thought-out overreach by the government, which comes before us after a rushed and insufficient consultation process. Senator Rice's contribution and dissenting report to the limited inquiry into this legislation reflect the broader terminal issues with this legislation. I want to highlight the impact it will have on the work of our universities.

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