Senate debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022


Treasury Laws Amendment (Cost of Living Support and Other Measures) Bill 2022; In Committee

6:50 pm

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

by leave—The Greens oppose items 1 and 8 of schedule 3 in the following terms:

(1) Schedule 3, item 1, page 8 (table item 2.2.55), to be opposed.

(2) Schedule 3, item 8, page 9 (lines 10 to 12), to be opposed.

We are in a situation where we have floods in New South Wales and Queensland. We have a housing crisis. People can't make ends meet. Young people are burdened with huge study debts which are holding them back. Rather than addressing these issues that affect millions of people, here we have a government trying to sneak in deductible gift status for the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, a move that will allow the centre to avoid taxation on their income. My amendment will stop this from happening.

We cannot allow the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation to further cement its influence in our universities, on our students and in the curriculum. The Ramsay centre wants nothing more than to churn out students with an uncritical view of Western civilisation, and the government knows that. It's not as if university curricula across the country have any dearth of material that they already teach about Western civilisation. No university curriculum is even remotely lacking in Western history, literature or politics. All the Ramsay centre wants is to glorify Western civilisation, with as much influence as possible from their Howard and Abbott led vote.

It is shameful that the government wants to aid the Ramsay centre's project to airbrush imperialism and colonialism out of Western civilisation studies. This centre is about nothing but an aggressive and extremely political right-wing agenda. Let's not forget that Tony Abbott said, 'This centre isn't about Western civilisation; it's in favour of it.' We must push back hard against this idea of cultural supremacy and stand strongly for academic freedom and critical thinking. I urge my colleagues in the chamber to support my amendments.

6:52 pm

Photo of Jane HumeJane Hume (Victoria, Liberal Party, Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy) Share this | | Hansard source

The government will obviously be opposing these amendments. Putting aside the fact that Western civilisation is the foundation of the liberal democracy that we enjoy in Australia and is also the foundation of a parliamentary democracy that we enjoy right in this very chamber, I think the senator has misunderstood what DGR status actually implies. It does not mean that the Ramsay centre doesn't pay tax; it means that donors to the Ramsay centre are allowed to deduct their donations. I'm not entirely sure that's clear. Obviously, the government will be opposing these amendments

Photo of David FawcettDavid Fawcett (SA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that table item 2.2.55 of item (1) and item (8) of schedule 3 stand as printed.

The Committee divided. [18:58]

(The Temporary Chair—Senator Fawcett)