Senate debates

Thursday, 8 October 2020


Days and Hours of Meeting

12:05 pm

Photo of Mehreen FaruqiMehreen Faruqi (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I do know what I'm talking about. There might be some secret deal that this government is not letting us in on, but it doesn't even have the decency to let us talk about something which is going to affect all future generations of Australians, which is going to take away the right of education from generations of Australians.

This is how bad you are. If you think this bill is so great, then let's talk about it. Let's talk about the amendments that you're putting up. Let's talk about our amendments that we want to put up to this bill. Yes, it's a terrible bill. There are some absolutely horrific aspects of the bill that we want to move amendments to. Why won't you let us talk about this? Because you know that this is a bad bill. You know that this bill is going to disadvantage Indigenous people. It's going to disadvantage women. It's going to disadvantage first in family. It's going to disadvantage regional Australians. It's going to disadvantage people living in the cities. It's going to disadvantage every single person in Australia.

The amendments that you're moving to this bill are in the same vein as the budget that you have delivered—putting more money into the pockets of rich people. One of the amendments that I quickly had a look at—I haven't even had a chance to look at the others—gives a discount to people who pay fees upfront. Who are those people who are going to pay fees upfront? I think Senator Lambie said it exactly like it is: it is the rich who can afford to pay $14,000 a year. You're giving a tax break to them yet again. That's what it is.

An honourable senator interjecting—

Absolutely right; you don't care. You don't care about anyone else in this country but the super-wealthy and the rich. That's all you care about. You've told us that again and again this week during your budget speeches. You stand up here and say, 'People shouldn't go to university' or, 'The Greens say that everyone should go to university.' That's not true. We want education available to all, so that people can have a choice to do what they want to.

An honourable senator: Freedom!

Absolutely! That's what democracy is about. You are sitting here crushing the democratic rights, the democratic freedoms, of people in this country. But you're also crushing democracy overall when you try and guillotine us from speaking on things, from debating things, that will actually put up a very bleak future for Australians. That's what this bill is going to do. You don't even understand that. It's cutting research funding. You know that the money that you announced in the budget goes nowhere near the billions of dollars of research funding that this bill actually cuts out. These are the people who have already lost their jobs in droves. They're not coming back. Our researchers are not coming back, and we need those people to come out of this recession, to come out of this pandemic—

Senator Rennick interjecting—

Senator Waters interjecting—

Thanks, Larissa. I think, Mr President, you should probably call order. Senator Rennick has been ranting at me for the last 10 minutes.


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