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Motion: Free TAFE and University

 I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) everyone has a right to education, whether you are leaving school, changing careers, retraining later in life or looking to gain new skills and knowledge,

   (ii) more than a million students will commence at, or return to, public universities and TAFEs around Australia this month,

   (iii) access to a world-class education shouldn't require going into large debts, but the average graduate today is saddled with more than $22,000 in study debt, and

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Question Time: School Strike For Climate

My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. Your government has relentlessly attacked students striking for climate action. The Prime Minister said kids should go to school. The Deputy Prime Minister denounced anything that would disrupt schools. Even you, Minister Cormann, said that during school time kids should be in school. But because your government's inaction on the climate crisis has made natural disasters more frequent and intense, the bushfires disrupted the education of tens of thousands of students this summer.

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With QLD Gov Support, Greens renew calls for National Horse Register

Greens Spokesperson for Animal Welfare, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has welcomed the Queensland Government’s support for a National Horse Register following the release of the independent inquiry into the management of retired racehorses.

Senator Faruqi’s 2019 Senate inquiry into establishing a National Horse Traceability Register called for the establishment of a national working group to work towards implementing a Register in December.

Senator Faruqi said:

“I welcome the Queensland Government’s support for a national horse register.

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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: 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: 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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Motion: NSW Bushfires

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that in New South Wales (NSW):

(i) the bushfire crisis has wrought havoc and destruction, with the Bush Fire Danger Period starting early and winter fires plaguing the state's north as early as August,

(ii) since last winter, fires have burnt at least 5 million hectares,

(iii) 25 people have lost their lives to bushfires and hundreds of homes have been reduced to ash,

(iv) more than 800 million animals, birds and reptiles have been killed, pushing some species to the brink of extinction,

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Motion: Investment in Early Learning

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the number of children using early learning services has risen over the past 10 years, from just below 35% in 2009 to nearly 45% in 2018,

(ii) there is inequity in access to early learning services–children living in remote areas, children who live in economically disadvantaged areas, children from Indigenous backgrounds, children from non-English speaking backgrounds, and those with disability are under-represented in early learning services,

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