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Monday, 19 March 2018
Page: 1418


Senator Birmingham to move on the next day of sitting:

That consideration of the business before the Senate on the following days, be interrupted at approximately 5 pm, but not so as to interrupt a senator speaking, to enable senators to make their first speeches without any question before the chair, as follows:

(a) Wednesday, 21 March 2018—Senator Martin; and

(b) Tuesday, 27 March 2018—Senator Keneally.

Senator Singh to move on 21 March 2018:


(a) the Senate notes that:

   (i) 21 March 2018 is the International Day of Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and

   (ii) although Australia has implemented the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination into its domestic law through the Racial Discrimination Act, racially discriminatory provisions remain in the Australian Constitution and there is still no entrenched provision for fundamental rights in Australian law;

(b) further notes that:

   (i) the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination observes that expressions of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, including in the Australian public sphere, political debates and in the media, are on the rise, and

   (ii) according to the Face Up to Racism: 2015-16 National Survey:

(A) nearly a quarter of participants had experienced racism on public transport or in the street, and

(B) nearly a third of participants had experienced racism in the workplace or within an educational institution; and

(c) urges the Australian Government to act on the recommendations—including strengthening anti-racism programs like the National Anti-Racism Strategy, and underlining the importance of political discourse and the Racial Discrimination Act in setting a standard—in the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination's concluding observations on the eighteenth to twentieth periodic reports of Australia.

Senators Griff and Pratt to move on the next day of sitting:


(a) the Senate notes:

   (i) the failure of the Government to adequately fund the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia,

   (ii) that the Government's neglect of the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia means that families facing the most serious family law issues can wait up to three years before a final trial,

   (iii) that the continued failure by the Government to adequately resource the family law system has served to create a snowballing effect, the social and economic cost of which will continue to be felt by the community for years to come,

   (iv) that the Government has failed to consult with the courts and the legal profession to formulate a clear plan for the future,

   (v) that, in March 2014, a report by KPMG, commissioned by the Attorney-General's Department, into the funding of federal courts was presented to the Government but has still not been released,

   (vi) that the KPMG report, obtained by The Australian in 2014, warned of significant cuts to service and staffing levels potentially leading to increased delays in litigation, the closure of smaller registries and cutbacks to services in regional Australia,

   (vii) that the warnings in the KPMG report appear to have gone unheeded by the Government,

   (viii) that, in 2014-15, as part of the response to the KPMG report, the Attorney-General's Department undertook additional work with Ernst & Young to develop costings scenarios involving federal courts, and

   (ix) that KPMG's comprehensive report confirming the financial crisis facing federal courts and proposing a range of possible solutions, along with the Ernst & Young costings in response to the KPMG report, should be released prior to the Senate voting on the Family Law Amendment (Parenting Management Hearings) Bill 2017; and

(b) there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Attorney­-General, by 9 am on 22 March 2018:

   (i) the KPMG report into the funding of federal courts, and

   (ii) the Ernst & Young costings in response to the KPMG report.

Senator Smith to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate:

(a) congratulates Future Bayswater for their success at the recent 2017 Planning Institute Australia (PIA) Western Australian Awards for Planning Excellence in winning the following awards:

PIA 2017 WA Winner of Community Engagement Project,

PIA 2017 WA State Planning Champion, and

PIA 2017 Commendation, President's Award;

(b) notes that the Awards recognise and acknowledge quality, innovation and excellence in planning; and

(c) particularly acknowledges Mr Paul Shanahan, Chairman and founder of Future Bayswater, who was named the PIA 2017 State Planning Champion, which recognises non-planners for their advocacy and for making a significant contribution and lasting presence to the urban and regional environment.

Senator Leyonhjelm to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate:

(a) notes that:

   (i) in contrast to New Zealand's comprehensive GST, Australia's GST does not apply to a significant range of products, such as various healthcare products and essential services, including water,

   (ii) healthcare products that are listed as GST-free in the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (the GST Act), an Act of the Commonwealth Government, include medical devices and aids, such as incontinence pads,

   (iii) the Minister for Health is empowered under section 38.47 of the GST Act to unilaterally declare additional goods to be GST-free—previous Commonwealth Health Ministers have used this power to make various goods GST-free, including condoms, lubricants, folic acid, sunscreen and nicotine patches and gums,

   (iv) GST on tampons and sanitary pads is estimated to contribute around $30 million to the $63 billion in annual GST revenues,

   (v) tampons and sanitary pads are essential healthcare products, and

   (vi) it is therefore inequitable for incontinence pads, condoms, lubricants, folic acid, sunscreen, and nicotine patches and gums to be GST-free on health grounds, and for water to be GST-free on the grounds of water being essential, but for tampons and sanitary pads to be subject to GST; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to remove the GST on tampons and sanitary pads.

