Speeches in Parliament
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (19:30): Today I rise to call on the Prime Minister to rule out once and for all increasing the GST to 15 per cent. A fair tax system is what matters to the people of Australia. This is why Labor will never, ever support an increase in the GST to 15 per cent. We have been very clear that we are not in the business of introducing a regressive tax that will hurt low- and middle-income earners the most. It would cost the average Australian family an extra $5,000 a year. I want to make it really clear where I stand, even if the Prime Minister will not be clear about where he stands and even if the Treasurer will not be clear about where he stands. I want to make it very clear where I stand, because my electors have asked me to stand up for them in this place and say: 'No increase to the GST'.
I am very glad to have heard from the Minister Representing the Minister for Education. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister forgot him in question time, but it is good to give him a go. It is really important that we are talking about schools, but it takes more than just talk to deliver good outcomes in schools. We need good policy that has accountability and, importantly, invests in every child. That is what Labor has put up.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (12:18): I am pleased to rise today in support of the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2015 and those measures contained within it.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (10:41): The Christmas spirit is alive and well in the electorate of Kingston, with many different fairs happening in my local community that are not only helping to raise money for local organisations but also bringing the community together in a way that showcases all the talent.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (17:37): I rise today to support the Higher Education Amendment (VET FEEHELP Reform) Bill and also put on record my support for the important amendments that Labor's shadow minister has put forward.
Vocational education is critically important to the future economic prosperity of our nation. Labor understands how essential vocational education is as a pathway to the practical hands-on, highly-skilled jobs of the future. That is why, when in government, we significantly resourced and reformed the vocational education sector—something that had been left neglected by the Howard government and that we put significant effort into.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (10:55): Last month was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and I know that many on both sides of the House wore yellow pins to recognise what I think is an incredibly important month. Many of us here have met families that are affected by childhood cancer. We have heard many stories—some of resilience, some of sadness and some of hope. These are stories that are inspiring and that remind us what is most important. All of the stories encourage us as politicians to do more to support those affected by childhood cancer.
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (10:32): Despite the change of Prime Minister, the very serious threat to cut penalty rates remains on the table as part of this government's agenda. It is very concerning that the new Prime Minister has said that one of the first things on his agenda is slashing the penalty rates of 4.5 million hardworking
Australians. Unilaterally cutting rates will hurt Australian workers. Hospitality and retail workers will be hit first, followed by nurses, paramedics, aged-care workers and cleaners.
Education Services for Overseas Students Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2015, Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2015
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (12:46): Today I rise to speak on the Education Services for Overseas Students Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2015 and the Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2015.
I will state from the outset that Labor offers reserved support for this legislative package but does remain concerned with several of the specifics of the bills. Broadly, there are two aspects to the bill. One is to update the legislative arrangements to reflect the establishment of the national regulators for post-secondary education, which are TEQSA, regulating the higher education sector; and ASQA, regulating the VET sector. The second part is to roll back provisions legislated by Labor which provide protections for students against private providers taking their money and not delivering the education that students expect.
Education Legislation Amendment (Overseas Debt Recovery) Bill 2015, Student Loans (Overseas Debtors Repayment Levy) Bill 2015
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (10:57): Today I rise to speak on the Education Legislation Amendment (Overseas Debt Recovery) Bill and the Student Loans (Overseas Debtors Repayment Levy) Bill 2015. The bills, as the former education minister explained in his second reading speech, together will create an overseas
repayment obligation for Australians who have taken advantage of the Commonwealth government's income contingent loans, including both Higher Education Loan Program, or HELP, loans and HECS loans, together with trade support loans.