Update from the Member for Canberra
It was good to be back in a socially distanced Parliament last week. Although sittings continue this week, I am now on leave from the Parliament as I get ready to have my second baby due in just under two weeks. So I took every opportunity I could to speak in Parliament about our Canberra community and the work the Government needs to do to ensure our nation's recovery from the pandemic and associated economic downturn is as good as it can be.
I took the opportunity to speak on the following topics and you can view the speeches on Youtube through the hyperlinks below:
Australia's environmental protection laws are outdated - they don't even factor in climate change or the effect of a development on carbon emissions. Furthermore, they are underutilised and don't provide the proactive protections we need to preserve our highly valued and unique Australian environments, animals and plants. The relevant Act is currently being reviewed and some good recommendations have been made. I called on the Morrison Government to take the review seriously and act to ensure our environment is preserved for future generations to come.
What will the world be like for my baby? I finished the week with a speech reflecting on what the world will be like for my baby and Parliament’s responsibility to deliver a better world for coming generations. Young people today have worries that I didn’t have as a teenager. Although they have been among the most active on the issue they see the Government taking no action on climate change. The Morrison Government has ignored the challenges facing our young people in their response to the pandemic, and when they most need to be supported to train for the jobs of the future the Government is decimating our TAFE and University sectors. We have a real opportunity to rebuild an economy that is fairer, more inclusive and more sustainable and that is what myself and my Labor colleagues will continue to advocate for.
Photo credit: Alex Ellinghausen/SMH - In the Parliament with Albo and Anika Wells, the Member for Lilley, who is pregnant with twins!
The impact of COVID-19 on women
COVID-19 has affected us all, but women have been impacted disproportionately. The Government's decisions haven't made this any better, in fact, in some cases it is their decisions that have made it worse. Whether it is taking JobKeeper wage support away from early childhood education and care workers (96% female workforce) or not adequately supporting the female-dominated workforces on the frontline of pandemic (the nursing and aged care workforce is 87% female), the pandemic demonstrates why all governments need to proactively consider the gender impacts of their policy making.
The importance of superannuation
Superannuation is another area where women do much worse than men and I spoke about the concerning comments from key Government Ministers that seem to be laying the groundwork for delays to already legislated increases to super for Australian workers. Super is the key to a dignified retirement for Australian workers and we should be improving the system, not undermining it as some Liberal Senators have proposed. With the number of pensioners increasing and the number of taxpayers to support them decreasing, a strong superannuation system is vital if we want Australians to be able to retire at all, let alone in comfort.
Trust in Democracy
Trust in our democracy is at an all-time low. Every time the Prime Minister refuses to take responsibility for something, another citizen loses faith in the Parliament's ability to improve their lives. It is clear to me that the Morrison Government needs a better plan to get us through the recession and to demonstrate that his line "we are all in this together" isn't just rhetoric.
Speaking in Parliament about trust in democracy.
I made several other speeches which you can view through the links below:
* Calling on the Government, once again, to stimulate the economy through social housing.
* Calling out the Government's ongoing failure to adequately support our artists and performers, including here in Canberra.
* Ongoing issues with the NDIS, including the closure of vital services provided by Capital Region Community Services in Belconnen.
* The amazing work being done throughout Canberra with funding from the Communities Environment Program.
I also had the opportunity to ask a question during Question Time on the inadequate provision of PPE to aged care workers. The Health Minister basically denied this was an issue which we know from extensive media reporting is not the case.
My wonderful staff will continue their work while I am away, supporting Canberrans who need assistance accessing Australian Government services and keeping me up to date with important issues affecting the community. Thanks for taking an interest in the work I have been doing and please continue to get in contact at [email protected] or 02 6247 8475, or drop in to my electorate office at 221 London Cct in Civic.
Alicia Payne MP
Member for Canberra
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