As the Australian Greens Whip I give a regular insight into what’s happening in Parliament with the top pieces of legislation, amendments, motions, questions, and matters of public importance that the Australian Greens work on each sitting week/fortnight. In a tough 24 hour media cycle, often work done in the run of a sitting fortnight doesn’t make it to the media. The intention of this summary is to keep you informed on the work we do. The first two weeks were packed with exciting work that spans across campaigns and issues.
1. Richard Di Natale secured senate support condemning Christensen and Bernardi for attending a Q Society fundraiser
After learning of the deeply homophobic and islamophobic nature of the Q society Sydney event, the Senate supported Richard’s motion condemning Liberal MPs for attending. We accept the standard we walk by, we cannot allow our elected representatives to condone such hatred and bigotry. You can watch Richard’s statement here.
2. Lee Rhiannon introduced amendments to crackdown on politician’s entitlements
Lee pushed for better reporting and transparency of an allowance that gives politicians up to $46,000 for electorate expenses, we proposed that MPs who purposely submit false claims face jail terms. You can read more here.
3. I helped secure an inquiry into the disastrous Centrelink automatic debt recovery system
I worked with Labor to secure a senate inquiry into the Government’s failing Centrelink automated debt recovery system that has been rolled out since last year. In an attempt to claw back money from struggling Australians accessing our social safety net, the Government has caused a monumental mess that they refuse to back away from. This is just the tip of the iceberg as we know so many people are yet to receive the debt notice, it’s only going to get worse. Hopefully the inquiry will give us answers. You can read more here.
4. Richard Di Natale protected the child dental scheme
Richard worked with Labor and the crossbench to successfully disallow the government’s harsh cuts to Medicare funded child dental care. Richard said: “Late last year the government took the axe to child dental – ripping $300 per child and dramatically reducing children's access to dental care. The Child Dental Benefits Schedule was a key win of the Green’s power sharing arrangement with the former Gillard Government.” You can read more here.
5. Lee Rhiannon secured senate support calling on the government to protect the rights of rental tenants
As Lee said: “We have national standards covering health and education, but none to protect the millions of Australians who rent. We need real reforms on a national level that protect the rights of renters and not the current legislation which grossly favours investors and landlords.”
6. I called on the Senate to support a #changethedate Australia Day motion
I introduced a motion in the Senate calling for Australia Day to be on a different day. This issue has been building momentum for years and a recent brave decision by Fremantle Council to move celebrations has progressed the discussion significantly. All sides of Parliament, particularly Labor, purport to advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In this instance, they have turned their back on them and voted the motion down, read who voted against it here.
7. Janet Rice worked cross party to table a marriage equality committee report
The Senate delivered a consensus report on the Government’s draft exposure marriage equality Bill, paving the way for marriage equality. Janet said: “This unprecedented show of collaboration, negotiation and consensus has given us a way forward to achieve marriage equality in this Parliament. The Greens took to the table a respect for the rights of people of faith, but we did not waver in our view that these must not be at the expense of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Australians.” You can read more here. You can read more here.
8. Scott Ludlam secured a senate inquiry into the Roe 8 highway
The snap inquiry will investigate the breaches occurring as the state Government rushes to build a road to nowhere before the Federal election. You can read more here.
9. Sarah Hanson-Young defended renewables at a Senate Inquiry
Sarah asked questions of the Australian Energy Market Operator at a Senate inquiry hearing in Canberra. Sarah said: “The situation in South Australia is an extraordinary example of failed privatisation. Our state has been let down, time and time again. We need to look at developments in storage technology and invest in the Solar Thermal Power Station in Port Augusta to future proof our network. While the market focuses on their profits, regular South Australians are being treated like second-class citizens. The circle of blame coming from Labor and the Liberals does nothing to work towards a solution”.
10. I wrote to the Prime Minister calling for Justice Targets in the lead up to the Close the Gap report
I wrote to the PM because justice targets have repeatedly been called for by Aboriginal leaders and these calls have been rejected by the Government, particularly the Minister for Indigenous Affairs who has scoffed at the idea. We have national targets in other areas of Close the Gap efforts, why are justice targets so unfeasible? Despite hundreds of recommendations for action, the Government’s primary response has been yet another inquiry – justice targets are part of the solution and should be implemented now. You can read more here.
11. Janet Rice secured senate support for the AFL women’s league
Janet secured senate support for the new AFL Women’s League. The motion noted acknowledged the huge attendance so far, it also noted that “the launch of an elite level national competition provides an inspiring level to which players can aspire.” You can read more here.
And did you see this??
The dinosaurs who are in Government thought they would bring an actual lump of coal into the Federal Parliament, so Adam decided to bring a solar panel in to show them what actual clean energy looked like!