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Speech: Australian Research Council Amendment Bill 2019

I rise to speak on the Australian Research Council Amendment Bill 2019. This bill merely indexes the Australian Research Council's funding to keep pace with inflation. That's not good enough; frankly, it's pathetic. We need to make sure that our best minds are given the resources that they need to help us face the twin crises of the climate emergency and rising inequality.

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Speech: Support for Fire-Affected Small Businesses

The bushfire crisis has drawn unthinkable devastation onto our communities, our environment, our animals and our country—a crisis that we will, unfortunately, remember for years to come. Lives and livelihoods have been lost, along with homes, businesses and properties. It has been a tragic time, and it is hard to imagine the stress that small businesses in affected communities have also come under.

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Motion: Human Rights in Kashmir

Millions of Kashmiris are still under undeclared curfew. Free speech is being suppressed, with an internet blackout still in place, communications being monitored and journalists being intimidated. The human rights situation in Kashmir has drawn comparisons with Palestine. Kashmiris were not allowed to determine their fate when the British drew their arbitrary borders and have not been allowed to do so since. Self-interest and nationalistic rhetoric will never deliver justice to the people of Kashmir, who have suffered enough. Self-determination by the Kashmiri people is the only answer.

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Motion: Government response to PFAS report

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) the issue of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination has caused significant mental, emotional and financial stress for communities where PFAS have contaminated land and water, including the communities around the RAAF bases in Williamtown and Richmond in New South Wales, the Oakey Army Aviation Centre in Queensland, and RAAF Base Tindal at Katherine in the Northern Territory,

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Motion: Government response to PFAS report

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) the issue of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination has caused significant mental, emotional and financial stress for communities where PFAS have contaminated land and water, including the communities around the RAAF bases in Williamtown and Richmond in New South Wales, the Oakey Army Aviation Centre in Queensland, and RAAF Base Tindal at Katherine in the Northern Territory,

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Motion: Thanking Wildlife Carers

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) unprecedented bushfires across Australia have burnt at least 10 million hectares of land, primarily in New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and South Australia,

   (ii) an estimated 800 million animals have been killed in NSW, with national impact to more than 1 billion animals, including kangaroos, koalas, bats and reptiles, and

   (iii) wildlife carers have been on the frontline, rescuing and caring for injured animals, often at great emotional, financial, physical and emotional cost and sacrifice; and

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Motion: Petroleum Exploration Permit 11

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) Asset Energy has announced that it will not proceed with plans for seismic testing in the Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 zone, which was originally planned for thousands of square kilometres of ocean from Newcastle through the Central Coast to Manly in New South Wales,

   (ii) while this is welcome news for ocean life, exploration through drilling could occur soon causing irreversible damage to the marine environment, and

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Speech: No Citizenship Pledge

Instead of working to make students proud of our nation by leading on justice for First Nations people, by tackling the climate crisis and by ensuring that no Australian is left behind because of rising inequality, some in this place would rather have them recite a US-style pledge. This is a classic tactic of creating a problem where none exists. The bushfire crisis this summer has demonstrated the enduring strength of the Australian spirit in the community.

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Speech: Illegal Phoenixing Bill

As already indicated by my colleague Senator Whish-Wilson, the Greens do support this bill, but we also realise that what this bill does not do is specifically crack down, and crack down hard enough, on building companies who are phoenixing to avoid paying their debts and avoid taking responsibility. Builders who declare bankruptcy to avoid sanctions for their shoddy works are constantly resurfacing as new businesses in the building industry. We know that phoenixing is rife in the building industry, and a huge part of that could actually be linked to the cladding crisis.

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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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