Speeches in Parliament
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (16:31): Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker Laundy! The Hopgood Theatre is the beloved performing arts centre in my electorate and is it at risk. The state Liberal government has refused to commit long-term funding for the Hopgood Theatre, and the result is that its future is in jeopardy.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (12:14): I rise to speak on the Veterans' Entitlements Amendment Bill 2018. This bill amends the Veterans' Entitlements Act in relation to how the Department of Veterans' Affairs administers bereavement payments, correcting an inadvertent error from amendments made in 1996. This bill reinstates an element which deals with the provision of bereavement payments and recovery of overpayment of a surviving partner.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (19:40): Today I rise to express the deep concern of the electors of Kingston— the confusion and the chaos that has left them, quite frankly, bewildered. Why do we have a new Prime Minister? Why has this government spent the whole of the last few months talking about itself, talking about who is going to win the hunger games of being Prime Minister? That confusion, exasperation and frustration has been particularly palpable around my community. But, of course, what they know deep down is that the Liberal Party may have changed its leader yet again but nothing has changed for the Australian people. We still have one of the most out-of-touch governments in living memory, and the now Prime Minister was the out-of-touch Treasurer that this country has had to endure for the last three years.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (16:06): I rise today to express the increasing frustration of many of my constituents at the government's lack of real action on live sheep exports. We saw a few months ago some horrific footage of the mistreatment of animals being transported to the Middle East.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (15:12): I would like to associate the opposition with the words of the minister. I know that many members of parliament went to local services around the country and reflected on the weekend on that service and sacrifice. It is very fitting that we recognise that in the House today and also recognise those families.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (11:05): I'm very pleased to get the unexpected opportunity to speak on the Enhancing Online Safety (Non-consensual Sharing of Intimate Images) Bill 2018. This bill is a really important step in the right direction. Like the member for Sydney, who spoke earlier, something I did not have to deal with as a young person was the difficulty and some of the challenges posed by having a phone, a camera and the internet. Of course, there are a lot of benefits with the internet, but there are also some risks, and one of those risks is having intimate images of yourself shared when that is out of your control. I've spoken to a number of people to whom this has happened, and they've said that they felt so disempowered. That lack of control has a really big impact, along with shame and along with humiliation—I think those are the right words for it. It is very, very distressing.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (15:13): This matter of public importance is critically important. There is nothing more important than the early education of our children, and Labor knows this. We have known this for a long time. On this side of the House, we know that quality early education leads to a range of better education, social and health outcomes. It literally lays down the solid foundation for life.
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.