Senator Polley to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate:

(a) notes that:

   (i) the latest waiting list for aged care home packages for the December quarter indicates there are around 105,000 vulnerable older Australians waiting for the home care package for which they have been approved,

   (ii) the waiting list includes 82,000 older Australians waiting with high needs—many are living with dementia, and

   (iii) the waiting list has grown by almost 15,000 since the home care package reforms were introduced by the Government just a year ago;

(b) calls on the Minister for Aged Care to explain why he described the current waiting list as being on a 'positive trajectory'; and

(c) condemns the Turnbull Government for failing to care for older Australians and providing no solutions to deal with the growing home care package waiting list crisis.

Senator Macdonald to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate:

(a) notes that the Queensland Teachers' Union (QTU) has committed to ensuring there are Eureka Flags in every school in Queensland, in solidarity with the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union;

(b) expresses its disgust at the politicisation of education in Queensland by having the QTU attempt to influence students politically;

(c) further notes that it is, and reiterates support for, the long observed bi-partisan position that Australian school children should be given the freedom to develop and evolve in an environment that is free from the intrusion of any particular political bias;

(d) calls upon the QTU to desist from this unacceptable attempt to politicise classrooms; and

(e) commends the Liberal National Party for committing to keeping schools a place for learning rather than politics.

Senator Rhiannon to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate:

(a) notes that decisions to amalgamate trade unions should rest with the members of the respective organisations as expressed in a ballot; and

(b) calls on the Government to respect democracy in trade unions and the role they play in protecting their members' interests.

Senator Moore to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate notes:

(a) the recent death of Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, long-term leader of the fight for a democratic and free Zimbabwe;

(b) that Mr Tsvangirai, a mine worker and strong trade unionist for over 30 years, visited Australia in 2001 and 2013, and provided real inspiration for many Australians who shared the hope for a free Zimbabwe, and open democratic government;

(c) that Mr Tsvangirai was the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change opposition, which contested elections against the Robert Mugabe ZANU PF, culminating in a victory in March 2008, and, for a term, Prime Minister;

(d) that, despite imprisonment, torture and years of violence surrounding elections and challenges to government processes in Zimbabwe, Mr Tsvangirai provided leadership and resilient opposition and his spirit will continue to inspire his party, and the people of his homeland and around the world; and

(e) that, while Mr Tsvangirai will not see the transition to a new democratic era in Zimbabwe, the commitment of President Emmerson Mnangagwa 'to very peaceful, transparent and harmonised elections in July this year' and the statement by United Nations Development Programme administrator Mr Achim Steiner, noting elections are 'first and foremost for Zimbabweans' and welcoming 'President Mnangagwa's election pledge for a credible and peaceful election' are important milestones for a successful transition to a more democratic Zimbabwe.

Senator Di Natale to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate:

(a) notes that 20 March is World Oral Health Day, a day to promote good oral hygiene practices to adults and children around the world, and acknowledge the importance of good oral health in maintaining general health and well-being;

(b) acknowledges the publication today of Australia's Children and Young People Oral Health Tracker, placing Australia as the first country in the world to have established clear and measurable oral health targets;

(c) expresses concern that:

   (i) close to a third of children (5 to 10 years old) have untreated tooth decay, and almost half of Australian children had not visited a dentist before their fifth birthday,

   (ii) almost half of adults have not had a check-up in the last 12 months; 90% of adults have suffered from tooth decay, and approximately 1 in 5 Australians have gum disease, and

   (iii) three in four Australian children and nearly 50% of adults are consuming too much sugar;

(d) recognises that cost is a major barrier to access to dental care across the community, and that the lower a person's income, the more likely they are to have chronic oral health problems;

(e) further notes that oral diseases can impact every aspect of life, from personal relationships and self-confidence to school, work, housing and even enjoying food, as well as having very serious health consequences, like leading to low birth weight and premature babies and increased risk of heart disease; and

(f) calls on the Government to invest in, and promote the availability of, Medicare-funded dental care to ensure that every Australian has access to the oral health care they need.