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Massive expansion to Coronavirus Supplement after Greens pressure causes Government backflip

More than 250,000 Australians will have an extra $550 a fortnight to get through the Coronavirus crisis, after the Greens pushed the government to extend a crucial supplementary payment that had omitted Australia’s students.

Following questioning from Senator Rachel Siewert and Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Matthias Cormann said the government would now immediately regulate to make Abstudy, Austudy, and Youth Allowance (Student) eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement.

Lines from Adam Bandt MP, Leader of the Australian Greens:

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COVID-19: Greens call for child care subsidy ‘activity test’ to be scrapped

Australian Greens Senator and Education spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has called on the federal government to scrap the Activity Test for the Child Care Subsidy immediately. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, it is critical that families continue to receive subsidised child care.

Senator Faruqi said:

“As workplaces suspend operations and cut shifts, families become unable to meet the Activity Test and may lose access to subsidised child care. We must not let this happen.

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Order for Production of Documents: Australian Research Council

The Greens support this order for the production of documents, given the lack of transparency in the Morrison government and how they have politicised research grants. It is absolutely shameful. It wasn't too long ago that the Liberals inserted a jingoistic so-called national interest test for ARC grants. It wasn't too long ago that Senator Birmingham vetoed research grants that had gone through rigorous processes to be recommended for funding. During the election, the Morrison government used ARC grant announcements to try to gain electoral benefit.

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Motion: Childcare

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) it is women who remain disproportionately more likely to arrange childcare and are assessed under the Government's 'activity test' to access childcare support, and

   (ii) under the government's 'activity test', only parents who undertake approved courses of education or study meet the activity test requirements;

(b) considers that:

   (i) it wrong that parents studying Masters degrees or PhDs that are not approved by the government do not meet the activity test requirements, and

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Unis need Covid-19 rescue package: Greens

Greens Education Spokesperson, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has called for urgent measures to protect staff, students and the university sector from the impact of Covid-19 and similar international shocks.

The Greens are calling on the Government to immediately:

1. End the Liberal government’s funding freeze on Commonwealth Supported Places.
2. Commit to boosting funding per-Commonwealth Supported Place student by 10 percent in the upcoming budget.
3. Guarantee the jobs and income of university staff on insecure contracts during the travel ban.

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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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