Straight from the Senate - Issue 33

5.00pm | March 02, 2018


1. This week in Senate Estimates I asked the Australian Public Service Commissioner, John Lloyd, about an email to the IPA he sent commenting on Labor Senator, Penny Wong. Lloyd is presently imposing harsh restrictions on all public servants to prevent them from engaging in any online commentary about politics or public policy, but sees no problem with his own behaviour. It's outrageous hypocrisy.

2. Last week I spoke at a public forum in Nowra with Labor’s Shadow Environment Minister, Mark Butler MP, about the rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions under the Coalition Government. The International Energy Agency (IEA) says “the Commonwealth government has not yet come forward with durable climate change policies after 2020 or a long-term emissions reduction goal for 2050.” Only a Labor government will increase renewable energy and lower emissions. 

3. The Coalition Government have launched a dangerous attack on Australian charities and non-for-profit organisations. Labor will not support Malcom Turnbull’s attack on charities and civil society. While the Labor Party supports donations reform and a ban on foreign donations, we will not support attempts to silence our community organisations and charities.


This week Labor Deputy Leader, Tanya Plibersek MP, spoke at the Universities Australia conference about The Red Zone report into shocking levels of sexual harassment and assault on university campuses. Tanya said: “If university residential colleges can’t provide a safe environment, universities should make them. If universities can’t ensure colleges are safe, they should sever links with them. If some residential colleges and universities refuse to treat this seriously, governments must make them. University residential colleges have a legal duty of care to their students and staff. If university residential colleges fail to fulfil that duty of care, in government Labor will compel them. I want to be very clear, if we need to force colleges to do the right thing by their students and staff, we will.”


This week in Senate Estimates the former Minister for Women, Senator Cash, made disgraceful, sexist slurs about female members of staff in Parliament House. Senator Cash only gave a half-hearted withdrawal after being asked twice by Senator Wong.  The following day I asked her to issue an unqualified withdrawal, and she finally did so. 

None of this was necessary or appropriate. Senior members of the Government, should encourage and support young women to get involved in politics rather than making derogatory comments that drive them away. I am incredibly proud of the hard working, intelligent and dedicated women that are part of the Labor team. I strongly encourage women that are passionate about current affairs to get involved in politics. Next week on International Women’s Day lets all take the opportunity to stand up and speak out for women’s equality and empowerment. 


In Labor,

Jenny McAllister