Charity Fundraising Reform

The Morrison Government’s latest announcement on charity fundraising reform is welcome news but still cold comfort to Australian charities and not-for-profits doing it tough through the pandemic.While PM Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Assistant Minister for Charities Zed Seselja are popping the champagne corks, Australian charities face yet another year with the red-tape nightmare of having to comply with seven different sets of state and territory regulations if they want to raise funds online or across the country.Another year of delay is estimated to cost Australian charities $15 million in unnecessary compliance costs—that’s money generously donated by Australians going down the drain.As my colleague Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities, Andrew Leigh MP, has said:”The shame of watching the charity sector tangled up in unnecessary red tape while trying to support Australians through natural disasters and a national health crisis has finally forced the Coalition to acknowledge it has a responsibility to lead on this issue.”The Morrison Government has the power to fix this problem, and Australia’s charities should not be forced to wait any longer.”

http://www.andrewleigh.com/charities_facing_another_costly_year_under_coalition_media_release?fbclid=IwAR3bOyDYyC1w5uUUVXTXrLSbdzHplJOVo_46I6I3NlF09d92tMoiqNYxgJM

Cashless Debit Card Legislation

I am shocked but, sadly, not surprised that, during the debate on the cashless debit card legislation, Senator Pauline Hanson would make such an ill-informed suggestion that child sexual abuse is only perpetrated by people on drugs and alcohol. Being elected to the Senate is an extraordinary privilege as well as an enormous responsibility. It is incumbent on senators to ensure that our public statements, including those made in the chamber, and the decisions we make are carefully considered and not driven by ignorance and personal prejudice. Senator Hanson’s comments have the potential to spread ignorance and could be hurtful and potentially harmful to survivors of child sexual abuse. She would be well advised to reflect on her remarks and the impact they may have.

Pension Cashless Debit Cards

Jocelyn, a Disability Pensioner in Ceduna, wrote in an online article about the stigma of being on the cashless debit card without needing to be:

“Imagine going out for a coffee with friends and having to use the card. Imagine buying the local paper… and having to use the card. Imagine not having cash for something you really love on the local buy/sell/exchange. Imagine trying to sell some items to get cash to survive. Imagine every time you pull the card out that you are labelled as a loser. Imagine pulling out a card that doesn’t always work! Even if you have a dollar balance on the card, it refuses you at the checkout, with people waiting behind you in the queue at the local supermarket. Imagine going to the chemist and the card will not work for your prescriptions. All of this has happened to me, and others, many times.”

Jocelyn – powertopersuade.org.au

As I outlined in my speech on the Government’s bill to make the CDC rollout permanent, there is no evidence that compulsory income management works in tackling drug, alcohol and gambling addiction. For many people like Jocelyn who are forced onto the card with no history of addiction, it creates a sense of stigma and shame, and takes away their financial autonomy.

Sadly, the Government’s bill was passed by the Senate. Labor will continue to urge the Morrison Government to accept the evidence, stop wasting taxpayers’ money on compulsory income management and abandon it in favour of interventions that are proven to work.

Delivery Drivers – Workers Union

Five food delivery riders have been killed on Australian roads recently in the course of their work. Because they are regarded as ‘independent contractors’ they are working in unsafe conditions for low pay, and when they die at work their families have no access to workers’ compensation.

Delivery riders should be engaged as employees’ with full rights to award rates of pay, safe working conditions and compensation if they get killed or seriously injured in the course of their employment.

This is an absolute outrage and the Morrison Government needs to fix it

Transport Workers Union – TWU
Transport Workers Union, Victorian/Tasmanian Branch – TWUVicTas

10 Days Domestic Leave Policy

I was pleased to co-sponsor Jenny McAllister‘s motion, which passed the Senate today, calling on the Morrison Government to adopt Labor’s policy of 10 days’ paid domestic violence leave.

Domestic violence leave helps workers escaping family and domestic violence – the majority of whom are women – to find accommodation, access support services, attend court and make any other arrangements to rebuild their lives. It would greatly increase the success of family and domestic violence victims in escaping from violent and abusive relationships.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Today – 15 October 2020 – marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Every year Australian families suffer over 2,000 stillbirths and over 100,000 miscarriages.

I am proud to have participated in the Senate inquiry into Stillbirth Research and Education along with my Labor colleagues Kristina Keneally and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy – Northern Territory, both of whom have continued to be strong advocates for parents of stillborn babies.

As a parent of a stillborn baby my participation in the inquiry was a painful reminder of my own tragedy yet a necessary contribution to public policy.The inquiry made important recommendations for reducing the rate of stillbirth in Australia and improving support for parents. Many of the inquiry’s recommendations remain unimplemented and this national crisis requires more attention and action from the Government.

If you know someone who is grieving the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death please encourage them to contact one of the following organisations: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Australiahttps://www.pregnancylossaustralia.org.au/Stillbirth Foundation Australiahttps://stillbirthfoundation.org.au/Sands Australiahttps://www.sands.org.au/The Compassionate Friends Victoria Inc. (also covering Tasmania) – https://www.compassionatefriendsvictoria.org.au/

Public Service Announcement

To minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19 I will be putting the following measures in place until further notice:

– From Monday, 23 March only two staff will be working in my office at any given time. Other staff will be working from home.

– Staffing restrictions may cause a delay to community printing requests. If you email a printing request to Leanne please also Cc Daniel (daniel.hulme@aph.gov.au).

– No events or meetings will take place in the office board room.

– No constituents will be allowed beyond the reception area unless specifically authorised by me. Anyone given permission to enter the office will be asked to sanitise their hands before and after entering.

While I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, these measures are in place to protect the health and safety of my staff and the general public. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Just for a reminder – here are some basic steps you can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases (see image below).

Seafood Industry Australia Pledge

Tonight Senator Carol Brown and I signed the pledge committing to putting the best Australian seafood on our table.

It is important we do this in a way that actively cares for Australia’s oceans and environment and work with others to do the same.

Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum Canberra 2020

The Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) brings together national parliamentarians from across the Asia-Pacific region to encourage and promote regional co-operation on matters of common concern to member countries.

The 28th meeting of the APPF is being held this year at our own National Parliament in Canberra (Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum Canberra 2020).

As part of the Australian delegation, I was pleased to address the conference in support of Australia’s resolution on promoting cultural diversity and tourism.

I have enjoyed meeting other delegates from across the Asia-Pacific, discussing our shared interests, concerns and aspirations for the region, and helping further develop inter-country relations.