Straight from the Senate - Issue 8

5.00pm | February 17, 2017



1. While New South Wales has been experiencing severe heatwaves and bushfires, the Treasurer has been laughing while passing coal along the Government frontbench.

It is not enough for the Coalition to refuse to take meaningful action on climate change; they now want to emit more carbon. While the rest of the world is investing in renewable energies, the Turnbull Government is proposing additional coal-fired power stations. This week I called on the Government to respond to one of the most urgent issues of our time. To not do so is more than just a failure of public policy; it is a betrayal of future generations. 

2. The WA Liberal Party has replaced its previous partners, striking a preference deal with One Nation.

Prior to the 2016 federal election One Nation had no presence in the Senate. Thanks to the senate voting reform deal between the Coalition and the Greens, they now have four. Not content with this the Liberal Party are assisting One Nation to consolidate their position. The politics of fear, bigotry and division have no place in our democracy. Labor never has, and never will, do a preference deal with One Nation.


This week marks nine years since Prime Minister Rudd issued an apology to the first Australians and the Stolen Generation. The ninth Closing the Gap Report shows that only one of the seven targets,  halving the gap in year 12 attainment rates by 2020, is on track to be met. Child mortality, literacy and numeracy, life expectancy, employment, early child-hood education and school attendance rates continue to be worse for Indigenous Australians. Linda Burney MP spoke of the National Congress’ disappointment in the Government’s winding back of Aboriginal self-determination and insufficient resourcing of Aboriginal community organisations addressing these issues.  My colleagues in the Senate, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and Senator Pat Dodson, spoke on the urgent need to address these inequalities by working in partnership with Indigenous communities. It was my great honour to chair caucus with the Acknowledgment of Country ceremony and discussion on the Redfern Statement. The Labor caucus resolved to always fly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags at caucus meetings, along with formalising our commitment to beginning each meeting with an Acknowledgment of Country.



The Coalition Government has introduced its ‘Omnibus Bill’ attacking the welfare of Australia’s most vulnerable. 

The Bill aims to: 

• Cut Family Tax Benefits – a family on $60,000 will be approximately $750 worse off each year 
• Cut Paid Parental Leave – 70,000 mothers will be worse off 
• Abolish the Energy Supplement - $1 billion cut from pensioners, people with a disability, carers and recipients of Newstart 
• Introduce a five week wait for Newstart – people will be forced to live on nothing for five weeks while waiting for Newstart 
• Cut Youth Allowance – people between 22 and 24 years of age will lose approximately $2,500 a year 
• Abolish the Pensioner Education Supplement and Education Entry Payment 
• Cut the pension to migrant pensioners who spend more than six weeks overseas 

The Government is attempting to push through these cuts while giving businesses a $50 billion corporate tax cut. Labor believes that businesses must pay their fair share of tax. Ordinary Australians should not be forced to do it for them.

In Labor,
Jenny McAllister