Senate debates

Tuesday, 3 May 2016



3:37 pm

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

I give notice that very shortly I will hand to the Clerk a notice of motion relating to Centrelink.

Senator Ludlam to move:

That the Senate—


the protection of health facilities and other civilian targets under international law, including the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Optional Protocols of 1977,

that in 2015 alone, 75 Medecins Sans Frontieres hospitals and supported hospitals suffered 106 bombing and shell attacks,

that in September 2015, the World Health Organization reported that 654 medical personnel had been killed since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, and that almost 60 per cent of hospitals were either partially-functional or completely out of service;

condemns the deadly attacks on hospitals that are occurring at an increasingly alarming rate in conflict around the world, particularly in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan;

calls on the conflicting parties in conflicts to respect the basic principles of international humanitarian law and refrain from deliberately targeting civilian infrastructures; and

reaffirms the status of health facilities as neutral, protected spaces under international law.

Senator Simms to move:

That the Senate—

acknowledges that the Australian Christian Lobby does not represent most Christians in this country and are nothing more than a fringe group;

condemns the Treasurer (Mr Morrison) for attending the Australian Christian Lobby National Conference on 23 April 2016; and

calls on the Prime Minister (Mr Turnbull) to reject the Australian Christian Lobby’s request for a temporary suspension to the anti-discrimination laws should a plebiscite campaign on marriage equality eventuate.

Senators Brown, Bilyk and Moore to move:

That the Senate—

notes that National Volunteer Week is celebrated in Australia from 9 May to 15 May 2016, and the theme for the 2016 commemoration is ‘Give Happy, Live Happy’;

recognises that volunteering is:

a healthy lifestyle choice; a true community builder, and

one of the strongest predictors we have of increasing our health and happiness; and

joins with Volunteering Australia and volunteers across the Australian community to:

support the ‘Give Happy, Live Happy’ conversation and to show that volunteers live happier and healthier lives, and

acknowledge more than 6 million Australian volunteers are an invaluable resource in helping to make our communities stronger.

Senator Lambie to move:


the Senate notes:

the number of veterans who have served overseas in war and warlike circumstances since 1999 is more than 70,000, and is greater than the number of Australian veterans who served in Vietnam,

the credible and overwhelming evidence from ex-service organisations and individual former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members which indicates that the Australian veterans’ suicide rate since 1999 stands at more than 250 and is rapidly growing,

that this Government through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) refuses to acknowledge, measure, research or publish the Australian veterans’ suicide rate,

the credible and overwhelming evidence from ex-service organisations and individual former ADF members which indicates that the complexity of the military compensation schemes, the time taken to make decisions by DVA, and the failure to properly administer compensation claims has contributed to unnecessary financial hardships, veterans’ families’ breakdowns, homelessness, delays in medical treatment and suicides,

the Australian Military Compensation Arrangements and laws administered by DVA when compared with compensation arrangements for other employees of the Commonwealth deliver less in compensation and entitlements and therefore discriminate against members of the ADF,

that this inequality between members of the ADF and other employees of the Commonwealth, particularly those ADF members who die in service after 1 July 2004, creates a serious injustice for their widows and dependent children, and

that the last comprehensive government review into DVA, Review of Military Compensation Arrangements, was undertaken more than 5 years ago in February 2011 and is outdated; and

that the above matters be referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 23 August 2016, with particular reference to:

the reasons why Australian veterans are committing suicide at such high rates,

previous reviews of military compensation arrangements and their failings,

Repatriation Medical Authority’s Statements of Principles, claims administration time limits, claims for detriment caused by defective administration, authorised medical treatment, level of compensation payments, including defence abuse, as contained in all military compensation arrangements,

the performance of DVA, and

any other related matters.

Senator Lazarus to move:

That the Senate—

acknowledges the importance of Australia’s shipping and maritime industry, and its contribution to the Australian economy and national defence capabilities;

notes that some 7,000 people are employed directly in shipbuilding yards across Australia, and a further 24,000 people in associated industries;

recognises that 1,800 shipbuilding jobs have been lost in Australia since 2013, and the need to protect and retain Australian jobs for Australian workers;

understands the Federal Government has awarded a large Australian Government shipbuilding contract for the build of Defence supply vessels to Spanish company Navantia, which will create some 3,000 jobs in Spain and further decimate the Australian shipbuilding and maritime industry; and

calls on the Federal Government to immediately withdraw from the contract, or immediately halt further negotiations, with the Spanish company and instead work with the Australian shipbuilding and maritime industry to immediately establish the capability to build the ships in Australia which will provide Australian jobs for Australian workers, and in the event that withdrawal from the contract is not possible, immediately install contract requirements which necessitate the inclusion of Australian content such as the build of the blocks in Australia.

