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Motion: International Students

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) over 550,000 international students currently study in Australia, contributing immensely to our community and economy,

   (ii) many of these students are suffering enormous financial hardship at the moment due to unemployment, wage losses and instability during COVID-19,

   (iii) students have been forced to queue at food banks, live in cramped accommodation, and rely on the charity of others in order to eat and make ends meet,

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Speech: International Students'

In the last few weeks, there have been disturbing videos shared on social media channels showing queues of international students lining the streets of Sydney. These students are not lining up to wait for transport or go shopping. These students have been queuing to be given free food from restaurants and charities because they have no other way of eating. These are students who we welcomed into our country, many of whom are now facing nothing less than poverty, starvation and homelessness.

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Speech: Retain the Rate of Youth Allowance & JobSeeker

I rise to support the call to retain the rate of the jobseeker and youth allowance payments. A return to the old rate of the jobseeker and youth allowance payments, below the poverty line, would be a colossal moral failing. The Liberals must be forced to confront the fact that they are considering thrusting hundreds of thousands of Australians back below the poverty line in the middle of a crisis. This must not be allowed to happen. We must retain the rate.

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Speech: The Pandemic's Impact

I rise to speak on the pandemic, its impact and our future. The coronavirus pandemic is having some of its greatest impacts on people on low incomes, temporary migrants and women. It has exposed the vast gap between the wealthiest in our society and people barely making ends meet. It has exposed the crushing weight of inequality that many in our community bear.

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Motion: Higher Education

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) successive governments have cut university funding, leaving the sector reliant on international student fees to fund education and research,

   (ii) the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted how vulnerable the government has left our tertiary education system, and

   (iii) the Government has allowed casualisation and insecure work to run rampant at universities, to the detriment of students' learning, staff well-being and research excellence; and

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Greens Move To Allow Universities Access To JobKeeper

The Greens have lodged a motion in the Senate to disallow parts of the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 2) 2020 that have the effect of excluding universities from accessing the JobKeeper wage subsidy.

The motion would only disallow provisions of the rules regarding JobKeeper eligibility for higher education providers, which extend the turnover calculation period from one to six months for universities and mandate that government funding be included in the calculations.

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Childcare Review: Minister Must Ensure Equity And Make Childcare Free For Good

Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said the Education Minister must rule out the reintroduction of childcare fees in his current review of the COVID-19 childcare package.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Free and universal childcare has been a huge step forward for access to childcare. It should be made permanent.

“The Minister should be looking at how to ensure ongoing access to free childcare, and options for expanded public operation of childcare.

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Government Bending Over Backwards To Deny Higher Ed Support

Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has labelled the government’s latest change to JobKeeper eligibility rules farcical and sinister as it bends over backwards to deny wage subsidy support to Australian universities.

In the latest twist, Sydney Uni has been denied access to the scheme despite having believed to have qualified due to a significant drop in revenue, and having paid staff additional money in anticipation of receiving government support.

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No Cash Bribes For Cashed-Up Private Schools

Australian Greens Senator and Education spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has rejected the government’s bizarre cash incentives for private schools to re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senator Faruqi said:

“This is yet another special deal for private schools. Ninety-nine percent of public schools are underfunded as they work to support kids and families through this pandemic. Their students need urgent investment, not the 99% of private schools that are overfunded.

“What the Minister proposes is a bizarre approach to both school funding and public health.

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