Speeches in Parliament
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (18:15): I rise today to speak about the Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (Omnibus) Bill 2017. This bill contains eight schedules, which deal with different elements of veterans legislation that seek to clarify, improve and streamline the operation of law and processes within the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Given the detail in the bill, it was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. The committee thoroughly examined the legislation, held public hearings and reported back to the parliament on 13 June 2017. I would like to thank the committee members and all those submitters on their work in reviewing this legislation.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (12:17): The mental health and suicide of our current and ex-serving Defence personnel has received considerable attention in recent times, and rightfully so. Serving in the Australian Defence Force involves sacrifice and risk and, in exchange for this risk, we commit to supporting our personnel both during their time in Defence and beyond.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (12:47): I take it from the previous member's speech that the Prime Minister has decided now to cut the amount of GST flowing to South Australia. It is an outrageous decision by this Prime Minister, and he will be held to account in the next federal election. But I don't rise to speak about that today. I rise to draw attention to the impact of the Liberal government's failed NBN plan. I feel like a broken record in this place. For 10 years now I have been raising the issue around broadband. When Labor was in government we had a proper plan to fix it. Indeed, we see that the suburbs that have fibre to the home are now enjoying the benefits of high-speed broadband. Unfortunately, there are many suburbs that missed out on Labor's plan and are now being saddled with the inferior, 100-year copper network. This is just a short-sighted solution to a massive problem.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (15:37): I just listened to the assistant minister. He bragged about job figures, but did not say one word of consolation to the workers who are losing their jobs tomorrow. Not one word of consolation did he offer them and their families about the jobs they've lost. Indeed, he argued this issue shouldn't be brought to the floor of the parliament. Well, I am proud to support the member for Wakefield, who has been doing an enormous job over many years supporting those workers at Holden as they face an unknown future. It is disingenuous of this assistance minister to come in and not even say, 'I'm sorry you're losing your jobs, and I'm sorry your future is uncertain now.' And now he runs out of the chamber—that is what we expect.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (10:36): I rise today to acknowledge and thank the many dedicated people who run and volunteer in our community centres in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. It is the time of the year where many local community centres are having their annual general meetings and reflecting on the year that was. There are many community centres that offer many opportunities for local residents to get involved in a range of things. They provide a central, familiar location for people who receive important programs, services and activities. Community centres in the south provide services such as adult leaning classes, playgroups and support groups as well as health and fitness programs.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (12:10): As foreshadowed in my speech on the second reading, I would like to say that Labor will be supporting all of the government's amendments to this bill. Obviously, one of the amendments that we are very, very pleased about is the amendment relating to the Veterans' Review Board. This is, I think, an important amendment that addresses the concerns of the ex-service community and apprehensions that were discussed during the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee process.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (10:42): I rise to speak on the Defence Legislation Amendment (2017 Measures No. 1) Bill 2017. This bill contains four schedules, which seek to smooth processes, increase protections for reservists, realise a recommendation from the First Principles Review of Defence, add contemporary definitions and enable reclassification of those who leave Defence and later find they were eligible for a medical discharge.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (15:42): I think when it comes to the legislation before the House today, the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017, what we've got is legislation that really reeks of politics. That's what this is about. If we cast our minds back to the budget night, where I think the Minister for Human Services was going to go down the sewer and collect human waste material and test it, it was, at that point, a very half-baked idea. Of course, it's months and months later, and now we finally see, after the government trying to play the politics around drug-testing trials for welfare recipients, legislation that really has a bit of politics in it, some administrative changes and elements that are deeply flawed.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (10:06): I rise today to speak about the importance of appreciating and valuing our childcare workers, often referred to, importantly, as our early educators. Ask any parent who sends their child to child care and they will tell you the value and importance that our early educators bring. Our early educators provide essential care for children. Most families need two incomes to get by, and this would be impossible without childcare centres providing a safe place where parents can trust their children are looked after. But our childcare centres are more than that. Our childcare workers and early educators play an invaluable role in educating our children.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (10:59): This is a very important motion because it highlights—despite what those on the other side have said—that it was Labor out in front on this issue, talking about the importance of the Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme project. It was Labor that took it to the last election as an election commitment and it was Labor that, in opposition, led the way in committing the funds. The Liberal Party— embarrassed, being outdone again and again by Labor in South Australia—have committed a measly 50 per cent of what Labor committed, so their heart isn't really in this project.