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Thursday, 5 December 2013
Page: 947


Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (12:13): I rise to speak in favour of the proposition put forward by the Australian Greens whip, Rachel Siewert, to ensure that we are able to split off these bills to referrals, because it is absolutely important that the Senate plays its part in looking at the detail of this legislation. The one particular part of this legislation that I am interested in is the fact that the coalition late in the last sitting week tried to sneak this piece of legislation through without anybody noticing, which was a total backflip on their promise to families to make sure child care in this country would become cheaper. Well, no, this bill is going to push up prices for families right throughout the country.

We knew when this legislation was first floated three years ago that the number of families that would be affected was over 70,000. Fast forward three or four years and we now know that that is going to be over 100,000 families impacted because this government—despite everything that it has said and despite what it has said in its press releases, what this government does in the chamber seems to be a very different matter—wants to freeze the amount of money that families can get as part of their childcare rebate. Where was that on the coalition's plan of action for Australia that Tony Abbott took around the country? Where did it say that the coalition was going to push up prices so that families would not be able to afford accessible quality child care? It was not there.

This is a broken promise of this government, and it is absolutely imperative that the Senate is able to look into the detail of it so that families, childcare operators and childcare workers know exactly the agenda of this government—it is secret; it is hidden; they are sneaking around like they do on everything else. But, at the end of the day, this will impact the pockets of hundreds of thousands of Australian families, our children, our childcare centres and our childcare workers. Australian parents and families deserve much more than the coalition trying to rush this through with no scrutiny and with cover-up sneakiness. That is exactly why the Senate is here: to make sure we can shine a spotlight and some transparency on a government who has backflipped hoping no-one would notice. You know what, Mr President? We have noticed, and Australian families are starting to wake up. This government promised one thing at the election and are doing something totally different. They are just hoping that they can get away with it. Referring this to an inquiry is an important part of the process, and we will be making sure that we push that through.

The PRESIDENT: The question now is that the amendment moved by Senator Fifield be agreed to.

The PRESIDENT: The question now is that the amendment as amended be agreed to.

Question agreed to.

The PRESIDENT: The question now is that the motion as amended be agreed to.

Question agreed to.