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Greens Call for Early Senate Discussions on Parental Leave

The Australian Greens are calling on both major parties to move swiftly to lock in the best possible result for families on paid parental leave ahead of the next Federal election, according to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

With the Opposition now proposing a 26-week parental scheme and the Government's plan not yet introduced, the Greens are writing to both Tony Abbott and the Prime Minister proposing tri-partisan talks ahead of this year's budget to ensure a scheme can be delivered by January 2011 at the latest.

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Equal Pay Day

That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) 1 September 2009 marked Equal Pay Day, almost 40 years after women formally achieved the right to equal pay, and
(ii) women have to work more than 2 months more to earn the same as men in an ordinary year;
(b) recognises that:
(i) women working full-time in Australia continue to earn, on average, approximately 17 per cent less than men, and
(ii) not only do women earn less than men on average, they can expect on average half the superannuation of men in retirement; and

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Nation Building and Jobs Plan

Senator HANSON-YOUNG (2.29 pm) - My question today is to the Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Wong.

Minister, of course, as a South Australian senator, you are aware of the dire state of South Australia's Lower Lakes. During the negotiations and debate over the stimulus package back in February this year, $10 million for a bioremediation program was agreed to by the government as part of the Nation Building and Jobs Plan. Could the minister please update the chamber on where we are up to in implementing this program?

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International student attacks necessitate Senate Inquiry into sector

The Greens say that a Senate Inquiry should go ahead into international education in Australia, following a recent spate of violent attacks on Indian students and other concerning reports.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young announced last month that she would move for a Senate Inquiry into Australia’s international education sector, which the National Union of Students had also called for. Education Minister Julia Gillard later said that the Government would be convening a roundtable to discuss issues affecting international students.

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Greens urge ACTU to back 26 weeks’ paid parental leave as workplace entitlement

The Greens have called on the Australian Council of Trade Unions to back a 26-week paid parental leave scheme at its Congress next week, in line with what the Greens’ parental leave bill offers.

The Congress will push for a broadening of the Federal Government’s proposed 18-week paid parental leave scheme to 26 weeks, and for it to include superannuation payments, it was reported today.

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Govt has hands off the wheel as ABC Learning fallout continues

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says that the Federal Government must intervene to protect childcare workers’ jobs and the stability of children’s care, as the fallout from last November’s ABC Learning collapse continues.

Today is the deadline for ABC Learning’s court-appointed receiver, PPB, to sell the 241 centres deemed unviable under the ABC Learning model. Reports say the fate of all of these centres is still not known, and that some workers have lost their jobs.

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Greens introduce Bill for 26 weeks’ paid parental leave

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced her Private Member’s Bill to provide for 26 weeks’ paid parental leave in the Senate this afternoon, with the aim of securing government-funded leave for Australian parents before 2011.

The Greens announced last month that Senator Hanson-Young would introduce the Bill, in light of widespread community support for such a scheme, and a lack of Government commitment to paid parental leave at the time.

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