Speeches in Parliament
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (21:00): Since this parliament last met, there have been a number of significant anniversaries on which Australia has paused to remember our fallen men. I would like to speak about a number of anniversaries tonight. As members are aware, this year marks 100 years since the Battle of Fromelles and Pozieres during World War I and 50 years since the Battle of Long Tan in the Vietnam War. This year we can reflect on the sacrifices made and acknowledge the brave men who risked their lives and made the ultimate sacrifice in these historical battles.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (11:02): I do rise to speak to this important motion that recognises the significant contribution made by our national servicemen and remembers both their service and, indeed, their sacrifice. Australia has had a number of episodes of national service, having seen four periods of compulsory military service—the last one ending in 1972.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (10:55): We are on the eve of an election and a lot of issues will be discussed during the election period. I have put on record in this place many times the stark difference between Labor and the coalition when it comes to education. Today I want to put on record the stark difference when it comes to health care. In my first speech in this place I talked about the importance of money not determining what level of health care you get in this country. It seems that what I spoke about nine years ago will be a matter for debate in this election. It seems that the government is slowly walking away from the concept of universal health care. That was on stark display in the budget—the government is now planning to freeze Medicare rebates, which is really a GP tax by stealth. Reports today suggest there will be a $14 out-of-pocket expense for those who are currently bulk-billed, and for those who are already paying a gap one would assume that that $14 will be put on top of the out-of-pocket expenses already incurred. We are starting to see very much that the out-of-pocket expenses are going to be more than the Medicare rebate, which suggests that there is no real concept of universal health care anymore in this country.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (16:57): It is that time of the electoral season—a time where, as we seem to understand, in a few weeks we will face the people with our parties and our respective policies. I feel it is my duty, though, to give this government a report card when it comes to education. Unfortunately, there is no choice but to give this government an F—a big fail for their education. They have had 2½ years to innovate, be agile and come up with ideas, when it comes to education, about how we can improve our education system, all the
way from early childhood education right through to tertiary study. We have seen either complete inaction from this government in many of these areas or, unfortunately, in the areas where they have tried to take action, it has actually been to the detriment of many students and to the future of this country.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (13:16): I rise to speak on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Welfare Payment Integrity) Bill 2016. This bill seeks to amend the social security legislation in two ways.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (09:34): I rise to condemn the coalition government for their continued attacks on Medicare. For 40 years we have seen the Liberal Party try to destroy Medicare. They opposed it from the start and continue to oppose it. More recently, we have had the former Prime Minister attempt to impose a GP tax on all of our citizens. Quite frankly, that would have hurt the fabric of Medicare. It would have hurt the fabric of our well performing health system here in Australia. That played a part in the downfall of the former Prime Minister, because Australians know that we have a healthcare system that should depend on what you need, not how much you can pay.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (18:00): Today we are debating Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2015-2016 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2015-2016, which are budget bills. With budgets come choices, choices a government makes of its priorities. The mid-year fiscal update, which is part of this appropriation bill, is an update of the government's priorities. Our most recent budget was delivered by one Prime Minister and the update is delivered by another Prime Minister, but the details of the priorities have not changed. There are many things, demonstrated in the mid-year fiscal update, which show that despite the rhetoric of the new Prime Minister, despite the overtures he makes, when you look at the detail—and the devil is in the detail—you see there is no change to many of the critical issues facing our nation, no change to the key priorities of this government. I will go through a few that have been outlined in the budget.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (15:36): I think the Assistant Minister for Defence missed the talking points. We all got the talking points this week. You are meant to be talking up the 'innovative Australian economy'. You are meant to be talking up the 'agile nation that we live in'. We know that the Prime Minister loves to talk about innovation. 'Innovation' is his new buzz word.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (13:54): In a show of breathtaking hypocrisy, we have seen 41 coalition members and senators line up to open Labor's trade training centres. Indeed, they have put out media releases and featured in their local papers—but they came to Canberra and cut our trade training centres. We have a rollcall. We have the members for Barker, Brisbane, Clare, Capricornia, Cowen, Cowper, Dawson, Dunkley, Durack, Farrer, Flinders, Forrest, Gippsland, Grey, Hinkler, Hume, La Trobe, Lyons, Macarthur, Mallee, Mayo, McMillan,
Moore, Murray, Parkes, Petrie, Riverina, Wright and Wannon. We also have Senators Ryan, Ronaldson, Seselja, Sinodinos, Williams, O'Sullivan, Mason, McKenzie, Fierravanti-Wells, Macdonald and Payne. These are the members many of whom have attended more than one—the member for Grey attended five openings of trade training centres. The member for Durack attended three and the member for Cowper attended four.