Straight from the Senate - Issue 13

5.00pm | March 25, 2017



1. This week I spoke in the Senate about the urgent need to address housing affordability.

Sydney house prices have increased 70 percent in the last five years. However, average income has grown only 13 percent. The Turnbull Coalition Government does not have a policy on housing affordability and they are failing young Australians. It’s time the Government got on board with Labor’s proposals to reform negative gearing and capital gains tax.

You can read my speech here

2. It’s now over eighteen months since Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister. Upon becoming Prime Minister he promised mature economic discussion, but what have we seen? 

We’ve seen a proposal for the states to collect income tax. A proposal so disastrous that it was retracted within days. We’ve seen a $50 billion corporate tax cut, the right for people to be bigots, no action on marriage equality and no action on negative gearing or capital gains tax. The Prime Minister says his proudest achievement is ‘business tax reform’ but when Senator Brandis was asked which reforms these were he answered ‘the ones we have in mind’. There are serious problems when the Government says their greatest achievement is something that hasn’t yet occurred. 

You can watch my speech here

3. This weekend I spoke at a forum on Australia’s energy future. 

Australia must become a leading renewable energy economy. Unlike the Coalition and many on the crossbench, Labor has a serious a serious policy framework to build Australia’s energy future. Labor went to the last election with a plan to achieve 50% renewable energy by 2030 and zero net emissions by 2050 through improving the national energy market, introducing an emissions intensity scheme into the electricity sector and increasing Australia’s energy efficiency. While the Coalition passes lumps of coal around Parliament, Labor, the energy industry and the community know we must start building a sustainable, resilient and affordable renewable energy future.


This week on Harmony Day the Coalition Government chose to announce its intention to further wind back racial discrimination protections under 18C. This shameful move to give rights to bigots goes against the multicultural fabric of our society. Australia’s diversity is one of our greatest strengths. 

Listen to Labor's Shadow Minister for Citizenship and a Multicultural Australia, Tony Burke, speak in the House this week on why Labor will never support watering down 18C  here


This week in the Senate I spoke out against the Coalition’s social services legislation and childcare legislation. Disappointingly the Nick Xenophon Team and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation voted with the Government to pass these changes. 

The social services bill cuts $1.4 billion from Australian families. The 1.5 million families currently receiving the Family Tax Benefit will be worse off. These are not families that can afford to have this money taken away from them. These are not well-off families. These are families for whom the money tied up in the Family Tax Benefit goes towards things like school fees, excursions, school shoes and, in some cases, putting groceries in the cupboard.

The Coalition’s childcare bill cuts childcare for Australia’s most vulnerable children. Labor wrote to the Government requesting changes be made to support Indigenous children and children from low income families, and to provide a guarantee of two days a week of care as recommended by industry experts. The Government would not make these changes.

Childcare should be an absolute priority for this country. We have a target to lift female workforce participation. We know that female workforce participation is absolutely contingent on the availability of childcare. We know the benefits of providing early childhood education to children, particularly children from disadvantaged families. It is unbelievable that after years of Government this is the best the Coalition can do.

The Coalition’s cuts to social services and childcare for low income families are not the way to undertake budget repair. We are told by the Coalition that we cannot afford to maintain our targeted welfare system but that we can afford a $50 billion corporate tax cut. This Government needs to get its priorities right and start looking out for Australian families.


In Labor,

Jenny McAllister