Kingborough citizenship ceremony

I’m always excited to see the smiles on the faces of migrants as they become Australian citizens. They understand what an extraordinary privilege it is to be a citizen of such a free, prosperous country as ours.

Thank you to the Kingborough Council for inviting me, and my colleague Julie Collins MP, to today’s citizenship ceremony to witness people taking one of the most important and profound steps in their lives.

End of an era for Ogilvie High School

As the only Senator (as far as I know) to attend Ogilvie High School, it was a pleasure last night to join Tasmania’s Governor, Her Excellency Barbara Baker AC, Emeritus Prof Don Chalmers AO, and school alumni at a reception to celebrate 84 years of the school’s achievements.

Catching up with old scholars, we commemorated the end of an era, as Tasmania’s only remaining all-girls government school, Ogilvie High, will soon merge with the only all-boys government school, New Town High, to form the co-ed Hobart City High School.

Over the years, Ogilvie High School has had two school songs – now its students will have to learn another one! Great to see my fellow 1974 student leaver, Margie Nolan, who is now the coordinator of the wayraparattee Child and Family Centre.

Morrison Government’s vaccine bungle

The government that brought you Robodebt, the Census debacle and the botched COVIDSafe app rollout has let down Australians with yet another IT bungle. Almost 4,000 Tasmanian vaccinations had to be manually entered into the Australian Immunisation Register because the Morrison Government failed to make their systems compatible with the Tasmanian Department of Health’s software.

The bungle was revealed by Minister for Government Services, Linda Reynolds, after I wrote to her in July on behalf of affected Tasmanians, including aged care workers who needed their vaccine certificates.

With more and more Australians relying on their COVID vaccine certificates, they need to be reassured that the system is working, but the Minister refuses to answer simple questions. For example, are all the records affected are now up to date, and do they expect the same software glitch to affect future records?

Australians deserve answers. Watch the video below to hear my 2-minute statement to the Senate about this bungle and cover-up.

Draconian charities regulation disallowed by the Senate

The Australian Senate just voted to disallow the Morrison Government’s charities governance regulation.

This draconian regulation allowed the charities commissioner to deregister charities for minor offences like blocking a public footpath at a demonstration, or for promoting an event at which such a minor offence occurred. It even introduced the Orwellian notion of a “thought crime” where the commissioner could deregister a charity because he ANTICIPATES an offence being committed!

Had the regulation taken effect, it would have cost the charities and not-for-profits sector millions of dollars in legal red tape and had a chilling effect on democracy and free speech. I delivered Labor’s argument in favour of the disallowance motion to the Senate remotely. The video below contains some brief excerpts from my speech.

The Liberals have spent eight years waging a war on charities. THE WAR MUST END. Charities and not-for-profits need an Albanese Labor government that is on their side.

The Liberals’ war on charities

For the past eight years the Liberals have been waging a war on charities.

Today the Senate will be debating a new regulation which will silence charities and bury them in millions of dollars of legal red tape. If the Senate does not vote to disallow the regulation today it will become law.

I addressed this issue in my Talking Point article in today’s The Mercury.