Senate debates

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Bills

Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016; Second Reading

6:20 pm

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to make a contribution to this debate on the Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016. Here, again, we have the government trying to rush through changes that will significantly impact on some of the most vulnerable members of our community. While I realise that this is a government bill, you cannot help but comment on the fact that Labor is helping the government rush through the bill. It is like: 'Nothing to see here. Let's get a move on. Let's push these changes through.' Although, yes, it is really great, as a person who has campaigned long and hard for an increase in Newstart, against cutting the energy supplement, and on issues around psychiatric confinement and the government trying to take DSP off those people who are subject to such confinement, I am really pleased to see that those measures are no longer part of this package.

I am also really pleased to see that the cuts to ARENA are not quite as bad as the government was going to make, but they are still there. They are still going to lose half a billions dollars worth of funding. I for one cannot say to Labor: 'Oh, fantastic. You've made a few cuts—great. We were there already.' But now you're helping the government make all these other cuts, a number of which are in my portfolio areas and which I will go to in a minute, where we have had submissions to the inquiry. The two old parties combined, as they frequently do, to not allow a committee hearing into this bill. Because they chose not to allow an inquiry into this bill, we have not had an opportunity to consider all of the impacts of the 24 schedules of this bill.

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