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Fully Funded Public Schools: Australian Greens Launch Package for Public Education

The Australian Greens have announced plans for a huge investment in public schools, committing an additional $4.6 billion for public schools over the next four years and $20.5 billion over the next ten years. Under this plan, all public schools would reach 100% of their Schooling Resource Standard by 2023. This will ensure every public school in Australia has the funding to meet the educational needs of their students, no matter their postcode or their parents’ bank balance.

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Greens move to remove Minister’s Veto of Research Funding

The Australian Greens Education Spokesperson, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has introduced a bill to completely remove the Education Minister’s ability to veto research grants funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC).

The move would bring the ARC in line with other research bodies, like the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and follows the revelation that former Education Minister Simon Birmingham vetoed eleven grants for no reason.

Senator Faruqi, who is a former academic at the University of New South Wales, said:

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Speech: Merchants of Hate

It seems that almost every day we are met with a new far-right conservative movement. The spectrum ranges from straight-up neo-Nazis, or fascists masquerading as libertarians, to the tinfoil hat brigade with their United Nations conspiracy theories. Some of them are in this very parliament. Collectively, I call these groups 'merchants of hate'. Perhaps 'charlatans' or 'quacks' would be better terms. They prey on the anxieties of Australians and offer solutions that are empty, hateful and divisive.

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Speech: Independent Office of Animal Welfare

I thank Senator Storer for bringing this motion to the Senate. The Greens will be supporting this because we do need an independent office of animal welfare to drive policy and to protect animals. There is a huge conflict of interest when animal welfare issues are regulated by agriculture departments. The recent Moss review into live exports shows what a mess all this is. The government is quite happy to sit by and watch animals suffer, including increasing stock densities and live export ships against the advice of the Australian Veterinary Association.

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Speech: Choice and Affordability Fund for Non-Government Schools

We have seen from Minister McKenzie's performance in question time today and from the stonewalling at budget estimates that the so-called 'choice and affordability fund' is exactly what we thought it would be when it was first announced. This is a bipartisan political fix for private schools that comes at the direct expense of public schools, public school students and teachers, which are grossly underfunded and most in need. This whole program is a farce.

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Speech: National Horse Register

A national horse register makes sense for animal welfare, for safety and for biosecurity. Animal advocates, safety advocates and the racing industry itself agree about the need for a centralised national register. We are just stuck on what model, who is included and how to pay. We definitely need national leadership, and I will continue to push for federal leadership in establishing a national register. Horses do not have lifetime tracking beyond the first movement.

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Question: No regulation of the $1.2bn fund for private schools

Senator FARUQI (New South Wales) (14:23): My question is to Senator Hon. Bridget McKenzie, Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation, representing the Minister for Education. Minister, at budget estimates the Department of Education indicated that there were no rules or regulations developed for the proposed $1.2 billion fund—the so-called 'choice and affordability fund'—for private schools, and that the figure was a decision by the government.

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