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Speech: National Children's Week

The Greens are strong supporters of early childhood education and care. We believe that anyone who wants their child to participate in early education should be able to do so without any barriers, and early childhood educators should be paid a professional wage. We want to extend universal access to early childhood education to 24 hours a week for all three- and four-year-olds and fund the national partnership agreement on an ongoing basis. Let's also further support children and families by making child care free and by abolishing the activity test.

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Motion: Commonwealth Rent Assistance

Mehreen Faruqi 15 Oct 2019

I, and also on behalf of Senators Dodson and Siewert, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Anti-Poverty Week runs from 13 to 19 October 2019,

(ii) the Productivity Commission has found that two-thirds of low­ income renters in Australia are in rental stress – spending more than 30% of their income on rent,

(iii) 170,000 Australian households are left with less than $35 a day after covering their rent, and

(iv) the Productivity Commission has stated that Commonwealth Rent Assistance has not kept up with rising rents; and

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Speech: Higher Education Support Costs & Charges Bills 2019

I rise on behalf of the Greens to speak to the Higher Education Support (Charges) Bill 2019 and the Higher Education Support Amendment (Cost Recovery) Bill 2019. I'll be clear from the outset: the Greens do not support these bills. These bills impose yet another levy on the higher education sector, which is already under pressure from round after round of funding cuts. The Greens are deeply concerned about the ongoing cuts to higher education.

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Speech: Girls Takeover Parliament

Mehreen Faruqi 14 Oct 2019

Girls Takeover Parliament is a fantastic initiative which allows young women from a wide range of backgrounds to access parliamentary processes which are so often limited to only the privileged few. I'm particularly excited this time to see so many women from diverse backgrounds taking over parliament. I've had the pleasure and privilege of hosting Manya Sinha in my office today. Manya has identified domestic violence as an issue that matters to young Australian women, especially those from a migrant and refugee background.

The following is in Manya's words:

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Motion: Bylong Valley Coalmine

I, and also on behalf of Senator Waters, move: That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

        (i) the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission (the Commission) has rejected the development of the Bylong Valley coal mine near Mudgee in New South Wales, citing concerns about the long-lasting environmental, agricultural and heritage impacts of the proposed coal mine;

        (ii) the Commission raised serious concerns about the proposed mine, including groundwater contamination and the mine's contribution to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions; and

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Speech: National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation

Mehreen Faruqi 14 Oct 2019

I rise to speak on the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation Amendment Bill 2019. I'll say from the outset that we all know that our housing system is broken. In fact it is monumentally messed up; there are no ifs or buts about it. For many years we've gone from one news headline to another about the housing crisis only to be met with a very lukewarm policy response from the government. Here we are today with another one that will not work.

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Speech: Safe Cladding

I rise to speak to the Customs Amendment (Safer Cladding) Bill 2019. The bill amends the Customs Act 1901 to expressly ban the importation of polyethylene aluminium composite panels, which are a type of flammable cladding. I support the comments by Senator Patrick and Senator Pratt with regards to banning this type of cladding.

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Motion: Dolphins in Captivity

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) dolphins are highly intelligent animals, with complex physical and behavioural needs – in the wild, they live in intricate social networks, are migratory and can travel more than 100 kilometres in a single day,

(ii) captive environments are incapable of meeting the needs of dolphins and can severely impact their health and welfare, and

(iii) the Parliament of Canada has passed legislation banning whales, dolphins and porpoises from being bred or held in captivity in most circumstances; and

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Motion: Meat Free Week

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Meat Free Week, organised by Bowel Cancer Australia, runs from 23 to 29 September 2019, and challenges participants to give up meat for seven days,

(ii) intensive animal agriculture is not only cruel to animals, but is a key contributor to the climate crisis, and

(iii) reducing the amount of meat we consume is better for our health, better for animal welfare and better for the environment; and

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Motion: Youth Councils

Mehreen Faruqi 17 Sep 2019

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the New South Wales (NSW) Youth Council held their 'Unleash the Future' Conference from 13 to 15 September 2019 in Rooty Hill, and

(ii) young people from across NSW came together to workshop issues, including the need for emergency action on the climate crisis, the role of advocacy, gender and cultural diversity, mental health, youth and family violence, and the importance of having young voices at all levels of Australian government;

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