Inequality in Australia is worsening and I am passionate about halting this trend. Every one of us deserves the opportunity to meet our potential and contribute to our community. Removing barriers to participation is essential if we are to build a just society.
I rise to speak on the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016. In some ways, we are in the most amazing position in Australia in relation to marriage equality.
The lockout laws in New South Wales were put in place in 2014. They have three elements: 1.30 am lockouts; a 3 am cessation of liquor sales; and a 10 pm cap on takeaway of alcohol. Today the New South Wales government has actually released publicly former High Court Justice Ian Callinan's independent review of those liquor laws.
I take the opportunity this evening to continue my remarks earlier today in the MPI debate about the need for electoral donation reform. I think it is important to go through some of the details of the various policy needs and responses that we might consider in this policy area.
You have to wonder why we are here still having this conversation about a plebiscite on marriage equality when a majority of Australians support marriage equality, as has been demonstrated many times in much polling, but, more importantly, when a majority of parliamentarians here and in the other place also support marriage equality.
Some commentators have been quick to champion the high vote for minor parties in this year’s election as inherently good for our politics. For them, minor parties offer a more wholesome, farmers market democracy than the supermarket democracy of the major parties.
Senator for NSW Jenny McAllister and Labor candidate Damian Wood have met with staff at Port Macquarie TAFE today to hear about the impact of the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s cuts to skills and training. The Liberals have cut $2.5 billion from skills and training over the past two years, including a $1 billion cut to apprentice programs and apprenticeship support.
Regional TAFEs like Port Macquarie have fewer students and less money, figures show.
Wong and McAllister Media Release: Turnbull Chaos - No Plan for Schools, Hospitals or The Federation
Senior officials confirmed today that chaos and division at the heart of the Turnbull Government sabotaged outcomes from the 1 April COAG meeting and has driven a stake through the heart of Federation reform. Officials from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Treasury gave evidence that Malcolm Turnbull had been contemplating a plan for double taxation for months before the meeting – but didn’t bother to tell the states and territories, or even his own department.
We have heard this afternoon that there are some senators in this chamber who are concerned about tobacco taxes taking money out of people's pockets. On the Labor side, we are more concerned about tobacco taking years off people's lives. We heard a quite moving testimony from Senator Bilyk about the very personal cost that came about from tobacco-related disease.