Greens Slam Labor and Liberal Collusion to Scrap Education Investment

Greens Senator for NSW and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has slammed Labor and the Liberals for striking a deal to sell out TAFEs and universities. The two parties voted today to abolish the $4 billion Education Infrastructure Fund, which was focused on building research and education infrastructure.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Labor and the Government have teamed up to stab education in the back by abolishing billions in education funding.

“I don’t expect any better of the regressive Liberals who have cut education funding at every turn, but Labor used to be the party of education. Now they are just selling out communities and young people to remain politically relevant.

“Labor are so eager to please the Liberals they voted to abolish the infrastructure fund they themselves established. The reality is unis, TAFEs and research have all suffered under this Liberal-National Government. Education in Australia is being dangerously underfunded.

“I’ve seen with my own eyes the impact of the fund in Port Macquarie where I lived and worked and where the fund contributed to the Joint Health Education Facility which is training doctors to meet demand for care in rural and regional areas.

“We must fund disaster relief and support communities facing the brunt of the climate crisis, but the Greens will not be party to the Government’s long-running campaign to cut our universities and TAFEs to the bone while their climate inaction endangers all of us,” she concluded.

Murray-Darling Basin Plan in tatters

Legislation tabled in the NSW Parliament last night effectively tears up the Murray-Darling Basin Plan leaving the environment and downstream communities high and dry, the Greens say.

“NSW has been waiting for an excuse to get out of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and they’ve found one,” Greens Spokesperson for Water and the Environment, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“The Nationals are exploiting the drought crisis to blow the Plan up.

“The whole purpose of the MDBP was to manage the River in times of drought. The water sharing arrangements are designed to stop communities being pitted against each other and to avoid water wars in times of crisis.

“When speaking to the Water Supply (Critical Needs) Bill last night, the NSW Water Minister was clear that water would be reallocated at the expense of end-of-system flow requirements.

“The Coalition is putting their corporate mates in charge and they’re not actually doing anything that will put water back into the River system so towns have water to drink and family farms have water for stock and crops.

“Australia’s biggest river system is being destroyed by climate change, coal and corporate greed while the Libs and Nats fight amongst each other about who gets to announce policies that don’t deal with any of these issues.

“Towns need drinking water but it should come from corporate irrigators, not the environment or downstream users. There’s no way South Australians will let NSW and the Coalition get away with this.”

Horse Traceability Scheme Vital Following ABC 730 Horse Racing Cruelty Exposé

Greens Senator for NSW and Animal Welfare Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has reacted to a shocking ABC 730 exposé into the abuse and cruel slaughter of race horses at knackeries and abattoirs.

Senator Faruqi said the Federal Government needs to urgently establish a national horse traceability scheme so horses leaving the race industry can be tracked for their whole lives.

Senator Faruqi established an inquiry into horse traceability that is due to hand down its report in the coming months.

Senator Faruqi said:

“The horse racing industry has blood on its hands. I am absolutely sickened and angered by what this footage shows. It is much worse than what many of us had imagined.

“I’m sure people across Australia would be shocked and shattered at the extent and level on animal abuse we saw in the expose.

“The horrific abuse and suffering of horses once they have stopped making a profit shows the callousness of the industry that purports to look after them. They should hang their heads in shame.

“I have long said that when animals and gambling mix, animals always suffer.

“The horse racing industry’s euphemism for horses they can no longer profit from, ‘wastage’, betrays how sickeningly little regard they have for the horses they breed. If the industry wants to breed horses, they must take responsibility for their whole life.

“Part of the solution is transparency. The Federal Government must urgently establish a national horse traceability register which will allow tracking of horses throughout their lives so the industry has no more excuses for not ensuring every horse has a dignified retirement.

“I want to thank the brave activists who risked their safety to expose this barbaric cruelty,” she concluded.

Medevac Repeal report

Evidence heard during the medevac inquiry made an overwhelming case for keeping the legislation in place, Greens Immigration spokesperson Nick McKim says.

