Fair Work (Registered Organisations)

This is the third time I have risen to briefly contribute to the debate on the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2014, and for the third time I will vote against this government legislation. In division 3, this legislation takes away fundamental civil rights from blue-collar workers—like the right to silence, the presumption of innocence and freedom of association. I cannot in good conscience support extraordinary legislation which specifically targets union members and blue-collar workers while ignoring white collar crime and criminals.

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Previously, in the 44th parliament, the Senate voted to support my motion to establish a special investigation. The investigation focused on alleged human rights abuses including torture, sexual assault, abuse and sexual denigration during the Australian Army's training of our special forces soldiers. I ask that all senators in the next couple of days once again support the re-establishment of this inquiry through a vote for the motion of which I have given notice.

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Speech: National Rural Women's Coalition - Leadership and Politics


Today I gave a speech to the National Rural Women's Coalition in Canberra today.

Please see below transcript:

It was a brutal 10-year battle with the Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs to try and obtain proper medical treatment and secure all my defence force entitlements that led me to a crossroads.

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SPEECH: Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016

I rise to support the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016. I would have preferred if the question about gay marriage were put at the last election. The nation would have been saved a lot of time and money. However, I still believe that a national plebiscite is justified and needed in order to test the will or conscience of the Australian people on gay marriage. I also believe that this plebiscite will take away any doubt about how the Australian people feel towards gay marriage and will, therefore, lead to a quicker healing and acceptance of the outcome for those on the losing side of the debate. When it comes to gay marriage, even though I indicated before both previous elections that I am opposed to it for sacred religious reasons, I will vote according to the will of the Tasmanian people as indicated in any plebiscite of the Australian people.

I strongly oppose any discrimination against the LGBTI community. LGBTI Australians are very important and valued members of our community. My understanding is that in 2008 many pieces of legislation—nearly 80—were passed in federal parliament to stop any discrimination of people based on their sexuality. I support that legislation and would also support any strengthening of federal laws if gaps were found in anti-discrimination legislation.

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MPI: Turnbull government

I rise to contribute to today's matter of public importance, namely the continuing chaos and dysfunction from the Turnbull government. I do not want this statement to be true. I want this government to run smoothly without chaos and dysfunction because that would mean there would be a greater chance of this parliament successfully delivering for the people of Tasmania. But, unfortunately, the chaos and dysfunction seen in the Abbott-Hockey government has infected the Turnbull-Morrison government. That is probably because the original cause of the dysfunction, Mr. Abbott, still remains in parliament and has taken his political inspiration from Liberal leader Bob Menzies instead of Harold Holt. Perhaps we have not seen the dysfunction to the level where the Liberal Party was forced to sack an elected Prime Minister and send the Treasurer to America on a plumb diplomatic job, but the dysfunction is there nonetheless.

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Medicare: Government refuses to heed lessons of the election

I rise to speak to the matter of public importance and the government's refusal to heed the lessons from the election and stand up for Medicare. On 9 July one of the world's oldest and most respected current affairs and news magazines published an article which talked about the Turnbull government's performance and the mandate it had won at the last double dissolution election. Senators—especially government senators—may like to reflect on what the Economist had to say:

When Malcolm Turnbull sought a second term for his conservative Liberal-National coalition government by calling an early general election, he promised Australians a break from nearly a decade of dysfunctional politics and short-lived national leaders. The prime minister—Australia’s sixth in a decade—asked voters to deliver a mandate for “strong, stable majority government” so that he could take them to the “greatest years in our history”.

Instead, on July 2nd, they delivered a humiliating verdict.

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Questions to the Attorney-General Brandis - Illicit Drugs

Senator LAMBIE: My question without notice is to the Attorney-General. I refer the Attorney-General to two important facts regarding my proposal for involuntary medical detox treatment for children who are addicted to ice. Firstly, suitably qualified medical professionals, under our existing health laws, are able to authorise involuntary treatment for patients who suffer from damaged mental health and are subject to dangerous, uncontrollable and unpredictable behaviour. Secondly, people addicted to and using ice must also suffer damage to their mental health and are also subject to dangerous, uncontrollable and unpredictable behaviour. Given these obvious truths, can the Attorney-General explain why his government refuses to support my call for the same suitably qualified medical professionals, acting under new health laws, from authorising involuntary health treatment for ice addicts, especially those who are our children?

Senator BRANDIS: Thank you very much, Senator Lambie, for raising this issue in the chamber today—as we all know, this is a very important issue—and for giving me a little notice of the question so that I can put more-specific material before you. What the government has done in relation to this issue is to drive a national approach, through COAG, to combating Australia's ice problem. At the heart of that national approach led by the Commonwealth government lies the National Ice Action Strategy, which was agreed to by COAG in December last year and involves all nine Australian governments, together with community organisations, working together to tackle the ice problem.

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Speech: Dairy Industry, Economy, Donations to Political Parties, Aged Care

This is my first adjournment speech in the 45th Parliament. Deputy President, I congratulate you on your appointment.  It is great to see that girl power riding right along—good on you. I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to the elders both past and present. I also acknowledge the great sacrifice that the men and women of our defence forces have willingly given to this country so that we can meet safely here today.  I thank the people of Tasmania for their advice, trust and votes and for gifting me the great honour of representing them, once again, in this great Senate. It is a responsibility that I cherish and take very seriously. The decisions I make and the votes I take in this great chamber of debate will be governed by this one principle: I will always put Tasmania and its people first. In the short time remaining for this speech, I will briefly touch on some of the issues that urgently demand the government's attention.

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I rise to contribute to today's matter of public importance.

If you are a banker or a politician, this budget will put a smile on your face because you are going to receive a number of tax cuts and benefits. However, if you are an aged pensioner, after the delivery of this budget—its official—the Liberals and Nationals hate you. And if you are an age pensioner who is sick and needs to visit the doctor, the measures in this Liberal budget regarding health and Medicare show that they really actually hate you.


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Cuts to the CSIRO

I rise to speak on notice of motion No. 1153 regarding cuts to the CSIRO.  I note that in December last year our Prime Minister, in a statement on his National Innovation and Science Agenda, said:

Our businesses, universities and research organisations like the CSIRO are also among the best in the world.

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