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Notice given 7 September 2006

2481  Senator Murray: To ask the Minister representing the Treasurer—Is it possible to introduce policy measures that will ensure that no Australian experiences an effective marginal tax rate above 46.5 per cent. If it is possible to do that, what steps are being taken by the Government to lower existing effective marginal tax rates, (affecting lower income Australians), towards the top rate of 46.5 per cent. If the answer is that it is not possible to ensure that no Australian experiences an effective marginal tax rate above 46.5 per cent, please explain why not.

2482  Senator Hurley: To ask the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs—With reference to the independent regional (provisional ) visa (subclass 495):

(1) Since its inception, how many people have accessed the 495 visa.

(2) Are specific jobs categories designated for people arriving under this visa.

(3) Is an English language standard prescribed for 495 visa holders: if so, what is the standard.

(4) Under what circumstances can a departmental case officer waive the International English Language Testing System.

(5) What are the existing arrangements between employers and the Government under this visa.

(6) What is the agreement between 495 visa holders and the department.

(7) What is the agreement between employee and employer under this visa.

(8) What are the consequences for 495 visa holders who fail to comply with agreements they made with their employer or the department.

(9) How many 495 visa holders have failed to keep their jobs since the inception of the visa.

2483  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—

(1) With reference to repeated calls by the Prime Minister (Mr Howard) for Muslims to abide by Australian values, most recently on Radio 2GB on 31 August 2006, can the Prime Minister define what are Australian values.

(2) With reference to statements attributed to the Prime Minister that ‘it [accepting Australian values] means understanding that in certain areas, such as the equality of men and women… people who come from societies where men and women are treated in an inferior fashion have to learn very quickly that this is not the case in Australia’:


 (a) does the Prime Minister believe that there is equality between men and women in Australia when: (i) women earn on average $170 less per week than men, (ii) 38 per cent of women over the age of 15 have experienced violence, (iii) women are still discriminated against in the workforce because of pregnancy, (iv) more than 100 000 single mothers are living in poverty, (v) men hold 70 per cent of seats in parliament and most positions of power, (vi) only 8.4 per cent of seats on Boards are held by women, and (vii) women cannot hold positions of power in the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations;

(b) what is meant when the Prime Minister infers that Muslim women are treated in an inferior fashion;

(c) what evidence does the Prime Minister have that Muslim women are treated in an inferior fashion or discriminated against; and

(d) can the Prime Minister outline the difference between how Australian Muslim women are treated and how Australian Catholic, Baptist and Exclusive Brethren women are treated.

(3) With reference to the statement attributed to the Prime Minister that ‘fully integrated means accepting Australian values, it means learning as rapidly as you can the English language’, why has the Prime Minister targeted the Muslim community with respect to speaking English when there is evidence that there are other ethnic communities whose grandparents do not speak English.