“The evidence heard during this inquiry made it clear – medevac has saved lives,” Senator McKim said.

“The government’s refusal to transfer sick people from offshore detention to Australia under previous arrangements caused death, mental anguish and untold suffering among refugees and people seeking asylum.”

“The medevac repeal Bill shows that the government puts political imperatives ahead of people’s medical needs.”

“They have made the crass calculation that some lives are worth sacrificing for broader political outcomes, despite their legal and moral obligations.”

“Decisions about medical care should be made by medical experts, not politicians or bureaucrats.”

“The Greens will oppose the medevac repeal legislation.”

The Greens’ dissenting report can be found here:

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Legal_and_Constitutional_Affairs/RepairMedicaltransfers/Report/section?id=committees%2freportsen%2f024304%2f72235

Government Pretends Biggest Expenditure Item Is Drought

This Government is loose with the truth.

24 hours after it emerged their dam announcement was based on false figures, they have made up more total fantasy.

Today in Question Time the Treasurer said the drought was the “number one call on the budget.”

This is cold comfort to the thousands of farmers desperately struggling to survive on the land, who are not receiving one cent of direct funding from the Future Drought Fund.

Farmers have been left high and dry by the Morrison Government and now the Government is misleading by suggesting they are spending more money on farmers than anyone else.

Government Runs From Economic Debate

For a second consecutive day Scott Morrison has refused to defend his economic record by debating the state of the Australian economy in the Parliament.

After more than six years in office the Government has produced:

  • The slowest economic growth in a decade;
  • The worst wages growth on record;
  • Almost two million Australians being unemployed or underemployed;
  • A decline in GDP per capita last year, with flat growth in the last quarter;
  • Record levels of household debt;
  • Consumer confidence at a four-year low;
  • Business confidence well below average; and
  • Sluggish productivity growth.

In Parliament today we repeatedly invited Mr Morrison to defend his economic record and allow time for a serious debate on the economy.

He ran from the issue.

He is ashamed of his economic record. He should be.

Mr Morrison has no plan to stimulate our nation’s sluggish economy and is so out of touch and arrogant that he believes he is above the scrutiny of the Parliament of Australia.

Major parties tested by introduction of Greens Parliamentary Standards Bill

The introduction of the Greens Parliamentary Standards Bill in the Senate today will be a strong test of whether Labor and the Liberals genuinely want to stamp out corruption and restore public trust in democracy.

The bill creates a binding, independently enforced code of conduct for all Federal politicians and staff.

The Australian community’s trust in politicians and government has plummeted to 31 per cent, with less than a quarter of the community expressing trust in Federal Ministers and MPs [1].

Greens Co-Deputy Leader and spokesperson on democracy, Senator Larissa Waters, said the community can no longer tolerate the ongoing scandals and politicians’ misbehaviour.

“Alarming levels of disrespect have been allowed to flourish in the Australian Parliament, from appalling behaviour in the chambers that would not be tolerated in any other workplace to outright corruption and selfish opportunism,” she said today.

“Today the Greens will introduce a much-needed Parliamentary Standards Bill in the Senate to help lift the bar, as a large step towards restoring public trust in democracy.

“The centrepiece of the new bill is a binding, enforceable code of conduct for all Ministers, parliamentarians and senior staffers.

“The Greens bill requires all politicians to respect others, to avoid conflicts of interest, to act with integrity, and to ensure that power and public resources are always used in the public interest.

“It would establish new independent enforcement agent with teeth, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, who can investigate breaches of the code of conduct and take action when politicians’ behaviour fails to meet public expectations.

“For serious allegations, the new Public Standards Commissioner could refer the matter to the Greens proposed National Integrity Commission for a more comprehensive investigation.

“The bill is a large step towards restoring public trust in democracy, but more needs to be done. The bill also sets out a process to review and strengthen existing standards for lobbying, post-parliamentary employment, political donations, and campaign financing,” Senator Waters said.

