It is a great honour to serve the people of Queensland as one of our state's 12 Senators in the Australian Senate, and the people of Australia as the Shadow Minister for Women, Carers, and Communities.
This website is designed to keep you informed and up-to-date about my work in the Senate and the community. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any feedback or require assistance.
Spotlight on Current Events
Weekly Update - 3 October 2014
Yesterday [Thursday] in the Parliament the government introduced a new Social Services legislation - Social Services & Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 6) Bill 2014 .This was only a day after we were debating the original two bills relating to a range of proposals for budget savings in the social welfare area.
Labor has been clear from the Budget Reply speech, that we would not be supporting cuts which attacked the most vulnerable.
Bill Shorten and Jenny Macklin have explained our approach when the legislation came to the House and was then referred to our Senate Community Affairs Committee [Committee Report is here.] we did not block the bills; we accepted 12 of the proposals and rejected another 15, and modified 4.
There was no way that we would be voting for the changes to indexing for pensions and other payments this is a cut, despite what the government has been claiming. We will never support the harsh changes to unemployed people under 30 rolling 6 month periods without any support is punitive and unprecedented. The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights found that this measure did not meet our human rights obligations - Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, Twelfth Report of the 44th Parliament.
The government knew our position, the Greens knew our position, the community knew our position, but until yesterday, the Minister was insisting on bringing the original bills into the Senate, where we circulated our amendments, reinforcing the elements we would not support.
When the new bill was reintroduced, only including the 12 proposals we did support, with savings of over $9.4 million, the Greens have protested loudly that there was some grubby deal and that Labor had sold out typically this did not reflect the months of negotiations and the amendments circulated to the chamber.
There is no deal ... we have considered the legislation ... we have accepted 12 budget items, which while a tough decision, we accepted as reasonable savings.