Senator Lazarus to move:

That the following matter be referred to the Finance and Public Administration References Committee for inquiry and report by the last sitting day October 2016:

The access of small and medium business (particularly those in rural and regional Australia) to Federal Government contracts, and how this access could be improved, with particular reference to:

any inherent unfairness in tender processes arising from the terms of the Commonwealth’s Procurement Rules 2014 (the rules);

how the rules could effectively and appropriately (without discouraging competition) include improved consideration of tender proposals made by small and medium businesses for Federal Government contracts;

the basis of any assessment of ‘value for money’ that is undertaken in awarding procurement contracts, particularly those for small and medium businesses, including how secondary and social benefits to communities, especially rural, regional and remote communities, can be included in that assessment;

how the rules could effectively and appropriately (without discouraging competition) include improved access to Federal Government contracts by small and medium businesses, and where possible include involvement of multiple contract providers in contracts to enable greater opportunity for participation by rural, regional and remotely located small and medium businesses where providers are only able to service limited regions or locations; and

any other related matter.

Senator Lazarus to move:

That the Senate—

notes that:

the Australian sugarcane industry is one of Australia’s largest and most important rural industries with sugarcane being Queensland’s largest agricultural crop,

around 85 per cent of the raw sugar produced in Queensland is exported and generates up to $2 billion in export earnings,

the majority of mills in Australia are foreign-owned and Australian grower groups are concerned about the monopoly powers of mills to misuse their market power against Australian sugarcane growers, particularly in response to changes to the industry from 2017 which may see large foreign-owned milling companies taking control of the Australian sugar marketing sector, and

the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee report Current and future arrangements for the marketing of Australian sugar, tabled in June 2015, recommended the development and implementation of a mandatory sugar industry code of conduct;

acknowledges that Australian sugarcane growers are urgently seeking implementation of a national industry code of conduct to protect them from large-resourced companies exercising monopoly powers to dictate the commercial relationship between millers and growers, the installation of a commercial arbitration facility to support them to resolve issues with mills, and the ability to select a sugar marketing organisation of their choice; and

calls on the Federal Government to support Australian sugarcane growers, to act on the recommendation in the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee report, and to work with industry as a matter of urgency to:

develop and implement a code of conduct,

establish a national commercial arbitration service,

provide Australian canegrowers with the flexibility to select sugar-marketing organisations of their choice, and

establish a national support service for Australian canegrowers.

Senator Smith to move:

That the Senate—


that 21 April 2016 marked the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia,

that Her Majesty’s reign has now continued through the tenure of 14 Australian Prime Ministers—Menzies, Holt, McEwen, Gorton, McMahon, Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke, Keating, Howard, Rudd, Gillard, Abbott and Turnbull, and

the vital and enduring role that Her Majesty has played in Australia’s democratic strength and constitutional stability throughout the many years of her reign; and

extends to Her Majesty its warmest wishes on this significant personal milestone, as well as its continued appreciation for the gracious manner in which she fulfils her duties as Queen of Australia.

Senators Rhiannon and Dastyari to move:

That the Senate—

notes that:

Waverley Council, the area of which is contained in the seat of Wentworth, has agreed to a $38 million redevelopment of Bondi Pavilion,

on 30 April 2016, at a special Waverley Council meeting attended by 300 people, Ms Sally Betts, the Mayor of Waverley Council and electorate officer for the Member for Wentworth (Mr Turnbull), used her casting vote to pass the redevelopment plan,

there is growing community concern that the Waverley Council redevelopment plans would reduce the current community-to-commercial use ratio and result in the Bondi Pavilion being privatised by stealth,

in response to these concerns, Waverley Council has published misleading figures for proposed community floor space which appear to include outdoor areas as a replacement for current community rooms,

the original budget for restoration of the Bondi Pavilion was estimated by Waverley Council in early 2015 to be $9 million, and that the cost blowout to a currently estimated $38 million is primarily the result of the proposed changes to the building’s structure in the redevelopment plan, and