Full copy of National Integrity (Parliamentary Standards) Bill 2019 available here: http://bit.ly/NationalIntegrity

[1] Democracy 2025’s Trust in Democracy Report, December 2018 https://www.democracy2025.gov.au/documents/Democracy2025-report1.pdf

Greens Slam Labor and Liberal Collusion to Scrap Education Investment

Greens Senator for NSW and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has slammed Labor and the Liberals for striking a deal to sell out TAFEs and universities. The two parties voted today to abolish the $4 billion Education Infrastructure Fund, which was focused on building research and education infrastructure.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Labor and the Government have teamed up to stab education in the back by abolishing billions in education funding.

“I don’t expect any better of the regressive Liberals who have cut education funding at every turn, but Labor used to be the party of education. Now they are just selling out communities and young people to remain politically relevant.

“Labor are so eager to please the Liberals they voted to abolish the infrastructure fund they themselves established. The reality is unis, TAFEs and research have all suffered under this Liberal-National Government. Education in Australia is being dangerously underfunded.

“I’ve seen with my own eyes the impact of the fund in Port Macquarie where I lived and worked and where the fund contributed to the Joint Health Education Facility which is training doctors to meet demand for care in rural and regional areas.

“We must fund disaster relief and support communities facing the brunt of the climate crisis, but the Greens will not be party to the Government’s long-running campaign to cut our universities and TAFEs to the bone while their climate inaction endangers all of us,” she concluded.

Greens Senator Calls for University Research Human Rights Review

Greens Senator for NSW and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi has called for universities in Australia to undertake a human rights review of all their research partnerships following allegations Australian universities are contributing to the surveillance state in China.

Senator Faruqi said:

“It is completely unacceptable for Australian universities to be involved in projects that could impede the human rights of ethnic minorities and political dissidents.

“The Greens are calling on all universities to review their partnerships and research projects to ensure that their work is not contributing to oppression and abuses of human rights in China or anywhere else in the world.

“Let’s not pretend foreign influence is restricted to the Chinese Government. University partnerships with the likes of Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other companies who profit from war and support the US military-industrial complex have gone without scrutiny for far too long.

“Universities accepting funding from any organisation or Government to develop weapons of mass surveillance technology likely to result in oppression are ethically compromised.

“The Greens want to see all universities have a proper review of all their research and assess whether or not it is compatible with human rights and global peace,” she concluded.

Senate Backs Greens Call for Rent Assistance Review

Greens Senator for NSW and Housing Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has welcomed the Senate supporting her call for the Commonwealth to review the adequacy of Commonwealth Rent Assistance payments. The Productivity Commission has found that two thirds of low-income renters in Australia are in rental stress – spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent.

Senator Faruqi said:

“It is fantastic to see the Senate supporting the Greens’ motion to review the level of rent assistance, particularly during Anti-Poverty Week.

“It is unacceptable that so many people already on low incomes are falling into financial stress just to put a roof over their head. Everyone has the right to a safe, secure and permanent home.

“When even the Productivity Commission concludes that rent assistance hasn’t kept up with rising rents, you know we have a problem.

“We know low-income renters in particular are being squeezed between soaring rents and a lack of proper social support. I urge the Government to act immediately and announce a review so we can get on with resolving this long-running issue,” she concluded.

The motion

I give notice that on the next day of sitting, I shall move—That the Senate:

1. Note that:

a. Anti-Poverty Week runs from 13th to 19th of October.

b. The Productivity Commission has found that two thirds of low-income renters in Australia are in rental stress – spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.

c. 170,000 Australian households are left with less than $35 a day after covering their rent

d. The Productivity Commission has stated that Commonwealth Rent Assistance has not kept up with rising rents.

2. Calls on the Federal Government to review the adequacy of Commonwealth Rent Assistance.