The beginning of each year can be a difficult time financially. All the expense of Christmas might be behind us, but for many families the school year brings a whole new set of challenges. The cost of school uniforms, shoes, and backpacks on top of mounting utility bills and rent can feel overwhelming.
Labor has initiated a Select Committee on Foreign Interference through Social Media, to inquire into and report on the risk posed to Australia’s democracy by foreign interference through social media platforms – including Facebook, Twitter and WeChat. The rise of ‘fake news’ and misinformation campaigns present a very real and present danger to democracy not only in Australia, but across the globe. We must protect our democracy from malicious foreign actors.
Vulnerable consumers will be better protected under proposed legislation set to be introduced into Federal Parliament today. The legislation, to be brought forward by Senators Griff and McAllister, will amend the National Consumer Credit Protection Act (2009) to toughen laws around payday loans and consumer leases to protect Australian families. Almost one million households are now utilising payday loan schemes, leaving many struggling financially due to high fees and interest rates of up to 400 per cent.
The Government has confirmed that on-the-ground drought assistance for farmers over the next four years is just $2.6 billion.
Yesterday, along with Senator Pratt I lodged a Motion for debate in the Senate, declaring that Australia has a climate emergency and the Government must act. Now, that motion reflects the motion lodged by my colleague Mark Butler over in the House of Representative and it reflects our very serious concern about the Government’s complete failure to deal in any serious way with the great challenge of climate change.
Women in Australia currently retire with almost 50% less superannuation than men and 23% of women retire with no superannuation savings at all. Women in retirement are more likely to face poverty, housing stress and homelessness. Despite this, the Government has failed to specifically include women in the Terms of Reference of their Retirement Income Review.
Today marks the beginning of Anti-Poverty Week. Reducing poverty remains a significant challenge for Australia and it is clear this government has no plan to help those left behind.
A Shorten Labor Government will provide $40 million over four years to emergency relief organisations across the country, including over $5 million for organisations across Western Australia.