Speeches in Parliament
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (18:56): Before I get into the substance of this debate, I'm pleased to know and to hear from the members that in the Liberal Party they are now up for centralised wage fixing. Forget enterprise bargaining, forget anything but centralised, industry-wide wage fixing! I'm pleased to hear that the Liberal Party no longer has WorkChoices as an article of faith. The member for Corangamite may not have been here, but I was here when we were unpicking WorkChoices. The Liberal Party left us with zero industrial relations architecture. It was dog eat dog, and get what you can from your employer. We know that there are members of the IPA in the Liberal Party that say that there should be no minimum wage whatsoever. You should get for your labour what the company will actually assign to you. Quite frankly, these are crocodile tears coming from the member for Corangamite, when we know that it is an article of faith for the Liberal Party that they want to rip up centralised wage fixing and enterprise bargaining and have each employee go and beg for their wage—beg individually for what they can get and hope that it puts bread on the table.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (15:18): Thank you, Mr Speaker. At the end of this week, families are going to be hit twice by this government and its cruel cuts. On Sunday, we are going to see the penalty rates that Australian workers rely on cut by this government. And then on Monday, the Turnbull government's new, unfair childcare system will come in—a system that will make it harder for so many children to get access to early education and childcare. We know that cutting workers' entitlements is an article of faith for the Liberal Party. It is an article of faith for the Liberal Party to cut from workers—to cut penalty rates and to cut their working conditions. They have never shied away from that. But I thought they cared about early education and access to early education for so many people. But of course it is clear now that their ideological crusade is not just about penalty rates and cutting and stripping workers' rights but also about denying children—often the most vulnerable children—access to early education.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (16:24): Everyone in the house would know the diverse range of inquiries and questions we as members of parliament get at our electorate offices. But, during the last two years, some of the biggest complaints to my electorate office have been in two particular areas, unfortunately. The first is problems with the NBN. I will go into that another time. The second is complaints about the dwindling customer service from Centrelink. We know that, while the government has been focused on corporate tax cuts to the big banks and other multinational companies, they've chipped away at Australia's safety net for those on income support, those on pensions, those who deserve support from government. One of the biggest complaints that I get in my electorate is that they cannot even get through to Centrelink. They need to ring my electorate office to try and cut through and get through to Centrelink. That is simply not good enough. We know that experienced front-line Centrelink staff are getting the chop, with their positions being outsourced to labour hire companies. This is having an impact on desperate people who need support and need an answer.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (13:57): It's so typical of this Prime Minister that when we talk about Australians who want a fair go, like people who want a good education for their kids, people who want decent health care for their family and pensioners who want to be able to afford to put the heater on this winter, this Prime Minister thinks it's all the politics of envy. He assumes that everyone is just jealous of him. He thinks that everyone wants to live in his bubble.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (11:11): I am pleased to rise and speak on the Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (Veteran-centric Reforms No. 2) Bill 2018. This bill contains several measures which will seek to improve the outcomes of those who have served in the Australian Defence Force and their loved ones. When an individual undertakes to serve their country, we in turn as a country make a commitment to them and their loved ones that we will support them post their time in the ADF. Labor will support the measures in this bill because it is a step towards recognising the obligation to care for those who have served our country.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (13:54): Yesterday there were some deeply concerning figures that came from the Minister for Education and Training—that is, just under 50 per cent of families have not registered for the new childcare subsidy, with only five weeks to go. What will happen to these families? They will lose important support for child care. Instead of actually taking responsibility, what we heard from the minister yesterday was that it was families' fault. It was families' fault that the system was changed. It was families' fault that they hadn't registered. It was families' fault that they hadn't communicated properly with the department.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (12:55): I am very pleased to be able to have the opportunity to speak in this debate, as this issue about the effect that child sexual abuse in institutions around this country has had has been something that I have worked with survivors in my own electorate to address, discuss and shed light upon. I was incredibly proud to stand as part of the Gillard government in 2013 when we announced the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Many people had been calling for this for some time. Quite frankly, once we saw the outcome of that royal commission, as the evidence and information provided started to snowball, it galvanised everyone's view that this was so important, timely and critical. Over five years the commission held 57 public hearings over 44 days, and heard evidence from more than 1,300 witnesses.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (10:18): Last night I was highlighting the many sneaky cuts that this government has made when it comes to education, early education and veterans, but this is in the context of a budget that also gives $80 billion back to big business. That is what is so unfair about this budget.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (13:58): The Turnbull government's lack of interest in early learning is well known but was reinforced in the budget and it demonstrated that this government don't care about quality. They cut the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care. This was completely unexpected by the states and territories, completely unexpected by families and completely unexpected by the sector. The quality agenda is a success story. It requires all early learning centres to meet strict safety and quality standards, and to be assessed on their performance.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (19:01): I'm not sure how many big multinational companies are based in the seat of Chisholm. They certainly will benefit from this government's budget, but average Australians—Australians who rely on public hospitals, Australians who rely on decent investment in education and Australians who are doing it tough and haven't seen a significant wage rise for some time—will certainly not be doing better under the Turnbull government.