Mr Turnbull in July 2007 with former Prime Minister, Mr Whitlam, and his wife Margaret attended the celebration of a third of a century of the Bondi Pavilion community and cultural centre;

calls on Prime Minister (Mr Turnbull) to publicly support Bondi Pavilion being retained as a community and cultural centre; and

calls on the Turnbull Government to ensure any financial assistance:

is limited to assisting with restoration of the Bondi Pavilion that maintains the current community-to-commercial space ratio, and

is conditional upon the Bondi Pavilion’s first floor being retained for community and theatre use, and the discontinuation of upgrade plans that turn this area into a restaurant and bar or function centre precinct.

Senators Xenophon, Madigan, Muir and Lambie, and Leader of the Glenn Lazarus Team (Senator Lazarus) to move:

That the Senate—

notes that:

it is likely that a federal election will be held on Saturday, 2 July 2016,

it is estimated that some 40 million ballot papers will be required on election day, which is equivalent to some 700 tonnes of paper, and

Australia is capable of producing the quantity and quality of paper required for ballot papers as well as other election material to be printed for the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) for the 2016 Federal Election; and

calls on the Government to require the use of Australian paper for ballot papers and other election materials produced for the AEC.

Senators Moore and McLucas to move:

That the Senate—

notes the important work undertaken by the Community Affairs References Committee in its inquiry into children in institutional care which recommended the acknowledgement, on behalf of the nation of:

the hurt and distress suffered by many children in institutional care,

a National Apology,

redress for their suffering, and

a Royal Commission into this national shame;

recognises that the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released in September 2015 its final report into redress and civil litigation, and listed 99 recommendations, including recommendation 28—‘The Australian Government should determine and announce by the end of 2015 that it is willing to establish a single national redress scheme’;

acknowledges survivors have been waiting their whole lives for recognition of the crimes perpetrated against them as children, and for the ongoing suffering those crimes cause them;

notes that the Australian Labor Party announced in October 2015 that a Shorten Government would invest $33 million to implement a National Redress Scheme, which would include an initial $20 million contribution to establish the National Redress Agency, as well as a National Redress Advisory Council to work with all governments and institutions on the development and operation of the scheme; and

calls on the Government to work towards establishing a National Redress Scheme.

Senator Whish-Wilson to move:

That the Senate—


the decision of the government to award the contract to DCNS for the construction of new Barracuda-class submarines, and

that the pump-jet propulsion used in the Barracuda-class submarines has only ever been powered by nuclear reactors; and

calls on the Government to unequivocally rule out the use of nuclear reactors to power Australia’s new submarines.

Senator Lazarus to move:

That the Senate—


while the abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) and associated orders has assisted to restore a competitive level playing field for the owner driver transport sector across Australia, the disruption caused by the RSRT has significantly affected industry confidence and market conditions more generally for owner driver operators, and

it may take some time for the owner driver sector to recover from the disruption, and as a result, in the meantime, many owner drivers are suffering financially; and

calls on the Federal Government to provide urgent assistance to owner driver operators by:

conducting a survey to identify the number of owner driver operators who have lost work as a consequence of the Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 and have not had their former work reinstated, with limited or no prospects of recovering work given the investments already made by small/large fleet operators,

establishing a national emergency financial assistance fund to provide financial payments to owner driver operators for up to 3 months,

providing owner driver operators with written acknowledgement of the abolition of the RSRT and associated orders to assist with market awareness,

calling on the financial sector to suspend payment requirements for truck and home loan facilities for owner driver operators for up to 3 months, and

providing funding to a community-based organisation to assist them to provide owner driver operators and their families with targeted, specialist and industry-specific counselling and support services.

Senator Siewert to move:

That the Senate—

recognises that income support for students:

is an important part of Australia's safety net, and

helps to make educational opportunities more accessible for young people, including from regional and remote communities;

notes reports:

of a current backlog of 27,500 students with claims waiting to be processed, and earlier peaks of 90,000 students waiting for claims to be processed, and

suggesting that up to 30,000 applicants may have been rejected incorrectly; and

calls on the Government to take urgent action by:

reviewing rejected applications,

restoring adequate funding to the Department of Human Services, including funding for ongoing staffing increases, and

investing in high-quality information technology systems.