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Speech: National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment

I rise to speak on the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment Bill 2019. This bill implements recommendations of the Braithwaite and Joyce reviews of vocational education and training and makes additional amendments to the act. The Greens will not be opposing this legislation. We note, however, that this bill does nothing at all to reverse the government's malicious underfunding and undermining of public vocational education and training through our public TAFE system.

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Motion: NSW Bushfires

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that in New South Wales (NSW):

(i) the bushfire crisis has wrought havoc and destruction, with the Bush Fire Danger Period starting early and winter fires plaguing the state's north as early as August,

(ii) since last winter, fires have burnt at least 5 million hectares,

(iii) 25 people have lost their lives to bushfires and hundreds of homes have been reduced to ash,

(iv) more than 800 million animals, birds and reptiles have been killed, pushing some species to the brink of extinction,

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Motion: Investment in Early Learning

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the number of children using early learning services has risen over the past 10 years, from just below 35% in 2009 to nearly 45% in 2018,

(ii) there is inequity in access to early learning services–children living in remote areas, children who live in economically disadvantaged areas, children from Indigenous backgrounds, children from non-English speaking backgrounds, and those with disability are under-represented in early learning services,

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Adam Bandt elected as Greens leader, kicks off fight for a Green New Deal

Adam Bandt MP, Member for Melbourne, has been elected as the Australian Greens Parliamentary Leader.

Adam will use his first media conference as leader to call for a government-led Green New Deal to tackle the climate emergency and the jobs and inequality crises. Adam will also make a strong pitch to young people to join the movement for a Green New Deal.

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Murdoch University Must Drop Whole Case Against Academic Whistleblower

Greens Senator for NSW and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has welcomed Murdoch University’s decision to drop their counter claim for financial damages against academic whistleblower Dr Gerd Schröder-Turk but has said they should drop the entire suit. Dr Schröder-Turk spoke publicly about his concerns regarding inadequacies in Murdoch University’s policies for recruiting international students in 2019.

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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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School Testing Results Show Need for Increased and Better Targeted Funding

Australian Greens Senator and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi has responded to reports that Australian students are slipping in international testing standards by calling for more and better targeted education funding in Australia, especially for the most disadvantaged schools. She has also called on the Government to invest more in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

Senator Faruqi said:

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