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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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Murdoch University Must Drop Whole Case Against Academic Whistleblower

Greens Senator for NSW and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has welcomed Murdoch University’s decision to drop their counter claim for financial damages against academic whistleblower Dr Gerd Schröder-Turk but has said they should drop the entire suit. Dr Schröder-Turk spoke publicly about his concerns regarding inadequacies in Murdoch University’s policies for recruiting international students in 2019.

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Greens Senator Calls for Wiping of SFSS Student Debt

Australian Greens Senator and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi has called for the wiping of Student Financial Supplement Scheme debts which she has described as a rort that has severely impacted people’s lives. From 1993 till 2003 the Student Financial Supplement Scheme encouraged students, including minors acting without their guardians’ authority, to trade in their Youth Allowance for a loan. For every dollar of income support a student gave up, they incurred $2 in debt.

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Education Department Merger a Huge Mistake

Australian Greens Senator and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi has called the proposed merger of the Department of Education with Skills and Employment a huge mistake.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Merging the departments of education and employment is a short-sighted decision that highlights the Government's narrow, neoliberal idea of education. Education is a public good essential to building a socially and economically just society, not just an avenue to employment or profit – it demands a standalone focus.

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School Testing Results Show Need for Increased and Better Targeted Funding

Australian Greens Senator and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi has responded to reports that Australian students are slipping in international testing standards by calling for more and better targeted education funding in Australia, especially for the most disadvantaged schools. She has also called on the Government to invest more in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

Senator Faruqi said:

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Speech: Student Financial Supplement Scheme

I rise to speak this evening about the ongoing impact of student debt on the community. I call on the government to forgive outstanding debt from the grossly unjust Student Financial Supplement Scheme. This scheme was a rort that targeted low-income and disadvantaged students from the start. For the government to continue to collect debts 15 years after its abolition is simply unconscionable. From 1993 to 2003, the Student Financial Supplement Scheme encouraged students, including minors acting without their guardian's authority, to trade in their youth allowance for a loan.

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Motion: Special Circumstances funding for Public Schools

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Federal Government has announced $10 million in Special Circumstances Funding to drought affected schools, but has specifically excluded public schools from receiving this funding, and

(ii) more than 80% of students in rural and remote areas are enrolled in public schools and they are also deeply impacted by the drought; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to establish a fund for government schools facing hardship as a result of ongoing drought conditions.

Question negatived.

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Speech: Early Childhood Education & Care

Thank you, Mr President. Early childhood education and care play an important role in children's development and do support families with young children. It doesn't matter what you earn, where you live and how much you work or study, your child should get the education and care that they need. Universal access to early childhood education should be extended to all three-year-olds and four-year-olds on an ongoing basis.

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