Wednesday, 7 September 2022
Matters of Urgency
We've heard a lot of rhetoric from some people in the chamber around the stage 3 tax cuts. But we need to remind ourselves that what we are talking about is people's lives.
Just before I came into this place as a senator I was a secondary high school teacher in a public school. I taught students whose families are doing it tough in this cost-of-living crisis. I taught students who are working four or five nights a week—not for pocket money, but to help put food on the table for their families. Those students come to school tired. They don't have time to do their assignments, and they do poorly on their exams, because they are working to help support their families. That should not be happening in a rich country like this. I taught students who came to school hungry because their parents or their carers were on JobSeeker and their families did not have enough money to put food on the table. Again, that should not be happening in a rich country like this. Students who are hungry find it very difficult to learn. They too suffer when they are sitting assessments and doing homework and exams. I taught students whose families were living in a shed. I taught students who were living in the open air under houses. I taught students whose families were living in cars.
This government is going to give $244 billion to the top end of town while students and their families and carers suffer. That is shameful. It is reprehensible. It is obscene. How about we take that $244 billion and we raise JobSeeker so that families and their kids can afford to eat, how about we take that money and we put it into housing so that students and their families have a roof over their heads and how about we take that money and we properly fund public education so that every kid in this country has the same opportunities for a good life?